Women are leading the way in the launch of new small businesses, whether virtual or brick-and-mortar, according to recent reports.

Caitlin Green Cheney (seated on the floor) and Elizabeth Wood (standing), co-founders of Matrescene 4th Trimester Planning & Support, lead one of their “Beyond the Birth” workshops for expectant moms, including, clockwise from right: Hannah Calvis, Becky Arkfeld, Ivette Fullerton, and Kirstin Lynch (photo by Teri Carnicelli).

A study by Dell reveals that the United States tops the list of countries that provide the most favorable business climate for women entrepreneurs. In fact, women in America own more than 11 million businesses, and it is estimated that 36 percent of all U.S. businesses are owned by women.

Phoenix can boast its own cadre of female business visionaries, who are using their business acumen to benefit … other women.

In July 2015, Phoenix resident Jenny Zink started a meet-up group so she could explore her city. She thought if something was on the calendar publicly, it would force her to do it. The bonus would be if one or two people joined her on an adventure.

After the group grew to more than 3,000 people and expanded to include other Valley cities, Zink realized she needed a better platform to help people connect. A short time later, Women on Adventures was born.

“We officially became a business in 2016 and have been growing steadily ever since,” Zink said.

Women on Adventures recently was named a winner of The 2018 American Small Business Championship by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors.

“Our goal is that you experience adventure in a safe and supportive environment,” Zink explained. “Our mission is to challenge you and your comfort zone. We can’t promise this is going to be easy, but we can promise it will be fun.”

WoA members have been curling, indoor skydiving, horseback riding, pole dancing, hiking, rock climbing, and stand up paddle boarding. But there also are less strenuous options, including museum visits, coffee & conversation, book clubs and cooking classes.

“The goal of WoA is to make great friends, test our limits, and have fun,” Zink said. “Remember, an adventure doesn’t have to be a grand international getaway, we can adventure in our own backyards. True growth and change happens when get out into the world.”

A Basic Adventurer subscription is $10 a month and includes access to the monthly adventure calendar, email notifications, and a subscription to WoA’s digital magazine. The Annual Adventurer pass of $49 includes all that, plus 10-percent off the online store merchandise, and a WoA sticker and notebook in your membership packet. For more information, visit http://www.womenonadventures.com.


Elizabeth Wood, mother of two, and Caitlin Green Cheney, mother of three, met at a mommy-and-baby fitness class, where they noticed other classmates often were visibly stressed or just plain exhausted.

Cheney realized, after the birth of her first of three daughters, that staying active was crucial for her mental and physical wellbeing. Wood, who lives in North Central Phoenix and has two daughters, felt like she’d had far better rehab and recovery plans with her two knee surgeries than after the birth of either of her children.

“The postnatal period seemed to be some sort of black hole in women’s health and wellness. We knew this pattern needed to change. We knew every woman deserved better,” Cheney recalled.

Woods felt the absence of “fourth-trimester” planning, and overall lack information, was leaving new mothers more vulnerable than people realized.

Wood and Cheney began to delve into postnatal care, and determined that there wasn’t a lot of information available, from the medical community, about “matrescence” (pronounced mah-tress-enss), or the beginning-to-end process of becoming a mother. The term was first coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael her 1973 book, “The Tender Gift of Breastfeeding.”

“If we had to boil down everything we’ve learned into one core concept, it is that 4th-trimester care is just as essential as the prior three trimesters,” Cheney said. “When mom is well, the baby is well.”

They were determined to develop some kind of education and support system for expectant moms, to give them the tools to recover from the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy and birth.

“In Matrescence’s four-session workshop, we bring together expectant moms and help them reimagine what their 4th trimester could be; one grounded in community-based support where moms are able to fully recover from the physical and emotional stressors of pregnancy and birth,” Cheney said.

The “Beyond the Birth” workshop attendees meet every-other week to allow ample time for personal reflection, planning and conversations with their spouse, friends and family. Workshops include a binder with readings and documents for discussion and planning; nourishing food samples with simple recipes; one-on-one mentor support; and a safe environment to share and learn.

During off weeks, clients are contacted to help personalize plans and delve deep into specifics and personal questions.

