UNION COUNTY, NJ — Women are becoming a bigger part of the business world as their roles in society become more versatile. Many women are choosing not to be housewives and mothers. More women than ever are remaining single in their twenties and thirties, allowing them the time to establish their careers before marriage and parenthood, if they decide these traditional roles suit them at all.
On May 25th the fourth annual Union County Women Mean Business seminar took place in Kenilworth at the Clubhouse at Galloping Hill from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Registration included lunch as well as the chance to win prizes, including round-trip airline tickets. The seminar took place in two parts. The first part concentrated on networking, financing and embracing femininity in the business world. The second was about owning and starting a business.
“Each year focuses on a different aspect of women’s business so it’s not repetitive,” Union County Freeholder Bruce H. Bergen told LocalSource. “This year, the head of New Jersey’s food bank spoke and told her amazing story.”
Union County Freeholder Linda Carter, is the originator of the first Women Mean Business seminar. Each year, a new guest speaker provides the audience with insights about women in the business world. Debra Vizzi was this year’s guest speaker. She is the president and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Elizabeth Magennis of ConnectOne Bank introduced guest speaker Vizzi.
“You know, there are so many ways each one of us can be a force of change,” Vizzi said.
Attendees were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the food bank. Over the past year, more than 44 million pounds of food was distributed by the food bank. Vizzi is a licensed clinical social worker, and she’s dedicated her life to helping people in need. She’s an expert speaker on issues of poverty and child welfare. Vizzi leads a team of more than 200 employees in Hillside and Egg Harbor Township. She serves people in 17 counties throughout the state. Vizzi introduced speaker Maureen Tinan, President of Union County Economic Development Corporation.
“We’ve had some really great female speakers,” said Jennifer Erdos of the Union County Office on Women told LocalSource. “We also have local agencies speak to the guests.”
Session one was presented by Ellen McHenry, senior director of financial programs for UCEDC. She spoke about financing options available to small businesses, matching the right financing programs and preparing to meet with a lender. Lisa A. Ciarrocca spoke about capitalizing on strengths and understanding what skills need to be developed. Pat Roque, author of “Rock Your Business and Your Life: 90-Day Success Planner,” spoke about how to maximize investments at networking events and growing relationships with ideal clients. The event included a networking cocktail hour.
Session two consisted of a panel of female business owners who spoke about their experiences and how they conquered the obstacles and challenges they faced along the way. Erich Peter, Director of Training and Technical Assistance for UCEDC, spoke about business ownership. He explained how to conduct market research and what tools are needed to start and grow a business. Lastly, another group of female panelists spoke about negotiations. Studies show that women tend to fail when negotiating their salary and lose up to $500,000 in income over the course of their careers.
The first 20 participants to register for the event received complimentary headshots provided by Paul Greco Photography. Participants will take part in the Union County Means Business Expo on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Kean University. Previously this year, Union County Means Green took place at Kean University to promote businesses with sustainable strategies that encourage customers to help the environment. Union County Means Business is a partnership between the Union County government and business and community leaders.