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After a short hiatus, our podcast, On The Wire, is back! We kicked off 2021 with Dr. Janice Greene, the president/CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Pacific.
Prior to this role, Dr. Greene spent three decades working for The Boeing Company. The first decade in production and in the following 20 years in supplier diversity where she spearheaded new initiatives, ultimately leading to an official recognition by the Secretary of Commerce for her dedication to developing small and diverse manufacturers. She also founded the “Women in Manufacturing” program to empower young women interested in the field.
In this episode, our CEO Barbara Wichmann and Dr. Greene discuss the changes that the global coronavirus pandemic brought to the business world as well as the challenges ahead, particularly for women and minority-owned businesses.
“(COVID-19) forced us all to take a look at what we were doing, whether or not it was adding value, whether or not it was cost-effective and how we could do things differently,” said Dr. Greene.
Some businesses thrived in the “new normal”. For example, some companies who created branded materials easily transitioned into the PPE sector, she said. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for all enterprises and recent data has shown that female business owners, in particular, are more likely to have to shut their doors.
“I think regardless of whether you’re a woman in an executive role, a woman in the workplace or a female entrepreneur, a lot of women have been impacted by the pandemic negatively,” said Dr. Greene.
Part of the challenge, she said, is balancing work and family when it all happens in the same space.
“They find themselves at home, raising and educating their children while working either their full-time job or working on their business. It’s been difficult for some to navigate that change and the inherently conflicting demands,” she said.
In 2021, even as vaccines become slowly available, shifting operations back to the office may be hard to navigate. Businesses need to have plans in place to ensure employees are safe, Dr. Greene said. Through her role at WBEC-Pacific, she’s working hard to educate women about the resources that are available to them.
“I have faith 2021 is going to be a much better year,” she said.
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