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She’s Next New York: Paving the Way for Women Entrepreneurs

In celebration of women small business owners, Bank of America partnered with Visa’s She’s Next platform for an event at Tribeca 360 in New York City on Tuesday, October 24. The event offered an afternoon of empowerment and networking for women redefining entrepreneurship in the city.

To inspire attendees, Mary Hines Droesch, Head of Consumer and Small Business Products at Bank of America, delivered opening remarks and discussed the event’s theme, “Setting the Gold Standard,” and what actions women entrepreneurs are taking to change the game in New York. Droesch set the stage for the panel event, headlined by three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and moderated by Carol Lee Mitchell, Head of Strategy for Small Business, Specialty, and Vehicle Lending at Bank of America.

During the fireside chat, Mitchell delved into Walsh Jennings’ remarkable accomplishments as a decorated Olympic athlete and her entrepreneurial journey – while also noting the challenges of creating a business compared to competing on the world’s biggest stage.

“The Olympics is easy – being an entrepreneur is way harder.” Walsh Jennings said.

Kerri Walsh Jennings speaking with a women

Walsh Jennings also shared more about her company, p1440, which aims to unite, empower, and inspire through the transformative sport of beach volleyball. She underscored how she’s successfully competed and won in five different Olympic games, and how she is now ready to “win in business” with p1440.

Providing vital insights for women small business owners throughout the discussion, Walsh Jennings underscored the importance of accountability and clear direction.

“Remember, don’t argue for your own limitations. Learn what they are and how to overcome them,” she said. “Always lead yourself first because you set the example for your team to follow.”

Three ladies speaking on a panel

The fireside chat set the stage for the small business panel, which included Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton, Founder of Chillhouse, and Wen-Jay Ying, Founder of Local Roots NYC, and was moderated by Cathleen Callahan, Market Executive at Bank of America.

Both Ramirez-Fulton and Ying exemplified what it means to be a women entrepreneur in today’s landscape and how they have overcome barriers to achieve success.

“As a spa small business owner, I had to navigate many obstacles when it came to opening Chillhouse in one of the largest markets in the country,” said Ramirez-Fulton. “I set out to diversify the spa category for minorities, so people who look like me saw that they also deserve self-care.”

Ying also shared how remaining true to her identity has positioned Local Roots NYC as one of the most in-demand, farm-to-table small businesses in the city.

“While many companies claim they are farm-to-table, they are often not, and our customers can tell the difference in product quality,” said Ying. “I have never taken shortcuts with the products we provide to our customers, and that authenticity is what’s helped Local Roots edge out the competition in the regenerative agriculture space.”

Following the inspiring panel discussion that showed how women entrepreneurs can break barriers and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts, attendees were given the opportunity for collaborative and informative conversations and networking. As attendees departed, they were equipped with new resources to set the gold standard for their business and pave the way for the next generation of successful women entrepreneurs.

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