October 29, 2018
Focus on outstanding women in business

Successful women shape our community

Amy Lynn Chase

When WBJ Editor Brad Kane called and asked if I would share my thoughts about the business women who have come before me, my first thought was, "Wow, what an honor!" My second thought was, "Honestly, where would I personally be without some of these women?" That thought stuck in my head for the rest of the drive home from The Haberdash in Hudson, the location of my fourth business venture in Central Massachusetts.

People regularly ask me about my business background. I hope it's because I look younger than I am (thanks for the good genes, Dad). I'm often asked how I got started in antiques and how I opened a wedding venue. The answer usually goes like this: "One day I got a crazy idea and decided to run it by someone." Most of the time, that someone is a female in business I look up to. Having smart females in your corner is so powerful. When a strong woman has faith in you, you never feel like you're going it alone. You know they are invested in you and there to help you succeed.

I can't even count the number of times another female business leader in Worcester has offered me a helping hand.

Five years ago, I wanted to start a farmers market in Worcester's Canal District. With the nearest grocery store more than a mile away and a steady stream of customers at my shop, Crompton Collective, I knew it would be a huge benefit to our neighborhood. But with my store just starting out, we didn't have the funds to start this undertaking alone. When I mentioned my idea to Kate McEvoy at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, she immediately jumped in and helped me create a packet for potential sponsors. That packet showed area businesses how it valuable it would be for them to get involved with our project, and it ultimately allowed me to create Massachusetts' first year-round farmers market. Kate's guidance was instrumental in making that happen.

A year later, I had the idea to open a wedding venue in the 5,000-square-foot warehouse space next to Crompton Collective. I reached out to a number of local acquaintances in the event industry but was discouraged by the advice I received: The business is difficult, and I shouldn't pursue it without experience.

Despite these warnings, it was Struck Catering founder Barbara Cotter who said, "Just do it, Amy. It will be great, you will be great, and we will help you learn the wedding business as you go." The White Room is now an award-winning venue and hosts multiple weddings a month alongside Barbara and her team at Struck, and I'm so appreciative to Barbara for her inspiration and support.

Susan Mailman at Coghlin Electrical Contractors is another powerful Worcester woman who has literally offered me a seat at her table. When she learned we share a passion for trade school education, she reached out to me and encouraged me to get more involved with trade schools in Worcester. I began offering internships at Crompton Collective in collaboration with my alma mater, Worcester Technical High School, and this program provides valuable job experience for several students each year. Sue showed me I could give back to my community, and in ways I would have never thought of. I'm so thankful for her mentorship.

Very early on in my business quests, I noticed Worcester was filled with women who were not afraid to follow their dreams. With endless examples of females leading fields once thought of as male-dominated, it made it so much easier for me to picture my success.

The contributions of the Outstanding Women in Business and other successful females in Worcester have shaped our city and our lives in very positive ways. Whether it's savvy small business owners or our fearless elected leaders, champions of the arts, or community advocates, we owe a lot to these women, past and present. When we work together, we share in each other's successes. We can pave the way for future generations. We can guarantee the future is female.

Amy Lynn Chase is the owner of Crompton Collective and the White Room in Worcester and The Haberdash in Hudson. She is the 2018 WBJ Innovative Business Leader of the Year.

Read more about the 2018 Outstanding Women in Business:

Kate Sharry, president of Group Benefits Strategies

Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA, co-managing partner of AAFCPAs

Laurie Masiello, president of Masy Bioservices

Jennifer Luisa, vice president of marketing and communications at The Hanover Insurance Group

Marianne Lancaster, president of Lancaster Packaging Inc.

Sandra Brock, PE, vice president and chief engineer at Nitsch Engineering

Read about this year's judges

Read about the nine previous years of Outstanding Women in Business award winners:

2017 alumnae

2016 alumnae

2015 alumnae

2014 alumnae

2013 alumnae

2012 alumnae

2011 alumnae

2010 alumnae

2009 alumnae

Check out a column from this year's Innovative Business Leader of the Year on the importance of women business leaders in the Central Mass. community

Successful women shape our community


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