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Impressions from the North Carolina Governor’s Conference for Women

On Tuesday, I had the great privilege of serving as a panelist at the North Carolina Governor’s Conference for Women. I spoke as part of the “How N.C. Women Just Like You Built Multimillion-Dollar Businesses” panel, giving the audience some insight into my experience—the successes and the lessons learned along the way—of building virtual teams into the company that Fuentek is today.

I was honored to be asked to speak at this event—particularly because of my passion for getting more women involved in science, technology, engineering, and math. And what a success it was! The Raleigh Convention Center boasted a standing room-only turnout.

The panel I was a part of featured three women who had very unique stories and completely different businesses. One was a hairdresser/electrician, another (me) was a rocket scientist, and the third was a green caterer.

Despite coming from such diverse business backgrounds, we all had several things in common:

  • The drive to do what we’re good at and have a passion for
  • The intention to treat our staff well
  • The recognition that customer support is key to success
  • The discipline to never compromise our ethics

I also was struck by the diversity of the audience at the conference. Most technical conferences I have been to are attended by few women and even fewer minorities. This conference obviously hosted a largely female audience, but around one-third of those women were African American as well.

One of the focuses of this conference was philanthropic endeavors (again, not your usual content for business conferences), and I was thrilled to meet several women who are trying to start their own businesses to make a difference in their communities—not to just make money. I hope the other women attending the event were as inspired as I was to build a business based on something they are passionate about, and then to give back to the community that has supported them along the way.

–By Laura A. Schoppe