According to recent data, women business ownership is on the noticeable rise. In fact, according to a report from the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are currently more than 11.6 million businesses owned by women, translating into the employment of 9 million people and $1.7 trillion in generated revenue.
While this welcomed shift is leveling the playing field a bit, there’s no denying there’s still lots of work to be done before women can stand on equal ground as their male counterparts. To learn more about how this shift has begun to take place, we spoke with local ladies who are leaders in their various fields. They shared stories of perseverance, passion and an overriding desire to not only break through the glass ceiling, but shatter it to pieces.
What inspired you to take the leap and become your own boss?
“Being a business owner was always a dream of mine. After working in corporate America for 20 years, it was the right time for me both personally and professionally. As someone who went through a divorce, I wanted to use the skills I had mastered in corporate to help families go through divorce thoughtfully, with as little conflict as possible. I also wanted more independence in dictating my work, life balance.”
– Roseann Vanella, professional mediator, Advanced Mediation Solutions
“I was inspired by my family, clients and colleagues to open Home & Heart Realty.”
– Rosemarie Simila, real estate broker and owner, Home & Heart Realty
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned during your career
“Always be willing to learn new skills. We often think that certain skills only pertain to one career path when in reality, all skills are transferable and can be applied in many different ways. Seek the skills that will help you realize your dreams.”
– Carmela DeNicola, professional mediator, Advanced Mediation Solutions
“That you have to stand out to survive. In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different. (Coco Chanel is credited as saying that, I can't take credit for it!) But I have suddenly embraced the parts of me that make me different, and they have been a huge part of my success. I'm definitely a little weird and extra, and I'm finally OK with that.”
– Biba Vernon, owner, Beauty by Biba
For the next generation of women who may want to follow in your footsteps, what key piece of advice would you offer them?
“It can be scary to be responsible for not only your own financial livelihood, but that of other people too, but it is really rewarding. Even more invaluable is the feeling of being able to have it all; that is a career and a family. It used to be impossible to be great at your job and advance your career while also having a family. Being your own boss makes it possible to do both. Technology helps a lot. Building a solid team to support you is critical—both in the office and at home.”
– Pamela Quattrone Esq., partner, Rice Quattrone, PC
“Believe in yourself, step up and be confident in the work. Learn from those around you and always be your greatest advocate. Be bold, take risks and strive for growth, while remaining humble and supportive. Never stop challenging yourself.”
– Sue Gallagher Holton, owner, Medford location of Anytime Fitness
“I would advise them to always be kind, honest and humble. Don’t let greed or an ego get in the way of servicing your clients. Nothing is more important than working hard and earning a referral. Put others first, build your business block by block, and I guarantee you will always find success.”
– Rosemarie Simila
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a female business leader and how were you able to overcome the obstacle?
“In the corporate world, being a female leader was a constant obstacle as I worked in a male dominated industry. I learned to not react emotionally, but instead, to reason and make informed decisions which has allowed me to navigate to a career path where gender and diversity obstacles no longer exist.”
– Carmela DeNicola
“Having to navigate suddenly becoming a boss and what that means in staying positive, having the right energy for your team and the constant battle within of having confidence in yourself. All of that matters for your success.”
– Biba Vernon
What’s something you know now that you wished you knew when you were starting out in your career?
“Asking for help is OK. Actually, it’s smart! Doing everything yourself is impossible. A good boss knows what to delegate and what not to delegate.”
– Pamela Quattrone
“Life is much too short to be working in a position that you are not passionate about and that does not fulfill you personally. Life’s journey has many chapters. We each have the power to shape, write and rewrite. With every obstacle there comes an opportunity to learn and grow.”
– Roseann Vanella
“There is no failure, only learning opportunities.”
– Sue Gallagher Holton
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 5.
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