Impassioned & Inspiring


March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates the many significant contributions made by women throughout history. Entrepreneurship was once considered men’s territory; but more and more women are starting their own businesses, empowered and inspired by the examples of others. In honor of Women’s History Month, MCM chose a group of successful female business owners in the area and asked them what it’s like to lead their own companies. They also shared their thoughts about what they have achieved, and who has inspired them in pursuit of their entrepreneurial endeavors.

businesswomen-4Christine Hanczaryk, DC
Hanczaryk Chiropractic
Neurology Group

Dr. Christine Hanczaryk opened Hanczaryk Chiropractic Neurology Group with her father, Dr. Micheil Hanczaryk in 2012, after practicing with him for eight years at Bristol Chiropractic Centre, P.C. “The staff at HCNG includes both doctors of chiropractic and chiropractic neurologists,” she explains. “They provide non-invasive treatment that targets the underlying problem, not just the symptoms.” Just like medical neurologists, they treat a wide range of neurological conditions, with the important difference being that the treatment and therapy do not include drugs or surgery. “We are a chiropractic neurology-based center, which is committed to improving brain and nerve function, thus improving the quality of life,” she says. Her business is growing – she has doubled her practice space within the last four years.

Dr. Hanczaryk’s love of chiropractic started at a very early age. “I’m sure I was innately born with it,” she laughs. “My father was a chiropractor and I knew it was the path for me. He always said, ‘When your body is in a state of dis-ease, the disease process begins.’ What makes me different is that my passion is for not only chiropractic, but also the human heart and soul. I truly care, and patients are my first priority.”

As a business owner, Christine says her biggest struggle is finding balance – to “do it all” when it comes to family, relationships and all the roles she must fill. “You can’t ‘have it all’ at the same time,” she smiles. “I think it’s important to embrace the role you are succeeding in – whether it is your career, family or your own personal happiness,” she says.

For other women who want to start a business, Christine has thoughtful advice. “Never forget where you came from and be confident in your abilities.” she says. “Personal branding is key! Don’t blend in. People who make a difference in the world are not like anyone else.”

What does Dr. Hanczaryk enjoy most about her business? “Nothing is more satisfying than hearing a patient say, ‘You gave me my life back!’ I have made it my life’s mission to get people under chiropractic care so they can live the life they deserve.”

businesswomen-3Marge Murphy, Owner/Executive Chef Cork on Saginaw

Marge Murphy is passionate about food and wine. She is the proprietor of Cork on Saginaw – a bistro and wine bar that serves delicious, locally-sourced, seasonal and eclectic American and European food. Prior to opening her own eatery, Marge was a personal chef and caterer, and it was her wine-and-food passion that led to the birth of Cork. Located Downtown Flint, the restaurant celebrated five years in business last month.

Cork is known for its hand-crafted cocktails, wide selection of craft, domestic, imported and Michigan beers, as well as 150 varieties of wine from all over the world. It has become a popular spot to unwind after a hard day at the office, and on the second floor is a private wine room that can be reserved for catered events. And Marge enjoys being a Flint business owner. “We chose Downtown because we wanted to be part of the revitalization there,” Marge says. “Because I live in the city, I wanted to reinvest and open a storefront in Downtown Flint.” And before deciding where the restaurant would be located, she also had a clear idea of how she wanted to do it. “After 35 years in this industry, I had definite ideas of how to do things properly in the restaurant business,” she says. “I also saw a need in the community for what I do.” Marge finds her work to be very rewarding. “One of the most satisfying things is making people happy!” she exclaims. “I love to feed people. It’s also most satisfying to give 18 fantastic people a job and contribute to the restructuring of Downtown Flint.”

Has Marge faced any challenges as far as a woman business owner? “I have never felt that I faced particular challenges,” she says. “If you have the skills and surround yourself with good people, you can accomplish anything.”

Marge and her staff are also very community oriented. “We do as much as we can for our community, whether it’s a fundraiser or donating to someone’s efforts. I am partial to issues that concern women and children within our community.”

