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Follow Your Dreams: Event 1 - Exploring the Key Characteristics of Thriving Businesses
Thursday, December 09, 2021, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM EST
Category: Women Business Owners

Despite the economic uncertainty and volatile market, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in startups. More businesses are being launched than any time in the past decade, and existing startups are showing rapid acceleration. 

The 2021/2022 WIT WBO event series will examine the four key characteristics driving the success of these businesses, but we want to hear from you. Help steer the content of this year’s event series by joining the WIT WBO in a working session to examine each success characteristic—Agility, Communication/Marketing, Collaboration/Networking, and Funding. 

We will begin the session by providing an overview of the four key characteristics of successful businesses. We will then move into breakout sessions to explore the various facets of each characteristic and potential topics you would like examined in the associated event. We will wrap up the session by presenting the results of the breakout sessions and voting on proposed event topics. 

This session will follow the agenda outline below:

  • 6:00-6:20 PM Welcome/Overview
  • 6:20-7:00 PM Breakout Sessions
  • 7:00-7:30 PM Review and Voting

This event is FREE to WIT Members and Non-members!

Register for This Event

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the virtual event.



Bernard Ferret
Senior Business Counselor, Mason Small Business Development Center

Bernard Ferret is a Senior Business Advisor at the Mason SBDC (hosted by GMU’s Mason Enterprise Center in Fairfax City). Since 2012, he has advised hundreds of clients and led many workshops. Bernard is a retired software engineer and serial entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience in the Telecommunications and Internet industries. He developed extensive executive management skills working with his own startups and large IT companies. His accomplishments include selling large software projects, raising venture capital, and closing a successful acquisition. Bernard’s areas of expertise include marketing strategy, financial management, corporate organization (for-profit and non-profit), and venture capital. He holds an MS in Physics from the University of Provence, France, and an MBA from the College of William & Mary School of Business, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Kara Dickey
CEO, SmartCom Solutions, Inc.
Chair, Women Business Owners SIG

For over two decades Kara has helped SmartCom Solutions’ clients gain a competitive advantage through technical innovations and reduce costs through efficiencies and modernization. Kara brings a breadth and depth of experience in employing automation to solve organizations’ mission critical business needs. These efforts typically required full scale business process reengineering, as well as custom application development. Kara has extensive experience managing and participating in all phases of the system development lifecycle. Kara has diverse application and industry experience including Mortgage Origination, Mortgage Services, Mortgage Securitization, Mutual Fund Processing, Financial Management and Accounting, Supply Chain Management, and Claims Processing. In her capacity as Chief Executive Officer, Kara is also responsible for setting the direction of the company, business development, marketing, and obtaining/managing resources. Kara holds a B.S. in Decision Sciences (computer science concentration) from George University and an MBA (finance concentration) from Marymount University.

Jeanne Rossomme
CEO, Roadmap Marketing
Women Business Owners SIG Advisor

Jeanne Rossomme is the CEO of RoadMap Marketing, a strategic planning and marketing consultancy. Jeanne has worked with fast growing tech firms, established companies and non-profits to create roadmaps – or solid blueprints connecting the company goals to actionable next steps. Jeanne is also a lover of metrics and analytics to help guide direction and measure progress.

Dr. Arti Patel Varanasi
President & CEO, Advancing Synergy, LLC
Advisor, Women Business Owners SIG

As President and CEO of Advancing Synergy, LLC, Dr. Arti Patel Varanasi is passionate about developing innovations that empower all individuals to lead healthier and longer lives. She has over 25 years combined experience in cancer research, advocacy, capacity building, health care, public health and project management. Dr. Varanasi’s ultimate goal is to work across sectors to “advance synergy” and develop tools and technologies that help to build sustainable health capacity in resource limited settings. Dr. Varanasi received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MPH from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a graduate of the National Science Foundation funded ACTiVATE® program for women technology entrepreneurs. Dr. Varanasi has a long-standing track record of advocacy, mentoring and empowerment.

Contact: [email protected]