Working Girl in a Woman-Owned Business
March 7, 2017
The best thing I ever did for my career (dare I say my life) was intern at a woman-owned business. When I first applied for the job (more than a decade ago) there was a side note next to the intern description that mentioned “woman-owned business” and honestly, I didn’t think much of it. I was 19 and I had two goals. I wanted to intern in Washington, D.C. and I needed a “paid” internship so my parents would let me go.
On my first day, saying I was nervous is a drastic understatement. However, when I walked in I was welcomed by warmth and excitement from the staff. My desk already had a notebook on it wrapped with a blue bow (#womanowned). I was introduced to the entire team and everyone already knew my name.
I was also introduced to the CEO and Founder at the time, Susan Peterson. I greeted her “Good morning Ms. Peterson.” On my first day of my first internship, I learned a valuable lesson. When you get a real job, you’re allowed to call people by their first names (#adulting101).
Now, some 4,015 days later hindsight and reflection seem inevitable. Our mighty team of 12 consists of nine women. In 2011 I witnessed the company transition ownership from Susan Peterson, the founder, to Peggy “Dean” Jones – Susan’s COO/CFO for 20 years. The woman-owned mentality of collaboration and compassion has always been and remains at the heart of our company’s culture.
Our CEO, Dean Jones, and the three company directors are all women. The only complaint I’ve ever heard from the men is that we don’t talk about baseball enough, which is fair. We are more into golf.
Being a part of this woman-owned business, we are lucky at TCC. Dean leads with compassion, flexibility and ingenuity. Maintaining a work-life balance with a family-first mentality is the essence of our employee handbook. There’s unlimited vacation because in Dean’s words “we are all adults and know what we need to do to get our work done.” Trusting her staff to continue to deliver the highest caliber of communications coaching available, also ensures a fool-proof quality control – because we all care.
We care about our clients, we care about the business and we care about each other. Our comradery is remarkable. We support each other in our endeavors outside of work, and we are there for each other during difficult times. A few years ago, a loved one of mine passed away suddenly. Every single person from the company attended the Sunday funeral. And for those who needed a ride to get to the location, Dean paid for transportation.
I think about that often. I think about how lucky I was to be able to take the time off I needed to heal. Most women in the world do not have that kind of compassion in their work environment, and I never want to take it for granted. I’m appreciative of the women in history and the women a generation or two before me who had a much more difficult work environment. Challenges such as not receiving equal pay, not receiving recognition for ideas and accomplishments in the workplace and not receiving professional respect by men who were more interested in a woman’s marital status than her business capability are issues I have not come across in my TCC bubble. So, thank you to the tenacity of all the brave women past and present who continue to fight the good fight, lead with conviction and maintain a positive outlook.
Today, on International Women’s Day, I am grateful for all the work from women before me that has allowed our business to thrive. I am grateful to my colleagues who have educated me on workplace environments of earlier decades, which further highlight’s TCC’s accomplishments.
Today, we encourage our staff, clients and friends to support other woman-owned businesses, and to most importantly, support each other.