BWN Spotlight

The Business Women's Network of Howard County is built upon an outstanding foundation of members and sponsors. Their combined subject knowledge is unparalleled. All of our sponsors are also members! Here, we feature a monthly blog post written by a current member-sponsor.

Sponsorship Information 

Current sponsors can contact Christine Lowe at to request a spotlight month.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • June 01, 2021 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Bethany Good

    In March, our nation was rocked by the racially motivated mass shooting of Asian American spa workers in an Atlanta suburb. In Ellicott City, four Asian restaurants were burglarized and vandalized during the Lunar New Year in February. These are not isolated incidents, they are part of a larger national trend that has seen a dramatic increase in violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in our country. In Maryland alone hate crimes targeting AAPI individuals have more than doubled since 2018.

    What Maryland is Doing to Help

    In March, Governor Larry Hogan spoke out against AAPI violence. He and the first lady Yumi Hogan toured Asian American businesses in Howard County. He directed state law enforcement officials to increase enhanced visibility patrols and protection for Asian citizens. In May, the Howard County School board approved a measure to include more curriculum dedicated to AAPI studies. The board also declared May, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders Month.

    At BWN we are committed to stopping all racist violence and supporting AAPI folks. We have the power to affect change for those living and working in our community.

    Here are a few ways to stop xenophobia and show your support:

    1. Stop racist remarks when you see or hear them
    2. Patronize Asian American owned businesses
    3. Donate to organizations that help AAPI people in need (see list below)
    4. Report incidents to the state's Hate Crimes Hotline at 866-481-8361.
    5. Support Asian American artists, speakers, and educators, by attending galleries and talks.
    6. Educate yourself on the rich history and cultural contributions of AAPI individuals in our country

    BWN is Committed to Stopping Racist Violence

    BWN is committed to stopping racist violence against all minority groups, including our AAPI and African American friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

    We continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement, along with other anti-racist causes.

    BWN stands firmly in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all it stands for. We believe that the killing of innocent African American people has to stop. We believe in common-sense reforms in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

    Local Organizations that Support Asian Americans:

    ASHA for Women Located in Rockville, MD this nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing support to South Asian women living in abusive marriages and homes. Created in 1989 by South Asians to circumvent many of the language, cultural, and social barriers that can stop many from seeking help, ASHA has helped hundreds of women and children move on to lead safer, happier lives.

    Asian American Center of Frederick provides a host of programs to help Asian American’s in Frederick, Maryland. Their work includes providing food assistance, financial help, education, and workforce development services among others.

    The Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded with the goal of connecting uninsured and under-insured low-income Marylanders with compassionate and qualified mental health professionals who provide care on a volunteer basis at no cost.

    Click here for a complete list.  

    About the Author of June's BWN Spotlight

    The Good Writing Company  Bethany Good

    Bethany Good is the CEO, and “Head Wordsmith” of The Good Writing Co. She is a prolific poet and creative writer. Her love of the written word began early and has remained a steadfast passion in her life. Ever the optimist, she chose to study English Literature, Journalism, and Creative Writing in College. Concerned about the job market, her folks questioned the choice, but ultimately remained supportive. For over 25 years she has honed her craft through poetry, short fiction, meta criticism, and editing. As a digital native, she followed a natural path into blogging and social media management. In 2019 she finally found the role she was meant to play when she founded Good Writing Co., which provides copywriting, digital marketing, and content writing services.

    You can find her writing here

    Bethany Good is also a wife and mother of two elementary-aged children. In her limited free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga, and telling neighborhood kids to get off her lawn.


  • March 01, 2021 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Jessamine Duvall

    Do you remember having this everyday conversation?

    “Hi, how are you?”

    “Fine, how are you?”

    “Just fine, thanks.”

    When was the last time you had that ubiquitous exchange with someone? I realized recently  that I haven’t had this brief, courteous conversation in a while. Here’s how the conversation typically plays out now.

    “How are you, Jess?”

    “Eh, I’m hanging in there.” or...

    “Not bad, all things considered.” or...

    “I’m ok, I guess.” or...

    “Well, I’m still here! Ha ha!”

