Community Involvement

Nine Key Takeaways from the 2024 WBENC National Conference

7 May 2024

Attending the 2024 WBENC National Conference was truly an inspiring event. With over 5,000 women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders connecting and supporting each other. West Hill’s Louise Kennedy, Shehla Syed and Jennica Holoquist discovered innovative best practices and celebrated the accomplishments of women-owned businesses.

1. Women entrepreneurs should never be afraid to ask for help.

This conference was all about supporting women business owners, making connections, and sharing ideas. Answers and help were around every corner, from informal advice to corporate mentorship programs for diverse businesses. The focus was on helping women-owned businesses grow and thrive. 

2. Corporate leaders see the value of working with women-owned businesses.

According to WBENC, more than 1,000 corporations in the US have committed to spending over $1 billion each year with Women-Owned Businesses. At the conference this year, many of these corporations were honored for their long-term commitment to diversifying their supply chains. 

3. Be prepared. There’s opportunity around every corner.

Some of the best connections are made while standing in line for coffee, waiting for a program to start, or wandering through the expo. Make the most of these opportunities by introducing yourself. Explain what you do and who you serve. Tell your brand story. Know your differentiators. Ask about others’ businesses. Each person you meet may not be an ideal potential client, but they can be connectors, referral sources and mentors. 

4. Celebrating the accomplishments of women-owned businesses is important.

The conference included a variety of celebrations and fun activities to recognize the achievements of women entrepreneurs. The business journey, particularly in male-dominated fields, is challenging, and it’s important to celebrate wins along the way! Shout out to the 2024 WBE Stars, including the West Hill Founding Attorney, Louise Kennedy, for being recognized for their achievements live at the conference. 

5. Birds of a feather flock together.

Dynamic entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to improve their skills and build their networks. So it’s not a surprise that the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program was well represented with both an expo table and lots of alumni in attendance. The 2024 WBE Stars alone included multiple 10KSB alumni, including Louise Kennedy, Barb Smith, Michele Adams, and others.  

6. Roll out the welcome mat.

The vibe of the West Hill conference booth was friendly and approachable. Tucked in a corner but with brightly colored graphics, a bouquet of flowers, and a pitcher of lemonade, WBEs, and corporate members stopped by for a chat. Smiling, friendly, and passionate about what they do, the West Hill team put people at ease (despite their prior experiences talking to lawyers).  

7. WBENC certification is a valuable tool for women-owned businesses.

According to WBENC, women-owned businesses that are certified through their program are more likely to win contracts and secure new business opportunities. The WBENC application (especially the legal documentation section) can be daunting, but if you are ready to get certified as a Women-Owned Business, West Hill can help you navigate the process.  

“West Hill has been WBENC certified since 2013 and it has unlocked countless opportunities for our firm. WBENC is truly the leading women’s business development organization and I encourage all current WBEs and other women-owned businesses to tap into the limitless potential of the WBENC network,”

said Louise Kennedy.

8. Amplify. Collaboration is key to success in business.

Through productive Meet & Greets with corporate members and other networking opportunities at every turn, we were able to connect with other women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to explore potential partnerships and collaborations. It was also a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with friends from WBENC educational events like WeThrive and the Advanced Leadership Seminar. 

9. Walk the Walk.
The best way to help a woman owned business is to work with a women owned business.

Hire or source products from a woman-owned business. It is good for business and good for your community. Women-owned businesses fuel the economy, representing 39.1% of all businesses – over 14 million – employing 12.2 million workers and generating $2.7 trillion in revenue. According to the 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women-Owned Business Report, in partnership with Ventureneer, CoreWoman, and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the number of women-owned businesses increased at nearly double the rate of those owned by men between 2019 and 2023; and from 2022 to 2023, the rate of growth increased to 4.5 times. 

 “How long do you want to sit and admire the problem before you start working on addressing the issue? Ignite change.”

