WESST Celebrates 30 Years of Impact
2019 marks the 30th anniversary of WESST’s impact in NM and we are celebrating all year long! Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, WESST will make twelve $1,000 investments in client businesses to recognize the contributions these businesses make in their communities every day. We will also highlight a number of individuals, businesses and organizations that demonstrated a key role in WESST’s growth over the past 30 years in our “30 Faces of WESST” feature.
WESST 30TH SURPRISE – SEPTEMBER
For September WESST decided to surprise Rosa Galvez and her husband Genaro who own GT Tire Shop with a $1,000 investment.
GT Tire Shop was founded in April 2013 in a small rural community with a population of 94. Amid the peaceful plains of McDonald, NM sits an old barn turned into a tire shop with big dreams of growth and renovation. The tire store serves many who live in the rural area as well as travelers between Ruidoso, NM and Texas.
“I am so grateful to WESST for all the help and support over the years. I have learned so much and never thought it would be possible to ever come this far. But with the training at WESST and their continued support with our financials, I know we will successfully continue to grow and be able to expand our business for generations to come.”
– Rosa Galvez
To see previous #WESST30THSURPRISE video(s) please click HERE.
30 FACES OF WESST
MYRA GHATTAS – SLATE STREET CAFE
Myra worked for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts for many years in Food and Beverage and had a thriving career, but when it came time to open her own business, she came home to Albuquerque to do it. She was raised in family that gathered over meals and shared the stories of their day during that time. The idea of creating a feeling of family and shared stories over a meal is part of what has driven her to this industry.
Myra got involved with WESST before she opened Slate Street Cafe 14 years ago. She attended one of our workshops about the basics of opening a business (this was still in the old WESST location on 4th street). Then, after she opened her restaurant WESST evolved to play an important role in her growth and success over the years. She has used WESST as a resource for loans, mentorship, coaching, leadership analysis (SWAT), and many other things. Myra says “Whenever I face a big challenge, I first turn towards WESST to help guide me to the right solution. As a business owner, WESST has been critical to my success. I have used many of their resources over the years and I have seen them grow into a support center for many new businesses. They have a dynamic group of people with expertise in a variety of areas including finance, marketing, coaching, funding and many more.”
Myra has slowly been growing her restaurant, Slate Street Café, over the last 14 years and now they also operate Slate at the Museum, the cafe in the Albuquerque Museum. They have expanded hours and offerings over those years. They have also grown tremendously in their catering arm of the business and are now catering some of the largest events in the city.
Most recently, Myra opened a new restaurant called Sixty-Six Acres that is on 12th street in the Avanyu development across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. While a different concept, it shares the same philosophies on making food from scratch with thoughtful ingredients, utilizing local vendors and products, and being a part of the community. Sixty-Six Aces is a modern bar and grill serving lunch, dinner, craft cocktails, and local beers.
Myra loves Albuquerque and believes in our community. She is here to stay and owning a few restaurants that offer amazing service, quality food and a team of locals will always be something she values.
When asked where she sees WESST in the next 30 years she replied “I have already seen WESST grow so much in the last 15 years, I am excited to see what the future holds for them. I think they are a catalyst in the entrepreneurship movement and that they will continue to grow and change in this area. I could see the “tech” side really changing and I could also see the business incubator doubling in size. Whatever they do, it is sure to be a vital part of our business community and a great part of Albuquerque’s future.”
Nancy McLain was working for Eclipse Aviation in 2008 when a friend, co-worker and WESST Board member introduced her to Agnes Noonan over a lunch at Yanni’s one afternoon. Approximately two months later she interviewed with WESST and the rest is history.
Nancy manages the data and reporting for all six WESST Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). In addition, she mentors WBCs all over the country on not only their data collection and reporting, but also client interaction and program services.
When she first started working at WESST, almost 11 years ago, WESST was in the PNM building. Her desk was positioned outside of Agnes’ office in a hallway alcove. Within a year WESST moved into the WESST Enterprise Center at 609 Broadway, had a new data system and the staff was creating great client business performance data for her to use in reporting and analytics.
When asked what has motivated her to work for WESST for all these years, Nancy said:
“I think the success of our clients is a great motivator. I also see great value in the work that we have done in our business plan classes. Clients come to us when they want to start a business, and some find that maybe their initial idea was not viable. We provide them with in-depth instruction and discussion and guide them through the process of starting a business, so they are making informed decisions. Our clients that are successful are fantastic but knowing that we helped someone rethink starting a business is really a good thing.”
WESST has given the opportunity for women in our community to start and grow their small businesses. Nancy’s favorite client is Myra Ghattas, owner of Slate Street Café. “She is so inspiring and a great friend, too.”
As Nancy looks back at the decade she has spent with WESST, she feels really blessed to have met and worked with some incredible people. The staff is full of warm, giving souls. We are a family and she would like people to know that.
When asked where she sees WESST in the next 30 years she replied, “I think the regional offices have room for lots of growth in their communities. I am looking forward to the impact that Spaceport America will make in our Las Cruces and Roswell WBCs. The expansion of services to our Native American clients is another area that is exciting and new. I see great things in the future of WESST!”
To see previous #30FACESOFWESST features please click HERE.