Items tagged with Entrepreneurs

Business: The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship

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Join Fran Pastore, founder and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC), for a conversation on the history of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States, including the current trends and challenges and the role that women’s entrepreneurship will play in the future. Coffee and light refreshments served. Register online. For more information, contact Ellen Janpol, Business Librarian, at ejanpol [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.

Fran Pastore is the founder, President and CEO of the Women's Business Development Council (WBDC) which is Connecticut’s leading organization for championing female entrepreneurship and women’s economic equity. Since 1997, WBDC has created thousands of women owned businesses and generated hundreds of jobs in Connecticut. In 2016, WBDC clients produced an estimated $6 million in tax revenues for the state of Connecticut. Ms. Pastore is a tireless advocate on the topic of women and entrepreneurship and has spoken nationally and internationally on behalf of women’s business ownership and economic equity.

Ms. Pastore served a three year term as an appointed member to the President’s National Women's Business Council (NWBC), an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). She serves on the Board of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

Globally, Ms. Pastore has traveled to Rwanda with the Business Council for Peace (BPeace), to work with female genocide survivors in developing entrepreneurial skills to open the very first ice cream shop in the country. In conjunction with the U.S. State Department and University of Connecticut’s Office of Global Affairs, Ms. Pastore taught women entrepreneurs in rural Costa Rica financial management and business strategies. Most recently she worked with The Center for Creative Leadership is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia teaching young women networking skills, financial management and business development. She serves on the Advisory Council for The Akilah Institute for Women, a college in in Kigali, Rwanda, Africa.

Over the past two decades, Ms. Pastore has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions, and was been instrumental in the passage of legislation benefiting women entrepreneurs. She has received WIPP’s prestigious Public Policy Award, and was honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Large Reading Room

Business: Running a Construction Company

March 8, 2017
Mitch Kidd

Scott Lumby and Mitch Kidd, co-founders of Wellbuilt Co., lead a workshop that will cover the business challenges that a construction company faces in addition to the problems that every business faces. 

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POSTPONED: The ART of Building a Creative Business

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POSTPONED: Future date to be announced.

Bonnie Marcus, founder of the Bonnie Marcus Collection, discusses how to transition your small business (or creative idea) from your kitchen table into an international brand. She combined her love of fashion design with her background in event planning and built a successful paper stationery business. After 10 years, she expanded into the world of licensing with her greeting cards designs appearing in Target and her photo cards at CVS. Her designs can also be found on home furnishings, fashion accessories, gifts and cosmetics. A successful collaboration with Parragon Publishing led to books, schedule planners and calendars design. Bonnie has been recognized as a pioneer for women in business and is a winner of the prestigious “Make Mine a Million Dollar Business” contest from American Express. Locally, she is proud to have launched a thriving, award-winning business group for entrepreneurial moms in Connecticut.

Bonnie Marcus launched her stylish stationery and gift company from her kitchen table in Westport, Connecticut. Prior to this, Bonnie served as the Director of Special Events at the 92nd Street Y, where she planned events for hundreds of celebrities and notables, like Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino and Hillary Clinton. In 2002, when eight months pregnant with her first child, Bonnie combined her love for fashion with her event planning expertise, and created her paper stationery collection. It caught on, and her designs were featured in “O” the Oprah Magazine, New York Magazine as a “Best Bet,” Entrepreneur, and on the Today Show, giving her new company instant national recognition.

After ten years in the stationery industry, Bonnie expanded her company into the world of licensing, and today her stylish designs can be found in over 20,000 retail stores around the world. Her greeting cards are in Target through a licensing relationship with American Greetings and her photo cards are in CVS stores internationally through the Kodak Picture Kiosks. Her designs can also be found on home furnishings, fashion accessories, gifts, and cosmetics. In addition, Bonnie has designed numerous books in collaboration with Parragon Publishing. She has done a Fashion Style Book, two cookbooks, a mom planner, and ten puzzle books and an extensive calendar collection which is launching this year.


McManus Room

Kick Up Your Pitch with Crowdfunding, A Panel Discussion

May 25, 2016
Crowdfunding Panel

A panel of product designers, developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs spoke about their experiences using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo on May 25, 2016.

