Photo_Be the Change graduates spring 2019.jpg

Photo by Anita Sherman

Seven graduated from the Be the Change Foundation’s spring graduation event Tuesday, May 21.  They were thrilled to receive special keychains made by one of their own, Ciera Pennington. The charms symbolized their various aspirations -- from a small horse (equine photography) to a microphone (stand-up comedy). Pictured are grads Kathy McNitt, Mabel Twumasi, Samantha Spittle, Ciera Pennington, Danielle Gambale-Metz, Lauren Hammer and Kelsea Andresen. 

If you are a woman and want to learn what it takes to start your own business or improve an existing one, consider the series of business workshops offered by Be the Change Foundation.

Their series of classes recently graduated seven who attended weekly sessions held at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton. Conducted by local professionals in their respective fields, participants learned how to create a business plan, how to market your business, how to make money, how to grow your team and how to manage stress. Participants learn how to focus on their "why," leverage social media, understand a profit and loss statement, grow their customer base, market their product or service and know what you can and can’t ask when you interview a prospective new employee.  Each session was introduced by local business owners – spotlight speakers - who shared their stories and offered advice.

The series of 12 classes is open to all women residing in Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Prince William or other surrounding counties. “They are open to anyone who is willing to drive to Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton,” said founder and president Marianne Clyde who is eager to share the success of their series with as many others who are interested. Classes are held on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

“If you are looking for education and support to build a business or grow a dream, I highly recommend applying for the next class,” said Samantha Ellis Spittle, one of the recent graduates after the spring graduation ceremony held at the PATH Foundation.

Be the Change Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower, strengthen and inspire women. The cost of the 12-week series is $250. Financial aid is available to help cover the cost of tuition.

Due to generous donations from supporters, the Be the Change Foundation is able to offer small business loans to participants who fulfill the graduation requirements.  

Registration is now open for the next series of classes which will begin Sept. 10. Application deadline is Aug. 15. To register, visit To learn more or ask questions, contact Marianne Clyde at 540-347-3797 or email her at

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