Capella Spring 2016
from Astra Womenâ€™s Business Alliance
Kelly Sparks 2016 WBENC Star
Twenty Years of Progress for Women Business Owners
Key Trends Affecting the Construction, Manufacturing & IT Industries
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Fernando Hernandez, Chair Microsoft
Olsa Martini, Vice Chair Olsa Resources, Inc. Sandra James, Secretary Private Eyes, Inc. Mary Jo Juarez, Treasurer Juarez Group, LLC Caroline Gladding Johnson & Johnson Arlene Inch TransPak, Inc. Lynn Reddrick Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Diane McClelland Astra Women’s Business Alliance Peter Lee Wells Fargo STATE LEADERSHIP FORUMS Gail Morrison Allied GIS, Inc. Alaska Lorraine Schroeder Safety, Inc. Alaska Janell McGill Milligan Events Idaho Deena Korting A2Z Staffing Solutions Montana Anna Kazmierowski A2Z Staffing Solutions Montana Kath Williams Kath Williams & Assoc. Montana Barbara Wichmann ARTEMIA Communications, Inc. Northern California Chair Imelda Alejandrino AP42 Northern California Vice-Chair Nancy Gudekunst MARCO Ideas Unlimited, Inc. Oregon Kelly Sparks VMG Studio520 Washington State Betta Beasley 2RB Consulting Inc. Washington Sandy Brewer Pinnacle Investigations Corp. Washington State
stra was founded in 1996 by Diane McClelland and Suzanne Lackman who wanted to drive real change for women-owned businesses by expanding their opportunities in the marketplace. They knew the task would not be an easy one. Capella is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Larger than our sun, it is one of the brightest stars in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. It is an apt name for Astra’s magazine, which features the stars of Astra’s galaxy: WBEs (Women Business Enterprises owners), Corporate and Agency Members, and Volunteers. The information presented in Capella should help propel you to even greater success.
Astra comes from the Latin motto ad astra per aspera, which means rising to the stars through difficulties. Astra staff members and volunteer leaders work tirelessly to champion women business owners. Astra partners with corporations and agencies to help WBEs become suppliers for their regional, national and global supply chains. Join us at Astra and WBENC events to build your networks and grow your business.
For more information, please contact: Lori Lackman Certification Manager Lori@astrawba.org
Caterina Vaticano Corporate Relations Caterina@astrawba.org
Patricia Victorio S.T.E.A.M. and Fundraising Patricia@astrawba.org
Suzanne Lackman Program Management, Vice President/CFO Suzanne@astrawba.org
Diane McClelland Events, President/CEO Dimac@astrawba.org
To find out more, visit www.astrawba.org, or call 503-941-9724
Women Business Owners YEARS OF PROGRESS FOR
ACCESS TO CAPITAL AND ACCESS TO MARKETS
t that time, in 1996, there were 8 million women owned businesses
in the USA who employed 18.5 million people and represented $2.3 Trillion in sales. Often times, the perception of women’s firms were of small service companies who were difficult to find, if companies desired to do business with them. Because of earlier co-founding The Foundation for Women-Owned Businesses in 1985, in Portland Oregon, Diane McClelland set out to launch an information campaign to learn more about the perspectives of Oregon women business owners and the challenges they faced with access to capital and contract opportunities. In March 1996, Gateway to the Women’s Market, owned by Diane McClelland, launched the first information campaign in Oregon to study how women business owners run their companies and what motivates them to start their businesses.
By Diane McClelland Astra Co-Founder and President/CEO 4
March is Women’s History month and time to turn the pages back to 1996 when Astra began its work to recognize the contributions of women business owners in Oregon.
