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volume three issue ten



Entrepreneurial Women to Watch





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from the founder Welcome to the Women in Entrepreneurship issue of RISBJ. This issue highlights the winners of our second annual Entrepreneurial Women to Watch awards. Building upon the incredible response from last year’s awards, we worked on making this year even better. One major change we made was to include winners from five different categories: community champion, small business, startup, solopreneur and minority-owned. By making the categories more specific, we saw a tremendous increase in nominations. In just 7 days, over 500 nominations were submitted. Our selection committee was put to the task to review over 1,000 total pages of applications. At the end of the review process, 3 winners were selected in each of the 5 categories. On Tuesday, November 4 we posted the winners of the awards, a day better known as Election Day. While most Rhode Islanders were wondering who the next political leaders of our state would be, we were sharing stories of our entrepreneurial leaders. In the first 24 hours of posting the winners to our website, the page was shared over 1,800 times on Facebook, a number that far surpassed any of the political news on the local news sites. Within 5 days, the page was shared over 2,800 times, with over 10,000 page views – numbers that truly speak to the power of our entrepreneurial community. I’d like to personally thank this year’s selection committee: Sierra Barter, Alison Bologna, Nikki Groom, Sandra McNamara, Rebecca Murray and Cristen Faherty. I would also like to thank The Dorrance, for once again hosting our awards reception, as well as our sponsors, HealthSource RI, Beacon Mutual, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, PVD Lady Project and The Center for Women in Enterprise. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Gail Ahlers of Ahlers Designs, Rick Lataille of WRIK Entertainment and photographer Josh Edenbaum for working with us again this year to make the awards ceremony an evening to remember. Congratulations again to this year’s award winners, and all of the amazing entrepreneurs who are proud to call Rhode Island home.


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Gil Lantini Founder Ralph Coppolino Co-Founder John Resnick Marketing Coordinator Mike Casale Senior Designer Pam Walsh Managing Editor Sara Celano Production Assistant Intern Keri Biron Chad Sabo Contributing Writers Robert Atwood Chris Barnett Suzanne Bates Tom Burgess Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Francesco DeLuca Seth A. Goodall Rachelle Green Shannon Lewis Sally P. McDonald Meghan McGrath Secretary of State Ralph Mollis Craig Paradis Matthew R. Plain, Esq. Treasurer Gina Raimondo Patricia Raskin Peggy Riley Lisa Shorr Mayor Angel Taveras Nancy Thomas Angela M. Thomson Kristen M. Whittle, Esq.


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14 NOV


Friday, November 14 LifeStyle Café at Poliquin East Greenwich Chamber “Common Grounds” Breakfast Networking 8:00am 1598 South County Trail, East Greenwich


Tuesday, November 18 T’s Restaurant East Greenwich Chamber Business After Hours 5:30pm 5600 Post Rd., East Greenwich Tuesday, November 18 Centerville Seminar Center Effective Business Plan Writing & Financial Boot Camp 6:30pm-9:30pm 875 Centerville Rd., Building 2, Suite 5





Wednesday, November 19 Newport Chamber Health and Wellness Seminar The Healthy Equation: Stress Management + Nutrition + Exercise 8:30am-9:30am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Wednesday, November 19 Coastway Community Bank Central RI Chamber Business After Hours 5:30pm-7:30pm 2089 Warwick Ave., Warwick Thursday, November 20 Kirkbrae Country Club Northern RI Chamber Eggs & Issues Breakfast 197 Old River Rd., Lincoln Thursday, November 20 Newport Chamber Business During Hours 12:00pm-1:30pm 35 Valley Rd., Middletown



Tuesday, November 18 Northern RI Chamber Situational Leadership, Delegation and Motivation 8:30am-4:30pm 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402, Lincoln Tuesday, November 18 Warwick National Guard Armory Northern RI Chamber Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair 10:00am-1:00pm 541 Airport Rd., Warwick



Monday, November 17 Homewood Suites Newport Chamber Ladies, Leadership, and Legacies: A Roundtable Discussion Just for Women 12:00pm-1:30pm 348 W. Main Rd., Middletown Monday, November 17 Centerville Seminar Center Disciplined & Creative Brainstorming 6:00pm-8:00pm 875 Centerville Rd., Building 2, Suite 5









Friday, November 21 1149 Restaurant East Greenwich Chamber Lunch & Learn Series w/Nakowicz Financial 12:00pm 1149 Division St., East Greenwich

25 NOV

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Wednesday, December 3 Northern RI Chamber How Can the Chamber Help You Grow Your Business? 8:00am-9:00am 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402, Lincoln Thursday, December 4 Krafty Sisters Central RI Chambers Morning Coffee 8:00am-9:00am 15 Sandy Bottom Rd., Coventry Thursday, December 4 The Washington Trust Company North Central Chamber “Business Before Breakfast” Networking Event 8:00am-9:30am 1383 Atwood Ave., Johnston

Friday, November 21 Greenwich Farms Central RI Chamber LEADS Luncheon 12:00pm-1:30pm 75 Minnesota Ave., Warwick NOV

Tuesday, December 2 Pocasset Bay Retirement Living North Central Chamber Gingerbread “Lipstick Luncheon” at Night 5:30pm-7:30pm 12 Old Pocasset Ln., Johnston

Thursday, December 4 Newport Chamber Chamber 101 8:30am-9:30am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown

Tuesday, November 25 Centerville Seminar Center Six Steps to Small Business Success… Pricing for Profits 6:30pm-8:30pm 875 Centerville Rd., Building 2, Suite 5

Thursday, December 4 Buffalo Wild Wings Central RI Chamber YPcentral Social 5:00pm Warwick Mall, on the patio

Saturday, November 29 East Greenwich East Greenwich Chamber Small Business Saturday All Day

Thursday, December 4 Twin River Northern RI Chamber Holiday Open House and Table Top Expo 5:00pm-8:00pm 100 Twin River Rd., Lincoln

Sunday, November 30 East Greenwich Chamber Elf on the Shelf Stroll 12:00pm-4:00pm Main St., East Greenwich Tuesday, December 2 Northern RI Chamber Employee Training & Coaching Skills 8:30am-4:30pm 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402, Lincoln





Saturday, December 6 Central RI Chamber Breakfast with Santa 8:30am-11:00am Location TBA Sunday, December 7 East Greenwich Chamber Snowflake Raffle Stroll 12:00pm-4:00pm Main St., East Greenwich


volume three issue ten


6 Upcoming Events, Networking and Workshops 8 Rhode Island Colonial Charter of 1663


9 Spotlight on Startups 10 Small Business News 17 Sweet Success in Our Backyard 19 U.S. Small Business Administration Seeks Nominations 20 It’s Been Called the “CSI Effect” 21 PCBs – How They Affect Your Health and Your Wallet 22 Passion, Guts and Networking: Tips from a RI Start-Up Addict 24 Improving the Integrity of Our State’s Retirement System 25 Think Like a Hacker 26 Adapting Your Leadership Style in a Growing Business 29 Real Estate News 30 Holding Real Estate in Your IRA 33 The 2nd Annual Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards 34 Catching Up with the Winners of the 2014 Women to Watch Awards 36 W2W Community Champion 37 W2W Minority-Owned 38 W2W Small Business 39 W2W Solopreneur 40 W2W Startup 42 Salute to Women Business Owners 43 Women to Watch Awards Honorable Mentions 44 New EEOC Guidance to Avoid Pregnancy Discrimination 46 I’m No Different than You – My Journey as a Working Mom 47 Small Employers Should Check Out the Health Care Tax Credit 48 Female Entrepreneurship 49 Moving through Entrepreneurial Change and Transition 50 Personnel Practices

22 49


Featured Women in Entrepreneurship

53 Featured Nonprofit: Amenity Aid

Non Profit

54 Local Small Business Directory

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56 How Does Your Office Make You Feel?

29 53 | volume three issue ten



Rhode Island Colonial Charter of 1663 to Receive

State-of-the-Art Encasement by Secretary Of State Ralph Mollis

Our office, along with the Office of Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, has begun the process of providing for a new state-of-the-art encasement system for the Rhode Island Colonial Charter of 1663. “I am pleased that the most important document in our state’s history is going to be protected and conserved for generations,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “The Colonial Charter was the first to establish separation of church and state, and became the inspiration for our Bill of Rights a century later. Preserving our historic resources demonstrates our commitment to preserving and protecting Rhode Island history. I commend the Secretary of State’s Office and the Rhode Island 1663 Colonial Charter Commission for their efforts to bring this project to fruition,” said Governor Chafee. On Wednesday, October 29th, ARTEX, a fine arts moving company, wrapped, crated and transported the Charter in an environmentally controlled vehicle to Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts. ARTEX built a custom crate for packaging and transporting the Charter. I am pleased to announce that Rhode Island’s Colonial Charter of 1663 will be housed within the same high-tech system used by the National Archives for the Charters of Freedom. It is imperative that we carefully preserve our Colonial Charter, which is our state’s most profound and historic document; a document which gave us the religious freedom we all enjoy today, and a document that defines our state’s unique heritage. NEDCC is world renowned and performed conservation work on the Charter in 1996 during the Langevin Administration. At that time, a new inner-display case within the steel vault was constructed. Here’s what will happen: NEDCC will remove the Charter from its current mounting and make a full scan, creating a digital print of the same size. Once the full-size reproduction of the Charter is ready, it will be mounted into the window-mat and frame assemblage for public viewing in the Charter Museum at the State House. The Charter Museum will remain open to the public during normal business hours. The reproduction is expected to be up and available for public viewing after Veterans Day.

It is imperative that we carefully preserve our Colonial Charter, which is our state’s most profound and historic document 8

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At NEDCC, the Charter will be separated into its three original sections and full-scale tracings of the three sections will be produced. NEDCC will perform conservation treatment on the Charter, including humidification and flattening. Goso LLC of New Hampshire is the company that will build three encasements for the Rhode Island Charter. The encasements will enclose the Charter in an environment of modified inert gas, and include instrumentation for monitoring the gas. The encasements will be designed in a manner to interface, mechanically and aesthetically, into display cabinetry. ARTEX will reconfigure the custom-made crate for transporting the 3 sections of the original Charter to the State Archives, where they will be stored until the encasements are ready for installation in the Charter Museum. $200,000 of the $700,000 project cost is being funded through grants and charitable contributions. The Champlin Foundation awarded a $161,000 grant to the Rhode Island State House Restoration Society to fund the construction of one of the encasements. Additionally, the State House Restoration Society received donations from Alex and Ani, the Providence Journal Charitable Fund, Fidelity Investments, Cox Business, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Roger Williams University, GTECH, and CVS Health. Individual contributions from the John L. Loeb Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, and Ambassador William J. Middendorf also helped support this project. $500,000 was allocated to the Secretary of State’s Office from the General Assembly for FY2015. The aluminum blocks, which will be used to fabricate a portion of each of the encasements, is being donated by Electric Boat. Sandberg Machine of Mapleville, RI is performing the machining of this material. Also, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Archives Division is lending the state the necessary equipment to fill the encasements with specialized gases and then seal it. They also provided tremendous insight into the process of building the encasements. Rhode Island’s Colonial Charter of 1663 is our state’s most profound historic document, and it holds a unique place in the evolution of global human rights. At the time King Charles II issued the Charter in 1663, it was the first time in history that a monarch granted a charter guaranteeing that individuals within a society were free to practice religious freedom and possessed the right to govern their own colony without interference from the government. The Colonial Charter of 1663 defined our state’s rich heritage and gave us the religious freedom we still enjoy today. As Secretary of State, I am committed to preserving our state’s rich history.

Spotlight | STARTUPS

Spotlight on Startups Crooked Current Brewery


o Cro






Company Name: Crooked Current Brewery Open Date: 11/5/2013 Employees: Two Address: 560 Mineral Spring Avenue, Pawtucket, RI Website: Facebook: Twitter: @Crooked_Current Biggest Challenge: Multiple federal, state, and local regulations must be adhered to in order to obtain licensing, as well as a relatively large upfront capital expenditure. Profile: Crooked Current Brewery is the product of a collaboration between Rhode Island’s only female brewmaster, Nichole Pelletier, and an already successful entrepreneur, Jason Lourenco, whose experience is in real estate. Pelletier had established a reputation as an exceptional home brewer, prompting a partnership with Lourenco and giving rise to one of Rhode Island’s newest craft breweries. Crooked Current Brewery opened its doors for tours and tastings in mid-October, and is now becoming available in select bars. Comments: The name Crooked Current Brewery is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Rhode Island’s checkered political past, while also saluting the state’s famous oceanic theme. To further illustrate the merger of these concepts, Crooked Current Brewery has just released our Plunderdome Pumpkin Maple Ale for the season.

LIBerty Looks Company Name: Liberty Looks Open Date: 07/2011 Employees: One Address: 220 High Street, 2nd Floor, Bristol, RI Facebook: Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge thus far has been marketing the location of the studio. Just off the busy Hope Street, but right in the heart of Bristol’s historic district, I decided I was up to the marketing challenge to get the townspeople up a block. Also, the studio is on the second floor, making it a great workout to get furniture in and out of. Profile: I am a self-taught decorator, painter and picker with a passion for historical preservation, sustainability and recycling. Growing up locally in Barrington and raised by my Azorian parents helped me find my ‘eclectic-coastalfarm chic’ style. My studio in the old Byfield School on High Street couldn’t be a better fit. Having been built in the late 1800’s, this building is in the middle of the town’s historic district, which brings the character I need for my free style. My style is why I named my company Liberty Looks; it allows for the freedom to create and save what you love. The studio offers an array of handpicked vintage finds for your home, as well as custom furniture options and selective consignments. Liberty Looks specializes in residential and commercial projects. Comments: If you share a passion for old and new, stop in and visit during open studio hours. For a full portfolio, view an array of project pictures on our Facebook page. | volume three issue ten




2014 RI Tech10 Award Winners Ceremony Takes Place November 20th At Kirkbrae Country Club Eric M. Shorr – Founder and President; Secure Future Tech Solutions Rich Siedzik – Director of Computer & Telecommunication Services; Bryant University Alan Silverman – Senior Technical Director, Data Center; Atrion Networking Corporation Jeff Wilhelm – Chief Technology Officer; Envision Technology Advisors

PROVIDENCE, RI — Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s industry association for Information Technology and Bioscience, today announces ten Rhode Island IT practitioners, digital media designers, and entrepreneurs as its 2014 Tech10 Award recipients. Honorees will be recognized at a celebration event on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 pm at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, R.I. Individually, Tech10 recognizes Rhode Island IT practitioners and entrepreneurs who excel in their practice, demonstrate a passion for contributing to the success of others, and are pioneering in their technological and career achievements. For the technology community, Tech10 is the opportunity for Rhode Island business and industry to identify its exceptional participants and future leaders. 2014 TECH10 AWARD RECIPIENTS: Kimberly Kowal Arcand – Visualization Lead, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory; Chandra X-ray Center/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Tammy Fuller – Chief Software Architect and Co-Founder; Echo Messaging Systems, Inc. Ramarao Koppaka – Principal Enterprise Architect; FM Global Bryce Lukens – Technical Director; Atrion Networking Corporation David Mulanaphy – Principal Development Database Administrator; FM Global Allan Peters – Director, Collaboration Services; GTECH


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“With this year’s Tech10 Award selection, we are proud to have 40 Tech10 Award alumni building upon their accomplishments, contributing to Rhode Island companies and communities, and working to continue the growth of a strong technology presence in our state,” said Kathie Shields, executive director for Tech Collective. “Rhode Island employs 13,500 IT professionals – our Tech10 honorees are some of the best and brightest leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs among them. They bring enthusiasm and vibrancy to an exciting sector of Rhode Island’s future. Congratulations to our 2014 Tech10 Award winners!” The 2014 Tech10 Awards are sponsored by Atrion Networking Corporation (Cyber Sponsor) and Bryant University Executive Development Center (Java Sponsor). Award recipients will be honored at a Tech10 Awards recognition event on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, R.I. Video vignette profiles of the award winners will be unveiled at the event. Additionally, three award recipients will be recognized for outstanding accomplishments in Tech Citizenship, Entrepreneurship, and Overall Achievement. Tech10 recipients were chosen by this year’s Tech10 Judging Committee based on application submissions collected Sept. – Oct. 2014. View past award winners, videos, attend the Tech10 Awards recognition event, and learn more at www. Follow Tech10 on Twitter #Tech10RI.



