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Enterprising Women Names Laura Chiesman, Rebecca Contreras and Renee Pepys Lowe to its Advisory Board

RALEIGH, N.C., December 27 – Monica Smiley, CEO and publisher of Enterprising Women magazine, has appointed Laura Chiesman,
Rebecca Contreras and Renee Pepys Lowe to the Enterprising Women Advisory Board.

“Laura Chiesman, Rebecca Contreras and Renee Pepys Lowe are each dynamic business leaders who have achieved phenomenal business success but also are tremendous role models for service to their communities and the advancement of other women. As such they exemplify the core values of our organization and Enterprising Women is proud to welcome them as members of our Advisory Board,” said Smiley.

Enterprising Women, the nation’s only women-owned magazine published exclusively for women business owners, chronicles the growing political, economic, and social influence and power of entrepreneurial women in 185 countries.

Laura Chiesman, is President & WealthCoach™ of First Wave Financial. For over 25 years, she has developed financial planning and wealth management strategies for individuals and families to enable them to achieve their immediate and lifetime financial goals.

As a business owner, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) professional and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), Chiesman brings a unique perspective to comprehensive plans that deliver WealthConfidence™ and peace of mind in uncertain times.

As a WealthCoach™ Chiesman tailors each person’s WealthPlan™, a financial plan and wealth management strategy, to their resources, needs and goals. When working with business owners, she partners with The Transition Strategists (a consulting firm that works with owners in the U.S. and across the globe) to create business transition and succession strategies that support an owner’s desire to maintain important relationships and create a clear path to a bright future for owners, their businesses and their successors.

As president of FirstWave Financial, Chiesman leads her team of financial professionals as they deliver independent, objective and trusted planning and investment strategies designed to help their clients transform financial complexity and confusion into simplicity and confidence. As a volunteer, she brings the same energy to her community. She is a governing board member of Genesis House, a shelter for women and children, and serves on the Community Foundation for Brevard board, an organization that matches nonprofit organizations to philanthropists. As the 2019 Campaign Chair and the 2021 Executive Board Chair for the United Way of Brevard, Chiesman was privileged to help raise millions of dollars to improve the health, education and financial stability of thousands of Brevard County, Florida, residents.

Chiesman is an active member of the Oceanside Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and the Women Presidents’ Organization, a global peer advisory group whose members own multimillion-dollar companies in a wide range of industries. By investing time and energy in one another and their businesses, members drive everyone to the next level. Chiesman’s commitment to these organizations reflects her willingness to share what she has learned in her career and to learn from other entrepreneurs.
Chiesman is a speaker and author on the topics of wealth management and financial issues, investment and retirement planning, life events and transitions, and business succession.

For resources and information about Chiesman’s work in wealth management and financial planning, visit

Rebecca Contreras is President & CEO of AvantGarde LLC, a minority- and woman-owned consulting firm she co-founded in May 2011. Contreras holds majority ownership of the firm and has been instrumental in driving the substantial business growth of AG, now over 100 consulting team members strong. AG’s core capabilities are in HR, Strategy, Organizational Development and Business Operations. AG’s primary location is in Texas with offices in the DC area. Contreras also recently authored a book LostGirl “From the Hood to the White House to Millionaire Entrepreneur”. She has been recently featured by numerous media outlet’s to learn more about LostGirl visit

Contreras and her company have recently been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the “Silver American Business Award for Minority Business of the year for 2021- or Stevie Award,” “Women in Enterprise” (Women’s Enterprise, 2020), “Women 2 Watch” (Women Presidents’ Organization, 2020); the SBA San Antonio TX District 2019: Minority Contractor of the Year and Women Owned Business of the Year: Texas “Women Profiles in Power” (Austin Business Journal, 2017), and the “Latina Entrepreneurial Excellence Award” (2017). Contreras was also recently nominated in September for Austin’s Best CEO award by the Austin Business Journal for 2021.

Contreras has dedicated her entire career to the people business, serving in executive leadership roles driving large-scale people and organizational change initiatives. Prior to moving into consulting, Contreras spent twelve years serving under the leadership of Texas Governor, and then President, George W Bush. For the Governor, Contreras ran Personnel (HR) in Texas and for the President she moved to Washington, DC, upon his first term election to serve in the White House as a Commissioned Officer managing the process for over 1,200 personnel appointments to top boards and commissions in the federal government. Contreras started her government career serving in HR under the leadership of two iconic Texas Women, Ann Richards and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Contreras has also served as a Presidential Appointee on the Board of West Point Military Academy.

Contreras lives in the Austin, Texas area with David, her husband of 31 years. Ten years ago, they co-founded, LaunchPad (, an Austin-based non-profit dedicated to equipping and enriching the lives of disadvantaged youth and underserved families through targeted programs and services. Connect with Rebecca @rebeccaanncontreras and

Renee Pepys Lowe, President RPL & Associates, is a dynamic global retail entrepreneur and Board Director with a sustained history of creating and growing recognized infant products companies. She has been recognized as an Excellence in Entrepreneurship Finalist by Ernst and Young. A marketing powerhouse known for her multi-channel brand building strategies that propel success, she brings expertise in all aspects of retailing including product development, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and sales and marketing. Pepys Lowe is the consummate relationship builder, creating lasting connections with clients, vendors, customers, and colleagues.

Pepys Lowe founded and subsequently sold a highly successful leading infant bedding and décor company, CoCaLo, to Kid Brands, a NYSE-listed company. Two years after her departure, she was brought back by the Board and CEO to stabilize and manage the $137-million company. For the past several years, Pepys Lowe has captained her own business consultancy firm providing strategic planning, operations management and process improvement to entrepreneurial consumer goods companies. Driven by a passion for giving back, she sits on three non-profit boards and one advisory board. Pepys Lowe is a Marketing and Retail graduate of the University of Denver.

LinkedIn company page for anyone that supports and identifies as a woman entrepreneur:
LinkedIn group (for women entrepreneurs and their supporters to join and engage with one another):
LinkedIn group for award winners (for winners only so they can connect and engage with each other):

Enterprising Women, with headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, is the nation’s only women-owned magazine published exclusively for women business owners that chronicles the growing political, economic and social influence and power of entrepreneurial women. The magazine provides a friendly meeting place, a public forum and a national stage for the critical issues confronting women’s businesses and daily lives from the unique perspectives and experiences of entrepreneurial women. Published in both print and digital editions, the online edition of the magazine reaches one million readers in 185 countries. For more information, please visit or call (919) 362-1551.

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