A pair of Wheeling businesswomen represented growth and change in the Mountain State in the nation’s capital this week.
Kathy Szafran, president and CEO of Crittenton Services and Lisa Allen, president and CEO of the Ziegenfelder Co., attended separate conferences in Washington, D.C. to discuss unique business and hiring practices, along with social issues facing the state.
Szafran attended the National Crittenton Foundation conference, In Solidarity, while Allen attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Safety Council panel discussion in the nation’s capital. Both events touched on the country’s opioid crisis.
Allen said the Ziegenfelder Co. received the national recognition for its second-chance hiring practices, referred to as “compassionate hiring.”
The U.S. Chamber’s panel discussion was held Thursday morning at the U.S. Chamber’s headquarters in Washington D.C. Allen said the Ziegenfelder Company was invited due to its philosophy of hiring employees with a criminal history, past drug use and more.
Allen said along with several business owners, U.S. Rep Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and several other area leaders were present at the event.
“We realize a pathway to success in this battle against addiction involves having a job. Obtaining employment is not always a simple process. Our strategic business practices, including our community focus, positions us to be open-minded and open-hearted as we recruit committed people to join our company,” Allen said. “West Virginia is on the bottom of several lists, unless you’re talking about social issues, which it often tops those. We made it clear in the capital that we are proud to be a West Virginia-owned business and are dedicated to bettering our community through our business practices.”
Szafran, meanwhile, said a former client of Crittenton Services in Wheeling, Amber Blizzard, now works with young families dealing with opiate addiction and won the Building Love and Determination award at the national Crittenton conference. Szafran hosted workshops at the conference focusing on issues during childhood and rural sex trafficking.
“The purpose was to bring together all the Crittentons from across the country and all the individuals who support and empower young girls who come from difficult situations,” Szafran said. “We looked at a variety of interventions that can help support them and build resilience.”