National Grid and Amica Co-Sponsor College Leadership R.I. To Support Tuition-Free Program

LINCOLN, RI — The 2014 session of College Leadership Rhode Island is now underway, with 33 students from nine local colleges and universities participating. For the second year, National Grid and Amica Insurance company are cosponsoring the program, part of a three-year commitment from the two companies. “National Grid understands how important it is to invest in leadership and skill development opportunities like College Leadership Rhode Island,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island and a Leadership Rhode Island 2001 graduate. “These opportunities help businesses, like National Grid, hire talented and well-versed employees. We are pleased to help College Leadership Rhode Island continue to offer no-cost opportunities to students.” Each year, campus leaders from local colleges and universities are selected to participate in College Leadership Rhode Island. Throughout the program, students engage in a range of activities designed to develop their understanding of, and commitment to, the roles and responsibilities of leaders in nonprofit, for-profit and government agencies. There is no fee for students who are accepted to participate.

“Amica is proud to continue supporting Leadership Rhode Island and its goal of building a brighter future in this state,” said Robert A. DiMuccio, chairman, president and CEO of Amica Insurance and Leadership Rhode Island 2001 graduate. “This program develops outstanding leaders, and we look forward to seeing their many professional contributions in the years ahead.” In addition to National Grid and Amica Insurance Company, the Rhode Island Commodores provided College Leadership Rhode Island this year with money to launch a new pilot program, an additional semester for select program students who desire hands-on leadership experience through a newly developed nonprofit board fellowship, executive shadowing and civic engagement program. Modeled after Leadership Rhode Island’s Core Program for career business and community leaders, the College Leadership Rhode Island program strives to inspire, educate and engage its students as they begin to make the transition from college to their chosen careers. | volume three issue ten




Providence Named Am

BY TRAVEL & LEISURE MAGAZINE - THE FIRST TI PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras announced today that Providence has been named America’s Favorite City by Travel & Leisure Magazine – the first time ever this designation has been awarded. Taveras was joined by Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau; Lynn McCormack, Director of Providence Arts, Culture & Tourism; James Bennett, Executive Director of the Providence Office of Economic Development; and others from the business, arts and creative communities to make the announcement. “This is a great honor for those who live, work and study in our city,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “This award – voted on by so many people across the country – is testimony to all that we do right, every single day. Our quality of life, our world-class institutions, our quirkiness and independent nature, our fine cuisine, architecture and art, and so much more have earned us this award. To be named first among so many worldclass cities is truly an honor and a distinction each person in Providence and Rhode Island can take pride in.”


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Travel & Leisure narrowed their rankings to 38 cities nationwide from more than 1,200, in dozens of categories including those in culture, shopping, quality of life, people, food and drink and more. Providence was rated first overall by readers of the widely-read monthly magazine, and ranked second, third, fourth and fifth in a number of other categories. (A list of these accolades follows.) “So many people are passionate about this city and have been working together for more than a decade to move Providence forward,” said Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. “What is interesting to note is the variety of categories in which we excelled – from culinary to arts, architecture to geeks. It shows Providence has a rich and diverse civic life and – most importantly – is a fun place to hang out.” The Mayor noted in his remarks that Providence’s own data supports the ranking and increased interest in the city. Increased hotel occupancy rates, hotel tax revenues and



merica’s Favorite City M E E V E R T H I S D E S I G N AT I O N H A S B E E N AWA R D E D increased convention bookings support the magazine’s findings. According to Travel & Leisure, “This year’s overall America’s Favorite Cities winner has a bit of everything: great food, an exciting bar scene and endless curb appeal.” Providence was named America’s Favorite City followed by: (2) Houston, (3) Kansas City, (4) Minneapolis/St. Paul and (5) Los Angeles. The magazine tallied more than 50,000 votes, with voters rating their choice of over 1,200 destinations in up to 67 categories. The final results reflect a subset of the survey data for 38 cities, based on votes cast during June and July of this year. Among the categories, Providence ranked:

• • • • • •

Best Overall City Best City for Bakeries Best City for Diners Geekiest City in America #2 for Notable Restaurants #2 for Gay-Friendly Vacations

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

#2 for Food Trucks #2 for Pizza #2 for Sandwiches #2 for Being Hip/Cool #2 for Hamburgers #2 for Art Scene #3 for Galleries #3 for Cocktail Bars #3 for Brunch #3 for Coffee #4 for Intelligence #4 for Quirkiness #4 for Wine #5 for Theatre #5 for Architecture #5 for Most Attractive People #5 for Bars #5 for Girlfriend Getaway

For more on America’s Favorite Cities, visit: | volume three issue ten


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Rhode Island Foundation Accepting Applications for $300,000 Innovation Fellowships

PROVIDENCE, RI — People who believe they have come up with bold concepts for improving life in Rhode Island can now apply for $300,000 Innovation Fellowships at the RI Foundation. Made possible through the vision and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, the program will award two applicants up to $300,000 apiece over three years to develop, test and implement innovative ideas that have the potential to dramatically improve any area of life in RI. “This initiative enhances Rhode Island’s reputation as a place of innovation and ingenuity. Letitia and John Carter are to be applauded for having the vision to invest in encouraging bold thinkers to bring their ideas to life,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. Preference will be given to proposals that promise the greatest good for the greatest number of Rhode Islanders, a small idea that has big potential to be built to scale or new approaches to long-standing, intractable challenges. “Letitia and I strongly believe in the potential of creative thinking and exceptional originality to power Rhode Island’s growth. We are excited to see the proposals that this platform for change generates,” said John Carter. Although applicants do not have to be residents of Rhode Island when they apply, they must commit to living in Rhode Island during the term of the Fellowship if selected. The one-page, initial application asks applicants to summarize

their proposed innovation in no more than 150 words and to describe how it would benefit Rhode Islanders. The deadline to apply is Fri., Dec. 12. The application and answers to frequently asked questions are posted at Steinberg will chair the selection committee. The other members are Patricia Flanagan, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Clinical Affairs, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Ted Nesi, Political and Economic Reporter, WPRI; Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director, Jamestown Arts Center; Dan Shedd, President, Taylor Box Company; Rosanne Somerson, Interim President, Rhode Island School of Design; and Don Stanford, Chief Innovation Officer, GTECH. In February 2015, the selection panel will ask a group of semifinalists to submit a more detailed application and a short video. The Foundation expects to announce the winners in April. This will be the fourth round of funding. Previous rounds generated more than 900 applications. Soren Ryherd and Allan Tear received the inaugural Fellowships in 2012. Ryherd’s “The Retail Project” has created three on-line stores to date, with the goal of opening brick and mortar stores in Rhode Island neighborhoods. Follow his progress at Tear is building platforms to help entrepreneurs launch startups in sectors such as art and design, food and beverage and advanced manufacturing. Learn more at | volume three issue ten



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Sweet Success In Our Backyard | SMALL BUSINESS






by Chris Barnett

Teachers in Our Backyard may change their minds about students chewing gum in class after they learn what the woman who founded Glee Gum is offering them after winning a national “People & Plant Award” from Green America. Providence entrepreneur Deborah Schimberg will use the entire $5,000 prize to give public school teachers free educational, interactive kits to make natural chewing gum, chocolate, or gummies in their classrooms. “We’re delighted to have launched the ‘kits-for-classes’ program, and hope that it encourages more students to think about where goods come from and how natural resources can be used responsibly,” she says. Public school teachers can request the free kits online at The process of making candy, along with the educational material enclosed in each kit, provides an opportunity to learn about ecology, chemistry, mathematics, measurement, and more. Verve also offers free lesson plans and supplemental teaching tools on its website.

learned about the sustainable harvest of the tree sap chicle on a 1992 visit to Guatemala. Back at home in Our Backyard, Schimberg and her children experimented at making their own chewing gum with chicle—and developed a kit based on the results. The success of the Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit led to Schimberg creating another chicle-based line, Glee Gum— now the leading natural chewing gum on the market—as well as Make Your Own Chocolate and Gummies Kits. Popular at schools, museums, summer camps, and birthday parties, the Make Your Own Candy Kits connect children to the global community by tracing the origins of their food. For example, the Make Your Own Gummies Kit relies on seaweed from the Philippines, the Make Your Own Chocolate Kit uses organic cocoa butter from Costa Rica, and the Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit’s gum base contains chicle from Mexico. Chris Barnett Senior Public Affairs Officer Rhode Island Foundation

The company’s candy-making kits are popular at schools, museums, summer camps, and birthday parties, while its natural Glee Gum line is sold nationwide at thousands of stores and chains like Whole Foods. Schimberg began Verve with an educational focus. Then a teacher, she

The company’s candy-making kits are popular at schools, museums, summer camps, and birthday parties | volume three issue ten


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U.S. Small Business Administration Seeks Nominations For Rhode Island Small Business Awards | SBA

U.S. Small Business

Administration Seeks Nominations For Rhode Island Small Business Awards






by Seth A. Goodall

Nominations are now being accepted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the 2015 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year and other small business awards. Winners will be honored during the Rhode Island Small Business Week celebration in the spring of 2015. The nomination deadline is Friday, November 21, 2014. Awards will be presented in 11 categories. Any individual or organization dedicated to the support of the small business community may submit nominations for these prestigious awards. The other awards include: Entrepreneurial Success Award, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year, SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Minority Small Business of the Year, Veteran Small Business of the Year, Home-based Small Business of the Year, and Women-Owned Business of the Year, Microenterprise of the Year, and Financial Services Champion of the Year.

Warwick/Kent Hospital Area: 58 Tollgate Road. Ideal Professional. Two office suites. Separate heat. Electric/AC. Both entrances on Tollgate. Get rental income or use as one unit. Walk to hospital, route 95, downtown city hall, parking. $400’s. Veterans Memoral Dr., Extention underway, maximum exposure. AAA location.



Warwick, Cowesett/ Drum Rock Estates: Ready to build, 100’x100’ wooded lot, ideal for multi generational setup or build to suit, all utilities, sewers, one lot available. Starting low $300’s. Centerville Road to Diamond Hill Road. To Larchmont/Sage, Left Boulder View Dr.

Call Pat Bucci at 401.942.3854 For More Info.

The Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year will also have the opportunity to participate in the National Small Business Week activities and will compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award. Award guidelines and nomination forms are available from the SBA Rhode Island District Office by calling (401) 5284561, or by e-mailing Seth A. Goodall New England Regional Administrator U.S. Small Business Administration | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | It’s Been Called The “Csi Effect.” And It’s Impacting How We Read, Watch, And Listen

It’s been called

the “CSI effect.”

And it’s impacting how we read, watch, and listen. by Nancy Thomas

As communicators, we need to be aware of our audience, and know their characteristics and their preferred ways of receiving information. How often do we know these things, and even spend some money finding them out, yet go back to writing, speaking and communicating in the way we always did? This brings about the old saying that goes something like, “stop doing the same things and expecting different results.” Today, many audiences, especially those under 40, and I’d push that to even under 50, are looking for their information in short doses. Snippets, with some unnatural break—be it a photograph or some musical repetition or a graphic. Then, another snippet. And so on. Most communicators are, by nature, long-form animals. We like to write lots of description and paragraphs of explanation. Inserting photos or graphics comes at the end, and is not built into our writing. To be effective today, we must understand what all of this fast communication—be it Twitter, texting, even sexting!—has done for our brain’s ability to process information. We are literally, I believe, rewiring our brains every day. Back to the “CSI effect.” In courtrooms, this refers to the immediacy of fact and what technology can prove. But for those of us in the communications field, it refers to how a story is being told, or a message is being delivered. If you are a fan, you should watch the next program and outline it. Watch the multiple story lines. The insertion of repetitive musical phrases. Images that snap in and out. Our brain is taking all of this in in short excerpts, if you will—and it’s liking it very much, if ratings are an indicator. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty addicting, isn’t it? Almost like flipping through your Twitter account and getting the snippets of information that describe the Middle East conflict between Israel and Hamas in short 140 or less characters. Or, what’s happening in the retrieval of bodies in a mass air casualty. “Just the facts, ma’am. And, could you get to the point quicker?” PR people, communications specialists, news reporters, company owners, and others need to pay attention to this phenomenon, even if it is begrudgingly so. It’s not going away. There will always be an audience for “long-form” media—the whole story, the analysis. But if you are promoting a product,


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

business or service, or if you want someone to take action to come to an event, to buy something, or even to share information, be succinct. Be brutal in your editing. Provide lots of all-important white space in your copy, and snippets of information that move the eye from one concept to another. Spend time finding photos and graphics that truly add to your message, because for some readers, it is all they will read. Blogging? Keep it short if you want the masses. Go ahead with the longer versions if you want the academicians, researchers, or others like you to dive into those deeper waters. I’m sure scientists are busily watching how our brains are reacting to all this new technology. I’m watching young people. Remember instant messaging and how ding-ding-ding their computers would go? Then it was Facebook, then a shortening of text on Twitter, then pictures-only on Instagram, then Snapchat, Vine, and more… No question about it, we are an over-communicated society, even with all this going on. So, while we still have a basic desire to connect, our brains are urging this information to be shorter and shorter. And if we want to be heard, and be successful, we need to listen to those pleas. And adjust. Keep flexible. Keep it short. With some wonderful exceptions, most young people today struggle with communication on a one-to-one basis—they have mastered communicating on their electronic devices. But if we want to train people to be successful in the workplace, in relationships, or even on a job interview, this ability has been devalued to a point where a certain amount of tutoring is required to make up for shortened attention spans, reduced communication skills and the ability to think abstractly. Unless you work in a service industry as a waitperson or clerk, you may very well not have the opportunity to interact, make eye contact, and speak effectively. You’ll need to practice. While scientists will continue to analyze, interpret, and predict what these new trends mean for society as a whole, we must adapt our messaging and communication tactics to an everchanging world. Our failure to do so means no one may be listening—no one at all. Nancy Thomas President Tapestry Communications

