Thursday, August 28, 2008


When small business isn’t mentioned from the podium, that means small business isn’t in the news coverage. And the snowball effect keeps going. That’s why we have our work cut out for us to get the voices of SMALL BUSINESS and WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS heard.

Today’s news coverage is primarily on President Clinton’s speech. And Joe Biden’s. I personally think the speech that should get coverage is the one by Major Tammy Duckworth. I encourage you to go on the web to read about her.


Yesterday brought more Olympic comparisons to mind. Pin trading is big at the Olympics. Buttons, buttons and more buttons is big at the Convention.
And, of course, that public transit being the slowest way to go.


Another day at the Convention, another evening of fantastic speeches, but no mention of small business at all.

Yesterday I wrote that “at least I was in the building.” I should learn to be more specific. Last night I got into the Pepsi Center again. But there were NO seats. So how did I see President Bill Clinton’s speech? On a TV monitor in the hallway.

I did snag a standing spot (where I really was not credentialed to be) so I got to see Vice President Nominee Joe Biden’s speech and the surprise appearance of Barack Obama.

I have to look back at another similar example. In the summer of 1999 I had surgery to remove a cantaloupe-sized tumor. Needless to say, I spent most of that summer in the hospital, doctors’ offices and cancer centers for treatment. In the summer of 2000 my daughter had major back surgery. Another summer of hospitals and doctors’ offices. In the summer of 2001, my dad had a stroke and was in the hospital for three weeks before he died. The spring of 2002, I said—I just want a summer without going to the hospital.

Well, I should watch every word I say as in September it was diagnosed that my cancer had returned and – yep, I was back in the hospital to have surgery. Next time I'll ask for a year, not a summer.

Well, I feel the same way about saying “At least I was in the building.” I should have said, “At least I had a seat in the building.” I got credentials and got into the building last night, but there was no seat.

The shuttle buses are the SLOWEST way to get to the Convention. We should have walked again. The buses sit and wait to get full (there were only two people on it when we got on). Then it takes the most circuitous route possible. We also had to wait for hundreds of cyclists to ride by us.

We got to the Pepsi Center just as President Clinton started speaking. Being so late is probably why I didn’t get a seat. I noticed that Michelle Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton had seats. They must have gotten there earlier.

The worst part about not getting a seat is that I didn’t get any signs. I’m collecting signs from the two conventions to bring back to two classes at home.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Besides the mentions of small business being few and far between, the primary thing missing for me was the enthusiasm and optimism of the entrepreneur.

Speaker after speaker talked about our energy crisis and our poor economy. Citizen speeches were predominantly people who had lost their jobs. Many of the politicians spoke about how poor they were growing up.

Small business owners are inherently enthusiastic. We work long hours and we have a lot of challenges but we continue to believe that we can create opportunities, create jobs, give back to our communities and expand our goals.

It is commonly said that small business owners are the economic engine of our economy. Not the corporations. If that is the case, why are we ignored from these important podiums?

I think examples of thriving (small) businesses could have been highlighted without making the economy or energy crisis seem “OK.” What about tutoring businesses that are growing because our education system has so many holes in it? What about bio-tech businesses that are thriving because of stem cell and scientific research that many Republicans seem to oppose? Or the small businesses that are finding energy alternatives that one of the speakers alluded to?

That’s why what WIPP is doing at the Conventions is so important. WIPP is the nation’s largest bipartisan group of women business owners. It is unveiling the “Economic Blueprint – The Women Business Owners Platform for Growth” at the 2008 Democratic and Republican National conventions. Created as a guidebook for Congress and the next administration, the Economic Blueprint outlines the public policies necessary to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses in the 21st Century.

Women entrepreneurs are a growing force in our nation, owning 10.4 million businesses and generating $1.9 trillion in annual revenues. However, there are still several obstacles impeding our growth. “t is our expectation that each and every member of Congress, regardless of party, and the incoming administration, will take action to make the principles outlined in the Economic Blueprint a reality.

Released 20 years after the historic Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 (HR 5050), which paved the way for an unprecedented growth in the number of women entrepreneurs, the Economic Blueprint picks up where HR 5050 left off. Included in the Economic Blueprint are six critical public policy areas that affect the expansion of women-owned businesses today: Healthcare, Access to Capital, Energy, Procurement, Taxes and Telecommunications.

WIPP members believe these principles will allow women business owners to flourish in a global marketplace. We have that entrepreneurial optimism. By embracing the goals and principles which are spelled out in the Economic Blueprint, WIPP joins the strong coalition of women business organizations working to ensure women achieve the parity which they have been seeking since 1988.

Talk about messages of “hope.” My hope is that success stories can be used as effectively as stories of hard times and despair.

Where Oh Where is Small Business?

The Pepsi Center was packed last night. I felt so lucky to have a credential to be there. And I felt lucky that I got there early enough to get a seat!

Yes, you get a better view by watching on TV. I hear people say the same thing about going to sporting events. But to me, there’s nothing like experiencing it live.

The people on the stage were only small blurs I was so high up. But as the saying goes: “At least I was in the building.”

I am here to represent Women Impacting Public Policy. So I paid particular attention to what, if anything, was said about small business. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to take too many notes.

