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Get to know some of WBDC's clients...


Diane Winston, Winston Strategic Partners, LLC

Having spent 20 year as a corporate executive, Diane Winston realized her true passion, and developed Winston Strategic Partners, LLC in 2005. The management consulting firm provides communication strategies to organizations experiencing a variety of changes. WBDC assisted Diane with identifying the best funding opportunity for her business structure, and she was later extended a line of credit through a community lender. She used the funding to rebrand the firm, including updating the website, as well as becoming a certified Women’s Business Enterprise. Diane has volunteered her services for WBDC clients and hopes to hire more employees in the near future. 










Maxene Mulford, Uniquely U. College Essay Consultants

In 1998, Maxene Mulford established Uniquely U. College Essay Consultants, where she guides college applicants and professionals as they create self-defining narratives for personal, academic, and professional purposes. After participating in a variety of WBDC programs and meeting individually with a WBDC counselor, Maxene developed a robust marketing plan and gained confidence that her business could be a sustaining entity. As a result, both her income and client-base grew significantly, and Maxene credits WBDC with providing her with the tools and knowledge to effectively run her business.  







Carol Lentini, Along Came Carol Boutique & Catering Events

After traveling through Europe and falling in love with different cultures and cuisines, Carol Lentini discovered her passion for cooking and entertaining. She opened Along Came Carol in 1989 as a commercial kitchen and catering company, but soon found herself struggling to keep the business afloat. Once Carol participated in WBDC’s QuickBooks program and a series focused on building and maintaining loyal customers, Along Came Carol began to thrive once again. She opened a private dining room called The Nook, hired multiple staff, and has a concrete understanding of the business’s finances. Carol hopes to label and package food for sale one day, and plans to stay involved with WBDC to help her reach this dream.   





Chavonne Collins

Chavonne Collins is an aspiring social entrepreneur that dreams of starting an organization to cultivate and mentor youth entrepreneurs. She knew that to achieve her dream, she had to get her personal finances in order first. After meeting with a WBDC Budget Coach, Chavonne was able to get her finances on track and understand her own worth. The WBDC Budget Coaching program helped her increase her credit score, reduce her debt, and increase her savings. Chavonne looks forward to participating in WBDC’s business plan development program as she works towards launching her business and further improving her financial position.




Angélica Durrell, INTAKE Organization

In 2011, Angie Durrell identified a need in her Latino community when she realized that there was a lack of opportunities to learn to play different instruments, and decided to put her talent to use to address this gap. INTAKE Organization has a bilingual choir, provides music lessons, and much more, and Durrell wanted to take the business to the next level. With WBDC’s help, Angie has secured a venue, hired 5 part-time staff, significantly increased her budget, and received funds to purchase QuickBooks Software.







Virginia P'an, Yumi EcoSolutions, Inc.

Virginia P’an founded Yumi EcoSolutions, Inc. in 2010, a company that manufactures sustainable products with the goal of creating a healthier environment for future generations. In hopes of overcoming funding obstacles, Virginia came to WBDC, and later secured $400,000 in funding. This allowed her to create new jobs, launch two eco-friendly branded product lines, and develop a strong online presence to expand her client-base. Products by can be found in 3,500 retail stores in the United States and purchased online.





Jonathan Beckerman, Profile Portraits & Jonathan Beckerman Photography

Jonathan Beckerman launched Jonathan Beckerman Photography in 2007, and has since developed an idea to start a new business, Profile Portraits, aimed at capturing individuals in their professional element. Since becoming involved with WBDC, Jonathan has organized his business finances and is preparing to apply for Connecticut’s Small Business Express Program in hopes of gaining funding to get Profile Portraits off the ground. Jonathan described WBDC as a “great collective of people with similar goals in mind that encourage, inspire, and educate” and he plans to stay connected as he starts this new journey.








Christina Kazanas, HK Consulting Group

In 2010, Christina Kazanas and Rebekah Harriman-Stites launched HK Consulting Group, a firm that provides consulting, grant writing expertise, fundraising services, and more to nonprofit clients. Since working with WBDC, they have hired 2 part-time staff, expanded their client-base throughout the State of Connecticut, and now offer nonprofit executive and board coaching services, event planning, and fundraising plan development. Christina hopes to continue increasing the range of services the firm provides and relies on WBDC to help her achieve this.







Elizabeth McCarthy, Aetheria Spa

After becoming a certified massage therapist on 2003, Elizabeth McCarthy began working at Aetheria Relaxation Spa, which cultivated an environment focused on living healthy, balanced lifestyles; a philosophy that she completely aligned with. One year later, when faced with the opportunity to purchase the spa, Elizabeth took a risk and became the owner. Though the transition was not seamless, and she found herself at WBDC in search of guidance, where she developed a solid marketing plan that she still refers to at least once a year. With the help of WBDC, Aetheria Spa has 10% earnings growth each year, and Elizabeth encourages other entrepreneurs to seek help from WBDC to achieve similar success.





Renata Papadopoulos, Lovely Cakes

In 2005, Renata Papadopoulos capitalized on her passion for baking and opened Lovely Cakes, a full service specialty cake business serving banquet halls, restaurants, and private clients. Renata was working out of a rented kitchen at the time, but her dream to possess her own commercial kitchen came to fruition once she came to WBDC. She participated in WBDC’s workshop series focused on launching small businesses in the food industry and received one-on-one counseling from WBDC staff. She obtained a loan to purchase a commercial kitchen, which she now rents out to other entrepreneurs. WBDC still plays a role in Renata’s entrepreneurial ventures as she continues to grow her business.





WBDC - Serving Connecticut
Made possible through grants from the U.S. SBA / Office of Women's Business Ownership,
Federal, State, Municipal, Corporate and Private Contributors.

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