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Controlling their destiny – women entrepreneurs tell how they did it

March 28, 2017

They left the corporate life to become entrepreneurs, and never looked back, building successful startups in a variety of industries.

“I feel a sense of control of my destiny,” said Tracy Doyle, president and CEO of Phoenix Marketing Solutions, one of four panelists at a March 28 event, “From Idea to Success: Navigating the Entrepreneurial Journey,” held at Montclair State. The event drew 150 attendees, and was sponsored by the university’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, which has a special mission to nurture women entrepreneurs, and Residence Life.

Also on the panel were Cheryl Biron, president and CEO of One Horn Transportation; Melissa Fensterstock, founder of Aromaflage; and Kristen Jones (KJ) Miller, co-founder of Harlem-based Mented Cosmetics. The moderator was Claire Cowart, president of OOBinker and an ENTR 201 adjunct professor.

The panelists had a few theories why women are under-represented as entrepreneurs. (more…)

More tips about $10K student pitch contest

February 28, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sharon Waters @ 2:49 pm

We have received a variety of questions from Montclair State students as they prepare their entries for our pitch contest, or consider whether to apply. We post all of these questions on our blog, so every student has an equal chance to know the answers. Read the first Q&A post. Read the original post explaining all the rules. Don’t miss your chance to enter the BulbHead.com Bright Ideas Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs $10,000 student team pitch contest!

Here are the latest questions we have received, and the answers. Have a question? Email us at: PitchContest@montclair.edu

Q: Do the judges sign confidentiality agreements? I have a great idea, and I don’t want anyone to steal my idea! (more…)

Q&A about $10,000 pitch contest open to any Montclair State student

February 10, 2017

Filed under: Events,Young entrepreneurs — Sharon Waters @ 5:13 pm
We have received questions about the $10,000 student pitch contest at Montclair State, which will be open to any Montclair State student in 2017. More info below about the BulbHead.com Bright Ideas Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs $10,000 student team pitch contest. Here are answers to specific questions we have received, with answers from Sharon Waters, program manager at the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship:

Q: Is the competition about who has the best, new, innovating product/idea or is it only on how well we pitch our product?
A. Both are important. If I had to pick one as more important, I’d say the the idea is more important. We want teams that pitch well to be moving on to the later rounds, but if a team has the most flawless style of pitching but has a horrible idea, that team would be less likely to advance.
The 2016 student winners, with the contest judges.

Students Can Win $10,000 Pitch Prize

February 5, 2017

Want a shot at winning a slice of a $10,000 prize? If you are a Montclair State student with a great entrepreneurial idea, you can enter the university’s annual student pitch contest, which has a $10,000 prize. The contest’s official name is Bulbhead.com Bright Ideas Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

Here’s the scoop:


Panel, from left to right: David Postolski, Brigid Callahan Harrison, Julie Roginsky, Michael DuHaime

Panel of Experts Gives Insight on How Trump May Impact Entrepreneurs

January 31, 2017

The four experts on politics and entrepreneurship were quick to acknowledge at a Jan. 30 event one shortcoming for a discussion on what President Trump might do related to entrepreneurship.

“No one knows,” said Prof. Brigid Callahan Harrison, a professor in Montclair State’s Department of Political Science and Law.

Harrison’s comment was echoed by the other panelists at the event: Julie Roginsky, Democratic political strategist and Fox News contributor, and Michael DuHaime, partner at Mercury and Republican political strategist.

Still, the panelists and moderator David Postolski, a partner at Gearhart Law, offered insight about how a Trump administration might proceed, when the president has issued many ground-breaking executive orders and statements in his first 10 days in office. More than 200 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Montclair State’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Department of Political Science and Law.

Roginsky noted the new administration doesn’t have a guiding philosophy.

“Business people do need a sense of predictability if they’re going to invest,” said Roginsky. “If there was a governing philosophy we could understand, businesses could adjust. … There are no knowables.”

DuHaime noted the flurry of executive actions—“It feels like it’s been the first 100 days already, and it’s only been 10”—but said he expects from a business viewpoint for Trump to show a more pragmatic side when he needs votes in Congress to create policy, a cooperation he doesn’t need for executive orders. DuHaime also noted Trump had been known as a pragmatic businessman from New York who for most of his life had been centrist; Trump sees his peer group as CEO’s, not senators and politicians.

Yet Roginsky was skeptical that Trump might shift to a more pragmatic approach. (more…)

Trump event 4 photos

Trump: What Might Be the Impact on Entrepreneurs

January 24, 2017

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , , , — Sharon Waters @ 1:17 pm

Curious about how a Trump presidency might impact entrepreneurs, startup founders and innovators? Then join us for a free event, open to the public, on Jan. 30, 6-8:30 p.m. at Montclair State.

Our panel of experts will provide insight on how a Trump administration could affect innovation and entrepreneurship. You’ll hear from:

· Two of the state’s most well-respected political strategists/consultants, Democrat Julie Roginsky and Republican Michael DuHaime. What can we expect from a Trump White House? How will the Democrats interact with a Trump administration? Roginsky and DuHaime will provide their expert analysis, with viewpoints from both parties.