Speaker after speaker said nothing about small business. The theme on Tuesday night definitely seemed to be “energy” and “hard times.”

The first speaker I heard mention small business was Nancy Floyd, founder of Nth Power, an energy technology investment firm in Portland, Oregon. She mentioned that small businesses can help solve the energy crisis and how they are getting private funding, but no assistance from the government. I wanted to hear more.

Then the Honorable Nydia Velazquez, member of the US House of Representatives from New York and Chair of the House Small Business Committee, spoke. Her entire speech was on small business and women-owned businesses. “There are billions in lost opportunities because women business owners do not have access to the marketplace. We must demand a level playing field. Neglecting small business is what creates unemployment.”

Her ending words were, “Small business is big business in America. The entrepreneurial spirit is the backbone of this country.”

Speech after speech, I’m not sure how many people listen. They are truly waiting for the evening headliners and only the headliners are covered live on television.

The keynote address was by the Honorable Mark Warner, Senate candidate and former Governor of Virginia. He was a small business owner and briefly talked about his three endeavors.

Governor Warner gave a good speech but what a difficult position he was in (which he mentioned). The keynote speech four years ago was given by the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. And the real headliner was yet to come.

Three current governors spoke after Warner and –before Hillary—and gave great speeches—Ted Strickland of Ohio, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Brian Schweitzer of Montana, who was particularly entertaining. Any of these three would have been great if featured as “the” keynote.

Senator Hillary Clinton brought down the house. She did mention small business once but clearly, it was not the focus of her speech.

President Bill Clinton arrived just before Governor Warner’s speech. Right before Hillary spoke, white Hillary signs were passed out throughout the Pepsi Center. I saw President Clinton refuse the signs that were being passed to him.

From the Olympics to the Democratic Convention

I can’t help but feel a bit of déjà vu here in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. I was in Beijing for the first 10 days of the Olympics earlier this month. There are a lot of similarities. The different venues (I must have walked miles yesterday going from one event to another—and picking up credentials). The police presence—although it is much for obvious here than it even was in China. And the police seem to have a lot more “gear” here (bullet proof vests, many things attached to their belts, helmets, etc) than the police did in China.

And the crowds! (Photo on the top is from Denver, other is from Beijing). One of my few criticisms of the Olympics in Beijing was that you had to have an event ticket to get into Olympic Park. So instead of a party atmosphere in this incredible spot, it almost always seemed “deserted.” That would be like saying you have to have a credential to get onto the 16th Street Mall here in Denver. Not so. The party atmosphere is present in Denver and the streets are lively until late at night.

There must be hundreds of vendors selling every type of t-shirt, button and sign imaginable. I have a budget from two school classrooms back home and it will be easy to fulfill their orders within budget—it’ll just be hard to choose. So far my favorite button is “Hillary is for Obama and So Am I.”

Despite the crowds, of course, I run into people I know. Totally accidentally. I can’t necessarily say that happened in China!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My overall goal for my business, and my passion, is to help people let their voices be heard. I particularly (or at least most often) work with women.
Men tend to be more visible. When you think of powerful women, Hillary and Oprah may be the top two that come to mind. But there are many women who have a wide range of influence across a wide range of industries and in both public and private sectors. So why is the population of women so invisible? Without role models, young women may not go after positions that they want to achieve.
Women tend to think that if others recognize their work, they'll be rewarded for it. That is not necessarily the case.
And in the times of the upcoming Presidential election, women are one of the largest, if not THE largest, voting blocks. We got a lot of attention during a previous election as "soccer moms." Yes, many of us are proud mothers. Yes, many of us car pool our kids around to soccer, music lessons, gymnastics, play dates, etc.
But seriously, how insulting. We are businesswomen. We lead the drive to save our environment. We influence most of the consumer purchases. Implying that all we do is shuttle our children around limits our voice and limits the dialogue.
I am attending both conventions with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). WIPP, the nation’s largest bipartisan group of women business owners, will join a coalition of 30 women’s business organizations in unveiling the “Economic Blueprint – The Women Business Owners Platform for Growth” at the 2008 Democratic and Republican National conventions. Created as a guidebook for Congress and the next administration, the Economic Blueprint outlines the public policies necessary to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses in the 21st Century.

Women's Right to Vote

Some women won’t vote this year because – why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

Read this story and maybe you’ll change your mind:
The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.

Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 helpless wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guard grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women’s only water come from an open pail. Their food – all of it colorless slops – was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for four weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

It is jarring to think Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

What would those women think of the way women today use – or don’t use – their right to vote?

August 18 was the 88th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s time to consider how far US women have come in the last 88 years, and how much farther we have to go.

WIPP is proud to be releasing The Economic Blueprint, the Women Business Owners’ Platform for Growth, at the Republican and Democratic Conventions (and in Washington, DC to Congress on September 9th). The Blueprint, comprised of research derived from WIPP members and members of its Coalition Partners over the last year, will provide a clear roadmap for Congress and the New Administration of the policy needs and objectives in the coming years.

We are especially proud of the Blueprint because it is has been created with no corporate funds, and is being supported by the many women business owners who have agreed to sign onto the Blueprint as sponsors.