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Women's Initiative

How to EnterCompany: Women's Initiative, Fremont, CA
Entry Submitted By: ALOM Technologies, Fremont, CA
Company Description: ALOM provides full-service assembly and fulfillment. We work with clients sharing a common goal: a commitment to their customers and passion for excellence, consistency and accuracy. We are quality focused, extremely organized, and infinitely flexible. The company was founded in 1997 by its current CEO, Hannah Kain.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Executive - Non-Profit or Government - Up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Julie Abrams, CEO, Women's Initiative

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

Julie Abrams is the CEO of Women’s Initiative, an organization that supports
entrepreneurship among low-income women. Providing training and support to the
women, 78% of whom are of color and with an average age of 41 years, Women’s
Initiative has proven results with most women starting successful businesses after
graduating, and each dollar invested returning 30 dollars to the community.
When Julie Abrams was hired onto Women's Initiative, her mission was to take
the non-profit organization from a small operations with essentially one big
supporter, to a broad-based organization. In short order, Julie Abrams expanded
the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment to operate bilingual training centers in
twelve locations.

In a difficult economic climate, Julie Abrams has kept her focus. This has allowed
the organization to exceed its goals for 2009. An expected 3,000 women will go
through training and support to become entrepreneurs. Graduates are expected to
generate over 1,000 jobs within the next year, in addition to their own employment.
Annual household income for participants entering the business training program
is just $14,000. Two years after training, it leaps to over $37,000.

In addition to keeping the organization on-track through the recession, Julie
Abrams has laid the foundation for continued growth by recruiting volunteers, board
members and developing partnerships.

Julie Abrams long-term results are as impressive as her leadership through the
last year with significant results since 2001:
•             Expanded services and results more than ten-fold.  Expanded from 3 to
12 locations; built and managed strong multi-site culture
•             Strategic planning and creation of new mission, vision and values
•             Built diverse, replicable funding base in multiple counties; grew from
$1.3M to $5M in annual funds
•             Built major gifts program; launched $20 million campaign including
securing 4 initial gifts over $1,000,000 and total of $12M at mid point
•             Built organization to national and international leadership position;
frequently asked to represent U.S. perspective in microfinance
•             Led founder transition and built 6 strong boards that raise money and
lend strategic advantage to the organization
Among staff and volunteers Julie is known for her friendly and warm personality
with a kind and encouraging word for everyone. Yet her vision, energy and focus
keep everyone on mission and committed. Named a potential candidate for
becoming US President one day, Julie Abrams is a true leader who deserves the
highest recognition.

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 100 words):

Julie Castro Abrams has been CEO of Women’s Initiative since 2001. Julie is the
recipient of the League of Women Voter’s “Women Who Could Be President”
Award, SBA Advocate of the year 2009, Human Rights Award from the
Commission on the Status of Women, the Women of Color Action Network Award.
Julie currently serves on the Board of the California Association for
Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) and on the OneCalifornia Bank Advisory board. Julie has a
BA in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She
currently lives in Novato with her husband and two children.