Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Women's Leadership Institute Presents Doris Christopher and Betsy Myers

MILWAUKEE (February 5, 2015) - As part of its mission to educate, prepare and encourage women to be transformative leaders in business and the world, Mount Mary University's Women's Leadership Institute is hosting an inspirational conversation with Doris Christopher, founder and chairman of The Pampered Chef®, and Betsy Myers, founding director of Bentley's Center for Women and Business. Christopher and Myers will share their experiences on Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and how women can create their own success on Wed., March 4, 7:30 - 10:30 a.m. at Mount Mary University, Bergstrom Hall, 2900 North Menomonee River Parkway, Milwaukee.

"Women are smart strategists who can create a business on their own terms and in their own way. Women aren't afraid to take something they're passionate about, start small, try new business models, and make their own course," says Beth Wnuk, executive vice president for administrative services and executive director of the Women's Leadership Institute at Mount Mary University. "During our event, Betsy will share how women can maximize their leadership potential and Doris will apply that to entrepreneurship and how she created her own successful business model."

Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit is part of the Women's Leadership Institute's "Voices of Leadership" speaker series that recruits leaders from all walks of life to share their experiences, stories and best practices. Last year, the Institute brought Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Lauren Bush Lauren, a social innovator, entrepreneur and founder of FEED Projects, to Mount Mary to discuss how they used innovation to forge their own paths.

Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit major sponsors include Opportunity International, Ixonia Bank, Brady Corporation, with support from Wisconsin Women's Initiative Business Corporation.

Christopher and Myers on Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Christopher, previously a home economics teacher and stay-at-home mother, had contemplated starting her own business but would talk herself out of it. However, one day she had a light bulb moment.

"I thought 'Yes, I can do this.' I don't have to have all the things that I think are bad about direct selling, about home parties that were prevalent at the time. I can do it my way. I can teach. I can have great quality products. I can do things that I think people really need and want and will appreciate. And, from that moment on, it was almost that 'I can't sleep at night excitement' about pushing forward with this idea and bringing it to a reality."

Christopher's small business began in her basement in 1980 and, over the course of 30-plus years, blossomed into a multimillion dollar enterprise with more than 60,000 Pampered Chef consultants worldwide. She sold her company in 2002 to Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and recently returned to the company as chairman.

"More and more, our students are looking to create, launch and run their own businesses," adds Wnuk. "We're responding to their needs in the classroom through our curriculum and through events like this where they can hear and learn first-hand what it takes to become a leader and create a small business."

Myers is one of America's foremost authorities on leadership and empowerment and is deeply committed to enabling all women to realize their potential. She is the author of "Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You."

"All my life I have been curious about what leadership is all about and how it works, and that curiosity has led me through careers in the world of business, academia, and political life," says Myers.

During the Clinton Administration, she launched and was the first Director of the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach. Her experience also includes time as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development in the Small Business Administration.

"Women are 52 percent of the population, a majority in the workforce. Companies that have more women in top positions, and more women on boards, are more profitable," explains Myers.

Following the Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spiritevent, Myers will continue the entrepreneurial spirit conversation with approximately 100 Mount Mary undergrad and MBA students.

About Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit features Christopher and Myers who will each speak for 30 minutes about their experiences in leadership and business and how women can tap into their own potential to succeed. A moderated, 15-minute Q&A will follow both segments. For tickets, visit voicesofleadership.eventbrite.com or contact Darcie Mauer at 414-443-3606 or mauerd@mtmary.edu.

"Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit is part of our ongoing Voices of Leadership series that convenes women throughout the area to discuss a specific leadership, business or social topic that's relevant to them," says Wnuk.

For more information on the Women's Leadership Institute and upcoming speakers, education opportunities and the Summer Leadership Institute, please visit mtmary.edu.