Mickey's Mail - November 8, 2017

  Mickey's Mail - 11/8/17 “Entrepreneurialism”

Last Thursday afternoon, the BRBC’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) hosted a panel of experts in a program entitled “What is Your Brand ID?”. WLC’s Board Chair, Mary Beth Nelsen, did a top-notch job facilitating the event, and the panelists were in a word, superb.

They were a perse panel in terms of their backgrounds and experiences, as was the audience which included college students to seasoned executives from large corporations. Throughout my career, I have believed ever so strongly in the importance of branding, both in our places of work, and in our personal lives. And each one of our panelists, in their own distinct way, clearly displayed their strong belief in branding as a core part of how to market your business.

From left to right below, the panelists included Jessica Antle, Ardent Communication; Valeria Bisceglia, Connecticut Small Business Development Center; Natalie Pryce, Pryceless Consulting; and Cynthia Belak, People’s United Bank.


These panelists may not think of themselves in this way though…to me they represented more than branding expertise...they all embodied entrepreneurialism at its best.  

This thought came to me over the weekend as I read two different articles in an online newsletter, Business Insider, which I enjoy. One of the articles was about Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of The other article was about “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran. These two inpiduals have overcome setbacks in their careers to become two of the most powerful business people in America.  

Sheryl gave up a job as chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury where she worked with a team of “tens of thousands” to move to Silicon Valley where she struggled for ten months to get a job. The job she got was at Google where her new team consisted of four people. A step back? Indeed, but only temporarily for this incredibly successful entrepreneur.

Barbara Corcoran’s story is, in some ways, even more remarkable. Barbara grew up in a “10-kid household in New Jersey and” had more than 20 jobs before she formed her own real-estate firm, the Corcoran Group, which she eventually sold in 2001 for 66 million dollars. And today, she is a bona fide TV star on Shark Tank where she finances and mentors entrepreneurs who are launching their own businesses.

My birthday was this weekend, a once-a-year occasion where I usually end up reflecting on my life up to this point. I’ve, of course, always thought of myself as a businessman. Because of an invitation by my college a few years back and one by the BRBC’s Women’s Leadership Council earlier this year to speak on the topic of entrepreneurism, I’ve also begun to think of myself as an entrepreneur. I’d like to think I have half as much going on for me as all our panelists from this past Thursday afternoon and evening! 

At the end of the day – whether you are a Vice President like Cindy Belak at People’s United Bank or you own and manage your own business as Mary Beth Nelsen of The Right Resource does – we are all entrepreneurs. I think of my different careers in health care and sports management, and now in the chamber world and I realize that to be a successful business person one needs to be a successful entrepreneur. 

And, I realize that encouraging and providing programs to help all our members build and grow in their roles as employees, small business owners, and corporate leaders is one of the more important programs of the BRBC. It advances our mission to facilitate, in whatever way we can, the growth and retention of jobs and ultimately successful economic growth for the region. 

I guess that is, in part, why I loved this WLC panel so much. These panelists are embodying the best of entrepreneurialism, problem solving, dedication and commitment to the success of their clients and customers.

Bravo for them!

One more thing: While I site articles about Sheryl Sandberg and Barbara Corcoran and, while the BRBC event was open to and attracted a wide and perse audience – our Women’s Leadership Council had no problem finding interesting and talented women in positions of power to discuss the topic of business and personal branding right here in our own backyard.

Thanks to our event sponsors: Presenting Sponsor - Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Fund for Women & Girls; Silver Sponsors - United Bank and Housatonic Community College; and our Table Sponsors - Bank of America and People’s United Bank.

And, special thanks to our Women’s Leadership Council Board. As an extension of and in support of the BRBC mission to be a champion of everything good for our local economy, our Women’s Leadership Council is committed to engage business women and men in a program that contributes to the economic growth and positive reputation of the Greater Bridgeport Region by delivering professional and leadership development to entrepreneurs, small businesses, minority-owned businesses, non-profits, and students.

Here are the people behind The BRBC’s Women’s Leadership Council:

Board Chair: Mary Beth Nelsen, The Right Resource; Lisa Bisson, Wesley Village-United Methodist Homes; Gina Calder, Bridgeport Hospital; Nadine Dennis, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Donette Esposito, High on the Hog Catering; Jackie Fedor, The Schegg Group, LLC; Kate Hampford Donahue, Hampford Research, Inc.; Kim Karl, United Bank; Clare Pusateri, Homewood Suites by Hilton; Joyce Ramirez, AFC Urgent Care; Lisa Renkowsky, Alloy Engineering Company, Inc.; Beth Stoller, At the Podium; and Harriette Trevino, Hodson Realty, Inc.

Oh and, our very own Communication’s Director, Jocelyn Paoletta also acts as the Executive Director of this tour de force we call the WLC.

Bravo for us!


More pictures from the event. Great audience and panel, all followed by a excellent cocktail party catered by High on the Hog Catering!