Women in Business
Take a memo: Delaware’s businesswomen have the vision, ability and tenacity to build thriving companies. Meet executives who’ve succeeded despite unthinkable loss, financial obstacles or resistance from employees in male-dominated fields.
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Chauntel Smith Hayward turned her mother’s vision into a lucrative business. A former kindergarten teacher in Dover, Smith Hayward left the profession to operate Rosa’s Greek Boutique, the family-owned operation founded by her mother, Rosa F. Smith, in 1984. The shop caters to African-American sororities and fraternities. While Rosa’s has always offered merchandise to a formerly untapped market, Smith Hayward created its online component, which afforded global business opportunities. As a result, Rosa’s serves more than 20,000 customers across the United States. “I’m passionate about our business because I’m able to put all of my skills and energy into something that has been handed down to me,” says Smith Hayward. “And I’ll hand it down to the next generation.”
Stretching the dollar Rosa Smith started her business with a $1,000 tax refund check.
Expansion In 2005 the Smith Hayward family established Transportation Unlimited, a private transportation business for homeless students.
Lynda Messick knows banking. She has succeeded at just about every banking job there is. Starting as a teller at Wilmington Savings Fund Society in 1973, Messick was promoted several times, earning her executive stripes as branch manager before advancing to operations, compliance, marketing, corporate, lending and retail. Now president and CEO of Community Bank Delaware in Lewes, Messick is responsible for business development, marketing, strategic planning and budgeting at this $115 million-asset community bank. “Being a community banker is quite a bit different than the typical image brought to mind by the word ‘banker,’” says Messick. “A community banker is by definition more involved in, and attuned to, the community the bank serves.”
Experience to bank on Messick helped start two community banks.
From the ground floor up Messick developed the culture at Community Bank and selected a team that has made the organization profitable.
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