Glass Ceiling Escape: Your Own Business

From the State: Loans & Training

Juliet Shavit’s Firm: PR for High Techs

Annie Jennings PR: Attention-Getter

Media Women Unite

Dot.Com Moms

Scouting Women

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring and others were prepared

for the January 31, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights


Women in Business: Notes from the Field

Women have made great strides in attaining leadership

roles over the past decade. Now, today’s increasingly global and


world presents new opportunities, challenges, and obstacles. How can

women move up the ladder and feel comfortable in these situations,

and how can you raise the subject with your boss?

"It is important to find out what your organization is doing to

foster communication about these issues, what else can be done, and

what information is being missed," says Joan Kelly, a senior

consultant specializing in women’s leadership practices for William

M. Mercer, the Carnegie Center-based consulting firm (609-520-3733,

For many years, women have been in the executive-level pipeline, but

their movement into senior level positions has grown from only three

percent to five percent. Women have both visible and invisible


to moving up in the workplace. It is still true that elements of the

"good old boys" network — such as golf outings —


to be important places to exchange information and build networking

relationships that are so crucial to career advancement, especially

in the service industries.

Exclusionary practices deprive women of a forum such as this, to share

vital "inside track" information about their own companies,

and get the feedback they need to assess their current role; where

they are going and how they can get there. Women are not always privy

to this crucial information, since they are not yet inducted into

the "good old boys" club.

Kelly notes that it is the responsibility of both management and the

employee to survey these activities and to be aware of the barriers

they can create. Oftentimes, managers attempt to be kind in offering

these opportunities to employees, and do not realize that some


are left isolated. Both you and your boss need to identify these


in creating a gender-friendly environment.

Women open up a crucial dialogue when making management aware of their

feelings about these events. The Wall Street Journal recently reported

a rise in both settlement size and litigation around diversity issues.

If you suggest alternative methods of optimizing communication, and

more inclusive policies, you are doing your company a favor.

Although many companies have policies in place, some are just


and are not put into practice. However, many companies are increasing

their leadership diversity by focusing on the attraction, retention,

and development of high potential women. These companies realize an

integrated leadership development strategy, with a focus on women’s

leadership, is now considered a business imperative and fundamental

for growth. Managers who are aware of these issues can help their

company obtain financial rewards. But it’s up to you to help your

company get there, and have your manager understand your personal


Kelly offers some tips to get started:

Find out if your company is "taking the pulse"

of your organization’s culture and pinpointing the inherent biases

in the system.

Find out if scheduling after hours activities with clients

is important to your company’s executives — and if they are paying

attention to the needs of working parents.

Find out if your company is fully utilizing its workforce

by promoting women.

Know that your questions and comments to your boss are helping

the company capture diversity of thought and create a competitive

advantage in the marketplace. Diversity programs can actually help

retention and have been shown to provide the impetus to strategic


Join or start a women and leadership group in your company

to open a dialogue and get support for your actions.

Top Of Page
Glass Ceiling Escape: Your Own Business

Women who are frustrated by their inability to penetrate

the glass ceilings that lead to executive positions often break away

from corporate jobs to start their own businesses. A state-sponsored

course, the Entrepreneurial Training Institute, can help. It offers

instruction on preparing a business plan, understanding the financial

aspects of running a business, and developing marketing strategies.

Class size is kept small — only 20 students — to allow


interaction between students and instructors, who are representatives

of community development organizations and the NJDA.

ETI is especially interested in helping women and minority-owned


Classes are held once a week from 6 to 9 p.m. The next sessions begin

on Wednesday, February 21, at the Burlington County High Tech


in Mount Laurel; on Thursday, February 22, at the Human Resource


Institute in Trenton; and on Thursday, March 1, at DeVry Institute

in Edison. Cost: $225. Call 609-292-9279, E-mail:, or

go to

Though participants in ETI programs are not guaranteed business loans,

ETI upped their chances when, last fall, it formed a partnership with

a number of banks, including Commerce Bank, First Union Bank, First

Washington Bank, Fleet Bank, and Yardville National Bank. Through

the partnership, called SEED (Strengthening the Economy with


Development), the banks will provide additional support to ETI and

to the small business owners who take its course, helping to move

them from formal business plan to business financing.

