From the Corporate World to The NIIC

By: Sandra R. Wharton, Director, Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC)

With a new year comes great potential. I am excited to empower and inspire more clients than ever in 2017! If you’re a woman entrepreneur, I’m talking to you, especially!

Speaking of women business owners, I want to take the opportunity to formally introduce myself and tell you about the Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC). The goal of WEOC is to provide entrepreneurial services to women, under-served, and immigrant populations in the State of Indiana. The WEOC is housed in the Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana—strategically located at The NIIC.

I’ve long had the desire to be in business for myself, but like so many people, life happened. My dreams were tabled, and I spent years working for companies in various industries. I acquired valuable skills and expertise in marketing, promotions and event management, customer service, sales, project management, operations management, process improvement, training and development, financial planning, accounting and auditing.

Despite enjoying conventional success, I knew something was missing. I recalled as a child, dreaming about owning a business. So along life’s journey, I would try different ventures—sometimes on my own and sometimes with others. The entrepreneurial drive was there. I simply couldn’t ignore it.

A year after selling a company I co-founded, I realized that my greatest joy came from exploring and starting ventures. I came to understand that I didn’t have to personally own the business. I could help others and still nurture my entrepreneurial spirit. It could be a win-win situation.

After putting in the time into the corporate world, I came to The NIIC as the Director of the Women’s Economic Opportunity Center. Here, I help others explore, start or grow their business ventures. This work feeds my soul, as I get to be an entrepreneur each time clients share their visions and invites me to join them on their journeys.

This innovation journey brings into existence something that wasn’t there before or alters something for a different purpose, to achieve a different result. That’s what we do at The NIIC, empower dreamers to become doers! It means being willing to fail; change, adapt, or start over. And to me, there is no greater joy than helping someone reap the fruits of their labor.

If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, please contact me at (260) 407-6442 or swharton@niic.net. The Women’s Economic Opportunity Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.


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