Since 1997, the number of businesses owned by a woman has gone up by 43 percent in Washington state. The Seattle urban area alone has seen an increase of 20,000 businesses with women at the helm since 2004.
Five of those women were honored on Oct. 6 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, by Women Business Owners, a Puget Sound organization of female entrepreneurs in the region, with nominations for the prestigious Nellie Cashman Award for Business Owner of the Year. KOMO 4’s Connie Thompson served as master of ceremonies for the event.
This year, the award was given to Andrea Duffield of MOSAIC Rehabilitation, Inc. who runs four children’s therapy clinics in the Seattle metropolitan area, including Bellevue and Issaquah. In addition, Issaquah entrepreneurs Sari Davidson of Booginhead, LLC and Dr. Terry Jacobson of TLJ Aesthetics, MD were both nominated for receipt of the 35th annual Nellie Cashman Award.
Nellie Cashman was a pioneer who broke through the restrictions for 19th century women and became a successful owner of several boarding houses, restaurants, grocery stores and mining supply stores, as well as a miner and prospector. Immigrating from Ireland in the mid-1800s, Cashman traveled far for her career, from Arizona to the Klondike. Helping others was important to Cashman; she was a philanthropist of the Sisters of Saint Ann in Victoria, B.C. and she even rescued a group of stranded miners in the Cassiar Mountains in northern B.C.
In the spirit of its namesake, the Nellie Cashman Award is presented to women who possess a sharp business acumen as well as a deep sense of caring for their community. To be eligible for the award, female business owners must demonstrate “entrepreneurial spirit, ethics and community spirit, financial management skill and the difficulty and risk they have endured to achieve their success,” according to WBO.
The 2016 Nellie Cashman Award went to Duffield, the president and CEO of MOSAIC Rehabilitation, Inc. Her clinics provide pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as behavioral and psychological services to children, adolescents and young adults.
In 2015, Duffield expanded the scope and type of services that MOSAIC provides to include home and community-based intervention services. Duffield is a licensed speech and language pathologist who received a master’s degree in this specialty from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association, the Seattle Children’s Hospital Autism Guild, and serves on the Board of Directors for Manos Unidas, a nonprofit school for special needs children in Cusco, Peru.
Prior to serving on Manos Unidas’ board, she actively volunteered for multiple other local charities. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in 2014 and 2015.
BooginHead began when Davidson found herself dealing with a problem common to mothers around the nation — a child throwing sippy cups on the floor for fun. Tired of constantly picking up the cups and unable to find a solution in stores, Davidson got out her sewing machine and invented the “Sippigrip,” a strap that attaches a baby’s cup to a high chair.
“It honestly never even occured to me not to do it myself,” Davidson said in a speech at the gala. She later added to the Reporter that she has “always thought big” and intended from day one to market her innovative creation.
Nearly a decade after the Sippigrip was first launched, BooginHead is a booming $3.5 million company selling a variety of baby products to retailers including Babies “R” Us, Walmart and Amazon, and Davidson has made the list of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.
Davidson credits her parents, also entrepreneurs, with instilling within her a hard work ethic. Her mother, a bookstore owner, worked every day to make her business succeed.
“I saw the power of what you can do for yourself if you work hard,” Davidson said. And it’s a lesson Davidson is passing on to her two sons as well, whom she calls her “motivation to succeed.”
Jacobson has been in practice for 18 years, providing both internal and aesthetic medicine to her patients.