SARATOGA SPRINGS — As fresh summer air poured into the community room at Universal Preservation Hall through an open door, Angela Beddoe offered simple advice to any woman who may want to start her own business.
“You just have to find what you love to do,” stated the owner of Beddoe Publishing LLC, a franchise based in Saratoga Springs that circulates HerLife magazine through 1,700 locations in the Capital Region and Adirondacks.
As part of its “Spark Saratoga” series of talks, the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) had invited Beddoe along with Kathryn Cartini, the founder of Chloe Capital, and Dr. Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Solutions, to address the topic of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Leveraging Passions and Skills as a Female Entrepreneur.”
Approximately 20 people were in attendance at the July 25 event.
Dennis Brobston, the SEDC president, spoke briefly before yielding the floor to Catherine Hill, a professor of management and business at Skidmore College, who fairly moderated the discussion among Beddoe, Cartini and Saulnier.
Beddoe said the “glass ceiling” expression makes her “cringe” because it is often “self-imposed by women.”
As someone who admitted to previously “taking all of my creativity and benefitting one corporation,” Beddoe insisted that women must identify the many opportunities that develop in their lives and become “better self-promoters.”
“This is a pattern amongst women that we constantly see,” she observed.
Cartini, a graduate of the Newhouse Program at Syracuse University and native to that part of New York, said women “just need a little buzz to break the glass ceiling.”
Cartini cited an example from several years ago, when a few of her colleagues in local broadcast journalism had felt the need to keep their homosexuality a secret. Later, as the stigma was being cast aside in most states, those same colleagues went on to be featured in national news programs.
Cartini’s Chloe Capital is an “early stage investment fund” that focuses on supporting “technology and tech-enabled companies with talented, hard-working, diverse teams,” according to a summary on the firm’s website (https://chloecapital.com). “We make seed-stage investments in promising companies and use our networks and experience to help them grow.”
A major focus of Cartini’s is Upstate Venture Connect, a nonprofit that aims to harness the collective strengths of organizations like SEDC and academic institutions such as Skidmore. Its goal is to support entrepreneurs so that they can remain in New York instead of pursuing more viable opportunities in other states, she said.
Cartini and Saulnier both talked about the importance of reaching out to young women and fostering in them leadership skills.
Saulnier said that is crucial because of “what society has taught” girls, especially, including the imposition of different stereotypes.
The official motto of Saulnier’s company (www.1stplayable.com), which is based in Troy, is “harnessing the power of games to educate, transform and change minds.”
Beddoe and Saulnier also discussed the “camaraderie” that comes naturally to women, especially when they gather in “peer-based groups.”
When asked by Hill to provide their final thoughts in brief, Saulnier reiterated her comments about properly educating young people.
“More of everyone being kind to each other,” Cartini said.
“Hashtag give yourself permission to dream,” Beddoe added. “Don’t be afraid to do it.”