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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Yukie Yamamoto, owner of Flowers By Yukie in Wilmington, opened her business in 1983, but honed her craft 42 years ago, when she worked at the now-defunct Penny Hill Flower Shop in Wilmington. She has survived in the business for a simple reason: She loves what she does. “Even when I go on vacation,” she says, “I think about arranging flowers.” Yamamoto, who trained in her native Japan, employs 18. One has worked for her for 22 years. While business at other shops has drooped during the recession, Yamamoto’s business remains fertile. Credit an upscale client base and lots of referrals. Yamamoto serves at least 400 customers with charge accounts, and business has grown 10 percent to 15 percent each year.
Her mantra “You might receive these flowers just once in your lifetime, so if I put my name on an arrangement, it has to be special.”
Mentor: Michael Christopher Hemphill, owner of Michael Christopher salon, gave Yamamoto her start. She set up shop in his salon before she opened her current business. “I owe him everything,” Yamamoto says.
Deborah A. Markwood understands the importance of estate planning. Her husband, pilot Tom Pitts, was killed while flying in July. “Tom didn’t like to think about his death,” says Markwood. “But I was able to kindly and compassionately make him understand how important it was to plan.” So it is with genuine solicitude that Markwood, senior vice president and director of trust services at WSFS, helps clients complete their estate plans and understand why they create them. When Markwood joined WSFS in August 2008, she brought more than 20 years of experience in business development for trust and investment services. She oversees all business development and trust services for WSFS Wealth Strategies in Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Markwood is a certified financial planner, a certified trust adviser and an accredited estate planner.
From one who knows “You have to plan for the future, for a day when you are not around to take care of your loved ones.”
Her mentor David Ernst, a former colleague and a vice president at Wilmington Trust, “encouraged me and taught me just about everything I know. He believed in me, and I hope someday to be as good as he was.” Ernst passed away suddenly in 1999. He was 47.
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