Membership has its privileges

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CPAP provider Lisa Feierstein found herself in the prestigious pages of the Wall Street Journal online this week. It's all in who you know, says Feierstein, president of Active Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C. She belongs to an organization of professional women that has widened her opportunities for personal and professional growth.

HME News: How did you come to be contacted by the Wall Street Journal?

Lisa Feierstein: I am involved in the Women Presidents' Organization. They do different media enquiries throughout the country. They had asked, "Have you done any out-of-the box marketing?" I replied and they liked what they heard. The WSJ article was about landing clients on a tight budget. I talked about free sleep clinics that I offered.

HME: Tell us about the organization.

Feierstein: It's basically an invitation type of group where, if you have revenues over a certain amount and (meet other criteria) you get invited to be part of it. We are absolutely not in the same industries. They won't allow two HMEs, for example.

HME: What are the benefits of belonging to such a group?

Feierstein: It gets me together with other successful women entrepreneurs that discuss different business issues. You are dealing with business issues not industry issues and business issues cross all industries so we might talk about sales or open houses or hiring.

HME: It must also create networking opportunities.

Feierstein: If I want to find a PR person, I now have a network of successful business owners to recommend someone. When I needed an IT person, I got four personal recommendations. It made it so much easier.

HME: What are some issues as a woman business owner the you would like to tackle?

Feierstein: There is a lot of federal grant money out there that is specifically earmarked for minority business owners. When a woman owns 51% of a business, it's considered a minority. Something like 10% of federal monies are supposed to go to minority businesses and only about 3% goes to women. We are talking about billions that are appropriated for women that women aren't getting.

HME: Is that something you plan to do?

Feierstein: It's not something we are looking to do at this point. Down the line, one thing I am interested in is VA contracts. How do you negotiate that? How do you get into that and rise above the fray? How are the companies that got the contracts getting them? I truly believe that there's a lot of good old boy networks and who knows what goes on?