2015 Women's Business Enterprise Stars Biographies

The WBE stars shared their insights and expertise with the WBENC community in a series of videos throughout the Salute. View the videos on YouTube.

IMELDA ALEJANDRINO, CEO                

AP42, Inc.

“THERE IS NO NEED TO JUSTIFY YOUR ACTIONS WHEN YOU WORK AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED WOMEN WHOSE INTENT IS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” 

The Silicon Valley based AP42 was born out of the dining room of Imelda Alejandrino in 2001.14 years later AP42, a branding, advertising and marketing agency, has clients including Adobe, Texaco and Leap Frog, who embrace her expertise on creating marketing strategy and direction.

Her proudest moment in business can be summed up in one word: survival.After the agency she helped grow from 10 to 185 people imploded during the “Dot Bomb” she was faced with two compelling motivating factors: fear and the need to support her family.Armed with her years of experience she took a leap of faith and started her own company – how she succeeded: “perseverance, perseverance, and perseverance.” To ensure AP42 stays innovative and relevant she maintains a consistent presence at forums, conventions and technology events.

WBENC-Certified since 2006, Imelda has attended the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, and is a representative in the Women’s Enterprise Forum.Imelda says she is grateful for WBENC, and encourages newly certified WBEs to get involved in the WBENC community.“They have given me opportunities by offering me access to like-minded people and the support from experienced dynamos.The support only women understand.” 

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ALISON CHUNG, President

ALC TeamWerks, Inc.

“WE GET TO TELL THE TRUTH WHEN WE PERFORM OUR SERVICES. WE HUNT FOR THE TRUTH AND PROVIDE IT FOR THE JUDGE AND JURY.” 

Founded in 1998, TeamWerks is an IT professional service firm based in Illinois, specializing in computer forensics.Essentially, they are a digital detective agency and the firm’s clients have not been on the losing side of any litigation matters since its inception.

For Alison Chung her business is her hobby, whether searching hard drives to discover deleted files, discovering documents printed with source code, or testifying as an expert witness in litigation on behalf of her clients, she says “I would do computer forensics even if it were not my business.” This passion helped shape her company’s core values.“My business philosophy is always to do more and do it better than our clients’ expectations.” 

WBENC-Certified since 2001, Alison recognizes the value of WBENC.“It really opened doors for government opportunities.Even in litigation, law firms now see it as an advantage to hire WBE experts.” Her advice for new entrepreneurs - “If you have a good idea, do not listen to people who are negative, and go for it.You will never know what the outcome is unless you try it for yourself.” 

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JULIE GARCIA, PH.D., President 

Action Service Corporation

“THE PEOPLE WHO EXECUTE THE WORK HAVE MUCH TO TEACH US ABOUT PERFORMANCE. IT IS CRITICAL FOR SUCCESS TO LISTEN TO THEIR INPUT.” 

Action Service Corporation is a building maintenance company based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, started by Julie Garcia’s father in 1978 which she bought into in 2004 and now runs.Beginning with six employees, Action Services now has over 400 employees.

Julie has a simple approach to her business.“Keep your eye on the goal, not the day-to-day.” That philosophy carries her business through the rough patches that come with running a business.“The external factors we can’t control, but we cope by maintaining constant communication and planning.” Julie says the most important lessons she has learned in business are from her employees and in return those employees can learn something from Julie.“I want to teach those around me everything I know and support their development.It all comes down to commitment, communication and quality.” 

Action Service Corporation has been WBENC-Certified since 2011.Julie is a representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum as well as a Tuck-WBENC Executive Program graduate.She is a tremendous proponent of WBENC’s seminars and networking opportunities and makes a concerted effort to work with other WBEs - 74% of Action Services’ spend is with woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.

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ANGELICA GARCIA-DUNN, President

AIM Over-The-Road, LLC

“WE’VE SET UP THE CULTURE OF OUR BUSINESS TO BE LIKE FAMILY AND I THINK THAT TRANSFERS TO OUR CUSTOMERS AS WELL. IT MAKES US WANT TO GO THAT EXTRA MILE.” 

Angelica Garcia-Dunn founded Texas based AIM Global Logistics in 2009.AIM is in the freight forwarding business—a turnkey/supply chain logistics company that specializes in all modes of transportation—road, ocean, air and rail.

AIM’s success, says Angelica, all comes back to her employees, her team.And her entrepreneurial success is only topped by her faith and desire to help others as well, giving back 10% of her profits to the community.Says Angelica, “We want to build a great business for a greater purpose.” 

