Women's Business Center of Utah Blog

We just talk about the good stuff.

Rural Connections

When Ann Marie went to the SBA conference last week, she connected with a woman from Oklahoma whose entire job is to travel around the state and do rural outreach. An important tidbit that she told Ann Marie is that in order to reach out and build relationships with individuals in these rural areas, we need to go there in person at least once a year. She talked about how to make connections and foster a collaborative relationship. It was so nice to hear about how to do rural outreach from someone whose job it is to work on it full-time!  We have a long way to go before our outreach in Utah is as high-functioning as it is in Oklahoma, but we’re on our way to building a great program that will change so many lives!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Meeting Pam Juliano

Ann Marie put me in touch with Pam Juliano, who has been involved heavily in public service around the State of Utah. One of her past positions even included being a coordinator over 11 VISTA sites! I was excited to meet with her because VISTA service is something she wholeheartedly believes in. We met in the strategy room and got straight to work! She told me about her work history and service background and I shared my current project outline with her. She was so knowledgeable about rural areas of Utah and gave me some very useful advice and feedback on my current plan of action. I was so impressed with her understanding of the specific areas we will be implementing our new programs.  We ended our conversation with talking about my background and future plans. She was so supportive and gave me advice for the graduate program I’m applying to this year.  It’s such a blessing to rub shoulders with people who inspire you to do great things!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Climbing the Summit

Climbing the Summit

Jeff is the Economic Development Director in Summit County. I just got off the phone with him and am just so giddy about all the great information he was able to give me about Summit County. There is so much to learn about each area of the state! It sounds like there is enormous diversity in Summit specifically. He is putting me in contact with some women business owners from regions around the county, as well as the local women’s networking group and a local business accelerator. I am just always so grateful when people are willing to take the time to connect me with other people who can help this initiative succeed!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Partnering with SBDCs

A big part of our project was connecting with the statewide Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). I knew they could be a huge help in coordinating local focus groups and helping us get important information from rural women business owners. Ann Marie planned a conference call with Mike and Jason from the state SBDC office so we could ask them about presenting this idea to the regional directors across the state. They were so willing to help and I was so grateful for their willingness to get involved! They have a meeting with all the regional directors on October 1st, so they are going to present the project to them then! Woot woot!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Rolling with the Punches

Part of being a good leader is helping others catch your vision. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, some people just don’t want to see it. I had been receiving some very positive feedback from many county representatives expressing sincere interest and appreciation for our project, so I was feeling pretty good! One afternoon I received an email reply from someone who was very skeptical about the success of our program. They were very frank about their feelings on the real impact we would be able to make through our efforts. As you can imagine I was disheartened by the person’s criticism, but I understand that we can’t win all our battles! Rather than taking it personally, I further explained the goal of the focus groups and thanked them for any help they could provide! Sometimes we just have to learn how to roll with the punches, find new roads, and keep moving forward!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Reassuring Responses

During the first week I had been trying to contact representatives from each county who might be able to help coordinate focus groups, I hadn’t been receiving any responses. I started to become discouraged and realized that it would be harder than I had imagined to get the focus groups going. Suddenly I received a response from a gentleman in the county I thought would be the hardest to arrange a focus group! It had taken me so long just to find someone I could email from that area who might be able to help us, so it was a big deal even just to hear back! He expressed his gratitude and excitement about our project and said he was looking forward to getting involved in arranging for the focus group. I was such a relief to receive such an enthusiastic response, especially from a place where I least expected it!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


Getting Started

Let’s Get Started!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working for the Women’s Business Center! It’s always exciting to be a part of a new project and get to make it all your own. My favorite part of working here is the people I work with. All of them are so educated, driven, and fun! I have so much to learn from all of them! Ann Marie has been so great to give me so much say on what this project will ultimately look like. Having the trust of your supervisor is empowering! As the rural outreach VISTA, my goal is to understand the needs of the rural women business owners throughout the state of Utah and build programs to meet their needs and help them succeed gloriously! Their success is our success! This project has the potential to impact women all over the state and it’s exciting to be a part of it!

Malissa Richardson
outreach@wbcutah.com


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