Women in Power Share Tips & Mantras
Businesswomen who have it all tell how to have it all."
Get yourself in print.
You have to be a little provocative.
Take some risk. It's scary - but just do it.
You gotta be creative.
You can have it all.
Women are not men in skirts.
It's all about what makes you happy.
These and dozens of other mantras, practical tips and a dollop of gentle male-bashing banter were shared by a panel of four successful women entrepreneurs on Wednesday with an audience of 200 women at the Westport Woman's Club.
The theme was "Living on Purpose: The Foundations for Successful Business Building in Today's Market."
Westport-based Women in Power sponsored the event to bring together women operating small businesses for networking and to share expert advice in how to lead a successful business in tough economic times.
"Our business models have been challenged these past couple of years,"said Dr. Ellen A. Mahony, a Westport plastic surgeon who started Women in Power with three friends, Carolina Fernandez, Margaret Wagner and Lisa Wexler, a year ago.
"We're here to help each other," Mahony said.
According to WIP's slogan, "with knowledge and confidence comes power."
The four panelists shared stories of their own career paths.
Panelist Kathy Caprino, a career coach and author of "Breakdown, Breakthrough," spoke of embarking on a second career after being profoundly unhappy in a corporate job that appeared to be rewarding superficially.
"I realized I was leaving my children for something completely meaningless," she said.
After deep soul-searching, she emerged from an emotional breakdown and resolved to pursue a passion: helping other women in transition such as hers.
"It felt like an epidemic and I wondered why I was attracting misery," she said.
She attributes the feeling to difficulties she said women often have conforming to "a white male model driven to give face time full time, kicking butt in his 30s and being motivated by rewards of power and money."
Caprino said that model doesn't allow time for the demands of mothering nor take into account what she said was women's tendency to be perfectionists at all tasks.
"Be perfect at what you passionately care about," she said, and strike a balance with everything else.
When panelist Kathy McShane started her own marketing business, the Kendrew Group, she insisted on hiring women who could work half-weeks and thus be available to balance careers with childraising and also respect her needs as a working mother.
Panelist Diane DiResta, a public speaking and communications consultant, is the author of "Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz."
Halfway through the program, she directed the 200 women in the audience to spend three minutes networking with each other.
Soon the hall was abuzz with purposeful conversations and exchanges of business cards.
The exercise was so successful that WIP member-moderator Lisa Wexler, an attorney-turned radio personality, was challenged to end it.
"Women are excellent networkers," DiResta remarked.
Anne Evans, Connecticut's droll district director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and herself a successful businesswoman, encouraged everyone to look into federal funding available for "women certified business."
Evans said she won a $700,000 government contract as a businesswoman selling tires globally under that program.
Evans' personal mantra?
"I never say no," she said. "It's a choice you make. It's all about what makes you happy."
Westport Patch, by Nancy Burton. westport.patch.com/users/nancy-burton