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Success Stories

Office Depot is proud to support Count-Me-In for Women's Economic Independence, a national non-profit organization that provides on-line micro business loans and business resources for women entrepreneurs. Thanks to the funds raised by the Silent Auction at last year's Office Depot Success Strategies for Businesswomen Conference, Count Me In has made it possible for a number of loan recipients to attend the 2006 Conference. This year, the Auction raised $60,000 for Count Me In. For more information, visit their website at www.count-me-in.org.

We were also pleased to present a check to Dress For Success for $5,000 and raise donations through an accessories and clothing drive. Dress For Success is a non-profit organization that offers interview suits, confidence boosts and career development to low-income women seeking employment.

Here are some success stories from Count-Me-In loan recipients.

Maureen Borzacchiello

PRESIDENT AND CEO

Creative Display Solutions

West Hempstead, New York

During more than 10 years in the trade show display industry, Ms. Borzacchiello has proven to be a skilled executive and visionary entrepreneur. She founded Creative Display Solutions in 2001 following her success as a top sales person, sales manager and General Manager with a leading display manufacturer. Her firm specializes in portable and custom modular exhibits, graphic solutions, banners and related products for trade show displays and exhibit design.

"A conference of this magnitude provides attendees like myself the opportunity to gain knowledge, motivation and networking opportunities with successful individuals and corporations that are genuinely interested helping other women business owners grow their businesses. I am thrilled to attend courtesy of Office Depot and the monies that Count Me In raised through the silent auction last year," Ms. Borzacchiello says. "As a winner of the Make Mine A $Million Business award, I have started a life changing journey. The Office Depot conference is sure to be a significant contributing factor to a year of monumental success for Creative Display Solutions."

 

Francine Glick

PRESIDENT

Water Journey, Ltd.

Livingston, New Jersey

Ms. Glick founded Water Journey in 1997 as a consumer products company specializing in the marketing, sale and distribution of innovative personal care products. The company's flagship product is Hands2GO, a natural alcohol-free instant hand sanitizer. Water Journey sells to both the retail and the professional market; Hands2GO can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS.com and in schools, Marriott hotels, hospitals, salons and spas. It was named "Best New Amenity" at the 2001 Hotel Motel and Restaurant Show in New York.

Prior to starting her company, Ms. Glick was the VP of Information Technology in the Mergers and Acquisitions Division of Barclays Bank and earlier was the product manager for the Unix Operating System at Bell Laboratories.
"Count Me In has been extremely helpful and approachable in helping me obtain a loan," Ms. Glick observes. "And Office Depot's Success Strategies conference is the ideal place to be inspired by successful women entrepreneurs. It provides a powerhouse of talented women in one location."

 

Denise Houseberg

PRESIDENT, MarketExpo.com

Frisco, Texas

A graphic designer by training, Ms. Houseberg bartered her way into business in 1986 using borrowed equipment. She eventually built a well-respected graphics company with a large client base. In 1999, she launched MarketExpo.com to help a client that offered a large line of decorative wall plates, but had limited shelf space in traditional retail stores. The concept of an online store for home and garden accessories was an instant success. Unlike traditional retailers, MarketExpo.com carries unlimited SKUs for each manufacturer it represents - helping to make it a leader in the world of Internet sales.

"Count Me In made me aware of how women can build million-dollar enterprises without limitation or fear," Ms. Houseberg observes. "Women business owners need more opportunities like the Office Depot Success Strategies conference to find out how other women are forging ahead, transcending the disparities and making a difference in expanding their businesses their way, not the traditional ladder to success. Women entrepreneurs make their own rules. Venues like this justify that concept."

 

Cynthia Ivie

MASTER SIMPLIFIER

WHITE SPACE

Chicago, Illinois

Ms. Ivie started WHITE SPACE in 1998. In the small business and corporate sectors, the company optimizes productivity and improves morale by organizing offices, implementing paper and electronic file and information systems, and designing and organizing central workrooms and mailrooms. In the residential sector, WHITE SPACE executes home relocations, organizes homes, designs and organizes closets, garages and storage spaces, and manages personal financial organization.

"Without the M3 program, White Space might have continued to limp along towards success, but this program - the funding, the stewardship and mentorship ? have put me and my company on a sure path to $1 million in annual revenues first, and, secondly to the potential for dynamic national expansion," Ms Ivie notes. "I will forever be grateful to Office Depot for providing funding to Count Me In coupled with the opportunity for networking, education and mentorship afforded at this conference. Our future has been forever and dynamically impacted by Office Depot and Count Me In."

 

Desalene Jones

OWNER

Cha Cha's Doggie Daycare

Sacramento, California

In recognition of the fact that there are more pets than people in the United States, Ms. Jones started her business to provide a safe, fun and stimulating environment for dogs. She believes that this option for busy pet owners enhances the pet/owner relationship, ensures happy and healthy pets, alleviates many pet behavior issues and opens new homes for shelter dogs. Ms. Jones is active with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the American Boarding Kennel Association.

"Count Me In was there when nobody else could even fathom my idea. A dog daycare was not something a traditional bank was interested in funding, as there are no tried and true methods of success directly tied to this type of business. Count Me In looked more at me, my drive, desire to succeed and willingness to work as long/hard as it took," Ms. Jones points out. "Attending the conference has proved more valuable than I could've ever imagined! It is like a vitamin shot for the entrepreneur. It's nice to have someone telling us we CAN do it once in a while."

 

Pamela McCauley-Bell

PRESIDENT AND CEO

Tech Solutions

Orlando, Florida

Dr. McCauley-Bell was the first African-American female to earn a Ph.D. in the field of engineering in the state of Oklahoma. A tenured Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida, she started Tech Solutions in 1999, which provides engineering support, software development and research services to private and government clients. The company was honored with a 2004 Business Women's Network Rising Star Award the same year Dr. McCauley-Bell received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Oklahoma.

"The gains in business for African-American Women in technology firms is miniscule at best. Conferences such as this can make a huge difference for firms owned by women of color who are trying to navigate the challenges of a technology firm, particularly in the area of federal government sales," says Dr. McCauley-Bell. "The Office Depot Conference provides a priceless venue for women business owners to gain realistic business knowledge, be inspired by other women and move their business to the next level."

 

Adrienne E. Simpson

PRESIDENT, Smooth Mooove Senior Relocation Services

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Ms. Simpson spent 30 years working in the corporate world, in areas including sales, service, management and retention of large employer groups. While moving her mother from Georgia to Michigan, she discovered how fragmented the moving process is for senior citizens. She decided to put her years of customer service and organizational experience to work and started her company four years ago. She thought at first that seniors would be her customers, but soon realized instead that they are really the end users. The children of seniors baby boomers are her customers.

"The Office Depot conference not only offers networking opportunities but validation that there are successful women business owners who can provide insight, guidance, inspiration, motivation and mentoring to others. It gives us an opportunity to lift up and help others," Ms. Simpson notes. "The support I have gained from Count Me In has proven very valuable to me and my business. It has taught me to see my business in the future - and that it will be here in the future."