For more information about Matrescence 4th Trimester Planning & Support, call 480-682-7136 or visit https://www.4thtrimesterplan.com.


Galcations, specializing in planning and delivering worldwide travel for women, is owned and operated by local travel expert Amy Moreno, who has spent 30 years in the travel industry.

Moreno grew up in the Valley and spent many a summer vacation traveling with family around the country. But her most vivid memory is of her first cruise when she was 16. “That trip had a profound impact on our family and my mother, sister and I all ended up eventually getting into the travel industry,” Moreno explained.

Moreno started at the front desk of a travel agency but eventually worked for Club Med Vacations for 13 years, which enabled her to travel extensively.

“Most recently, I was with AAA Arizona for 16 years and held a variety of positions with varied duties including running call centers, working with the cruise and tour partners and the AAA travel agents, managing group travel, and more.”

Moreno has traveled to more than 30 U.S. states, 40 countries, and has been on 20-plus cruises. She wanted to share her love of travel—and her wealth of experience—with other women.

“Galcations is something I have dreamed of owning for years, and late last year the stars aligned and allowed me to pursue my dream,” said Moreno.

Whether it’s sisters, mothers and daughters, good friends, or solo travelers, traveling with a group of women makes for a comfortable, safe way to travel and make great memories.

“Travel is so much more than a destination. It’s what you experience while on the way,” Moreno pointed out. “Learning about new places and cultures, sharing unique moments, and making new friends are all part of the fun. Galcations brings the dream of travel to life by providing one-of-a-kind trips.”

Galcations offers domestic and international group trips but can also book anyone on any trip offered through one of its preferred partners Collette, Trafalgar, Brendan, Cost Savers and Viking Cruises. Upcoming trips include “Reflections of Italy” Oct. 23-Nov. 1, “and “Spotlight on New York Holiday” Nov. 26-30. For more information on Galcations, call 602-550-1199 or visit www.galcations.com.

Hera Hub

Hera Hub, an international female co-working space and business accelerator, opened its first Arizona location in central Phoenix on April 2. Leading Hera Hub’s expansion into the state is Shatha Barbour, the CEO and founder of the Phoenix site.

Shatha Barbour, CEO of Phoenix’s Hera Hub, last month won NAWBO’s Young Professional of the Year award and was a finalist for its Business Women of the Year (submitted photo).

“It’s time to put women business owners and entrepreneurs of Phoenix on the map like other cities,” Barbour said. “We’re one of the largest cities in the country and have a thriving ecosystem of women in business.”

Hera Hub, located at 2111 E. Highland Ave., Ste. 240, launched 2 months ago and now has a membership of 40 women and is continuing to grow. Some members include Lynda Bishop with the NAWBO Institute & Million Dollar Program, Dr. Kristine Quade, director of Athena Valley of the Sun, as well as hosting events like Women Who Startup, Self-made Successful Women, and more.

Hera Hub’s shared workspaces serve women across multiple industries, from biotech and high-tech, business operations, legal advisors, and tax professionals to artists, designers, educators, and creative experts. The spaces, which offer an open layout, lend to collaboration across industries.

“I’m excited to create this landing space and launching pad for women,” Barbour said. “When women business owners succeed, the whole economy and ecosystem succeed. We’re on a mission to support women and grow an inclusive, diverse, and generous city.”

Phoenix and its surrounding metropolitan areas are growing at a rapid rate, forecasted to be the No. 4 largest city by 2020. Phoenix is intent on bolstering its small business and entrepreneurial environment to compete with the other cities.

“We see Phoenix/Scottsdale as the perfect market to expand Hera Hub’s reach because it is host to so many growing industries, such as aerospace and defense, technology and innovation, renewable energy, bioscience, optics, and advanced manufacturing,” says Felena Hanson, who first started Hera Hub in San Diego, Calif., eight years ago. There are now locations in Houston, Washington, D.C., and Sweden.

Weekly educational seminars, intensive workshops, and one-on-one mentoring also strengthen the business acumen and ties among members. While Hera Hub was designed by women, for women, it is open to all independent workers who value collaboration and community.

For more information about Hera Hub Phoenix, call 480-999-1615 or visit www.HeraHub.com/Phoenix.


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