Soundoff: American Express OPEN Launches CEO BootCamp for Women Entrepreneurs

  Soundoff: American Express OPEN Launches CEO BootCamp for Women

OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp Boosts Confidence, Competence and Connections as
               Essentials of Success for Women Business Owners

  Program Features Leading Academics, Advocacy Organizations and Visionaries

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- September 20, 2013

Today American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express,
announced OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp, a first-of-its-kind program that
teaches women entrepreneurs some of the fundamental pillars for successful
ventures - confidence, competence and connections as recognized by a number of
renowned experts in entrepreneurship.

According to the most recent State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,
commissioned by American Express OPEN, between 2007 and 2013, at a time when
the economy faced substantial headwinds, female entrepreneurs started
businesses at a rate 150% higher than the national average, adding 175,000
jobs to the U.S. economy. CEO BootCamp is designed to build on these
accomplishments by helping women become even better chief executive officers
and unleash the full potential of their companies.

New Research Identifying Mindset Barriers Helps Shape National CEO BootCamp

To help shape the program, OPEN commissioned a national survey of female
entrepreneurs to identify obstacles and opportunities facing women business
owners. The American Express OPEN Mindset Survey shows that 41% of women
entrepreneurs surveyed say that making the mental or personal commitment to
grow is the most important trigger that could take their business to the next
level. The research also found that only half of women surveyed (54%) consider
themselves a success when asked about their business performance.

“Given our rich legacy in the women’s entrepreneurship space, and the existing
need, the time is right to establish this program that speaks to the mindset
of women entrepreneurs,” said Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN.
“CEO BootCamp can help women overcome obstacles that may be holding them back
through highly focused programs on strategies for scaling their business and,
in turn, increase the overall economic clout of women-owned businesses.”

CEO BootCamp works with leading academics, major advocacy organizations and a
who’s who of visionaries on enhancing the power and potential of women
entrepreneurs. The program is meant for all women entrepreneurs to help them
hone their skills and address hurdles that can act as barriers to reaching
their full potential, regardless of industry, size or revenue.

Participants in the program can benefit year-round as members of the free CEO
BootCamp community by joining CEO BootCamp circles through the online
community platform Here they can create or join circles to
connect with others that share their same interests and passions. Through
these circles, community members will have access to exclusive content as well
as networking and mentoring opportunities. To learn more about the CEO
BootCamp community on MightyBell go to

The program content, which was developed based on findings from the American
Express OPEN Mindset Survey, will reinforce some of the fundamental pillars
that lead to success. Specific themes include:

  *Leading so others can follow

       *Only 26% of women entrepreneurs rate themselves as excellent
         delegators and subsequently a majority of women entrepreneurs (70%)
         say they are hands-on leaders even though sharing responsibility
         might be beneficial

  *Harnessing the power of money

       *Just 39% of women say they are excellent in managing their

  *Learning to love the spotlight

       *Roughly a quarter of women entrepreneurs (27%) report positioning
         themselves as leaders in their industry in order to drive business to
         their business

  *Tackling tough decisions

       *Nearly half of women entrepreneurs (49%) say they are excellent
         decision makers; while only 26% say they are excellent negotiators

  *Establishing a path for growth

       *53% of women entrepreneurs say they are motivated to make more money
         and 62% say they have clear growth targets and a budget plan to reach

  *Broadening your network and building a board of advisors

       *34% of women entrepreneurs rate their networking skills as fair/poor
         and the vast majority (85%) of women say they rarely/never seek
         business advice from a formal board

To reinforce these themes, American Express OPEN has developed a number of
Insight Guides that will be used to deliver the CEO BootCamp curriculum to
thousands of business owners across the country.

“I am pleased to learn of this new initiative to help prepare women chief
executives around what we deem to be the three most necessary competencies of
an effective business leader – confidence, competence and connections,” said
Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., president and founder of the Women Presidents’
Organization. “Possessing the self-assurance and optimism to grow a business,
combined with having a fine-tuned skill set and developed ability to network,
equate to the most successful business outcomes.”

OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp officially kicks off at an all-day summit today
at the American Express Global Headquarters in New York City.

The event will feature a number of female business leaders and recognized
industry experts including:

  *Charlotte Beers – Businesswoman and former Under Secretary of State
  *Gina Bianchini – CEO and Founder of  MightyBell
  *Mika Brzezinski – Co-Host, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”
  *Tory Burch – CEO, Tory Burch and President, Tory Burch Foundation
  *Robin Chase – CEO, Buzzcar and Co-founder, Zipcar
  *Jean Chatzky – Financial Editor, NBC’s “Today” Show
  *Melinda Emerson – Author and small business expert known as the
  *Angie Hicks – Co-founder and CMO, Angie’s List
  *Gayle Tzemach Lemmon – Author and Deputy Director, Council on Foreign
  *Valerie Morris – Author and former CNN anchor
  *Mally Roncal – Founder and CEO of  Mally Beauty
  *Julie Weeks – Founder and CEO of Womenable

All main stage sessions will be available to view at

Upcoming Events

Programming and content will also be offered at the NAWBO Women’s Business
Conference 2013 (Oct. 3-5 in Miami, FL), Digital UnDivided’s Focus 100 (Oct.
4-5 in New York City) and Women Leadership Exchange events (Oct. 15 in New
York City and Nov. 7 in Chicago).

Survey Methodology

The  American Express OPEN Mindset Survey was conducted among a nationally
representative sample of 300 female small business owners of companies with
fewer than 100 employees. The survey was conducted online by Ebiquity
(formerly Echo Research) from August 2-9, 2013. The poll has a margin of error
of +/-5.7 (n=300).

About American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses
in the United States and supports business owners and entrepreneurs with
products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This
includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power,
flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of
partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability.
Learn more at and connect with us at and

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business
success.Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit
cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business
travel, and corporate card.


M Booth
Alex Della Rocca, 212-539-3203
American Express OPEN
Scott Krugman, 212-640-3244
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