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        Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Events, Students

        Women Entrepreneurship Week: Panelists to share venture startup stories

        October 16, 2019 By Joe McAdory

        All News


        wew emma

        “Women who take risks build knowledge. Women who experience failure build confidence. Women who live outside of their comfort zones find opportunities they would have never pursued and success they would have never experienced.”

        Did you know that 40 percent of all U.S. businesses are owned by women and generate $1.8 trillion annually? Did you know that women entrepreneurship in the U.S. has grown by 114 percent in the past 20 years?

        Indeed, women like Vera Wang, Sara Blakely, and Sophia Amoruso are changing the business landscape.

        taylor headshot“Women are more determined than ever to add value, differentiate themselves and lead throughout their career journey from entry-level positions to the boardrooms,” said Cindy Taylor (right), Partner at CyberRisk Solutions in Atlanta and 1981 Harbert College of Business graduate in industrial management.

        “Women who build networks promote value. Women who mentor become change agents. Women who take risks build knowledge. Women who experience failure build confidence. Women who live outside of their comfort zones find opportunities they would have never pursued and success they would have never experienced.”

        Highlighting Women Entrepreneurship Week, Taylor will moderate a panel discussion -- New Venture Startup Stories -- with six successful entrepreneurs at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22, at Horton-Hardgrave Hall’s Broadway Event Space and Theater. A reception on the Gavin Terrace will follow, allowing guests the opportunity to engage with the panelists. Auburn University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend. The event is also open to the public.

        Panelists include:

        wilsonTara Wilson (left), CEO of the Tara Wilson Agency, an experiential marketing firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Wilson, who was Auburn University Co-Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, earned a finance degree from the Harbert College of Business in 1997.

        wew bedardJenny Bedard (right), Vice President for Automation at Cox Automotive in Atlanta. Bedard earned an MBA from Auburn with a concentration on finance in 1996.

        khiariiiiiiKhiari McAlpin (left), Founder and Director of Vinehouse Nursery in Alabaster, Alabama. McAlpin was named 2019 Auburn University Young Entrepreneur of the Year in March.

        bakerDr. LaKami Baker (right), Russell Foundation Professor in Entrepreneurial Studies at the Harbert College of Business. Baker has been highly instrumental in a number of Auburn University entrepreneurship initiatives, including the Tiger Cage Incubator and Junior Tiger Cage. She was recently named Interim Executive Director of Auburn University’s Government and Economic Development Institute.

        cookOlivia Cook (left), co-founder of Snippety Snap, a publicly available camera phone stand and integrated mobile application. Along with co-founder Courtney Haun, Snippety Snap was the 2018 Auburn University Tiger Cage Student Business Pitch Competition runner-up and won first place in November 2018 at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards regional competition in Atlanta. Cook is a PhD candidate in philosophy.

        boydBoyd Stephens (right), founder of Netelysis in Montgomery, Alabama. Stephens is a veteran entrepreneur who has mentored multiple student startups within the Auburn University Tiger Cage Accelerator program.

        “It’s always useful for students to hear successful people talk about their journey and it’s very important for students to have the opportunity in different settings to ask questions and interact with successful women entrepreneurs,” said Lou Bifano, Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at the Harbert College of Business.

        “The people on the panel represent diversity. We have women on the panel, a man on the panel, we have diversity in where different women are in their entrepreneurial journeys. We have diversity in the kinds of work they are doing, plus diversity in their accomplishments.”

        Why the focus on women in entrepreneurship? Simple. “The goal is to encourage more women to pursue their ideas for new entrepreneurial ventures,” Bifano added. “Women Entrepreneurship Week events are taking place this year at 160 college campuses across 24 countries. At Auburn, we have 24,600-plus undergraduate students and 48 percent are female. Ideally, our student-entrepreneur distribution should closely parallel that distribution. That’s not the case. I feel it’s necessary for us to put a special focus on women entrepreneurship until we close that gap.”