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WISE Women’s Business Center director, Lenweaver, to retire in September

By Eric Reinhardt

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Joanne Lenweaver, director of the WISE Women’s Business Center, plans to retire in September. The center currently operates inside Axa Tower I at 100 Madison St. in Syracuse. WISE, an entrepreneurship project of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, is short for Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. (ERIC REINHARDT / BJNN)

SYRACUSE — Joanne Lenweaver, who’s served as director of the WISE Women’s Business Center for the past decade, tells CNYBJ she plans to retire at the end of September.

WISE — which is short for Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship — is an entrepreneurship project of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. The center currently operates inside Axa Tower I at 100 Madison St. in Syracuse.

Lenweaver spoke with CNYBJ in a May 30 telephone interview. When asked about what she plans to do in retirement, Lenweaver, who calls herself a “serial entrepreneur,” says she will be “thinking in terms of things like that.” 

Lenweaver, who assumed the role of WISE Women’s Business Center director in January 2009, is an employee of Syracuse University. The process has started to find Lenweaver’s successor in the role, she says.

Syracuse University will determine who succeeds Lenweaver in the role, Kerri Howell, director of communications and media relations for the Whitman School, said in an email response to a CNYBJ inquiry.

“Several” grants and funders help the Whitman School operate the WISE program, Howell noted. They include the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Office of Women’s Business Ownership. 

About WISE

The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship — a program of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University — launched the entrepreneurial venture WISE in 2003, per the WISE website. 

WISE is an initiative that seeks to “train and inspire” women interested in launching or growing a business venture. The objectives of all training and events are to provide information, resources, and support for women entrepreneurs, “enabling each to successfully advance their businesses to the next stage of profitability and success,” the website says.

The program’s goal is to “create a thriving community” of women entrepreneurs through two initiatives: the one-day WISE Symposium and the year-round WISE Women’s Business Center.   

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