SVSU and Dow host women’s entrepreneurship panel

Left to Right: Wendy Traschen, Kathie Fuce-Hobohm, Mary Draves and Rebecca Cox discuss breaking gender stereotypes, growing a support network and the importance of mentorship in business. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

Local female leaders spoke about their successes and tribulations in business during the Women’s Entrepreneurship Week Panel.

The Monday, Oct. 21 panel celebrated women in entrepreneurship week and consisted of four women, all of whom work or have worked as an entrepreneur.

The first speaker was Rebecca Cox, the owner and president of The Savant Group. The Savant Group is a member of four internationally-recognized companies dealing with the oil industry.

Cox talked about her personal experience owning and running a business.

“Here’s some words that I personally have learned to live by and I think most entrepreneurs have also – grit, resilience, risk tolerance and perseverance towards a long-term goal,” she said.

“I keep telling myself everyday, ‘This is not a sprint. This is a marathon, and every day you keep taking another step towards your long-term goal.”’

Cox also touched on what she thought needs to be done to get more women into entrepreneurship.

“If we can start younger, I think that would help a lot,” Cox said. “Traits like leadership, business and finance we tend to think of as male-dominated traits. So, from a very young age, we are conditioning society to steer women one way and men another. We steer women away from STEM and authority.”

The second speaker was Mary Draves the chief sustainability officer and vice president of sustainability for Dow. Prior to her time at Dow, Draves worked as an entrepreneur and uses the skills she learned then at her current job.

Draves detailed her past in entrepreneurship, including two businesses her family owned growing up.

“My family owns a business in Midland, so I’ve never known anything other than family or business since the day I was born,” Draves said. “I spent a decade on a dairy farm. My grandfather was a farmer, and that’s what I’ve been since the day I was born. I also started working for my parents when they started their own business.”

The last two speakers were Kathie FuceHobohm and Wendy Traschen. FuceHobohm owns and operates her own business, Space Inc., which designs office spaces for companies. Traschen owns two businesses.

She runs the marketing communications firm Bolger + Battle, which designed the restaurant she owns, Whine.

Both Fuce-Hobohm and Traschen detailed their experiences opening their businesses and the struggles they faced.

The panel was followed by an opportunity for attendees to ask the panelists questions about their lives or for advice on their own business goals.

Alyssa McMillan

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