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#LeadTheChange Women Owned Business Roundtable

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University

121 Loring Ave | Salem, MA 01970

Thu, May 11, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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Join us for our #LeadTheChange Business Roundtable Series geared towards Meaningful Access & Upward Mobility for All. This is an opportunity to meet with business leaders and the community at large in an environment that fosters learning, networking, and information exchange related to your business growth and workforce development.

About the Event

In the U.S., Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBEs) contribute substantially to the economy. According to recent statistics, there are over 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. That is an exponential growth compared to 1972, when there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses in the nation. Additionally, women-owned businesses employed 10.8 million workers in 2019, an increase of 28% from 2012; in comparison, men-owned businesses had a 10.8% workforce growth over the same period.

While this appears to be an optimistic outlook for women business owners, women continue fighting for their fair share. The lack of equal access to capital is echoed in the 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight report, with 29% of women business owners saying they don’t think they’ll ever have equal access to capital. As the National Women’s Business Council call to action in their annual report states, “Now, more than ever, we must press for the change we know is possible and vital to the success of women business owners and our global economy.”

Commonwealth Corporation and our local partners are dedicated to aggressively addressing the constraints in place to ensure the short-term survival and long-term success of Women-Owned Businesses Enterprises.

We will be hosting a dynamic panel discussion, followed by an interactive roundtable, where we will be discussing how to create meaningful access to state funding, what barriers are in place, and which programs are available to overcome these barriers and promote impact and success.

This event will also have a component of networking and referrals with local partners that cater to Women-Owned Businesses. There is no cost to attend this event.


Isis Ortiz-Belton

Isis Ortiz-Belton is a financial services and banking professional with over 14 years of credit risk, corporate finance, and underwriting experience. She is a Vice President, Portfolio Manager at Eastern Bank where she manages a portfolio of commercial banking relationships with a broad array of middle market and security alarm companies. Prior to joining Eastern, Isis was Vice President, Portfolio Manager at Citizens Bank and previously held positions at Santander Bank and at John Hancock Financial Services.

Isis is an active community leader and diversity, equity and inclusion champion. She’s a strong advocate for the education and financial literacy of minority students and the rights of women, BIPOC and those identifying as LGBTQ+. Notably, Isis is the President for the Boston chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (“ALPFA”), the first and largest Latino professional association serving over 100,000 professional and student members across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada. She sits on the Board of Trustees for Phoenix Charter Academy Network, is a member of the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club Advisory Council, and is a Committee Member of the Cummings Foundation.


Laura Swanson

Executive Director, Enterprise Center at Salem State University and the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development
Laura Swanson is the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, an entrepreneurial support organization and a hub for regional business growth with an accessible community for entrepreneurs and business owners seeking professional growth and business development on the North Shore. As Executive Director, Laura is responsible for over 70+ business programs offered, as well as the management of the Center’s 53,000 sq. ft. building that houses approximately 40 tenants. She has been with the Enterprise Center since 2008 and previously served as its Chief Operating Officer.

Laura also speaheads the work of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, a regional economic development organization that supports thirty communities north of Boston. The Alliance is a cogent, broad-based voice of collaborative advocacy on issues of economic development, transportation and infrastructure planning, education, and workforce issues. She is a member of the Workforce Skills Cabinet Northeast Regional Planning Team and the City of Salem’s Economic Development Recovery & Revitalization Task Force. She also hosted the weekend radio show North Shore Conversations on 104.9FM. She works closely with Salem State University in its entrepreneurship programs for students and serves on the President’s Leadership Cabinet and the Bertolon School of Business Advisory Board.


Robin Samora

Robin Samora is a marketing and PR consultant, Top 20- blogger, and marketing advisor with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Express Grants program. She teaches small business owners how to rev up their brand online and offline to attract new clients, connect with customers, get media exposure, and increase sales. For more information on how to grow your business with the Express Grant program, visit www.RobinSamora.com

Robin Samora

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