Join us on September 23, 2016 at Astra’s 20th Anniversary Hilton Hotel PORTLAND, OR
Suzanne Lackman, 100% owner of Glisan Liquidators, Inc joined the campaign in March, 1996 as a volunteer and ultimately became a Co-Founder of Astra because she personally dealt with discrimination as a women-owned business and saw a continuing need to work for equal rights for women. A committee of interested corporations including US Bank, Express Personnel Services; Deloitte; Aldrich, Kilbride & Tatone; plus Perkins Coie was formed to sponsor and create criteria used to honor the 32 women who took part in the Information Campaign and were chosen in part for the stories of courage and business acumen. They were honored in September, 1996 which became the 1st event for Astra. This group of dynamic corporate business leaders also came up with the name of Astra for the award which
came from the Kansas State slogan, “ad astra per aspera” (rising to the stars through difficulties). The name ultimately became Astra Society International dba Astra Women’s Business Alliance. Some of the interesting facts the research uncovered was where they got the courage to take on risk to start their companies. 65% of the women said it came from team sports, individual performances of theatre or dance. Each future Capella issue will disclose other interesting facts about the attitudes of women business owners through the years. Please plan to join us on September 23, 2016 in Portland Oregon and hear more stories plus you will personally be able to add a new chapter to your story through potential business contacts and strategic alliances you can form to go for larger contracts.
Astra awards function
THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE ASTRA STAFF
Astra is happy to announce a new member of the Astra staff, Caterina Vaticano. Caterina joined Astra as a Corporate Relations Associate in February this year.
Sacramento State University Alum with a degree in International Business, Caterina spent 11 years in leadership and project management roles at AT&T. From there she launched her own manufacturing business with her husband, and currently she is the President of her own boutique corporate meeting and event planning business, SOLARE Event Management. Caterina attributes the success of her first business venture in her “belief in building long-lasting relationships.”
Caterina’s passion has always been working and inspiring people to achieve their goals and help them build careers, and, as a certified life coach, Caterina continues to do so. As Astra’s new Corporate Relations Associate, Caterina’s role is to cultivate relationships with current corporate members and establish new relationships, ensuring that Astra creates win-win scenarios with WBEs and Corporate Members. More broadly, Caterina wants to
help women thrive in their business, “I genuinely believe this role was custom made for my personal values … I believe in giving women opportunities in all aspects of life including business, encouraging growth, and helping them be leaders.” What makes Caterina’s life “sing” are her family and pets. (Caterina has dogs, cats, chickens, and turtles!) She is enjoying being an empty nester with her husband of 27 years.
2016 WBENC STAR
Kelly Sparks will be a name many Astra members will recognize, thanks to her years-long support of the organization and position as co-chair for the state of Washington. We are delighted that this inspirational businesswoman, Emmy award-winning director and leader has been named a 2016 WBENC Star and caught up with Kelly recently to find out more.
ongratulations on being selected as the 2016 WBENC Star for
Astra! Please tell us a little bit about your background and your business, VMG/studio520.
My video production career and VMG/studio520 began when I enrolled at the Art Institute of Seattle in 2001. While still in school, I was hired
Learn from everything, stay agile and be determined in the pursuit of your business goals. KELLY SPARKS
to produce a wedding video. My patience, respect and understanding of the client made an impression and she referred me for a corporate video job. Today our clients include such companies as Microsoft and The Coca-Cola Company, and such organizations as Collers International and Teatro ZinZanni - a collaboration for which earned our company an Emmy award for best Commercial Single Spot. Since the early days I’ve worked to grow VMG in stature and size, with 7,200 square feet of creative space serving Fortune 500 and small businesses globally. We are continuously focusing on investing in the company infrastructure and maintaining our agility and scalability. How did you first become involved with Astra? A fellow woman business owner first told us about becoming a certified WBE. Through WBENC
we were referred to Astra as the regional affiliate. Who are some of your business role models/mentors and why? I didn’t really have a strong business mentor when I was building up VMG. However, I see the importance of this role and do spend lot of time trying to help other younger WBEs, highlighting the many opportunities at Astra events, like the matchmakers and other networking functions that, in my mind, are the real value-adds. If any Washington WBEs want to learn more, let me know! How has Astra helped you and your business? Astra membership and WBENC certification have been absolutely crucial to VMG’s success. While it still takes a lot of time, effort and persistence to land the contracts, they have opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed and
helped me secure the meetings with large corporations that drive real company growth.
that certification is nothing without involvement. You have to show up, and keep showing up, to win big.
