Female Entrepreneur Spotlight: Rosemarie Ndupechi

In 2017 the U.S. Department of Labor reported that women make up 47 percent of the nation’s workplace. That’s 74.6 million women. Women own close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts. Therefore, America is experiencing a significant and much-needed job growth for females. 

While these statistics are pleasing, they still are not satisfactory. As females continue to work for equal pay, positions, and recognition it is clear the playing field must be leveled by the organizations that hire, develop and promote them. 

Many organizations state that they find it challenging to find the “right woman” to fit their jobs.  This is surprising since there are countless talented, qualified and strong-willed championed females to fit their positions.  Some women are choosing to opt out of traditional employment opportunities with an organization and selecting to work for themselves.  

This post profiles the success of one female business woman.  It highlights how she drives to do incredible work that has led to business success and client satisfaction. 

Rosemarie A K Ndupechi is the proud owner of not one, but two, small businesses. Occasions by Rosemarie, an event planning business is her nine-to-five career while her bed and breakfast is a 24-7 operation she runs with her husband, Paul Ndupechi. 

However, Ndupechi’s rise to success was a complex and unplanned path. Before she began her first business, Occasions by Rosemarie, she was working with Cargill. She explained that after working over 20 years in the corporate field with both Cargill and other companies, she was done sitting at a desk.

“I wanted to do something different,” Ndupechi said. “I’m an individual who always needs be kept busy. I didn’t want to retire, I didn’t want to just do volunteer work. I wanted to something. I just didn’t know what.”

It was after hiring an executive coach she began to realize her love for event planning. She volunteered to help an event planner for an event for the St. Paul Foundation. When the party was a success, the planner told Ndupechi she should consider making event planning a full-time job. At the same time Ndupechi and her husband were remodeling the other half of their house, space they previously used for friends and family who came to visit. She suggested they use it as a bed and breakfast. In August 2014 Ndupechi launched her businesses. 

But as most first-time business owners are, Ndupechi found herself incredibly unsure of her decision and anxious for what the future held. 

“When I quit my corporate job I thought to myself, ‘You have made the biggest mistake of your life. You can’t do this. You don’t have a business plan. This could fail,’” Ndupechi said. “But I knew I couldn’t just give up. Through pep talks from friends and family, I knew I could be successful. I had to be.”

And successful she was. Ndupechi has successfully planned events for large corporations such as General Mills and Cargill and has hosted over 250 guests from 26 states and six countries. Both of her businesses were started in 2014, making them less than five years old. To say Ndupechi is a champion in her line of work is an understatement. 

Ndupechi believes that the success of her businesses not only lies with her motivation to do well but also with her experiences in the business world and education. 

A graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Communications and a Master’s from St. Thomas, Ndupechi pursued careers in teaching at the prestigious Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City, New York, a job with the Peace Corps in D.C.,  a recruiting job with Land O’ Lakes, as well as a management position with the League of Women Voters of Minneapolis. 

“My education was so important,” Ndupechi said. “From high school to college I took it seriously. Your degree says you’re competent and tells employers you are a learner. You can and are willing to learn. Without my degree, I don’t think I would have had those positions.”

Women are currently dominating the secondary education system in America, as the Washington Post reports that today women get most of the college degrees awarded in the US, whether it be associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral. With degrees earned, women are getting employed.  However, some women with getting promotions and expanding their scope of responsibility.  

However, Ndupechi argues that networking is arguably one of the best ways to get ahead in your career.  “My advice to young people, especially young women is to never underestimate the power of networking,” Ndupechi said. “Know what you can do for them as well as what they can do for you. I would not have been as successful had I not put myself out there and meet people that can help me.”

As Ndupechi stated networking is one tool in the business world that individuals should be using. It should be used as a means to find out more information about the organization you want to be hired by, find individuals you may be mentored by, as well as a method to showcase your talents and abilities. Women especially should utilize this tool, to help hire and support one another. 

Despite the grand success Ndupechi has experienced, it has not come without a set of challenges. Being a woman of color she’s aware of the inequality that could stand as a barrier.

“I have had people try and sabotage me, people that don’t want to hire me because of who I am,” Ndupechi said. “I’m not naïve and I know the barriers people try to place in front of me.”

Though workplace opportunity has increased significantly for females, these barriers have still threatened their workplace environment. Though the wage gap is closing, is still present. According to a Business Insider report, Asian women make 84 percent of a man’s salary, white woman 75 percent, black woman 65 percent, and Hispanic woman just 55 percent. A Huffington Post article in 2015 stated that 1 in 3 women experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. 

The workplace is getting better, but these statistics prove that there is still work to do. 

However, women are taking a stand and refusing to allow these statistics stand in their way, Ndupechi included. She has allowed herself to look past what some individuals see as a deficit and use them to her advantage.

“I don’t think consciously about being a woman or a woman of color. I’m thinking about making money instead,” Ndupechi said. “I will not undersell myself because of the value people see me as. When you allow yourself to notice you’re allowing them to have power of you. Don’t spend all your time thinking about those challenges, and rather think about the challenges about getting the next sale. The next customer. The next client.”

To be a woman in the workplace is empowering, extraordinary, and inspirational to find women are on the same path. As Ndupechi reflected on her own experiences, she hopes that younger woman follows their own passions and help build each other up to do so. And when you aren’t feeling confident, think like a man.

“Learn how to think like a man,” Ndupechi said. “Notice how even when men don’t know what they’re doing they go with it. An exhibit that confidence, know you’re capable of what you think you can’t do. Be vulnerable with the people you trust, but walk confidently with your head held high. And approach life successfully.”  That’s true wisdom, one we hope will inspire you no matter how you identify your gender.