WBENC is proud to introduce you to the 2023 WBE Stars! The WBE Star Award is the nation’s top recognition for excellence among women-owned businesses, honoring 14 women from across the country within each of our 14 Regional Partner Organizations who are leaders in their local business communities and respective fields, and an inspiration to women business owners across the country.
The 2023 WBE Stars are especially recognized for their resilience, innovation and leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and recent years.
Get to know our 2023 WBE Stars and get inspired by their resiliency and insights! Our 2023 WBE Stars will be recognized at the 2023 WBENC National Conference in Nashville, TN, March 19-23, 2023. Stay tuned throughout 2023 as we feature each of our WBE Stars in our WBENC News and Resources section where they will be sharing even more knowledge and insights!
Liz Whitehead | 12PointFive
Women’s Business Enterprise Council Greater DMV
“Resiliency is having the strength to keep going and the vulnerability to recognize when you need to make a change. Recognizing that your vision is strong and unwavering but the path to get there may not look how you planned.”
Liz Whitehead is the CEO of Diversity Masterminds® and 12PointFive. Liz is a business development consultant that guides business owners so they can leverage supplier diversity networks, have more productive conversations, and win new business. She started her own business in May 2017 because she had worked for nearly two decades supporting diverse entrepreneurs connecting with large companies and realized she had unique knowledge and experience to connect business owners with large corporate contacts and organize and structure their business development processes. Her business also became WBENC-Certified in 2017!
Liz is a dedicated member of both the Women’s Enterprise National Forum and the WBEC DMV Forum.
Marian Neilson | Abator Information Services, Inc.
Women’s Business Enterprise Center East
“The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resiliency as ‘an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change’ or in other word, persist. When my mom was seventeen she was hit by a car. At first the doctors didn’t think she’d live. After she pulled through, she was told she would never walk or have kids. She proved the doctors wrong on all counts. That’s what resiliency means to me, moving forward no matter the obstacles. And how I practice it, is putting one foot (sometimes metaphorically) in front of the other to reach where I want to go.”
Abator is multi-faceted traditional consultancy supporting government and commercial clients, building engagement teams or provide staff augmentation. Core competencies are project management; QA/IV&V; systems/applications/web development; systems integration; and database administration. With their GetDiversityCertified services we counsel and assist diverse business owners on their path to certification.
Chanel Christoff Davis | Davis, Davis & Harmon LLC
Women’s Business Council Southwest
“I define resiliency as seeing infinite possibilities during a crisis or in the face of adversity. Even when those who surround you are feeling defeated or beaten back, a resilient leader can rally the troops and transform their angst into action so that the organization can stay on track and win.”
Davis Davis & Harmon LLC (DDH) is an award-winning tier-one woman and minority-owned sales tax consulting firm with a unique focus on transaction tax advocacy throughout the United States and Canada. DDH services global multinational corporations by delivering innovative tax solutions that return money to their client’s bottom line. As sales tax experts, the firm provides a broad range of sales/use tax services, including audit defense, audit representation, refunds, training, research, and avoidance strategy planning. DDH knows sales tax law, how to interpret it, and how to advocate for clients, with their core business principle being “We Create Peace of Mind.”
Dee C. Marshall | Diverse & Engaged
Women’s Business Enterprise Council Metro New York
An international speaker, certified coach, leadership trainer, diversity consultant, and published author, Dee C. Marshall is CEO at Diverse & Engaged and recently named Top 50 People of Color List by RIO, Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, and Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs. She is a Wall Street alumna who trained million dollar producers at top financial services firms; a contributor to Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise, The New York Times, and others. She is the founder of D&I Honors: Where Congress Meets Culture, Inclusion, and Belonging; the curator of Diversity on The Hill, and creator of Win, Rock, & Rule Women’s Empowerment. Dee is a fierce advocate for women of color in business, a go-to for supplier development for Black women, and currently serves as 2nd Vice-Chair on WBENC Forum Engagement Committee. Dee is co-host of BLifted-Up Radio Show on Sirius XM (with SVP Alfred Edmond, Black Enterprise) and founder of Girlfriends Pray.
Ellen Engel | Elevate USA Inc.