Nellie Borrero, author of Unwavering

Attorney Spotlight: Louise Kennedy to present NSTC Program on How Non-Patent IP Protection Can Increase the Value of your Company

10 January 2024

Your company’s intellectual property may be one of your most valuable assets. But how do you go about protecting that asset? What intellectual property do you have in your business and how can you protect it? The North Shore Technology Council has invited Louise Kennedy, the West Hill Founder, to lead a program titled IP is Not Just Patents. Join Louise for a FREE lunch-hour zoom on Thursday, January 25th, from 12-1 pm. Register here today. Both NSTC members and non-members are welcome to attend.

This program will discuss how using copyright, trademark, and trade secret protection can increase the value of your company. Louise will also walk through the steps required to protect non-patent intellectual property assets. These include copyright and trademark filings, as well as company policies. The discussion will cover the role of contracts for routine business transactions in preserving these rights. Finally, Louise will walk through typical IP-related questions in M&A due diligence and why you should ask them or be prepared to answer them.

About the North Shore Technology Council

The NSTC hosts unique learning/networking events for innovators, entrepreneurs, service providers and career-seekers north of Boston – and beyondconnecting them with global experts across technology and the sciences – and each other – to build knowledge and foster collaboration that drives personal and business growth. Find out more about the NSTC and its membership here.

About Louise Kennedy

Louise Leduc Kennedy is the founding attorney of West Hill Technology Counsel. She has extensive experience advising technology companies on intellectual property and strategic matters. She is passionate about service agreements and ensuring her clients understand the legal jargon in their agreements so they are legally protected and positioned for growth. Louise loves working with innovative women and their entrepreneurial businesses.

Prior to forming the firm, Ms. Kennedy worked as in-house counsel at IBM Corporation for 9 years. During this time she supported the Global Sales and Distribution Group, IBM Business Consulting Services as well as the Lotus brand within IBM Software Group. Her responsibilities included the structure and negotiation of complex e-marketplace offerings as well as supply-chain management and e-procurement software alliances.

Louise received her B.A. in Economics from Smith College and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. 

Pushing Edges. Innovative Women on a Mission: Technology for the Greater Good

24 October 2023

On Thursday, October 19th, at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, the North Shore Technology Council (NSTC), held its Second Annual Women in Technology Forum: Women on a Mission –Technology for the Greater Good. Louise Kennedy, West Hill’s Founding Attorney, moderated the panel of inspiring women who discussed their entrepreneurial journeys and mission-driven technology businesses.

The Speakers and Their Missions

The evening started with an inspiring keynote from Erika Ebbel Angle, CEO of Ixcela focused on “Pushing Edges” with stories from her personal and professional journeys. “The combined energies that you spend pushing your edges will help you gain the confidence that it takes to do other things. You set your standards and push your limits, and those will end up defining your edges.” By pushing her edges, Ms. Angle founded Science from Scientists, became Miss Massachusetts, and started Ixcela, a biotech company that creates personalized wellness programs focused on gut microbiome health.

Louise Kennedy introduced the panel and told the story of the West Hill Mission. Part of the West Hill Mission is disrupting the status quo by challenging the traditional hallmarks and metrics of law firm and attorney success. “The firm remains committed to supporting and elevating women in the legal community and the technology businesses we work with,” said Louise. 

The packed room was buzzing as the panel answered questions and told their own stories of disrupting the status quo and pushing their edges. The panel included: Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek, Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials, Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics, and Donna Brezinski, CEO of Little Sparrow Technologies.

The NSTC and the Event Sponsors

The evening concluded with the NSTC President, Gene Wong, recognizing and paying tribute to, past NSTC President, Tracey Curley, who is currently CEO at iSpecimen. For more information on the North Shore Technology Counsel please follow the NSTC on LinkedIn and visit NSTC.org.

West Hill Technology Counsel is a proud supporter of the NSTC along with the following sponsors of this event: Endicott College School of Science & Technology, Colin & Erika Angle Center for Entrepreneurship, Cohn Reznick, Applied Materials, Bond Building, and Green Path Strategies.