PCBs – How They Affect Your Health and Your Wallet | SMALL BUSINESS


How They Affect

Your Health and Your Wallet

by Robert Atwood and Craig Paradis

Did you know that everyday building materials like caulking, glazing, paints and a variety of other commercial products used from 1950 until 1979 may contain chemicals that present significant health risks and liabilities when not managed properly? PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are manmade chemicals historically used in the built environment in a way that is creating significant challenges to the demolition and redevelopment world. In 1979, the EPA banned manufacturing PCBs and then began regulating the use and disposal of PCB-containing materials, under what is commonly known as TSCA. Several states, such as Connecticut, have also imposed additional regulations. The driving goal of these regulations is to control health risks related to PCB-contaminated dust, debris and indoor air quality. Meeting today’s regulatory standards has brought on challenges that can be problematic, time-consuming and costly. We have found that three major road blocks exist: FIRST - TSCA does not mandate testing for PCBs, yet proper disposal is required whether or not you know about the presence of PCBs. Also, not only are final disposal facilities heavily regulated, but leaving PCB-impacted material in the built environment is considered “unauthorized use” and is not allowed without considerable on-going and long-term maintenance responsibility. SECOND - Regulations dealing with PCBs were not written with building materials in mind, they were written primarily for releases of liquids from items such as transformers and are, therefore, very ambiguous. THIRD - Disposal options are limited, costly and not located in New England. Based on our experience, we have learned that the best way to manage the PCB issue is to

plan in advance and create a successful management strategy that includes: • • • • • • • •

Inventory of high-risk structures and materials. Understanding their condition. Defining construction age, renovation or demolition plans, material condition, occupants and potential exposures. Selective sampling of suspect materials. No indoor air sampling without knowledge of all possible indoor sources of PCB. Upfront planning for controlled removal. Carefully written contract documents. Conservative off-site disposal of impacted material.

The best approach to developing and implementing a management strategy begins with understanding the regulations and how to apply that knowledge to your project or to the group of buildings you manage. You must plan first and sample only after you understand the following: • • • • •

How detection of certain levels of PCB will impact planned work. Workers’ right to know about contamination they may be exposed to. Scopes of work needed to control exposures during and after the work. Disposal requirements for impacted materials. Likely impacts on project schedules and costs. Project after project has proven that strong upfront planning and management enables owners to control liability and compliance, while controlling costs and negative impacts on project schedules. This strategy will keep your demolition or renovation project just that and not a PCB abatement project with a life of its own.

Robert Atwood, PE, LSP President & CEO Resource Control Associates, Inc. Craig Paradis Project Scientist Resource Control Associates, Inc. | volume three issue ten


Passion, Guts, an

Tips from a Rhode Island Startby Tom Burgess

Every entrepreneur, whether just starting out or a seasoned pro, always has more to learn. Every decision, success, and failure will teach you something. Over the past 20 years, I have successfully founded and sold three high-tech companies. Four years ago, I founded my fourth and I’m still learning every day. But some lessons have stood out more than others. My top three tips for entrepreneurs work for anyone seeking success in early stage ventures, but they work particularly well for those just starting out. Learn from my mistakes and use them with your first, fifth, or fiftieth startup venture.

The Importance Of Passion

The biggest piece of advice I wish I received when I started out is don’t be shy and don’t let naysayers get you down or distracted. If there is something you believe in, if you have a good idea or a path or a concept, be passionate about it. Not everyone will believe in you, not everyone will think your idea is a good one, but that doesn’t matter. Stick to your guns and keep going. This is the biggest piece of advice, because it’s also the hardest. The significant majority of people are scared of innovation, disruption and change. Be confident, be passionate, and don’t give up on your idea if you believe in it.

Follow Your Gut

Personally, not following my gut was the biggest mistake I’ve made. Even if you’re receiving differing opinions, just remember that you’re the entrepreneur. That means it’s your idea, your instinct, and your neck out on the line. If your gut is telling you something, then listen to it. There might be someone more experienced telling you to go a different way, but trust your own instincts. That’s not to say don’t listen to advice. You might get great guidance that impacts your plan, but there is nothing like a gut feeling to keep you focused. All it means is that if you feel something deep in your gut, then don’t disregard that feeling just because you might be inexperienced. If your idea got you so far, and your plan has taken you down the right path, then keep going.

Network, Network, Then Network Some More

Let’s say there is someone you want to pitch, an investor you want to land, or a person you want to connect with. You don’t know them? Doesn’t matter! Network until you do. Surround yourself with people that have been successful in the markets you want to go into. Find out where they’re speaking, show up, wait in line, introduce yourself to them, ask for a card, ask to grab a coffee. There is no shame in networking aggressively. Too often entrepreneurs have a person, or a list of people, they would love to connect with, but are scared


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

to reach out to them because that person is too successful, even famous in some cases. But ask yourself, what are you going to lose? The worst that happens is you don’t hear back. So email, call, talk to people, go to events, and network with anyone you think can help. At the end of the day, when you are making decisions where there are millions of dollars behind it and multiple investors and employees, those are hard decisions to make. In the beginning, you need to do a few simple things: be passionate, follow your gut, and network. Through my experiences, it became incredibly clear to me that in building companies there is always more to learn. But these lessons are a good place to start.

Tom Burgess

Rhode Island local Tom Burgess is a seasoned executive with deep interactive advertising and digital media technology experience. He has successfully pioneered an array of innovative advertising solutions and holds numerous direct response and offer delivery technology patents. Burgess is a frequent speaker at global marketing conferences and has been quoted or featured in Forbes, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and CNBC. In 2001, Burgess founded Third Screen Media, the world’s first mobile advertising network. Third Screen Media set the standard globally for wireless advertising and was acquired by AOL 2007, delivering a 10x return for investors. Prior to his tenure at Third Screen Media, Burgess served as President of internet portal where he guided the company to a successful public offering and later orchestrated sale of the company to He also served as founder and CEO of 9th Square Inc. (later rebranded as, Inc.), an e-commerce and advertising software and services company and Echomedia, Inc., one of the first internet advertising companies. Burgess has consistently provided excellent returns for investors and was recently inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame by Blue Chip Ventures for superior entrepreneurial performance. Tom’s success as an entrepreneur has allowed him and his family to live their dreams. His wife and two children are avid adventurers. They have sailed more than 50,000 miles on two multi-year ocean voyages, spearfishing in remote atolls of the South Pacific, hiking volcanic caldera’s and living 1000’s of miles away from modern civilization for months at a time. They currently reside in Rhode Island. Tom Burgess Founder Third Screen Media

nd Networking

-Up Addict

If there is something you believe in, if you have a good idea or a path or a concept, be passionate about it. | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | Improving The Integrity Of Our State’s Retirement System


by Gina Raimondo

Since I came into office, a priority of the Treasury has been to develop and support several programs to improve the retirement system and disability compliance in the state of Rhode Island.

The most recent improvements to the disability compliance process and overpayment findings is a true example of government working. Ensuring the integrity of the Rhode Island retirement system and improving disability compliance continues to be one of the Treasury’s top priorities.

As part of this effort, my team and I are dedicated to saving taxpayers’ money, increasing public confidence in disability compliance and improving the integrity of the Rhode Island retirement system.

The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island is the state’s largest public employee retirement system. The $8 billion retirement system handles pension issues for state employees, teachers, the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS), MERS police and fire, correctional officers, BHDDH nurses, state police and judges.

At the State Retirement Board Meeting last month, I was pleased to announce that improvements to disability compliance throughout my term as Treasurer have resulted in the finding of more than $1 million in overearnings dating back to 2000. Beginning in 2011, a disability audit was initiated by the Treasury following irregularities within the disability compliance process.

The state retirement system must be efficient and effective for Rhode Islanders. My team and I have made improvements to the state’s retirement system, and we will continue to look for innovative ways to save taxpayer’s money and improve the retirement system.

Acting on recommendations and findings of BlumShapiro, an independent audit firm, we were able to identify $1,052,406.42 in overearnings that can be attributed to 16 retirees. The 16 retirees identified had earned income in excess of what is allowed by law. Of the identified overearnings, $593,097.63 of it has already been collected. The Employee’s Retirement System of Rhode Island has been and will continue to recoup the monies owed to the pension trust through pension payment suspensions.

we will continue to look for innovative ways to save taxpayer’s money and improve the retirement system


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

My office worked in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office to set up a hotline that is used to report potential pension fraud. The hotline is available 24 hours a day at (401) 462-TIPS (462-8477). Since 2013, the hotline has received more than 470 calls and we are currently investigating leads in pending cases. By working together, we can continue to improve the veracity of the entire retirement system. Gina Raimondo Rhode Island General Treasurer

Think Like A Hacker! Tips To Protecting Your Business | SMALL BUSINESS

Tips to Protecting Your Business by Lisa Shorr

Do you trust the cloud? I am not referring to those clouds in the sky, but rather the cloud in your computer or the Internet. More and more business applications are becoming cloud-based. But how do you feel confident using the cloud when the media is breaking news about a new security break occurring all of the time? From the TJX credit card breach to last year’s Target breach (which affected over 40 million of their customers—were you one of them?) to this year’s newest threat Cryptolocker, which encrypts many of your document files and requires the victim to pay a ransom to a criminal organization to free them, our confidence in network security is shaky. So what do you do? You gain some knowledge and think like a hacker! Now I am not saying to become a hacker yourself, but if you understand what a hacker is and how they think and operate, then you will be able to create a plan to more effectively safeguard your network.

2. Malware – Damaging software that infects your computer, doesn’t spread, but is often more damaging. 3. Phishing – A bogus email that looks like it is from a legitimate source, such as FedEx, United States Postal Service, PayPal, E-Bay, Bank of America, to name just a few. The intention of the email is to create an urgency in the recipient which then causes this person to click on the links and often provide username and password information. 4. Pharming – The takeover of a legitimate website that redirects to fake sites. Look out for these signs that indicate your network has been infected: 1. Your machine or network runs slower than usual. 2. You receive unwanted pop-up windows, often directing you to purchase items or directing you to illicit sites. 3. You can’t open your files. Follow this checklist to mitigate your risks: •

A hacker hacks for 3 reasons: Fame amongst others in the hacker world, just for the fun of it and, of course, fortune! So what are they looking for?

1. Easy targets of opportunity – networks with little security (like a small business!). 2. Someone else’s network – maybe YOURS! A hacker never uses their own network to conduct attacks. 3. Computers that are out-of-date (such as Windows and 3rd party updates) – Anti-virus protection is expired, firewalls are not current or there is no spam filtering service.

• • •

They enter your network using a variety of methods. They steal or guess passwords, log your keystrokes and send you junk email, also known as spam. Another method is by creating “Zombie Computers” or a “BOTNET.” This means the hacker places malicious code on your computer along with many others and then from a remote command center sends viruses and other attacks to various targets – without you realizing your computer is the culprit!

• • •

Look at website URLs closely. The email might look legitimate, but the URL is the giveaway! Be careful downloading pictures, opening attachments and clicking links. If you do get a “phishing” email, don’t click on any links. GO TO THAT VENDOR’S WEBSITE DIRECTLY and log in from there! Make sure your anti-virus software is scanning and up-to-date. Make sure your spam-filtering software is current and running. Ensure your firewall is inspecting all inbound and outbound traffic. Make sure your computers are up-to-date. Remember, Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft. If you still run XP, you are a prime target for a hacker! Make sure you are backing up your data daily in case your network is so badly corrupted it needs to be wiped clean and reloaded. Last but not least: TRAIN YOUR USERS AT YOUR OFFICE on what to look for.

Worried yet? A recent cyber security report by Fireeye revealed 97% of monitored networks were breached between October 2013 and March 2014. How are these criminals getting through? Here are a few of the dangers:

It is time to fight back. Change your passwords regularly, discard any and all emails that are asking you to log in and provide your personal information and go directly to the source, back up your data and please think before you click on any images, links, etc. or you may end up paying a high ransom.

1. Viruses – Malicious code that spreads (like a human virus) by infecting files.

Lisa Shorr VP of Marketing PC Troubleshooters, Inc. | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | Adapting Your Leadership Style in a Growing Business

A D A P T I N G by Meghan McGrath and Suzanne Bates

No matter what size business you lead, as you grow, you face challenges. Expanding your business and improving your bottom line requires an adaptive leadership style; as your company gets larger, you face different challenges, including the need to work through others to get things done.



in a Growin

Tim Hebert, CEO of Atrion, a Rhode Island-based technology services company, can speak to the need for leadership to keep pace. “We have had the unique luxury that not all executives have,” he says, “and that’s starting a company from nothing. That’s really kind of an interesting challenge because you have to evolve yourself as a leader many, many times to go from nothing to 100 million.” Leaders like Hebert know it’s difficult to predict how they will need to adapt, but over time, embrace how essential it is to carry them through times of change, uncertainty, and growth. As you grow, you need to marshal the efforts of employees who may not see you on regular basis. Conveying your values and communicating in a more strategic and intentional way is the key to motivating and inspiring others to do what is necessary to drive growth. Over the last year, extensive research has been conducted to pinpoint the qualities embodied by exceptional leaders, defined by the elusive term “executive presence” (EP).* The researchers from Bates, an executive development firm, were able to develop the first scientifically validated model and assessment, The Bates ExPI, which breaks EP down into three elements—character, substance, and style. The model further defines 15 unique and distinct facets—5 per dimension. These 15 facets (see table on the right) are the qualities of leadership that we know make good leaders great. In times of growth and change, it is most important for leaders to project these qualities in order to win hearts and minds. By projecting these qualities, leaders are able to align people around shared goals, harness their energy, and inspire them to drive toward the vision and strategy for the future. As your organization expands and your role evolves, it’s essential to know which leadership traits need to be developed or brought into play. Hebert noted a necessary and major shift in his leadership approach over two decades. “In the early days of our company, we were visionaries. We had ideas and we knew how to bring them together, but as much as we were visionary and strategic at that level, we were equally tactical. As the organization grew, we had to grow up from task managers and delegators to being people that empowered their team, people that invested and developed the minds and creativity of their people…and actually physically leading them. That’s a major evolution”.


RISBJ | rhode island small | rhode island smallbusiness businessjournal journal

Conveying your values and c intentional way is the key to motiva

Adapting Your Leadership Style in a Growing Business | SMALL BUSINESS


ng Business

communicating in a more strategic and ating and inspiring others to do what is necessary to drive growth.


