By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON HARBOR — Jayme Cousins, Jamie Kastelic and Marydawn Taggart have a few things in common.
They started a business that has grown since their inception. Their services all lean toward better health and lifestyles. And now all three will be part of a panel discussion in September.
The Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance has asked the three to speak at its annual event called “Celebrating the Entrepreneur in All of Us” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Shadowland Pavilion on Silver Beach in St. Joseph.
The event’s focus highlights a panel of three local entrepreneurs who share the common denominator of health and how it led each of them to open their own business.
Taggart, owner Maddog 5/1: Revolutionary Fitness in St. Joseph, has expanded her business through 2014, when it moved from its original Benton Harbor location.
The business proved one of the hardest financial times for her and her family. Taggart said she was ready to start a business and chose a career in fitness because it was one of many things that brought her comfort.
“I am honored to be a part of this,” Taggart said in reference to being on the panel. “The Women’s Center has been a big help for me. I’m at a point in my business life where I can begin to help others. It’s time for me to give back.”
Cousins, who with her husband runs the Mason Jar Cafe in Benton Harbor, is another panelist.
The Mason Jar Cafe in the Benton Harbor Arts District is known for working with local farmers and food producers in order to serve organic, unprocessed, antibiotic-free, not previously frozen and healthy food.
“We wanted to have a restaurant where we would be able to serve food we could be proud of,” Cousins told The Herald-Palladium in a previous article. “And we wanted to serve the food we personally like to eat.”
Kastelic, owner of Spero-hope LLC, sells organic health care products online throughout the country. Her decision to open a business came after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.
After extensive research on what causes cancer in women her age, she discovered a common ingredient in several products called paraben that floods her body with estrogen. The mission was to make her own products – alongside a friend – that excluded paraben.
“We are in the process of outsourcing because our demand is so incredibly high,” Kastelic said. “I’m excited to talk about my business. Since I primarily talk about breast cancer, I don’t often get to speak about my business.”
The event’s keynote speaker is Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan University’s athletic director.
Beauregard is among three female athletic directors in the Mid-American Conference and the first at Western Michigan University. She will share her experiences of her 37 years at the university.
“This is our third year of celebrating entrepreneurs,” said Margaret Adams, manager at the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance. “It is wonderful to gather our clients and those that support our work for this special event.”