Today’s Times-Pacayune (New Orleans) tells the stories of successful women entrepreneurs who overcame financial and gender barriers to build successful businesses in oil and gas staffing, event planning and mortgage lending.
JENNIFER JEANSONNE, CEO AND OWNER OF EAGLE CONSULTING
Jennifer Jeansonne led her company through the stringent process of becoming a Certified Woman-Owned Business, a designation that opens doors to more opportunities. Eagle Consulting matches oil and gas companies with project management and engineering consultants. Because the oil and gas industry traditionally is a “man’s world,” Ms. Jeansonne faces gender discrimination in getting new clients.
“Jeansonne recalls approaching a potential customer with a business pitch at an industry conference shortly after taking over Eagle Consulting in 2005. The executive heard her out and smiled before launching into a rapid description of his company’s needs peppered with complex industry jargon and acronyms. Jeansonne said the man was taken aback when she not only understood the lingo, but went on to explain how Eagle Consulting could help. ‘It was a little test, but I got past the test,’ Jeansonne said. ‘Then he was totally open to talking to me.'”
“Attitude is everything, right?” Jeansonne said. “When people underestimate you that’s when you can really impress them because they don’t expect it.”
PATRICIA HIGHTOWER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BAYOU EQUITY MORTGAGE
Ms. Hightower saw a need for low-income mortgages and other specialty financing, but couldn’t find training. She said, “”I basically studied, took the required tests and had to teach myself.”
“One of her biggest challenges has been learning when to stop handling day-to-day tasks and start thinking of long-term goals for the company, though she said she’s getting better at it.
“I think that women have a hard time thinking of themselves as the boss or as the CEO,” Hightower said. “When you don’t think of yourself as the CEO sometimes you wind up multitasking and doing way more than a man would do because he would delegate more.”
DIANE LYONS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ACCENT ON ARRANGEMENTS
Mrs. Lyons saw a lack of planning services for New Orleans’ convention and meeting venues. She quit her teaching job and used the equity in her home to finance her startup.
She emphasizes the importance of not trying to go it alone.
Lyons said it took her two years to realize she couldn’t do everything on her own and needed to hire help. Her first hires taught her the value of outside input, she said.
[She] said it’s easy for women to keep any problems they have close to the chest because most have faced some sort of skepticism about whether they can actually run a business.
Lyons said it’s important to find a non-competing peer to talk to about problems, even financial ones.
“Don’t be afraid to fail, just don’t lock everything you’ve got into that failure,” Lyons said.
There’s more good information in the article, plus you can “meet” them in the video at the link below.
Until later …