All of us have strengths and areas we can develop. You may be the type of leader who is highly regarded for your practical wisdom and assertiveness; you shine with great ideas in meetings with small groups. However, as your responsibility grows, and you’re leading larger teams, multiple business units, or even global businesses, it becomes increasingly important to become more inclusive, allowing others to feel safe sharing ideas and solving problems; that will free you up to be more strategic. You also may need to project more resonance, or the quality of reading people and acknowledging their thoughts and emotions. You may find it necessary to paint a clearer picture of your mission and vision in a way that rallies the troops and inspires above and beyond commitment. “What I realized was that I couldn’t build that same strong personal connection that had gotten me to 150 employees with the next 150 or 200 or 1,000 employees that we might add,” commented Hebert. “So my leadership had to take on a different element. I had to become more visible in larger groups”. One way to share the values that you want to maintain as your company grows is by sharing stories that tell people where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, and why it matters to them. Stories help people connect and resonate with you, and convey your message in a way that is powerful and memorable. When telling stories, it is important to: 1. Make a point to highlight behaviors and values that make you who you are. 2. Engage your audience in a meaningful way by making the story relevant to their challenges today. 3. Make it personal - don’t be afraid to reveal aspects of your journey that are real and convey authenticity. 4. Share the credit with others to recognize their achievements, conveying your confidence in them, and your humility about the role you play. Storytelling is a great device for standing on a larger stage and connecting with more distant audiences. Even as you notice fewer opportunities to connect one-on-one, or see people once a month or once a quarter, your message will be more powerful and memorable to these audiences. Cultivating and polishing your executive presence is crucial to the successful growth of your company. When you lead during times of change, your employees will gain confidence in your leadership and vision. EP isn’t just fluff—it’s the foundation for great leaderships and successful organizations; when you evolve with your company, you set the bar for success that much higher. Meghan McGrath Marketing and Public Relations Associate, Bates Suzanne Bates CEO & Founder, Bates| | volume three issue ten



400 South County Trail, Exeter: Great location!! Design Award of Excellence. Private baths. Centrally located 6 minutes South of Home Depot in North Kingstown. Easy access at the gateway to South County. Taxes are approximate. Assessment as unfinished. 900-4,000 sq.ft. available. From $105,000

1755 Smith Street, North Providence:

Former Dunkin Donuts for over 30 years (they bought & moved across the street). Seats 30+. Has a drive-thru. Parking for 20+. GREAT for ANY fast food concept. 2000 sq. ft. $2,500/mo.

1950 South County Trail, East Greenwich: 20,000 SF warehouse space with 5 dock height doors, 24’ clear height. Ample Parking, Located off Route 2, Great Access to Route 4. Lease at $5 psf.

6 Jefferson Drive, Coventry:

Attention: Investors and 1031 facilitators... Solid National Tenants in this like new office, production, and distribution space. Lead tenant is Neptune-Benson, a leading supplier of commercial water filtration systems. Ryan-Herco is secondary tenant who is a major supplier of parts that support Neptune-Benson. Synergistic relationship adds to already stable companies and likelihood for long term tenancy. Approx. 9% CAP, $4,250,000.

963 Victory Highway, Mapleville:

111 Hopkins Hill Road, West Greenwich:

2220 South County Trail, East Greenwich:

2240 South County Trail, East Greenwich:

Post Office. Great investment opportunity!; stand alone building, with long-term USPO lease and other income units with upside potential. The front of the building has been divided into a retail/ studio, garage, and apartment.. The entrance to the post office is in the back of the building, where there another garage, and large parking lot. Approx. 9% CAP, $579,000

One year lease offers buyer(s) time and income to space plan & seek permits. Close to Exit 7 on Rte 4 across from Stanley Bostich and adjacent Stork’s Nest Child Academy. Lease at $14 psf.

Commercial • Investment • Residential

½ acre – 16 acres Very fast growing area off Exit 6A near GTech, Amgen & Centrex. Front pad is busy Dunkin Donuts, balance of site permits office, retail, warehouse & light industrial. Traffic count 15,000 and growing! Multitude of possibilities- 6 other avail. lots. From $150,000

All spaces include utilities except warehouse. Warehouse space includes 1,200 SF of office space and shared loading dock.Located in expanding business park with ample parking. Quiet, wooded site. Direct highway access to Route 4. On Route 2, near intersection of 402 (Frenchtown Rd.). 6-12 sq ft warehouse from $6 psf. Call for details.

111 Airport Road, Warwick:

Very nice 2nd floor office space near Hoxsie 4 corners. Tastefully decorated, good paint & carpet, possible office furnishings (nice stuff!) Three offices, conference, reception, lav., plus large basement storage. $180/month condo fee. $77,500

222 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick:

Class “a” law office includes conference room, 4 private offices, lavette, reception, storage, kitchen. over 1450 sq ft, plus 500 sq ft storage! Reduced $179,900


7265 Post Road, North Kingstown:

7.82 acres on US Rt.1. Zoning permits apartments/office/medical/retail. Many possibilities!! Will build to suit, sale or lease, or land only. Great location. Dozens of acres and walking trails behind property. Adjacent 5+- acres also available. Call For Details!

39 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich:

2,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. flex space for lease. Warehouse, office, classrooms, thearte, recreational, 6 acre site with 500’ front on route 3 land lease available for outdoor storage, nursery greenhouse, ect. Only 1.2 mile from Exit 6. Next to retail plaza. From $5 psf.

Many more Commercial Properties or email Jeff Butler at Trusted Real Estate Service Since 1977 Looking to Buy or Lease? Call the Butler!


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal



Storm Team Joins Forces With H O M E S M A R T P R O F E S S I O N A L S R E A L E S TAT E

Warwick, RI - HOMESMART PROFESSIONALS REAL ESTATE is proud to announce that Stacey Eliades, Matthew Hevenor and Bette-Anne Corrente have joined its Warwick office location.

in 2002 as co-owner of Storm Realty, he continued to guide buyers and sellers through the sales process with knowledge and expertise.

Broker/Owner Dean deTonnancourt said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to be in business with Stacey, Matt, and Bette-Anne! To have a successful independent broker join forces with our company is a huge honor. We look forward to much success together!”

Having owned and operated several companies and with over 13 years of experience in real estate, Bette-Anne looks forward to assisting every buyer and seller in their pursuit of homeownership.

Stacey brings extensive knowledge in real estate law and understanding of legal issues that arise during a foreclosure. After a career as a legal assistant in Long Island, Stacey made Cranston, RI her home in 2000, where she started her real estate career becoming the Principal Broker of Storm Realty, LLC. With over 25 years of experience, Matt began his real estate career with his father, Bruce Hevenor where he specialized in bank owned and short sale properties. Joining forces with Stacey

The knowledge and experience of the Storm Team further compliments HomeSmart Professionals’ commitment to full customer service and assistance in the often confusing real estate transactions. For more information on HomeSmart Professionals and its career opportunities, visit Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at http://www.facebook. com/hsprofessionalsrealestate, Twitter at HomeSmartRI. | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | Holding Real Estate In Your IRA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; An Alternative Investment Part II

Holding Real Est A N



A moderately aggressive portfolio will generate 10% annually, while a conservative portfolio will return around 5% annually. 30

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Holding Real Estate In Your IRA – An Alternative Investment Part II | SMALL BUSINESS

tate In

Your IRA

N V E S T M E N T by Angela M. Thomson

In the previous issues we reviewed the concept of holding real estate in your IRA as an alternative for generating a steady stream of income from your investments. As a reminder, please refer to IRS publication 590 for a detailed analysis of these types of transactions. Let us assume you have found a property you wish to buy, and have already done the necessary prerequisite work needed to establish an account for your Real Estate IRA. At this point, you will need to fund your IRA with the cash required to acquire the property. Funding for an account can be accomplished via a custodial transfer. Essentially, you are wiring your assets from your existing IRA account to your newly established IRA Trust account. Any other method of asset transfer is discouraged, as the IRS has very specific rollover rules, and any incorrect treatment of these rollover funds may result in a taxable event, if the transfer of assets is not executed properly. You can fund your real estate purchase with any of the following investment vehicles: traditional IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, SEP IRA’s or through a SIMPLE account. You can also use a combination of those investment vehicles to hold the investment real estate. Example 1: You want to buy an investment condo for $125,000. You have sufficient assets in your Traditional IRA ($150,000), but do not want to reduce the existing accounts base to that level or you may have illiquid assets in your current account. You also have additional funds in your Roth IRA, with a current value of $40,000 and would like to use some of those funds to supplement the purchase. You can create a Roth RE IRA for this transaction. The Traditional IRA will now contribute $100,000 to the property purchase or have an 80% ownership stake in the property, and the Roth IRA will contribute $25,000 and have a 20% share of the property (these numbers are generalizations and exclude closing costs). Upon completion of the transaction, you are now free to rent the property. Let’s use a rental income of $1,000 per month for your new property. Every month when you receive the rent check, you would deposit 80% of that amount into your traditional account and the residual 20% into your Roth. Conversely, when you have a property tax bill due,



the cost of the taxes would be a direct distribution from each IRA to the municipality at an 80%/20% ratio. Example 2: Let us take the same property selling at $125,000. You would like to purchase this property, but do not have sufficient funds. You can maintain a percentage ownership with another business partner. In this case, you have an IRA balance of $80,000 and your spouse has a similar account containing $76,000. With this scenario, you could both purchase a 50% share in the property by utilizing $62,500 from each account to make the purchase. Partners are not limited to spouses; they can be unrelated parties as well. The degree of ownership is established by the percentage of the purchase price contributed by each individual investor, and is not limited to the number of investors. Now that we have worked out the implementation, it is time to look at the cash flow generated from the investment. With our first example—one owner and two separate real estate holding accounts—the annual cash flow would be $12,000 before expenses. Let us assume taxes, insurance, and incidentals amount to $4,000 annually. Your net flow from the investment would be $8,000. With a cost basis of $125,000, your annual return on this investment is 9.6%. Contrasting this return to historical standards, you would be receiving a relatively high rate of return. A moderately aggressive portfolio will generate 10% annually, while a conservative portfolio will return around 5% annually. In addition to generating monthly cash flow, you should also experience price appreciation on the property, particularly given our current economic cycle. Let us assume you have held the property for two years, and sell it for $137,000. In those two years, you have realized a combined profit of $12,000 as a result of increasing property values and you have received $16,000 in rental income (after expenses) for a total of $28,000. Your initial investment of $125,000 has netted you returns of 22% over a two-year period, and you have added the advantage of decreasing market risk that would have otherwise been associated with equity purchases. The gains are not the only positive benefit received from this style of investing. Real Estate IRA’s maintain tax preference. All gains and appreciation are tax deferred until you begin your required minimum distributions at 70 ½. If you had purchased the same property outside of an IRA, your investment would have been subject to capital gains taxes and income taxes. This has been a brief analysis on the utilization of real estate in your IRA, and it is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a professional in the completion of this type of investment transaction. Best of luck in your pursuit of profits! Angela M. Thomson CFP® | volume three issue ten


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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

The 2nd Annual

Entrepreneurial Women To Watch Awards Starting a business requires a high level of determination, confidence, and strength. But starting a successful business also calls for one more factor: the entrepreneurial spirit. The entrepreneurial spirit is the fresh burst of energy that wakes you up at the crack of dawn every day. It’s the motivation to never plateau and to always look for new opportunities for growth. And finally, it’s the ability to see your business’ impact on the community it’s surrounded by.

professional and sophisticated women industry leaders in our state and the amazing work they’ve been doing. During the 2014 awards, we noticed that our applicants were from a wide range of backgrounds, and each was in a different phase of her business’ growth. So, this year RISBJ decided to open up the awards by presenting them in five categories: Startup Business, Solopreneur, Small Business, Community Champion, and Minority-Owned.

Over the past couple of years, Rhode Island has witnessed a tremendous growth in the women-owned small businesses segment as more women are embracing their inherent entrepreneurial spirit. Last year, RISBJ started the Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards as a way to honor the most confident, tenacious,

Each of the nominees this year had unique stories that deserved to be told. Each of the nominees had an effect on the community that surrounded them, and each of them wasn’t afraid to fight for their dreams. They pushed through everything from state regulations to natural disasters to partnerships gone

Elizabeth Cunha Kathleen Moren

Center for Dynamic Learning Community Champion

Maria Denizard La Femme Salon Minority-Owned

Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc. Community Champion

Lesli-Ann Powell Dr. Kate Siner

Little Birdie Papercraft and Design Studio Solopreneur

Dr. Kate Inc. Solopreneur

All of this made being part of our selection committee a difficult task. This year, Sierra Barter, PVD Lady Project; Alison Bologna, owner of Shri Studio; Nikki Groom, The F Factor; Sandra McNamara, Center for Women and Enterprise; Rebecca Murray; and Cristen Faherty, Captivatingly Chic, made up our selection committee. They had the tough responsibility of cutting down the 500 admirable nominees to just 15 winners, 3 in each category. We wish to congratulate the following winners of the second annual Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards:

Jen Silbert Kappy Bois

Learning 401 Community Champion

Anne Aldridge Ava Anderson

Ocean State House Cleaning Small Business

wrong, and now they stand at the forefront of their respective industries, showing fellow entrepreneurs the pathway to success.

Royal Health and Wellness Minority-Owned

Yemi Sekoni

Donahue Models and Talent Minority-Owned

Michelle Collie Kristin Niessink

Performance Physical Therapy Small Business

Ava Anderson Non Toxic Small Business

Stephanie Additon Jan Faust Dane Java Skincare Startup

Stock Culinary Goods Startup

Kristin Niessink MS, RD, LDN Solopreneur

Maria Tocco

The Providence Flea Startup

This issue of RISBJ is dedicated to honoring the Women to Watch, not only because we get to tell the inspirational stories of 15 remarkable women, but also because we will be highlighting more local business leaders who are making a major impact in our state. Over the next few pages, you’ll get to know about each winner’s career path as we chronicle the important moments that made each woman who she is today. We’ve also caught up with last year’s winners to see what they’ve been up to since they won and how their businesses have grown over the past year. volumePlan three tenIsland. The 2015 Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards is sponsored by HealthSourceRI, Beacon Mutual, Neighborhood| Health ofissue Rhode 33

Catching Up with the Winners of the First Annual Last year, RISBJ launched the Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards, an honor that aims to recognize the exceptional women industry leaders of Rhode Island. Last year’s awards had seven winners: Alayne White, Alayne White Spas; Alison Bologna, Shri Studios; Blythe Penna, Ruffin’ Wranglers; Jessica Wood, Fire and Water Restaurant Group; Lynne Bryan Phipps, The Compass School; Lynsey Colgan, A Child’s University; and Nancy Parker Wilson, Greenvale Vineyards.


