1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
Women Giving Back (WGB) was founded in 2007 by a group of building industry professionals as a community outreach initiative under HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV), a nonprofit organization that renovates and builds homeless shelters. While volunteering with HANV, three women discovered that women and children in local shelters lacked appropriate clothing for job interviews, work, or school. Starting from a closet of donated clothing, WGB morphed into a store and warehouse in Sterling, Virginia where women living in local shelters, transitional housing, and safe houses shop for free clothing, shoes, and accessories. WGB provides their children with supervised child care while they shop, as well as clothing, school supplies, and a treasured toy for comfort during this difficult period in their lives. WGB’s store is stocked with “gently used” donated items, all of which are free of charge.
In 2010, as demand grew, WGB expanded its store to accommodate more clothing and client services and in 2015, became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. WGB is largely volunteer-driven, with over 2,540 volunteers. I am currently the only staff member and fill the role of Operations Manager but we plan to expand staffing and hire a part-time Program Coordinator. Our Board of Directors consists of 18 members from local nonprofit organizations, small business, and corporations.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
It would be an honor and mean so much to Women Giving Back to be recognized by the Chamber and the business community. This year we celebrate our 10-year Anniversary. It would make this year’s celebration of accomplishments so much more special being recognized in our home county.
3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?
I would love to travel the world, any place with warm weather and a beach.
4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is more of a guide book called “RSS/SGA – A Comprehensive Guide”. My youngest daughter has a rare growth disorder called Russell Silver Syndrome. This book has been our life line in managing her healthcare and education.
5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
I would be catching up on cleaning and projects around the house. After that I would work my ancestry research. Genealogy has been a hobby (borderline obsession) of mine the last few years.
6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
Having a conversation, it so simple and it can happen anywhere. It can happen at networking events but also at the grocery store, the dentist office or a sports games. Our board member and volunteers do it all the time. By starting a conversation and speaking about what Women Giving Back does, who we serve and what are needs are has opened so many doors to new fundraisers, volunteers and donations.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
Growing up I wanted to be a TV producer. I dabbled in it a bit in it through volunteering for local community television networks since I was 12.
8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
It would have to be my dad. Growing up we had a few family retail businesses. He would work from 5 am to 11 pm. When you grow up around that kind of work ethic, it’s just kind of ingrained in you. I did everything from unloading trucks, stocking shelves, making deposits to managing employees. Whatever I needed to do, I was there to help. Watching the way he treated and managed his employees was the most impactful. They were all part of the family and he would go out of his way to help them when they fell on tough times.
9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
Loudoun County has a great sense of community. Women Giving Back has always been moved by the generosity and support from Loudoun business owners and their commitment to this a community.
10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?
With four kids, there is always something happening and the need to be two places at one time. You can find me at a school event, PTA meeting or at a sports game.
11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?
Our family loves hiking in Loudoun and there are so many great walking trails at Algonkian and Claude Moore Park.