Women In Business 2019

F R I D A Y , O C T O B E R 1 1 , 2 0 1 9 Kit Grode, Associate Editor (308) 381-5425 kit.grode@theindependent.com The Grand Island Independent www.theindependent.com women in BUSINESS C SMALL TALK By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK — The risks Richard Branson has taken as he’s gone from founding theVirgin record label to plan- ning space flights have been an inspi- ration for Elizabeth Babinski in her wedding business. When she recently redid her web- site, which appeals to LGBTQ as well as heterosexual couples, Babinski knew it was “drastically different” but thought, “howwould Richard Branson approach this?” “It pushed me to think to just do it and not compare it to what everyone else is doing,” says Babinski, a wed- ding officiant and owner of Minneap- olis-based Liz Rae Weddings. The people who inspire small busi- ness owners can range fromfamous bil- lionaires to former bosses to parents who dealt with failures as well as suc- cesses. Here is a look at the people who inspiredandmentored seven small busi- ness owners: Lessons from a crisis When seven people died in 1982 af- ter takingTylenol capsules taintedwith cyanide, then-Johnson&JohnsonChair- man JimBurke ordered a recall of mil- lions of bottles of the drug. In 1986, af- ter another death, Burke pulled his company’s over-the-counter capsules off themarket permanently. The recalls cost J&J nearly $600million in 2019 dol- lars, andJ&J’s creationof tamper-proof packaging added to those costs. Burke’s response is widely consid- ered a standard of responsibility other businesses should strive for. Mike Graffeo learnedaboutBurkewhilework- ing at J&J. When Graffeo started his medical devices company last year, he adopted the same attitude. “It starts with the patients, the peo- ple who need what we’re taking to the marketplace, and employees,” says Graffeo, whose company, FluidForm 3DBioprinting, is based inActon,Mass. “Only when we do right by those con- stituents do we have the right to earn a fair return for our shareholders.” Relevant and authentic OprahWinfrey began her career in the mid-1970s as a TV news anchor, movedon tohost a talk showfor decades and became a media executive and billionaire. Her ability to evolve and remain a force in American culture inspires Shari Coulter Ford, who’s also Who inspires business owners? It’s not always big successes Need a small business mentor? Here are five places to look By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK — Small business owners who need mentoring or advice, whether it’s about day-to-day aspects of running a business, long-term strategies or unique situations, have many options. A look at five of them: ■ Chambers of commerce and industry and professional associations. One of the advantages of belonging to a group of owners in your area, industry or field is having an instant community of people who understand your company’s mission and issues. ■ Networking groups. These groups of owners often have monthly or even more frequent gatherings. Many owners use them to build friendships and find mentors who can give them general business advice. ■ SCORE. The organization that gives free advice to small businesses offers mentoring to owners of all types of companies. Owners can meet in person with SCORE counselors in their area or communicate online or speak by phone to counselors in other parts of the country. You can learn more and find a counselor at www.score.org . ■ SBDCs. Small Business Development Centers are located across the country, many at colleges and universities, and offer free advice and instruction to small business owners. You can find an SBDC at the website for the Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov. ■ The right certified public accountant. CPAs who have significant experience working with small businesses can be great resources. They can look beyond taxes and help an owner focus on the broader issues of their companies. Continued on page 5C A salute to By Harold Reutter For The Independent Roofer Chic is a brand-new Grand Island business, but owner Lindsay Blackwell is definitely not new to the roofing and home exterior business. Blackwell has been in the business for 15 years, literally learning about the job from both inside and out. She started working in the roofing industry in 2004, shortly after the city of Hastings got hit by a major hailstorm. Her opportunity came at a propitious moment. “At the time I got into it, I was a young, single mom with two kids. I was waiting tables, making $2.13 an hour plus tips. It was actually just an opportunity that fell into my lap,” Blackwell said. The roofing company who hired her had a Grand Island office, but its ownership was out-of-town. Blackwell began by doing “office stuff,” which included handling all the paperwork for the customers with hail-damaged roofs in Hast- ings and for her new employer. She worked her way up, becoming the office manager in 2009. That was also the year Blackwell took and passed the 2006 version of the International Building Code test. “Starting in January 2010, the company that I worked for at the time, its license was in my name,” she said. “Whoever had the creden- tials for the test, the license had to be in their name.” That was the start of continuing education for Blackwell, who said the latest version of the Interna- tional Building Code is for 2018. Consequently, she is studying to pass that version of the code so she will continue to keep her creden- tials up and current as the own- er-operator of Roofer Chic, which opened just this past July. As for her previous experience, she said the end of 2009 was when her responsibilities expanded from handling all the office paperwork to also going to job sites. “That’s when I started getting up on roofs and meeting with customers,” Blackwell said. Her expanded duties also included going over insurance paperwork with customers and performing inspections on the shingling work being done by the work crews. Another new duty involved coordi- nating the materials and labor orders for each job. Blackwell said she played dual roles as office manager and sales- person through 2013. “After 2013, I went straight sales. Now, I’m doing all the office paperwork again because I have my own company.” She decided to open her own firm, not just because of the extensive experience she has gained over the years, but because “I really enjoy people. I don’t like to just sit in an office, I like to be out and about, not cooped up.” “You get tomeet different people,” said Blackwell, who noted each customer has his or her own ideas about how theywant their house to look after the work is completed. “I don’t live there. I don’t pull up and see the house every day like they do, so I like tomake sure they’re happywith the final outcome.” Roofer Chic is not a full descrip- tion of all the services offered by her company, she said. In addition to roofing, the firm also does gutters, siding and windows. Raise the Roof Independent/Barrett Stinson Roofer Chic owner Lindsay Blackwell stands on the roof of a home being worked on by her crew on Hall Street in Grand Island. Independent/Barrett Stinson Roofer Chic owner Lindsay Blackwell has been in the roofing business for 15 years, starting from working in the office and moving up through the ranks. In 2009, she took and passed the 2006 version of the International Building Code test, which was the start of her continuing education in roofing. Quality work with ‘sass and style,’ Roofer Chic makes a home in G.I. Continued on page 4C Jazzercise: ‘There’s something about this place’ By Kit Grode kit.grode@theindependent.com Rona Jacobsen and Sharon Placke haven’t been the owner-operators of Jazzercise Grand Island Center for long, but according to them, Grand Island hasn’t been without a Jazzercise since 1979. Given both women grew up in Grand Island — graduating from Northwest High School and then attending Kearney State College before making their way back — they would know. “I’ve always wanted to own a Jazzercise center,” Jacobsen said. “When it came open for sale, I was like ‘I really want to do it, but I’ve never owned my own business,’ so Sharon and I — we’ve been friends since junior high — she was the perfect person (to ask).” Jacobsen retired in March from Sherwin Williams in Independent/Barrett Stinson In this May file photo, class participants work out behind new owners Sharon Placke (left) and Rona Jacobsen at the Jazzercize location on West Old Highway 30 in Grand Island. Continued on page 2C