What advice does Marge have for aspiring business owners? “Whether you’re a woman or a man, you must be passionate and dedicated. Strive to be the best at what you do … and be prepared to work long hours!” ♦


Marjorie Shard, CPF, CEO,
Wealth Advisor
Shard Financial Services, Inc.

Marjorie Shard has been in the financial planning industry since 2001 and founded her own company ten years ago. She wanted her own business because she wanted the freedom to make business decisions. “I wanted to decide how to market and build my career without anyone telling me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do,” she says. And it has been a satisfying career: “I love the people I have been able to help over the last ten years, and I love the team I have built and how dedicated they are to our clients.”

The business does have its challenges. “I’ve been a big advocate of helping women become financially literate, because there is a huge gap between female and male financial literacy,” says Marjorie. “I’m passionate about helping people become financially literate.” To close this gap, she wrote a best-selling book, Financial Planning Exposed: Overcoming Myths to Create a Secure Future and also has a national podcast that helps educate the public. “I’m a big advocate of making sure that both spouses – whether female or male – are part of the financial conversation and decisions,” she says.

Marjorie is also passionate about her community service efforts. “I created Backpack Night, which is the fundraiser that my company hosts every year in March along with my husband’s company, Shard Marketing & Branding.” The current benefactor is the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s Backpack Program, and the funds help feed over 50 percent of Genesee County school children, who receive a backpack filled with food to eat at home on the weekends. “We’ve raised more money each year and continued to increase the funding over the last five years,” Marjorie says. She also helped create 100 Women Igniting Change, which gives large donations to area non-profits several times a year. “I’m very proud of how involved my family and our staffs are in the community and the events we take part in!”

What advice does Marjorie have for women who want to start a business? “Put a plan together and surround yourself with mentors, leaders and people who want you to succeed,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be a person who doesn’t help others. We all need to support each other and be happy for other women’s successes – even those who may be our competition.”

Joanne Shaw, CEO
Coffee Beanery

Shaw Coffee Company was founded in 1967, according to Joanne Shaw, CEO of the Coffee Beanery. The original business, Shaw Services, furnishes coffee to offices, businesses, restaurants – basically anywhere coffee is consumed. “My husband started that business and asked me to take it over when he became a manager while working full-time in an insurance company,” says Joanne. “At the time, Shaw Services had 60 customers. After taking it over, I was able to grow the number of customers to 200.” During the sales process, Joanne often heard people say: I like the smell of coffee, but I don’t like the taste. “So, I had a vision of opening a specialty coffee store where everyone could get very special coffee that tasted great.”

After a lot of research and hard work, they opened their first specialty coffee store in 1976 – the Coffee Beanery located in Dearborn at Fairlane Mall. But from the beginning, she knew there would be more than one store. “We were able to open eight stores during the Coffee Beanery’s first nine years!” she exclaims. In 1985, they began franchising, and in 1986 they started roasting and flavoring all of their coffees.

As to why she became a business owner, Joanne said the decision to open a Coffee Beanery just seemed like the natural thing to do at the time. “It has been a great business and at this stage, it still has so much opportunity,” she says.

Locally, the company is making great strides. “We recently opened a unique Coffee Beanery in Al Serra’s main showroom in Grand Blanc, and will soon open at Baker College,” Joanne reports. “We are very excited about the opportunity to have some great local locations and work with some really terrific local businesses and institutions.” Along with the domestic franchise stores, the Coffee Beanery has stores in China, Cyprus, Doha, Dubai, Trinidad and Kuwait.

What Joanne finds most satisfying about being a business owner is having a great product that enriches peoples’ lives. “I also love seeing the people who work or invest with us succeed.” But there have been some challenges. “At times, I wasn’t taken seriously, so I had to really do my homework and be prepared,” she says. “Mostly, being a woman has been an advantage. It allowed us to get more publicity. It allowed us to use the quotas for minority ownership to get locations in airports and malls. It opened doors for serving on for-profit and non-profit boards, as many of them want to be diverse.”

Community involvement is important to Joanne. “We have a wonderful program for helping organizations raise money,” she says. “We also serve our coffee at fundraisers such as the Santa Run for the YMCA. It is very rewarding to give back, both in our community and nationally.”