    I don’t know about you, but I am done saying that everything is fine when I know it’s not. We have all been traumatized by the events of the past twelve months. Nothing is the same as it was before COVID. It’s important for us to remember that. We recognize it and acknowledge it when talking to strangers and acquaintances, but are we really taking it to heart in our everyday lives?

    I discovered something about myself shortly after the pandemic hit. I really enjoy being busy. I actually already knew this about myself, but the absence of busyness in my life over the past 9 months has really brought it home for me. I do NOT like being idle -- at all. So I got curious about this - why do I like to stay so busy? 

    What I realized (after spending way too much time obsessing over it - because I’m not busy) is that I like to be busy because, when I’m juggling all the stuff I have to do and running around like a chicken with her head cut off, I don’t have to feel my feelings. 

    Why wouldn’t I want to feel my feelings? Because often, and especially during a pandemic, there are far fewer “good” feelings than “bad” feelings to process on a daily basis. And no one likes “bad” feelings - fear, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and the like are not fun or easy. They suck. 

    Instead, I choose to stay busy and ignore my feelings bubbling just under the surface… until I crack. I may yell at my kids or my spouse, or some poor customer service rep, or the dog. I may start sobbing in response to a commercial or a Hallmark movie (yes, I will admit that I love them). Does that sound familiar? The feelings are always there, whether we allow ourselves to experience them or not. They will always come out eventually, and sometimes they will manifest in an unhealthy way.

    So while a lot of folks took up crochet, or learned to make their own sourdough, or launched  DIY projects during quarantine, I decided that my pandemic project was making peace with my feelings.

    I didn’t get there through psychotherapy, or a self-help book, or a podcast. I learned how to accept and honor my feelings by reading and teaching the Girls on the Run curriculum.

    One of the lessons we teach girls in 3rd-5th grade through the Girls on the Run program is all about emotions. The key takeaway from this lesson is, “There are no good or bad emotions, just comfortable or uncomfortable emotions.” We take the girls through a list of emotions and ask them to identify these emotions as “comfortable” or “uncomfortable.” Then we may talk about how to nurture ourselves when we are experiencing uncomfortable emotions: pet your dog, or go for a run, or listen to your favorite song, for example.

    The first time I observed a Girls on the Run team going through this lesson, it took all my willpower not to burst into tears. I was over 40 years old and I had never heard this said before. As a GenXer, I learned from my parents and peers that uncomfortable feelings were BAD. 

    “Don’t be the girl that cries in class. You’ll never live that down.” 

    “Don’t cry in front of your boyfriend and don’t yell, either. He’ll think you’re crazy.”

    “Don’t EVER cry at work. That is so unprofessional.”

    On that day, as I watched girls talk about their emotions in a safe space, I realized that these girls were learning at ages 8, 9, and 10 what I had never been taught. I looked back at my life - high school, college, career, marriage, parenting -- and realized how much easier the journey could have been if I had just been taught that it is okay to have feelings - even the uncomfortable ones.

    I have now taught this valuable lesson multiple times as a Girls on the Run coach. It is so rewarding to see the girls realizing and accepting what I didn’t learn until a few years ago. Now, during the pandemic, I have decided to do the hard work of practicing what I teach on a daily basis. I am sitting in the discomfort of all my feelings about the recent political unrest, the pandemic and the resulting isolation, and the challenges of living, working, and parenting during this time. I’m learning how to take care of myself and practice self-compassion on the days that are extra hard. Some days are easy and some days are tough. Some days I laugh a lot, and some days I cry a lot. But every morning I get up and put one foot in front of the other. As we tell our girls in Girls on the Run, “You don’t have to run, as long as you keep moving forward.”

    I have a challenge for you, my fellow high-achieving women. During this weird, messed-up time that we are living in, honor your feelings - even the uncomfortable ones. Embrace the suck, as Brene Brown says. Be kind to yourself. Achieve less and feel more while you’re stuck in this Groundhog Day experience. And if you have kids at home, know that modeling this behavior will help them too.

    Because none of this is easy. It’s uncomfortable. And that’s okay.  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Girls on the Run  Jessamine Duvall

    Jessamine Duvall is Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Central Maryland.

