Fluvanna women form network

By Page H. Gifford

Being new to Virginia and the area, businesswoman Jan Tatangelo saw something missing. Originally a business owner in California, she left for the peace and tranquility of rural Virginia but being as outgoing and pro-active as she is, the something that was missing was still nagging her. She noticed there was no supportive network for women in business and decided to set out and make it happen with the help of other local women.

“I saw the need to bring women business owners together to network and support each other’s success and personal growth.” She lit up with the idea of starting a WIB (Women in Businesses) group in Fluvanna. “I’ve had great experiences being involved in WIB groups for fundraising and networking over my career and thought it would be an exciting new project.”

Women account for 45 percent of small business owners, most of them in hair and nail salons, beauty products, or domestic cleaning services. More women are successful entrepreneurs in states like North Carolina or Georgia than in California. The gender gap is one reason for the disparity, and they are less likely to run businesses such as restaurants or building maintenance. It is also difficult for women to get the support they need compared to their male counterparts.

Their goals are to promote shopping local for services that keep people working and increase the tax base and economy.

“The entrepreneurial desire continues to grow with women starting more businesses than ever, especially home-based businesses so they can have an opportunity to stay home with the family while giving support,” she said. “The network is designed to mentor and build confidence in these new business owners. It also naturally builds leadership skills in our members.  Learning from each other is vital to our community. Women are changing the landscape of business and at the forefront of business leadership.”

Tatangelo believes the future of the network is strong because of the needs and desire to grow.

“We’re a Facebook centered group with 108 members, with no dues.  We love co-op marketing opportunities and meet for lunch once a month and are introducing a monthly Zoom call to promote our members.” Tatangelo’s energy is limitless and her excitement shows when speaking about the future of women in business. But there is still a lot of road to travel and obstacles to deal with but women in Fluvanna are making inroads owning businesses in real estate, tax preparation and accounting, and insurance. Many women own and operate dog grooming businesses and Karen Dernbach has owned Happy Tails for many years which has been a very successful business.

Peggy Shanklin, who owned one of those domestic cleaning businesses is currently in real estate and works closely with Tatangelo on WIB.

“It is about supporting local women-owned business and bringing women together to support each other with ideas, referrals, and education,” said Shanklin. “And lifting each other, forming long-lasting relationships and helping each other succeed in a male-dominated world of business. It is about growing, bringing in new members and to diversify our membership to bring the best Fluvanna has to offer together.”

One of WIB’s goals is to have a women’s expo in the spring and a fundraiser for local women  going into nursing who need items as stethoscopes, medical bags, and other necessary items.

“We have strength in numbers to accomplish big goals,” said Tatangelo. They’re also planning on wine, women, and business events for networking, perhaps adding art to those events as well to support the local art community.

“We’re open to any local women in business or to those who love women in business. We do not exclude men since we like them too,” said Tatangelo, smiling.

For more information about WIB, contact Jan Tatangelo at virginialsgal@gmail.com.

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