Evident by her mantra “Hard work and dedication goes a long way.” Angelica has received the Hispanic Emerging Business of the Year award by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was recognized in Forbes Magazine as a Top 100 Women Business Leader.According to Angelica, “If you are not scared of your dreams then you are not dreaming big enough! Querer Es Poder!” 

WBENC-Certified since 2012, her association with the organization has helped AIM expand their exposure to the major oil and gas companies.As a woman-owned and minority-owned company in a male-dominated industry, Angela says, “Our certifications make our company stand out from the crowd.We have been able to expand our exposure to the major oil and gas companies, who in turn have set asides for women and minority owned companies.” 

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JANIE GOLDBERG, President

OmniSource Marketing Group, Inc.

“I HAVE A GREAT TEAM WHERE I TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY I WANT THEM TO TREAT ME. IF I DO THAT AND ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING, I DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE OUTCOMES.” 

Indiana based OmniSource Marketing manages promotional marketing spend for Fortune 500 companies, making promotional products simple to find, easy to buy, and quick to ship.Founded in 1989, they serve major national brands like PepsiCo, Corona and the Red Cross.She started her business, her first attempt at entrepreneurism, at the age of 50.“My friend had a t-shirt press sitting idle and I thought I could do something with it.” 

After encountering the glass ceiling at the beginning of her career, Janie resolved to do business in a way that removes barriers and opens doors of opportunity for everyone.She is a big believer in the business adage: who comes before what.The who being her team.It is a philosophy that clearly works - in their 25 years in business they have never lost a client over a performance related issue.

OmniSource has been WBENC-Certified since 2012, and as a new representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum, Janie quickly found that certification certainly helped, but it did not mean she was given the keys to the castle.“When we got certified we didn’t get a book of business handed to us.We simply got more opportunities to meet more people.” She is a big believer in attending the national events, “Show up, show up, show up! And then show up some more.It’s a numbers game.When we keep showing up they get to know us, trust us, like us and root for us.” 

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VIVIAN ISAAK, President

Magnum Group, Inc.

“THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU NEED THE SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF THOSE WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MOVED THROUGH THE STAGES OF GROWING A BUSINESS TO TAKE THAT NEXT STEP FORWARD.” 

Magnum Group, Inc., established in 1992 and based in Pennsylvania, is a full-service multilingual communications company.Serving Fortune 100 and 500 companies, Magnum Group helps their clients connect and engage with their audience in any language and in any format- in print, video and on the web.

Vivian has a firm grasp on her business philosophy and does not waver from it.“We are process driven and there is no room for improvisation.By over-managing details we are always ready to tackle any challenge as a team.” And she is never satisfied with the status quo.She keeps her finger on the pulse of the industry and her morning mantra is ‘focus on working on the business instead of in the business.

In 2008, The National Association of Professional and Executive Women named Vivian “Woman of the Year” in the Translation Services category and 2009, she was nominated for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.

WBENC-Certified since 2010, and a new representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum, Vivian finds that support within the WBENC community, “It allows women-owned businesses to have a voice that is heard loud and clearly by the corporations that believe in its mission.” 

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KELLY KOLAR, Principal

Kolar Design Inc.

“WE CREATE ENVIRONMENTS THAT ATTRACT, INFORM, COMMUNICATE, AND INSPIRE.” 

Since 1989, Ohio based Kolar Design has specialized in creating a branded experience at the intersection of people and places.Helping clients such as the City of Cincinnati, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, and Children’s Hospital, align their brand and their physical environment so the audience knows the organization’s mission and future.

Kelly says the true beginning of her business began when she watched her father build his own business and instilled the belief in her that anything is possible.Starting her business in a sub-leased basement with one client, she transitioned, starting a family while keeping the business running.Today the company is global, establishing a satellite office in Germany and a joint venture in Asia.

Kelly’s approach to growth is simple, “Relationships, relationships, relationships.” And those relationships are one of the biggest advantages she says of being WBENC-Certified since 2007.Her advice to new entrepreneurs is the same thing she tells herself every day, “When you believe it, you’ll see it,” and, “Don’t ever give up.Call someone.Reach out.Find a mentor.” 

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TERESA LAWRENCE, President

Delta Personnel, Inc.

“COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER…AND TO THE PEOPLE WE SERVE, THAT’S WHERE LEADERSHIP BEGINS. NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS TELL YOU, IT IS NOT YOU WHO TURNS A COMPANY, IT IS THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THAT MAKES IT TURN.” 