    Girls on the Run is a national physical activity-based positive youth development program for 3rd-8th grade girls. Participants develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care, create positive connections with peers and adults and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. Each session is led by trained volunteer coaches that guide and mentor the girls. The ten-week program concludes with all participants completing a celebratory 5K event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Girls on the Run of Central Maryland is proud to serve Carroll County and Howard County, Maryland. Registration for our next 8-week season, which will include in-person and virtual teams with practices beginning March 21, 2021, is now open at


  • February 01, 2021 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Heather Yeung

    The pandemic has changed our lives in more ways than we can count.

    I, for one, was laid off in March and quickly pivoted into the role of home-school teacher. Over the summer, I pivoted to gardener, groundskeeper, interior decorator, home improvement specialist, and general outdoor enthusiast. As the summer drew to a close, and the world began to accept quarantine life as the new normal, the job market in my industry picked back up. I secured a position that allowed me to continue to do what I love – help small and medium-sized businesses with their legal needs.

    While I was busy decorating my home office and trying to grow tomatoes, the women in my network were pivoting in much more dramatic ways. Some had been laid off like me and were busy finding a niche in a new industry. Others beefed up on their technical skills and began to offer their services online. Some worked to develop their side hustles into full-fledged businesses. Still others began to tap into new industries created or boosted by the pandemic itself. In my opinion, each of these pivots requires input from a legal advisor.

    I once worked with a successful business owner whose previous attorney had not taught her the importance of maintaining her state registration. It turns out that her business was seven years behind in filing personal property taxes which was impacting her ability to take out a loan for a new office space. I was able to help her straighten out her records and her business is now doing better than ever.

    I’ve also found that most of my clients are unaware of the very important differences between employees and independent contractors (sometimes referred to as 1099s). Misclassification of workers is a common mistake that carries the risk of a federal lawsuit with extremely high penalties. If your business has grown to the point that you are ready to take on an employee, or, if you are joining a small business yourself and are unsure about your status as an independent contract or employee, it is critical that you obtain good legal advice.

    I review contracts for my clients on a regular basis, and it is astounding how often they are poorly drafted. One local business owner’s contract contained a dispute resolution provision that mandated arbitration in Paris, France instead of a local remedy. Another common error is a contract that is signed by the owner of the business instead of the business itself. It may seem like a minor detail, but an incorrect signature could cause liability to the owner personally instead of the business– a potentially costly mistake.

    Changes to how we do business and what kind of business we are doing are part of our new reality. For the past year, my colleagues and I have been able to help business owners apply for PPP loans, review franchise agreements, and check for favorable pandemic-related clauses in employment contracts. For business owners and entrepreneurs, 2020 and 2021 are the years of the pivot. As you are pivoting your business, don’t forget to contact your business lawyer to make sure that you are aligned for success.  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Kagan Stern Marinello & Beard LLC  Heather Yeung

    Heather Yeung is a business lawyer at Kagan Stern Marinello & Beard, LLC in Annapolis, Maryland. She and her colleagues offer advice on a wide range of business needs including formation, corporate documents, transactions, employment, real estate, trade secrets, and general commercial litigation. Heather and her family are Howard County residents. She is an active supporter of the Howard County Conservancy, the Candlelight Concert Society, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Business Women’s Network of Howard County.

    Email Heather Yeung

  • January 01, 2021 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Sarah K Jacobs

    On my second roll, maternity leave was up for me and paternity leave was up for my husband. I was going back to work, kind of, and my husband, who is in law enforcement, was going back out there with the public, just to add on the stress. I, on the other hand, am an attorney that handles primarily family law/domestic cases.  Courts were closed except for some matters. Each county determined whether proceedings would be handled remotely or not.  The majority of my hearings were virtual, and I was learning how to coordinate remote work with a newborn at home.

    On roll three, courts were reopening; I was back in the office full time; my oldest was starting his 8th grade year virtually and was at home with his brother; and my husband, whose schedule rotates from two weeks on day shift to two weeks on night shift, was set in his ways.  I had to learn to coordinate all of our schedules and also find care for the baby when we had to work and my oldest was with his dad.  Things were looking up, and we were figuring everything out.

