Women of Prince George’s is a premier resource for established entrepreneurs and businesswomen. Their mission is to use their strategic roster of business relationships in the Washington D.C. area to create mutually beneficial relationships between key businesses and local women. They connect professional women and entrepreneurs with neighboring markets, and provide exposure to businesses targeting the Prince George’s County, Maryland community. They aspire to educate women, which strengthens families and builds communities; thus, increasing their economic position as global leaders.
This year they celebrate 10 years of the power of women coming together to learn something new, to stretch themselves, and to support one another. Due to the current pandemic, they rescheduled their annual Women’s Conference to May 2021. This May, they started the kickoff of the 10-year celebration by hosting a series of webinars and social media campaigns.
I had an awesome time speaking with Co-Founder, Stephanie Bolton-James; getting a deeper dive into Women of Prince George’s (WPG), and what they do. I found that they do it all! Check out the scoop in our Q&A session…
Q. Why were you led to start WPG?
A. I found myself running around the beltway to attend networking events only to see the same women from Prince George’s County attending the same events. I spoke with Kristina Bouweiri, CEO of Reston Limousine, about Sterling Women in Virginia. She shared the business model and I somewhat followed her pattern, and birthed Women of Prince George’s.
Q. What is the passion that has kept you motivated over the past 10 years about WPG?
A. It comes from making sure we have the resources for our women that every other community has. We have the relationships, the education, the guidance, the loans, the financing, and the opportunity to collaborate. When I look around the beltway, I feel like Prince George’s is the last man standing, because all the other areas are saturated. We are finally getting our wings, with the National Harbor and other great projects that are currently being worked on. People are just recognizing the assets and resources in Prince George’s County that support the entire DMV, if not the nation.
Q. What advice can you give to an entrepreneur that is at a crossroads? They want to keep going, but the struggles and disappointments have her ready to throw in the towel.
A. In life there will always be setbacks that will make you question yourself, and ask if you are doing the right thing. As an entrepreneur, whether on purpose or by accident, you must have a business model and strategy to stick to even when it gets cloudy. When you get to the other side you will be able to look back and say, “WOW, look what I just did. I am almost there.” A lot of times the discouragement is intentional to distract us from success. Stay focused, stick with the plan, and know that your "yes" is right around the corner. When you feel yourself getting distracted, focus even more on what you are trying to accomplish. In the grand scheme of things, it is okay to take a break every now and then. Take time to pull away and recharge.
Q. Why should women join your organization?
A. WPG is not a membership organization. We have a calendar of events and you attend the events that pertain to you. We have three-to-four events throughout the year. On October 24, 2020, we will have a zoom event where we will salute women in small business. We have dynamic, successful speakers from within the county to show the flavors WPG offers: Kelly Queen, founding partner of New Digz, a consignment shop with locations in Upper Marlboro and Crofton; Dr. Regina Hampton and Jasmine Jones, cofounders of Cherry Blossom Intimates a breast health facility and intimates boutique in Glenarden; a husband and wife team, Kevin Alexander and Lisa Brown Alexander of Wellspring Manor & Spa in Upper Marlboro, an all-inclusive sanctuary where you can reconnect with yourself and unplug from the cares of life; Maya Mitchell, Ms. Young Homeowner, a resource for millennial women navigating the home-buying process, and Laurie Sayles, President and CEO of Civility MS VET-Force Executive Committee, a billion dollar government contractor. There is still time to register, do it today! https://womenofpg.com/event/salute-to-small-business/
Ms. Bolton James shared insightful information with us:
· More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.
· One-of-two jobs in the U.S. are small businesses.
· 42 percent of businesses in the U.S. are women owned.
· Women-owned businesses generate $1.9 trillion annually.
· 50 percent of businesses are owned by women of color.
We are a market to be recognized. People are addressing our niche and products, and how they approach Prince George’s County overall. We must be our own public relations. We are rich in culture, and a new brand that showcases our advancements in women business owners, college educated people, homeowners, the average median income, and the direction we move in our success. When people bring up the old, Stephanie quickly reminds them that you cannot continue to hold on to the statistics from 30 years ago; that is not who we are now. WPG is here to make sure that our professional women and business owners have the tools and resources they need to do whatever they aspire to do.
WPG has already started planning some great things for next year. They are starting 2021 with a bang. In January, they will host a conference that focuses on government contracting, "Pamper Me Please" in February, and their 11th year annual women’s conference in May. Visit them at womenofpg.com to get detailed information on upcoming events, and to be a part of all the greatness happening in Prince George’s County, Maryland.