V. Cheryl Womack
The Star Group
President & CEO, The Star Group
Chair, The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World, Inc. – 501(c)3
President & CEO, VCW Holding Company, L.L.C.
President & CEO, VCW Accounting Services, L.L.C.
CEO, R&A Properties, L.L.C.
Member, W & P Development, L.L.C.
CEO, Just Jets, Inc.
Other business Interests: Biologix; Countryside Bistro, et. al.; Digital Evolution Group; GHS Manufacturing; Design Exchange; Galaxy Beef; Gordie’s Heirlooms; Ribomed
V. Cheryl Womack was born on December 31, 1950, the third eldest of 11 children of a struggling Hispanic immigrant family in Kansas City, Kansas, USA.
Her late father, who consistently worked 18-hour days in a fibreglass factory, was – and continues to be – her inspiration. He instilled not only a strong work ethic, but perhaps more importantly, an attitude.
Cheryl was raised to take responsibility, believe in herself, and know change is not only possible, but in fact a choice that is available to everyone. At age 33, when Cheryl was earning just $17,000 a year, she took that option and made the choice to change both her life and her lifestyle.
Two decades later, she was honored with the "A Reason to Believe" Award from her childhood school. Among the numerous accolades she has received, this one perhaps best embraces the success – both professional and personal - of V. Cheryl Womack.
She is now one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders. As such, she's a highly respected role model and, through her motivational talks and mentoring programs, an inspiration to thousands of people around the world, particularly women.
As in every endeavor she tackles, Cheryl empowers by example. She herself is "A Reason to Believe" anything is possible and one of her greatest talents is instilling this belief in others.
Providing opportunities for employees’ success and watching them seize the moment and excel beyond their expectations has been a source of great personal fulfillment. As a woman business owner, significant satisfaction has come from the respect and recognition achieved within two male-dominated industries: trucking and insurance.
Cheryl’s personal life is as balanced and multi-faceted as her career. Her passions include community work, art, interior design, wine - and, most importantly, her family. Cheryl is married and the proud mother of two teenage sons.
Cheryl currently manages multiple business interests, as listed above. They include directing the efforts of VCW Holding Company, L.L.C., an entity she founded to partner with and provide consulting and administrative services for a variety of start-up and mid-sized growth companies.
She also leads The Star Group team in program and partnership development for annual events recognizing and honoring The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World™ and participates in mentoring programs sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurial Leadership, The Committee of 200, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Women’s Leadership Board.
In 1983, at age 33, V. Cheryl Womack founded her first company in the basement of her home — VCW Inc., an insurance agency designed to meet the needs of a niche trucking industry segment, independent contractor truck drivers. Later the same year, she founded Preferred Administrative Services, Inc., a third party claims administrator. Both companies were established to serve the members of the National Association of Independent Truckers, Inc. (NAIT), a group Cheryl had established in 1981. When Cheryl sold her companies in 2002, she had grown her Kansas City-based operation to a $100 million business, employing more than 80 people and insuring more than 12,000 NAIT members throughout the United States and Canada.
As her companies grew, so too did Cheryl’s reputation for innovative product development, an inventive corporate culture and powerful industry leadership.
She pioneered a string of ground-breaking insurance products, including an alternative to workers’ compensation for independent contractors that has become a model for the industry.
Often imitated, but never equaled, her program is noted for its new product development and successful risk management. As a result, she enjoys the well-deserved reputation as an industry leader.
A corporate culture that fosters innovation and creativity and rewards diligence and dedication, and programs that support working families and encourage community involvement, are keys to her success.
VCW, Inc. was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers by Working Mother magazine for several years running.
In 1989, Cheryl was again at the forefront of small business innovation when she established an on-site child care facility for the preschool aged children of her 23 employees.
Her companies then adopted an inner-city day care facility as their special charity and have supported the center with volunteer time and monetary contributions ever since.
Purchased the assets of The Star Group/The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World™
Completed the sale of VCW, Inc., NAIT, Inc. and PAS, Inc., the companies that make up The NAIT Program, to Clayton, Dubelier & Rice. Honored as one of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World™ ; Founding Member, Women Impacting Public Policy, Inc., a national bi-partisan public policy organization, advocating on behalf of women in business and strengthening their sphere of influence in the legislative process of our nation, creating economic opportunities, and building bridges and alliances to other small business organizations.