    Here comes roll four. The state was shutting down again, and the courts were all going back to remote hearings except for a few matters.  Because of the rise in numbers, my office went to a rotating remote schedule as well.  During this phase of the game, I must have thrown snake eyes, because my husband got sick, and we thought he could have had COVID. He was therefore put in isolation, which meant my sons and I were quarantined in the house, as well. I was making sure my husband had three meals, ensuring my kids were taken care of, and working remotely. I had a virtual hearing that I needed to appear for, which required me to sequester in my bedroom, hoping that the baby or the dog or combination would not be too loud.  I am scared to roll again, but I am hopeful that the next roll has a happy result.

    I have somehow figured it all out and kept my hair intact, just like all the other working moms.  But this working mom is tired and stressed, as I am sure you all are too.  Hopefully, everyone had a happy and relaxing holiday with their family and friends, whether in-person or on Zoom.  Let’s not forget to take a deep breath in and a slow exhale to release our stress, or rather the effects of 2020. Stay safe out there!!  Let’s hope 2021 is better for all and we can all see each other soon and get back to normal!!!  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Siegel Law  Sarah K. Jacobs, Esquire

    Sarah K. Jacobs, Esquire, is an attorney with Siegel Law.  She handles all aspects of family law matters, including divorce, custody, adoption guardianship and so much more.  Sarah has been in the legal field for almost 20 years now, first as a paralegal for 11 years and the rest as an attorney.  When Sarah is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, movie nights with the family and relaxing.

  • December 01, 2020 7:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Mary Jordan

    A bra is the most engineered piece of clothing a woman wears. Not only does the fabric need to be soft, but it also has to be sturdy. In order to be able to lift the weight of the breasts, it requires the layering of different strength fabrics. Fabric manufacturers and pattern makers are necessary to create these undergarments.

    One of our manufacturers, Prima Donna, takes over an hour to make just one bra. There are over 35 pieces that are put into making this garment. Each wire is specific to every cup size. The European lace is an added touch that often brings up the cost of a bra or panty.

    Bras are produced in fashion colors and seasonal offerings just like dresses and suits. A Pantone color scheme is used for all clothing including lingerie.

    Lingerie requires a very specific design skill that combines with the knowledge of how the body works. The purpose of a bra is to support, lift, shape, and hold the breast tissue in place for hours on end. In addition to its functionality, a bra has to be comfortable and durable--and being attractive is a bonus!

    We understand that people have different price thresholds, and we therefore offer several different prices. Our bras range from $50 to $200. Similar to shoes, the better quality products are in a higher price range.

    Our main objective is to have something for everyone. Twice a year, I have the pleasure of attending the Curve EuroVet Expo in New York to meet with lingerie manufacturers and view the next season’s fashion trends. We preorder the store’s offerings six to nine months ahead of their arrival.

    I have visited the Salon International de la Lingerie show in Paris, France over the past couple of years in addition to visiting some of my manufacturers’ facilities to understand how the products are designed and then created.

    Why get fitted by a professional fitter?

    Did you know there are several size charts depending on the country where the bras are made? We carry bras made in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Canada, as well as the United States. Each of these countries follows a different size range. When you look at a clothing tag you will often see the different sizes listed. We follow the UK sizing for bras. The ½ sizes are included which offers more options for individuals.

    Our fit technique is based more on visually evaluating the way the garment is fitting instead of relying on a certain size. This is the reason we carry over 200 sizes. If we do not have a bra that will fit properly, we will make alterations to fit the customer’s needs. We often shorten straps and sew in cushions to fit an individual’s body type.

    We strive to educate our customers to be able to recognize what to look for in a good fitting bra. We work with each individual on a one-to-one basis to assure finding their perfect fit.

    Bra-La-La also carries bra-sized swimwear, bridal bustiers, post-mastectomy bras and forms, sports bras, everyday bras, and bralettes in addition to pajamas, robes, chemises, and loungewear.   

    Give yourself the gift of support, lift, and happiness by visiting us in the Maple Lawn shopping center. 8180 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Fulton, MD 20759

    You can book an online appointment to see us in person or virtually, or call us for a consultation. We welcome walk-ins.