Blythe Penna, Ruffin’ Wranglers Blythe Penna loves dogs and always wanted to own her own business, so she created a dog excursion company. At the Ruffin’ Wranglers’ ranch, dogs are free to run around and play off the leash for an hour and a half over five acres of fenced-in land. Penna says her business allows “guilt-free dog ownership” for clients because they can simply let their dogs be dogs.

Since winning last year, these women have not stopped pursuing their dreams. We checked in with each of the winners and found that they’ve continued growing their businesses and inspiring entrepreneurs throughout Rhode Island.

Just like her fellow finalists, Penna says her company has had an “incredible year” since winning the awards. Ruffin’ Wranglers was able to add a fifth Sniff Truck to the fleet and they hired two additional “wranglers” to watch over the dogs. The company has also witnessed huge customer growth, now averaging about 70-100 dogs per day!

Alayne White, Alayne White Spas Founded in June 2002, Alayne White Spas focuses on

“The RISBJ Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Awards was great for my company. I know it put Ruffin’ Wranglers on the radar as a business to watch and gave us the opportunity to be known in the local business community,” said Penna.

providing exceptional customer service and unique, creative treatments at its Bristol and Providence locations. All of the treatments offered at Alayne White Spas were created and designed by White and include a creative variety of facials, body treatments, pedicures, massage and waxing. Since winning the awards last year, White says Alayne White Spas “has shown growth as it has continued to since our inception in 2002. The honor of winning this delightful award last year created a wonderful buzz around my brand of not only a place to come to as a client, but a great place to work. This momentum really helped attract seasoned employees who wanted to not only work at a place with a stellar reputation, but also a place where the leadership and teamwork was recognized statewide by this award.”

Alison Bologna, Shri Studio and Shri Service Corps Alison Bologna, a local anchor for WJAR, is a longtime student of yoga who opened Shri Studio in downtown Pawtucket and Shri Service Corps, a nonprofit organization. Her mission is to offer yoga and wellness classes to the local district while spearheading neighborhood revitalization efforts. After winning the awards last year, Bologna continued pushing her studio and nonprofit in new directions. “First, we’ve hired more teachers and expect to be 30 strong by the end of the year. Second, we’ve expanded our yoga and character-building curriculum and project base to include more work in hospitals and senior centers, while expanding our adaptive yoga project with several new partners, extending into Massachusetts. Third, we’re running our second, national yoga alliance teacher training. And fourth, we’ve successfully launched Shri Bark, a karma-packed snack. Shri Bark, an oat, seed and fruit square, is now sold in more than a dozen stores, including Whole Foods in Providence, and we’ve partnered with Lean Box, a Boston-based company to provide the workforce in some of New England’s largest corporations with more access to smart snacks,” said Bologna.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Jessica Wood, Fire and Water Restaurant Group As one of the founders of Fire and Water Restaurant Group, Wood owns Caliente Mexican Grill, The Burger Shack, UMelt, and WildWood Catering. Wood makes a point of using local, sustainable products in all of her restaurants to help support other Rhode Island businesses. Her company has created hundreds of jobs, and is continuing to provide more opportunities for Rhode Islanders as they grow.

epreneurial Women to Watch Awards “Since wining last year, our company has continued to see success,” said Wood. “Our UMelt brand won three Best of Rhode Island’s, one being Best Lunch in Providence. I have been able to participate in some great female chef events, including two Dinner by Dames, featuring some of the best female chefs in the state.”

equestrians to coaches worldwide in real-time. With the latest technological innovations, athletes will get instant feedback from audio and video feeds; transforming their capabilities without geographical barriers,” said Phipps. “I am grateful for the Women to Watch Awards, as it was a catalyst that helped connect me to others and achieve this type of success.”

Wood was grateful to be named a winner last year, and says “the attention the Rhode Island Small Business Journal is giving by spotlighting women in business is wonderful and needed.”

Lynsey Colgan, A Child’s University Lynsey Colgan owns A Child’s University, an early childhood

Lynne Bryan Phipps,

The Compass School After realizing her kids weren’t seeing the value in their education, Lynne Bryan Phipps decided to found The Compass School. A K-8 charter school, The Compass School fosters an engaging environment where kids work in their preferred areas and grow into themselves under the foundational principles of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Always embracing her entrepreneurial spirit, Phipps hasn’t stopped creating new projects since winning last year’s awards. Her magazine, Inspirited Living, has expanded into a new phase of outreach called “Inspirited Institute.” This phase is run by a group of specialists who are helping people reach their goal of living a compassionate life. Her biggest project right now is GTSystems, Inc. “I am in the final phases of launching a digital training tool that will link

school for children six weeks old to six years old. Colgan always has more teachers on than required by state licensing so that students receive a high-quality education. She aims to create a warm, “home-like” environment in her two schools so that students always feel comfortable while away from home. During the past year, one of Colgan’s Lincoln school received news that the town had approved a large building addition that would be constructed next to their classroom. Colgan was forced to move and spent months looking at properties. In the middle of a family trip to Disney World, Colgan found her design inspiration for the new school. “Attention to detail is what separates the experience a guest receives at Disney World compared to anywhere else,” said Colgan. “So, we dedicated ourselves in the very same way.” Colgan and her design team borrowed many of the same materials and designs Disney uses at their parks to create the new school, located in Smithfield. “This is the kind of stuff the children will remember for a lifetime. To me, giving them positive, happy lasting memories of their childhood makes it all worthwhile.”

Nancy Parker Wilson, Greenvale Vineyards In 1992, Nancy Parker Wilson started Greenvale Vineyards with her parents and husband, and ever since it’s been a success! Currently, Greenvale Vineyards produces 3,500 cases of wine, with selections including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Albarino, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Almost every day of the year Greenvale Vineyards hosts tours and tastings, music and programs. Greenvale Vineyards has become an even more popular destination since winning the awards, witnessing a 20% increase in visitorship over the past year! They also received some great news: “We recently learned that Aaron Lopez grew grapes on our land in the 1770’s for Truro Synagogue in Newport and our land also housed 200 British soldiers when the British occupied Aquidneck Island in 1778. We are working with the Salve Regina historic preservation department and their infra-red device to determine where the buildings were located!” said Parker Wilson. Honored to be named a winner last year, Parker Wilson said “the award has had a significant impact on the perception of what it means to be a farmer. To have the award in the tasting room, it reminds our visitors that…running the operation is hard work, whether you are in the fields, bottling, conducting a wine tasting or trying to figure how to meet the next pay roll.” | volume three issue ten



Elizabeth Cunha

Kathleen Moren

Jen Silbert

The Center for Dynamic Learning

Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc.


Like most entrepreneurs, Elizabeth Cunha started her business, The Center for Dynamic Learning, from her home office, which was a small corner carved out of her bedroom. Now, ten years later, she employs five full-time teachers/administrators and has a dedicated group of part-time teaching artists that help her better the futures of more than 5,000 students. Elizabeth was motivated to open her nonprofit after she had worked with underprivileged youth from Providence and Cranston during her undergraduate years at Rhode Island College. While working with these students, she came to realize the resources and skill-building techniques afterschool teachers and youth require. Soon after, she launched CDL with the mission of creating a community of highly qualified teaching artists and specialists who travel across Rhode Island to provide hands-on exploratory learning experiences that strengthen creativity, literacy, problem solving, and cooperative learning skills. CDL is a STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, and Manufacturing) based nonprofit that serves approximately 1,200 youth annually. Throughout the school year, CDL provides programs before, during and after school, and during the summer they also host summer camps and high school workforce development programs. Their art program, Traveling Theatre, offers students from Pre-K through grade 12 the ability to express their creative side through 10-12 full-scale drama productions. It also delivers a variety of out-of-school enrichment programs that ensure all youth are actively engaging in creative learning. CDL’s award-winning science program, SLIDE, exposes youth to engineering and manufacturing through classes such as Mechatronics and Creative Design Engineering. A lifelong Rhode Islander, Elizabeth is dedicated to empowering the youth of Rhode Island and helping them realize that the path for their future is wide open. “It will always be my intention to serve our youth and families to inspire the leaders of tomorrow…I believe Rhode Island has tremendous potential to be a transformative leader in education, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc. originally opened as a one-woman operation after the founder, Kathleen Moren, had moved to Rhode Island and noticed that there weren’t any companies offering the home nursing care services that were abundant in her hometown, Chicago. She decided to start her own company and modeled it after two successful organizations she had worked for. Now, Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc. has been open for 14 years, has 11 employees, and has served over 3,500 families. As the only home nursing care provider specializing in breastfeeding support and equipment, HBHM has set the standard for immediate, supportive and nonjudgmental care of breastfeeding families. The company has become the provider of choice, regularly receiving referrals from Rhode Island pediatricians, midwives and obstetricians, as well as from all five Rhode Island birthing hospitals. For each family, HBHM works closely with their doctors to monitor the health of both the mother and baby. They provide a variety of services, including lactation consults, prenatal breastfeeding classes, infant home phototherapy and blood draws, return to work, infant nutrition and sleep consultations. They even have a bi-weekly breastfeeding support group. “At HBHM, we know that success is defined by the mother, not by us and what we want for them. By helping women achieve success, we facilitate health for the whole family,” said Kathleen. Kathleen has immersed herself in public health policy discussions that have led to plans to make breastfeeding support a standard of medical care throughout the nation, and eventually, to that care becoming part of the Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act. “My work for the last five years has been in anticipation of the law being passed and knowledge that insurance would be required to cover that service,” said Kathleen. “My consulting revenue increased 60% in 2013…This trend continues in 2014 and I anticipate an even greater increase in 2015.” Photo Provided By Bernard Photography©

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Jen Silbert is a corporate consultant and marathon coach turned entrepreneur and mom. Becoming a parent to her child and new company, Spartina Consulting, called for a new kind of ambition where community became her business. She founded Learning401 to shift how Rhode Islanders think, talk about, and design education in community. “Nearly one in four Rhode Island students does not graduate high school with their peers, costing taxpayers an estimated $292,000 over a lifetime. Even more expensive is the opportunity cost of disengagement. The solutions are out there; they’re embedded in people’s stories,” said Jen. Learning401 gives students, educators and community members a platform for rich, safe, nonpartisan discussions on what powerful learning is and requires. More than giving voice to the public, the stories gathered provide data – not just of, but for the design of powerful learning spaces. In the long-term, Learning401 hopes to transform their digital library of powerful learning stories into a crowd-sourced, TED-like archive that can be used to train future educators and inform local and state education policy. “More than a nonprofit, Learning401 is a movement, engaging Rhode Islanders to own their role/contribution in change from wherever they stand,” said Jen. “We’re embarking on a paradigm shift in Rhode Island education that starts, very simply, with how we talk about education. And a culture change at this scale is all our responsibility, not just our policymakers’, and certainly not just our teachers’.” Jen co-authored a book based on her work called Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions to Bring Out the Best in Families. She also frequently makes appearances at education conferences, traveling as far as Africa to inspire individuals to make the changes they want to see in their communities. Her work with Learning401, as well as her work as a Social Enterprise Greenhouse mentor to youth and startups, earned her recognition from Providence Business News as a “40 Under 40” award recipient in both 2007 and 2011. Photo by Cat Laine (

E n t r e p r e n e u r i a l



“Kappy” Bois

Yemi Sekoni

Maria Denizard

Royal Health & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic

Donahue Models & Talent, LLC

La Femme Salon

Kapedjanie “Kappy” Bois wears many hats: Senior Vice President for 5LINX Enterprises in Rhode Island, CEO of I-M-Brace LLC, President and Founder of International Federation of Leaders Inc., Vice President and Founder of HAPPA-RI, and many more. Her most important role, though, is Owner and Operator of Royal Health & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic.

Yemi Sekoni successfully launched Trade Secrets, a monthly digital publication, in May 2013 and Lights Fashion Philanthropy, a fashion-event production and entertainment company, in July 2014. But that’s not all. Yemi is also the sole owner and employee of Donahue Models & Talent, the oldest and longest-running modeling agency in Rhode Island.

An immigrant from Haiti, Kappy moved to Rhode Island in August 1997. Kappy had suffered chronic back pain since she was 12 years old, so she decided to visit a chiropractic physician while she was in her sophomore year at Providence College, and that’s when she discovered her career path. She says she decided she wanted others to “experience the beauty and efficiency of chiropractic medicine” when she became pain-free after only two months of chiropractic care.

Originally a model for Donahue Models & Talent, Yemi had worked closely with Annette Donahue, the founder and former owner. Donahue introduced her to other aspects of the company, such as teaching modeling workshops and assisting in the office, and took note of Yemi’s strong work ethic and professionalism. In 2009, Donahue offered to sell the business to Yemi. “Recognizing that this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and driven by a desire to give back to an industry that had given me so much joy and fulfillment, I wanted to give those who would come up behind me a platform to flourish,” said Yemi.

So, after earning her doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine and a master’s degree in Human Clinical Nutrition from University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, Kappy went back to Rhode Island and eventually opened her own chiropractic office, despite the poor economy and her inability to obtain a small business loan. Since opening, her office has helped close to 200 patients by using holistic methods to provide fast, consistent and precise results. Her company has always maintained a close relationship with her community, offering health gatherings to educate the community on the purpose of chiropractic and healthcare as a whole. Kappy even runs two nonprofits, International Federation of Leaders Inc. and Haitian American Partnership for Positive Actions (HAPPA-RI), to impact lives in Rhode Island. “I work at my clinic, practicing what I love, giving my patients one-on-one attention and optimal chiropractic care. For that, I became one of Rhode Island’s Top Chiropractors for 2014,” said Kappy. “I am proud to say I am helping people live a healthier life.”

W o m e n

t o

Under Yemi’s control, the agency took a step into the 21st century, moving all of their files to computer databases and developing a web presence. The agency is proud to be the first agency in Rhode Island to adopt eco-casting, which is an online form of auditioning that allows clients to find and view models’ audition tapes and helps Donahue Models & Talent conduct business in an environmentallyfriendly manner. Currently, Donahue Models & Talent is ranked as the top agency in Rhode Island and the fifth best agency in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Within the next 4-5 years, Yemi says she hopes to “expand into international markets by seeking out viable business collaborations/ partnerships with larger modeling agencies and talent scouts in other states and countries.”

