By Angelica Rodriguez SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)– Many women in Syracuse are seeing the city as the right spot to become economically independent.
Today, more than 300 women spent their whole day learning how to begin their journey as entrepreneurs at the WISE Symposium event at Sky Armory.
The Woman Igniting The Spirit of Entrepreneurship, or the WISE Women’s Business Center, has been organizing this event for 15 years. The Director Joanne Lenweaver explained that this event gives women the opportunity to learn together and keep motivating each other to pursue their goals.
“Each of us here is able to connect with others,” said Lenweaver, “and the speakers are facilitating that connection and that is really fun.”
Lenweaver added that this year could be one of the most impressive they have had so far because of the quality of speakers they brought today.
They key speaker, Kathrine Switzer, was the first woman to ever run a Boston Marathon 5o years after she run for the first time. Switzer ran her first marathon as a Syracuse University undergraduate and now she is glad to come back to inspire women to keep fighting for their dreams.
“A lot of support, ingenuity, and creativity came from here and this has served me well all my life,” Switzer said.
Switzer is not only an athlete but also an entrepreneur. She founded a global non-profit organization with the same number she ran for the first time 50 years ago, 261.
“That number really means something,” explained Switzer, “261 fearless [is] a nonprofit [that] goes around the world to empower women and the really transformational experience of running, just like it empowered me.”
Wise Symposium was new for many of the attendees. Sarah Bertollini came for the first time this year hopeful to get to know other women who are in her same situation.
“What I am really hoping to get is the connections,” said Bertollini, “meeting people that I feel that through connecting with them and sharing what I am looking to do as well as what they do, perhaps they can help me [and] I can help them too.”
Bertollini has already reached out to the WISE Business Center, which provides workshops, expertise, and support female entrepreneurs. In 2016, the Center helped 125 women to develop their own business and trained more than 1000 clients. This year’s Wise Symposium could make that number change for the better.