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Bra-la-la  Mary Jordan

    Mary Jordan, has owned and operated Bra-la-la since March of 2007.

    She worked in the Biotechnology field for 15 years prior as a contractor for NIH, Johns Hopkins, U. of Md. Selling cytokines, growth factors, antibodies and instrumentation to immunology laboratories.

    Mary worked at the Lombardi Cancer Research laboratory at Georgetown University and Hospital in a Pharmacology and Radiation Medicine lab as a technician and laboratory manager.

    Mary graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Biology and Public Health.

    She resides in Ellicott City with her husband Jeff. She has two daughters Kendra and Lindsey that reside in Philadelphia and New York City.

  • November 01, 2020 7:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Christine Lowe

    Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

    For the past ten years, holiday shoppers have celebrated Small Business Saturday in their communities on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Unlike the stressful crowds of Black Friday and the digital disconnectedness of Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday offers the perfect opportunity for shoppers to hit Main Streets across America, support local small businesses, and connect with their communities, while scoring some great deals!

    Okay, we all know that many things in our lives this year are atypical, but who says Small Business Saturday 2020 can’t be even better than before? There are still many ways we can support our local small businesses on November 28th.

    Visit Local Businesses in Person

    Many small businesses are having special events and sales on Small Business Saturday, while following local health guidelines and taking precautions for the safety of their customers. If you can, support them in person by visiting their brick and mortar stores. Some of my favorite local stores are in Old Ellicott City, Clarksville, Maple Lawn, Columbia, Catonsville, Sykesville, and Hampden. If you’re looking for more choices, Main Street Maryland has dozens of other shops to discover and explore. Whether you’re on the hunt for gifts, grabbing a bite to eat, or just craving some time out of the house, these towns have plenty of options for everyone!

    Shop Online

    Don’t feel like venturing out or unable to? Or maybe you want to support small businesses farther away, such as in your hometown or your vacation destination. Check out the websites for your favorite stores and restaurants, and support them by purchasing items online. DCfempreneur has a fantastic holiday gift guide featuring 35+ small women-owned businesses in the Washington, DC area. Etsy showcases hundreds of small independent crafters and businesses from all over the world. Closer to home, of course, our Business Women’s Network (BWN) comprises our own wonderful small businesses right here in Howard County and surrounding counties. In fact, BWN is hosting a Virtual Vendor Fair this Wednesday, November 18th, where members and guests can purchase unique holiday gifts and support BWN businesses. Not sure what to buy? Consider contributing to small businesses by purchasing gift cards for your friends and family or even treating yourself!

    Refer a Friend or Offer a Positive Review

    Any business owner loves a word-of-mouth referral or a positive review on their website, social media, Yelp, or Tripadvisor! Consider connecting with local small businesses and supporting their owners by sharing some positive words, engaging with their social media posts, and referring your friends and family.

    Support Small Businesses Any Day of the Year!

    Remember that when you support a small business, you are truly supporting someone’s dream. That someone could be your neighbor, a parent of your child’s friend, or a co-worker taking a leap into their passion. Your support on Small Business Saturday and any day of the year helps owners employ others in the community, keeps storefronts lit and Main Streets vibrant, and makes your communities the places you want to live. We sincerely thank you!  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Christine Lowe Voiceovers LLC  Christine Lowe

    Christine Lowe, Ellicott City resident, engineer, and mom who took a leap to create Christine Lowe Voiceovers, LLC. Now, as a voice actor and proofreader, Christine’s mission is helping businesses clearly share their messages and successfully reach more clients. With a warm, friendly, upbeat voice that captures listeners' attention, Christine provides authentic, high-quality voiceovers for commercials, social media campaigns, phone systems, website videos, audio blogs, corporate narrations, and eLearning content. She also provides that careful second set of eyes as a proofreader who catches grammatical mistakes and enhances the credibility of her clients’ written content.

    Visit to see and hear how she can support your business.

