Happy Half Hours with WESST

By Katie Knipe | July 23, 2020

With your support, WESST has been busier than ever, supporting our small business clients as they navigate this chaotic environment. Small businesses have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic and we know folks are curious to learn what entrepreneurs are experiencing and how WESST is supporting them.

In June, WESST hosted four “Happy Half Hours” via Zoom so we could see each other’s beautiful faces, hear an update from WESST and be inspired by a WESST small business client. We are so grateful to our creative, talented clients who joined us on Zoom to share their experiences and how WESST has supported them!

Sammie Sanchez-Davis & Susie Marbury, owners/operators of Checks & Balances for You

Susie and Sammie of Checks & Balances for You shared that COVID has “made things feel a little scary,” but their unwavering optimism was powerful. “The challenges have been great!” they told us. They adapted quickly to provide bookkeeping services for their clients, many of whom were also navigating the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan opportunities, like many of WESST’s clients. Their clients in the restaurant and hospitality businesses have been particularly hard-hit. Despite the challenges, Checks & Balances for You is thriving and Susie and Sammie are consulting with WESST to take their business to the next level! In addition to benefitting from WESST’s consulting services themselves, Susie and Sammie conduct bookkeeping training in both English and Spanish to support other WESST clients. Click here to read about their upcoming training, “Como Resolver el Misterio de la Contabilidad” (Taking the Mystery out of Bookkeeping).

Marisa Saavedra-Gutierrez, CEO of Spatial Harmony

When Marisa first started her consulting and design business, she told us she felt like “a fish out of water.” She didn’t know where to begin until she found a WESST flyer at Humble Coffee a few years ago, and the rest is history! Marisa has benefitted from WESST’s training workshops and consulting services to strengthen her business finance skills. Spatial Harmony has seen incredible growth and celebrates 3 years in July 2020. At the Happy Half Hour, Marisa shared that COVID has presented challenges, as she can’t go into her clients’ homes as easily, but she’s finding ways to adapt and leverage technology to continue serving clients. Marisa described that working with WESST led her to discover “a moment of total empowerment,” which undoubtedly came into play when COVID turned everything upside-down.

Amanda Davison, CEO of The Family Connection

Long-time friends of WESST have heard Amanda Davison’s amazing story and we are grateful that she was available to join us for one of our Happy Half Hours! Amanda has spent over 200 hours training and consulting with WESST as she’s grown her counseling business, The Family Connection. As Amanda has expanded from one to four locations (with a 5th coming soon), she has turned to WESST for support with lending, cashflow, HR transitions, marketing and more. She shared how demand for counseling services tends to slow down during the summer, but with COVID throwing everyone’s lives into chaos, they’ve seen major upticks.

Kristen Worthington, owner of Worthington Pecan Farms

Kristen is a mover and a shaker, literally and figuratively! Check out the videos on her Instagram to see how pecan harvesting works and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Kristen joined us to share her experience learning from our talented team in WESST Las Cruces as she’s been working to make her 250-tree orchard profitable. WESST has helped her identify networking opportunities and update her website. Soon, Kristen will open a building on her property that will enable her to move beyond hand-shelling pecans, significantly increasing her capacity to create and sell her pecan food and beauty products.

Connecting with WESST’s staff, donors and clients via Zoom for a Happy Half Hour was a wonderful way for our donors to feel the impact of their support. Thank you to everyone who joined us in June to celebrate our clients and learn how WESST is supporting small businesses. We’re excited to host more Happy Half Hours each month so you can stay in touch with WESST and our clients! Stay tuned for our next Happy Half Hour in August, date TBA.

About the Author


Katie Knipe

Katie Knipe hails from Kingsport, TN and has worked in nonprofit management and arts administration for the past decade. She has dedicated her career to fundraising for organizations whose missions fuel her fire, including those who promote classical music performance and who serve people experiencing homelessness.

Posted in