Archive for the ‘ Grant Recipients’ Category

Imaginary Universe is our January Qualification Grant Winner!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

After revealing January’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Diane Beam, writer and film director of Imaginary Universe!

Read on to learn all about Diane and her business.

diane beam
[Above Photographs taken courtesy of Debby Besford.]
Imaginary Universe
Diane Beam

WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.

DB:I started my business on a very small level and each year continue look for new ways to improve and expand, through networking with industry professionals. Getting my bachelor degree in physics and MFA in film and media art have been key to my business knowledge, experience and connections.

At a very early age, like many people, I was fascinated with many things in nature like rainbows, clouds, and sunsets. My sisters and I, when we were young children in California, would sometimes sleep out on summer nights in our backyard, telling stories as the stars pass across the sky. Watching the stars made me wonder: What are they? What’s beyond the stars? Those questions resonated with me on a deep level.

We had non-fiction children’s books in our house on topics of stars and the universe. We also had some fiction children’s books based topics in astronomy, physics and math, such as “A Wrinkle in Time” By Madeleine L’Engle. Reading these books and other like them, had an early influence on my interests and future work. As children, we also enjoyed sometimes staging and acting out small plays for our family.

In high school and Junior college, I took all the science and math courses I could fit in, as well as participating in community theater, even playing the role of Alice in Wonderland. Over time, I was given the chance to write and direct a few small community theater shows and discovered how much I loved directing theater performance.

WN: What made you decide that you wanted to write and direct?

DB: I was excited when I was accepted to BYU as a physics major…physics being a key foundation to a study in Astronomy. I was soon offered a position in the University Planetarium, writing and giving planetarium astronomy and cosmology (the study of the Universe shows). This enhanced my experience as a writer, director, and producer of programs. I came to realize that I might be able to combine my love of astronomy with my love of writing and directing as a career.

WN: Why did you choose to direct/write about Stephen Hawking?

DB: I soon found focused my interest in physics to understanding the ultimate origin and fate of the Universe, alternate time and alternate universes, but at that time, these topics were considered by some to be somewhat outside mainstream study. In one of my physics classes, I learned more about the work of Stephen Hawking, and his work to understand the ultimate fate of the universe. In that moment I felt a strong impulse, to someday write, direct and produce a show on the fate of the universe with Professor Stephen Hawking although I had never met him.

After getting my BA in physics degree, I continued working for other companies writing, directing and producing science shows. Over the years, I was able to travel to other cities and collaborate producing similar type science programs, for planetariums and science centers, in the US, and other countries.

WN: How did you meet Stephen Hawking, and what have your interactions been like with him?

DB: A few years after my graduation, I began writing, directing and producing science theater programs for a planetarium. I was given the opportunity to create any show of my choice. I immediately called Stephen Hawking’s office that same day and spoke with his secretary. I was invited to send a proposal. After many months, of followup, Stephen Hawking agreed to meet with me in person. During that meeting, he agreed to co-author, “Stephen Hawking’s Fate of the Universe.”

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

DB: Pursue your passion. Believe in yourself and your dream. Find people who share similar dreams. Take the action needed to move your project forward.

Ingrid Vanderveldt, the founder of “Empowering a Billion Women by 2020”, said that the number one challenge to women starting a business, is “lack of confidence”1 and “the antidote to a lack of confidence is simply action.” She also speaks of the importance of mentors. This article reminds me that whenever I have struggled to move forward, the best thing to do is to take action.

Womensnet provides great resources that help women move their business and projects forward and also help women entrepreneurs, network with potential mentors and partners.

It’s an honor, and I am grateful for this opportunity to be selected for the Womensnet, Qualification Grant.

Learn more about Diane in her video here:


And if you’d like to vote for Diane to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

We’ve announced our $2,500 Amber Grant winner!

Friday, January 29th, 2016

This past year the WomensNet team came up with a new way to give back to the WomensNet community. This method allowed us to continue to award a monthly Grant of $500 as selected by our WomensNet judges. But from those 12 monthly grant winners we’re now awarding an additional grant -The Amber Grant- to one of the 12 monthly winners. For our first Amber Grant we’re awarding our recipient with an additional $2,000.

Last week we narrowed down our Amber Grant finalists to two great companies, Stretch Recipes and Hammerstone School of Carpentry for Women. Choosing between these two companies was extremely tough but after much debate we have finally chosen our first Amber Grant Winner.

Congrats Maria Klemperer-Johnson, founder of Hammerstone School of Carpentry for Women!

Hammerstone School

Watch Maria’s video to learn more about Hammerstone and what they are doing to help women feel more empowered:


As always, thank you for reading! Remember we award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply!

Stay tuned: We will be announcing January’s Qualification Grant finalists very soon!

Vote The Center for Creative Arts Therapy for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

This past October we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Azizi Marshall, founder of The Center for Creative Arts Therapy.

Now, Azizi needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for The Center for Creative Arts Therapy to win the additional $2,000.

About The Center for Creative Arts Therapy: After a few years of soul searching, Azizi stumbled upon an opportunity to do theatre with inner city youth. Through theatre she saw these kids grow, and learn about a world outside of their existence. They were able to give voice to their struggles and begin to form bonds with not only one another but also with the community.

From there she quickly began studying and obtained her license as a licensed clinical professional counselor, a board certified trainer in drama therapy and a registered expressive arts therapist within 4 years. Azizi wanted to make sure that children and families were able to have access to programs that would not only allow individuals a place to explore and grow, but also the community at large which is how The Center for Creative Arts Therapy was born. The Center for Creative Arts Therapy is an Arts-Based, Psychotherapy Practice and Training Center.

