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Women in Business Conference features Joan Rivers, aims to help entrepreneurs thrive
[October 10, 2010]

Women in Business Conference features Joan Rivers, aims to help entrepreneurs thrive


Oct 10, 2010 (El Paso Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Katana Abbott, a certified financial planner in Michigan, believes that most women already have what it takes to be an entrepreneur."Women are already doing so many things. Women are managing their household. Most of them are working and taking care of their children, and their spouses need to be taken care of. And they may be running the caregiving for their parents," Abbott said.

"So when you think of all that, running a business may be very similar to what they've been doing their whole life," she said.

What holds many women back is not believing in themselves. But a coming women's conference is designed to build them up and provide them the tools and other resources to be successful in the business world.


Abbott will be one of several speakers for the 2010 Women in Business Conference on Wednesday at the Camino Real Hotel. The all-day conference will feature successful El Paso and out-of-town businesswomen.

Comedian Joan Rivers, the winner of Season 2's "Celebrity Apprentice" and host of TV Land's "How'd You Get So Rich?" will speak at lunchtime.

Minda Villarreal of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce said the conference is geared to inspiring and motivating women.

"We know how difficult it is. A lot of women in business have families and are juggling both. We make it a point to structure the event to help women juggle home, family and business." Women will be able to glean tips on pursuing their dreams, marketing their business and taking it to the next level. Social networking, a significant way to communicate these days, will also be discussed as it pertains to business.

The difficult economy is an inspiration for a workshop. And for many, it can be said the economy is exactly what has motivated them to think about running their own business.

"I really believe with what is happening in the economy -- with so many people losing jobs -- people are looking into entrepreneurship for two reasons. One is to have a lot more control over their life and not be dependent on someone else," Abbott said.

"And two," she said, "to have another stream of income. Especially for this conference, a lot of women are around 50 years old. And so these people are looking at the second half of their life." Abbott, who sold her financial planning business to be a mentor for other women, said she wants to inspire women into retiring into something -- rather than from something.

"This time is a great way for women to use all their strengths, talents, experience and ability to create a business that helps her have fulfillment, purpose and passion," she said.

For every $10,000 a woman earns from her business, it means $250,000 less money she needs to retire. Abbott said.

Once women figure out what their passion is, the resources for starting a business are accessible, experts said.

Besides the available workshops, there are websites and organizations -- such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce -- that can be invaluable.

"Owning a business is very competitive but with the right support team and business plan, they can be successful," Abbott said.

El Pasoan Frances Erickson, owner of several businesses including commercial real estate with her husband, knows the hard work that it takes to be successful. She has been working since she was about 14.

She believes it's beneficial to women to learn how men and women differ in the workplace.

"I'm not liberal by any means. But I have always worked in male-oriented jobs," she said. "And in order to get ahead, we need to understand each other." Asked about the difference between men and women, Erickson responded, "We talk too much" and then laughed.

Erickson said women tend to chitchat or giggle when men just want to get down to business.

"These are some basic things of who we are, but it drives men crazy," she said.

Erickson said men sometimes treat women differently, although not intentionally.

"A lot of times, they're waiting to see how smart we are and if you really know what you're talking about," she said.

Women have to be willing to step up to the plate to prove their worth, she said.

"But never fake it. If you don't know the answer, say, 'This is new to me, but I will get that answer for you,' " she said.

Maria Cortes Gonzalez may be reached at mcortes@elpasotimes.com; 546-6150.

Make plans --What: 2010 Women in Business Conference --When: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

--Where: Camino Real Hotel.

--Cost: $50 a person, including lunch. Vendor display tables cost $150 each. Tickets must be purchased by Tuesday, by calling 629-6714.

--Information: 629-6714.

Schedule of events --8 a.m.: Welcome.

--8:15 a.m.: Frances Erickson of LoneStar Investments will speak on "Strategies for Success: How Women and Men Differ in the Workplace and How Understanding These Differences Can Help Grow Your Business." --8:45 a.m.: Sue Malone of Superior Financial Group will speak on "Pursue Your Dream of Owning Your Own Successful Small Business." --9:30 a.m. Katana Abbott, a certified financial planner, will speak on "Retire to Something -- Rather than from Something." --10 a.m.: Susan Mucha of Powell-Mucha Consulting Inc. will speak on "Relationship Marketing -- Make Your Business Indispensible to Your Customers." --10:30 a.m. to noon: Participants may network.

--Noon: Estela Casas, KVIA news anchor and the event's mistress of ceremonies.

--Lunch with Joan Rivers, actress, comedian and entrepreneur who recently won Season 2 of "Celebrity Apprentice" and is the current host of TV Land's "How'd You Get So Rich?." The El Paso Times Business Women of the Year will be announced.

--1:30 p.m.: Ana Maria Pina Houde of Anamarc College will speak on "Taking Your Business to the Next Level." --2 p.m.: Letricia Preston of Horwitz & Associates Inc. will speak on "Surviving the Economic Crunch." --2:30 p.m.: Social networking (speaker to be announced).

--3 p.m.: Timba Dance Evolution by Tumbao Dance & Fitness Studio or networking.

To see more of the El Paso Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.elpasotimes.com. Copyright (c) 2010, El Paso Times, Texas Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com, e-mail services@mctinfoservices.com, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544).

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