Malene Barnett, Founder and Design Director of Malene B, a company specializing in handcrafted custom carpets, inspired wall coverings and artisan tiles, has been selected to serve as a mentor to underserved women entrepreneurs in New York City.
She is doing it through a new, first of its kind initiative along with 16 other successful participating women entrepreneurs from across all business sectors. The program, We Connect Mentors, is designed to expand the economic potential of women entrepreneurs. According to program officials, the City believes that supporting women entrepreneurs not only empowers women, but also uplifts entire families and communities.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop made the announcement this week.
“I am honored to welcome and congratulate WE NYC’s first cohort of WE
Connect Mentors. While all 17 mentors can and should be celebrated as
successful women entrepreneurs doing business in New York City, what is
truly extraordinary is their passion for helping other women on their
entrepreneurial journey,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.
“Mentorship has played a critical role in my life, and I am thrilled
that we can connect women across the five boroughs with the opportunity
to learn and grow with support from these business role models.”
“There exists an unacceptable gender gap when it comes to the number and success of women-owned businesses in our city. WE NYC and our first cohort of WE Connect Mentors will empower women entrepreneurs, especially those in underserved communities, with the support and expertise they need to thrive,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “This administration’s investment in the power of women through education, training, and full inclusion in the workforce and in the economy is not only critical to combating inequality, but also key to ensuring New York City’s role as a competitive economic player and progressive leader on the global stage.”
Barnett is looking forward to the opportunity.
“I strive to create bold products inspired by global cultures and perspectives. After 20 years in the design industry, I also want to inspire other designers and entrepreneurs to live boldly and find their courage. The opportunity to become a WE Connect Mentor is important to me because of the many, many women mentors in my life who have guided me in my journey. While I have always made a point to pay it forward, this program gives me an opportunity to do so on a much larger, more structured scale with women across New York City,” said Barnett.
Other participants of the inaugural class include Vanessa Best, founder of Precision Healthcare Consultants, and Karen Taylor Bass, founder and media strategist for TaylorMade Media, LLC.
(View our video about Malene Barnett: https://tnj.com/malene-b-carpet-design)