The League of City Wide Women
Introduction to “The League”
As many of you know, City Wide Facility Solutions fully embraces the idea of diversity in every way. We expand this mindset to more than just our employees, we also encourage this for those who choose to be in both leadership positions, and as franchise owners for City Wide. As far back as 2005, just four years after City Wide had started franchising, the first female-owned franchise, run by Lisa Fortman and Linda Kafka, opened its doors in San Diego. Since then, 14 more women stepped into Franchise Owner, President, and other Leadership roles. Out of this, came the formation of “The League of City Wide Women,” a group which is composed of said 14 women. There are plans for the league to expand its membership beyond just franchise leadership to include corporate leadership as well.
Why Was the League Formed?
The league was formed as a way of expressing the idea to young entrepreneurs that, yes, this is a male-dominated industry, but that shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your goal to be a business owner. The same can be said for those aspiring to be in leadership positions within the industry they are in. With all noble goals such as these, there will be a great deal of struggle. That is why a league like this exists, to provide support to the women of City Wide and offer insight on how best to conquer their professional goals. This will go beyond giving “pep talks and words of encouragement,” members of this league will share their experiences on how they came to the positions they are in now, and where they plan on going next.
Learn about The League’s Members
Who are Some of the Members?
A 20-year veteran, professional counselor, pastor, mother, and small business owner. Trina is one of the founding members of “The League” and prides herself in being able to help people face their challenges, personal or professional, and be able to thrive. Trina whole-heartedly supports the idea of “The League” and hopes to be able to help all the female leadership in City Wide thrive and surpass their goals.
Sharing the same passion for inspiring others as Trina, Jennifer and her husband TJ have accumulated eight years of knowledge of City Wide’s operations and business model. After working at the Home Office for some time, she had earned trips to several other franchise locations where they gave her the inspiration and opportunity to follow in her father’s footsteps and open a franchise in Portland, Oregon.
After working in sales and sales management in radio for 12 years, and becoming a mother, Karen and her husband Bob founded the volunteer-based charity, Smiling Kids Inc. Doing this ignited her desire to open her own business which led to her and her husband opening the City Wide Facility Solutions franchise in Boston, Massachusetts.
All these women are at the helm of some of the most prosperous franchises that City Wide has opened proving that leadership and success are not gender-dependent. They all have gone through a bevy of trials and tribulations to get to where they are.
What Advice Can They Share to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs?
What challenges did you face as a female business owner? – “Most of my professional life has been spent in male-dominated environments (20 years in the U.S. Army), so I feel that prepared me for some of the challenges as a female business owner. Having my voice and opinions heard can sometimes be a challenge, but my husband always listens and values my unique perspective.” – Trina Petrash
What challenges did you face to get to the point you are today? – “I have learned so much in the last 3 years about business in general. My background is in human resource development and behavioral science, not accounting and balance sheets. That aspect of the business has been my biggest challenge. Needing to know what I didn’t know so I could then trust someone else to handle it.” – Trina Petrash
Who or what were your primary motivators to succeed? – “I had not taken any business classes or managed/led anyone before, we had to figure it out and failure was not an option. I think moving 2,000 miles from our safety net and having to live like I was in college again, enabled me to be so hungry and fearless” – Jennifer Slansky
What advice could you give to aspiring young women whose goals are to one day become a business owner? – “Put yourself in positions where you are going to fail and be comfortable practicing there until you are better. Know what you are not good at and be in that place a lot! It is very OK to experience failure!” – Jennifer SlanskyBack