In 1988, Teresa Lawrence inherited her father-in-law’s struggling industrial temp agency in Louisiana.In 2000, she became the sole owner of Delta Personnel, a full-service professional and industrial staffing agency.She continued to grow and develop the company, but in 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated the region and Teresa lost everything.

Little did Teresa know that a WBENC event would prove to be a pivotal point for her both personally and professionally.She was attending the National Conference in Los Angeles when there was a panel focusing on dealing with disaster recovery.“It was exactly what I needed to hear,” said Teresa, “Someone from my own town, on the panel, ‘had recovered’ and was telling others how to do it.I too had a chance!” With new determination she returned home refreshed and rebuilt her business.

Today, Delta Personnel is on the leading edge of the industry, constantly attending conferences and joining trade organizations that provide up to the minute insights into the industry.Teresa is also a representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum and graduate of the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program.Since becoming WBENC-Certified in 2006, it is the networking and training opportunities that have made Teresa such a WBENC enthusiast.Says Teresa, “It is a true spark to women owned businesses.” 

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LILY OTIENO, CEO

Infinity Business Solutions

“I LOVE TO HELP OTHERS, AND WITH MY EXTENSIVE BACKGROUND, I WAS READY TO START.” 

Based in California, Infinity Business Solutions is a provider of management consulting services in Project Management Offices.Founded in 2007, Infinity Business Solutions specializes in governance, quality plan development, and training programs.The once regional business has grown from a few local clients to the national level.Even before she took the leap to start her own firm, Lily knew she had the skills and experience to do so.

Born and raised in Kenya, Lily was instilled with the belief that women make a tremendous impact in our communities and as a result she has always been driven to help women grow and excel.“I was one of the founders of the Center for Women Studies and Gender Analysis in Egerton University in Kenya, which is now a fully-fledged academic department.” Her desire to help women comes through in her business practices as well.She created a WBE capabilities statement template and has taught over 500 women on how to create their own capabilities statement, as well as how to present it to Corporate Members.She teaches several classes to help WBE’s be successful in the procurement cycle.

Lily has attended the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program and is a representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum.As a result of becoming WBENC-Certified in 2010, Lily has built numerous relationship with fellow WBEs and Corporate Members.“It’s like you have sisters that support you and are happy when you grow, get involved and give back.” 

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RACHEL SANCHEZ, CEO                

Prestige Maintenance USA, Ltd

“WHEN MY PARENTS STARTED OUR BUSINESS THEY BELIEVED THAT THE CLEANING INDUSTRY WAS NOT VIEWED AS A PROFESSIONAL INDUSTRY. THEIR GOAL WAS TO CHANGE THAT PERCEPTION.” 

Rachel Sanchez grew up in the family business, and now owns and operates Prestige Maintenance USA (PMUSA) based in Texas.Rachel has grown PMUSA into one of the largest woman-owned, family-owned, custodial and facilities maintenance companies in the nation serving WBENC Corporate Members, including: Target, The Home Depot, BNSF Railway, J.C.Penney, and Southwest Airlines.

She considers the service industry the people business, and as such PMUSA puts an emphasis on a company culture of engagement and commitment.Leading by example is a core value for Rachel, and her vision for PMUSA’s future builds upon the more than three decades of her firm’s success.She does not just want to do business in different communities, she wants to improve them.As such, PMUSA participates in various charity events throughout the year, serving those in need through food, toy and book drives, and supporting U.S.soldiers serving the country abroad.

PMUSA has been WBENC-Certified since 2005, Rachel says “(certification) provided a phenomenal national platform and exposure to Fortune 100 and 500 companies.” Rachel is a big believer in the WBENC matchmaker sessions at the national events, which have directly resulted in new contracts.A representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum, she advises other WBEs: “Get involved.When you are surrounded by successful individuals there is always something to gain from their experience and knowledge.” 

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HALLIE SATZ, CEO                        

HighRoad Press, LLC

“I REALIZED I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE AND DISPEL THE MYTHS OF WOMEN IN THE PRINT INDUSTRY. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT HIGHROAD’S BIGGEST IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY HAS BEEN BEING A WOMAN OWNED AND OPERATED COMPANY THAT CONTINUES TO SHOW, EMBRACE, AND CREATE BEST PRACTICES.” 

HighRoad Press, an award winning, G7 Certified, full service printing company located in New Jersey was established in 2004.Working with technology that frequently becomes obsolete as soon as it is introduced, Hallie makes a conscious effort to bring in various industry experts to lead workshops or to evaluate their work and help to “see around corners” to give them a sense of what is coming.“We want to be innovative with a purpose.” 