  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
  • Ferncroft Country Club NSTC Women on a Mission Oct 2023
    Ferncroft Country Club NSTC Women on a Mission Oct 2023
  • Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kathleen Shaffer and Kim Biggs from West Hill
  • Louise Kennedy, Kathleen Shaffer, Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kim Biggs, Brendan Kennedy and Tom Kennedy at the West Hill table.
    Louise Kennedy, Kathleen Shaffer, Shehla Syed, Wendy Sabin, Kim Biggs, Brendan Kennedy and Tom Kennedy at the West Hill table.
  • Erika Angle, Keynote
    Erika Angle, CEO of Ixcela, delivering the keynote
  • Erika Angle, Keynote on Pushing Edges
    Erika Angle, Keynote on Pushing Edges
  • Louise Kennedy hosting and introucing the panel
  • Louise Kennedy introducing the panel
  • Louise Kennedy, Founding Attorney, West Hill Forum Host
    Louise Kennedy, hosting the NSTC Women in Tech Forum
  • Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials,
    Panelist: Ioana Knopf, CEO and Founder at Arrakis Materials,
  • Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek
    Panelist: Kathleen Connors, Founder and President of Voltrek
  • Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics,
    Panelist: Kerry Love, CEO/President of Sunflower Therapeutics,
  • Panelist: Donna Brezinski, CEo of Little Sparrow Technologies
  • Louise Kennedy, Founder and CEO of West Hill introducing the NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
    Louise Kennedy, Founder and CEO of West Hill introducing the NSTC Women in Technology Forum Panel
  • Panelist: Kathleen Connors
  • Andrew Noble and Brendan Kennedy at the West Hill table
    Andrew Noble and Brendan Kennedy at the West Hill table
  • Gene Wong NSTC President honoring past president Tracey Curley
    Gene Wong NSTC President honoring past president Tracey Curley
  • Tracey Curley, current CEO at iSpecimen.
    Tracey Curley, current CEO at iSpecimen.
  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum Women on a Mission Technology for the Greater Good
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum Women on a Mission
  • Tracey Curley, iSpecimen CEO
    Tracey Curley, NSTC Past President and current iSpecimen CEO
  • NSTC Women in Technology Forum
    NSTC Women in Technology Forum
  • North Shore Technology Council Women in Technology Forum
    North Shore Technology Council Women in Technology Forum
  • West Hill Mission
  • West Hill Program Guide Ad

West Hill Proudly Supports the Million Dollar Women Symposium

10 October 2023

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University hosted the Million Dollar Women Symposium at the Hawthorne Hotel on September 29th. West Hill Technology Counsel is a legacy sponsor of this event that celebrated 15 years of spotlighting women entrepreneurs who have achieved a million dollars in revenue per year on the North Shore. 

Million Dollar Women Panelists

As a past Million Dollar Woman panelist, Louise Kennedy was invited to introduce the panel of four honorees. The panel included: Rajia Abedelaziz, CEO of invisaWear, Natalie Blue and Madelene Pario, Co-Founders of the Artful Life Counseling Center & Studio and Jeysi Zuniga, President and CEO of Synergy Contracting, Inc.

Abdelaziz’s company sells smart jewelry and accessories with safety technology hidden inside. Her mission is to prevent sexual assault, as currently one in five women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes.

Blue and Pario’s center, The Artful Life, is a unique mental health counseling practice and studio in Salem. They utilize expressive-arts therapy and other holistic interactive methods as an affordable alternative to traditional mental health counseling.

Zuniga’s Lawrence-based company provides environmental remediation, demolition, painting, and construction services. She has worked in a variety of fields including real estate and biotechnology.

Keynote

The keynote speaker was Rhonda Kallman, Founder & CEO of Boston Harbor Distillery. Kallman has nearly four decades of experience in the alcoholic beverages industry. She is widely considered one of the a national thought leader in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

About the Enterprise Center

Laura Swanson, the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center and also the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, and her team organizes the event annually to spotlight successful women business owners and inspire future women entrepreneurs in and around Boston.

