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By Originally published 3/29/18: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/where-are-the-resources-for-women-owned-businesses/?linknav=us-openforum-profile-articles-2

Women’s History Month may be coming to an end, but women-owned businesses are just getting started.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 35.8 percent of businesses are owned by women. Yet many women business owners have a difficult time obtaining traditional bank financing for their companies. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s most recent findings on barriers to women’s entrepreneurship found that “only 4 percent of the total dollar value of all small business loans goes to women entrepreneurs.”

Fortunately, there are resources, including financial assistance, available to women business owners.

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Originally published on Forbes.com as part of the YEC Women Community Voices.

by Jen Oleniczak Brown

“Never have I caused someone to get stitches.”

Remember this game? Never Have I Ever: that game you played at slumber parties when your mom closed the door or maybe at some party with your crush in high school. I remember it fondly, actually. Recently, those memories surfaced when a client told me that one of their senior staff members brought the now card game into an orientation lunch for a new senior staffer.

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Hi Everyone!

I feel like I JUST wrote one of these for our three-year, and again for our one-year. Guess what? We are now officially one of the few businesses that make it to FIVE years!

Looking back on the last five years is both exciting and a little sad. Exciting: We’ve done so much. We’ve reached over 25,000 students (and that was at the beginning of 2017!) we’ve expanded to additional locations, added classes, added teachers and friends and partners, worked with incredible clients, started a video series and just started prototyping activity cards. A little sad: We’ve had to pull classes for lower enrollment, we’ve held off on our LA location, we’ve lost a few great teachers and staff to other projects, pulled back from a video series and played a bit too safe with some risk.

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Video series time! How do you greet conflict in your life? Do you avoid it, greet it head on, connect with it? We’re thinking all about conflict in this three-part series and how we can be better in situations that aren’t very fun – unless you are a drama queen. First, we’re going to think about what kind of person we are when we have a moment of conflict in life. Really ask yourself, ‘Self, how do I deal with conflict?’ Now, we aren’t talking about the knock-down, drag-out fights – we’re thinking about the level we have on a semi-regular basis. Everything from disagreements to misunderstandings, how do you connect?

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Have your expectations not been met? Disappointed a lot? Maybe you aren’t managing or being clear with your expectations. This isn’t about unrealistic expectations – this is about being clear and concise regarding your expectations and communicating this information to the people that you are talking to or expecting things from. We can’t be expected to be mind readers! What ends up happening – miscommunications and errors because of a lack of clarity! Don’t just take our word for it – sit back, relax and let us know what you think!

BE YOURSELF! Welcome back for Part Three of Be Yourself: Make the Choice, Make it Happen! You’ve gone through parts one and two, you figured out your three things and you’ve paid attention to the ‘self’ you’ve been putting out there – now what? You have to make the choice to see if you want to work on the self that goes out there, or do you want to keep on keeping on. It’s up to YOU – if you want to put on another persona while you are talking to people, that’s your choice. If you want to start and continue to bring out your best self, start here. As always, sit back, enjoy, and let us know if you have any comments or questions!

BE YOURSELF! We’re back again with part two of our Be Yourself series – what aspects of you are YOU? We know that you are made up of a million wonderful things – what are the three traits that really make up who you are? And are those things you share with the outside world, or are you hiding things because people might misinterpret it, or you need to be seen in a certain way? We’re thinking about bringing that best self – so sit back, relax and enjoy! Let us know if you have any questions or comments for next week!

Welcome back to another video, and today we’re working on figuring out who we are. Do you behave the same with your friends and your coworkers? Are you having a hard time with the phrase, ‘Be Yourself’? So often we’re told to be ourselves with no way to completely figure out who we are! In this three-part series, we’re going to think about our self-awareness in developing who we are and who we want to be, as well as figuring out that line between how we are perceived and what we put out into the world. As always, please share and send this along to friends and family, and be sure to send us any questions or comments you might have about our video series!

You did it – did you? Maybe you got the job or the next interview – and maybe you didn’t. Best thing to do now is to reflect on what happened – both how you felt and how you could grow. We tend to skip the reflection part of experiences, and that’s actually the most important part! Nothing matters if you are shooting scatter-shot into the wind. Check out our tips for reflection, and let us know if you have questions!

You have the interview, you’re there – NOW WHAT? This week we are thinking about being IN the interview, and how to ace that moment. We’ve been thinking about interview questions and answers, and are ready to help you ace it.

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