In addition to other sources of funding available to them, ETI


can apply for business loans from a revolving loan fund established

specifically for them. Through the NJDA, loans and loan guarantees

from $20,000 to $100,000 are available for small business. Last year

the NJDA provided $730,000 to 12 small businesses in New Jersey (see

story below).

Top Of Page
From the State: Loans & Training

Terri McNichol got an extensive business education

— and a $35,000 startup loan for her new business too — by

spending one evening a week for eight weeks as a participant in an

Entrepreneurial Training Institute program.

"It was wonderful," says McNichol of the ETI program. She

owns Ren Associates, an Alexander Road-based intercultural arts


business. "They put you in touch with a whole team of experts.

After the formal presentation, you break out into small groups, each

with its own expert in accounting, law, or banking. You have access

to all these experts every week. It’s practically one-on-one."

"I am an artist and an art historian," says McNichol, who

works in watercolor and holds a master’s degree in Asian art history

from New York University. "Even though I have been an


I didn’t have business training. How many of us have time to go back

and take business?"

The ETI program that turned McNichol into an entrepreneur is sponsored

by the New Jersey Development Authority for Small Businesses,


and Women’s Enterprises. "ETI compresses it all in its


McNichol says of the financial information needed to start a business.

"I now know about cash flow, and doing a budget, and doing


And McNichol, who began her business just one year ago after


the ETI program, learned how to turn her idea for a company that would

empower communities through art into a business plan that could


financial backing.

A requirement for graduation from the ETI program is a business plan.

What’s more, McNichol says, "they don’t have you do a plan and

then say `good-bye.’"

Each member of the class presents his or her business plan to a panel

of banking, accounting, law, and marketing professionals. Lenders

on the panel often offer loans to members of the class.

McNichol received her $35,000 loan from a lender she met through ETI.

Her loan request was at the low end of amounts requested by students

in her class, she says. While her business is in the arts, McNichol

says many of her classmates were in technical fields, while others

were starting restaurants.

McNichol plans to grow her business through collaborations. She is

working on a book on elder care, emphasizing how the issue crosses

geographical and cultural boundaries. Her collaborator is Nancy

Mattis, a nursing home expert and author she has known since the

two attended St. Anthony’s High School in Hamilton, now McCorristin

High School, together. Mattis is the owner of HealthWrite Publishers

in Maine. In another collaboration, McNichol worked with the Nai-Ni

Chen Dance Company in Fort Lee on a Chinese curriculum for a magnet

school in Elizabeth. Nai-Ni designed the curriculum and McNichol added

the professional teacher training component.

McNichol, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, got

her start in higher education from Mercer County Community College,

where she obtained an associate’s degree. She has been teaching Asian

art history at MCCC for 10 years.

Before starting her business, McNichol was director of Ellarslie,

the Trenton City Museum. While in that position, she raised funds

for and mounted a permanent exhibit of Trenton pottery and sanitary

fixtures. She also began her association with the dance company,


to bring programs of movement and calligraphy to Trenton school


McNichol also served as director of community programs for the Council

for the Humanities.

Because ETI is so interested in helping women and minorities, McNichol

encourages them to take advantage. "This is a tremendous time

for women," she says. "I can’t think of a better time to start

a business than right now."

— Kathleen McGinn Spring

Top Of Page
Juliet Shavit’s Firm: PR for High Techs

Even when the IPO market is suffering — especially

when it is — it’s a good time to open a PR and marketing firm

for high tech companies, says Juliet Shavit, who has just


just such a firm, SmartMark Communications. "The companies that

are running out of funding, pre-IPO, desperately need to get exposure

from market analysts. With technology going as fast as it is, there

are hundreds of companies doing the same thing. Branding becomes very

important now."

Shavit left an agency job in the Manhattan office of Fitzgerald


to open her own firm (Box 3038, Princeton 08543, 609-406-1145; fax,

609-406-9118). She offers "project-by-project" based public

relations on an as-needed basis.

The traditional business model of big city PR agencies — the


— is not going to work for the young high tech companies, says

Shavit. "They run out of money, and the PR agencies suck them

dry until they have no money and collapse."

