Originally published in The Hampton Times, written by Samantha Bambino
In the two short years that Linda Zangrilli has been a member of SCORE Bucks County, an organization that offers mentoring services to aspiring and current entrepreneurs, she has witnessed a drastic change in its makeup.
“When I walked in, I was the only woman. It was kind of groundbreaking at the time,” she said, adding how her fellow mentors were primarily retired men.
Currently, not only is Zangrilli among volunteers of all ages, genders and walks of life, 60 percent of SCORE’s client base, according to her, are women. There is a need for information among female business owners, who face vastly different challenges than their male counterparts.
For the first time, SCORE is helping this population find solutions by offering two women-exclusive workshops — “Boost Your Innovation and Creativity: A Learning Lab for Women Business Owners” on April 12 in Doylestown, and “Welcome to the Confidence Gym: A Workshop for Women Business Owners” on April 26 in Fairless Hills.
Both workshops, which are aimed at teaching women how to calm their inner critic and think big to accomplish their dreams, will be led by Susan Morris, an instructional designer and founder of Morris Consulting Group, LLC. Zangrilli coordinated with Morris in organizing the events after receiving positive feedback from last year’s second annual Women Building Businesses networking event. Hosted by SCORE at Parx Casino East in Bensalem, the conference welcomed almost 130 attendees.
“They were overwhelmed by the number of people who came out,” Zangrilli reflected. “Women are looking for this kind of stuff. They haven’t been able to find it anywhere, so they’re hungry for information.”
Until the third event on June 19, which will feature radio personality Marilyn Russell as the keynote speaker, female entrepreneurs can learn valuable lessons from Morris, and implement them into their current or future businesses.
“She’s very interactive, so people will have the opportunity to interface with her and get something practical out of it,” Zangrilli said.
During “Boost Your Innovation,” Morris said attendees can expect several things.
“First of all, to really figure out what are the kinds of thinking and mindset you need to have in order to be creative, and then also taking a look at what gets in the way of us being creative,” she said. The workshop will include a 20-minute group activity, which will task the women with performing a collaborative, creativity project. Afterward, Morris will lead them in a discussion to address what helped and hindered the creative process.
As for the “Confidence Gym,” Morris will talk about how to rediscover a positive mindset and control the inner critic, as well as the importance of physical self-care, something she said can get tossed to the wayside by women juggling a household and fledgling company.
“The thought behind that is, just like you go to the health club and the gym to exercise your muscles, and you have to be religious about it and you get the benefit over time, and you start looking and feeling better about yourself, so too with confidence,” Morris said. “Confidence is like a muscle. You have to use your discipline, practice certain behaviors that make you feel like you are worthy. What women entrepreneurs need to know, is every day their confidence may be underwhelmed by all of the demands on their time, all of the ‘no’s.’”
At both events, Morris, who works out of her home office in Doylestown, will tie in her own trials and errors when starting Morris Consulting Group, LLC., which teaches management and leadership skills to scientists and technical experts in the pharmaceutical industry.
“I try to weave in some of the ups and downs that I’ve had in my own career,” Morris said, explaining how she stresses the importance of resilience and the ability to bounce back after failure. In her opinion, this is one of the great things about the workshops — women can converse with other entrepreneurs who are going through the same struggles. They’re not alone.
“One of the things I’ve experienced since owning my own business since 2002 is a sense of isolation. I really have to make an effort to make social contact, to have an opportunity to just be in the presence of other people,” Morris said. “But even more importantly, not only is it social isolation, it’s intellectual isolation. By having a network of people who have an understanding of what I do, they will hear me and listen to me as I bounce off crazy ideas.”
In addition, attendees can also realize they’re not required to live up to unachievable societal expectations. “I think one of the biggest challenges we have as women entrepreneurs is this effort of being perfect,” she said. “Perfectionism, needing to have everything under control, needing to have all the answers, is what gets in the way of us being creative, and what gets in the way of us really believing in ourselves.”
Zangrilli, who worked in all aspects of the Warminster-based gardening company, Burpee, for 17 years, shared a similar sentiment on the importance of female-only events. “A lot of times, women are a little bit hesitant to share or talk about their failings, or the lack of confidence they have. They need a softer side to get where they’re going,” Zangrilli said. “They’re looking to work with other successful women and learn a little something. That’s what we hope we’re providing — something they can use, something they can take home, a connection that they made. Connections can be made in the strangest ways sometimes.” ••
If you go…
“Boost Your Innovation” will take place April 12 at the James Lorah Auditorium, 100 Broad St., Doylestown, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cost is $20 and includes breakfast. The April 26 “Confidence Gym” will be held at the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $20 and includes lunch. For more information and to register, visit
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com