W a t c h

Maria Denizard’s story begins in Puerto Rico, where she supported her family as a hairdresser. When Maria’s kids were school-aged, she decided to move to Rhode Island to pursue a better life, leaving behind a long list of clients in Puerto Rico. She had to start from the very bottom in the United States, which meant going back to school to get her cosmetology license. Luckily, she met a teacher at her school who quickly became her mentor, and eventually gave Maria her first job. Now that woman is a colleague at Maria’s company, La Femme Salon! La Femme Salon was originally opened before the recession, and many of Maria’s customers lost their jobs when the economy took a hit in Rhode Island. Maria’s business suffered, and, being a true entrepreneur, she figured out that revamping her business in a new location could help turn things around. Business is steadily growing at the new Cumberland location now. La Femme Salon specializes in cut, color, and style for women, and they carry top-of-the-line haircare products, which are available for sale at the salon. In the future, Maria is planning to offer clients massage and other spa services so she can expand her customer base. Currently, Maria says her customer base “represents the varied demographics of our state, with more than 80% of her customers being from Cape Verde, and the other 20% being from the Caribbean and South America.” Most of the women clients La Femme Salon sees are between 25 and 50, but they also have several elderly clients who cannot leave their homes, so the salon comes to them at their home! Maria says their high-quality service is what separates them from their competitors. “I genuinely care about people and every customer I have is part of my life…Many of my clients have become friends,” said Maria. “Most of my clients have been with us for ten or more years. We are truly a family-friendly salon.”

A w a r d W| volume i nthree issue n ten e 37 r s


Anne Aldridge

Ava Anderson

Michelle Collie

Ocean State House Cleaning

Ava Anderson Non Toxic

Performance Physical Therapy

Anne Aldridge originally started her residential and office cleaning company, Ocean State House Cleaning, in the middle of tough times. “My business was started in 1998 with no funding after I found myself single-handedly raising four small children,” said Anne. “House cleaning was my only marketable skill at this time and I ran with it!” Fast-forward to ten years later, Anne had put herself through college to earn an accounting degree and was working for an accounting firm in Providence while also running her company on the side. She worked there for almost a year before realizing that she really just wanted to manage her own business. In late 2008, she left her accounting position and began concentrating on her cleaning company again while in the middle of a recession, without a business loan, and without savings to fall back on. Anne’s college education helped her become a jack-of-all-trades, allowing her to perform all aspects of her business in-house and develop the largest independently-owned residential cleaning service in Rhode Island. She is always updating her cleaning procedures to ensure that both employees and clients are safe and satisfied. Anne has even started a campaign to educate consumers about hiring cleaning companies who properly classify their staff. Many cleaning services undercut competitors by misclassifying staff as independent contractors so they can cut labor costs and offer lower prices. Anne hopes that consumers who understand the risks involved with this tactic will choose to hire a company that properly classifies staff as employees. In 2010, Anne launched a nonprofit called Cleaning for Heroes, which provides nocost cleaning services to veterans in need through a network of volunteer cleaning services nationwide. In addition to her nonprofit, Anne donates her services to various nonprofits throughout Rhode Island to help with fundraising.

In her early teens, Ava Anderson had noticed how many of the everyday products she purchased contained toxic ingredients that were harmful for her health, as well as the health of the environment, so she decided to launch Ava Anderson Non Toxic. With the help of her parents, who are both entrepreneurs, Ava built a national direct sales company that has reached double-digit millions in just 4 ½ years. The company’s 6,000 enrolled Consultants and 35 employees sell over 75 products in twelve categories: skin care, cosmetics, hair care, body care, bug spray, sun care, baby care, pet care, candles, men, scents, and home cleaning products. As a 14-year-old entrepreneur, the odds were against Ava Anderson when she decided to open her non-toxic personal care line in December 2009, but her entrepreneurial spirit guided her through it all. “There have been some who suggested that a 14-year-old girl could not have possibly founded this company, but after spending time with me, or hearing me speak, they quickly come to realize that indeed this is my passion, and my drive, and my dream,” said Ava. Many have recognized the fire in Ava. Over the years, she has earned several honors, including Top 3 “Emerging Entrepreneur” of 2011 by Entrepreneur Magazine, SPANX ‘Leg-up’ Challenge Winner, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics “Champion,” and “Trusted Partner” of Healthy Child, Healthy World. She’s also a regular guest blogger for the Huffington Post and Prevention Magazine, and she frequently speaks to large groups like TEDx and SEEED Conference at Brown University. An important aspect of Ava’s company is that they are committed to Rhode Island. “We use Rhode Island manufacturers and business partners whenever possible,” said Ava. “We want to be an agent of change for Rhode Island by showing that entrepreneurial spirit and effort is the way to create jobs…[We] want to do what we can to make it the kind of place [we] are proud to live, call home and one day raise a family.”

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Michelle Collie, CEO of Performance Physical Therapy, is committed to helping Rhode Island grow, which is why Performance Physical Therapy is independently owned and operated solely by Rhode Islanders. With nine locations throughout Rhode Island, Performance Physical Therapy has created 90 jobs for Rhode Islanders and is looking forward to creating even more positions when they open their newest clinic in December. Every single one of their employees is involved in the community. This year, they even managed to launch Performance Physical Therapy Charitable Fund, a 501(c)3 that promotes health and fitness in Rhode Island. Michelle can always be found advocating for wellness. “I spend much time mentoring and coaching leaders within our organization, as well as other female entrepreneurs involved in the health and fitness industry. I get tremendous pleasure from seeing patients and people in the community become healthier and happier as a result of their experience with Performance Physical Therapy,” said Michelle. Performance Physical Therapy’s dedication to Rhode Island has earned them many prestigious awards, including the Rhode Island Outstanding Philanthropic Business Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Corporate Heroes Award from Reach Out and Read Rhode Island. A couple weeks ago, they were awarded the national Jane L. Snyder Private Practice of the Year Award from the American Physical Therapy Association. The business structure at Performance Physical Therapy also recently earned them a Best Places to Work in Rhode Island Award. “I have established a unique plan, offering professional growth, fiscal opportunities and ownership opportunities. Two years ago, I owned 100% of Performance Physical Therapy. Now there are four other therapists with 5% ownership each, financed by myself personally, to ensure the long-term success and stability of Performance.” As the largest employer of board-certified physical therapists in the state, Performance Physical Therapy will continue to grow by empowering employees, keeping up with the latest in treatment techniques and exploring new clinic opportunities so they can provide the best possible care for their patients.

E n t r e p r e n e u r i a l


Kristin Niessink

Lesli-Ann Powell

Dr. Kate Siner

Kristin Niessink MS, RD, LDN

Little Birdie Papercraft & Design Studio

Dr. Kate Inc.

With more people focusing on eating healthy and local, it’s important that they have a guide to help them establish a better understanding of nutrition. As a registered and licensed dietitian, Kristin Niessink has developed numerous programs to help both children and adults embark on the path towards a healthier lifestyle. Every year, Kristin looks to expand her services to encompass more of the community, always with the same goal in mind: improving the health of Aquidneck Island one person at a time. Currently, Kristin has a private practice and hosts community education programs at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Newport, the Newport County YMCA in Middletown, Clements’ Marketplace in Portsmouth, Little Compton Wellness Center in Little Compton, and Circle of Scholars Program in Newport. Kristin receives funding through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island Blue Angel Grant for her work at the MLK Community Center. The Rhode Island Foundation also provides funding for her contribution to the Keys to Healthy Aging Seminar Series at the Little Compton Wellness Center. Kristin says she partners with other local businesses “to educate and empower people in an unbiased way to establish a healthy lifestyle for long-term maintenance.” Presently, Kristin works with local nonprofit organizations, schools, doctors, and other medical professionals to form a wellness team. She also joins forces with organizations like Farm Fresh Rhode Island and Clements’ Marketplace to expand her reach to both local and regional consumers. “I am proud to partner with organizations that promote positive change for Rhode Islanders and look forward to continuing to grow these relationships,” said Kristin. In the future, Kristin also plans to obtain additional grant funding to provide more community wellness programs and continue to expand her private practice. “I live and work within my community and am committed to the long-term health and wellness of Rhode Island residents,” said Kristin.

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Lesli-Ann Powell created Little Birdie Papercraft & Design Studio to remind people of something that has become lost in the age of technology: the essence of people. “I create things that cannot be found at traditional stationers, and I give my clients the chance to touch, feel, sample, see, and experiment—take that internet!” said Lesli-Ann playfully. “For creative, handmade, and unique goods, customers generally must resort to online shopping. Little Birdie offers clients the benefits of shopping locally with the creativity and uniqueness the internet offers.” Little Birdie was originally developed as a retail store in 2009, but in 2013, Lesli-Ann decided to close the retail operations and build a new design studio so that she could grow her custom design business. The transition was tough, but it went smoothly for her clients, and Little Birdie has seen tremendous growth ever since. The company now specializes in unique, handcrafted, boutique-style invitations and social stationery. All of Lesli-Ann’s services are built around her slogan: inspire, design, and create. Lesli-Ann says that through collaboration with her clients, she “design[s] and create[s] individualized pieces of art that perfectly meet clients’ wants and needs.” Much of Lesli-Ann’s business is closely aligned with the wedding industry, and has even earned her the Couples’ Choice Award for the past four years from WeddingWire. More than 70% of Little Birdie’s clients are referral-based, so she spends a lot of time building relationships and networking with past clients, especially her couples. A native Rhode Islander, Lesli-Ann took encouragement from small businesses like Chica Ink in Wickford. Now she says she’s ready to inspire fellow Rhode Islanders: “It is my hope to give back to the state by providing opportunities and growth for the next generation of artists and businesswomen through the creation of new jobs or internships and coops for high school and college-level students looking to enter graphic arts, design, or business management.”

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Dr. Kate Inc., owned by Dr. Kate Siner, provides world-class mentoring, personal development programs, coaching certification, and business development for value-driven individuals and organizations. Each of her clients share the same goal: building healthy lives and highly profitable businesses that create an extremely positive impact on the world. “I began Dr. Kate Inc. from the unshakeable vision that if I could help people grow and change themselves, this would change the world for the better,” said Dr. Kate. “Through teaching selfawareness and clarifying their purposes and values, my clients create successful businesses, healthy relationships, new paradigms in leadership, and a more caring and conscious world.” Since opening her business four years ago, Dr. Kate has become an industry leader, often sharing her knowledge as a speaker at events, a writer for a variety of publications, a volunteer for organizations such as HATCH Entrepreneurial Center, and a teacher for CCRI’s program Leadership Training for Rhode Island’s Holistic & Integrative Caregivers. In the middle of all of that, she also managed to find the time to launch a nonprofit, Larger Visions, which is dedicated to ending gender-based violence. “I have dedicated my life and my business to being the best at what I do,” said Dr. Kate. “From hospice, to indigenous victims of violence in Guatemala, to women business owners in Zimbabwe, a drug addiction treatment clinic, and my own private practice, I have helped 1,000’s of people become more aware, successful and fulfilled.” True to her entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Kate has already planned out her company goals, aiming to grow her company, as well as her clients’ into million-dollar businesses. In 2015, Dr. Kate says she plans on launching Real Answers radio, her own radio show, in January and releasing a third book, which she is currently working on. She is also looking forward to having her first appearance on major network TV.

A w a r d W| volume i nthree issue n ten e 39 r s


Stephanie Additon

Jan Faust Dane

Maria Tocco

JAVA Skincare LLC

Stock Culinary Goods

The Providence Flea

As a co-owner of Updike’s Newtowne, a coffee roasting company and coffee shop in North Kingstown, Stephanie Additon knows a lot about coffee’s uses. A few years ago, she became aware of skincare products that had been infused with synthetic caffeine. Curious about coffee’s topical benefits, she performed her own research and was excited to discover just how great coffee can be for skin, especially unroasted (green) coffee. Inspired, and determined to create products using natural (not synthetic) caffeine, Stephanie developed JAVA Skincare, an all-natural, plant-based line of coffee-infused skincare products. JAVA introduced its inaugural skincare line with four products: a body bar, body wash, body scrub, and body serum. Since the hard launch a year ago, Stephanie says the line has been picked up by 23 retailers and spas in four states, has been featured prominently at one of the leading luxury spa chains in the world, and has boasted a 100% customer repeat rate and a re-order frequency rate two times the industry average. The company plans to launch a face line, as well as additional body products in the future. Stephanie faces two important challenges when it comes to JAVA: maintaining the brand’s eco-luxury positioning and keeping her business local. JAVA is made without petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or color, animal testing, or toxic ingredients. “It was always important to me that JAVA be at least partially manufactured in Rhode Island. We have so many creative, intelligent, hard workers in Rhode Island that are not being utilized. Because of this, JAVA is not certified organic. All of our ingredients including the green coffee are organic. However, Updike’s Newtowne doesn’t have an organic certification. This means that as soon as the coffee comes through our doors, it is no longer considered organic. We could have sent our coffee directly to our formulators to keep its organic integrity, but we opted to be a Rhode Island manufacturer,” said Stephanie. “As we grow, I look forward to creating jobs, and continuing to stimulate the local economy by keeping our business Rhode Island-based.”

“Although Providence is known for its robust culinary scene, it didn’t have an independent full-service kitchen store that could speak to the home cook as readily as the chef. I kept waiting. I knew myself and people like me would shop there and that it would succeed. Finally, I couldn’t wait anymore; I realized I was just going to have to do it myself,” said Jan Faust Dane. And that’s how Stock Culinary Goods got its start. Jan created a business plan, got a loan, and opened her store on Hope Street in Providence. On its first day, Stock offered a limited amount of items that had been carefully selected based on their quality design and manufacturing. After listening to customer feedback, though, Jan found that Stock didn’t have the balance of products the neighborhood desired, so she made changes to inventory based on what her customers told her. Over time, she increased the number of everyday items, and she also increased the amount of locally made products. Jan says she’s able to put popular local products on the floor immediately. “This quick responsiveness to supply and demand is an area where Amazon, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table can’t compete,” said Jan. Another aspect of her business that sets her apart from big-box competitors is that Jan has made herself an expert in Stock’s products, gaining knowledge about the specifics of use, care and maintenance of her products so that she can answer customer’s questions. Jan also makes sure that the store is reliably open and she’s there as much as possible. Although she acknowledges she has missed many important moments with her family, she loves what she does. “Since many new residents need to outfit their empty kitchen, I get to be among the first people to welcome them. I love my position as a cheerleader and delight in the opportunity to share with peoplefavorite restaurants, sights, and activities to enjoy,” said Jan. “That’s the intangible part of my impact on Rhode Island, and I adore doing it.”

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Maria Tocco is the Director of Public and Community Relations for Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts. She was inspired to start The Providence Flea as a side business after visiting the Brooklyn Flea in New York. Maria started by developing a brand and a pitch, and secured a location along the Providence River Greenway. She launched the first Flea in June 2013 with 30 vendors and three food trucks. By September 2014, the Flea had over 220 vendors rotating through the market, and became the go-to Sunday event of the summer. Patrons and the media quickly embraced the Flea, and it won a ‘Best of Rhode Island’ award from RI Monthly for best vintage finds. As word began to spread about the Flea, people from all over were stopping by to browse vintage vendors’ and local artisans’ furniture, art, fashion, and crafts. More than just a traditional flea market, the Flea is a platform where community and commerce intersect with a culture of recycling, upcycling, reusing and repurposing. “I had to ask people to forget what they knew of typical flea markets, and instead imagine my vision for an upscale, urban Flea,” said Maria. The 2014 Flea opening was sold-out and the season far surpassed its projected growth rate. In its second season, the Flea won Yankee Magazine’s Best of New England for vintage finds, and was rated among the best Fleas in the country by Romantic Homes magazine. It has also recently been featured in Amtrak’s Arrive, the onboard magazine for the northeast. From June through September, the Flea is held outdoors, rain or shine, on the Greenway every Sunday. During the winter, the Flea is held indoors at Hope High School, this year on December 7th and 14th for holiday markets. Currently, they are looking into an expanded location and additional staff to assist in managing the market in 2015.