Shavit earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University (Class

of 1996), where she also received a master’s degree. At NYU, she


on modern American poetry, specifically that of Sylvia Plath. She

did public relations for the New Yorker magazine and worked in


for Technion University and Rad Data Communications, both in Israel.

She was responsible for high technology accounts in the Manhattan

office of Fitzgerald Communications. (Her husband is an engineer at

JDS Uniphase. Her father, Allan M. Zarembski, is an engineering


for the railroad industry.)

SmartMark’s services include: messaging (working with a client to

identify key messages and mission statement), announcements


press releases over a wire service), trade show outreach (finding

a suitable trade show and setting up analyst meetings at the show),

and speaking opportunities (booking a company executive into an


speaking engagement).

SmartMark also coaches executives on what to say during an interview

or how to make a presentation. Providing marketing materials, devising

and producing ad campaigns, and developing presentations are other

services Shavit’s firm offers.

Top Of Page
Annie Jennings PR: Attention-Getter

Most amateurs don’t know the components of the press

release, says Annie Jennings, proprietor of an eponymous public

relations firm in Belle Mead. The standard way is to present the


in a paragraph format and expect the editor or broadcast producer

to read it. "But that is not how it happens any more — they

don’t have time to read press releases in the standard format."

Instead, Jennings says, lead with five "National Enquirer


captions, "something sizzling designed to capture or grab


A producer will see only one of those caption-like headings, she says,

whichever one they have some experience with.

After grabbing attention, Jennings says, create certainty in the minds

of your target — editor, journalist, or producer — that the

speaker you are touting will result in an excellent "segment"

of a radio or television show, or an excellent interview. "Give

them the information they need to come to that conclusion."

Provide the credentials — why this person is an expert on the

topic, with the achievements and the awards earned. "Then tell

what the listener will learn, the benefits to the reader. We give

the five talking points for the article or the interview —


hard nosed advice giving strategies that will change someone’s life.

The talking points become the backdrop for the interview, what the

producer will be working with."

Jennings teaches a six-session "Crash Course in Publicity"

on Monday and Thursday evenings starting Monday, February 5, at 7:30

p.m. at her Belle Mead office. This course, she says, also covers

how to make a pitch, how to leave an effective voice mail, how to

break into new markets, how to follow up without pestering, and more.

Cost: $995. Call 908-281-6201.

Jennings studied economics and finance at Rutgers but left school

to start a Wall Street trading company. "I was an entrepreneur

through and through. I learned the business from the ground up."

She retired from the business when she married and had the first of

five children; the oldest is 17. Her husband worked on Wall Street.

"When there was a recession in the stock market, I thought there

was a chance I would have to go back to work, and the hourly rate

that most people would pay me would not support my family. I realized

I had a special talent for promoting people’s work, and now I have

over 1,000 clients and eight employees — five full-time and three


Jennings now has an unusual billing method — she is paid for


not retainers, and not hours spent. "I have booked thousands of

interviews and am famous for my `pay for placement’ program,"

says Jennings. "My clients pay me only for successful results

— no retainers. I take in all the upfront risk and invest in my

clients first. They give me their wish list and I work it for them

at no charge until the placement is done."

The charge might range from $500 for being mentioned in a print


to $10,000 for a "really good high quality feature." Most

print articles run from $1,500 to $2,500. A feature is more expensive

than an attributed quote, but if contact information is included,

that costs more.

Broadcast placements start at $1,000. "We don’t charge for


less than a top show, in the top 25 radio markets," says Jennings.

"If you get on Larry King or Oprah, you might pay $10,000. We

book every major show."

Jennings says her clients include New York Times best-selling authors

and experts. But if an author is worthy of Oprah, why would the author

need a publicist? "I am highly motivated to get the result, and

they might not have the time to contact the exact journalist who would

be working on the exact fit for them," she says. Her most likely

client, she says, is someone with excellent credentials, who has an

important contribution but has not reached the best seller caliber.

"I can open the doors for them."

