Spokane Journal of Business

Women are making gains in finance, small business

Confidence in managing money up 16 percentage points in last five years

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Women are increasingly taking charge of their finances and future.

While we move toward gender equality and equitable economic opportunity, we can see the outcomes of generations of hard work when we look at the increasing numbers of women entrepreneurs in Spokane.

So it is no surprise that nearly half (48%) of women feel confident managing their money, according to a recent Bank of America study, up from 32% in 2018. Another study shows that 40% of small businesses are owned by women. This is the kind of data that drives me as the Market Executive for Bank of America in Spokane.

I’m passionate about representing and encouraging women in Spokane and beyond to achieve their career dreams and business goals. Growing up in a family business, and as a former small business owner, I understand the grit and resourcefulness it takes to succeed as a female entrepreneur in this region.

For three years, it was my privilege to co-own and operate YogaJoy North in Spokane while also working as an independent communications consultant. Although we decided to close YogaJoy at the start of the pandemic and at the end of our lease, it was a positive and meaningful experience. My co-owner and mom, Cher Desautel, and I witnessed the power of community, which is integral to the success of any small business. It was particularly moving to see here in my hometown.

Owning a small business can be challenging. From staffing to technology advancements, to competition for market share, and supply chain issues, small business owners often must address issues beyond their scope of practice.

Small business owners bring a passion for their business that leads to strong relationships with their customers and innovations to meet their needs. The growth in the number of women-owned firms in the U.S. to over 1.1 million is a testament of that increasing confidence and tirelessness.

My own experience continues to inform my career at Bank of America thanks to its strong investments in small businesses and female entrepreneurs. I’m proud to be a part of the 50% of our global workforce represented by women, mirroring the communities where we live and work.

In industries that are still dominated by men, it is crucial to invest in female talent at all levels, because representation matters, and it makes companies more resilient and better able to serve their clients. It not only opens opportunities for the next generations but also cements the value of current female voices and empowers working women across industries, hierarchies, and audiences.

It took women of my mother’s generation, and insightful male and female leaders well before that, to pave the way. As businesswomen and entrepreneurs continue to advance to new heights, females like my daughter will benefit in whatever career path they choose.

I’m excited to see the next generation step into entrepreneurship and leadership roles with the support of so many inspiring leaders. Bank of America empowers women in multiple ways, from the Seneca Women’s leadership platform to the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell certificate program, in which 63 women from Washington state have participated in new opportunities in education, mentorship, and sisterhood that grow due to the success of small businesses.

For more information on how Bank of America can support you or the women entrepreneurs in your family, check out Bank of America’s Small Business Resources for Women Entrepreneurs and:

•Make it a priority to shop at Women-owned small businesses.

•Use your networks to amplify Women-owned businesses that you love.

•Share supportive reviews online and on social media platforms.

Sara Desautel  is the market executive for Bank of America Spokane-Boise.

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