While March is Women’s History Month, everyday is Women’s Entrepreneurial Day. Women are one of the reasons for the rise of small business activity for nearly all 50 states and the top 40 metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, California.

Coming off the heels of International Women’s Day and to encourage women to take a leap as an entrepreneur, Shepherd’s Door invites the community to network and hear from local women entrepreneurs at the 8th Annual Women, Wealth, Warrior, Entrepreneur Luncheon on Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 11:30 am to 2 pm at the Lake Avenue Church, Rose Room 2nd Floor, 393 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena. Red carpet arrivals at 11 a.m. Media check in: 10:30 a.m. Luncheon is free but a RSVP is mandatory. Seating is limited.

KABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Coleen Sullivan will host and serve as the moderator of a panel of women entrepreneurs who will share their inspirational stories of challenges and successes. The keynote speaker is Toccara Jones, owner of Toccara Jones Intimate Apparel and America’s Next Top Model Alumna. Entertainment provided by Grammy Nominee Angie Fisher, Sunda Croonquist Comedian/Author of Kosher Soul Cook Book, and DJ Ms. Provocativ.

History maker U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to the U.S. Congress and represents the 27th Congressional District in California, will address the attendees about women entrepreneurship. Maxine Waters, U.S. Congresswoman for California’s 43rd District, considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today, is also expected to make remarks at the luncheon. Waters is lauded by African American entrepreneurs for her work to expand contracting and procurement opportunities and to strengthen businesses.

“I am proud to provide a platform for women to hear from a collective voice of women entrepreneurs,” said Tunisia Offray, founder of the Shepherd’s Door Women, Wealth, Warrior, Entrepreneur Luncheon and owner of Prestige Insurance & Financial Services Inc. As a single mother of four, Offray understands the importance of balancing work and family. “Entrepreneurship allowed me to be a full time mother, and create a wonderful life for my family,” she said.

“It did not take me long to realize that corporate America did not support working mothers. After losing several jobs because the kids were ill, or I needed time off to attend school functions, parent teacher conferences, and other family obligations, I knew I had to find a way to create balance between being a present parent and provide for my family.”

Why support women-owned businesses? It makes good sense and helps women, many are the head of the household, maintain a strong, positive family dynamic. According to Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, a vast majority – 79% – of women will try a brand that supports women-owned businesses.

“My passion is to encourage, inspire, educate, and motivate woman who share the same dream to be your own boss and create your own destiny,” said Offray. “I want to provide women with the support, resources, and encouragement needed to step out and create the life they envision for themselves.”

The women entrepreneur panelists are: Tunisia Offray-Owner of Prestige Insurance & Financial Services Inc.; Marie Lemelle-Film Producer/Casting Director/Owner of Platinum Star Public Relations; Nicole Myles-Owner of Lailah’s Loft Boutique/Real Estate Investor; Neferteri Plessy-Founder of Single Moms Planet Organization/Philanthropist; Dr. Arezoo Nasiry & Dr. Azy Nasiry-Owners of L.A. Dental Clinic; Sachi Lee-Owner of Au Courant Jewelry Boutique/Disc Jockey; Kerri Zane-Executive Producer/Author/Single Mom Expert; and Temene Hardaway-Owner of Mor Essentials/Licensed Mortgage Officer.

Support and mentorship are important to success in any business. However, without financial support businesses that are resilient, and vibrant contributors to their communities cannot thrive. According to research by Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses, women entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs. Additionally, women who are in domestic violence situations stay in the relationship because they are financially able to exit.

“Financial abuse is rapidly growing within domestic violence, to address this issue Shepherd’s Door has partnered with Allstate Foundation to provide financial literacy to victims of domestic violence,” said Offray. “We continue to support and nourish the many talents and aspirations of our clients therefore, giving them the tools and knowledge needed to live their best life.”

Shepherd’s Door has created a haven for domestic violence survivors and a network to encourage women helping women reach and succeed their potential and maintain a lifestyle balance.

Sponsors include Green Street Restaurant, Veggie Grill, Trader Joe’s, Martin’s Restaurant, Stone Fire Grill restaurant, Starbucks, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. For vendor or sponsorship opportunities, contact Tunisia Offray at (626) 765-9967 or email tunisia@shepherddoor.org.

About Shepherd’s Door

Shepherd’s Door Domestic Violence Resource Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization servicing victims and survivors of domestic violence in the Los Angeles County Area for more than 17 years. Shepherd’s Door mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence through relationship education, financial literacy, youth violence prevention education, support groups, and direct rescue intervention. For more information about Shepherd’s Door, call (626) 765-9967 or email tunisia@shepherddoor.org.