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Northwoods Women's Entrepreneur Series  Features ABC’s Shark Tank Entrepreneur Among Speakers

Northwoods Women's Entrepreneur Series Features ABC’s Shark Tank Entrepreneur Among Speakers

Monday , Aug 23, 2021

Eagle River, WI., August 25, 2021 . . . The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC) today announced its Northwoods Women's Entrepreneur Series featuring four internationally and nationally-recognized women CEOs including Junea Rocha, Wendy Baumann, Marsha McVicker, and Melissa “Missy” Hughes. Women entrepreneurs, business owners, and the general public are invited to learn over the lunch hour how these highly-respected leaders founded, developed or are leading thriving global, national, state or Northwoods private and non-profit businesses. 

“The number of women entrepreneurs is steadily increasing, yet women face many unique challenges including lack of funding and work-family balance,” said Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director.  “We’re delighted to provide this special opportunity to hear from four exceptional women business leaders who will inspire and provide real tips to start or grow a business. Our mission, to build a stronger Northwoods economy, is accomplished by supporting entrepreneurs, remote workers and expanding businesses, providing key information and resources to ensure their success.  This programming will help them learn, network, engage, and grow.”

The 4-part series will kick-off on Thursday, September 16, 2021, with food entrepreneur Junea Rocha, frozen food Brazi Bites co-founder, who became an overnight success after appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank. Rocha will present “The Keys to New Business Success: Hard Work, Tenacity, A Support Network & Why Sometimes, Knowing Less is Good for Business."

Next, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, Wendy Baumann, President/Chief Visionary Officer - Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), will present “Putting Dreams to Work: Women in Business Making an Impact.” 

An internationally recognized leader in microenterprise, small business development, financial capability, and social enterprise, Baumann has focused on advancing opportunities for women, people of color, lower-wealth individuals, Veterans, and Military-connected families.  She has pioneered business incubation, capital access programming, financial and business educational programming, and financial capability initiatives. Under her leadership, WWBIC has grown from a $200,000 budget with two staff to a $9 million organization with over 70 staff and seven regional offices. 

Thirdly, on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, Marsha McVicker, Founder/CEO of LYLA (formerly Errand Solutions, Land O’ Lakes, WI), will present “Starting a Business You Love Right Where You Live.” 

A driven, innovative, and empathetic leader, McVicker strongly believes in tapping into the resources of people across our communities, not just the big city centers. She has been featured on MSNBC, MSN Business on Main, NPR’s “Future of Success” series, and has presented at Crain’s Business Forum, the Women’s Business Development Center, University of Chicago, UW-Madison, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

The series will culminate on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 with Melissa “Missy” Hughes, Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), who will present “Wisconsin Tools, Resources & Funding to Achieve Your Success!”

Before joining WEDC in October 2019, Hughes was general counsel and chief mission officer at Organic Valley. Her previous positions include associate attorney at the firm of Holland & Hart, where she practiced in the areas of natural resources, construction litigation and corporate business transactions. She served on the boards of the Environmental Working Group and the Organic Trade Association, where she was a three-term board president. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appointed Hughes to the USDA Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Biotechnology in the 21st Century.

Each event in the series will be held via Zoom from 12 Noon to 1 pm.  Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from the presenters, ask questions, and engage with other like-minded business leaders. The series is free of charge.

Those interested in registering to attend any one or all of the 4-part series may do so by CLICKING HERE. Registration is encouraged. For more information contact VCEDC Executive Director Kathy Schmitz at [email protected] or office (715) 337-0061. 

The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit 501c3 organization. 



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Want to learn why Vilas County is one of the best places to live, work, and play?

We can email you a PDF highlighting many of the wonderful aspects of our area.

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