Female Trailblazers in Honor of National Women’s Small Business Month
October is the month to recognize the countless achievements made by our country’s female entrepreneurs. It’s also a time to recognize the positive impact they are making on jobs and the economy. Currently, there are over 12 million women-owned businesses in the United States and they employ close to 10 million people. This generates more than $2 trillion in annual sales revenue. Since 2007, the number of women-owned companies has increased by an impressive 45%. Learn more about National Women’s Small Business Month on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
Did you know that prior to 1988, when the H.R. 5050: the Women’s Business Ownership Act was signed into law, some states required women to have a male family member co-sign on their business loan applications? This law provided greater federal support of women-owned businesses. It also made it easier for female entrepreneurs to get working capital, business training, and assistance.
Today we wanted to take a look at some of our favorite females entrepreneurs and showcase all that they have accomplished.
TRAILBLAZER in technical advisory services, urban planning & engagement, coastal & marine engineering, and program management / construction management
Jennifer Lindbom, AICP, President & Founder, of CAS Group.
Jennifer told us that she has “always forged my own path, been open to new opportunities and ready to take on a challenge. Throughout my career, I have worked to engage people from all walks of life in shaping the future. That drive to make a difference has taken me far. I’ve trained local planners in the Philippines. I worked on a program of 250 workshops to support rebuilding NYC after 9/11. I was on the ground in Louisiana soon after the waters receded after Hurricane Katrina. I led the planning team for a new industrial city for a greenfield port in the Middle East.
Then, in 2010, I got a call to join a team to help Nashville plan its long-term recovery after the devastating Cumberland River flood. Starting CAS Group was the opportunity to combine my profession, work ethic, high standards, and passion to create an urban planning and engineering firm that can tackle challenging projects and some of the challenging issues of our time. Over the past ten years I have worked tirelessly to build a firm and a team that embraces the vision and values I believe are critical to building great projects, building strong relationships, and building a better future from coastlines to skylines.”
Jennifer explains that it’s gratifying to be known “as a niche professional services firm built on agility and integrity able to handle small or large projects equally well. Often clients are surprised at the size of our firm in relation to the output and quality of work. We are both highly detailed-oriented and cognizant of the big picture. We are dedicated to maintaining the highest ethical, technical, and professional standards. CAS Group is known for treating our clients’ projects and resources as if they were our own. Nearly 90 percent of our business is repeat clientele and word of mouth referrals. Many of our clients have the resources to choose anyone, but they choose CAS Group.”
TRAILBLAZER in Eminent Domain & Condemnation and Commercial Real Estate
Jennifer Polovetsky, ESQ, Partner, Sanchez & Polovetky PLLC
Named to the Super Lawyer List for Metro New York for the sixth consecutive year is an achievement Jennifer Polovetsky and her partner Philip Sanchez, founders of Sanchez & Polovetsky PLLC, take great pride in announcing.
Jennifer tells us her story. “At the end of 2010, after 7 years of working at a private firm and trying to juggle the responsibilities of being an Associate, a wife and a mother, I decided to go out on my own. I needed more flexibility and I left my firm on good terms. For the next six-months, I sat in my quiet basement wondering what I had done and questioning if I should go back to my old corporate life. As luck would have it, the phone rang, and my old boss me sent my first big case with a multi-million dollar closing. My life as a solo practitioner had its official start.
I started practicing law in 2000, and many of the eminent domain cases that I handled, during my tenure at the City of New York and in private practice, put me in contact with Philip Sanchez, Esq., who was usually representing the other side. When I worked for the City, we were on opposite ends of every case; and when I worked in private practice, we were fighting the same government entity for different clients with different, and oftentimes competing, interests. Philip impressed me because he was eloquent, intelligent, and tough yet fair — but still, he was almost always my adversary. As human beings, we are naturally against and distrust our adversaries, overlooking the positives that may come from a more positive relationship.”
One of the unexpected rewards Jennifer has come to appreciate is Sanchez & Polovetsky’s ability to help “the underdog”. As Eminent Domain lawyers, government entities have the ability to seize property, be it a commercial/industrial building or a private residence, for a public use. The definition of public use is very broad; especially in the State of New York, where the government has what many of our affected clients believe is unlimited power to take away their property and force them to vacate it.
While many of these government projects are important, many owners lose their businesses because they are not able to relocate with the necessary funds in time. Jennifer and Philip often work with businesses owned by immigrants, and/or multi-generational family businesses in which the owners have significant emotional and financial investments. No matter how big or small the case, if the affected owners can’t get the money from the government entity in time, they are usually finished. Yet with our representation, their demise is usually preventable.
TRAILBLAZER in Global Intimate Apparel Sourcing
Dora Lau, Founder and CEO, Dora L International
To find inspiration for staying positive, we looked to Dora Lau, founder and president of Dora L. International, a global full-service intimate apparel company known for solution driven innovation. She works with some of the world’s largest and well-known lingerie brands, and it’s more than likely your favorite bra was developed by Dora’s team.