Interested in receiving a grant like Azizi? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Baked Cookie Company Is Our November Grant Winner!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

After revealing November’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Kristy McDonough, Owner of Baked Cookie Company!f

Read on to learn all about Kristy and her cookie company, (yum)!

Kristy McDonough
Baked Cookie Company
Kristy McDonough

WN: Talk about why you started your journey with Baked Cookie Company

KD:I have been in the kitchen most of my life. Stealing butter from the refrigerator at age 3, perfecting PB&J’s at age 6, baking anything I could from a box as soon as I could read and as soon as my parents let me use the oven on my own. And shortly there after, raiding my mother’s cookbooks to make the most ample spread of Christmas Cookies my little hands could produce.

The start of this business really began while I was in high school. Being unsatisfied with most of the cookies on the market- they were too small, too crumbly, too dry, not enough chocolate chips, I unknowingly began to develop my own special recipe for the classic chocolate chip cookie. I wanted something that was plump, moist and exploding with chocolate chips. With hundreds of trials under my belt, this recipe you taste today took me 10 years to perfect and I am delighted to share it with you.

Additionally, I believe there is so much more to a cookie that meets the eye. I believe cookies should be savored and that you should taste that comfort of home in every bite. For me, cookies truly are a symbol of not only something sweet, but also a symbol of love and comfort. It has always amazed me how our senses can make us feel and remember experiences so strongly. For me, the simple smell of a cookie baking takes me back to my childhood. It is these feelings and comforts of home that I want to share with the world and what motivates me to stay on this cookie filled journey!

WN: Who’s responsible for the creation of these cookies?

KD: I am responsible for all cookie creation! I believe cookies should be made the old fashioned way- with fresh unsalted butter, granulated sugar and only the best chocolate chips. Our cookies are scooped and formed by hand and baked to perfect color of golden brown. Every one of our recipes was developed and perfected to ensure only the most comforting, tasty, plump, moist and indulgent cookie would be produced just for you. Our expectation to make only the best cookies is simply unmatched.

I do have to admit that though I may do all the baking, there are many supports in my life that have helped me along the way. I have had many family, friends and colleagues jump into help in other areas- working with me at Farmers Markets, offering marketing advice, dish washing and even taste tasting (most really don’t mind the taste testing part!). I could not be where I am today without them!

WN: What are the most effective marketing channels for your company?

KD: The most effective marketing channel for us is currently conducting sample drops around the Denver Area. Every time I bake a batch of cookies, I make a few extra and select a few local businesses to bring some cookies to. I pop in to introduce myself, I bring cookies, napkins and some menus. (I’ll even put a special promo code on the menus for a discount) Firstly, the business is always surprised. Someone bringing in cookies doesn’t happen every day. Secondly, they get to try my product immediately and they always ask questions about other products and services. And Three, no one really ever says no to a free cookie! This method has turned into a number of repeat customers and consistent weekly orders. Additionally, this is a great way to network in my community and make personal connections with future clients!

WN: What are your long-term goals for Baked Cookie Company?

KD: My primary long term goal is open up a bakery store front of our own. Every decision I make has this goal in mind. I could be taking the easy way out- baking and freezing dough, pre-baking cookies and freezing them, or only accepting orders on certain days, but I simply refuse. I also want the Baked Cookie Company named to be equated with quality, freshness, comfort and love. This is why every single cookie is baked to order, regardless of the size of your order. This is why we scoop and roll every cookie by hand. This is why we pay so much attention to detail.

One of the number one questions we get asked is where our shop is located. And I always answer “We are working on it one cookie at a time!”

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

KD: I would give two pieces of advice to female entrepreneurs: 1.) Be Persistent and 2.) Be Vulnerable.

Being persistent is a given. Regardless of the struggle or setback, you must keep pressing on and taking another step. The same goes for having a success. Enjoy it in the moment, but don’t let it blind you. Your progress is contingent to your persistence- so keep going- one step at a time, (or one cookie at a time!).

Being Vulnerable was the hardest lesson for me to learn. I have personally struggled with asking for help, putting myself and my business out there and approaching others for advice. The truth is though, I have made the greatest strides in my business when I took a risk at being vulnerable, when I have asked other businesses for help or support and simply walked into a business and said “Hi! My name is Kristy and I own a cookie business- here’s a sample.” It these moments that I have learned about my capabilities and the fact that the worst that can happen is that some just might say ‘No.’ So put yourself out there, be a little vulnerable and see what happens.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

Also Note: The new voting page for the 2016, $1,000 Amber grant will be posted after 2015’s Amber Grant Winner is Selected.

Vote Honeymoon Brewery for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Back in August we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Ayla Bystrom-Williams, founder of Honeymoon Brewery.

Now, Ayla needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Honeymoon Brewery to win the additional $2,000.

About: Honeymoon Brewery is a female founded, Santa Fe based, brewery which utilizes both traditional styles of beer brewing and the kombucha style of brewing. HoneyMoon Brewing fits right into the growing Craft Beer Movement by offering traditional beers while also filling a gap in the market with kombucha style beers.

Interested in receiving a grant like Ayla? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Vote Hammerstone School for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Back in February we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Maria Klemperer-Johnson, founder of Hammerstone School of Carpentry for Women.

Now, Maria needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Hammerstone to win the additional $2,000.

About: Hammerstone School aims to empower women and non-women alike to use their bodies and minds for creative and useful ends by teaching carpentry classes. By increasing the skills of individual women, Hammerstone hopes to increase the number of women in the trades, and ultimately change workplaces for women in and outside of the trades.

Interested in receiving a grant like Maria? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.