The Grit and Resiliency of Women Entrepreneurs Leading through Crisis | An IVLP Virtual Alumni Salon Series

Photo credit: Lauren Conaway of Innovate Her KC

In the fall of 2020, over 60 alumnae from select U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) women entrepreneur projects from 2015 - 2019 participated in “The Grit and Resiliency of Women Entrepreneurs Leading through Crisis: A Virtual Salon Series,” a six-week-long program of stand-alone discussions. These events offered opportunities to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs during the current COVID-19 pandemic and related economic and social crises. The women shared best practices to lead, manage, pivot, and sustain existing and new entrepreneurial projects while they enriched and expanded their connections among their fellow alumnae.

An engaging story-teller, Mei Xu, the founder of Chesapeake Bay Candle and Yes She May, inspired others as she shared her personal journey to entrepreneurship and offered them sage words of advice on using innovation and ingenuity during COVID-19. Kathy Frey, founder of the Hot Mommas Project, led an interactive session on mentoring each other by turning challenges into teaching points while Adrienne Palmer, founder and president of Global Impact Advisory, continued the conversation by leading a participant-driven session that offered candid and confidential peer-to-peer sharing tools and opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect and learn from one another. Women entrepreneurs from Kansas City shared best practices in breakouts:  Erin Zimmerman from EZ Visibility offered social media marketing strategies; Stephenie Zamora from True North Entrepreneurs shared tips on lean entrepreneurship; Lauren Conaway from InnovateHER KC gave advice on the art of storytelling as a way to boost your business; and Ghadeer Garcia from The BrandLab discussed removing barriers to careers in business through equity and inclusion.

Representatives of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation in New York City offered tips on how to leverage technology and the media in one’s business. The series culminated by highlighting four alumnae - from Ghana, Italy, South Africa, and Switzerland - who shared their journeys as entrepreneurs and strategies for moving forward in 2021.  

Sponsors & Partnerships

U.S. Department of State
International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
Global Ties Kansas City

Project summary