In the first of a three-part series, we highlight four local women who are on the rise.
Jessica Smith aims to help entrepreneurs grow their small businesses in Fairfax County as a counselor at the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia. But with a passion for community outreach, Smith’s service extends far beyond her position there. Last summer, the Woodbridge resident took a mission trip to Cameroon, Africa, to help facilitate a women’s leadership development conference. She also leads a group of young professionals in weekly meetings to discuss where faith and career collide, and serves as a volunteer writer for Walker’s Legacy, an international mentorship program for multicultural women in business. Smith was recently presented the Distinguished Alumni Award from George Mason University’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education. And last year, she received the Carol A. Coleman Award from Women Impact Now, Inc. Smith aspires to be like her mother, Pamela King Smith, who co-owns an accounting firm in Baltimore—where Jessica grew up—and has served their sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, for the past 40 years.
Words that inspire Smith: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”—Marianne Williamson, American spiritual writer
Kristin Oldham is the face behind Betty Rocker Sweets, an up-and-coming NoVA-based business. Oldham was born in Arlington and is a self-taught baker. Growing up, she was involved in the D.C. punk community and would often take vegan cupcakes to DIY shows in the DMV area. In 2016, she placed first in the amateur division of the National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challenge. In 2017, she placed second in the professional division. Being the sole proprietor of her baking company, Springfield-based Oldham develops all recipes, assembles all sweets from scratch, decorates, delivers and also heads all communication efforts, including social media. She adores cats, and adopted her own through 4Paws Rescue Team, an organization she frequently patronizes. Oldham says she got her “baking bug” from her mother, but her own personal style is influenced by Martha Stewart (“for her precision”) and Willy Wonka (“for his whimsy”).
Words that inspire Oldham: “I might be an adult, but I’m a minor at heart.”—Minor Threat, 1980s D.C.-based punk band
Ashley Campolattaro and Angela Fuentes are the founders and co-executive directors of Step Sisters, a nonprofit that funds quality-of-life services such as transportation for treatment, house cleaning and food delivery for local breast cancer patients. Campolattaro and Fuentes both have a personal connection to breast cancer; Campolattaro’s mother battled the disease and Fuentes fought her own battle with breast cancer. Each woman wears many hats outside of the organization, with both of them being mothers.
Campolattaro, who lives in Brambleton, serves as the president and owner of Families in Training, is a founding board member and vice-president of communications of the Ashburn chapter of the Young Men’s Service League, and is a RRCA-certified running coach where she operates a co-ed youth running program, Brambleton Kids Run the Nation. In 2015, she received the Brambleton Community Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Fuentes owns her own bookkeeping business where she lives, Ashburn Accounting, where she provides bookkeeping services for small businesses in the area. She recently had the honor of speaking at a Sterling Women’s networking event, where she shared her story as a breast cancer survivor.
Words that inspire Campolattaro: “What we know matters, but who we are matters more.”—Brene Brown, self-help author
Words that inspire Fuentes: “Give it to God and go to sleep.”—Unknown