By Erin E. Arvedlund
The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Three women — Denise Uzzelle, Joanna Schwartz, and Ashton Sweitzer — competed to win a $10,000 bonus in the nationwide “Know Your Value” tour that was opened recently in Philadelphia by Mika Brzezinski, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Asking for raises empowers working gals, Brzezinski believes. Only one came away with the 10 grand. (Keep reading to find out who!)
The winner also earned the unexpected: a serious panic attack; a strange but fruitful jog around the Liberty Bell; funding for her start-up; and an experience she’ll never forget.
Two of the three finalists were from Pennsylvania: Sweitzer is from Lititz and Schwartz is from Philly. (Uzzelle is from Texas.)
Sweitzer, 25, opened a boutique, Glitz on Main Street in downtown Lititz, three weeks after graduating from college in 2012.
“I sell accessories, jewelry, handbags, and personalized items. I work as a one-woman show. I do it all,” she said in an interview.
“I’m constantly putting my energy into the business. As a sole proprietor, everything goes back into Glitz. With $10,000, I could reinvest.”
Sweitzer feels strongly about young female entrepreneurs “not being afraid to go after what we want. I’d like to be able to support young women in Lititz.”
“I always had this dream,” she said. “I was young and wasn’t married at the time. My dad always taught me to start young or wait until you’re much older” to open a business. She read books on business such as Brzezinski’s and entered the contest.
Schwartz, on the other hand, knew nothing about Brzezinski and her “Know Your Value” tour.
“My mom and dad watch her show. My mom told me, ‘You’re a shoo-in,’ so I entered. I work full time as a children’s counselor. But on my own, I’ve wanted to get my [company] ‘Toolbox for Teachers’ off the ground.” The company would train educators on dealing with the effects of violence.