— Barbara Fox

Top Of Page
Media Women Unite

Women with careers in the New York or New Jersey media

or in area communications companies, whether freelancers or staffers,

are invited to compare notes with their peers at an informal


Snowed out in January, the media women will get together for breakfast

and networking on Sunday, February 25, at 10 a.m. at the Ramada in

North Brunswick.

The invitation notes that you should consider yourself eligible if

you have ever had your alarm clock set for 4 a.m. for at least six

months; earned slightly above the poverty level for one year; worked

through Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas/New Year’s Eve and other


considered your work clothes to be jeans, old sweaters and no make-up;

or wondered why all the people you went to college with left the


years ago and are earning "real" wages.

If you fit the criteria, but want more information, call Susan

Young at 732-613-4790 or E-mail before

Thursday, February 1. Fee: $10, collected at the door.

Top Of Page
Dot.Com Moms

The Internet has opened a world of opportunities for

mothers who want to stay at home and work too. A website that offers

advice and points moms toward work-at-home opportunities is Dot Com

Mommies ( The site, started last year by


Perez, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Illinois, offers advice

("Four Tips to Choosing the Right Business") and links to

sites posting freelance cyber jobs. One of these sites, Smarterwork

(, has listings for writers, researchers, Web

designers, personal assistants, tax preparers, software developers,

and marketers.

Dot Com Mommies also lists business opportunities, but it warns that

it does not endorse them. Many of the listings, peppered with


marks ("Get Paid to Party!!), might possibly be too good to be


Top Of Page
Scouting Women

The Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council has announced

the winners of its 2001 Women of Distinction and Girl Scout of


awards in seven categories.

A dinner in honor of the winners will be held on Thursday, March 15,

at 5:30 p.m. at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township. Tickets

are $125 per person. Corporate table sponsorships are available for

$1,500. Call 732-821-9090, extension 112 for further information.

The honored women:

Judith Ladd, World of Science and Technology winner, has

been with the Sarnoff Corporation for 12 years and is head of the

molecular devices and systems group in the bioelectronic material

laboratory. Ladd contributed to the start-up of three new Sarnoff

Technology Venture companies, including Orchid Biosciences. She is

acting in the role of Chief Technology Officer for Everest Displays,

a yet-to-be announced venture that is in the process of raising


capital for a new display manufacturing technology.

Isabel Miranda, World of Corporate Leadership winner,

is an attorney and a director and senior vice president for U.S. Trust

Company of New Jersey, managing the Trust and Client Service Group

on Vaughn Drive. A member of the board of trustees for the University

of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Miranda was the first woman

and the first individual of Hispanic ancestry to chair the board of

that institution.

Rita Moonsammy, World of the Arts winner, a folklorist

who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnography, is folk arts

coordinator and community arts manager with the New Jersey State


on the Arts.

Barbara Ostfeld, World of Health and Fitness winner, has

been associated with St. Peter’s University Hospital since 1980. She

serves as Director of Pediatric Psychology and is also Program


of the SIDS Center of New Jersey. In addition, she is Clinical


of Pediatrics and Psychology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Sharon P. Robinson, World of Education winner, is


vice president and chief operating officer of Educational Testing

Service. She is a leader in education rights for disadvantaged


She has served in positions in the U.S. Department of Education as

well as the National Education Association.

Val Skinner, World of the Outdoors winner, is a


golfer and advocate for women’s health. A member of the LPGA, Class

A, Skinner has been Chair of the National Breast Cancer Coalition

Pro-Am tournament.

Shirley K. Turner, World Citizen winner, is a state


from District 15 in Mercer County and also directs the office of


services at Rider University.

Turner has served on a number of community organizations,


the Commission on Business Efficiency in Public Schools and the New

Jersey Child Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. As a state


she has bills pending to increase accessibility to safe and affordable

day care, require insurance companies to cover Pap Smear exams, and

establish MicroCredit Business loans to women on public assistance.

Each of the women, who were chosen based on their professional

and personal accomplishments as well as their dedication to the


of their communities, will mentor one of the Girl Scout of Distinction

winners: Aiko Marsi , West Windsor-Plainsboro; Susan


North Edison; Janice Verbosky, Hamilton;Megan Klusza,


Charlsia-Jene Terrell, Sayreville; and Alicia Kelly, Trenton.

Corrections or additions?

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