For the first time since 2019, both new and experienced female entrepreneurs can gather for a full day of information, networking and all around camaraderie when SCORE Bucks County hosts its fourth Women Building Businesses Conference on June 14, at Parx Casino East.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Linda Zangrilli, chairwoman of SCORE Bucks County, which offers year-round mentoring and workshops to small business owners across Bucks and eastern Montgomery counties. “Last year, we thought about doing it again, and then all of a sudden, the variant hits. Even though COVID is still out there, people seem to be venturing back out to attend events like this.”
The program is largely the same as what SCORE had planned for 2020 before the world shut down. NBC10 news anchor Tracy Davidson, who was slated to be the keynote speaker three years ago, agreed to remain part of the program. When Davidson isn’t at the NBC studio, she can usually be found sharing inspiring messages with groups of women, which is a big passion of hers.
At the Women Building Businesses Conference, attendees will hear her speech “If You Only Knew.” Davidson said of her address, “It has to do with taking a pause. It has to do with distraction and it has to do with my past to the present. I think a lot of people would be surprised at where I came from. I think people have assumptions about women, and women in business, and they really have no idea.”
In addition to Davidson, conference attendees will hear from six other women presenting on a variety of useful business topics.
Social media consultant Jennifer Gardella will speak on how to attract ideal customers through social media. Branding expert Lynne Williams will talk about how to create a personal brand using LinkedIn. Colleen LaCoss, director of certification and business development for the Women’s Business Enterprise Center East, will discuss how to get a woman-owned business certified.
Sonya Pappas, a partner in business advisory and accounting firm GSM Advisory Group, which serves small business owners across the country, and an entrepreneur for three decades, will speak on the topic “Know Your Numbers/Know Your Worth.”
“Many, especially women entrepreneurs, undervalue their products and services and they’re almost afraid to charge too much,” said Zangrilli. “So Sonya’s speech is going to show how to price yourself accordingly and not be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.”
Employment attorney and small business owner Christina Reger, who serves as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, will share human resources tips for small businesses. Melinda F. Emerson, also known as “SmallBizLady,” will offer a lunchtime address on the 12 Ps of running a successful business. The bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, Emerson is CEO of Quintessence, a marketing consulting firm serving Fortune 500 companies that target small businesses.
Conference attendees will hear from every speaker in the main area — a change from past events, which tasked them with picking only a few. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A, though Zangrilli hopes the speakers stick around for the entirety of the day to mingle with registrants. This, she said, will allow anyone hesitant to raise their hand in front of a crowd to ask questions one-on-one.
“They’re not going to have to select, they’ll get it all,” Zangrilli said of the new format. “I think it’ll all be good, pertinent information to everybody who attends. I don’t think there’s a topic here that somebody will say, ‘Well, I don’t really need to hear that.’ I think they need to hear every one of these topics. We feel like they’re going to walk away from the conference with a lot of information that they can put to work immediately in their businesses.”
According to both Zangrilli and Davidson, a benefit of events like this is the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals.
“They’re gonna have great opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs, and maybe they don’t get that opportunity often. If you’re a small business owner, you’re running your business and you’re all-consumed with that, and maybe you’re a mother that has a family, as well. When do you get out to talk to other entrepreneurs and really pick their brains? You don’t,” said Zangrilli. “You don’t have time because you’re always chasing your tail trying to make your business run, trying to keep your family in order and all of that. So this is a great opportunity to carve out a day just for them, and I think that they’ll be very happy that they found the time to do it.”
Davidson added, “I think there’s value in connecting and value in supporting one another, in raising one another up and helping to amplify each other’s voices.”
If you go: The fourth Women Building Businesses Conference takes place Wednesday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Parx Casino East, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem. Cost is $25 through April 30 and includes continental breakfast, lunch and a full day of business-related discussions and networking. Beginning May 1, event registration increases to $35. To learn more and register, visit score.org/buckscounty/event/4th-annual-women-building-businesses-conference.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org