Boss Lady

4 female role models for small business


Women entrepreneurs are more than just earning a living; they are major contributors to the economy. The Center for Women’s Business Research shows that female business owners provide jobs for 18 million employees and bring $2.3 million to the U.S. economy alone.  

It’s no easy task. Simply staying in business, let alone succeeding, is a daunting task. Despite advancements in society, women still make systematically less than men – even in the same industries with the same amount of experience.

This doesn’t mean that women can’t succeed as small business owners– it just means that they need a laser focus to do it and the willingness to take risks sometimes. Take a look at four women who have small business ownership nailed, and are improving the workplace for other women in the process.

Carmen Maldonado, President/CEO of La Criolla.

Some small businesses are handed down from one generation to the next, leaving the current family owner the responsibility of changing with the times and still keeping the business afloat. Carmen Maldonado has managed to do both with her family-owned spice business La Criolla located in Chicago and established in 1957. Maldonado makes it a point to be actively involved in the thriving Chicago small business community, meeting with current Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials frequently.  

Cathy Bukaty, owner of Laser Centers of Orlando.

The anti-aging industry is booming, expected to be a trillion-dollar one by 2020. Cathy Bukaty has tapped that potential with her successful anti-aging center that focuses on laser hair removal, tattoo removal and skin rejuvenation. Outside her office, Bukaty pushes back against aging too – earning her Taekwando black belt at 48 years old (she also placed second in a bodybuilding bikini contest at the age of 57). In her hometown of Orlando, Bukaty has participated in fundraisers for autism, childhood diabetes and breast cancer research and has packed lunches for those in need.

Tamyka Washington, founder of TheCEOMamma.

This mom of six started her career as an entrepreneur when she wanted to maintain a career but have the flexibility to parent from home. She founded TheCEOMamma Network Community to help other women entrepreneurs build successful businesses by utilizing social media and other technology. TheCEOMamma implements tips from Washington herself but is also a place for other women small business owners to share their suggestions for success.

Angelica Rivera, co-owner of Colmex Construction.

As a woman in the traditionally male-centric construction industry, Rivera has faced an uphill challenge when it comes to negotiations and contracts. It hasn’t stopped her from forging forward for her family’s business – growing it from $3.5 million in revenue in 2011 to a goal of $20 million in revenue by the end of 2016. How does she do it? By continuing to invest in the New Orleans community and increasing her knowledge of her industry and its big players.

It’s not easy to succeed in small business but these women show it is possible. They have found ways to combine talent and hard work with passion and philanthropy for the betterment of their businesses and communities.

Know a woman who should be on this list? Tell us about her in the comments.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web.

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