Friday, March 21, 2008

First Lady Visits Women's Initiative!

Shriver_at_swarmWe had an exciting week last week. California's First Lady Maria Shriver visited our Oakland office and three client sites, including Svea Vezzone's Swarm Gallery, where we held a reception in her honor.
The visit was organized to announce Shriver's statewide initiative or invest in women entrepreneurs, called "We Invest." Shriver committed $100,000 to Women's Initiative to support 100 women's training.
The Oakland Tribune had a great article about it:
"When you give a man a loan, you help him. When you give a woman a loan, you help her children, her family and her community," said Shriver, explaining that it was in the women's nature to pass the good along.
... The event was held at SWARM Gallery on Second Street, the business of Svea Lin Vezzone, a graduate of the Women's Initiative. Before she made her appearance at the gallery, Shriver visited the businesses oftwo other graduates, Sheron Campbell, the owner of World of Braids, and Allison Barakat, the proprietor of Bakesale Betty who employs 75 workers.
Shriver, dismissing the many praises being showered upon her when she took the stage, reminded her audience that she had never started a business as they had.
"I'm completely in awe of you," she said.
The Women's Conference is an annual event launched by the governor that unites 60 world leaders with 14,000 women in one arena to share stories of success and life lessons.
... The launch of WE Invest was announced at the Women's Conference in October. Shriver said she picked Oakland for the launch venue "because I've wanted to do something in Oakland. I wanted to start in a place that really needed it."
We're not sure what to be more excited about: the money (which will help us help 100 more women with trainings and loans), the publicity (which will help bring in both support and new clients), or getting to meet the first lady!

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