Wendy Sahatjian, associate professor of marketing and management for Newman University’s School of Business, is giving back to the community through business entrepreneurship classes.
Sahatjian teaches the class “Balanced” for Wichita E-Community to help entrepreneurs strategize for success.
Her connection with Wichita E-Community happened during another class she teaches, “Streetwise MBA,” in the Small Business Association’s Emerging Leaders Program with curriculum provided by Interise. This program is also geared toward helping entrepreneurs plan for success.
Teaching these classes is something Sahatjian does to feed her passion and help others in the process, she said.
“When I watch the small business leaders — how they felt coming in and how they feel leaving these classes — they are so different, more confident,” said Sahatjian. “I love watching people become empowered, ready to go out and find renewed satisfaction and joy in what they do.”
The Balanced class is offered once per year and meets in two separate two-hour sessions. The first session focuses on reviewing the online curriculum and assigned reading that is sent prior to class. During the review, Sahatjian and guest experts help entrepreneurs relate the content to their own businesses.
Two weeks later, the attendees gather for a second and final session. During this time, they pair up with business and accounting professionals for one-on-one consultation. They are provided guidance and tools to help them track and measure what’s important to their business.
“It’s education but it’s also individual consulting, question and answers, all solely based on their business and their information,” said Sahatjian.
“They come away from it really empowered but they also walk away with this incredible group of professionals that volunteer their time. So not only do they have a better understanding but they have this group of people who are great resources; whether they are the sponsors, guest experts, commercial loan officers or other professionals.”
Sahatjian has been teaching in the Emerging Leaders Program for seven years. The program is specifically designed for small businesses and is seven months in length.
Its goal is for small businesses to come out with a three-year strategic plan.
During the program, business owners run through models in human resources, marketing, contracting and more. They end their time presenting their strategic growth program, receiving feedback from a panel of professionals.
But it doesn’t stop there, said Sahatjian. “We keep the engagement going with them after that. We follow up and want them to know we are a continuing resource.”
Sahatjian said the overall result from community business owners participating in these classes and others that are similar is a strong sense of pride, confidence and community teamwork.
“It gives them encouragement and a plan,” she said. “The biggest thing is there are so many that feel like they are in it alone. But when they come to these classes and meet others, there is a relief that they are not the only ones experiencing it.
“They suddenly have people they can relate to, share experiences with — and the growth that comes from that sense of support, the networks they develop, they come away energized and excited, which is such an important piece. And then they take that into our community.”
For those interested in registering for the Balanced class, there is still time.