Women in Entrepreneurship Series Looks to Inspire Valley Startups

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — It is not uncommon for Lauryn Todd to be vastly outnumbered by men in her classes at Westminster College. The rising senior student and finance major is sometimes one of just four females in upper-level courses at the school.

Todd got a boost of confidence from other women who have internships with Resources Global Professionals. She’ll be part of a team based out of Los Angeles, working in financial legal consulting while stationed at a welcoming workplace.

Hers is one of many stories of enterprising females that will be shared in the Women in Entrepreneurship Series presented by Score Youngstown. Todd will be a moderator at the event, which will start June 9 with a session on women in health and beauty from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Other topics, including nonprofits, health care, journalism, academic leadership, finance, government, education and manufacturing will follow through Aug. 11. The woman entrepreneur of the year will be announced Sept. 8.

The programs will originate as Zoom meetings and will be posted later on the Youngstown Score YouTube channel. The live Zoom links are yet to be finalized. More than 40 women have been asked to participate in the webinars.

Joining Todd as moderators will be Amanda Wurst, Eastern Gateway Community College senior vice president of communications marketing and strategic initiatives; and Courtney Poullas, adjunct professor of English at Youngstown State University, EGCC and ETI Technical College in Niles.

The national chapter of Score is paying their stipends, says Youngstown Score chapter president Ron Emery. EGCC and Westminster Entrepreneurial Center are partners in the event.

Inspiring women to achieve success and excellence are goals of the series, he adds. Having this as an annual event ensures more women succeed than in the past.

About 75% of the people who call Score for business assistance are female. “It’s an underserved community, and that’s what led us to this,” Emery says.

Roads to entrepreneurship sometimes start with a collegiate experience, says EGCC’s Wurst. Distance learning has been a staple at the Youngstown-based community college as women are often juggling families, careers and education.

Women students at EGCC flock to degrees in the business sector, which makes this upcoming program a great partner for the college.

“This is just sort of a perfect matchup for us,” Wurst says.

Female startup businesses have doubled with women leaving the workforce in 2020, says Cristen Tarquinio, EGCC director of digital media. Plenty of eastern Ohio entrepreneurs will be part of the series to provide mentorship to those watching on YouTube.

Wurst is one of Tarquinio’s many mentors at EGCC, one of several females in executive roles.

“That’s wonderful to be at an institution where I can reach out, pick up the phone and talk about problems, issues, ideas, and get feedback,” Tarquinio says. “I’m lucky to have that at Eastern Gateway.”

In June 2017, Courtney Poullas organized the first Youngstown Marathon. The adjunct English instructor saw more than 1,200 runners participate in that first event.

She, like others in the Women in Entrepreneurship Series, wants to share her experiences.

“I think having a program like the women’s entrepreneurship academy will give women access to the tools and perhaps the mentors and people who are experienced that can help them,” Poullas says. “I really didn’t know what I was doing, so I was learning as I went. I think having a program like this with some key players will help women along the way.”

Pictured: Lauryn Todd, a senior at Westminster College, Courtney Poullas, adjunct professor at YSU, EGCC and ETI Technical College, and Amanda Wurst, EGCC senior vice president of communications marketing and strategic initiatives, will moderate the Women in Entrepreneurship event.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.