Thursday, September 18, 2014

Erie ATHENA Lunch Connects Established & Emerging Leaders

Jayne Huston and Lindsey Moore
E-Magnify Director Jayne Huston participated in the ATHENA Leadership Luncheon in Erie, PA, on September 16, 2014. She served as a facilitator for an interactive discussion focused on "relationships" and "collaboration," two of the ATHENA Leadership Model's "Eight Tenets of Women's Leadership.

Each experienced leader also brought an emerging business leader with her to the luncheon. Lindsay Moore, Project Director/Marketing Manager at Moore Research Services, Inc., attended as Huston's guest and mentee.

Moore Research Services, Inc. is a global marketing research firm with a passion for building, assessing and strengthening clients' product lines and services. Moore has been with the company since 2008 and is a third generation researcher. She takes pride in being able to help shape and guide a company that her grandmother started in 1969.

The Erie event was part of the national ATHENA International Women's Leadership Day, which is celebrated  in more than 100 communities across ATHENA International's global footprint. According to the ATHENA Erie website, "ATHENA Women’s Leadership Day celebrates women helping women and provides a forum for women leaders to make meaningful connections with one another. In Erie, the ATHENA Leadership Luncheon reflects the dedication to putting established and emerging leaders together for an afternoon to collaborate, build relationships, and learn from each other. Participants in this event will be exposed to making new connections and relationships with other established and emerging leaders, emerging leaders will receive support and guidance from established leaders, established leaders will gain the satisfaction of mentoring emerging leaders, all resulting in a stronger, more unified network of women leaders in the local business community."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Bill Proposes Increased Funding for Women's Business Centers

Debra Mason, E-Magnify's Education and Training Manager, attended "Empowering Women Entrepreneurs," a Senate hearing held in July 2014. The hearing was hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and held in conjunction with Women Influencing Public Policy’s (WIPP) annual leadership meeting in Washington, D.C.

New legislation has been introduced that would increase funding to the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Women's Business Centers (WBC), a national network of nearly 100 educational centers that are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. As an SBA WBC, E-magnify provides direct client counseling for women interested in starting a business or growing an existing business.

The new bill, “Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014” (S. 2693), would improve access to lending and increase business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs, and give women-owned businesses the same level of access to federal contracts as other disadvantaged groups.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and John Walsh (D-MT) joined Cantwell n introducing the legislation aimed at giving women entrepreneurs equal treatment when it comes to starting and growing their own businesses.

The introduction of this legislation followed the release of  21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship, a report on women’s entrepreneurship eleased in conjunction with a Committee hearing in which WIPP National Partner Lynn Sutton testified on the need for such legislation.

Friday, September 5, 2014

E-Magnify and PowerLink Directors to Speak at Women First Forum

Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director, and Lee Ann Munger, PowerLink Director, will present a break-out session at the 4th Annual Women First Forum, presented by First Commonwealth on October 2, 2014, at the Westin Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

Jayne and Lee Ann will present Practicing Leadership: Global Perspectives, Personal Focus:
Women's advancement in leadership is currently a very hot topic, thanks to Sheryl Sandberg pushing the conversation by asking women to Lean In. A more feminine style of leadership is recognized as the way forward by Arianna Huffington, who has referred to this time as "a second women's movement" and John Gerzema, author of The Athena Doctrine, who believes that "femininity will be the operating system of the 21st century." More and more people are sending a clear message - there is a real need for women's leadership and feminine values in our organizations and in the world. Join Jayne and Lee Ann for a highly interactive discussion as we explore bringing these global perspectives into personal focus.

Event Sessions: 
  • Keynote Presentation by Laura Ellsworth, Partner-in-Charge Pittsburgh, Jones Day
  • Make Your Money Work Harder: Developing the Right Approach to Building Your Financial Dream Team (Donna Chappel, President, Advanced Integration Group; Karan Waigand, U.S. Small Business Administration, Economic Development Specialist; Karen Saine, Vice President, Business Banking Area Manager, First Commonwealth Bank; Moderated by Linda Larotonda, Senior Vice President, Consumer Credit Services Manager, First Commonwealth Bank) 
  • Raising Your Social Voice (Meredith Blake Matthews, Director, Consumer Engagement, Mullen) 
  • Do You Have the Strength to Succeed? Building YOUR Best Asset for Climbing the Corporate Ladder (Vonda Wright, MD, MS Orthopaedic Surgeon Medical Director, UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex)
  • Why Women Give It Away...And Why We Shouldn't (Denise DeSimone, Chairman, Founder, c-leveled)
  • How to Grow Your Business Beyond a Million Dollars! (AJ Drexler, President and Chief Strategist, Campos Inc, and Yvonne Campos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Campos Inc.)
Learn more and reserve your spot at this event for FREE here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

