I am a second generation family member running Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation. My father, Bud Wisecarver, started the business decades ago. I began work here on April 1, 1991. That’s no joke — I thought it would be a temporary job but the business got into my blood and I stayed on. I became the president in May of 2000 and then I became the majority owner at the end of 2009.
Becoming a majority owner set me on my quest of becoming a WBENC certified woman owned business. This was more of an endeavor than I realized. Having more than 60 years of company history made the application process quite daunting. At times I was honestly pretty frustrated. But in the end, the process means you receive a certification that is vetted and respected.
I received certification just after the annual WBENC meeting in 2011. So I was very excited to be able to attend the conference starting in 2012, when it was held just a few weeks ago in Orlando, Florida. Anytime you put thousands of women in the same ballroom it is bound to be a good time — and it was!
Thank goodness for the first-timers orientation programs. I went to them all and I started to really see the potential and opportunities that certification provides. Selling into the supplier diversity channel is a whole other world — language, protocols and paperwork. But it is worth learning, because the opportunities to tap into the supply chain for these major corporations and government entities are extremely exciting.
My first WBENC business fair was really a great experience. I got really good at pitching my company. Hat’s off to sales people! That is hard to do all day long! Working this channel as a manufacturer was really rewarding. There just are not a lot of us, and even fewer who are certified. I was very popular with the corporate partners in attendance. I strongly recommend that women in the manufacturing and technology sectors look at the benefits of becoming WBENC certified.
From my point of view, there is nothing but up-side potential just waiting to be tapped.