Women’s Entrepreneurship Week becomes its own business

Milwaukee event series returns March 3

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The third annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week Milwaukee will be bigger than ever, with 60 free events on the docket that aim to highlight female founders and their unique challenges.

In addition, two of this year’s organizers have become entrepreneurs themselves, recently establishing When Women Lead LLC to run the programming. The new business could also potentially host future events, said Jenny Weeden, director of strategy and operations at Accelity Marketing in Milwaukee. She co-founded the business with Jackie Hermes, founder, owner and chief executive officer of Accelity, and Christina Haidemenos, former director of operations at Startup Milwaukee.

“It just made more sense in terms of … we’re getting sponsors and as the week gets larger and more people want to be part of the week of 60 events now, there’s more community support around it,” Weeden said. “We’re entrepreneurs in the process of supporting other entrepreneurs, which is great.”

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The Women’s Entrepreneurship Week events to be held across southeastern Wisconsin from March 3 to 8 will include:

  • 24/7 versus 9-5: Is a Startup Right for You? Panelists Betsy Williamson of Barre Code Milwaukee, Amanda Guralski of Salesforce.com, Jenny Weeden of Accelity Marketing, Izzy Lugo of Urban Misfit Ventures and Christina Haidemenos of Socialeads, and moderator Adam Gabornitz of Northwestern Mutual, will discuss their experiences leaving the corporate world for startups, and vice versa.
  • Women Entrepreneurs: Learn to Cease, Desist, Contain the Toxicity and Mark Boundaries Doyenne Group will discuss how Milwaukee can create a structure to protect women business owners from harassment.
  • How to Hire Top Talent on an Entrepreneur’s Budget Panelists Amanda Baltz of Spaulding Medical, Que El-Amin of Young Enterprising Society, Nicholas Kirchner of Margle Media, Sieria Payne of The Mommypreneur Co. and Jordon Meyer of Granular, and moderator Melissa Goltra of FOCUS Training will discuss recruitment strategies that attract today’s top talent.
  • Working on your Wolfpack: How to Hold Accountability Meetings A hands-on workshop on the importance of accountability meetings, and tips on running them.
  • Podcasting for Profits Learn how to create podcast and make it work for your business from Lori Highby of Keystone Click.
  • Startup Funding Basics: How to Raise Capital Startup attorney Kate Westfall and tax specialist Amy Barnes will provide a primer on startup funding.
  • Secrets of 6-Figure Business Owners Panelists Lori Highby of Keystone Click, Maggie Joos of The Real Good Life, Rhonda Noodyk of The Women’s Financial Wellness Center, Denise Thomas of The Effective Communications Coach, Maria Panno of Infinite Warriod and Kelly Andrew of Filament will tell their entrepreneurship stories, and how they reached six figures.

Last year, attendance more than tripled, with about 400 attendees at WEW’s 22 events. And with 60 events this year, organizers expect attendance to triple again, Weeden said. About 1,000 registrations have already come in for the events, which are free with the help of sponsors from the business community.

Kenzi Enright, who founded WEW in 2017, previously hosted most of the events at the Ward4 co-working space near downtown Milwaukee, where she was then community manager. But for 2019, the events are spread among a number of venues.

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“Spreading to different venues allows us to highlight different entrepreneurs, different co-working spaces that entrepreneurs can work at,” Weeden said. “To highlight other areas of Milwaukee and in doing so, we’re also hoping to highlight the intersectionality of Milwaukee, too.”

Advocates for women’s entrepreneurship are invited to attend, as well.

“I want it to feel like it’s very encouraged for both men and women to come,” Haidemenos said.

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WEW will kick off on Sunday, March 3 with networking and appetizers at Merriment Social, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave. in Milwaukee. See the full schedule here.

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