Founding Member of GrassRoots Impact, Inc., an organization that connects corporate America and political leaders to small business owners, including women-owned businesses, minorities and women in business. Chair of Entrepreneur’s Exchange “E Day” event in Kansas City, the purpose of which is to foster entrepreneurship in Kansas City by offering seminars and workshops put on by successful local entrepreneurs. Sponsored A Celebration of Women’s Golf, an event that will bring Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) members to Kansas City to play golf and raise awareness and funds for The Women’s Life Center Inc.; Celebrated the Grand Opening of The Women’s Life Center’s new facility and first event.
With two female physician partners, founded The Women’s Life Center, a new concept that provides a supportive environment, which inspires women to enhance their total well being and helps them to find more balance in their lives. Also founded The Women’s Life Center Inc., a not-for-profit company established to fund independent research programs to identify the most pressing sociological issues facing women today, look for the cause and work toward a cure.
Invited to address MBA students at the University of Kansas as part of their “Entrepreneurship Immersion Week” wherein successful and prominent entrepreneurs share their experiences with first year students. Invited several of these students to become summer interns, invested in one student’s start-up company and continues to contract for services with this company.
1990 - 1998
Named to the Business Women’s Network Honorary Committee, for exemplifying the best in business women in America.
Designed and implemented an employee bonus system based on net company growth - the employee group was eligible to receive 100% of net growth, paid out quarterly, once set goals were achieved - company growth the first year of the bonus program was 17%.
Named one of Working Woman magazine’s Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses in the nation (3 years running).
Founding Member, Executive Board Member and Chair of Entrepreneur’s Exchange, a group whose mission is to energize and foster the growth of entrepreneurship in the community and to support young entrepreneurs by helping them recognize and develop leadership attributes, including vision, optimism and character.
Appointed by President Clinton to serve a 3-year term on the National Women’s Business Council, an independent 10-member panel which serves in an advisory capacity to the President, the Congress and other Federal entities on issues applicable to women business owners.
Honored to replace Ewing M. Kauffman as the Chief Executive Officer chosen to address interns in the CORO/Kansas City program. CORO/Kansas City works to retain the area’s best and brightest by awarding internships to a select group of exceptional college students and affording them the opportunity to experience the entire spectrum of career possibilities from government to the private sector. The CEO address and open forum concludes the student's six-week internship in the program.
Founded Truckers Helping Truckers, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing assistance to those in the trucking industry who encounter financial difficulties.
Founded VCW, Inc., a specialty insurance agency, and Preferred Administrative Services, Inc., a third-party claims administrator, to serve the needs of a unique industry segment, independent truck owner/operators.
Founded the National Association of Independent Truckers, Inc. (NAIT).
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
Avon Women of Enterprise Award for Small Business Administration – 1991 Nominee
Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative, 1991 State Designee (Missouri)
Business Women’s Network, Honorary Committee.
Council of Growing Companies’ “Bootstrap” Award, “In recognition of her achievements as an entrepreneur who started with minimum resources, pursued the opportunity, took the risks, faced the challenges, cared for her employees, provided quality to her clients and built a successful enterprise.”
Dun and Bradstreet’s Best of America competition – named only semi-finalist from Missouri
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, 1992 Small Business of the Year finalist
Greater Kansas City Insurance Association, 1996 “Insurance Industry Leader of the Year”
Inc. 1992 Entrepreneur of the Year, Western Missouri/Kansas Finalist
Ingram’s 1996 Corporate Report 100, Greater Kansas City area’s fastest-growing companies
Junior Achievement of Middle America, 1991-92 Banner Year Award
Kansas City Business Journal 1997 Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses - Listed #2
Kansas City Business Journal 1997 Top 150 Area Private Companies - Listed #71
Kansas City Business Journal 1995 Who’s Who in Insurance
Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World, 2002 Honoree, Paris, France
National Association of Women Business Owners, Industry Leadership Award
National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, 1995 “Woman of Distinction” Award
“Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans,” 1992 Edition
Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City WOW (WIN Outstanding Women) Award, 2003
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2002
Working Woman Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses
Working Mother “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers”
YWCA of Kansas City, Kansas, 1997 Hearts of Gold Award
Honorary Doctorate Degree from William Woods University 2003
“A Reason To Believe” Award, KCK, 2004 alumni
CIVIC & BUSINESS AFFILIATIONS - Past & Present
American Movers Conference
American Trucking Associations
Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City
Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, 1992 Small Business Week Chair
Commission for the Future of Worker/Management Relations, sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce. Testified before the Commission and singularly represented small businesses at the hearing.