E n t r e p r e n e u r i a l

We Are Proud Supporters of Women Owned Small Businesses The following businesses would like to to congratulate this years Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Winners, Nominees and ALL Women owned businesses throughout Rhode Island.

We Are Proud To Support

The Entrepreneurial Women To Watch Honorees

Sierra Pacific Mortgage

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Rhode Island Licensed Lender 20072187LLB02 Branch NMLS ID: 289053

To all the Entrepreneurial Women to Watch honorees, we say job well done and congratulations! 10 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903


Congratulations! To This Years Award Winners


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A w a r d W| volume i nthree issue n ten e 41 r s

What Clams Me About SMALL CAPITAL BUSINESS CITY | Salute || How ToTo Women Manage Business A Remote Owners Worker or Office SMALL BUSINESS Dear Mom: A Taught Letter Home From ALeadership One Day Warrior



The work it takes to start and grow a business—especially in today’s challenging economic times—can be daunting. For women business owners, it can be an even greater struggle. Raising a family or caring for elders, learning the ropes, finding capital—simply having a mentor—can stall a business owner’s growth before she even gets started. Today, we are proud to celebrate the many thousands of women-owned businesses within our capital city and our state that have taken that leap of faith, creating jobs, generating incomes, building our economy and making Rhode Island an even better place to live.

highly successful. Using HUD financing for the nation’s first-ever Innovation Investment Program (IIP), we helped launch Sproutel, a business owned by Hannah Chung, that develops interactive teaching toys for children with chronic illnesses, such as Jerry the Bear for children with Type 1 Diabetes. Other IIP-funded business owners include Kay McGowan of A Curated World, Kirsten Lambertsen of Kuratur, and Sally Robin Squibb of Granny Squibb Company. We have also used traditional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Providence Economic Development Partnership, such as the internationallyfamous Andrea Valentini, home and jewelry designer; Natalie Morello, owner


I am proud to say that this city has supported, through technical and financial assistance, many womenowned businesses, many of which are

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of fashionable Shoppe Pioneer; and Jean Lester of the popular The Dorrance restaurant. Take Contract Specialties for example.

Owned by Evelyn Guarino, this successful 45-year-old company continues to thrive as a manufacturer of metals, ornamental pins and souvenirs for some of the nation’s most famous public parks and amusement centers. And Maternova. Owned and cofounded by Meg Wirth and co-founder Allyson Cote, this amazing company based at ‘Box City’ in Olneyville is saving thousands of women’s lives across the globe by identifying and packaging critically-needed supplies for postpartum women and neonates. The first business owners to turn their Innovation Investment Program loan into stock equity with the City’s Innovation Investment Program, we see a strong and bright future for these entrepreneurs. We take this month to salute all womenowned companies: you are making a real difference in the lives of those you serve, and in the communities in which you are based. There are many resources that exist to support your start and growth, from the City’s PEDP and IIP programs, to its W/MBE offices, to our partnerships with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Workforce Solutions of Providence/ Cranston, Commerce RI, the Center for Women and Enterprise and more. Please let us know how we can assist you on your climb to success by visiting economic-development, or calling us at 401.680.8415.

Congratulations To The 2015 Winners

Women To Watch Awards

Honorable Mentions Amy Levesque Hub Digital Audrey Massart-McInerney Massart Photography Bethany Mescena Tracy Women RYSE




Font: Linux Libertine O Capitals

C=0 M = 31 Y = 64 K=0

C = 46 M = 12 Y=0 K = 21

Libby Kirwin Libby Kirwin Real Estate

Danielle Bisbano Premier Legal Support

Linda Hawkins Linda Hawkins Photography

Donna McDonald Travel Plus LLC

Lisa Shorr Secure Future Tech Solutions & Shorr Style

Dr. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith Dr. Day Care Learning Center Elyssa Baldassarri The 401 Studio Erica Trombetti Infinite Events Gail Ahlers Ahlers Designs

C = 96 M = 85 Y=4 K=0

Katie Dyer Cadeaux du Monde Kimberly Leon Rhode Island Creative Magazine

Cassandra Caprapo Glistening Goddesses and Goddess Closet


Julie Raimondi The Rhody Center for World Music and Dance

Jerri Lyn Cantone C = 96, 100 M = 85, 80JMC Photography Y = 4, 4 K = 0, 33 Jill Marinelli JM Stylist

Julie Navarro Mod Mama

Nichole Pelletier Crooked Current Brewery Patricia Raskin Raskin Resources Production Inc Sierra Barter The Lady Project Suzanne McDonald Designated Editor Tara Comer Women RYSE Tuni Schartner The Hive RI

The 2nd Annual

W2W AWARDS | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | New EEOC Guidance To Avoid Pregnancy Discrimination


To Avoid Pregnancy by Rachelle Green and Francesco DeLuca

In July, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new Enforcement Guidance on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that gives more detail in the way the EEOC views pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace and it’s the first update since 1983. While the Guidance does not have the force of law—courts may consider, but are not bound by it—the EEOC will apply the “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues” unless an upcoming

decision by the US Supreme Court requires a slight modification. The Guidance includes some controversial interpretations and provisions, but, until construed by the courts, employers and their attorneys should understand its impact. While the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical impairments or conditions, the Guidance expands and


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

describes the obligations imposed on employers. For example, it prohibits employers from discriminating against a female worker because she is planning to become pregnant (even inquiring into an applicant’s intentions about planning a family is a no-no) or is undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Likewise, an employer may not require a pregnant worker to take leave as long as she can perform her job.

In addition, the EEOC reminds employers of the breadth of the term “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, the broader version of the ADA, and of their duty to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. The Guidance starts from the basic premise that, although pregnancy itself is not a disability, numerous pregnancyrelated impairments – hypertension, gestational diabetes, severe nausea, sciatica, among many others – qualify as disabilities. Accordingly, an employer must provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant employees experiencing disabling symptoms, unless the requested accommodation would impose an “undue hardship.” So, even if a pregnant employee’s actual pregnancy does not render her disabled and thus entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, her employer must accommodate her if she is experiencing physical impairments for which the employer accommodates other employees similarly limited in their abilities to work. The Guidance provides several examples of accommodations that are

New EEOC Guidance To Avoid Pregnancy Discrimination | SMALL BUSINESS


y Discrimination The Guidance includes some controversial interpretations and provisions, but, until construed by the courts, employers and their attorneys should understand its impact. reasonable and may be necessary for ADA-qualified pregnant woman, including modifying workplace policies to allow more frequent breaks, allowing a later arrival time for severe morning sickness (and a later departure time, to make up lost time), and allowing an employee on bed rest to telecommute. One of the most controversial portions of the Guidance is the position the EEOC takes regarding a pregnant employee’s request for a light-duty assignment. Currently, an employer who provides light-duty assignments for employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries must also provide light-duty assignments to pregnant employees under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This requirement may be short-lived, however, as the US Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Young v. United Parcel Services, Inc., scheduled to be heard on December 3rd, could nullify this point. For now, employers must be aware of their obligations to pregnant employees regarding light-duty work. The Guidance also reiterates the EEOC’s requirement that an employer

that provides its employees with the ability to take parental leave—to care or bond with the child as opposed to deal with pregnancy or child-birth related medical conditions—must provide the leave to similarly situated male and female workers. So employers are wise to provide new fathers with the same amount of paid leave that it does to new mothers. The Guidance includes several realworld scenarios so a careful employer is wise to check it before taking action related to a pregnant worker. The full information can be found at: http:// Guidance.cfm Employers should also be aware of state and local laws regarding pregnancy discrimination. Recently, several states including West Virginia, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware and cities, from New York City and Philadelphia to as close to home as Providence and Central Falls, have adopted specific pregnancy discrimination laws. Rachelle Green, Partner, Duffy & Sweeney Francesco DeLuca, Associate, Duffy & Sweeney | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | I’m No Different Than You - My Journey As A Working Mom

I’m No Different Than You

My Journey as a Working Mom by Shannon Lewis

Are you like me? I read a life balance book written by a high-powered woman, and I think - if only I had millions of dollars. How about us plain Janes? How can we find a balance? If I can do it, you can, too! Soon after my son was born, life threw me a curveball. My ex-husband left.

Over the next 18 years, I balanced being a single and working mom. The catch: I wanted to be home when my son got home from school. I did this by working remotely, reducing hours and not traveling. I have done this for 5 different companies. The first step of my journey (working reduced hours) was easy. The company I worked for had a policy for reduced hours, and all I had to do was ask. The second step (work remotely) happened spontaneously. One day while visiting my parents, I bought a house 2 hours away from work.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Thank goodness my boss was very receptive to me working remotely, since it was in 2000, when working remotely was not common. I have had LOTS of managers over the years, and they tend to fall into three categories: 1.

Managers who were supportive

2. Managers who were skeptical, but kept an open mind 3. Managers who formed a negative opinion from the beginning and refused to give me a chance Luckily, most of my managers were supportive, allowing me to grow professionally. It wasn’t always easy, and with every new manager I had to prove myself. I was often given projects no one else wanted. Hard work and dedication always paid off and I gained the respect of managers and co-workers, opening the door for better projects. Unfortunately, I ran into two “type 3” managers. I knew when I first met them that they would not give me a chance. Sadly, both managers caused me to leave companies that I loved. In the height of the recession, I found myself without a job. I knew the odds were low that I would find another supportive company. As fate would have it, I was given the opportunity to start a business. Working reduced hours came to a screeching halt, but that was OK because my son was older. I was now my own boss. No more “type 3” managers!

Small Employers Should Check Out The Health Care Tax Credit | SMALL BUSINESS

Soon after my son was born, life threw me a curveball. My ex-husband left. Over the next 18 years, I balanced being a single and working mom. My 18-year journey has had many ups and downs, and I have plenty of lessons to share from my experiences, including: 1. Don’t be afraid to ask! This is the #1 blocker. Women are afraid to ask. Women often say to me, “I wish I could have a work situation like yours.” I ask them, “Have you asked your boss?” One hundred percent of the time their answer is no. Formulate a plan and approach your boss. You might be surprised. 2. Quiet the naysayers. Don’t get upset when you have to keep proving yourself. You know you can do it; let the world know (or at least your boss). 3. It’s not going to be an easy journey, and you will sacrifice a lot: career opportunities, finances, etc. (I wish I could say there aren’t sacrifices but there are.) Only you can decide if it’s worth it; for some it is and for others it’s not. 4. Sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and just hope there will be a safe landing. 5. When all else fails, start your own business and be your own boss. (I know it’s easier said than done. See #4 above.)


Health Care

Tax Credit by Peggy Riley

New and existing small employers who do not yet benefit from the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit should look into whether the credit can help them provide insurance to their employees. For tax years beginning in 2014 and after, the maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers, and 35 percent of premiums paid for tax-exempt small employers, such as charities. Beginning in 2014, a small employer may qualify for the credit if: •

It has fewer than 25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time and parttime. For example, two half-time employees equal one full-time employee for purposes of the credit. It pays premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through a Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace or qualifies for an exception to this requirement. The average annual wages of full-time equivalent employees are less than $51,000. The annual average wages will be adjusted annually for inflation.

The credit is available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years.

A small business employer who did not owe tax during the year can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments is greater than the total credit claimed, eligible small employers can still claim a business expense deduction for premiums in excess of the credit. For tax-exempt small employers, the credit is refundable. Even if the tax-exempt small employer has no taxable income, it may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund so long as it does not exceed its income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability. More information More information about the Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace – better known as the SHOP Marketplace – including the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, is available at Find out more about the small business health care tax credit at Find out more about the health care law at Peggy Riley IRS Media Relations Specialist

It pays a uniform percentage for all employees that is equal to at least 50 percent of the premium cost of the insurance coverage.

Whether your path is to own your own business or to be an employee, I hope I have given you some hope that you can find your own balance. Shannon Lewis Principal - Operation Panoptic Development, Inc | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | Female Entrepreneurship: A Choice For Some And A Retreat For Others

Female Entrepreneurship A




by Sally P. McDonald

Last year, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo earned nearly $25 million, Marillyn A. Hewson of Lockheed Martin earned just under $16 million, and Indra K. Nooyi of PepsiCo was paid $13.2 million. These three business women ranked 34th, 119th and 176th, respectively, in the 2013 Equilar list of the 200 highest-paid Chief Executives in the United States. Congratulations to Marissa, Marillyn and Indra. Unfortunately, only seven other women in publicly traded companies made the list. The other 190 top earners in America were men. Pay equity has been a goal for women across the country for decades. Progress was made in 1963 when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. This federal law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and provided that “no employer…shall discriminate…between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees…at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex…for equal work on jobs….” Nevertheless, more than forty years later, the issue remains unresolved. It is estimated that full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts make for performing the same job, meaning that women have to work approximately 60 extra days a year to earn what their male counterparts earned the previous year. The Pew Research Center put the number at 84%, when combining full-time and part-time workers. Whatever measure used, there is clearly inequity in pay between the genders. As recently as last month, however, the United States Senate failed—for the third time—to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill, which was first introduced in the spring of 2012, would provide procedural protections to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the 1963 Equal Pay Act. The Act contains harsher penalties for pay discrimination and a prohibition


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal




of retaliation against employees for seeking salary information. Interestingly, it appears that pay inequity is one reason that more women in the United States are becoming entrepreneurs. According to a Harvard Business Review article, women are starting an estimated 1,288 companies each day, up from 602 in 2011-2012. Further, female-owned start-ups outnumbered those started by men last year 2 to 1. Many women choose to start a business out of the frustration of earning less than men for performing the same job, lack of opportunity (hitting the “glass ceiling”) and a desire to have more flexibility and control. “Look through the lens of stalled progress, and perhaps it’s not surprising that so many women choose to go freelance, consult, or start small businesses,” says author Morra Aarons-Mele.

Whether you believe the Paycheck Fairness Act is the solution or not, something should be done to reduce incidents of pay discrimination. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. Further, women should only become entrepreneurs because they want to become entrepreneurs—not out of frustration. Sally P. McDonald Associate Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC

Many women choose to start a

business out of the frustration of earning less

than men for performing the same job


businesses is not necessarily all good news. Although this trend toward entrepreneurship among women clearly has its benefits, the movement is also causing corporate America to lose potential talent in the C-suite. Moreover, female entrepreneurs as a group are exposed to increased risk when it comes to their financial security, and this trickles down to more financial insecurity in American families.

