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Release Date:Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Media Contact: Christine Ziomek (201) 796-7788
Entrepreneurs Focused on Supplier Diversity Success Stories
BRIDGEWATER, N.J., May 21, 2014 – Stacie Curtis, president and founder of CW Solutions, recently joined a panel of women business owners to discuss timely supplier diversity topics at the Institute for Supply Management-New Jersey Inc.’s (ISM-NJ) Annual Meeting/Supplier Diversity Fair at the Bridgewater Marriott.
The interactive panel discussion, entitled, “Supplier Diversity Success Stories from Leading Women Entrepreneurs,” was moderated by Linda Wellbrock, founder and CEO of Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners. Co-panelists included Terry Tateossian, founder and lead engineer of Socialfix Media; and Karen J. Martinez, founder, president and CEO of BRAVO! Building Services Inc.
According to Wellbrock, women entrepreneurs today have a national and global presence. Statistics show that in the United States alone 8.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.8 million people and generating $1.3 trillion in sales as of 2013. One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned.
Corporate initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusiveness have opened the door for many women and minority-owned businesses, the panelists said, but are not the whole picture. The overall message of the panel was clear: While diversity and inclusiveness initiatives are vital for women-owned businesses to gain traction in the supply chain, delivering value and leveraging local resources are vital to an organization’s long-term success.
Supplier diversity today goes beyond compliance with governmental requirements. It also enables organizations to better serve their existing customers and clients, and to grow through the cultivation of new markets, customers and talent. Curtis spoke to the importance of joining organizations such as WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council), the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations.
“When CW Solutions was incorporated in 2002, my focus was on acquiring real estate for wireless carriers,” she said. “Eventually I started diversifying my business and expanded into the utilities sector. The Board of Public Utilities strictly regulates utility companies to make sure they utilize minority-owned businesses, so I became certified by WBENC and began attending supplier diversity fairs. By going to these events and getting in front of the right people at different companies, my company won a bid with PSE&G. The power of participating in supplier diversity events cannot be underestimated. As a business owner when I can get in front of the right person at a major corporation, someone who really knows their buyers, great things can happen.”
Among the most important points all three speakers bestowed upon the audience was that women business owners need to be aware of all the tools available to them. One of the most important development strategies is obtaining Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification, which denotes that a woman (or women) have majority ownership and control of a business entity. Panelists said this is important for two main reasons: First, most local and national government purchasing agencies track and/or have programs for doing business with women business owners. Second, many corporations also track and have programs for doing business with women-owned vendor companies. They, too, rely on WBE Certification.
Curtis has 20 years of real estate experience focusing on wireless telecommunications and utility projects with a nationwide background in property acquisition, right of way, title, zoning and project management, nationwide governmental affairs and regulatory compliance. She is a current member of the New Jersey Wireless Association; various state wireless associations; and International Right of Way Association Chapter 15, where she is Membership Chair. In addition, she is a licensed New Jersey real estate agent, a member of the National Association of Realtors and a member of the Women’s President Organization of Monmouth County. Curtis recently was named one of 2014’s “Enterprising Women of the Year” by Enterprising Women magazine.
Founded in 2002, CW Solutions is a national real estate services firm focusing on the wireless telecommunications, power, pipeline, title, oil and gas industries. The company works with clients that range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. The firm offers title research, right of way, property acquisition, zoning, permitting, regulatory compliance, project management and landman services.