Local women business leaders meet to share thoughts on struggles

Tulsa — The KRMG and Mix96.5 Women in Business Mixer lived up to its name Wednesday, with more than a hundred people networking, learning about starting a business and hearing advice from women who’ve been through it all. Three Tulsa businesswomen, who’ve taken different paths starting their careers, answered lots of questions and had a few laughs at American Solera Brewery.

When co-owner Erica Healey opened the brewery with her husband six years ago, she said it was important to her, that the business was in Tulsa. As a life-long resident, Healey said she wanted to contribute to the city near and dear to her heart. Just before the pandemic started in 2019 the Healey’s moved American Solera to its current location. Healey said, “We really wanted something that reflected our brand better, and that’s what we got to create at 6th and Utica was a space that reflected our brand and I’m super proud of that building.” Healey added renovating such an old, dilapidated building was one of her biggest challenges. Now that business is booming, she says it “brings her joy, seeing people in there and enjoying it. It’s hard starting out but when you see the fruits of it it’s so worth it.”

Sheryl Chinowth said, “Tulsa is a great place to own a business and it’s such a great town to raise families in.” Chinowth is CEO and co-founder of Chinowth and Cohen Realtors. She said, “being in the real estate business it’s literally putting families on the foundations that they’re going to build their memories and life on.” As successful as she is, Chinowth said women are still facing challenges as businesswomen. She said, “I still hear from other leaders that they’re still hitting a glass ceiling from time to time.” Like the other women at the Women in Business Mixer, Chinowth herself relies on other successful women for advice, support and friendship, and co-founded the Executive Women’s Foundation. “They’re strong, educated women who are running major companies. Some of them are worldwide companies and being able to pick the brains of each other. And I do think one thing that has changed over time is how much more women are willing to share with each other. And help each other. and how they realize now, that when you pull someone up with you, at some point in the future you’re going to be pulled up by another woman.”

Panelist Chantelle Lott is the founder and CEO of Bounceless. Lott says she created her business out of necessity. As an avid runner Lott says she was wearing two to three sports bras at once and decided to design her own. One of her biggest challenges was finding resources and pushing forward financially. Lott answered lots of questions about starting a business and said, “I think if I knew going into it, all it would take, I think I would have been better prepared.”

While the three panelists have very different backgrounds, interests and career paths, they all had the same advice, to find what your most passionate about when deciding on your career. Chinowth said, “do something that you love ‘cuz then you never go to work! When you love and you have a passion for whatever business that you’re in, it’s not work! It’s helping and growing and you enjoy it everyday.”

In case you missed it, KRMG and MIX96.5 are already in the planning stages for the next one.





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