Being Well: Ladies, Start Your Business

A new program helps women entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Plus, how to teach your children to be leaders, and how to get relief from fall allergies.

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Trina and Dante (right) opened the Delaware Academy salon in Newark with the help of the Delaware Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship. Jayne Armstrong (left), of the U.S. Small Business Administration, says there’s never been a better time for women to start a business.
Photograph by Thom Thompson

In Delaware, there are about 18,000 businesses owned primarily by women. Yet the number of people they employ has fallen 75 percent over the past 10 years.

Ironically, that may be good news for you.

“More than ever, women are redefining the glass ceiling by becoming their own bosses,” says Jayne Armstrong, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Through the SBA’s new partnership with the YWCA, “There has never been a better opportunity for Delaware women to take advantage of the numerous resources and opportunities.”

That partnership has resulted in the Delaware Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Newark. The DCWE joins 99 other Women’s Business Centers across the country funded by the SBA, where experienced counselors guide aspiring female business owners through conducting feasibility studies for their businesses, developing bank-ready business plans and securing financing.

The DCWE celebrates its first anniversary this month.

“The YWCA has a long history of working with micro-enterprises,” Armstrong says. “Its partnership with the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners spoke volumes to me about how serious they were to have a serious impact on the women’s business market. I just knew this was exactly what Delaware needed to jump-start our entrepreneurial efforts.”

Adds DCWE director Bonnie Ross Coleman, “This is part of the mission of the YWCA of Delaware: to eliminate racism and empower women. Through business ownership, women take control of their life circumstances.”

Clients may benefit from the expertise of seasoned business owners through the WNET workshops and GROW groups. WNET is an informal gathering of experienced women business owners who share ideas and discuss topics such as growing the business, marketing and changes in a business structure. GROW is a group of up to 10 women business owners, along with a facilitator, who meet monthly for confidential group discussions.

For more information, call the DCWE at 224-4060 or visit

Fighting Fall Allergies

Feel like you’ve got a cold? Check with your doctor. You could be one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from fall allergies.

“If you suffer from fall allergies, you really should begin taking medication starting in mid-August,” says Shankar Lakani, M.D., of Peninsula Allergy and Asthma Associates in Dover. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, congestion, post-nasal drip, and itchy, watery eyes.

Thank ragweed. The main culprit in fall allergies comes in two forms: as a tall weed with small leaves and as a short weed with long yellow shoots. Each plant produces 1 billion pollen grains a season, which the wind can carry for 400 miles.

Discuss treatments with your physician. Your doctor may recommend trying over-the-counter options first, or a combo of over-the-counter and prescription medications.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, you should also try the following precautions:

• Keep windows closed during ragweed season to stop pollen from drifting into your home. Use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.

• Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Peak times are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Keep car windows closed when traveling.

• Take a shower after spending time outside. Pollen can collect on your hair and skin.

• Don’t dry sheets or clothing outside, where they can collect pollen.

• Minimize exposure to other known allergens (mugwort, lamb’s quarter, pigweed, red sorrel, sheep sorrel and narrow leaf or English plantain) during ragweed season, since symptoms are the result of a cumulative effect of multiple allergens and non-allergic triggers.

• Wear a face mask when cutting the grass.

Ragweed allergies can also cause symptoms of oral allergy syndrome, which causes people with seasonal allergies to experience a worsening of allergy symptoms after consuming fresh fruits or vegetables. Itchiness of the mouth and throat with mild swelling are common symptoms.

Individuals with ragweed allergies should stay away from things like bananas, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds, chamomile tea and echinacea.

“If cold-like symptoms come up during fall allergy season, echinacea should not be taken, because the symptoms could be a result of fall allergies, and the echinacea could cause OAS, and worsen the symptoms,” Lakani says.

Learning to Lead participants prepare for their capstone presentations, where students divide into teams to create a leadership logo, motto and organization name.

Teach Your Children Well

When Beth Mooney was in ninth grade, her father told her she would be a leader. And a leader she became, through Bucknell and Loyola universities, then at a Fortune 500 company where she managed development programs for new employees.

Mooney’s calling, however, was teaching others, so she and her husband, Colin, started Learning to Lead, a non-profit in Kennett Square, to guide young people between the grades of eight and 12.

Learning to Lead provides training programs for kids who are already leaders, as well as average students who show potential but don’t have the confidence to develop it.

“Leadership can be taught,” Mooney says. “If any student even shows the slightest sign of leadership potential or wants to be a leader, we can help them make it happen.”

During the summer, the organization runs a one-week leadership program for students in grades eight through 12 at Villanova University. Another program, Girls Take Charge, is a one-day program specifically for high school girls. Facilitated by successful, dynamic women, Girls Take Charge focuses on building self-esteem and confidence. Learning to Lead also provides customized leadership workshops for schools and organizations.

“Most of our programs have a capstone project incorporated into it,” Mooney says. “Through this project, students are given a challenge and must work together in small teams to solve it. They present the projects at the end of the program. The wow moment comes when they realize all of the projects could be implemented the next year in their school.”

Through Learning to Lead, Mooney hopes more students will become leader

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