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Successful Entrepreneurs

Melody Do - Kara Enterprise LLC

Kara Enterprise LLCWhen you think of tax accountants, you might think of people who are steady, fixed, and predictable. But Melody Do, founder and owner of Kara Enterprise LLC, is more of a restless spirit. “I’m the type of person who kept changing her major in college,” she said with a laugh. “I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Even after college, Melody said there was one year in which she changed jobs six times. Nothing was resonating with her. Nothing seemed to fit.

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Gleyann Fontanez - Latinas Fashion

Latinas Fashion, located in Hartford, CT, is owned by Gleyann Fontanez. Her daughter, Kelly, helps her run the successful business.When Gleyann Fontanez came to the United States as a teenager, she didn’t speak English. Raised in Juncos, Puerto Rico, she knew she had a lot to learn if she was going to succeed in her new home. She graduated from Bulkeley High School in Hartford and went on to attend Capital Community College—all while mastering a new language and learning to adjust to a new culture. Her real dream, though, was to open a clothing business to serve the members of her adopted community in Connecticut.

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Gala Flagello & Aaron Price - Connecticut Summerfest

Gala Flagello and Aaron Price created Connecticut Summerfest, a festival for musicians.

Gala Flagello and Aaron Price met while studying composition at the Hartt School of Music, and like many of their fellow students, they spent a lot of time travelling around looking for music festivals where they could practice their craft and meet other musicians. “Festivals are an important way for musicians to network in a really meaningful way,” said Gala. “But Aaron and I weren’t finding festivals that offered everything we wanted. So we jokingly said we should just start our own festival.”

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KIM EWALT: Charter Oak Environmental Services

Kim EwaltCustomer-focused problem solving is the key to two decades of success for this CT environmental services firm. “I’ve always loved being innovative,” says Kimberly Ewalt, CEO. “I like looking at all aspects of a business and figuring out what I can bring that can make a positive impact.” Charter Oak tackles a wide range of environmental projects such as assessment, investigation and remediation, and non-hazardous and hazardous material transportation and disposal. With Ewalt at the helm, Charter Oak is establishing itself as a leader in the ever-evolving world of environmental consulting services. 

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DR. JEAN HERRMAN: COMPANION Animal Dental Services

Dr. Jean Herrman

You might not realize it, but dental issues are the number one health problem for companion animals like dogs and cats. Almost 70 percent of them experience some form of periodontal disease by the age of three, and that can lead to serious health and pain issues for them the same way that it can for people. That’s the challenge that Dr. Jean Herrman takes on at Companion Animal Dental Services in Bolton. Read the full story here.

JOSEPHINE JOINER: JUICY J JUICE BAR

Josephine Joiner

Barely a year and a half ago, Josephine Joiner was in a bad place. She’d been laid off from a job she loved, working in marketing with a popular fast-casual food chain. That job had allowed her to do many things that made her feel fulfilled—working in different stores, restructuring their takeout procedures and training employees to deliver exceptional customer service. She enjoyed that job and she was good at it, but then it was gone. “Losing that job was a defining moment for me,” she said, “A major depression set in.”

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BONNIE BARROW - BALANCING BODIES

Bonnie Barrow (center), Alexia Bonillo (left) and Letisha Matias (right)At an age when some look to retire, Bonnie Barrow launched a brand new venture. She has always had an eclectic assortment of talents and passions. She spent the first part of her career in mortgage banking, where she built a foundation of knowledge about real estate, finance, and business management, but she was keen to do something more. One day, her husband gave her a gift certificate for a few massages at a nearby massage school. When she went for the first one, she had a thought, “Wouldn’t this be fun to do?”

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Denise O'Reilly: The Burnt Shop

Denise O’Reilly first came to the Women’s Business Center last year in an enviable position. Denise O’Reilly first came to the Women’s Business Center last year in an enviable position. The custom-designed wood spoons and cutting boards she was etching for her business, The Burnt Shop, were in high demand. Demand was so high, in fact, that she needed some coaching to figure out how to manage the growth and fill all the orders she was getting.

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