Celebrating Women in Business with Julie Hinker

4 mins read
Julie Hinker, Director of VBOC

By Julie Hinker, VBOC of The Dakotas Director
Photo Courtesy of VBOC of the Dakotas

About the VBOC

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has 22 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as VBOCs.

In the vast tapestry of history, women have consistently defied expectations, shattered glass ceilings, and left an indelible mark on the world of business. As March unfolds and we enter Women’s History Month, it provides an opportunity to delve into the extraordinary veteran women entrepreneurs who have not only shaped the past but are actively influencing the present and forging a promising future.

From the trailblazers of yesteryears to the contemporary leaders shaping North Dakota’s entrepreneurial landscape, this article will celebrate the resilience of women in business. By highlighting remarkable stories of women who have navigated challenges, conquered barriers, and carved their niche, we aim to pay tribute to the invaluable contributions of veteran women entrepreneurs.

Join us as we explore the intricate fabric of these women’s entrepreneurial spirit, showcasing both historical figures who blazed trails and the present-day visionaries right here in North Dakota, making waves in various industries. In commemorating Women’s History Month, let us honor the strength, tenacity, and entrepreneurial brilliance that define the legacy of veteran women entrepreneurs throughout the ages.

Honoring the Past

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793): A pioneer in agriculture, Pinckney’s passion for botany led to the introduction of indigo cultivation in South Carolina, transforming her into the state’s first female Business Hall of Fame inductee.

Lydia Estes Pinkham (1819-1883): In the face of financial adversity, Pinkham turned home remedies into a thriving business, addressing women’s health needs with “Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound” while pioneering direct marketing.

Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919): Walker’s journey from adversity to prosperity saw her become the first self-made black woman millionaire, empowering thousands through her beauty empire and innovative sales strategies.

Estee Lauder (1908-2004): A marketing maven, Lauder’s innovative strategies propelled her beauty products into major retailers, establishing a multibillion-dollar business and earning her a spot on Time’s influential business geniuses list.

Muriel Siebert (1928-2013): Siebert’s groundbreaking presence on Wall Street marked her as the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and leadership.

Lee Padgett: A disabled Navy veteran, Padgett defied the odds with the establishment of Busted Bra Shop in 2013. From a modest office, her business has expanded to generate over $350,000 annually, operating in multiple locations.

Yolanda Clarke: As a U.S. Army veteran, Clarke’s launch of Powder River Industries in 2016 underscores her dedication to fulfilling the technical needs of the U.S. government, leading to continuous profitability.

Phyllis Newhouse: A former army officer turned cybersecurity trailblazer, Newhouse founded Xtreme Solutions, Inc. Her achievements, including being named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017, showcase her prowess in the technology and cybersecurity space.

Shaping the Present— Right here in North Dakota

Lila Teunissen and Michelle Thomsen
We applaud these two extraordinary women entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for dogs. Lila, a former member of the North Dakota National Guard, and Michelle, presently serving in the North Dakota National Guard, embarked on a journey that led them to establish Bed N’ Biscuit Ranch—a sanctuary for pets providing services such as boarding, grooming, training, and daycare.

Lila Teunissen and Michelle Thomsen

Lila, with a background in medicine and microbiology, and Michelle, a law school graduate, found common ground in their love for dogs and a desire to address the need for quality dog boarding services for fellow service members during deployments or drills in Bismarck. The idea evolved into Bed N’ Biscuit Ranch, affectionately known as “The Ranch.”

Reflecting on their military training, Lila emphasizes the importance of adapting and overcoming challenges. Despite unexpected issues during the construction phase, they persevered, resulting in a facility they are immensely proud of. After working with the Women’s Business Center to achieve their Women Owned Business designation, they were referred to VBOC of the Dakotas for additional assistance. By incorporating the suggested marketing improvements, they have strengthened their online visibility and positioned themselves for continued expansion.

Looking ahead, Lila and Michelle have already opened a second location and are actively expanding. Exciting developments lie ahead for this dynamic duo!

Cassandra Mosbrucker
Cassandra Mosbrucker, an Army National Guard member with over a decade of service, exemplifies the spirit of Women’s History Month through her thriving small business, Ginger Leaf Garden. From childhood experimentation in Mandan, Cassandra’s passion has grown into a business offering locally sourced, high-quality products.

Cassandra Mosbrucker

Starting as a part-time venture, Ginger Leaf Garden has flourished, providing an array of items such as starter plants, jams, sauces, pickles, and gift baskets. Cassandra’s military background instilled discipline and perseverance, which are crucial in overcoming startup challenges.

With support from resources like the ND Women’s Business Center and Veterans Business Outreach Center, she navigated licensing and tax filings.

Brea Binstock
Brea Binstock, a dedicated military member, mom, and entrepreneur embodies resilience and determination. With 21 years of service in the North Dakota Army Guard, including three overseas deployments, she exemplifies the spirit of a true leader. Graduating with a business degree in 2006, Brea’s diverse professional background laid the foundation for her entrepreneurial venture.

Ashley Froemke & Brea Binstock

Amidst the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Brea co-founded Lovely Lash Company with Ashley Froemke. Despite the unconventional timing, their motto, “Faith over fear,” reflects their fearless pursuit. Beyond being an eyelash extension business, Lovely Lash is a haven where clients feel like family, leaving with enhanced inner beauty.

Brea’s dream job aligns with her current role at Lovely Lash, where she finds passion and fulfillment in motivating, inspiring, and empowering others.

Building a Future

As we pay tribute to these extraordinary women entrepreneurs, their resilience, vision, and accomplishments serve as an inspiration. Their stories remind us of the profound impact women make in the business world, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. Today, women continue to lead, innovate, and shape the entrepreneurial landscape with unwavering passion and determination.

As we reflect on the narratives of these remarkable women, let their stories resonate as a call to action.

In looking to the future, let us empower the upcoming generation of women entrepreneurs, providing them with the tools, mentorship, and support needed to create their legacies. Together, we can foster an environment where every woman’s potential is recognized, cultivated, and celebrated.

Within the wide scope of entrepreneurship, these women have woven threads of courage, resilience, and brilliance. As we stand on the shoulders of these giants, we are reminded that the future of business is not just about progress; it’s about a shared commitment to building a future where every woman’s entrepreneurial journey is not only possible but thriving.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us honor the past, celebrate the present, and eagerly anticipate the boundless possibilities that the future holds for women in business, especially those in our own North Dakota community.

VBOC of the Dakotas

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4200 James Ray Dr Grand Forks, ND