Interview With Nancy Audian Allen CEO of Her Company Organization – Miami, FL
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Nancy Audian Allen is CEO of WBDC of FL known as Her Company Inc. a non-profit organization who’s mission is to work with women in business to provide opportunities for business development in a variety of ways.
Nancy Allen’s expertise is in women’s business development Her Company provides women-owned businesses certification through Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Her Company’s mission is to help women in business access corporate and federal contracts. She certifies, connects, and champions women in business.
Hi guys, I promised you that we would have pop-up interviews so we are right now in the process of a fabulous interview. Because you know that my guest stars are nothing but the best, so I have Nancy Allen here.
My very first Facebook live. I’m honored to be with you Dr. Nilda.
Okay and when you hear about her you’re going to realize how honored I am to have her on.
So, I want to start with my first guest who is Nanny Allen. I am very impressed by this woman, I met this woman, I have to tell you we both won, it was a tie and I was really kind of rooting for you.
I was rooting for you!
Isn’t that awesome! You see I love that. Isn’t that awesome when you can have that mutual admiration. I just love that. So, we both won a best speaker award today so we’re pretty ecstatic, so if you wonder why we sound giddy and happy you know why. So, I’m in Clearwater Florida for those of you who are in New York and New Jersey I just wanted you to know it’s really hot here just wanted to share. Anyway so let me talk to you a little about Nancy here I want to give you her bio because she’s just a really fascinating woman who’s going to bring you some awesome information that I think is over the top so Nancy Allen is the CEO of “Her Company” Inc. and this is a nonprofit organization that certifies, connects and champions women in business She is an expert in women’s business development and she helps women access corporate and federal contracts. Thank you for coming I am so thrilled that you’re here because your information fascinated me and when I heard you speak today I was totally over the moon because I was like oh my goodness this is another stream of income. Nancy I’m always looking for new strands of income and talk about leaving money on the table you’ve never imagined, so I want you to tell me a little bit about what you do. You tell me that you certified women to get government contract tell me a little bit more about that explain it to me explain it to the audience because it’s fascinating
I’m really happy to be here and this is my first live Facebook live so if I sound a little bit nervous please forgive me.
Guys give it a thumbs up she is doing great.
Okay so what I do is I get to work and I started saying that after my son actually in kindergarten they had career fair and they asked what do your parents do so my son, my husband is a dentist, so my son said my daddy’s a dentist and the teacher said so how does you mommy spent her day and at the time I was working for the same organization at the time it was called the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida. So, a pretty big mouthful for a five-year-old, right? So, Mark said my mommy spends her day and he looked up and he said in the company of women and I thought yeah that’s what I do did I get to spend my day in the company of women.
Wow, pretty insightful for a 5-year-old.
For the past 16 years that’s what I’ve done. I work with a nonprofit organization and as you stated we certify, we connected and we champion women in business and the best part of the job is the connection and the championing of women in business the certification is what gives you access.
Okay so then what is the certification what exactly is certification and how does that qualify you for anything? So, the first part of question is what is a certification?
So, certification is a way to set yourself apart. Corporations in this country and the US federal government are looking to do business with women owed companies they do that for a couple of reasons first off because women make eighty-five percent buying decision, all kinds of buying decision. We go to the grocery store, we’re the ones who decide where to go on a family vacation, we’re the ones who decide to go to one pharmacy over another, to take one medicine over another.
To buy the house, to buy the car. Yeah.
Exactly, so we’re making decision we are also very loyal customer so if I start going to one store chances are even if the sales clerk is a little rude I’m still going to go to that store, women are loyal customers. Corporations and the federal government have mandates to reflect the communities in which they operate so they operate with women, they operate in communities where there are minorities, and so their goals, they have supplier diversity goals which means they want their suppliers their vendors to reflect the communities in which they sell, in which they operate. So, corporations through the supplier diversity program are looking for women owed businesses.
They are actively looking for women owned businesses.
Now is there a problem with them getting women-owned businesses is the access to these women is it difficult because they’re coming through you so?
