Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Women's Business Center of Mississippi named entrepreneur and activist Theresa Kennedy as the organization's new director on March 1.
WBCM is part of a network of national centers that works to grow woman-owned businesses through services such as business training and education, one-on-one counseling, operations and financial management training, and technical assistance, such as helping women entrepreneurs register their businesses with their city or state.
"This is a grand opportunity for me to impact the lives of women throughout the state and help them to grow their own businesses," Kennedy says. "The services WBCM provides, like assessments and counseling, help woman entrepreneurs (pinpoint where they are in their business), determine their next step and create a road map for what they need to do to grow their business."
Kennedy, 37, is originally from Moss Point and has been living in Ridgeland for 11 years. She graduated from Moss Point High School and went on to Alcorn State University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in business administration in 2002. She later earned a master's degree in agricultural economics from Alcorn in 2006.
Prior to becoming director of WBCM, Kennedy has been involved in entrepreneurship and agricultural banking for farmers, small-business consulting, and marketing and community outreach, among other pursuits. She owned an online retail business called Red August for several years, which sold men's and women's shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories. She also works with local small businesses and political campaigns to help support women who are running for local office, and hosted a series of pop-up shops called Six in the City in The Penguin restaurant in west Jackson before it closed last year.
Kennedy is also a 2015 graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson, serves as the fundraising chair for the Metro Jackson Alcorn Alumni chapter, and is a board member of Jackson Professional Group, Team JXN's steering committee and Women for Progress of Mississippi. She also co-hosts the Women for Progress radio show on WMPR 90.1 every third Thursday.
In her work, Kennedy says she lives by a quote from spiritual teacher, author and lecturer Marianne Williamson: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
"For me, that quote is a reminder to stay humble, steadfast and committed to growth," Kennedy says. "My first focus in what I do is to spread the word and educate people on all we can do here to provide resources and help women business owners in Mississippi to grow."