Chatham News

Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship announces lineup for October 22 Think Big forum

By: Paul A. Kovach, Vice President for Public and Community Relations
August 2, 2010

PITTSBURGH (August 2, 2010) … “Innovation and sales are two of the most critical components to any successful business,” according to Rebecca Harris, Director for the Center of Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE), and these key traits will be the focus of CWE’s fifth annual Think Big Forum on Friday, October 22 at the University’s Shadyside Campus. Think Big will feature panel discussions with prominent local and regional women business executives and entrepreneurs who will address strategies that have enabled their companies to remain competitive in the marketplace.

The Think Big Forum will be held in the University’s Athletic Fitness Center from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Registration is $45 per person and includes breakfast. More information is available at, by calling 412-365-1253 or emailing

Following a networking breakfast, keynote speaker Beth Kaplan, President and Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer of GNC Inc., will present on “Innovation and Sales.” Headquartered in Pittsburgh, GNC has been recognized for its innovative marketing and sales campaigns, and its efforts to improve its marketing toward women was featured in a November 9, 2009 article in The New York Times.

Following Kaplan will be the first panel discussion on “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” with Amy Hancock, President and Owner ofAdvantageCare Rehabilitation, Advantage Home Health Services, and AdvantageCare Consulting, and Danielle Proctor, President and CEO ofAmelie Construction & Supply LLC, CEO and Owner and Founder of Core Pilates & Yoga, and General Manager of Fetch! Pet Care of North Pittsburgh. This panel will discuss specific strategies that these women used to grow their companies from ideas to multi-million dollar ventures, and how they continue to grow and use innovative strategies to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Moderating the panel will be Nancy Polinsky Johnson, Publisher and Editor of SHADY AVE magazine.

The second panel discussion will address “Innovation & Media” and features Diana Block, Board of Directors, Former President and Co-Publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Deborah L. Acklin, President and CEO-elect of WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh. This dynamic panel will address innovative strategies required by the media industry to maintain their competitiveness. Moderating the panel will be Lauren Lawley Head, Editor of the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Attendees from the Think Big Forums held over last four years have been from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Over 60% of past attendees are women business owners. These women are predominately in service sectors (architecture, marketing, public relations, human resources, healthcare and therapy, legal and financial services, communications, training, commercial cleaning, etc.) and are the presidents and/or founders of the business. The remaining 40% of attendees are middle and senior management from the corporate sector, including representatives from law firms, insurance brokers, healthcare management, financial institutions, government organizations, and transportation companies.

About the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start, develop, and significantly grow their businesses by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, and faculty expertise. CWE provides programming targeted toward local and regional women in business designed to advance and hone their professional skills. CWE teaches the art of thinking and acting entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of existing organizational environments. CWE also offers specific programs for both undergraduate and graduate students which can help them learn the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and successful women in business.

The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. Current and initial funding for CWE provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Initial funding for CWE was provided by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.