Felicia Shanken is a Women Strategist and Builder. She is the Founder/CEO of the Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC and PWNC Foundation 501(c)(3). PWNC is about helping local businesswomen build their business, connect with like-minded individuals and benefit from shared resources. The Foundation is committed to helping women growing a business as a solo entrepreneur transition from a full-time or part-time job to full-time entrepreneurship. Felicia has also been recognized and honored by “Fun Times Magazine” in their March/April 2020 edition for being “2020 Philadelphia Who’s Who Black Women of Influence”. Felicia had the opportunity in September 2019 to have her own show on RVNTV, a digital television platform called “Power Up Your Passion,” where she brings guests on to talk about their passion in life and how it lead to where they are now. Felicia was raised in Queens, New York. She moved to Philadelphia over 20 years ago, where she met her husband, Paul, a native Philadelphian. They live in the Fairmount area of Center City Philadelphia.
Who is Felicia Shanken?
Hello everyone, I’m Felicia Shanken. I was born in Washington DC and grew up in Queens, New York, and yes, no matter where I live, I will always be a New Yorker. I have four brothers, no sisters, lots of nieces, nephews, and cousins. My family stretches from Washington DC down through North and South Carolina.
I come from a medical background of over 25 years, where I started in radiology and went back to school at Gwynedd Mercy University for my nursing degree nearly 6 1/2 years ago. I worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Philadelphia until I decided to “fire them” more than three years ago to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. It was the BEST decision I ever made in my life!
For over 20 years, I now live in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, where I met my soulmate. My husband, Paul, and I have been together 16 years and married for 11 of those. We don’t have children, but we do have an adopted rescue pittie mix whom we adore. Maximus is turning 10 this year, we believe.
So, who is Felicia Shanken? A woman who decided to go for it and not settle for what life has thrown her.
Did you have a role model growing up in your home who was an Entrepreneur?
Believe it or not, no. I was raised in a single-parent home. My father was around but not very active in my life. My grandmother raised me. She worked every day until she retired. I would watch her go to work daily, whether she wanted to or not, to make sure that I had everything I needed to thrive in society. I knew I didn’t want a life of working a job every day and answering to someone else. I wasn’t going to build someone else’s dreams while mine wasted away. I always had some type of side business for as long as I can remember, when I did have a job. I was involved in services from vending machines to multiple multi-level-marketing businesses such as Avon, Herbalife, and Tupperware. You get the picture, and I guess you can say I was finding my niche.
How did Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection come about?
I was going to networking events in Philadelphia and its suburbs and felt something was missing. I felt unfulfilled when I left the events. I would get other people’s business cards, and to be honest, there may have been follow-up or not on my part. One day in December 2018, while drinking tea in a Panera Bread, I had a thought, vision, divine intervention, or whatever you want to call it of forming a women’s network organization.
Here’s the kicker, I never ran a women’s business group before, and I certainly didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to organize different events, with a guest speaker at each one providing us with content we could apply to our businesses immediately to help us grow. I wanted fashion shows, health and beauty days, women’s specific issues in the business world, and so on.
I wanted my events to be fun, where women could come together whether they were dressed in a $2,000 outfit or a comfortable pair of jeans that cost $15. In other words, no judgments, no drama, no competition. Simply, women coming together networking, collaborating, enjoying each other’s company, and leaving with great content. I had no idea that PWNC would turn out to be what it is today. I started with a vision, and now I am being interviewed by an international magazine almost 3 years later. What a blessing this journey has been.
What is it that you do for the PWNC community?
It’s funny you ask that. My family asks me all the time, “what is it that you actually do?” I always laugh because I say to myself, if I told you, would you remember? So, here goes. I am a women strategist and business builder. I am the founder and CEO of the Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC and non-profit PWNC Foundation, Inc.
My team and I strategize with women business owners by identifying their strengths. We build quality connections and share resources that will get excellent and proven results in their business. We do this through workshops, seminars, events, business building courses, and so on.
We have a paid membership in PWNC for those who are more serious about growing their business while taking it to the next level. We work exclusively with these members to help them reach their goals, whether it’s marketing, sales, getting out of their comfort zone, or workshops that are crucial to building their business. I always inform my members when they join that “80% is their responsibility and 20% is PWNC’s if they want to be successful.” We can help them build their business, but they have to put in the work and make the commitment. I always say, “I can give you the plate of food, but it’s up to you to eat the meal.”
Who should hire/work with you?
Women entrepreneurs, small business owners, and solo entrepreneurs from all over the world who are looking to grow their business. Speakers who are motivational and those who have great content on building small businesses. I am not saying that men cannot work with us. They, too, are encouraged to come to our events, workshops, and business-building classes. We surely need and welcome their support too.
Before COVID-19 hit last year, PWNC collaborated with some other organizations and planned a huge men’s summit. The event was specifically planned for men and their concerns. We had male speakers scheduled to discuss hot takes on mental health, sexual abuse, wellness, and everything in between.
The all-day summit was planned for men to come together, celebrate, network, and just enjoy the benefits of brotherhood. Women were not encouraged to attend. However, if the men’s partners wanted to come, they were welcome to do so. PWNC is planning to reschedule the men’s summit for Fall 2021.
PWNC has a track record of success, and I am happy to say. We are very proud of growing our organization in less than 3 years while being recognized for our accomplishments. I have been recognized by Fun Times magazine as a “2020 Philadelphia Who’s Who Black Women of Influence” and by Brainz magazine as a “500 Global Small Business” award recipient. Again, a huge THANK YOU to Brainz magazine. Also, I recently became a “Grow with Google Community Partner,” a huge win and honor for us.
Everyone knows that Google, which also owns YouTube, dominates the digital world. Lastly, we are also a DWEN (Dell Women Entrepreneur Network) member. The benefits of this network group are amazing, to say the least. We have the honor of networking and collaborating with women from all over the world who own businesses. We are taking it all in and enjoying the moment. Hard work does eventually pay off, and people do notice!
What is your big goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
My biggest goal is to continue building PWNC to its highest level yet. I want to leave a legacy and plan on being here into the next decade. I am a very young baby boomer now, so only God can answer that question.
I would like to see thousands of paid members, community members, corporate sponsors, and PWNC being able to offer more community grants to our small business entrepreneurs, business owners, and solo entrepreneurs. Through our PWNC Foundation, I want to offer more to women looking to transition from full- and part-time jobs to full-time entrepreneurship the opportunities they need.
I would love to see PWNC collaborate with more global companies that align with our mission. I want to know that I made a difference in someone’s life. Because of PWNC, they decided not to quit, to go after their dreams, to want more out of life, not to settle, and to make an impact in the world.
Most of all, I want them to remember that no matter where you come from, look like or what your highest level of education is, if you stay focused, dedicate your life to your dreams, then you will be successful. It happened for me, and it can happen for them. The only difference between them and me? I simply made a DECISION!
Written and Interviewed by: International Brainz Magazine
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.