Women are forces to be reckoned with in so many ways. Not only are we capable of balancing our kids’ schedules, the family finances and our educational opportunities, but we’re also creating and pursuing business opportunities like never before. In fact, more and more women are starting businesses all over the country as well as right here in mid-Michigan. Research supports the fact that we’re actually doing it really, really well, and in some cases better than the fellas. New data from the Small Business Credit Sales Report issued by the Capital Access Network (CAN) indicates that women-owned small businesses are performing better than their men-owned counterparts. Though both business groups are experiencing a decline in sales based on the recession, the loss of women-owned businesses was half (1.5 percent) of the men-owned group (3.6 percent) in the second quarter of 2011. That’s pretty cool, huh? I bet there is research to provide numerous reasons why this is the case, but for me, it is so simple. Women are great communicators and generally are willing to give their best around the clock to make everything work. I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who have this same tenacity, but women for so long have just had to “make it work.” What I think is really amazing is how much women are moving into nontraditional businesses like our amazing cover story on Cathy Lee. Not only is she a committed mom, she can go toe-to-toe with the men who have dominated the chemical products industry. She’s a woman who knows who she is and is willing to work hard to achieve results – proving herself to everyone along the way. I really like that Cathy begins her discussion with us saying that most importantly she’s a mom. Me too. As time has continued to tick by, you become acutely aware that although your careers can span 50 years or more – being a mom is only a full-time gig for about 18 years (in most cases). Eighteen years goes by so quickly. My youngest son is starting high school this year and I’m so aware that my full-time job as mom will be over in about four short years. I’ve decided that I’m not going to miss it. He’s an athlete and plays football, basketball and golf. So, even though I don’t know the difference between a fumble and a fast break, I’ll be there cheering for him and participating along the way. Even if I have to leave sports-playing advice to his dad, I’ll be there delivering the Gatorade and providing the snack and new football cleats as needed. A kid needs to be hydrated and in the proper shoes, doesn’t he? Now, I’ll admit that it makes me a little nervous to take on this new committed “football mom” role. I’ve got a really full schedule. And, I feel like I’m addicted to taking more on than I should. But, like all the challenges I face – I’m up for it. Now, I have to also realize that just because I’m all-in doesn’t mean that I’ll actually spend more time with my kid. At this age, they are so busy and engaged in socializing, girls and school activities, I can be more committed but less likely to connect. How fair is that? But, if volunteering for the snack shack is part of the opportunity to be there for my son – sign me up. If you’re hanging out at the Holt High School Football Stadium, I’ll be the one with the ram-logoed hooded sweatshirt sporting the name Dowling on it. I’m also excited for the fall. It’s a time that represents fresh starts in school, crisp cool days and the CAWLM Lady Classic. That’s right. It’s time for the best all women’s outing in the greater Lansing area. You only have a short amount of time to get signed up for this fun event on Thursday, Sept. 15, beginning at 9 a.m. with a Celebrity Caddie Auction. The auction will feature a few guys you might know including Todd Duckett, former NFL player, Chris Holman, publisher of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly and Michigan Business Network, Jason Colthorp, anchor at WILX and Evan Pinsonnault, anchor at WLNS. Check it out at www.cawlm.com. No matter what you’re doing this fall – I hope you mean business. I always do.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.