Women’s Business Enterprise Council Florida
“Resiliency has become a quality I’ve embraced when it comes to making my dreams a reality. Being resilient means that despite any adverse situation, I appear stronger and more determined than before; it is about personal growth ad development. This trait is what drives me to push through any aftermath and potential difficulties in order to succeed. As the leader, I practice resiliency by proactively addressing opportunities that not only come with challenges but also provide exciting learning experiences–this enable me to progress as an individual as well as an entrepreneur. Women have made great strides to create equality in the workplace, but there is still more work to be done; I am proud that I ca use resiliency to drive meaningful change in both my industry and as an example for other female leaders.”
Elevate is a global training company connecting businesses and non-profits with the tools, knowledge and opportunities necessary to retain their best employees. With use of advanced assessment technology and the industry’s leading subject matter experts providing you with the professional development tools to develop a more productive and engaged workforce. Elevate is on a mission to raise employee engagement by transforming the employee experience and culture. Elevate USA Inc. was founded in 2007 by Ellen Engel. Under Ellen’s leadership, Elevate has grown the training company from a single trainer to over fifty trainers working across the country and internationally, offering over 250 off the shelf and tailored training topics, custom training, assessments, and 7,500+ self-paced online learning modules. Training programs are delivered in person or virtually.
Arneisha Sadler | Emeniss Call Center
Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance
“Using my last $300 to start my business was a huge leap of faith, not knowing how to run a business or where I was going to sleep the next day. I knew where I had come from and refused to go back. Whatever the future held could not be worse than the past. ‘Faith without works is dead.’ As I push forward despite fear of the unknown, I learn and apply. I surround myself with people who support me and empower me, as well as correct me and hold me accountable.”
Emeniss™ Call Center specializes in providing inbound and outbound call center services for businesses, nonprofits organizations, and MUSH markets (Municipal and state governments, Universities, Schools, and Hospitals). Customer service, account management, administration, dispatch, overflow calls, and after-hours services are among our 24-hour services to assist businesses in reducing operating costs, increasing productivity, and focusing on growth and development without sacrificing customer service quality.
Tammy Cohen | InfoMart
Greater Women’s Business Council
“Resiliency means persevering against all odds. Since I founded InfoMart, I’ve had to defeat all odds. I started with little-to-no money or experience, but resilience made InfoMart stand the test of time. The screening industry has evolved over the years, but I’ve led InfoMart to innovate our solutions and adapt with the changes. As the leader of a WBE whose work history began with non-traditional jobs, I strive to bridge the gap of understanding and respect among diverse populations. I’ve learned first-hand that diverse business owners face unique obstacles, but that won’t stop me from being bold, resilient, and fearless.”
InfoMart is a background screening company that provides the technology needed to screen customers, job applicants, students, contractors, and more. Our solutions seamlessly integrate, quickly onboard, and mitigate risk while reducing the time to contract or hire. Powered by innovative technology, AI, a RESTful API, and customizable solutions, InfoMart streamlines screening and onboarding for companies of all sizes, from startups to the Fortune 500. Our company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy.
Cathy Koch | K-TEC Systems
Great Lakes Women’s Business Council
“To me, resiliency means not giving up, and finding a way around issues, failures, and obstacles that get in the way of our plan. I practice resiliency by learning, listening, and creating a plan of actions.”
K-Tec Systems is a global manufacturer, distributor, and engineering integrator of temperature sensors, wire harnesses, and control systems. For over 30 years, K-Tec Systems has helped companies minimize wasted yields and mitigate costly recalls by providing solutions that control temperature, pressure and flow during their manufacturing processes.
Angela Horne | mediascript
Women’s Business Enterprise Council Ohio River Valley
“Embracing challenges is hard and this may sound simple, but I focus on two things. First, I tend to look at each day as a fresh start. I start by walking our dog because it helps to clear my head, showering, getting dressed, putting on makeup, doing my hair – because you never know who you could meet that day.”
mediascript transforms ideas into digital reality by providing interactive digital signage and kiosks for better customer experiences, innovative custom software platforms to improve organizations processes, website and mobile application development, e-learning and learning management systems as well as video production services. Additionally, mediascript has two DBA’s. Great Dane Press offering extraordinary custom stationery and gifts and Wholesome Medicinals offering high quality THC-Free CBD products to support your family’s health, well-being and lifestyle.
