Inspiring entrepreneurs and leaders in business and government shared their big ideas during Berkeley College’s eighth annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) summit, held on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. More than 100 attendees joined “Big Ideas: The Catalyst for Business Success,” which was livestreamed and held in-person at the College’s New York City campus.
Since 2015, Berkeley College WEW has featured a wide range of diverse leaders in government, business, and media who have shared resources for success in rebuilding the economy, fixing the broken rungs of the career ladder, and converting pivotal moments into opportunities.
This year’s event featured a panel of prominent entrepreneurs and influencers, including a keynote address by Julissa Gutierrez, Chief Diversity Officer, New York State.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the New York economy,” said Julissa Gutierrez, Chief Diversity Officer, New York State, during her keynote address. “We all know that our small businesses were hit particularly hard by the COVID pandemic – especially minority-owned businesses. At the same time, small and new businesses have been the engines of the recovery.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there were more applications for new businesses in 2020 than any other year on record.
“These new businesses put people back to work and put New York’s economy on the path to recovery,” Gutierrez added.
Berkeley College presented Gutierrez with the 2022 Women’s Empowerment Award for Inspiring Future Leaders. The award recognizes the entrepreneurs, business and community leaders who have shared their career advice and personal experiences with Berkeley College students and the community at-large.
“Women’s Entrepreneurship Week is a part of Berkeley College’s commitment to educating students with real-world experiences that elevate their futures,” said Diane Recinos, EdD, President of Berkeley College. “This event gives our students – many of whom are aspiring entrepreneurs in their own right – a place where they can be inspired by women who at one time were just like them.”
The WEW summit also featured a panel of prominent entrepreneurs who shared their journeys to professional success. Speakers included Rechelle Balanzat, CEO and Founder, Juliette Technologies; Kibonen Nfi, CEO, Cameroon Clothing Company; Elizabeth Taylor, Owner, True Beauty Brooklyn and Co-host, True Beauty Brooklyn Podcast; and Christina Young, Founder, Stia Jewelry. The panel was moderated by Linda Mauro, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College in New York City.
Watch the Event: Click here to watch the full Women’s Entrepreneurship Week program.
Words of wisdom from Women’s Entrepreneurship Week speakers
“Celebrate what you bring to the table. Invest in yourself. Do not be apologetic about anything in your background or experience. It made you who you are and has served to bring you to the place you are today.” – Julissa Gutierrez, Chief Diversity Officer, New York State
“Having our speakers here is especially important for the student entrepreneurs like myself who can learn so much from them about what succeeding in business can look like. Programs like this are important for students because they create a bridge that can inform and empower us all.” – Cadjnie Cameau, Student Leader, Berkeley College
“It is my hope that everyone leaves here inspired – not only the women who are considering starting a business, but also the women who are still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – those who are changing careers, or looking for their next chapter, or seeking ways to express their authentic selves.” – Diane Recinos, EdD, President of Berkeley College
“One common theme among our panelists is their passion. I truly believe their passion is what allowed them to launch their Big Idea.” – Linda Mauro, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College in New York City
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. As women we are very critical and very judgmental of ourselves. We see failure. As an entrepreneur, it’s in those moments you learn what you are good at and you also learn where you need to grow.” – Rechelle Balanzat, CEO and Founder, Juliette Technologies
“Believe in yourself. Believe in that silent voice that tells you what you can do. Believe in the power of the desire in your heart. I believe it’s possible no matter what – and that’s what has gotten me to where I want to be.” – Kibonen Nfi, CEO, Cameroon Clothing Company
“As people of color, so much of wanting to prove yourself to the world is trying to fit in. Our differences, especially in today’s world, is what makes our ideas special and what makes a business unique.” – Elizabeth Taylor, Owner, True Beauty Brooklyn and Co-host, True Beauty Brooklyn Podcast
“One thing that has made my company so strong today is the team of people I have working with me. Leverage those relationships, embrace friendships, network. People are proud of the success that they have built together.” – Christina Young, Founder, Stia Jewelry
Berkeley College Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) elevates the voices of women on key issues. Since 2015, WEW events have featured a wide range of diverse leaders in government, business and media who have shared resources for success in rebuilding the economy, fixing the broken rungs of the career ladder, and converting pivotal moments into opportunities. Topics center on advancing gender equity, business and entrepreneurship among Minority and Women-owned Businesses (MWBEs).
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers Continuing Education programs to enhance career credentials. http://www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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