Women Helping Women

By Sandra Zunino

Women on the Eastern Shore have a new advocate: The Talbot Chesapeake Women’s Network Advisory Board. This group of local dedicated professional women has made themselves available to advise and assist women entrepreneurs start new businesses or grow their existing businesses.

“In order to be successful in business, just as in anything else, you must start with a good foundation,” says Cecile C. Weich, Esquire of Chester. Cecile started the advisory board this year after noticing this area lacked a support group that specifically targeted underfunded women business ventures.

“Most small businesses fail because the entrepreneur does not have the proper professional advice,” says Cecile. “Our advisory board provides the necessary expert help in a small confidential setting for free.”

A prominent Manhattan attorney and women’s rights activist, Cecile moved to the Eastern Shore to be near her children and grandchildren. She modeled the advisory board after similar programs she piloted in New York. Six women professionals comprise the board, each focusing on a particular branch of expertise.

Cecile provides legal advice. Independent Real Estate Agent Marcia Burgoon of Chester provides marketing advice. Bank Annapolis’s Kathy Coursey of Stevensville can lend finance and banking assistance. Robin Wilson of Ashley Insurance in Easton focuses on the client’s insurance needs and Deborah H. Walsworth of Easton, CBIZ Beatty Satchell, LLC, can assist with accounting and set up bookkeeping for the business. Carol D’Agustino who did the original publicity for the board joined to become the fifth particpating member.

Cecile assembled the team to comprise the most comprehensive advice panel for new and struggling entrepreneurs. “These are the major disciplines needed to start a business or make it grow,” she says. “All these women are dedicated, smart and successful.”

“We’ve had a wonderful time working together,” she adds.

Launched just after the first of this year, the Talbot Chesapeake Women’s Network Advisory Board has already assisted more than 20 women entrepreneurs from all over the Eastern Shore.

All a candidate needs to do is contact the board and set up a time for an initial interview. She will then meet with all the members of the board to pitch her idea. From there they help her evolve the idea and direct her on how to set up the business, or send her on the right path to grow her existing business.

“If you don’t know what you are doing when operating a business, you can get into trouble,” warns Cecile. “It is important to consult with the right professionals to avoid failure.”

While the current economic climate might prove daunting for starting a new business venture, women who have lost jobs and need to create another source of income are learning to reinvent themselves. By investing in themselves, they are providing their own financial independence. “It’s a very positive experience,” says Cecile.

The Chesapeake Women’s Network (CWN) is a professional women’s network formed to facilitate personal enrichment and professional growth through communication, support, and to stimulate business opportunities for professional women in the community. While the candidate is not required to become a member of the CWN, she is invited to join her local chapter.

To make an appointment for a free, private consultation with the Talbot Chesapeake Women’s Network Advisory Board, call Cecile C. Weich, Esquire at 410-604-1111. For more information about the Chesapeake Women’s Network visit www.chesapeakewomensnetwork.org.