What advice would she give to a woman who wants to start a business? “If you have a great product or service that is innovative or in-demand, and a well-researched and thought-out business plan, go for it!” she advises. “Be prepared financially to personally fund that business for as long as it takes to be profitable. It usually takes twice as long as you think, and it will cost twice as much. Despite any negatives, business ownership is wonderful and very rewarding. Never limit yourself and never think you can’t do it!”

businesswomen-2Tracey Whelpley, Owner
The Lunch Studio

T he Lunch Studio has served patrons in Downtown Flint for a little over 14 years. “We sell wholesome food, fresh sandwiches, homemade soups and salads,” says Owner, Tracey Whelpley. “We try to keep it on the healthier side – but you can get a big, fat, corned beef Reuben, if you insist!” She started the eatery as a local businessperson who was frustrated trying to find a quick, fresh and relatively healthy lunch Downtown. “When I opened, there weren’t many places for lunch besides bars and fast food,” she explains. “People were really excited and supportive. I have great customers who have become my friends over the years.”

Tracey had always wanted to be her own boss. “I like knowing that my success or failure is on me, it drives me to avoid the latter,” she smiles. “When you are spending at least a third of your life doing something, you want to feel good about it, and I feel very good about this.”

Owning a business is satisfying for Tracey. “People appreciate and value what we do. I say ‘we’ because I have a great staff who have become my very good friends, and I consider them partners. They are a huge part of what is great about this place. I trust them, and they truly care about the business. I’ve been lucky that way. We love to make people happy with food.”

Tracey says she has not found being a female business owner to be challenging. “My parents gave me the sense that I could do anything I wanted to in life; I thought I could do whatever my brothers could do. I take responsibility for myself. If I can’t do something, I have this silly notion that I can figure it out if I have to.”

Being involved in the community that supports her business is important to Tracey. “We are very tied to the community. We raise funds for great causes, like The Local Grocer start-up and Priority Children,” she says. In return, the community has shown support for The Lunch Studio. “When we were in danger of losing the building, which we were leasing, Crystal Pepperdine, a great friend of The Lunch Studio, organized a campaign to help raise a down-payment so we could buy the building,” says Tracey. “I was embarrassed at first; but when I saw how supportive everyone was, I felt better about the whole thing. We have great relationships with the local people and organizations.”

What advice would she give to women who want to start a business? “Be realistic. If it’s your dream, do it; work your labor of love. For me, the whole thing was about following a dream. It’s not exactly what I expected, but I don’t regret it one bit. Don’t be impatient or hasty about getting something started. Do the research, write a business plan, get advice, and then heed the good.” ♦

What woman has been an inspiration to you?

There are two women who have inspired me: Serena Williams and Kelly Cutrone. Serena, because of her drive, discipline and love of tennis. Not only has she faced the challenge of being a woman athlete, she has persevered through very debilitating health issues. Kelly Cutrone, because of the empire she has created by owning one of the largest PR firms in New York City – as a 23-year-old! I think that she is a rock star when it comes to women’s empowerment.

What woman has been an inspiration to you?

Well, there is a handful of women and men who have inspired me – and they know who they are!

What woman has been an inspiration to you?

Diana Nyad. I met her last year and heard her story about how she trained for the swim from Cuba to Florida. It took her five attempts to actually complete the feat. Her determination even after failing four times, along with her physical, mental and emotional stamina amazed me. I think it is one of the greatest examples of not quitting and going after your dreams. It’s a great metaphor for life and business.

What woman has been an inspiration to you?

Condoleezza Rice. She is incredibly bright, well informed, articulate and good at analyzing situations and communicating the right solutions.


What woman has been an inspiration to you?

There have been many! Of course, my mother is the one who gave me the idea that I could do anything I set my mind to. She worked many jobs while raising a family and still ran the house, cooked and cleaned. She had six kids! I can’t imagine doing that! She has always been my champion and a great example to me.


Photos by Mike Naddeo & Denver Smith


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