Publishers Forum
Celebrating Women In Business / by Lawrence Amaturo / April, 2019

Welcome to Northbay biz magazine’s Women in Business issue! This is an expansive topic our editorial team navigates with great skill each and every year. Traditionally, this issue focuses on how women and business meld here in Sonoma, Napa and Marin. And over the years, our topics have ranged from the misperceptions about a woman’s role in the business world, the challenges working moms face to profiling modern matriarchs and the women who stepped up during the 2017 firestorm.

The Women in Business issue celebrates the accomplishments of North Bay women. This region is loaded with example after example of the successes and, more importantly, the impact women have on our communities. Our goal is always to highlight the opportunities and successes so many great women are enjoying in business. But we are equally diligent to expose the roadblocks and pitfalls women endure as they continue to forge their way in management, finance, law, the public sector and health care.

This year, we take a deep dive into the male-dominated world of construction, featuring four outstanding women who break the mold and do so with finesse in “High Heels to Hard Hats.” The construction trades are rarely characterized as fields where sensitivity training and political correctness abound. It can be tough going for women to fit in without sacrificing their own style and sense of self. Judith Wilson profiles these women who lead their companies successfully with an approach—and some grit when needed—that keep them front and center with employees and customers.

The path of an entrepreneur is not an easy road. Stephanie Derammelaere highlights the sole proprietorship path that nine out of 10 women business owners are pursuing in Sonoma County. This go-it-alone strategy is likely consistent in Napa and Marin as well, and it’s fraught with challenges. Sole proprietorships are often strapped for cash, denied access to capital, short on labor, absent any defensible marketplace advantage and can be terribly lonely occupations. Yet they can also be wonderfully liberating and allow the immeasurable advantage of additional time away from work for other, more welcome pursuits. Stephanie explores all these angles to paint a picture that is both challenging and hopeful.

The jump from being your own boss to becoming the “Boss Lady” as a corporate CEO is a massive one. As Jennie Orvino reports, it’s also a very rare one. What qualities and talents do these women bring that make them invaluable and trusted leaders to thousands of employees? More interesting yet, what motivates them to succeed in fields often dominated by men?

And finally, regular contributor Jean Doppenberg reveals how several “power couples” find balance in their work in home lives. Jean profiles several dynamic couples, and I can personally attest to how well Julianna and Barry Graham maintain their equilibrium by making the most of every minute. When Barry’s career placed him in Santa Rosa, local motorists in the downtown area knew to be on the lookout during the lunch hour for fear of hitting Barry as he’d jog through town at a sprinter’s pace! Skipping the overwrought corporate lunch scene allowed Barry the chance to finish his workday without cutting into family time. These days Julianna has replaced Barry in downtown Santa Rosa, and she has a similar sense of urgency with her workday.

On a personal note, I must acknowledge how important the support of my hard working and dedicated wife, Susan, has been to my own career advances. As Susan puts it, she is “part-time doc/ full-time mom” and wouldn’t have it any other way. Like many of you reading this column, we constantly juggle schedules, rearrange commitments and generally lean on each other to have family time with our teenage daughters, and personal time for each other. She’s given up more lofty professional pursuits in the medical field for the sake of our family stability as well as to allow me to swing away at the various business pursuits I’ve been chasing these past 20 years. For this reason and so many others, I’m forever grateful.

How are you and your loved one maintaining balance in your careers and personal lives? What tricks, tips or horror stories can you share with me? I’d love to hear about them and promise not to reveal any secrets!

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