With women-led businesses on the rise, the need for role models, mentors and real-world training for female entrepreneurs is a demand that Rebecca Cox recognized clearly.
“Women interested in becoming an entrepreneur are five times more likely to start a business when they have a mentor,” said Cox, president and owner of the Midland-based Savant Group.
The need for more more female role models in business is a demand Cox plans to meet — along with three of her peers from the Great Lakes Bay Region — when they serve as panelists at Saginaw Valley State University's upcoming Women Entrepreneurship Week event.
“Life Lessons from Successful Women Entrepreneurs” is a panel discussion scheduled Monday, Oct. 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in SVSU's Curtiss Hall Banquet Room A. Hosted by the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU, the event is free and open to the public.
Along with Cox, panelists include Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer and vice president of environment, health and safety for Dow; Kathie Fuce-Hobohm, founder and president of Midland-based SPACE, Inc.; and Wendy Traschen, owner of Bolger and Battle Marketing Communications as well as Whine, a Midland restaurant.
Cox said Monday's event will reinforce the importance of female-led businesses in advancing the region's economy.
“Continuing to highlight women business owners will break down gender stereotypes and biases, grow a greater support network and positively impact on our economy,” she said. “It’s not just good for women — it’s good for everyone.”
Draves, an SVSU alumna, said mid-Michigan remains a ripe environment for women ambitious to serve as leaders in business.
“The Great Lakes Bay Region is home to many examples of female entrepreneurs who are doing stellar work,” Draves said. “Their businesses are strong contributors to our region’s economic engine.”
Cox has participated as a board member for the Midland Chamber of Commerce, Midland Tomorrow, Midland Business Alliance, the Local Development Finance Authority Board of Midland, and the Small Business Association of Michigan. She is a Leadership Midland 2006 Class graduate, a member of the Midland 100 Club, and a founding member of the Women's Executive Round Table. Her business, The Savant Group, tests oils and lubrications for various industries. Cox received a bachelor's degree in business from Western Michigan University and a master's degree in business from Indiana University.
In her role at Dow, Draves leads corporate environment, health, and safety-related governance as well as the organization's 2025 Sustainability Goals. She joined Dow in 1989 and has served in several leadership roles since then. Draves has built a reputation for being an effective and collaborative leader who inspires commitment in her teams while also attaining results. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in technological processes from SVSU.
Fuce-Hobohm started SPACE, Inc. in 1995 and has over 30 years of experience in the office interior industry. As president, she oversees the sales and financial strategies along with the overall operations for the company. Fuce-Hobohm has received honors for her work including the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce's ATHENA award, Girl Scouts Women of Distinction recognition, the MidMichigan Innovation Center Innovation Award, Corp! Magazine’s Entrepreneur of Distinction recognition, and Leadership Midland’s Leader of the Year. She also was named a Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Laureate.
For more than 20 years, Traschen has served as a fierce advocate for the power of strong branding and integrated marketing communications to move organizations to the next level of their industries. In addition to her well-earned agency credentials — including leading a diverse team of writers, designers and account executives in support of about 150 clients — she brings a strong business background in retail, hospitality, nonprofits and education.
For more information or to register to attend this event, visit www.svsu.edu/entrepreneurshipinstitute/.