JSOM Event Encourages Young Women to Become Entrepreneurs


The Naveen Jindal School of Management will be the first university business school in Texas to pair high school girls with local businesswomen in a one-day seminar April 8 that will focus on financial independence and women as entrepreneurs.

Sponsored by the Jindal School, the UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Opes One Advisors, the Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Conference, will guide the young women through a series of activities that show them decisions a business owner might face.

More than 30 female adult mentors — ranging from lawyers to engineers to businesswomen, as well as 30 female students from The University of Texas at Dallas – have volunteered to help. In all, 140 area high school girls have signed up to attend the inaugural Texas event for free. About 35 more girls are on a waiting list.

Debbie Mrazek

Debbie Mrazek

Melissa Palmer, IIE program director, has organized an April 7 kickoff dinner for the mentors and UT Dallas women. Keynote speaker Debbie Mrazek will discuss “Women and Making Money.” Mrazek, an IIE Advisory Board member, is founder and president of The Sales Company, a Plano firm that helps entrepreneurs, individuals and large corporations better understand and engage in purposeful selling.

Mrazek draws on her experiences when talking with young women. “They are not alone,” she says. “There are people who want to help them, will help them and can help them no matter what it is they are aspiring to do or be. Not only are there people, but there are resources beyond their wildest imaginations. They must find their voice and speak what it is they are trying to accomplish.”

Her motto, — You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great — is designed to inspire women to take the first step on the road to entrepreneurship.

“By providing young women with the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of successful, local businesswomen, we hope to ignite their excitement about entrepreneurship and the rewards of business ownership,” says Lacey Zumberge, business development and marketing director at Opes One Advisors.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, Texas ranks No. 2 (behind Georgia) among U.S. states for the fastest growth in the number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2014. In Texas, more than 28 percent of businesses are female-owned.