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August 13, 2015

Women Veterans and Military Spouses are Coming to Boston to Ignite the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Business at V-WISE

Women Veterans and Military Spouses are Coming to Boston to Ignite the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Business at V-WISE

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and City of Boston official to welcome women veterans and military spouses to V-WISE, a leading national entrepreneurship training program

18711325840_c697c3404a_zSYRACUSE, N.Y. (08/13/15) —Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), the nation’s leading entrepreneurship training program for women veterans, active duty service women, and female partners and spouses of service members, is hosting a national entrepreneurship training conference in Boston, Mass., Aug. 21-23, 2015.

During the three-day conference—to be held at The Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave.—close to 200 innovative women veterans and military spouses will learn business best practices, build networks, and develop their entrepreneurial skills as they seek to launch or grow sustainable business ventures. Learn more about V-WISE; watch V-WISE Video.

Headlining the V-WISE Opening Ceremony on Friday evening, Aug. 21, (6 p.m.) will be the Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, who will deliver keynote remarks on leadership and what she’s learned about successfully managing people and organizations. Read Secretary James’ bio.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of the V-WISE conference in Boston,” said Secretary James. “Sharing the insights I’ve gained over my career, both in and outside of government, with veterans and their families as they pursue their business dreams will hopefully inspire and assist them on their journey.”

Boston’s Commissioner of Veterans’ Services Giselle Sterling will also be attending the Opening Ceremony and will welcome the V-WISE participants to the City of Boston. A veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps from 2000-2004, Commissioner Sterling is the first woman to hold this city position.

“It’s exciting to welcome the V-WISE to Boston! Our City is honored to host the convention and be a partner in fostering professional growth and promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. It is a great way that this City can give back to those who have given so much.”

V-WISE has impacted more than 1,600 women veterans and military spouses from all service branches and eras in over 46 states. More than 65% of V-WISE graduates have started or expanded a business. More than $41 million in revenue has been generated by V-WISE graduates, and 93% of those businesses are still in operation today!

V-WISE was created by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Attendees of the conference will receive in-depth instruction from prominent business owners, leadership consultants, educators, veterans and other experts who will help shape their development as entrepreneurs. Sessions will focus on business planning, marketing, accounting/finance, business law, technology for business, human resources and work-life balance.

“V-WISE empowers two of America’s best sources of entrepreneurs – women and veterans,” said Barb Carson, Acting Associate Administrator for the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) and Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve. “Investing in this powerful combination is a great way to incubate new small businesses – the pillars of job creation and our economy. Women veterans and military spouses have the skills and commitment needed to succeed as small business owners. V-WISE provides them additional knowledge and a fantastic source of sisters in arms.”

According to IVMF’s Meghan Conroy Florkowski, V-WISE Program Manager and Army Veteran, “With over 1,600 graduates to its four-year history, V-WISE graduate stories of budding and blossoming success span the nation. The program is lauded for its innovative model, a three-phase approach of online learning, on-site education, and post-program support tailored to the development of educated and well-supported women veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs who are ‘Bold Enough to Make it Happen.’”

Who’s participating in V-WISE?

Below is just a sampling of the budding women veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs who are coming to Boston!

Kelly Robinson, East Longmeadow, Mass.

17-year Air Force veteran, Kelly Robinson is presently serving in the Reserves as a Lt Col at Westover ARB. She started her visual schedules business ( in 2010, and over the years has built her own website, acquired manufacturing, set up an LLC, landed accounts with reputable resellers, and has sales in 12 countries. More recently, her operation has left “cottage industry” status and expanded to a warehouse with a packaging and fulfillment center.

She is excited about participating in V-WISE, both the 15-day online learning phase and the upcoming 3-day conference. “Much of my business building has been slow paced and self-taught. Now that my kids are both in school, I am ready to dive into this full force and learn more about business, marketing, and networking with/learning from other veteran entrepreneurs.”

Linda Maloney, Bristol, RI

Retired Naval aviator Linda Maloney, who spent 20 years on active duty, operates her own writing/speaking business; works part-time as a defense contractor supporting a Navy aircraft program; and is currently finishing her master’s degree at Devry University in Project Management.
Two years ago, she co-founded a women veterans speakers bureau (National Military Women Veterans Speakers Bureau) with another woman veteran (Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, who will be one of the Boston V-WISE instructors).

“I look forward to this amazing opportunity with V-WISE and hope to learn how to grow my business of offering motivational speakers, who are all women military veterans, showcasing the powerful voices of our nation’s servicewomen.”

Clarice Lopez, Destin, Fla.

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Clarice Lopez has been calling America home since 2008. Amilitary spouse of an Army officer, she started developing her business idea a couple of years ago. Roost In Green – a multi-sided platform was created to solve anyone’s interior design needs with the click of a button in a sustainable way.

“We’re at the pre-revenue stage, building the app, creating the database, networking with manufacturers and designers.”
Asked what she hopes to gain out of attending V-WISE, Lopez responds, “I hope to gain more knowledge of market analysis and research, and the financial side of business, with projections, loans, and more.”

IVMF will host one more regional conference in 2015, bringing the program to Kansas City, Kansas in November. In January 2016, V-WISE will head to Charlotte, N.C. To learn more about V-WISE and to apply online for future conferences, visit

Media Contact:

Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications
Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University
Office: (315) 443-5690
Cell: (315) 558-9483


The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF at


Since its founding on July 30, 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. SBA provides assistance primarily through its four programmatic functions: Access to Capital (Business Financing); Entrepreneurial Development (Education, Information, and Technical Assistance & Training); Government Contracting (Federal Procurement); and Advocacy (Voice for Small Business). The SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development formulates, executes and promotes policies and programs to empower veteran small business ownership and serves as an ombudsman for Veterans to ensure all SBA programs are accessible to servicemembers, veterans, and their families. For more information visit and

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