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Women entrepreneurs abound around lake

Being an entrepreneur for more than 18 years and a single mom, I am always impressed with stories of other women who have successfully juggled careers, family, and a balanced lifestyle. More and more of these women are giving up the uptown offices for the manageability of working from home and for the ability to “have it their way.” The women of LWW are no exception.

Many in the county have already met or know about Susan Gisler. More than four years ago, Susan recreated the Welcome Wagon concept to fit Nevada County. As the Welcome Gift Basket lady running a successful privately owned business, Susan focuses on the details. She makes sure that newcomers really understand the uniqueness of each business she introduces them to. She also highlights and reinforces all the positive reasons that brought them to this particular county to begin with.

In addition to LWW newcomers, many long-time residents trade up – or down – within LWW and need decorating help. Toni Baker has been serving this community as an interior decorator for more than 22 years. Toni’s ability to listen carefully to the desires and needs of her clients has been the source of repeat business, referrals, and a lasting career.



I met Diane Harper of Wildwood Embroidery and Screen Printing last year when my son needed a golfer embroidered on the back of a Nevada Union letterman’s jacket. I was amazed to learn that in addition to letterman jackets, Diane does customized corporate embroidery on hats, shirts, and golf items including work for Nike. She is currently working on a job of 1,500 hats for a new construction company from the east coast. And, with eight years of experience, she makes it look so easy.

As a single mom who put her daughter through college, Sandie Thompson has always had two jobs. She’s been a flight attendant for United Airlines since 1972 (she flies from San Francisco to Japan and back) and, for the past 11 years, she has owned SNT Creates to keep herself busy on her days off. At SNT Creates, Sandie designs placemats, napkins, table runners and coasters and works over 20 art and craft shows each year. Needless to say, Sandie doesn’t like to sit around and watch the grass grow.




Equally energetic is Sandie’s next-door neighbor, Vicki Valente. Vicki owns and operates Victoria’s Sweet Elegance, a party rental and catering business. Vicki can cater and/or provide all the set up for groups of up to 600 guests. During her 18 years in business, Vicki has been very generous in donating time and materials for different functions, including support of the upcoming Gather the Women 2004 event to be held on March 13 in Grass Valley.

Suzanne Murdoch has been in the hotel business for more than 14 years. As VP of sales and marketing for Pacific Hotel Management for the past 5 years, she has recently fine-tuned the perfect working situation. Suzanne alternates a week of telecommuting from home with a week of visiting hotels throughout California that her company owns and manages. She stays at “her” hotels when working; so don’t be surprised if you run into Suzanne when visiting a Sheraton, Westin, Marriott or Hilton.

Barbara Johnson has just received her second Mary Kay career car. Barbara began her career with Mary Kay in 1998 and became and Independent Sales Director in 2001. Watch for Barbara driving her sporty, platinum 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix with the hot pink Mary Kay logo.

For 15 years, Susan Piper has designed custom cabinets for closets, offices and home entertainment centers for clients in the Bay Area. Now that she lives in LWW full time, she has the luxury of telecommuting from home. When working through a contractor, Susan can do everything from home since she doesn’t need to meet with the client.

There are a lot more women that I could write about. If you would like to read more, or if you know of someone that I should include, please let me know.

Got a tip about someone in LWW? Contact Shirl Mendonca at 432-3787 or shirlmendonca@gv.net via e-mail.


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