Committee of 200
Committee of 200 Mentoring Program
Council of Growing Companies. National Executive Committee & Local Chapter Co-Founder & Chair
“Developing Entrepreneurial Opportunities,” sponsored by Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership – participated in panel.
Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Director
Entrepreneur’s Exchange, “E Day” Co-Founder & Committee
Entrepreneur’s Exchange, Founding Member, Executive Board & Chair for the first 2 years
Grass Roots Impact, Inc., Founding Member
Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board & Mentoring Committee
Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America, Board of Directors & Executive Committee
International Truckload Carriers Conference
Junior Achievement of Middle America, Board of Directors & Executive Committee
Junior Achievement, National President and Chief Executive Officer Search Advisory Committee
Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Host annual fundraiser
Kansas City Symphony, Steering Committee
Kansas City’s 25 “Up and Comers” – served on selection panel
Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurial Leadership Mentoring Program
Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Board of Directors, Executive Committee & Lyric Opera Circle
Metropolitan Entrepreneurs Council, Board of Directors
Metropolitan Organization Combating Sexual Abuse (MOCSA)
Missouri Collegiate Entrepreneur Award sponsored by St. Louis University - served on selection panel
National Association of Independent Truckers, Member Advisory Board & Motor Carrier Advisory Board
National Women’s Business Council
Rockhurst High School, Auction Committee 2001 - Served on committee that raised $500,000, an increase of more than $200,000 over previous years.
Search Advisory Committee to select Junior Achievement’s National President and Chief Executive Officer.
Starlight Theater, 1994 Gala Chair
Treads & Threads, Gala benefiting KU Med Center Breast Cancer Center, Founding Committee and Event Committee Chair
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Council & Board of Directors
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Transportation Infrastructure Task Force.
University of Kansas School of Business, Board of Advisors
University of Kansas School of Business, Institute for Entrepreneurship & Business Ventures, Founding Member & Advisory Board
University of Missouri Kansas City Bloch School of Business, Advisory Board
Women Impacting Public Policy, Inc., Founding Member
V. Cheryl Womack has been featured in several publications and books, including the following:
American Express Corporate Card 1993 national media print ad campaign
Australian Financial Review, May 2004
The Australian, May 2004
Australian Broadcasting Commission – Talkback radio ‘mentoring’, May, 2004
Entrepreneur - “Today’s Hottest Young Entrepreneurs!”
ESPN - “Nation’s Business Today”
Fortune – “Succeeding With Tough Love”
Ingram’s – “Up and Comer”
Kansas City Business Journal - “Who’s Who in Women-Owned Businesses.”
Kansas City Business Journal – Focus on Insurance
Scarlett Magazine, Creative Outtakes July 2004
The Kansas City Star
“The Tom Peters Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations,”
American Movers Conference Annual Convention, topic “Workers’ Compensation: Managing the Crisis.”
Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award, 1992 state designee presentation
Central Exchange of Kansas City, “Women in the Corporate World”
Chamber of Commerce Centurions Task Force, “The Climate of Small Business in Kansas City”
CORO Kansas City, Intern Class Commencement Address, 1997 - 2000
CSX Intermodal Annual Operations Meeting, key note luncheon speaker
Entrepreneur’s Club of Kansas City, “Managing Successful Growth.”
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce First Amendment Congress, First vs. Ninth Amendment
Healthcare Information Systems, Inc. 1994 Users Group Meeting
Internal Revenue Service, Washington, D.C. “The Leased Employee Issue”
Interstate Truckload Carriers Conference Safety Council Annual Meeting, “Workers’ Compensation”
Kansas City Women Executives Conference “Leadership and Management Skills.”
Kauffman Foundation Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, “Developing Entrepreneurial Opportunities”
Leadership Missouri Class of 1993, “Taking Care of Business.”
Midwest Entrepreneurs Roundtable
North Kansas City School District Adult Basic Education Program 1994 GED Commencement Address Keynote
Rockhurst College Small Business Week seminar, “Managing Successful Growth”
U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce, Dunlop Commission for the Future of Worker/Management
University of Kansas School of Business “Entrepreneurship Immersion Week”
University of Missouri Kansas City, Women’s Council and Women’s Centre, Starr Symposium
University of Southwestern Louisiana School of Business, 1992 Commencement Address
William Woods University, 1993 Commencement Address for Class of 2003
Central Exchange, CEO Address Campaign, March 2004
Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World website