Multiple academic studies, along with heaps of personal experiences, have shown that in business settings men not only talk more than women, but also tend to more frequently interrupt their female peers. The reasons that the studies have settled on vary from men using conversation as a tool of dominance to men simply being raised to perceive interruptions differently, but the evidence of men feeling more entitled to voice their opinions is quite clear.

This, of course, is very annoying on a day-to-day basis, but there are larger problems stemming out from it that have a truly negative effect on working women; including the fact that the more someone talks, the more likely their voice will be amplified.

That’s where Women in Business hopes to be a positive force. We hope to amplify the voices that might otherwise be interrupted. That’s why we are proud to continue our tradition of celebrating women-led businesses and organizations with our second annual Fifty Women- Owned Businesses to Follow list.

Inside this issue you will be introduced to 50 women-owned and women-led companies that serve as shining examples of what women can accomplish in business no matter what the industry. Companies and organizations included range from construction firms to advertising to information technology. By including such a large variety, we aim to blur the conceptual line between men and women’s work until people forget it ever existed.

As always, the opportunity for Women in Business to feature such an array of organizations came from our readers, who sent in nominations from communities across our 23-county readership. A few names on the list may be familiar from previous lists such as Top 100, Women Making a Difference or last year’s Fifty to Follow. Many are new additions that we were happy to discover have found such success in Central Pennsylvania.

We hope that the final list represents both large well-established companies and small startups full of potential, while also covering every region of our readership. Readers will see that growing your business is possible in all corners of the commonwealth, whether you are in Altoona, Clairton or Troy.

It is not only our mission to provide a podium for current success stories, but also to support women who have yet to break into the business world. With this in mind, we asked each company selected for some advice that they could pass on to someone else looking to succeed in their industry and hope that their answers demystify the intimidating task of starting and maintaining a business.

With this special edition finalized, Women in Business is moving on to collecting submissions for Women Making a Difference, which will shine a spotlight on the individual women who have taken a leading role in business and in their community. The edition will be published this fall and nomination forms can be found on our website under the “Women Making a Difference” tab. .

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2017-06-16 / Top 50 Women Owned Businesses

Impressions WHQ, Inc.

Est. 1997 | State College

Impressions WHQ, Inc. was formed by Michelle Damiano in 1997. Since then, Impressions’ offices have grown to 2600 sq. ft. of open studio and showroom, while increasing their roster of local and regional clients, as well as staff. They have established themselves as one the area’s seminal full-service marketing and advertising agencies.

Damiano oversees client projects covering the full spectrum of marketing communication services. Additionally, Damiano and the Impressions team operate a full-service exhibit display studio, making them a one-stop shop for all things tradeshow or experiential marketing.

Impressions has received awards for work they have done on behalf of their B2B and B2C clients. They serve the local business community through board memberships, nonprofit work and close relationships with the CBICC and regional chambers/visitors’ bureaus. Impressions has mentored over 70 interns through the Impressions intern institute. This month they are co-hosting the Second Annual Brand[Aid], a yearly philanthropic effort designed to provide free branding and marketing support to a local nonprofit.

Damiano’s advice is to “be passionate. Be honest. Be transparent.”

“You can be afraid, but try anyway. The fun part about our industry is that it is always changing so there is always something new to explore. But above all, never forget that regardless of the overwhelming amount of data and information we have at our fingertips, at the end of the day, we are marketing to people. There is always a human being at the end of that decision making process,” she said.

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