  • October 01, 2020 9:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Faith Wachter

    It feels a bit early to talk about holiday shopping right now but the truth is, the 2020 holiday season will not be business as usual; and your social media marketing should reflect that. With the economic effects of the pandemic shutdowns, the holidays will look quite different from the past. More folks will be staying home, which means that fewer people will be entertaining, traveling, and dining out. Online sales have already increased 55% year over year in July, as more families are shopping from the safety of their homes. Another expectation: holiday shoppers will focus on supporting local and small businesses to help them survive COVID restrictions.

    Is YOUR business' social media ready for the 2020 holiday shopping season? Are you taking advantage of all the different features on each platform that will support your holiday marketing? Here are a few business features that you might want to explore further.

    Facebook Shops

    You can now efficiently sell items and checkout directly on Facebook and Instagram via Shopify. Set up your Shop so that folks will get redirected to the e-commerce section of your website to make a purchase. You'll need to set up a Commerce Manager account and connect your website to your Facebook Shop. Learn more here.

    Don't have a Facebook Shop? Make sure your Call to Action (CTA) button links your followers to the best method of contacting you. Set up automated messages and other actions in Messenger so you don't miss a lead.

    Shoppable Instagram Posts

    Shoppers can now buy directly from your feed posts or Stories when you connect your Shopify website to your Instagram account. Add product stickers and tag products in your posts to have your products appear in the Shopping tab in Explore. You can also set up a View Shop button in your bio to encourage traffic to your website. Get started here.

    Don't have an online shop? Be sure your bio reflects your services and your brand voice, appeals to your ideal customer, and sends them to your website. You only have 150 characters in your bio, so choose your words strategically. Use keywords that will make you more findable in Search to the right clients.


    Video content performs extremely well on virtually all social media platforms. Period.

    Videos capture the eye and stop the "thumb scroll" on your feed. They're also favored on the Facebook and Instagram algorithms, so they increase your visibility. There are so many video format options available now that you'd be remiss to not try to incorporate videos into your social media strategy this holiday season.

    You don't need a big video marketing budget and expensive equipment. Try some of these tips to get a great quality video from your smartphone.

    Social Media Ads

    You should also consider social media advertising as a highly cost-effective way of reaching a hyper-targeted audience. If done correctly, social media ads can help drive leads, increase brand awareness, generate web traffic, and even boost revenue. 70% of advertisers say they've generated leads with social media ads. Get all the details here.

    This list is just the beginning of how your social media marketing can support your holiday sales strategies. It takes time to pivot your current business trajectory into other efforts, so NOW is a great time to enact those plans and prepare for the new realities of holiday shopping in the COVID era.   

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Faith Wachter Consulting LLC  •  Faith Wachter

    Faith Wachter, owner and founder of Faith Wachter Consulting, LLC. Providing social media solutions for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. 


  • September 01, 2020 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Lynn Jore and Jessamine Duvall

    In March, the world turned upside down. Our nation is experiencing multiple crises at the same time- a global pandemic, economic fallout, and the nationwide mobilization for racial justice. No one is left untouched. All have experienced some level of loss: loss of income, health, loved ones, social freedoms, safety, even peace of mind. If we as adults are struggling under the weight of this enormous stress, how are our kids doing? 

    Our school-aged kids are facing extraordinary stressors (loss of daily routine, friends, social support, sports, events, activities, etc.). Some are missing major milestones, experiencing the trauma of losing a loved one, or the loss of family income and stability that adds the stressor of potentially not having enough food or mental and physical security.

    One of the best ways we can help kids through this difficult time is to equip them with the tools they need to understand and process their emotions, manage stress, resolve conflict, and be resilient. These important life skills fall into the category of education known as social-emotional learning (SEL). Social emotional learning (for girls and boys) has become a hot topic in the field of education within the last few years. SEL (as defined by The Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, or, CASEL) is considered the ability to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. 

    Even before the pandemic, educators were realizing that these mental health barometers can dramatically impact students’ academic success, classroom management, future employment, and prevention of high-risk behaviors. As the pandemic continues (increasing the likelihood of long-term effects on the mental health of our kids), the need for SEL-focused programs and practices is on the rise. Because schools are only able to touch on these issues in between reading, math, science, social studies, and related arts instruction (Thank you, teachers!), there are an increasing number of extra-curricular programs that focus on social-emotional learning.