  • Louise Kennedy from West Hill Moderating Panel at Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Louise Kennedy from West Hill introducing the Million Dollar Women Symposium panel.
  • Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium.
  • Louise Kennedy Million Dollar Women Symposium Panel Moderator
  • West Hill Sponsors Million Dollar Women Symposium
  • Wendy Sabin and Louise Kennedy from West Hill and entrepreneur Jessica Moody from Moody's Gifts at the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Wendy Sabin (West Hill), Jessica Moody (Moody’s Gifts), and Louise Kennedy (West Hill)
  • Louise Kennedy, Mabelyn Lopez, Laura Swanson, Jeysi Zuniga, Nathalie Blue, Madelene Pario, Rajia Abedelaziz and Alvania Lopez


ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy Speaking at the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

20 June 2023

Louise Leduc Kennedy has been invited to speak at the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation F3 Summer Conversations in Entrepreneurial Leadership series at the University of Connecticut. She is an alumna of the University of Connecticut School of Law and will address the cohort of First Year Female Founders.  

The Werth Innovator F3 Cohort pilot launched in 2020 to address the gender gap that exists in the business world when it comes to female-founded ventures. This cohort of Werth Innovators was selected at the beginning of the fall semester from a pool of first-year female-identifying students. The program focuses on building self-confidence through mentorship and peer networking at the beginning of their college career. 

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.” 

Louise has been inspired by this quote from Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer science and mathematics, and it sums up her approach to creating a unique business and technology law firm.  In her conversation with the F3 cohort, Louise will share her story of stepping off the large law firm/in-house path to launch West Hill. Since its founding, West Hill has sought to retain the best parts of sophisticated legal practice, such as constant learning, deep and practical knowledge in its areas of expertise, and commitment to superior client service. But Louise and her team have also worked hard to replace many parts of the typical law firm that weren’t working. The firm’s vision, mission, and values and a commitment to supporting its team members’ commitments to family, community, and self. Louise will discuss her journey of reimagining her industry for the better and not getting bogged down in the way things have always been done.   

West Hill is a certified woman-owned business, actively redefining the concept of private law practice. Diverse hiring practices are important to West Hill and many of West Hill’s clients either because of a corporate commitment to diversity or because hiring a certified woman-owned business assists them in attaining supplier diversity goals. 

The support and empowerment of women – including young women entrepreneurs — is a critical component of the West Hill’s success.

  

https://entrepreneurship.uconn.edu/wi/

Event Sponsorship: West Hill Sponsors the BIPLA’s 3rd Annual Symposium

28 May 2023

West Hill sponsored the Boston Intellectual Property Law Association’s (BIPLA) 3rd Annual Symposium. The event took place on May 3-4, 2023 at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, One Federal Street in Boston. It was a fun, engaging and educational experience for all. Here is a link to photos from the event: https://lnkd.in/ey999VT8

About BIPLA:
The goal of the BIPLA is to provide educational programs and a forum for the interchange of ideas and information concerning intellectual property (IP) including patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright laws. Through a volunteer Board of Governors and its various committees, the BIPLA organizes and hosts educational seminars, social events, and other programs. The Association promotes public understanding and appreciation for IP through education of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government by providing amicus briefs, regulatory comments, and feedback to policymakers.

About West Hill:
West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing pro-active, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model.

West Hill is proud to support the BIPLA Symposium
West Hill Proudly Supports the BIPLA Symposium

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy Will Judge the 2023 Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs

22 March 2023

Our Founding Attorney and Smith College alum, Louise Kennedy, will judge the annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs on April 13-15 at Smith College in Northampton, MA. This competition has been ranked #7 in the Times of Entrepreneurship Top 20 University Competitions.

The Draper Competition is designed to hone skills that undergraduate women need to advance from idea to venture creation. Through multiple rounds of competition, students demonstrate an understanding of a problem, why the problem requires a new venture to address it, and how their idea presents the best solution to the problem.

“This is my 2nd year judging the Draper Competition, and I really look forward to seeing these teams present and answer questions about their entrepreneurial vision,” said Louise Kennedy. “As counsel to several women-led companies and an alumna of Smith College, I am inspired by these young women in STEM who are leading the way for the next generation of women founders.”

West Hill is a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, actively redefining the concept of private law practice. Diverse hiring practices are important to many of West Hill’s clients either because of a corporate commitment to diversity or because hiring a certified woman-owned business assists them in attaining supplier diversity goals.

