Boss Made: Women Business Owners on the Rise in the ROC

Provided photo. Jessica Lewis brought together female bosses to discuss leading businesses and initiatives.

Provided photo. Jessica Lewis brought together female bosses to discuss leading businesses and initiatives.

When you think of a “boss” what comes to mind? Do you picture successful men leading predominantly white companies? Maybe you’re reminded of black men spearheading for-impact, community initiatives. Some might even think of the respected figure the pulpit wearing a clerical collar, or an executive chef cooking his finest dish at a New York City 5-star restaurant.

When you say the word “boss”, it’s probably unlikely that a woman pops into your head unless you’re acknowledging the catchy 2006 hit single, “Bossy” by contemporary R&B artist, Kelis. The fact of the matter is, while the gap between men and women holding top positions is decreasing, women still struggle to land the executive roles at America’s most prominent companies, which presents limited opportunities to change the perception of what a boss looks like in America.

But hold tight, women across the country understand that they are misrepresented in leadership and are changing this reality by becoming self-made bosses of their own businesses. The University of Southern California reported that there are over 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs by next year in a jaw-dropping 2016 infographic.

“You should always invest in your craft and the development of your skills as a boss. If that’s not a priority, you should reconsider being a boss.” – Lewis.

Jessica Lewis, principal publicist and owner at LaLéw Public Relations, is adding value to the conversation about women in position of power making economic impact in the Rochester community. This past Saturday, LaLéw Public Relations hosted the inaugural “Boss Made” at Ox and Stone restaurant to learn about the journey of five women that turned their part-time passions into full-time, flourishing businesses.

“As a female business owner, I want to make sure that women have a seat at the table when it comes to shaping our community,” said Lewis.

The featured entrepreneurs included Rayna Brooks of The Mobile Spa; Ruth Simmons of Financially Fit;Amanda Williams of Unveiling Heart; Dee Kimbrel of She Say So Boutique; and Shantel Brown of Queens Royal Pastrie—all who are eager to move in the direction of helping create employment opportunities in Rochester.

Rayna Brooks already has the ball rolling. She has one part-time employee who will become a full-time esthetician for The Mobile Spa in the coming weeks. Brooks also has an apprentice, which is important to her because she’s able to develop a blueprint of how to mentor young women that are interested in the health and wellness field.

“While it’s not easy trusting people with my business and my ideas, I still need support,” said Brooks. “Besides, I always want to help others tap into their purpose in order to be successful.”

Amanda Williams is so invested in helping others grow that she actually quit her full-time job this year to pursue her passion as a motivational speaker and she’s making strides every day. From building her interactive website, www.unveilingheart.com, to developing a plan to select one lucky girl to travel the world to help her inspire others, Williams is on the move.

“I just want to inspire,” said Williams. “I’m planning to select one lucky girl to gain experience as my apprentice while exploring the world with me…hopeful to teach her while on my journey.”

Ruth Simmons of Financially Fit is planning to employ Rochester residents in the near future but respectfully declined sharing any details.

“I’ve learned a lot from doing business and you can’t always talk about your plans with everybody,” said Simmons.

At some point throughout the event, all the women had chance to share personal stories about their journey to success and exclaimed the importance of staying ready to learn.

“Learning is constant; you should always remain a student of your craft,” said Lewis. “You should always invest in your craft and the development of your skills as a boss. If that’s not a priority, you should reconsider being a boss. “

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