Three Women’s Experiences At Women’s Entrepreneurship Week

Written by: Brady Drake

For the second consecutive year, Fargo, North Dakota hosted the nation’s largest Women Entrepreneurship Week, with this year’s event running from September 21 through September 25.

The week included 30 events, 60 speakers, 10 organizations and 1,500 attendees. And although this year’s festivities may have been missing the charm of last year’s wholly in-person schedule, the addition of virtual events to Women’s Entrepreneurship week gave organizers and attendees the opportunity to hear from presenters that might not have otherwise been available. The virtual events also allowed attendees from outside of the Fargo area to learn.

We sat down with a number of attendees and one presenter to learn more about how this important event made an impact.

Zoe Bundy – Sophomore at Davies High School and Founder of Brainy Ladies

Zoe Bundy
Zoe Bundy is a sophomore at Davies High School that founded Brainy Ladies, an organization working to empower women to succeed in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in 2017 after working through a program at The Chamber of Commerce.

You’ve been able to interview some awesome people for your website I’ve heard.
I’ve had calls with the CEO of Pepsi when she was the CEO of Pepsi. I’ve interviewed lots of different people. I got a private interview with the Blue Angel which was crazy.

How did WEW help push Brainy Ladies forward? 
Brainy Ladies has been a side hustle for a while now. Sometimes I will feel motivated to work on it and other times I won’t. The 1 Million Cups with Michelle Kommer reminded me through one of her quotes, “Are you doing what you want to do?” It’s something that I hear occasionally, and I haven’t stopped to think about it because I assume yes. I’ve learned this past summer and the last few years that content writing and development isn’t one of my favorite things.Through a class at the NICE Center at NDSU, Nice Leap, I am developing a new project that will ideally combine my passion for women in careers with my passion for helping students succeed. It will allow me to grow Brainy Ladies through a new brand and develop other ideas I have enjoyed creating and want to pursue. 

What were some of the more impactful events that you attended during Women’s Entrepreneurship Week?
Throughout Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, I attended ten different events. The launch party was such a great opportunity to get out into the community and visit a local coffee shop. 1 Million Cups exceeded my expectations, as well as a variety of events led by Kodee Furst over Zoom. My favorite event was the HTML/CSS class with Mary from Emerging Digital Academy. Before the class, I hadn’t done really anything with HTML, and it felt empowering to be in a class led by a woman, teaching me and others a new skill! Another favorite was the ‘Tech for Everyone’ event. I loved hearing from women in a variety of careers talk about their experience through an open discussion. All of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Week events were well put together – thank you WEW team! (Kodee, Dane, Emma, Hannah, Christy).

Melissa Miranda – Owner of Step By Step Accounting

Melissa Miranda
Melissa Miranda has been a CPA since 2014 and owns Step by Step Accounting, a forward focused managerial accounting firm that doesn’t only do bookkeeping work. The company also looks at cash planning and profit/loss analysis as well while Miranda serves as a meteor for clients. Miranda was also a presenter at Women’s Entrepreneurship Week.

Can you tell me about the presentation you gave?
The presentation I gave was on cash flow forecasting. It’s something that I recommend for all of my clients, I do it for some of them, some of them do it on their own. It’s something that gives a lot of peace to a person, even if the numbers are bad they’re still in front of them. And when they’re bad, then we can make a plan to fix it. So, if it says we’re going to be $10,000 negative by the end of next week, at least we know we need 10 grand. My presentation was a lot about strategies to navigate those types of situations where cash flow is really tight. 

How is that message more important now?
Going through COVID, having enough cash to cover expenses and pay your employees has been a huge stressor for a lot of businesses. Having that peace of mind, having a cash plan in place is really important for clients.

Did you attend any events that were impactful for you?
I got to go to the 1 Million Cups session on Wednesday morning. I also went to the Collaborating With Your Competition event on Tuesday night. I thought the 1 Million Cups one was great. I just love going to 1 Million Cups in general because it sets you up with a really nice community of other entrepreneurs. The Collaborating with your Competition event was also in person. It was nice to be back with people again. Collaborating with your Competition was nice because they say that a rising tide lifts all boats. The idea that we need to coordinate together is really important. I, as an accountant, collaborate a lot with other accountants. I’m a CPA, but I don’t prepare taxes. I have different tax preparers that I’ll recommend to a client depending on their niche.

Kristin Braun – Co-Founder of Edge 4

Kristin Braun
Kristin Braun owns Edge Four, a company that creates a platform for athletic coaches to use in recruiting and athlete development. The platform works by evaluating the intangibles of individuals and providing an avenue for growth as well as self awareness for the coach and the athlete. This helps to create better relationships and a stronger culture within the team. Edge Four is currently being used by the football programs at North Dakota State University and The University of Arizona.

What did you find valuable about Women’s Entrepreneurship Week?
I’m actually still somewhat new to the Fargo area. My husband and I moved here about a year and a half ago. I attended Women’s Entrepreneurship Week in person last year. It was really beneficial for me just from the standpoint of being new to the area and trying to see what was available for an entrepreneur in this area. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. We moved to Fargo for my husband’s career, and it has helped me out immensely to be in this area as a startup business. The other level of it is just that Women’s Entrepreneurship Week is just great to meet other like minded women who are on the same path and trying to bounce things off of each other and continue to help everybody grow.

One of the sessions that stood out to me this year was put on by the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The session discussed everything that is available within the state of North Dakota for entrepreneurs. That was really beneficial for me and probably anyone attending to see everything that’s out there for you. The other one that was really beneficial to me was a session on closing the sale.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.