Meet WBE – Gillaspy & Rhodes, PLLC

Elizabeth Rhodes

Elizabeth Rhodes

Elizabeth Rhodes has joined Betsy Gillaspy as a named partner in their law firm. With offices in Kirkland, Washington and Portland, Oregon the firm is a valuable resource for WBEs in our region.

Betsy Gillaspy

Betsy Gillaspy

Both Liz and Betsy are active members of our Leadership Forum and consistently “show up” @ Astra events. Reach out and congratulate Liz today.

GillaspyRhode_logo

Gillaspy & Rhode, PLLC and its predecessor firms have been providing insurance defense and litigation services to the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years. Combining aggressive and skilled litigation services with innovative approaches to early and favorable resolution, we enjoy a reputation for delivering high quality work and results. The firm’s clients and carriers uniformly report high satisfaction with the representation provided by Gillaspy & Rhode, PLLC with particularly high marks for our practice of early and regular case evaluation, reporting, and timely communication regarding case progress.

Working closely with clients, claims professionals, and experts, we emphasize early and thorough evaluation of claims, including exploration of all possible legal and factual defenses. Through this team work approach we tailor a solution to fit the unique circumstances of each client’s situation. We value and respect the perspectives and solutions brought to the table by our claims professionals, clients, and experts, and consider them an integral part of the defense team.

Specialties:

Construction Law, General Litigation, Personal Injury, Business Law, Land Use, Real estate, Insurance Defense

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Compusave Strategic Alliance Quadruples its Business

winstonwinnickiAstra Women’s Business Alliance (Astra WBENC) sat down with Sandy Winston (left) and Julia Winnicki (right) of Compusave Strategic Alliance to learn about how they utilize their Astra WBENC certification. Read on to learn about their partnership with The Boeing Company Supplier Diversity Team (Boeing) and how Astra WBENC has helped them grow their business.

1.    You’ve been an Astra WBENC WBE since 2007.  How did you learn about the Astra WBENC network?

(Julia) I became certified by the State of Washington as a WBE in 2005 and in 2007 I received an invitation to attend an event in Everett that Astra was hosting. I’d never heard of WBENC before. We had become Washington State Certified because we were interested in going after government contracts.  At that first event, there was “speed dating” with buyers from Boeing who told me that my company was too small and that I should talk to Astra about getting WBENC certified. So, at the event, I sat down with Astra and talked to them about the certification process and officially became an Astra WBENC WBE in 2007.
2. What does your company do and how has your business changed since you became WBENC certified?

(Julia) We are a Value Added Reseller (VAR). Being a VAR means that we procure computer equipment, both hardware and software, process and integrate it, and then ship it to our customers for just in time delivery. Over the last 5 years our business has quadrupled. Boeing has been critical to our growth as a company. Really the key to this relationship has been the Boeing Supplier Diversity Team. Glory McCallum of Boeing has been a stellar advocate for us. She works closely with businesses and partner organizations like Astra WBENC.  She has truly been a mentor and supporter of our company. We cherish our relationship. Compusave Strategic Alliance is a true beneficiary of the corporate support of WBENC certification. We are better for it. And as are result we just received notification that we will be receiving  the Boeing Performance Excellence Award for 2012.

(Sandy) Boeing wants 100% accuracy and 100% on time delivery from suppliers.  To be acknowledged with The Boeing Performance Excellence Award,  Compusave Strategic Alliance creates and maintains internal core processes that triple check every order and every shipment we make – throughout quoting,  purchasing, configuring, testing, labeling and shipping. These processes, plus our ability to develop and maintain customer relationships are at the center of our success, both with Boeing, and with all  our other customers.  The relationships we have created through the WBENC network have helped every step of the way.

(Julia) We have learned so much working with Boeing. We were invited to their first supplier diversity symposium as an exhibitor back in 2009. We were ready by then as we were certified and we had built capacity through our alliances. So at that event we were able to show our products and share our capabilities directly with buyers. That was a huge turning point for us and we became a Boeing supplier. We were also invited to participate in an online supplier showcase where we presented our capabilities live via web conference to 40 invited Boeing buyers. We had 20 minutes for our presentation and 10 minutes for questions. That was a very successful event for us.

3. What is your favorite Astra WBENC connection story?

(Sandy) It was one of those “you have got to be kidding moments”. Compusave was already certified when I came on board and I really didn’t understand the value. Julia was already working the network and then I showed up at a national WBENC National event in Las Vegas- you know the one they hold every year in June – this year it will be in Minneapolis. I sat down next to a stranger at lunch and we introduced ourselves. I explained what Compusave did and she said “I need that and I’ll call you.” When we arrived back home this large WBE called me and placed an order. It was truly an amazing experience.

(Julia) For me it was probably at an Astra event in 2009 where we connected with Robert Half International. It was a matchmaking event and that was the beginning of a successful business relationship.

