Women’s Leadership Luncheon and Town Hall: “Find Your Inner Entrepreneur”

Day: Thursday, October 20

Time: 12:00 – 2:20 PM

Join us for lunch and a discussion about women-owned businesses, where to start if you have an idea, or just are curious about what it might take to start your own business.

The world needs more women-owned businesses! Why? Here’s some stats*:

  • Private tech companies led by women achieve 35% higher ROI.
  • Women-founded companies outperformed companies founded by men by 63%.
  • Women have a 69.5% success rate of crowdfunding for their businesses while men have a 61.4% success rate.
  • 57.4% of the SBA Microloan program’s loan went to women-owned or women-led businesses.


  • Women receive just 7% of venture funds for their startups.
  • Female entrepreneurs ask for roughly $35,000 less in business financing than men.
  • Overall, men receive an average loan size of almost $5,000 less.



Michele McCoy – Procurement Counselor (Chesapeake), Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Michele McCoy, Procurement Counselor Virginia PTAC. Retired Contracting Officer with U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   Michele has a BA in Humanities from Virginia Wesleyan College, post graduate courses in Business Management, and enjoys helping small businesses find success in the federal government contracting world.


Millicent Wallace Pitts – CEO/Executive Director of Ocean Exchange

Millicent Wallace Pitts is the CEO/Executive Director of OceanExchange.org, with the sole mission to help the advancement of innovative solutions that support healthy and sustainable oceans and coastal systems. Millicent was an operating executive for thirty years in the chemical/materials industry with Atlantic Richfield, Rohm & Haas, Engelhard/BASF and with a university-based start-up.  She holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Jolie Spiers – VP, Small Business, Small Business Development Center Director, Hampton Roads Chamber

Jolie Spiers is the Vice President of Small Business for the Hampton Roads Chamber and the Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center. The Chamber helps sets the conditions for business success in Hampton Roads and the SBDC provides resources for entrepreneurs to succeed. In her dual role, Jolie is a champion for small businesses at every stage of development from start up to global expansion.


Sharon R. Scannell – Program Manager, Strome Entrepreneurial Center, ODU

Sharon Scannell is the Program Manager at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center (SEC) at Old Dominion University, working with both existing companies and prospective entrepreneurs to build strong resilient profitable businesses.  At the SEC, she develops programs and delivers content on ideation, communication and real-world business fundamentals and leads the Center’s efforts to expose company founders, students, faculty, and community leaders to lean startup principles. Sharon has successfully managed multimillion-dollar manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and retail outlets and has coached company founders from idea stage to mature operations.