Kathy OdellNovember 5, 2019—Local female entrepreneurs who have shaped a career as a zero-waste pioneer, a business guru and a lemonade virtuoso will give a panel discussion from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI)’s Petit Salon on Tuesday November 19.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel is part of the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics Speaker Series. Interim Dean of the MVS School of Business & Economics Susan Andrzejewski, PhD, said the choice of the date for the free public presentation is significant.

“This is the first time the University holding an event on International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, which is November 19,” Andrzejewski said. “We’re seeing more women-owned businesses across the country. And if you look at our economic growth, you’ll see more businesses want students—both men and women—who have more entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial skills like the ability to creatively problem-solve and resiliency.”

An “intrapreneur” has entrepreneurial skills that he or she uses in an existing corporation, rather than building a business from scratch, she explained.

The panelists are: CEO-elect of Women’s Economic Ventures Kathy Odell; Founder and CEO of the Refill Shoppe Michelle Stevens; and Lori Volk, Founder of Lori’s Original Lemonade.

“Lori is a CSUCI alumnus whose business has grown significantly,” Andrzejewski said. “Cathy Odell has a deep understanding of what’s happening in the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties and has a wealth of knowledge related to entrepreneurship as a serial entrepreneur herself.”

Michelle StevensStevens’ Refill Shoppe is a Certified B Corporation, which means her business has been recognized for balancing purpose and profit. Each of the women entrepreneurs has a colorful story.

Always an outdoorswoman, Stevens grew up on a sailboat on the Bayou, and later biked around Ventura with her boyfriend and two dogs. The Refill Shoppe, which offers a practical solution to the problem of waste is an effort that has won her numerous environmental awards.

After losing her job in 2011, Volk began bottling up a lemonade recipe she developed in her kitchen and selling it in order to help pay for her child’s college expenses. She trained for an Ironman Triathlon at the same time.

Lori VolkThe CSUCI Psychology graduate’s creation, Lori’s Original Lemonades, can now be found in Whole Foods and local markets in more than 10 states.

Odell has more than 30 years of business leadership experience, beginning in 1985 as co-founder of Medical Concepts, Inc., where she remained until 200. From 2002 to 2008, she was CEO of Inogen, Inc., a manufacturer of advanced therapy devices, and from 1998 to 2012, she served as director of Pacific Capital Bancorp., N.A. In addition to her work with Women’s Economic Ventures, Odell serves on two nonprofit boards.

The MVS Speaker Series is sponsored by Umpqua Bank and CSUCI’s Business Advisory Council.

The event is free and there is complimentary parking, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP: go.csuci.edu/mvs-speaker-series.

Contact info: MVS@csuci.edu or call 805-437-3637.

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