Five provocative questions answered by an inspiring and fabulous woman – a woman with something to say.
Meet Betsy Cerulo
Betsy Cerulo is the founder and CEO of AdNet/AccountNet, Inc, Advocates for Workplace Excellence & Equality, which is LGBTE and WBE certified. AdNet’s services include Project Management, Staff Augmentation, Executive Search and Strategic Coaching.
Betsy’s passion is fostering/mentoring new entrepreneurs and serving the LGBT community. Betsy and her employees serve the Baltimore-based Marian House in preparing women for the workforce who have successfully completed their rehabilitation program. She serves on the NGLCC (National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) and WPEO (Women’s Presidents’ Educational Organization) committee’s to certify LGBT and Women-Owned businesses. Betsy is a member of the NGLCC Federal Procurement Group advocating for LGBT owned companies to receive contract set aside recognition as a socially disadvantaged population. Betsy serves on the Development Committee for Chase Brexton Health Services in Baltimore, as well as is Co-chair of the LGBT Health Resource Center Advisory Board. She is a mentor for Conscious Venture Labs, in Howard County, Maryland, to prepare meaningful start-up businesses to attract venture capital investors.
Betsy is married to her longtime spouse, Susan Murray. They live in Baltimore City, with their two dogs and cat, being happy stewards of a 160+ year old historic farmhouse. Betsy and Susan have a son, Matthew, daughter, Carolyn and two beautiful granddaughters, Alyssa and Julieanna.
Betsy’s greatest professional accomplishment is continually designing a healthy workplace which advocates creativity, excellence and unconditional acceptance. As an openly gay business owner, she is proud to create a safe workplace where they walk the talk of diversity and inclusion for all people.
Betsy’s favorite interests are her treasured Weimaranner, Bleu, writing – with several children’s book in process, tennis, and running (successfully completed the 2015 & 2014 NJ Half Marathon).
People would be surprised to know that: I love making Limoncello and won “Best Limoncello” at a local Italian Festival. I’d love to start a side business perfecting my brew and selling it to local small Italian restaurants.
The WTL 5:
What’s the conversation that changed your life?
In May of 1981, while I was at the end of my sophomore year in college, a woman came up to me on campus and asked me if I were gay. The question horrified me and I immediately went on the defensive. She approached me while I was out with my friends so I was embarrassed to be singled out with my very straight friends. At that point in time, while I had never taken action on being gay, there was a periodic nagging feeling in my soul that wondered. I had begun to feel attracted to women and found myself pulled towards movies and articles with gay topics. I was “curious” yet never thought of taking it any further than an inquiry. That conversation set the stage for my “coming out” less than one year later.
What are you most conscious of today?
I notice discrimination at a much greater level at this point in my life. Hearing or seeing any diverse group being treated as “less than” infuriates me. I take a stand on that issue immediately and will not tolerate that behavior in my professional and personal life anymore. I would sweep discriminating comments under the rug and often be afraid of speaking out – not anymore. My thoughts are known.
What part of you have you yet to give voice to?
My artistic side is screaming to come out more than ever. I channel that part of me through business as my art, yet my soul feels such peace when I write and create art. I have completed two children’s short stories and am just about done with a children’s novel (which I started in 2008). On a regular basis I ask myself “what are you waiting for to send them off to a publisher?”
I have wanted to learn water color painting for years and have yet to take a class to explore my ability. The feeling of clay brings me such joy – yet it’s been ten years since I sat at a wheel. With each passing year, I pull out a little more of my artistic side and it’s important to take these steps now because life is meant to be lived today and tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Art brings my soul peace and that’s an incredible motivator.
What’s the conversation women need to be having collectively?
How can we be paid an equal wage for equal work? Enough already of hearing that women are paid $.77 wage to a man’s $1.00 for the same work. Let’s change that! We are a powerful and wise gender. Being in a profession that puts people in the workforce, it’s time to have a level playing field and it sickens me when we, as women, have to fight so much harder for success, wages and business. We are just as good as men in those areas and at times, better, so get out of our way and treat us as equal.
What needs to be said bigger, louder, stronger?
That we, as women, are the wiser species and have within our fiber to make world peace a reality. The louder and riskier we are, gives us the greater likelihood to be in leadership roles to command respect and stop war. Men have not been able to do it. They only seem to create more wars. Let’s see what women can do. Step aside, men, and watch how we lead.
Thank you, Betsy, for sharing your powerful voice
with WomanTalk Live