Women and men from throughout Logan joined two local professionals for a “women in business” forum at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) Nov. 18.
The meeting was held as a part of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
The website for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day explains, “Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is a day on which the work of women entrepreneurs is observed and discussed, held on the nineteenth of November of each year.”
The meeting was led by Dr. Jennifer O’Neal and Diana Barnette.
Both women run successful businesses in Logan County while mastering the demands of their ever-verging work and family lives.
O’Neal manages her own physical therapy practice while maintaining a position at Logan Physical Therapy and a side business where she operates as a trunk keeper for the children’s clothing line Matilda Jane Clothing.
O’Neal stressed the importance of forward planning and organization in running a business.
“Everyone always assumes that, if they have a business, they can afford it. It’s not true. There are many months where I’ve went without paying myself so I can pay my employees. I have two kids now. It’s very time consuming. I am at the clinic typically 45 to 50 hours a week. I’m perfectly fine with my schedule, but then I have to balance the clothing on top that. I am responsible for holding out my own taxes. It can get very confusing if you have a business, a pay day and another business on top of that,” explained O’Neal.
Barnette also owns and operates several businesses in Logan County.
During the meeting, Barnette explained she and her husband had purchased their mining repair business and then moved to diversify their businesses by opening a cinema, Fountain Place Cinema 8 and a restaurant, Ghatti’s Pizza.
Barnette explained she returned to college to get a degree when the recent downturn in the mining business began.
Barnette noted that women from Appalachia should not be underestimated saying, “Being from Logan, I’ve gone in places where the minute I walk through the door they are surprised that I have shoes on and that I can brush my hair. It’s like they have this stigma attached…I use that. They underestimate me every time.”
Stephen Hall, division head for healthcare and business at SWVCTC, explained, “We are going to be sponsoring several of these [forums] over the next academic year. Our…effort is to really incorporate a mindset of entrepreneurship here in the college so that everybody discipline…can get a sense of entrepreneurism, and when they leave here with their formal education they also take away a spirit of reinvesting in our economy.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]