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Is Crowdfunding Right for Your Business?

May 11, 2016
Cliff Ennico

Attorney and author Cliff Ennico discussed the pros and cons of crowdfunding under the new SEC rules and regulations and his book, The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money for Your Small Business or Startup Using Equity Funding Portals on May 11, 2016.

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Women Entrepreneurs Group: Promote Your Business With LinkedIn

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linkedinLinkedIn is a very effective social media platform to gain visibility for your business and generate leads with business professionals. Susan Catalano will provide techniques to create a business presence, optimize its profile and learn the best practices to grow and engage your network of clients, prospects and referral sources.

susan catalanoSusan Catalano is the Managing Partner of JQLaCorte, LLC, and a LinkedIn expert and optimizes LinkedIn profiles and company pages, delivers training and provides posting services for business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs. She has over 15 years of experience in talent management for Fortune 500 corporations and sales and marketing programs for companies and individual business owners.

Weeks Seminar Room

Women Entrepreneurs Group: Masterful Meetings

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meetingJoin team facilitator Dorothea E Brennan, CMF to learn strategies for creating "masterful" meetings that are efficient, effective and productive. Find out how to foster a new meeting culture.

dorothea brennanDorothea E. Brennan is a Certified Master Facilitator by the International Institute for Facilitation and is a core team facilitator for Leadership Strategies. She is also an award-winning facilitator, leader and public service advocate. Miss Brennan is experienced in project management and process improvement and a former executive at large financial institutions. She is also a Senior Project Manager for The United Illuminating Company. 





Weeks Seminar Room

Women Entrepreneurs Group: Being There for Everyone, Including Yourself

February 9, 2016
Ivy Slater

Ivy Slater, owner of Slater Success Coaching, discussed how to build effective support systems to help you maintain a fulfilling family/home life as well as realize a successful career on February 9, 2016.

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Women Entrepreneurs Group: Applying for a Small Business Loan

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Aya Beckles Swanson Do you need funding to start or grow your business, but don’t know where to start? Get the inside scoop on how to find funding and attract small business lenders from Aya Beckles Swanson, VP Community Lending at Community Investment Corporation.

Aya has nearly 10 years of experience in economic and community development, helping hundreds of businesses start up, relocate or grow in CT. Community Investment Corporation is a non-profit economic development lender contributing financial expertise and practical guidance to small business entrepreneurs. Aya is also an entrepreneur herself, running a one-woman test preparation company in her spare time. As both a lender and business owner, she is uniquely positioned to understand the difficulties facing entrepreneurs and to help them overcome these challenges and achieve success.



Weeks Seminar Room

Women Entrepreneurs Group: Start a Business Venture

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holly hurdThinking about starting a business? Meet Holly Hurd and three entrepreneurial mothers in a panel presentation share trials and tips from their paths to creating successful businesses. You'll also hear stories of other women who started ventures with no business plan, no start up capital and no babysitter—like the woman whose cookies ended up in Whole Foods, the women who created a product for busy moms that is now found in baby stores all over the country and the mom who started making money with one email.  Get inspired to take your passion or inspiration and turn it into a success story.

Holly Hurd is the founder of, a web site devoted to showcasing moms who have their own businesses. She has interviewed hundreds of moms with their own ventures and written the book, Venture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks. Hurd was featured in Futures Magazine, USA Today and in Fortune’s “People to Watch” column for her exceptional work managing her own hedge fund on Wall Street. 

Businesses represented:

Holly Hurd - Founder of a website dedicated to sharing the stories of moms who have created businesses out of thin air. The site also promotes the products and services of the women she covers through the e-commerce VentureMom Marketplace.

Kathy Monahan of 8 to the Bar - A nut and fruit bar that is sold in Whole Foods and multiple small shops in the area.

Patricia Espinosa of The Local Vault - An online site to sell high end used furniture, mirrors, accessories and more. Created by four women from Greenwich.

Cheryl MacClusky of Avivi Beauty - A high end line of avocado based all natural oils and scrubs.

Yael van Hulst of Jumbo Dog Art Books - A service that takes your boxes of children's art and turns it into a lovely coffee table book that is a piece of art.


McManus Room
Career, Authors