Penetrating the government contracting industry can be a challenge, but women veterans have the experience and leadership it takes—they just need a place to start. To help women who are transitioning out of military service into business ownership, several regional partners collaborated to create the VetBizLadyStart Program, a free, 14-week training program.

Led by mentor Michelle “G-I” Gardner-Ince, Director of Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI), this program included the directors of the Women’s Business Centers in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia as key mentors and supporters.

Instructors included successful women contractors, seasoned business consultants, and other experts who served as training experts and mentors. They taught participants about a variety of business topics, such as products and services, pricing, processes, funding and marketing, and armed them with the business tools needed to create an exciting start-up venture, positioned for sustainable success with federal contracting opportunities.


Part of the training program included “Getting a 360° Perspective on your Business: The GrowthWheel Framework.” Designed specifically for women from all branches of the military, this powerful workshop included virtual coursework covering the many facets of government contracting, plus special networking & mentoring sessions to build the connections entrepreneurs need to succeed.

Classes began on September 20 and met weekly for virtual instruction plus additional networking and mentoring opportunities. A graduation ceremony was held on February 7, 2022, and graduation speakers included:

Maryland Cohort
Mentor: Morgan Wortham, Director, Maryland Women’s Business Center
Instructors: Angie Duncanson, Sr. Business Consultant, and Martha P. Jimenez, Sr. Supervising Business Consultant

MWBC Graduates:

  • Dallah B. Herman, Managing Member, Aspen Associates LLC
  • Sherry Richardson, President, SR CONCEPTS, LLC
  • Dee Bowden, Founder, BCS Solutions
  • Veronica Lane RN BSN MSN, President, WJM Professional Services, LLC
  • Katerina McClendon, CEO, Making Your Awkward Work
  • Gloria Johnson, CEO, Sav-a-lot Movers, LLC

D.C. Cohort
Mentor: Heidi Sheppard, Director, D.C. Women Business Center

DCWBC Graduates:

  • Latonia “The Soul Coach” Edwards, Founder, Recovering Your Soul
  • Christaleen “Chris” Hill, Creative Director, Craft Therapy
  • Mattii Minor, CEO, Innovative Strategic Design, LLC
  • Marylyn R. Harris, RN, MSN, MBS, President, Harrland Healthcare Consulting, LLC

Virginia Cohort
Mentor: Erika Small-Sisco, Director, Women’s Business Center (WBC) ODU, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

ODM WBC Graduates:

  • Christina L. Clark, President, Human Capabilities Solutions, LLC, and Founder, STEM Education and Innovation Center
  • Jessica Eddins, President, Recovery Journal LLC
  • DeAnthony Edwards, Owner, THANK GOD IT’S CLEAN
  • Angela Harpalani, CEO, Dimensional Concepts, LLC
  • Natalie Lago, CEO & Managing Member, Granite Countertop Experts, LLC
  • Wanda Lyons, President, Belle Avenue Consulting
  • Elizabeth (Beth) Robbins, CEO & Founder, Cameron Street Strategies, LLC
  • Pina Shah, R.N., President & CEO, Pioneer LLC
  • Tashaya “Tasha” Singleton, Certified Risk Manager, TJS Financial Solutions, LLC
  • Francine R. Williams, Executive Director, GNUS Corporation
  • Monica Womack, CEO, Blue Violet Productions, LLC