It’s official. October 21-25, 2019 was declared Women’s Entrepreneurship Week in Durant, Oklahoma. Mayor Oden Grube, the first female mayor of the city, made the announcement at the 2019 Women in Entrepreneurship Week event on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) campus on Oct. 22, 2019.
The university along with the John Massey School of Business hosted the on-campus event. More than 40 attendees heard from two different panels of female business experts and entrepreneurs.
This was the second year for the event, which doubled its size from last year. Michele Campbell, director of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC), organized the event. She hopes to continue to get the word out about Women’s Entrepreneurship Week and the SBDC, which offers free services and resources for any budding business owner in the Sooner State.
Mayor Grube commended the university on its support of the community and women in business.
“It’s been greatly involved,” Grube said. “Three of our councilmen are Southeastern graduates. We’re very active with Southeastern. We can pick from the cream of the crop of Southeastern graduates. We are partners with Southeastern, and they’ve been a tremendous partner. Southeastern has been tremendous in helping women entrepreneurs.”
Tascha Bond, full-time faculty at SOSU and an area business owner, sat on both panels to help lead the discussion. As a mother of two daughters, Bond is committed to making Durant a good place for women in business, and she appreciates the university’s involvement in achieving that goal.
“We’re the only program in the whole state recognizing Women’s Entrepreneurship Week on a college campus,” Bond noted. “We’re forward-thinking. Go Southeastern!”
Bond as well as other event attendees expressed hope that SOSU sparks a trend that encourages the state’s other colleges to participate in Women’s Entrepreneurship Week as well.
One of the panelists at the event, Emily Robinson, was surprised with an award for Southeastern Alumna Entrepreneur of the Year. Robinson earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA from SOSU. One of her favorite professors, Dr. Martin Bressler, presented her with the award.
“I had no clue,” Robinson said of her surprise at being announced as the Southeastern Alumna Entrepreneur of the Year. “I was so nervous! But I had a really great connection with my professors. I really got to know them on a personal level. It’s one of the amazing things about Southeastern. It’s a smaller school, and the professors really care.
“This award really means a lot to me because the professors recognize that a lot of what they taught me stuck with me.”
Robinson launched a retail store called Western Legacy Trading Co. in Hugo and recently opened a second location in Durant.
New MBA Emphasis
The mayor’s proclamation wasn’t the only news revealed at the event. Dr. Bryon Clark, interim president of SOSU, announced that the university is now offering a Women in Leadership emphasis for its MBA program. The launch of the new MBA offering was well-received by faculty, alumni and students. Two current undergrad students in attendance, Ieysha Sanders and Ashlee Carr, were immediately interested in the new program.
“We both looked at each and said, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,'” Carr said. “We didn’t know that was coming. It is very exciting that Southeastern is providing this new opportunity for women, to give them that special training in the field.”
Sanders, an advertising/PR major who is minoring in entrepreneurship, said, “I am definitely interested in participating [in the new MBA program]. I already planned to apply to the master’s program after graduation. I’m excited to explore that further.”
Learn more about the Southeastern Oklahoma State University MBA with an Emphasis in Women in Leadership online program.