From left to right, Arielle Moody, co-founder of Mama Sol; Cristina Mendonsa, KFBK anchor and moderator; Michelle Vidal, CEO of Alka Vida; Vanessa Vidal, vice president, QMP Inc.; Anne Nguyen Oliver, CEO and co-founder, House of M Beauty. (Photo courtesy of California Manufacturers & Technology Association)

Be Persistent and Make Your Own Path

Advice from the California Manufacturers & Technology Association’s third annual Women MakingCA conference

Back Web Only Mar 29, 2024 By Judy Farah

Women from all over California gathered in Sacramento earlier this month for the third annual Women MakingCA Conference, offering advice on starting businesses, mentorship, entrepreneurship and balancing work and life as part of Women’s History Month.

This was the third year for the event put on by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. The women gathered at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in downtown Sacramento, where they shared their thoughts and ideas.

“The Women MakingCA Conference aligns with CMTA’s commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the manufacturing sector,” said Ananda Rochita, vice president of communications. “By spotlighting the achievements of women in the industry, CMTA aims to inspire future generations and break down barriers for women pursuing careers in manufacturing.”

According to recent U.S. census data, women make up 47 percent of the American workforce, but only 30 percent work in manufacturing.

The daylong event included panels on government and policy, mentoring and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs talked about the challenges they faced in starting their businesses and gave advice to other women.

“I’m extremely persistent,” says Arielle Moody, the Culver City-based co-founder of Mama Sol skin care products. “I would say every time that I have doubted myself, I keep persisting and moving forward. I have proven to myself that as long as you believe in what you’re doing, you really can get exactly where you want to be.” 

Vanessa Vidal, vice president of QMP Inc., a water filtration manufacturer based in Valencia, says she never takes no for an answer. She compared herself to a firefighter, always putting out fires. 

“Be creative and find solutions, not just focusing on those problems and dwelling on those problems, has really helped me. When I have a problem or a fire gets thrown my way, I’m already ‘OK, how do we get creative? How do we solve this?’” 

Rachel Zillner, CEO and co-founder of Clutch — and one of our 2024 Women in Leadership — says she wants to embolden her 160 employees to be their genuine selves.

“It doesn’t have to be the way everyone else does it. Cut your own path. You’ll get help from other people; people will see you and it’s worth it,” she says. 

Other entrepreneur panelists advised bringing on people who are smarter than you and have good ideas, not being afraid to innovate, building a good team and learning to delegate.

“Networking is the most important thing,” says Moody. “Whenever you get an invite to go to a networking event, go to it, and set an intention. Set an intention for every networking event that you go to and say, ‘Who do I want to meet at this event? Why am I going to this event?’ Every single networking event I have found a crucial team member. It almost feels like the universe is giving me exactly what I want, which is called manifestation.”

From the Editor is a new series by Comstock’s Editor Judy Farah about the various events she attends in the Capital Region.

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