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Wed, Mar 16


Online Event

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, part two: Trends and opportunities

Register today for part two of our Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium. This event focuses on the economic impact of women in business and how social trends are affecting their professional growth and business opportunities.

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, part two: Trends and opportunities
Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, part two: Trends and opportunities

Time & Location

Mar 16, 2022, 2:00 PM – 3:05 PM EDT

Online Event

About the Event

Register today for part two of our Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium.  This event focuses on the economic impact of women in business and how social trends are affecting their professional growth and business opportunities. Panelists include Tené Dolphin, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council, and Adji Fatou Diagne, Ph.D., an economist at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies in the Survey and Economic Research, Demographic Research Area.

Agenda (All times ET)

2–2:05 p.m. Welcome and overview

  • Sean Wilkerson, Innovation Outreach Program Manager, USPTO

2:05–3 p.m.   Economic social trends of women in business

  • Adji Fatou Diagne, Ph.D., Economist, Survey and Economic Research, Demographic Research Area, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Tené Dolphin, Executive Director, National Women’s Business Council
  • Andrew A. Toole, Ph.D., Chief Economist, USPTO (moderator)

3–3:05 p.m.  Thank you and wrap-up

  • Sean Wilkerson, Innovation Outreach Program Manager, USPTO
Speaker biographies

Adji Fatou Diagne, Ph.D., Economist, Survey and Economic Research, Demographic Research Area, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau

Adji Fatou Diagne is a research economist with the Center for Economics Studies (CES) at the U.S. Census Bureau. Prior to CES, Diagne worked in the Economic Directorate at the Census Bureau, where she worked on the Annual Business Survey assisting with many parts of the survey life cycle, including data collection, microanalysis, macro-analysis, and data dissemination. She also worked on the dissemination of the Nonemployer Businesses Statistics Demographics (NES-D) data. Diagne joined Census in 2018 from the Office of the Chief Economist in the former Economics and Statistics Administration at the Department of Commerce, where she served as a policy economist performing research in labor, manufacturing, and various topics in domestic and international economic policy.    Diagne’s primary research interests are related to creating housing and income security for low- and moderate-income households, business owner demographics, and consumer and housing finance.    Diagne received her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Howard University and a B.A. in economics from Spelman College. She is from Senegal and speaks four languages. Diagne and her husband Ali live in Baltimore.

Tené Dolphin, Executive Director, National Women’s Business Council

Tené Dolphin has served in both local and national positions with a primary focus on policies and programs that create opportunities for all. Currently Dolphin serves as the Executive Director for National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), providing support and leadership around issues that impact America’s women business owners.

Before joining NWBC, Dolphin served as the strategy and operations lead for Wells Fargo’s Small Business Growth Philanthropy division. While at Wells Fargo, Dolphin developed partnerships that provided direct support for women entrepreneurs through the Connect to More platform. Prior to Wells Fargo, Dolphin served as the first director for the Office of Business Diversity and Opportunity for the city of Birmingham, Alabama. In that role, she established the Mayor’s Inaugural Small Business Council, developed the city’s inclusive procurement program, launched a disparity study, served on the supplier diversity council for the 2022 World Games, and created essential local and national partnerships connecting resources to the city’s small business community. Before spending time in Alabama, Dolphin spent most of her career in Washington, D.C. In 2017, she was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to support critical local business initiatives. As the Senior Deputy Director for the Department of Small and Local Business Development, Dolphin provided oversight for the city’s Certified Business Enterprise program, the Aspire program, and the Made in DC program.

In 2008, she was appointed to the Senior Executive Service by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Department of Commerce. She first served as the director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat and then as the Chief of Staff for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). While at EDA, Dolphin elevated the work of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and coordinated White House, departmental, and agency strategic initiatives.

Prior to her federal service, Dolphin led a massive volunteer corps for Washington. D.C. mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty. Upon the success of the campaign, Mayor Fenty appointed Dolphin to serve as his Chief of Staff and the interim director for the Department of Employment Services.

It was the 2004 presidential campaign that opened the door for Dolphin to build a career in public service. She put her operations skills to work and served as the Director of Special Projects for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There, Dolphin took on a number of efforts including, but not limited to, establishing the DNC’s base of operations in Boston during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Dolphin began her career of service as a teacher in the Prince George’s County Public Schools. Among a classroom full of third graders, she helped her students see education as a means to provide economic opportunity.

Dolphin is a proud graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in psychology. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Leader Greater Washington’s 2012 Class. She is an active humanitarian, volunteering for several local and national organizations. Her highest honor is being mom to her amazing son.

Andrew A. Toole, Ph.D., Chief Economist, USPTO

Dr. Andrew Toole is the Chief Economist at the USPTO and a Research Associate at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW). Dr. Toole joined the USPTO with experience in the private sector, academia, and government. While completing his Ph.D. in economics at Michigan State University, Dr. Toole was a Senior Economist for Laurits R. Christensen Associates where he conducted studies on total factor productivity, cost and price analysis, and competitive strategy. In 1998, Dr. Toole went to Stanford University as a postdoctoral student before becoming a faculty member at Illinois State University and Rutgers University in New Jersey. As an academic researcher, Dr. Toole was asked to advise on science and technology policy issues for institutions such as the U.S. National Academies of Science, U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2010, he joined the Science Policy Branch of USDA’s Economic Research Service. His research focuses on the economics of innovation, intellectual property, and related science and technology policies. Dr. Toole has published in the Journal of Law and Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, Research Policy, Management Science, and many other peer-reviewed journals.

Sean Wilkerson, Innovation, Outreach Program Manager, Office of Innovation Outreach, USPTO

Sean Wilkerson works in the Office of Innovation Outreach at the USPTO creating IP awareness programs and managing outreach services to independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, makers, and universities. Wilkerson previously worked as an outreach coordinator for the programs leading up to the opening of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley and Texas Regional Offices. He also spent a year as part of the New York engagement team that developed the 2015 Future of Urban Innovation Startups Summit in coordination with Columbia University and the USPTO.

From 2011–2013, he served as the program manager of the inaugural Select USA Summit, developing the program, structure, and outreach efforts of a U.S. government-wide program housed in the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. As an education program analyst in the Global Intellectual Property Academy from 2008–2011, he managed international programs focused on providing IP training related to enforcement of patents, trademarks, and copyrights and the U.S. patent and trademark system. Prior to working for the federal government, he served as the Director of Events for the National Association of Homebuilders in Washington, D.C. and as the Ideas Exchange Manager for Accenture in Reston, Virginia. Wilkerson was awarded the USPTO’s Bronze Medal award for superior performance in 2021.

Please join all the 2022 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium series events:

This program is presented by the USPTO's Office of Innovation Outreach. For more information, please contact WES@USPTO.GOV

The content and opinions shared by our guest speakers during this program are not those of the USPTO, nor are they an endorsement of any persons, products, programs, or policies mentioned during the event.

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