What does winning this prestigious award mean to you personally?
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am so thankful to receive this great recognition. From advocating membership to fellow WBEs, to probono work for the organization, to my work as state co-chair – this award shows it was all worth it and I view it as a “thank you” from the broader
In building any business, there are a lot of unexpected challenges. In 2010 our business was burglarized and they stole everything. It was devastating. But it caused us to rebuild with a robust security infrastructure and it’s actually
Any words of advice for your fellow WBEs looking to become more involved with Astra and WBENC? The biggest advice I can give is
become a huge asset of ours. Without the burglary, I don’t think we would have landed some of the amazing contracts that we have. Learn from everything, stay agile and be determined in the pursuit of your business goals.
Thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to talk with us and congratulations once again on your award. We are #Astraproud!
Certification is nothing without involvement. You have to show up, and keep showing up, to win big. KELLY SPARKS
VMG/studio520 office in Washington
KeyTrends INDUSTRY REPORT:
AFFECTING THE CONSTRUCTION, MANUFACTURING, AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES
Astra’s WBEs in construction, manufacturing and information technology services industries are coming together in industry groups specifically created for women in businesses to find the support and mentors during these pivotal times in their industries. Astra is forming a new industry group, Professional Services, and will pilot the new group in San Ramon on July 28, 2016 at the Astra Matchmaker Event. For more information on Industry Group events, please visit astrawba.com/event.
urrently, Astra has three industries groups Construction,
Manufacturing, and Technology Industry Groups. Astra interviewed the leaders of those industry groups to understand the important trends driving their industries and shaping their business decisions.
THE ASTRA CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GROUP
CEO OF BJORK CONSTRUCTION
According to the Dodge Data & Analytics report, the construction industry will continue to experience increased growth. Specifically, Dodge forecasted that commercial building will grow 11 percent in 2016, and the overall construction industry will experience a six percent growth. Consumer preferences are changing and moving towards green, environmentally friendly buildings, according to Jean Bjork, Astra Construction Industry Group Leader and CEO of Bjork Construction in Fremont, California. Another positive trend gaining ground in the construction industry is the move towards pre-fabricated, also known as offsite, construction. Structures for buildings are being offsite, saving construction companies costs and increasing efficiency.
Even with forecasted growth, the construction industry is still feeling some effects of the late-
2000s recession: skilled labor and construction workers either retired or left the industry. With demand steadily growing, labor shortages are a common challenge in most construction businesses. Additionally, increasing safety standards is a big topic within the industry. Not only is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require certain safety standards, corporate customers are requiring construction companies to comply with specific safety measures and program. Safety standards are constantly evolving, and one-way Jean keeps up with the changes in safety regulation is continuous education. Jean recommends other women in this industry to “never stop learning” and to “be relentless and open to change.” As far as women’s participation in the construction industry, Jean is optimistic of the growth of women in construction. Jean is seeing an increase of women participating in construction management degrees at the four-year university level. As an
active member of the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC), Jean mentors and encourages more and more young women to join the growing industry. She emphasizes the importance of mentorship and networking for women at any level within the industry. Jean is also on the board of Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE), and she recommends other women construction executives to participate and network with other construction industry professionals
advances within the industry. One of those disruptive technologies is additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing “builds an object by adding ultrathin layers of material one by one.” Additive manufacturing is 3D printing on the industrial scale, and it has opened up the market making it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs to create prototypes,
Other industry challenges facing companies in the manufacturing industry include the currency foreign exchange rate. A strong U.S. Dollar against a weakening Euro means goods are more expensive for global customers in Europe.
thus creating new customers for the industry. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter has made manufacturing a product’s first run easier to achieve. Another important trend is that the manufacturing process is automation. According to Pamela, more automation in the manufacturing process means high levels of efficiencies and an increase in cost savings. Although manufacturing companies are benefiting from automation, it has drawn a spotlight on one of the challenges in the manufacturing industry: the lack of skilled workers and talent. The industry is experience a labor shortage of skilled electrical and mechanical engineers needed to run and service those machines.
manufacturing industry, and Pamela’s advice to other WBEs is to “be open to new technologies to grow and stay relevant within the industry.” She continues to learn about the latest technological advancements through her participation in 360 Singularity University and is an active member of innovation groups like the World Future Society, and encourages other WBEs to participate in groups focused on innovation. In addition to the Astra Manufacturing Industry Group, Pamela recommends the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the National Association of Manufacturers as great sources to stay ahead of the trends affecting the industry.
