Some of the women running for office in Prince George’s County have been bringing light to the absence of women in the local political arena. From 1970 to today, there has never been a woman elected county executive. The Baltimore Sun did an article on the small numbers of women holding office in Maryland. One area where Maryland and Prince George’s County is not lagging is women owned businesses.
A survey by Paychex.com shows that Maryland is the top state for businesses owned by minority women. Of the top five cities in Maryland with women minority owned businesses, four are in Prince Georges County. PGCo women have launched out into business arenas that are male dominated such as the alcohol and cannabis industries. Blue Henry Spirits is a Capitol Heights business owned by Adrienne Walker which features bittered cotton candy divvys, candied fruit, and syrups that you can add to your cock/mocktails, tonics, and various drinks. Then there’s entrepreneur Hope Wiseman, a native of Bowie, MD, who’s the youngest person to own a medical cannabis dispensary. There are jewelry makers, salon owners, IT consultants (of which I need so if you know someone who could help PGC Blog, hook ya girl up), attorneys, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers scattered all throughout the county with few ways of bringing them together. But no worries, we have a woman for that job too. Enter Stephanie Bolton James, Co-founder of Women of Prince George’s.
One of my pet-peeves about PGCo is its expansive size and the feeling that there’s no way of personally connecting with like-minded folk the way I did when I lived in DC. For minority women business owners and entrepreneurs, I would think that it’s not an easy task finding ways to network, run a business, make a profit, and have a semi-normal home life. No worries though. Women of Prince George‘s provides a way for said like minded to folk to come together to network, get information, education and resources, and be inspired. Their 8th annual conference is happening next week, May 24th at the Marriott Hotel in Greenbelt. I spoke with Women of Prince George’s co-founder Stephanie Bolton James and got the details for you..
What’s the purpose of the “All of Us!” conference?
Stephanie Bolton James: To bring women together in a comfortable setting where they can get educated, make constructive, productive connections and utilize resources to push their business forward. If the women are successful, the county is successful.
What will the day at the “All of Us!” conference look like for a new attendee?
Stephanie Bolton James: The conference makes you feel like you’re in someone’s living room. Our friendly registration staff will greet you with a goody bag. There’s open seating with some reserved seats. Women of Prince George’s Advisory Board members will be at each table. Guest speaker Regina Robinson will start us out with an interactive mind-mapping exercise that will help the participants set short and long term goals for their businesses. Jennifer Jones will speak on how to self-motivate and form progressive relationships. Advisory members from the Women of Prince George’s organization will be available to assist participants with deciding on what they need in a mentor. The day also includes a success panel, giveaways, and a time where community leaders are honored. At the political candidates forum, we’ll hear from invited candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for County Executive and other local and state positions. Some of the confirmed candidates are Tim Adams, Rushern Baker, C. Anthony Muse, and Denise Roberts.
Throughout the day, there will also be a marketplace with vendors.
What will be the focus of the Success Panel?
Stephanie Bolton James: The Success Panel will be made up of four panelists who are successful business owners in their own right. They’ll focus on women who’ve had their business for a number of years and want to continue operating at a revenue generating level. They’ll address the sustainability dilemmas such as whether to reinvent yourself and reassessment of your business model. There is no blanket answer to the sustainability question so having four different women speak to the topic will give our participants perspectives that suit their various business needs. After all, if you can’t sustain your business, you won’t have it.
Women-Owned Businesses Report, states, “African American women-owned firms are much more likely than any ethnic group to be found in both the other services sector (of which a large share are in personal care services – mostly hair and nail salons) Do you think that Black women are over represented in the personal care industry?
Stephanie Bolton James: That’s not been my experience over the last eight. The attendees we’ve been interacting with, not only with the conference but also with the government contracting forum and education modules that happen in the Fall, have been business owners who want federal and state government procurement opportunities AND IT firms. There’s definitely a representation of health and beauty business owners but that sector is not the majority. We see a majority of people who’ve worked for someone else for a number of years and want to start their own business
Women of Prince George’s was founded after Stephanie found herself and other county women traveling many miles outside of the PGCo to attend networking events for woman business owners. She saw a need and met it. The organization continues to help women navigate throughout the various business markets in this region and abroad. One of their purposes is to help PGCo business owners “connect the dots around the beltway.” The flyer below shows the dynamic line-up of panelists for the All of Us! conference. Author and motivational speaker Bershan Shaw is the featured speaker. Other panelists and speakers include show host Renee Allen, IT business consulting owner Amina Elgouacen, Victoria Sanchez of WJLA, and Bernadette Clay, CEO of of BLE Executive and Virtual Suites, along with many others will not just be there, they’ll be sharing with the women of Prince George’s County. Did I mention that there’s a government advisory panel? There’s so much and there is something there for you no matter what stage of your hustle/grind you’re in. And if you’re a male resident of PGCo reading this, know that our success is also your success. Consider sponsoring a woman in your life.
All of Us! Conference
May 24, 2018 8:30am-3pm
Marriott Hotel in Greenbelt, MD
6400 Ivy Lane
Registration: $30 to $115