· Top political expert, Brigid Callahan Harrison. A Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State, Harrison is a frequent commentator on U.S. politics in print, electronic and broadcast media. Harrison will provide the larger context of how Trump and his administration could influence innovation and entrepreneurship.

· Top patent and intellectual property attorney, David Postolski. A partner at Gearhart Law, Postolski is well-known and well-respected in the startup community in New Jersey, and beyond. Postolski, serving as moderator, will steer us through the state of innovation today, and where it could be headed under a Trump administration.

Event is presented by Montclair State’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, and Department of Political Science and Law.

Event is free and open to the public. Pizza will be served. (more…)

Learning from the trainer, and the other students

December 2, 2016

Filed under: Events,women entrepreneurs — Tags: , , — Sharon Waters @ 5:31 pm

It’s always refreshing to be in a room of entrepreneurs. That was the case Dec. 1 when I attended an executive retreat hosted by Change Create Transform.

The Feliciano Center is familiar with Change Create Transform because its foundation sponsors an annual $5,000 award to a Montclair State student. The award, called the Promise Prize, has been a wonderful honor for the three Montclair State students who have been selected since 2014. The Promise Prize program came to Montclair State in 2013 when Vikki Pryor, the managing principal and founder of Change Create Transform, was introduced to us. We were impressed with Vikki, and her desire to have a positive impact on young adults, and quickly expressed interest in being a Promise Prize site. (more…)

Heather Bailey, Breanna Yepez, Ashley Zahabian, Brittni Landers, Eunice Choe

Students inspired by Leading Women Entrepreneurs at annual event

November 15, 2016

Students from Montclair State, along with an alumna and staff member, attended the Nov. 14 Leading Women Entrepreneurs annual awards event,  finding the gala to be an excellent venue for networking with some of the Garden State’s top women business owners.

Brittni Landers, a 2016 alumna of Montclair State with a business degree, said she was honored to be invited to the event.
“It was great to be able to network with some of the most powerful women in the greater New York area at their showcase,” said Landers, marketing coordinator at Vitamincandy. “The event itself was a true tribute to the entrepreneurial community— a community in which everyone cheers each other on and is proud of one another’s success.”
Ashley Zahabian, Brittni Landers, Eunice Choe

Ashley Zahabian, Brittni Landers, Eunice Choe

MBA students Priscilla Pires, Katherine Vasseghi

MBA students Priscilla Pires, Katherine Vasseghi

The annual LWE Top 25 Recognition Event honors 25 women entrepreneurs, as well as six intrapreneurs and two women at nonprofit organizations. See the full list of honorees. Linda Wellbrock, the CEO and founder of LWE, created the organization to recognize and showcase entrepreneurial excellence, service and leadership. The event was held at Liberty House in Jersey City.


Juggling multiple tidbits of advice at conference for Women Entrepreneurship Week

October 19, 2016

The third annual Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference on Oct. 19 offered inspiration and advice, plus a chance to learn how to juggle in the literal sense.

Mimi Feliciano, the founder of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State, kicked off the conference by sharing lessons she learned from her experience as a competitive ballroom dancer. Feliciano, who runs FEM Real Estate, said dancing taught her how to let others lead, which led her to give more responsibility—and opportunities—to her staff.

The conference is one of the most high-profile events held during Women Entrepreneurship Week, when 40 organizations held events on every continent except Antarctica. WEW was launched at Montclair State in 2014, and grew into an international movement in 2016.

The “Taking Risks” panel, moderated by alumna and retired VP of Prudential Financial Michele Ansbacher, featured insights from entrepreneurs as well as corporate execs. These pieces of advice registered with attendees, who shared them on Twitter: (more…)

Photo by Carly Phelps

“Power panel” of entrepreneurs, execs shares advice about rising to the top

A panel of entrepreneurs and executives shared stories about their rise to the top during the kickoff event for the third annual Women Entrepreneurship Week at Montclair State on Oct. 18.

The five women told more than 200 attendees about how they built a business—whether it was a venture they started from scratch, or a division they grew inside the walls of a large company.

The panel for “Power Play: What Makes Women Great Leaders” included:

Barbara Agoglia, VP of Global Brand and Communications for the Commercial Payments Business, American Express
Adenah Bayoh, founder and CEO, Adenah Bayoh and Companies
Ruthi Byrne, founder, Zinn, Graves & Field Inc.
Gail Mandel, president and CEO, Wyndham Destination Network
Debra Vizzi, president and CEO, Community FoodBank of New Jersey
Moderator: Linda Lacina, managing editor, Entrepreneur.com

Panel, left to right: Debra Vizzi, Gail Mandel, Ruthi Byrne, Adenah Bayoh, Barbara Agoglia. (Photo by Carly Phelps.)

Panel, left to right: Debra Vizzi, Gail Mandel, Ruthi Byrne, Adenah Bayoh, Barbara Agoglia. (Photo by Carly Phelps.)

View photos from the event.

View recap video of the event.

Read American Express OPEN Forum story.

The panelists shared advice that was particularly relevant to the Montclair State students and other young people in the audience. (more…)

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