After ten years in business, HighRoad Press’s growth and metamorphosis has been, in Hallie’s words, “beyond recognition!” They grew from 17 to 48 employees, have moved into a new facility, and have seen a growth of 15% in sales revenue.

Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Forum’s National Domestic Programs Team, Hallie’s business has been WBENC-Certified since the company’s inception. Hallie considers herself the poster child for WBENC benefits.Early on she came to an important understanding, “I learned, like all WBEs, that certification is necessary to get you on the guest list, but getting to the dance floor is all about your business.” 

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JACQUELINE SMITH, President          

New Kent Coatings, Inc.

“MY EMPLOYEES ARE THE BACKBONE OF MY COMPANY. WITH THE HARSH ENVIRONMENTS THAT WE CONTRACT IN, SAFETY IS IMPORTANT, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IS EVERYTHING, AND BUILDING THE RIGHT TEAM IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL.” 

New Kent Coatings, Inc.was established in 2010 by founder Jacqueline Smith of Virginia.New Kent Coatings are experts in the industrial coating arena, specializing in corrosion control with power generator facilities, chemical plants, mills, military installations, and petroleum storage.

A challenge for Jacqueline was starting a business as a woman in a non-traditional industry for women.But absolute faith in her abilities has carried her through.“I believe I can out-perform any of my male competitors hands down and have proven that.Once an opportunity is given and we deliver the ‘woman-owned’ stigma goes away.It is very gratifying to prove that women can succeed in a man’s world.” 

WBENC-Certified since 2010, Jacqueline is active in the organization, and the relationships she has cultivated as a result of WBENC have been essential to keeping her focused on her goals as well as meet them.“It has helped me gain access to large corporations and meet some incredible WBE’s in our network.” She advises those newly certified WBEs, “Show up.Be yourself.Help wherever you can.Let service above self be your priority and real opportunities for strong relationships will follow naturally.” 

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ELIZABETH TUCKER, Founder

Center for Women & Enterprise

“WE FOSTER A CORPORATE CULTURE WHERE EMPLOYEES ARE ENCOURAGED TO SUGGEST NEW IDEAS, PROPOSE CHANGES IN PROCESS, AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS. OUR ‘IDEA PROGRAM’ PAYS A BONUS TO AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE INNOVATIVE IDEA IS IMPLEMENTED.” 

Elizabeth Tucker founded Massachusetts based KNF&T Staffing Resources in 1983, growing from six employees to a 20 million dollar company that specializes in direct hire, temporary/contract and temp-to-hire placement in entry level to executive level management positions across industries.The enduring success of the company is a testament to her business acumen and dedication to her mission: to deliver the best talent at an affordable price.

The staffing industry is fiercely competitive, and Elizabeth is focused on constant innovation to ensure KNF&T is on the cutting edge by offering new services, exploring technological advances and keeping a keen eye on, of all things, social media channels that she feels can benefit her business.

WBENC-Certified since 2003, Elizabeth finds that certification provides her greater credibility in the marketplace, specifically, as it pertains to companies who are interested in diversity spend for staffing services.In order to maximize certification Elizabeth suggests to “take the time to be involved in the many learning and networking opportunities offered by WBENC.Utilize the marketing lists and events as opportunities to expand your businesses.” 

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KITTIE WATSON, PH.D. President

Innolect Inc.

“OUR PASSION IS TO GROW LEADERS TO LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE, AS THEY BUILD THE HIGH INTEGRITY WORKPLACES THEY DESIRE.” 

After 22 years of teaching at Tulane University, Kittie Watson resigned and merged her consulting firm with another firm to found Innolect Inc.Headquartered in South Carolina, Innolect develops leaders and equips high-impact leaders with the skills to take their business to the next level.Kittie likes to think of Innolect as the leader in the field of listening.She says, each assignment begins from a place of curiosity and wonder.That, and an adaptive mindset provides her team with greater agility to help clients.

Part of Innolect’s vision is finding ways to serve and give back to the community through flagship programs such as Sustainable Legacies, which helps business clients grow leadership talent while building mutually beneficial partnerships and community non-profits.Each year, Innolect gives a percentage of their profits to non-profits that offer thoughtful and intentional approaches to community development.

In 2009, Innolect became WBENC-Certified.Since then Kittie has attended the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, become a recipient of the Dorothy B.Brothers Scholarship, and is a representative on the Women’s Enterprise Forum.She feels that her association with WBENC has made Innolect much more sophisticated in how they position and brand their services, and is happy to share that wisdom to other women-owned businesses, who in turn, according to Kittie, “Encourage, challenge and help me expand my thinking.” 

 

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