4.    What is your Astra WBENC “aha’”moment?

(Julia) For me, it was hearing Elizabeth Kearney, Ph.D., President, Kearney & Associates speak at an Astra event. Liz spoke about strategic alliances and how that helped her grow her business. It was like a light bulb went off. Boeing had called Compusave “too small” and here is this woman telling me how to get bigger by gathering capacity through alliances. That was definitely my “aha” moment.

5.    What are your Astra WBENC plans for 2013 and how can Astra WBENC improve its service to your company?

(Julia) I will continue to participate at the national level as part of the Leadership Forum-at-Large. Boeing nominated me to this perpetual posting in 2010. This is great exposure for our company at the national level.

(Sandy) Both Julia and I will be attending all three of the big WBENC events as well as supporting Astra’s regional events. We co-chair Astra’s Washington State Leadership Forum. There is also a big event being planned at Microsoft in Redmond on October 16th.  We are looking at partnering with The Mariners for a “Take me out the Ball Game” event over the summer  and as well as having an events at  Macy’s and Starbucks. So a lot is going on in the State of Washington!

(Julia) We’d love to see increased access to buyers for contract ready firms through the Astra WBENC network. I am not sure what format or structure this access would take on but it would allow established, experienced supply chain savvy, referable, capacity ready firms to showcase their X Factor. To me an X Factor is what makes a company different from their competition. That difference might be innovation, creativity, performance excellence or some other a combination of unique factors that sets them apart. It’s just an idea but it would be great to figure it out and make it work. There are some fabulous WBEs out there!

6. What’s your best advice for someone new to the Astra/WBENC network?

(Sandy)  Show up! You have to show up! Just keep coming back. It’s a 2 to 3 year investment and it will pay off. Just keep working the network and giving back.

To learn more about Compusave Strategic Alliance visit their website: http://www.compusavedirect.comcompusave

The Power of Participation……

Astra Board at Trade Mission

(Left to Right) Suchi Gupta, Caroline Gladding, Diane McClelland, Consul-General Cassie Doyle, Suzanne Lackman, Marcella Mandeville, Mary Anderson, Arlene Inch, Sandra James and Olsa Martini.

Participating in events is the key way to cement relationships. Whether you are connecting with people for the first time or touching base with people you already know, there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings. On March 1st, 2012, Astra and WEConnect Canada joined forces to hold their first in-person trade mission with Canada. Pictured above are delegates from the Astra Board, the Consulate of Canada-San Francisco & Palo Alto, CA &  WEConnect Canada who participated in the Trade Mission. Download the program.

Astra WBENC WBE, Pam Young, Pam Young Company, attended the event & wrote “It’s been a week since the event, and I am still so glad that I had this opportunity to meet other people who are working just like me building their businesses in meaningful and rewarding ways. I find it amazing, at least on most days, that I have the privilege of owning a business, and this in itself keeps me inspired and motivated to find ways to grow and to keep the business strong. It has been very difficult in the past two years to accomplish this, but I have to say that meeting so many women that are staying focused on their core values, believing in their services and or products, well it really was what I needed to keep moving forward. And interestingly enough, while initially I wasn’t sure that there would be new business opportunities, it is turning out that I definitely have some potential prospects to develop, with people that seem excited about working with me! That is exciting! So thank you for encouraging me to attend, and also for all your hard work in putting together a great event…….” 

Join Astra on March 29th for a 30 minute Webinar & find out more about the Power of Participation.

WOSB – What Next?

MaryJo Juarez, Government Contracting Expert, Consultant at NAPTAC & Astra Board Member sees an increasing volume  of opportunities, especially with Prime Contractors, for WBEs.  Here are  MaryJo’s top action items using your WOSB Certification for success:

  • Learn the language – Government contracting is different. Start with the SBA website as a resource & learn the different acronyms. Present your marketing materials with the information the Contracting Officers need on your business cards, Capability Statements (Services) & on your Line Cards (products).
  • Research who buys what you sell – All agencies are different but most put together a buying forecast each September that lists everything the agency will be buying. If you don’t see these posted online ask the agency representatives for a copy when you see them at events. PTACs are a good resource  and offer assistance to small businesses at low/no cost including “Bid Match” that matches you with opportunities as they are posted online.
  • Go to events -Find out where the Primes are going to be. Often times they list their outreach events on their websites. Follow Astra’s Events & plan to attend the partner outreach events that they are attending.
  • Ask for help & build relationships – The only unanswered question is the one that is not asked. Build your network & use it. Reach out to Astra Leaders.

Thank you to Astra Corporate Member URS for sponsoring Astra’s webinar on February 20,2012: “WOSB – What Next?” For more information about URS’ supplier diversity program visit their website.

> Webinar Slides: WOSB- What Next? (PDF)