Right so my office acts as a liaison. We get you certified we put you through the process, and in a minute, I’ll tell you all about the process, but we put you through the process and then I help connect you to IBM, to UPS, to Disney, to Office Depot, to all of the major corporate sponsors who are actively looking for people like you, to provide them with products or services.
That’s fabulous, now there was a story you shared today about kitty litter, you have to share this because this is a really fascinating story go ahead right now tell me about kitty litter.
I will tell you about kitty litter, so I, you know, I always encourage women to look to the federal government for contracting because the federal government buys everything and people will always tell me ahh you know what and they don’t buy what I sell they don’t buy the service that I provide so I love telling this story about kitty litter. I’m at the office, because we certified women owned businesses, we get phone calls all the time so, I answered the phone and this woman said “I need to get certified because I have a contract and they told me to get certified to keep my contract” so I said sure we can help you tell me a little bit about your business and she said to me “I sell kitty litter to the federal government” so here I am on the phone and I thought Kitty Litter? And I said Kitty litter like where the cats do their business? And she said yes, I do about two million dollars’ worth of business with the federal government and I said really! I’m still incredulous cause I get a lot of phone calls but kitty litter to the federal government I didn’t know much about and so when I asked her more questions she said that the pet of choice, oh no first I asked her what department of the federal government is buying and kitty litter? And she said it was the department of defense right and I said is there a rat problem in our department of defense and she said no the pet of choice of our military families are cats and so she sells to the commissaries. Well I didn’t know what a commissary was so I asked her what that was and that’s like the big Costco where the military families shop.
Actually, they get stuff pretty inexpensive.
Right so she sells to the commissaries for cats but they also use the kitty litter under the engine when they’re cleaning the engines because it absorbs oil in pretty well.
Yea it absorbs well wow!
So, this woman was selling kitty litter to the federal government for two million dollars and so if you think that your products, that government isn’t buying your products I guarantee you that if the government is buying kitty litter, it’s buying training, it’s buying marketing, its buying uniforms, the federal government buys shoes, they buy pens, they buy cameras everything you could possibly imagine the federal government is buying it and that translates also to your local government.
Okay that’s fabulous so let’s go back to what you do, so, what is the process of getting certified? You know let’s say I have a contract or that I know of a contract, well actually I want to get certified because if there isn’t a contract but if that money’s there I want it. So, how does this work?
The certification okay so, the certification process is in three parts and it is actually designed to weed out fraud because imagine there are huge contracts at stake, right? And the goal is to get more women, more minorities, more people serviced as disabled veterans and people who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act to get them more business that’s the goal. So, the certification as I said is in three parts the first part is an online application. You submit the answer to the questions who are you, where is your business located, what is your revenue, how many years you’ve been in business ect. So, it’s about a three-page application which you just fill out then you have to submit about 25 different documents depending on how your company is set up so if you’re an LLC you submit a set of documents if you’re a corporation another set if your partnership another set up time. We have a committee that reviews those documents on a monthly basis so you submit early January we get all of your paperwork we send that to the committee, the committee reviews the paperwork and determines whether or not you really qualify for certification so we’re looking at your by-laws do you hold the highest title in your company we’re looking at your w-2 forms are you the highest paid person we’re looking at bank signature cards are you the one signing the checks so we’re looking were doing a lot of digging to ensure that you Dr. Nilda owns, operates, manages, and independently controls 51 % of all your business. The third step and this is the most important step I think is the site visit. So, every file that comes to us every application that comes to us gets a site visit. As you know I could put anything on paper and then when I go to talk about the business that’s where we catch a lot of people, but we ask her how much of this company do you own? Ohh I think it’s about sixty percent when in the paper, it said 51% so then we know that something is up and it’s our job to do the due diligence to ensure that once you get certified and we have your name in our database that corporations and the US federal government know they can rely on the fact that you truly own, operate, management, and independently control it. So, that’s why it’s a third-party certification because you could go online and say you’re a woman nobody verifies, nobody verifies that you’re the women business owner all right. So, we do the third-party certification.
