“This is lovely,” said Cynthia Legg, a board member with Be the Change Foundation. The occasion was the fall graduation ceremony which was held Dec. 3 at Gloria’s on Main Street thanks to the generosity of Tim Dingus, owner of Drum and Strum. “We hold a lot of different events here,” said Dingus, “in addition to our concerts.”
The space, named in honor of his mother Gloria Faye Dingus, provided a welcoming venue for the 10 graduates and their families and friends who sat at small tables. The lit stage, decorated for Christmas, welcomed the graduates as each was presented with a certificate by vice-chair Anita Sherman and founder and board president Marianne Clyde.
Be the Change Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission of empowering, strengthening and inspiring women, offers a series of 12 classes for women who want to start a business or build on an existing one. Taught by local professionals in their respective areas of expertise, the classes are held at Lord Fairfax Community College.
Each session starts with a spotlight entrepreneur who shares his or her unique story and business tips. Lee Owsley, owner of Latitudes, Sunny Reynolds, owner of Biotrek Adventure Travels and Michelle DeWitt, co-owner of Farm and Brewery at Broad Run are just a few examples of local business owners who have presented.
The classes cover such topics as exploring the “why” of business ownership, building your plan, organizing the chaos, understanding profit and loss, the benefits of having an accountant, legal aspects and managing your risk, marketing, social media, networking skills, when to hire additional staff and managing your stress.
As part of the ceremony, a keynote address was given by Shari Jaeger Goodwin, who serves on the foundation’s advisory council. Owner of Jaeger2, Strategies for Success, Goodwin is an innovative business and leadership coach, and has more than 20 years of experience helping people reach their potential. She is the author of Reinventing Greatness: Leading Yourself and Others Through Change with Confidence and Trust. Much of her insight is gained through working with horses, most notably Lemon Squeezy who is in the process of reinventing himself from being a racehorse to a more amiable pleasure horse.
“It was such an honor … to give the graduation keynote for this incredible group of women entrepreneurs,” said Goodwin, who is offering a workshop on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon titled “Reinventing Greatness: Leading Your Comeback,” it features another of her equine collaborators, Frescoe. Cost is $35 and it is held in Marshall. Visit www.jaeger2.com for more information.
Founder and president Marianne Clyde, who created Be the Change Foundation, is extremely gratified to see another group of women complete the series. The board of seven consists of: Marianne Clyde, Cynthia Legg, Lisa Burnside, Anita Sherman, Amelia Stansell, Kim Jenkins and Kathy Godfrey.
“Eleven more wonderfully creative and inspiring women unleashed into the entrepreneurial realm! Congratulations to a great class, inspiring speaker Shari Jaeger Goodwin and business owner Tim Dingus owner of Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance. Always thankful to Chris Coutts for allowing us to meet at Lord Fairfax Community College,” said Clyde, grateful for the community’s continuing support.
“Every student that takes our series of 12 entrepreneurial classes is an absolute treasure,” added Clyde who encourages any woman interested in attending the spring session to apply now. Tuition is $250 for the 12-week series but partial tuition assistance is available. Micro loans are also available for students who complete the entire series.
Visit www.bethechangefoundation.us/apply. The spring session starts Feb. 11, 2020. Classes will again be held at Lord Fairfax Community College on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. They are open to residents of Fauquier and surrounding counties. You can reach Marianne Clyde at email@example.com or 540-222-7242 for additional information.