Leigh Fennie attributes her success to continuous learning.
“I am always learning new trends, topics and ideas that can help my clients, but also to grow my own knowledge,” she said. “I also push myself every day to do better than the last. I am always looking for ways to improve my own work efficiency and ways to work smarter.”
As a business consultant at the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, Fennie works with budding entrepreneurs who are looking to take their ideas and turn them into businesses, as well as providing business owners with the tools necessary to help expand their existing businesses. She provides one-on-one consulting services to clients across a full spectrum of business functions by performing analysis, making recommendations and educating clients about small business strategies. She then assists clients with developing business and marketing plans as well as financial analysis to assist with obtaining financing to start or grow their business.
In almost four years at the SBDC, she has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and business owners to start and grow their ideas and business.
In the community she is on the board of the Lackawanna County Blind Association, the planning committee for Hellen Keller Day, Entrepreneurship and Micro-loan committee of the Scranton Area Foundation’s Women in Philanthropy Program and works directly with their micro-loan borrowers as a mentor.
She is a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School and The University of Scranton with a Bachelor’s of Science in international business, concentration in Asian studies and minor in finance. She is currently pursuing an Master of Business Administration with a specialization in marketing from The University of Scranton while raising two young boys – William, 2, and Andrew, 5 months.
She is also a 2013 Leadership Lackawanna graduate.
Prior to Fennie’s time at the SBDC, she was employed at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce for their small business lending affiliate, MetroAction, as a small business services coordinator. She assisted small businesses with obtaining micro-loans through MetroAction’s lending programs.
“This is where I really started to see the impact small businesses have on the community,” she said. I saw that many small businesses needed assistance for various reasons. Not any one small business is the same as the next.”
In her career, she acknowledges having had the pleasure of working for and with some really wonderful, strong women including Kristine Augustine, a leader and mentor who taught her how to work hard and get the job done right; Lisa Hall-Zielinski, a woman she looks to for guidance in her career and life, and Donna Simpson, whom she admires for her hard work and knowledge.
Fennie is grateful to the SBDC for requiring employees to perform 40 hours of professional development every year. This keeps them current with trends and allows them to be lifelong learners.
Her entire family supports all she does. Her husband, William Fennie, is her partner, teammate and biggest supporter. He is consistently pushing her to grow personally and professionally. The unconditional love and support of her mother, Susan Magnotta, has been crucial to her success. Her siblings, Laura McGarry, Maria Magnotta and Rock Magnotta, are always great sounding boards for advice and guidance. And her late father taught her it is possible to balance a family and a career, with no need to sacrifice one to become successful at the other.