Okay, so one of the things that I heard to speak about was companies like IBM, Price Water House how is that government relationship?
Well a couple of have a different ways, right so the larger US companies have federal contracts and in order to maintain those federal contracts they have to have supplier diversity program they get extra points for having a supplier diversity program. So, I think at one point it was you had to have… if you had a million-dollar contract with the federal government there was a requirement that you have a supplier diversity so we all benefit from that.
So, you said that there were several different types of certification and one of the certifications that I’m interested in is international because what I do is I work a lot with Latinos as we talked
and I would love to speak in Latino America, in Peru, Ecuador, in Mexico, so tell me about these certifications?
Right so the organization that provides the third-party certification for women, it’s called the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council so we call it WBENC which we pronounce it as webank and I represent WBENC in Florida webank has14 partners around the country so you live in New York you would be assigned to my counterpart in New York, somebody lives in California they’re assigned to the regional affiliate for that area. What WBENC certifies is women business owners based in the US, okay so you have to be either a US citizen or a legal resident. If you’re interested in doing business internationally WBENC has a sister organization called WEConnect International and they too are a non profit and their business their model is to certify women outside of the U.S. as women owned companies so we work very closely with WEConnect International. I’ll introduce you to them you get on their mailing list and then they can introduce you to women in other parts of the world not us based international women who are looking to partner in strategic partnerships with foresight.
Fabulous! So how do I figure out what type of certification is right one for me?
Right! That’s it really great question of course you’re a woman we want you to get certified as a woman
Okay so there’s many different kinds of certification and I always say you have to play all your aces right oh you’re a Hispanic woman there’s an organization called the NMSDC National Minority Supplier Diversity Council so they certified ethnic minority so your Hispanic, you’re African American, your Asian and you’ll qualify for the minority certification and I have many members who are WBENC certified, their minority certified, if they are service-disabled veterans they get that certification as well and keep in mind that certification that I represent WBENC is a national certification you can also get certified at a local level so if you want to do business with your local county government with your local school board you can get certified through them as a small business owner.
So again, if you have questions please ask the questions a captive audience she’s right here. I’ve been with Nancy for the last couple of days and I’ve been like bombarding her with questions. I tell you she is a she has a wealth of information and you know what I really believe why leave money on the table if this is available and you they’re looking for women and we’re available why not do this so.
I think this is great and I want to talk a little bit about your certification program but before we do that I want to ask you a couple questions. You’ve been doing this for 15 years, you know Foresight Strategist I’m really passionate about innovation have you seen the change the last 15 years and what’s the direction and you think this will go because I think probably 15 years ago there wasn’t such a demand for women contracts, so tell me a little bit about that?
I think that the trend is going to continue because there are more women income earners right, so the corporations have every incentive to keep us happy and now through WBENC a woman-owned business that is certified as a great logo it says women owned and I’ll send you a copy of that you can post it in a later point but imagine that you go to Walmart or you go to your local grocery store or you go to Office Depot and you have a shelf full of products and there’s one product that has the woman owned logo now between you and me which one you’re going to buy the one that has the woman owned logo.
Oh Yeah, we women support women
I have a great friend named Kate Armstrong who just finished and imagine this a one year 365 days where she dedicated her year in only buying products from women. Every Wednesday she would post something called the women on Wednesday and she would do a live post where she featured different items from women and if you go visit its Intentional Kate. Intentional Kate go visit her website and you will be wowed by all of the product WBENC also has a woman on Wednesday program where you know through the we bank website you can learn about women owned companies.
So, Rachel tells me that we have some questions.
This was from Maggie it says what’s available for a jewelry company?
Oh, lots of opportunities right so women buy from women. Alright so if your target audiences is women and you’re a jewelry company there’s lots of opportunities in our national conferences and our local conferences. If you are looking to go into a retailer there’s opportunity they’re to Target buys jewelry Walmart buys jewelry so yes there’s lots of opportunities for jewelry companies.
We have another question from Maggie again what type of certification would a jewelry company need?