West Hill’s Louise Kennedy Receives “Top Women of Law” Honor at Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 2022 Reception

21 November 2022

On Wednesday, November 16th, 2022, our Founding Attorney, Louise Leduc Kennedy, was honored for her extraordinary achievements in the legal profession, by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a 2022 “Top Women of Law.” Each year, this highly coveted honor recognizes exceptional women lawyers who are pioneers, educators, trailblazers and role models throughout the state of Massachusetts. This award goes to attorneys who are making significant contributions to the legal profession while also serving as role models for young women entering law. 

Louise founded West Hill Technology Counsel with a twofold mission: filling a need in the market for tech-savvy counsel for growing companies and creating a firm that would help keep women attorneys in the practice. Kennedy’s interest in technology began when she was a junior associate on a case that resulted in the first published opinion in Massachusetts holding electronic mail was discoverable.  In 2008, Louise established West Hill, based on the simple premise that you need lawyers who understand and care about your business’ success. Louise is still passionate about helping entrepreneurs and growth-oriented businesses succeed and continues to cultivate a team of like-minded attorneys to support this vision.   

Louise is well-known for her work advising technology companies on a variety of strategic and commercial matters including: software licensing and commercialization, cloud computing, strategic alliances, preparing for and facilitating mergers and acquisitions and all aspects of on-line business and contracting.  

Louise is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and is a regular speaker at bar associations, the Salem State University Enterprise Center, the North Shore Technology Counsel, the Center for Women and Enterprise and other industry groups.   

Prior to forming the firm, Louise worked for many years as in-house counsel at IBM Corporation, including as brand counsel for Lotus Notes. She received her B.A. in Economics from Smith College and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law.  

Louise and fellow award recipients were celebrated at the Top Women of Law reception at the State Room in Boston on Wednesday, November 16. The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of Law feature on Louise Kennedy can be found at this link and a full list of 2022 Top Women of Law Honorees is available here.

Community Involvement: Organizations We Proudly Support

11 January 2022

West Hill believes in giving back to others and supporting local charities in the Greater Boston community that share our values. Each year West Hill makes a donation on behalf of our Clients, some of the organizations we have supported include:

  • The YMCA of the North Shore – For over 160 years, YMCA’s have been meeting the community’s needs and in this past year families are experiencing a number of situations that required more support. The YMCA of the North Shore has risen to the occasion and helped the people in our community who need help the most.
  • Beverly Bootstraps -provides critical resources to families and individuals so they may achieve self-sufficiency.
  • Essex County Habitat for Humanity – brings people together to build affordable homes, strengthen families and communities and foster hope.
  • The Victim Rights Law Center – gives free, comprehensive legal services to sexual assault victims in Massachusetts with legal issues, including privacy, safety, education, immigration, housing, employment, LGBTQ specific services, criminal justice advocacy and financial stability.
  • The American Cancer Society – A nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem.
  • Rosie’s Place – the first women-only shelter in the United States. Provides a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.

A key component of the West Hill Mission is for our team members to “fuel the growth of our business clients and the success of our communities.”  One way we do this is through an annual gift to an organization making an impact in our community of Greater Boston. We are also supporters of organizations promoting women in business, including the Center for Women and Enterprise. 

Community Involvement: West Hill participates in Enterprise Center Technical Assistance Program for Salem Tourism Industry Businesses.

11 January 2022

West Hill was selected to provide professional services for participants in the Small Business Technical Assistance Services (SBTAS) Program at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University. This SBTAS Program is being offered to help tourism industry small businesses located in Salem, MA that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. It is funded by the City of Salem Department of Planning & Community Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce and Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The Enterprise Center is an entrepreneurial hub that offers business owners office space, education, and access and connections to small business resources. Serving entrepreneurs on the North Shore and beyond, to help entrepreneurs and their businesses start, grow and succeed.

Louise Leduc Kennedy, Founding Attorney at West Hill feels that “after one of the toughest years on record for small businesses, those that have weathered the storm have pivoted to meet the moment. West Hill is proud to support local businesses by providing no-cost legal services through this innovative program and, as always, to supporting the Enterprise Center.”

West Hill has participated in and supported various Enterprise Center programs over the past decade including CEO Groups, the Million Dollar Women Symposium, Workshops, and previous SBTAS offerings. The West Hill Team looks forward to continuing to help community businesses through this travel and tourism initiative.