There are a lot of exciting opportunities within the
in organizations like Astra, WCOE, the National Association of Women in Construction, and the Association of General Contractors. Networking within those groups can help other WBEs stay ahead of the trends.
THE ASTRA MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY GROUP
PAMELA KAN PRESIDENT OF BISHOP-WISECAVER According the Pamela Kan, Leader of the Astra Manufacturing Industry Group and President of Bishop-Wisecaver in Pittsburg, California, technology is rapidly transforming the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing firms have more room to innovate and to be creative because of the technological
THE ASTRA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES GROUP
CEO OF 2RB CONSULTING
CEO OF CB TECHNOLOGIES
According to Kelly Ireland, CEO of
through embedded software and
CB Technologies and co-leader of the Astra Technology Industry Group, the “Internet of Things” is the one trend creating massive opportunities for those in the IT Services Industry. Broadly stated, Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing connectivity of physical devices such as watches, buildings, cars, etc. to the internet
hardware technology in the devices. This increase connectivity of devices is opening up new opportunities for IT companies to serve new businesses and consumers. Cloud computing is also a rising trend within corporations and small businesses. Small to medium sized businesses are quicker to adopt cloud technology than larger
This increase connectivity of devices is opening up new opportunities for IT companies to serve new business and consumers.
corporations. With cloud technology and IoT on the rise, the IT Services businesses are moving towards marketing themselves as providing custom IT solutions to their corporate customers. With increase of connectivity, increased cyber security is a growing concern for consumers and IT Service firms. Hacks are a constant daily battle, and IT services companies are not immune to those challenges. Other challenges within the industry include talent shortages. According to Kelly, the IT Services industry is going through historic lack of available talent to fill the many open IT positions. The industry, along with CB Technologies, is heavily investing in K-12 education and training opportunities to encourage the next generation of students to pursue engineering and computer science degrees. Kelly’s advice to other WBE’s in the IT Services Industry is to “think about the environment” they are creating for their employees. For over a decade and half, Kelly has led her business to promote worklife balance, and it has helped her attract and retain talent. To keep up with the latest technologies, Kelly recommends other WBEs to invest a lot of time learning and staying current on technology news. Besides traditional news sources, Kelly follows Gartner.com and CRN.com for the latest technologies and innovations affecting the IT Services Industry.
WBENC 2016 Summit & Salute March 23 to 25 Phoenix Convention Center Phoenix, AZ
Astra Construction Industry Group Meet Up The Marina Inn San Leandro, CA
Best Practices Supplier Diversity Summit Brocade San Jose, CA
Northern California Economic Summit AT&T Campus San Ramon, CA
Kauffman FastTrac® New Venture™ Women Veteran Entrepreneur Boot Camp October 10 to 14 San Leandro Marina Inn San Leandro, CA
2016 Astra STEAM Summit November 2 to 3 Microsoft Campus Redmond, WA
Astra Manufacturing Industry Group Meet Up The Marina Inn San Leandro, CA
Washington Economic Summit & Matchmaker Microsoft Campus Redmond, WA
2016 WBENC National Conference June 21 to 23 Orlando, FL
Astra’s 20th Anniversary Portland Hilton Hotel Portland, OR
04 29 21 23
Montana Industry Groups Meeting Montana State University Bozeman, MT
2016 Astra STEAM Summit July 7 to 8 PG&E San Francisco, CA
Alaska Economic Development Summit Anchorage, AK
Procurement Summit and Holiday Recognition Luncheon St. Francis Drake San Francisco, CA
For more information on these events and other Astra events, please check out www.astrawba.org/event.