Entrepreneurship Program

Entrepreneurship Committee Kicks Off Three-Part Webinar Series

For the past 44 years, WTS International has focused on promoting the advancement of women in the transportation industry. Our vision is equity + access for women in transportation. To support and promote women business owners and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms in the transportation industry, WTS formed the Entrepreneurship Committee to sustain and grow women business ownership and provide a support network for business owners to learn, grow, and promote their businesses and leadership careers. 

The Entrepreneurship Mentorship Subcommittee kicked off the first webinar in a three-part series on Business Ownership on September 16, 2021. The focus of the conversation centered around how to know when the right time is to branch out on your own, what financial considerations should be considered and how to identify your sphere of influence. This webinar was geared towards those with an entrepreneurial spirit who have considered starting their own business or are in the first 5 years of business ownership. 

Panelists included:  

  • Bridgette Beato, CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group, a certified DBE +WBE + SBE firm 
  • Asrah Khadr, Founder- Opal Trail LLC, a certified DBE + SBE firm 
  • And as moderator, Ty McGilberry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, Pegasus Financial Planning 

In talking about important considerations and the beginnings of their business ownership journey, the panelists shared these points: 

“When building your business, know your threshold for risk. Consider carefully how and where you want to expand in the market.” - Bridgette Beato, CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group 

“Understand the market ask – it is ever-evolving. Know the client needs and who they are – it is beyond important.” - Asrah Khadr, Founder - Opal Trail, LLC 

“Understanding who you are working with is 90% of business. It really is about being flexible.” - Ty McGilberry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, Pegasus Financial Planning 

As the panelists reflected on operational efficiencies critical to business success, these points were emphasized: 

“Is your goal to be self-employed or to be a business owner? As a business owner, you work to put processes in place for the continuity of service, even in your absence." - Ty McGilberry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, Pegasus Financial Planning 

“Effectively using social media and targeted marketing was critical for business outreach and relationship building during the pandemic. It was a giant social experiment and was important to maintain and grow connections.” - Asrah Khadr, Founder - Opal Trail, LLC 

“The importance of establishing back-office processes to ensure operational efficiencies is so important for the health of the business and the business owner! I am actually able to take a vacation when I need to, because we have established process in place that ensure the business functions optimally.” - Bridgette Beato, CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group 

Lastly, the panelists shared important resources and considerations to support business growth: 

“Take advantage of mentor protégé groups and become a lifelong learner. Understand the statistics on small business ownership and specifically what percentages you fall into demographically.” - Bridgette Beato, CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group 

“Having the WTS family at my side empowered me tackle difficult challenges. Through my involvement with WTS, I have connected with amazing people and formed great relationships.” - Asrah Khadr, Founder - Opal Trail, LLC 

“A surgeon wouldn’t operate on himself, and a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. Rely on experts to help you with your business, do not attempt to do it all! Make a practice of reevaluating your business relationships over time.” - Ty McGilberry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, Pegasus Financial Planning 

Attendees were encouraged to sign up for WTS Mentor Match or a WTS Chapter mentorship program. The link for SCORE, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship was also shared. https://washingtondc.score.org/content/mission-vision-and-values 

The second webinar, held on November 3, 2021, focused on the growing pains of business ownership. Participants learned how to maintain a unique culture, the importance of making operational investments, and how to create and maintain an institutional library.  

Women Business Owners: Pushing the Industry Forward

WTS International has formalized its program for women business owners and DBE organizations with the Entrepreneurial Program. In 2020, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Committee (DBE Committee) was formed at the International Board level in conjunction with the Executive Director and staff, to research, learn, and support DBE and women entrepreneurs.

“We are working to remove the obstacles for women to become entrepreneurs in the transportation industry and to better support existing business owners,” Stickler stated. “Some of that work is about eliminating stereotypes about what an owner looks like, but much of it is providing guidance and best practices for the technical, legal, financial, and business challenges that are a part of entrepreneurship.”

For transportation to be diverse, inclusive, accessible to all people, we must make being a woman business owner accessible first.

Network with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Member Firms

A valuable member benefit offered by WTS International is the list of DBE member firms. Our corporate partners and transportation government entities utilize the list of DBE companies when looking for contractors and subcontractors.

View the list of DBE members.

Women's Business Owners Roundtable

During the annual roundtable, the select group of leading women business owners in the transportation industry will share successful experiences and best practices and learn from others about starting and running a business in today's world. Sessions may cover topics such corporate value and ownership succession, improving profitability, and attracting and retaining staff.

To apply for the 2022 Women's Business Owners Roundtable on May 17, 2022, from 8 a.m.–noon PT, at the 2022 WTS Annual Conference in Hyatt Regency, Seattle, please submit your application.

Pillar Sponsorship

If you are a part of a women-owned business, consider sponsoring WTS International at the Pillar Partner level.

  • Complimentary membership and annual conference registration (around $1,000 value)
  • VIP Event at the Annual Conference (invite-only reception)
  • Featured industry resources
  • Access to online discussion forums
  • Thought leadership opportunities through sponsored articles
  • Discount on Job Board postings

Please contact sstickler@wtsinternational.org if you are interested.