This year, month and especially the last week have been a complete whirlwind! All I can say is that I am more grateful than ever for my friends and family who helped bring together some incredible plans.
On Thursday night May 26, 2016, the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship launched a Women’s Initiative. With a major gift from U.S. Bank, we were able to host an evening with over 100 women, both student leaders on campus and women in business and entrepreneurship in the community. This will be the first of many events and we hope to include as many women that would like to participate as possible. It’s the start of something big for the University and community at large.
The event started at 5:00 PM at the University of Nevada Innevation Center. Catered by female founded businesses such as The Cheese Board, RAWBRY and Sugar Love, no one left hungry or thirsty. Around 5:30 PM the program started with a thank you to the sponsor U.S. Bank, a few housekeeping items, announcement of the informal, exclusive after party at the Brasserie Saint James and the mentioning of the event hashtag: #wmn4ent.
I had the pleasure of emceeing this amazing event, which started off with a description of Ozmen Center programs and story about how the Women’s Initiative came to fruition. In the Spring 2016 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, all of the finalists teams contained men with no women on board. The College of Business found this to be a major issue right away as, first and foremost, it is not reflective of our community. There are plenty of women, including many of those who attended the event, who started or play a leadership role in an existing business.
We launched the Women’s Initiative to faciliate connections between women involved with entrepreneurial activities on campus with women involved in entrepreneurial activities in the community. The initiative will build community awareness through a video project that highlights female achievements in entrepreneurial activity. It will provide support for a newly formed club on campus that addresses women’s issues and the initiative will also integrate strategies for greater inclusivity into entrepreneurial activities.
In welcoming Mayor Hilary Schieve to the front of the room, I recalled a story about how our Mayor initially inspired me to get more involved in our community. Before I ever met Hillary, I was secretly obsessed with her. I saw signs all over Reno with this beautiful, blonde, businesswoman indicating her run for Reno City Council At Large. I had the chance to meet Hillary for the first time when I volunteered to knock on doors for her Mayoral race. Hillary was a huge inspiration to me and continues to be as she takes the lead for our City, representing all of us, particularly women in business and entrepreneurship.
The Mayor got on the mic and briefly explained her involvement and encouragement for young women to get involved with entrepreneurship. She gave major kudos to my right hand gal, Liset Puentes for her excellent work at the Ozmen Center and called her to the front of the room to read the Mayoral Proclamation for Women in Business and Entrepreneurship. Liset was completely surprised, but she deserved the recognition as she has been a driving force for building the Ozmen Center brand and creating awareness of this new initiative.
Immediately following the reading of the Mayoral Proclamation, all the women from the University came to the front to pose for a picture with the Mayor. There was incredible energy in the room and these young women were thrilled to stand with the Mayor who represents this initiative very well as the owner of two small businesses in the city of Reno, Clothes Mentor and Plato’s Closet.
The second part of the program is described here, and before we wrapped up the event, women were invited to sign up to participate as a student or community member in the student run club, Professional Network of Women. Women business owners and entrepreneurs were also invited to join the Ozmen Center video project, take a tour of the Innevation Center and attend the after party at the Brasserie Saint James. Stay tuned for more details about how to get involved with the Ozmen Center Women’s Initiative.