    SEL is important for both boys and girls right now, but girls are feeling the impact of the pandemic more. For years, experts have seen a significant decrease in physical activity and an alarming increase in anxiety and depression in girls (substantially more than boys). Rachel Simmons, in her book Under Pressure, states that a staggering 31 percent of girls experience symptoms of anxiety as compared to only 13 percent of boys. She also states that adolescent girls are now three times as likely as boys to become depressed. Add a pandemic on top of that and our girls are really struggling. 

    One of the most common effects of the pandemic so far for girls is the increase of loneliness. In May of this year, The ROX Institute for Research and Training administered a wide-reaching survey to assess the well-being of girls across the country. They discovered: “In general, girls more than boys, tend to define themselves in relation to others. Their relationships are significant sources of support and being disconnected from some of their most primary sources of stability and encouragement can be detrimental to their mental health. With nearly 80% of girls reporting more isolation since COVID-19 began, it is important that schools ensure they are adequately attending to the potential mental health threats that can accompany unsupported virtual learning.”

    In July, CASEL (a national organization focused on research and education initiatives advancing SEL) collaborated with 40+ organizations to create: “Roadmap to Re-opening School'', a guide for school systems and parents to prepare for the transition of an unusual school year nationwide. The guide states: “Academic learning and cognitive growth are inextricably linked with social and emotional development and environments. For example, students learn best when they are focused, find information relevant and engaging, and are actively involved in learning. This requires them to have a ready and focused brain, use emotional regulation skills, and also be in an environment where they feel physically and emotionally safe, connected, included, and supported.” SEL provides a solid foundation for children to be academically successful and establish healthy practices that will positively impact their current and future mental health. 

    Our kids need us. All adults in the life of a child are essential at the table of collaboration right now: parents, educators, neighbors, and community partners. Kids need to feel free to ask questions and given space to process loss and fear and other complex emotions they may be feeling. Kids need to feel connected to and supported by caring-adults and their peers. They need tools and opportunities to practice healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress in these uncharted territories.

    These are perilous and uncertain times. Let’s give our kids every chance to process, connect and grow in this challenging season.  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Girls on the Run

    Girls on the Run has been providing social-emotional learning for girls all over the United States for almost 25 years. Our research-based curriculum was named one of the top three afterschool social-emotional learning programs in a recent study completed by Harvard University. At Girls on the Run of Central Maryland, we believe the skills practiced in each GOTR lesson are essential at this time of extraordinary circumstances, which is exactly why we remain determined to make this program accessible to every girl in Howard and Carroll counties. 

    Since schools have closed, Girls on the Run of Central Maryland has adapted our curriculum to provide options for girls to participate either virtually or in a small group at a safe distance outdoors (according to each family’s preference). Financial assistance is available based on household income, but for the first time in our history, we may run out of scholarship funding due to the financial impact of COVID on our organization. 

    If you want to help girls recognize their limitless potential, please visit We have many volunteer and fundraising opportunities available. Registration for the Fall 2020 season opens August 23rd at noon.

  • August 01, 2020 9:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Lisa Jolles

    The past few months, some (not all) of Us HAD (maybe not now) a little more time on our hands. However, while we were doing those things that we normally “avoid”, i.e. cleaning closets, we might want to make sure that our affairs are in order and that we are getting the MOST from the benefits we have in place.  Covid-19 has made most of us re-evaluate our priorities and what is truly important.

    Dust Off Your Policies — Don't Overlook the Small Print!

    1. Life Insurance: 

     Re-evaluate your beneficiaries. If you are divorced, you don’t want your EX being your beneficiary! 

    — Your policy  is not just a piece of paper, provisions need to be reviewed. For instance, if you purchased a Universal or Variable  Life policy, they are interest-rate and market sensitive. The death benefit may be there if not funded properly

    2. Disability Policies are not one size fits all and should be reviewed regularly by a professional on a regular basis, to meet changing needs.

    3. Long-term Care: If you are just considering, there are newer strategies available, other than traditional long-term care. Consider the added value of working with a specialist who will guide you through the claims process and provide advocacy when care is needed. 

