New League of Extraordinary Women kickoff unites local women

Sue Osborn, Bonnie Atmore, Judy Warner, Betsy Chess and Marsha Bailey are extraordinary women .

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) hosted a group of influential women leaders from Ventura County at the kick off of their new League of Extraordinary Women held at the Atmore Ranch on Tuesday, July 25th. More than 50 guests gathered at the ranch to hear several speakers discuss how the new group will help to strengthen women-owned businesses and elevate women in our community.

“This was an extraordinary evening for all of us,” said Citycouncil Member Cheryl Heitmann, a co-chair of the event who serves on WEV’s Board of Directors. “The outdoor setting was beautiful and the information shared was important. While women now own 36% of all businesses, 71% of those businesses generate less than $25,000 in annual revenues. We need to support women in our community so they can be more successful.”

Already including more than 40 members, WEV’s new League of Extraordinary Women will provide an opportunity for members to meet and combine their efforts and resources to help strengthen women-owned businesses and elevate women in our community.

Along, with Heitmann, the event was co-chaired by WEV board member Elena Brokaw, hosted by Bonnie Atmore and featured Penny Henschel, owner of Ever After Designs, a WEV client business. Henschel, who has been participating in WEV’s business consulting program Thrive in Five® for 3 years, is a perfect example of the type of business owner the League is working to help. “Since joining Thrive in Five® my gross income has nearly tripled” said Henschel. “I’m in my third location and have gained some really great corporate clients. I like to say this is where preparation meets opportunity.”

Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO of WEV also spoke at the event. “Women entrepreneurs have the capacity to grow U.S. GDP by 9 points or more,” said Bailey. “Unfortunately, neither our government nor private investors are banking on women in a big way so we must find other means to get them the capital and support they need. The League provides its members a great way to lend their voice, guidance and financial support to promote women’s business success.”

The League of Extraordinary Women is for business executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, artists and philanthropists living and working in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. To find out more about how to become a member, contact Danelle Coyle at 456-2347 or dcoyle@wevonline.org.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made more than $4 million in loans, assisting over 4,000 local businesses. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Photo from left to right: Sue Osborn, Bonnie Atmore, Judy Warner, Betsy Chess and Marsha Bailey.

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