Well if you want a certified as a woman owned company that would be the certification so you’re also Hispanic you would qualify as a Hispanic through the minority counsel.
How many certifications can one company have?
As many as you want. I actually have a member who I think at one point had 20 different certifications. She operated in different airports she provided insurance for a rental cars different airports and so each Airport each state had a certification and she got the certification. She hired somebody to do that for her because you have to recertify on an annual basis.
So, she wipes out all the government’s money?
You’re not restricted to the number of certification.
And so if you qualify I say go for it and the more certifications you have the more opportunities you have to get into these different companies and to be able to sell.
That’s fabulous I love it
I have a question and how much is minimum amount for the company that they have to be met in the company, no let’s say Maggie she has like that question about the jewelry how big her company has to be?
Okay, great question so what we’re certifying is that as a woman you own operate manage and individually control this company right so there is no minimum requirement and you could open up your business tomorrow and want to go for the WBENC certification and you could qualify we asked for three years’ worth of tax return so if you are not in business for three years you would give us personal returns for three years or any combination so long as we have three years of tax returns but the really good news is we have a lot of women in corporate America who are you know facing that glass ceiling or their looking at their encore career and I tell them you have a wealth of information your whole wealth of knowledge a lot of those women leave where they’re working set up a consulting business and their first contract is where they used to work so think of it that way there is plenty of opportunity and no you don’t have to be in business for the WBENC certification the women owned business certification you do not have to be a business for any length of time.
So now I have a question a lot of my clients are not as proficient in English and they have all struggle with speaking English so is there something available I know that you’re there you speak Spanish so how you know what are the opportunities for them is it difficult?
No, it’s not difficult the application is in English but we can take you through the process in more than just Spanish because I speak French I also speak Haitian creole. We can help you out with the challenge because I don’t want to say the problem that challenge and is always an opportunity is when your meeting with the corporate buyers you can always take someone with you as a matchmaker meeting. I’ll tell you about matchmaker meeting in a minute the matchmaker meetings are one-on-one meeting where you’re meeting with a potential buyer so you have to be sensitive to the fact that probably the buyer across from you speaks English well if your English is not so proficient you want to bring someone along.
Like a translator
okay so you don’t sell product and you have a service such as me that well I have products but mostly my mission is service based.
How do how can I get that certification it’s only a service?
It’s great that’s not a problem because you provide a great service you provide training you provide leadership you provide consulting those are great services corporations are buying those services they have to train their employees they have to consult to grow their business if they’re going in to a new market they have to consult so no yeah, we have lots of service based company as we have lots product based companies.
What happens after you get certified so you have the certification papers then what happens?
Oh that’s when the fun begins because the certification is a beautiful document it’s a beautiful certification you can hang it on the wall that’s all you do with it then you’re not you know you might as well not have it. What you have to do is find a way to build relationships because people do business with people they know they love and they trust and if you don’t build a relationship then what’s the point of getting certified. Through our national offices through the WBENC national office we do two major events a year one in March called the Summit & Salute and one in June which is our National conference and those places you get to meet with the corporate buyers in the decision their educational opportunities because we do a workshop there is lots of networking there’s motivational and inspirational workshops and what we do there is connect you right we’ll connect you to potential buyers.
My last question is will someone help me find like these business opportunities because I have the certification somebody is there to walk me?
Yes, so we have a newsletter, we have things that we publish on a regular basis with the different opportunities, and the good news is that our corporate sponsors contact us to get information about women owed businesses and its our pleasure is our job to match you up that’s how I put the ace on.
Ok so lastly but not least I know that there is a website that you have that you can send people to because you have this information in a package so tell me how just how do you talk about that tell me about that?
So, our website is hercompany.org or you can get us through womensbuisness.info and there’s lots of information available and contact us through the website and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have
Ok so we’re such a pleasure to have you here Nancy. Ok guys I will see you at our next pop-up interview. You have no idea how much fun we have a lot of people lined up but this is one of the best ones so I’m glad and again we will connect really soon bye!!