Importantly, however, as Ms. ArronsMele points out, more women starting


Moving Through Entrepreneurial Change And Transition | SMALL BUSINESS



I think that we women entrepreneurs are a special breed. We are resilient and have to be adaptable to change and the transition it brings in order to survive and thrive. Many of us were not trained to do this, especially baby boomers and millennials or generation Yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ers. I know that as a boomer, being an entrepreneur was not in my upbringing and training as a woman. Teachers and nurses were, so I became a teacher early in my career. For many of us who are self-taught women entrepreneurs, we not only had to learn the business skills, but also new gender roles. I have often called myself the uncomfortable entrepreneur because of the fluctuations that come with the territory, but actually I love the work and when I learn how to ride the wave, I get to the other side with success. A major transition for us entrepreneurs is when we lose a longterm client or pick up a new one. Things are different and we have to adapt to new communication styles, personalities and sometimes financial perimeters. If you have a major client who is more than 50% of your business, take that as a sign that you need to broaden your base. Anticipate the possibility of losing that client and proactively take steps so that if it does happen, you have another client or clients in place. This is illustrated by Spencer Johnson, M.D., author of the bestselling Who Moved My Cheese? Johnson writes about the styles of four mice who have to adapt to the cheese being moved. The message is that those of us who

When change comes suddenly, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to get support and to hold on to routines and structures that work for you. perceive that change is coming and prepare for it, adapt most quickly to change. Those who become angry or deny that change has arrived and do nothing, do not adapt well to change and pay the consequences. Those who eventually adapt to change have to work through their denial and procrastination in order to see something better. When change comes suddenly, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to get support and to hold on to routines and structures that work for you. Keep those exercise routines, classes, and group activities that feel supportive. Grieve what you are losing and appreciate and give thanks for the positives of the experience. Talk to friends and colleagues, coaches or therapists, because if you hold on to the situation, it stays within and clogs your system. Just talking it out releases the feelings and energy, and can give you a clearer picture. Successful navigators of transitions understand change and take advantage of new situations. They transform obstacles into opportunities by finding ways to use their strengths and build on them. Change and transition is inevitable. It can work in your favor when you have tools to move through it. Patricia Raskin Raskin Resources Productions | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | Best Practices When Documenting Personnel Issues

Personnel Practices

Best Practices When Documenting Personnel Issues by Matthew R. Plain, Esq. & Kristen M. Whittle, Esq.

Over the course of an employment relationship, the need arises for an employer, or human resource professional, to document an event or circumstance affecting a particular employee. During the hiring process, an employer may collect documents such as an application, resume, and references, and later, the employer may create documents concerning an employee’s performance. However, employers may wonder which of these documents must be kept within an employee’s personnel file, and when to create documents to place in an employee’s personnel file. In general, Rhode Island law requires employers to keep personnel files for each employee, including records reflecting the employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion/ demotion, additional compensation, termination, and disciplinary action. As a best practice, employers should also keep records of performance evaluations (whether positive or negative), as well as incident reports, in personnel files.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Employers typically do not need to keep routine memos applicable to all employees in individual personnel files. In addition, although employers should keep timesheets for all employees on file, these timekeeping records typically need not be kept within employees’ personnel files. Under Rhode Island law, employers must permit employees to inspect their personnel files up to three times per calendar year, in the presence of the employer or representative, on the employer’s premises. The employee must provide at least seven business days advance notice and is typically not permitted to remove his or her personnel file from the employer’s premises. Should the employee request a copy of his or her personnel file, the employer may charge a reasonable copying fee. In addition to an employee’s personnel file, to which the employee must be

Best Practices When Documenting Personnel Issues | SMALL BUSINESS

Careful documentation of personnel issues is important in order to provide accurate, honest feedback to employees that is factually supported granted access, Rhode Island law permits employers to keep records of an employee relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense or records prepared for use in any civil, criminal, or grievance proceedings; letters of reference, recommendations, managerial records kept or used only by the employer; confidential reports from previous employers; and managerial planning records. Employers may be subject to civil liability for any information kept in an employee’s personnel file, and subsequently disclosed to a current or former employee or a prospective employer, that is knowingly false, deliberately misleading, disclosed for a malicious purpose, or violates the employee’s rights under applicable employment discrimination laws. When documenting an issue in an employee’s personnel file, the employer should create a personnel memo that is thorough, accurate, concise, and professional. The memo should identify basic information about the incident or circumstance necessitating the memo and should accurately identify the history of the issue. The memo should summarize the investigation of the issue and accurately document the employer’s response to the issue. Good personnel memos should avoid, however, speculation or opinion; vague, conclusory phrases; references to protected characteristics (such as race, religion, gender, or disability); violations of confidentiality; and legal conclusions. Careful documentation of personnel issues is important in order to provide accurate, honest feedback to employees that is factually supported. In addition, good documentation can protect employers from claims of employment discrimination. For example, if upon termination, an employee’s personnel file contains no evidence of performance issues or misconduct, it may be significantly easier for the employee to claim that he or she was terminated for an improper purpose. Accordingly, longstanding, well-documented evidence of issues with the employee’s performance or conduct can help insulate an employer from a claim of discrimination. Overall, when documenting personnel issues, employers should create “good” documents to support and defend their decisions and should avoid creating “bad” documents that could subject the employer to liability down the road. Matthew R. Plain, Esq. Partner, Barton Gilman LLP

Kristen M. Whittle, Esq. Associate, Barton Gilman LLP

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Amenity Aid Delivers A Message In A Bottle | FEATURED NONPROFIT

AMENITY AID DE LIVER S A ME S S AGE I N A B OT TLE As a frequent business traveler, Rhode Island native Liz Duggan had squirreled away plenty of hotel soaps, shampoos, lotions and other items over the years. But when her stash began to exceed the capacity of her bathroom vanity, Liz realized there was a better home for the hotel amenities. And the idea of Amenity Aid was born.

populations don’t have the resources or access to these basic necessities that are so critical to good health,” explains Liz.

Amenity Aid is a Rhode Island-based 501(c)(3) public charity that provides personal care products to a variety of organizations, such as emergency shelters, temporary housing facilities, community centers, veteran assistance programs and others that aid at-risk and in-need individuals. Amenity Aid is run entirely by volunteers, including Liz, who manages the organization, and three women who serve on the Board of Directors.

“I’ve learned which organizations have children in their facilities, those that only serve adults, and which are gender-specific. Also the clients’ length of stay in these accommodations determines whether they prefer travel-size or full-size products,” states Liz.

Since its incorporation in March of 2013, Amenity Aid has provided over 20,000 toiletries to local organizations, including Crossroads of Rhode Island, Amos House, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Child & Family, WARM Center and Lucy’s Hearth. “What’s nice about Amenity Aid is that they ask us what we need and then get it for us,” explains Karen Santilli, the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Crossroads Rhode Island, for whom Amenity Aid has purchased over ten thousand travel-size products. While ninety percent of Amenity Aid’s efforts have benefitted organizations in Rhode Island, upon request, the organization has made contributions to missionary organizations across the U.S. and to the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Afghanistan.

Amenity Aid is a unique resource for local housing services because it understands the services they provide and ensures donations accurately match an organization’s clientele.

To meet the ongoing demand for shampoo, soap, and other essentials, Amenity Aid collects product donations from the community and purchases travel-size toiletries from low-cost providers, such as hotel or correctional facility suppliers, when needed items are not available. Amenity Aid also works with schools, corporations and local businesses to develop programs to drive product and monetary donations, such as hosting a collection box, offering a dress down day in exchange for a product donation, corporate donations and more. Amenity Aid is currently accepting donations of new personal care products at Bess Eaton coffee shop in Wakefield and Duggan Associates in North Kingstown. Complete details of donation locations and what products can be donated are available at A donation catalog is also available online with donations starting at just five dollars. Inquiries about working with Amenity Aid can be directed to Liz Duggan at

“When I deliver amenities to area organizations, I see firsthand what a huge need there is for personal care products in housing services and other at-risk facilities, whose | volume three issue ten



local small bus APPAREL


J Hilburn Contact: Rae Medgyesy 3 Wagon Lane Attleboro, MA 02703 401-258-3656

Butler Realty Contact: Jeff Butler 655 Main Street East Greenwich, RI 02818 401-884-6050

BUSINESS SERVICES The Business Develoment Company Contact: Peter Dorsey 40 Westminster Street, Suite 702 Providence, RI 02903 401-351-3036 Lyoness America (Local Loyalty Partners) Contact: Ernie Pitochelli 130 Darwin Street Woonsocket, RI 02895 401-368-6911

COACHING & CONSULTING Redwood Environmental Group Contact: Gary Kaufman 10 Elmgrove Avenue Providence, RI 02906 401-270-7000 The Growth Coach Contact: Daniel Marantz 33 Urso Drive Westerly, RI 02891 401-612-4769

MG Commercial Contact: Mike Giuttari 365 Eddy Street Providence, RI 02903 401-751-3200 Scotti & Associates Contact: Peter Scotti 246 Hope Street Providence, RI 02906 401-421-8888

DESIGN & MARKETING Artinium, Inc. Contact: Darren Marinelli 5 Division Street, Building D, 2nd Floor Warwick, RI 02818 401-729-1997 Big Fish Results Tony Guarnaccia 5 Division Street Warwick, RI 02886 401-484-8736

DISASTER RECOVERY Lynchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cleaning & Restoration


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Contact : Shawn Lynch 25 Starline Way Cranston, RI 02920 401-464-8937 PuroClean Disaster Restoration Contact: Terri Abbruzzese 5 Minnesota Avenue Warwick, RI 02888 401-633-5565

ENERGY Super Green Solutions Robert Cagnetta 300 Quaker Lane, Box # 6 Warwick, RI 02886 401-932-1985

FINANCE J.P. Matrullo Financial Contact: Jonathan Matrullo 10 Orms Street, Suite 410 Providence, RI 02904 401-276-8788 Morgan Stanley Contact: Rick Bellows 1 Financial Plaza, 19th Floor Providence, RI 02903 401-863-8400 The Ameriprise Financial Planning Contact: Eric Coury 1 Citizens Plaza, S. 610 Providence, RI 029O3 401-996-7660

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siness directory FOOD AND BEVERAGE



3rd Rock Coffee Company Contact: Newell Brown 21 Old Town Trail Narragansett, RI 02882 401-413-4925

Choice Hotels Contact: Kate Eastman 360 Airport Road Fall River, MA 02726 978-290-0515

Ocean State Rentals Contact: Jim Baldwin 530 Wellington Ave Cranston, RI 02910 401-941-4002




Aflac Allen Miller 29 Crafts Street Newton, MA 02458 617-658-1820

Thrive Networks Contact: Kevin Ellis 836 North Street, Building 300, S. 3201 Tewksburry, MA 01876 978-243-1432

AA Thrifty Signs Contact: Linda Iannotti 221 Jefferson Boulevard Warwick, RI 02888 401-738-8055

Amethyst Biomat Contact: Maria Sorensen 1130 Ten Rod Road N. Kingstown, RI 02852 401-932-6820 Jennifer L. Wilkicki, LMT & Esthetician Contact: Jennifer Wilkicki 51 Sockanosset Cross Road, s. 204 Cranston, RI 02920 401-935-3549 Qivana Janet DeLeo 66 Club House Road Coventry, RI 02816 401-524-2339

ss Listed In Our Directory? or more information

TIMIT Solutions, LLC Contact: Tim Montgomery 100 Randall Road, Unit 93 Wrentham, MA 02093 774-307-0652

INSURANCE Allstate Benefits Contact: Jeff Davide 98 Hollis Avenue Warwick, RI 02889 401-500-3748

PAYROLL Paychex Contact: Andy Pachomski 501 Wampanoag Trail Riverside, RI 02915 401-663-6677

TELECOMMUNICATIONS Wireless Zone Contact: Jason Sorensen 76 Gate Road N. Kingstown, RI 02852 401-886-8484

TRANSPORTATION A Airlines Express Limousine & Car Service, Inc. Contact: Virginia Coulley P.O. Box 222 Saunderstown, RI 02874 401-295-4380

RESIDENTIAL SERVICES Rescom Exteriors Contact: Janette Rousseau 714 A South Bridge Auburn, MA 01501 508-832-5202 | volume three issue ten


SMALL BUSINESS | How Does Your Office Make You Feel?

How does your office make you feel? by Kristin Carcieri-MacRae

When you walk into your office on Monday morning after a relaxing weekend, how does it make you feel? Being disorganized will bring on many negative emotions, which can be transformed into positive ones as soon as you realize that they are connected to your disorganization.

Are you feeling any of these emotions? Overwhelmed. It’s all too much for you to wrap your head

around. You want to get organized, but the entire process is too overwhelming. You tend to shut down in the middle of your project. Break your project into small tasks. Have a plan and set a time limit before you even physically start your project.


You want to get organized, but you don’t know where to begin. You may have grown up in a disorganized home and your organizational skill set was never developed. Your quality of work may be suffering because you are lacking the skill set. If you are stuck, it may be time to bring in a professional that can transfer that skill set to you and help you with this process.

Anxious. Just the thought of getting organized sends you

into a tailspin. You may have a panic attack, feel dizzy and uneasy. Sometimes you want to snap your fingers, close your eyes and wake up and have it all be gone. When you begin, focus on just one area of your office. Don’t look at your entire office. Start small with a drawer.

Stress. Physical clutter and mental clutter will cause stress. This stress will cause you to lose focus, get distracted and decrease your productivity levels. To work on your stress levels, just focus on decluttering. Don’t worry about getting organized yet, just declutter.

Exhausted. You feel like you are running a mile a minute in a hundred different directions. You are missing appointments, showing up late for appointments, and being pulled in all different directions. If you are disorganized, get yourself on a schedule, write to-do lists, keep a calendar, and create routines at the office.

Embarrassed. Your office door is always shut. If you

have a meeting with a client, you always take them to the conference room because you don’t want them to form an opinion about how you function. Wouldn’t you love to bring clients into your office space? Do any of the above emotions sound like what you are going through? You are not alone, because many people feel the same way. Realize you are feeling this way due to your disorganization and make a plan to move forward. Do you ever feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel? Be positive, it’s there; you just have to gather your thoughts and put a plan into motion and maybe get some help with the process. Eventually, you will hit a breaking point and you will know it’s time to make a change. Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Owner Organizing in RI, LLC


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal | volume three issue ten


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RISBJ Volume 3 Issue 10  

Volume 3 Issue 10 of RISBJ, Featuring the 2nd Annual Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Award Winners

RISBJ Volume 3 Issue 10  

Volume 3 Issue 10 of RISBJ, Featuring the 2nd Annual Entrepreneurial Women to Watch Award Winners