    Free Tools Associated With Your Group Benefits

    1. Employee Assistance Plan (EAP): Many group disability policies include up to 3 face to face /unlimited telephonic counselor visits for common stressors: debt, relationships etc. 

    2. Telemedicine Benefit: 24/7 for routine type services such as colds, flu, pink eye, rashes, allergies.  Doctor can even call in a prescription!  Small (sometimes $0) copay with many plans. 

         *By law, any Covid-19 related telemedicine  services are a  $0 copay

    3. Will Preparation: For basic wills, you may have a will prep service included with your EAP policy. For more complicated wills, you will want to use an experienced estate planning attorney  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Jolles Insurance and Financial  Lisa Jolles

    Lisa Jolles, President of Jolles Insurance & Financial & her knowledgeable team, has taken pride in helping individuals, group clients (and their employees) get the most value from their benefit package for more than 30 years. Lisa feels strongly that “it’s our job to fill in the gaps in our clients planning and to always be there to educate and advocate on their client’s behalf.”


    Jolles Insurance & Financial has a mission to help not only their clients, but their community, to safely navigate to and thru retirement with the right planning in place and the good health to enjoy it!  It’s for that reason they founded the non-profit We Promote Health, Inc.  Join them and their WPH team every Saturday morning for the always FREE “Boot Camp in the Park”.

  • July 04, 2020 8:00 AM | Website BWN Admin (Administrator)

    By Nina K. Yudell

    We are living in a very unusual time. Extraordinary really. These are the words that I hear and read most often to describe this period. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be working during this period, most have faced challenges and experienced significant changes in our day-to-day activities, whether we are working at home or at our normal workplaces. It has been a time of higher anxiety and stress for many. It is a time when effective leadership and a strong organizational culture have been critical for success. I reflect on this as I am very grateful to be a partner at a firm, Brown Advisory—an investment and strategic advisory firm that has both. This has allowed us to execute well over the past several months. In this extraordinary time, I am struck by how important it is to adequately plan ahead assuming both best and worst case scenarios. Management decisions made years ago have been so important and helpful. Our “client first” culture and our culture of teamwork and supporting each other has served us well. Our culture embraces open communication, listening and learning as we know that we don’t have all of the answers. Another important part of our culture is to serve those in greater need in our community, and we are encouraged to find ways to do so in this environment.

    Our leadership was early in recognizing that some of our business practices needed to change to keep us and our clients and others safe through the coronavirus pandemic. We canceled events including our biennial Navigating Our World (NOW) conference, which has an attendance of over 750. In its place, we have launched a series of weekly podcasts with topics relevant to this time (you can also listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher). We are an essential business, therefore our offices could have remained open but our leadership chose to have near 100% of colleagues working remotely and we have been doing so successfully. Throughout this WFH period, our leadership communicated with clients weekly and encouraged all of us who are client facing to reach out to each and every client. The firm was prepared for this moment, having made investments in technology and in hiring great people. So that we can best serve our clients and support our colleagues, the firm has provided everyone with anything they have needed to work at home, such as laptops, monitors and printers. Our Human Resources team has provided support through good benefits and special programs at this time, such as weekly wellness webinars. Years ago, we established Colleague Resource Groups (CRG) and in this time of a heightened awareness of racial injustice and inequality, our “In Living Color” CRG led a discussion for our African American colleagues to have the opportunity to honestly share their thoughts and feelings. 

    These are just a few examples. I share my own professional experience to illustrate the importance of leadership and culture. All the actions that we took, decisions that were made over preceding years prepared us for this moment in time, however long it may be.

    Be well and stay safe.  

    About this Month's Featured Sponsor

    Brown Advisory Partner  Nina K. Yudell

    Nina K. Yudell is a partner and portfolio manager at Brown Advisory with over 30 years of investment experience. She serves as Vice Chair of the University of Baltimore Foundation and Chair of the UBF Investment Committee. Nina is a member of the Howard County Estate Planning Council as well as a member of the Business Women’s Network of Howard County and serves on the Scholarship Committee of the BWN Scholarship Foundation.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 




Kim Musser, Agent 



Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software