Dora has always said that “Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear.” She tell us, “It’s true for what we are all going through now. If we think we can do it, the better our chances of success. We have to visualize our goal, write it down, repeat it as often as necessary, and have a mindset to keep us confident. Over the years, I have interviewed and fit hundreds of women from around the world. It’s amazing what a great bra or a favorite dress can do to an attitude and confidence. We are all going to have days that are harder than others, but I truly believe that practicing a mindset of positivity and confidence will bring success. It will also help you make smarter decisions!”
We are constantly shopping the globe to study innovation and are looking for new ideas that customers can use to bring more value to customers. When we search the market for what is missing, what we find is a new level of excitement that can be brought to the market. Our couture-attitude allows us to filter out what is missing and what brings value to customers. Now we do this virtually. Interestingly, even though there is social distancing and we are not able to meet as we once did in person, strong relationships, both personal and in business are getting stronger as we rely on each other more.
Being around positive people helps you stay positive. No mission can be achieved without the right talent to implement it. This means pulling highly knowledgeable talent from around the world. Even the most sophisticated cities will not be able to provide all the talent needed to keep product development ahead of the trends. The best talent should be hired regardless of geographic location. At DLI, our global headquarters are in Los Angeles. Our global talent works in sync from Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom, Australia, and our design studio in Maine. What is the best way to hire top global talent? Companies can best achieve this through a careful balance of work/life and having the flexibility to meet the needs of staff member who are also looking for balance and a flexible schedule. When teams can be with their family and do a great job at work, they are happy. When they are happy, they are positive, and their attitude spreads to others. It’s like a “couture schedule”! I’m also a firm believer that exercise helps you relieve stress and helps you keep a positive attitude.
TRAILBLAZER in Independent Life Insurance and Reinventing Yourself
Susana Zinn, founder, Susana Zinn Independent Life Insurance Agent
Susana Zinn is a noted business leader, having lead companies around the world in the public relations, financial, manufacturing, and insurance industries. She has been quoted in Forbes and other high profile press. Life events forced Susana to reinvent herself five times, allowing her to develop a deep understanding of how to mold her future and the importance of a positive attitude. Currently, Susana is an independent life insurance agent living in Los Angeles, CA.
She tells us that reinventing yourself is never easy, and her journey includes her current position as founder of her Independent Life Insurance Business. Susana explains about reinvention, “The world seems to be in constant change and what was easier before now seems so much more challenging. We can never get yesterday back. What we can do is have an idea of where we see ourselves in the future and take the steps to get there. Even if it’s baby steps at first. We grow with our ideas and actions and increase our confidence our success step by step.” Where do we even begin?
Currently, we are living in uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the entire world. It has changed how we live, work, and interact with others. While it is virtually impossible to have control over what is happening around us, we all have the ability to control the way we think about life itself. I’m sure we have all met people that feel that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”. While that person feels that it might be absolutely true, it is essential to instill a positive mindset within ourselves.
To reinvent yourself, it is important to acknowledge that if we focus on positivity and envision the great changes we want to make, we have the power to see that change. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Even if it means starting from the bottom, we need a mindset that is positive to work our way back up.
Rahel Musleah, Founder, Explore Jewish India
TRAILBLAZER in Global Heritage Tours
Rahel Musleah, Founder, Explore Jewish India
Rahel Musleah, a journalist, author, lecturer, and singer was born in Calcutta, India. She has interviewed an impressive array of trailblazing women from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Esther Perel, among many others. Rahel’s true passion lies in developing exciting and engaging programs that share her impressive experience and understanding of Jews in India. Until COVID-19, Rahel could be found on tour, sharing the secrets behind her favorite Jewish Heritage sites in India. Today, she has created a popular series, NamaStay at Home, which brings the experience virtually.
She explains her passion and her business: “I was born in Calcutta to a family with Baghdadi roots; I live in the United States today and speak widely about the Indian Jewish communities — always adding music wherever I go. My tour partner, Joshua Shapurkar, is a member of the Bene Israel community of Bombay and has been leading general and Jewish tours for twenty-five years. Together we have an intimate knowledge of the Indian Jewish communities and close relationships with its members.”
TRAILBLAZER in Art & Activism
Tam Gryn, Head Curator, Showfields
Tam explained that when she was pregnant with her son, she was an independent art curator in NYC. With her pregnant belly, she knocked on gallery doors asking if there was availability on the calendar for a radical art exhibition. The Radiator Gallery picked up the show “Conceived Without Sin,” an ironic title given her pregnant state. When the opening day arrived, her then three-month-old son was in attendance. She explained, “My artist friends were supportive. We took turns to carry, feed, and play with my baby while the exhibition was being installed. I believe that exposing children to art when they are tiny gets them to believe that art is a part of everyday life and activities.”
“What people are really craving these days is REAL connection.”
She is pioneering the way we experience art as a society. “I’ve curated multiple art exhibitions as well as charity fundraisers. Cultural projects that my team and I produced hosted 300,000+ individuals, curated and 300+ site-specific art installations by global artists and reached 13B+ in online impressions. I specialize in creating memorable immersive art installations, satisfying audience’s desire for new and genuine experiences, generating social media buzz, content creation, newfound exposure and foot traffic.”