E-Magnify Welcomes New SBA District Director

Western Pennsylvania's women's business center (WBC) welcomes new SBA Pittsburgh District Director Kelly Hunt (center). Greeting her at Seton Hill University recently are (from left), Debra Mason, E-Magnify Education and Training Manager; Karan Waigand, SBA WBC District Office Technical Representative; Mary Ann Gawelek, SHU Provost and Dean of the Faculty; (Kelly Hunt), Natalia Olson-Urtecho, SBA Regional Administrator; and Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director.

Kelly Hunt is the new district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pittsburgh District Office. SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho officially administered the SBA Oath of Office to Hunt Monday, August 25, 2014.

Hunt, a native of Washington County, is responsible for the delivery and leadership of the SBA’s financial and business development programs throughout 27 counties in Western Pennsylvania. Prior to her SBA appointment, Hunt spearheaded the creation of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center and Student Incubator at California University of Pennsylvania and served as its director.

An entrepreneur herself, Hunt brings hands-on experience in starting and operating businesses to her new role. The Air Force veteran holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems management coupled with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She recently finished the necessary coursework for her doctoral degree in organizational leadership and is completing her dissertation on individual entrepreneurial orientation.

Olson-Urtecho believes Hunt will flourish as a catalyst for business development in Western Pennsylvania. “She brings leadership, entrepreneurship and interpersonal communication skills to a region that is rich in resources, education and strong work ethics,” she said. “Pittsburgh and the surrounding region often are showcased by national and international news media outlets for its many success stories and I expect that trend to continue under District Director Hunt.”

Free Affordable Care Act Webinars for Business Owners

As the next phase of open enrollment approaches under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have announced a series of live webinars launching this fall to assist business owners.

As part of its Small Business Health Care Advisory Council, the SBDC has partnered with legal, employee benefits, and tax experts to develop business-focused ACA presentations specifically for small firms.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jessica Dunlap, CPA, The Catanese Group, PICPA Representative

  • Bill Long, SMC Insurance Agency
  • Eric Pochas, Vantagen LLC

  • Nicole Radziewicz, Rhoads & Sinon LLP

The webinars will be delivered in two parts: ACA 101 for employers with less than 50 employees and ACA 201 for employers with 50-100 employees. There is no fee to attend these webinars, but registration is required.  

ACA 101 (less than 50 employees) will cover important definitions and thresholds such as shared responsibility and minimum essential coverage, qualifying for exemptions, coverage options for sole proprietors, premium assistance subsidy (also known as tax credits or rebates), information on calculating full time employees under the Act, employee notice requirements for employers, practical advice on where to get insurance, and budgeting for health care.

(Click on a webinar in the list below for details and registration.) 

ACA 201 (more than 50 employees) will address important scenarios and examples such as what provisions of the Act are already in effect, calculating full time equivalents, determining full-time status and eligibility, requirements of insurance coverage by applicable large employers, obtaining health insurance coverage for company employees, and next steps for employers related to the ACA.

(Click on a webinar in the list below for details and registration.)  

SBA to Award $8 Million to Promote Small Business Exporting

SBA Announces FY14 State Trade & Export Promotion Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that 24 awards will be made to states to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program was appropriated $8 million to award by September 30, 2014.

The STEP program has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export. 

The 2014 awards are designed for states to assist small businesses with the following export related activities:
  • participation in foreign trade missions, 
  • foreign market sales trips, 
  • subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 
  • design of international marketing campaigns, 
  • export trade show exhibits, 
  • training workshops, or
  • other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program.

“With today’s technological advances, small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete in a global marketplace.  Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses that are looking to expand and create jobs.  The STEP program is another way that the U.S. Small Business Administration is partnering with states to give small businesses the tools and resources they need to take their business to the next level,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

“Exporting is big business throughout this region,” said SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho, who represents three of the districts receiving awards – Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.  “I look forward to seeing the positive impact the STEP awards will have, not only for the 24 states and districts which received them, but for the economy as a whole.”

For a list of awardees and more information on the STEP program, visit

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.