Colleen Bonniol | MODE Studios, Inc.
Women’s Business Enterprise Council – Pacific
“Resiliency is the key to overcoming adversity and adapting to change. It involves having a strong belief in oneself, persevering in the face of challenges, and finding solutions in difficult situations. It also includes the ability to cope with difficult emotions and keep moving forward. My practice of resiliency involves utilizing these strategies and not giving up, even when it may appear as stubbornness. Additionally, it includes being able to change direction when necessary, viewing challenges from different angles, and finding creative solutions.”
At MODE Studios, we understand the need for businesses to connect with their communities and build strong relationships. Our experiential agency offers a wide range of services that fulfill this need by creating memorable experiences that bring audiences together and foster a sense of community. From brand activations and architectural installations to online learning, live entertainment, and Web3 creative marketing development – our team provides expert strategy, design, and direction for an unrivaled experience.
Vicki Gray | New Chapter HI Services
Center for Women & Enterprise
“Resiliency to me is having the ability to see past my current situations and challenges and know that there is a bigger purpose. My purpose is to shape the way young girls and women see themselves as leaders It is my passion and commitment to advance and empower young women by supporting them in finding meeting fulfillment & purpose in what they do by showing them their thoughts matter by asking their opinions and listening when they speak, Showing them the possibilities of their potential and allowing them to play as they wish and Letting them know that there is no wrong or right way to be a GIRL!
I practice resiliency by focusing on my self care, wellness, healing and empowerment myself from within and thus that this will make a difference in my business decisions. Resilience is also a movement in resistance.”
New Chapter HI Services delivers high quality, competitively priced painting and property maintenance services to a range of clients (Commercial, Government & Residential) in the Greater Boston area. Their Mission statement is to provide clients with competitively priced, high quality painting and property maintenance services reliably and ethically. NCHI focuses on professionalism, craftsmanship, convenience, and competitive pricing. Their projects are completed on time and correctly with real attention to detail. Problems are eliminated at the root cause. Jobs are completed to the client’s satisfaction – on time and at a fair price.
Caron Ng | NU-SET Inc.
Women’s Business Enterprise Council – West
To me, resiliency means I will fail but I will pick myself up. I will do better next time. To me the opposite of resiliency is fear. I dislike ‘fear,’ it robs the ‘peace’ from us. Instead of ‘fear,’ I choose to have a go at it. The outcome is better than not trying.
NU-SET is the only certified Minority-Owned and Women-Owned lock manufacturer and direct distributor in the US. NuSet is an innovative security solution company with 22+ patents and trademarks around the world. Our primary customers are construction companies, property management companies, hardware retail chains (Such as The Home Depot, Lowes, and Grainger), Realtors, and Ecommerce platforms (Such as Zoro, Amazon, Wayfair, and Overstock). We specialize in lean production which enables us to service just in time services to our B2B customers with our resources.
Meg Cook | Painter’s USA
Women’s Business Development Council – Midwest
Painters USA has grown into a thriving, highly-respected company, serving industrial and commercial clients across the United States. Working from offices in Texas and Illinois, our project crews and office staff are committed to client success and satisfaction. The largest, most complex industrial / commercial job will be efficiently broken down and completed to meet quality expectations and comply with your regulatory and auditing environment. Painter’s USA focuses on attention to detail and will never compromise health and safety standards.
Deb Ward | Televergence Solutions
Women’s Business Enterprise Council South
“A resilient mindset means having the ability to face any challenges that may arise and see it as an opportunity, while remaining positive in pursuit of the solution. This includes being able to take risks and make decisions with confidence, even when the outcome is uncertain. Additionally, female business owners need to be open to change and have the ability to pivot, when necessary. I practice resiliency by practicing what I preach, being consistent with my behavior, while creating a culture of trust. I ensure that my team has the necessary tools through ongoing training, support, and resources needed to succeed.”
Televergence is a nationwide VOIP Telecommunications company specializing in providing local telephone numbers, long distance, and toll-free minute-based services to high volume business customers. Focus specifically on cost savings, on average, Televergence is able to save customers over 30% compared to their existing carriers.