Women in Business Advocate of the Year

She was widowed with three teen-agers, no life insurance and a mountain of medical bills. Although Linda Horn managed to work through these seemingly dire circumstances to become president of a $6 million financial planning firm, she has not forgotten them. In fact, Horn, founder of Capital Concepts in Southwest Ohio, has made it her personal mission to help other women avoid winding up in such grave financial situations.

“Linda’s advocacy for women became her professional goal very early in her career, as she encountered many women whose financial circumstances were potentially disastrous,” says Gina Shatara, principal of Clancy Associates in Cincinnati. “[She] has always been there for women, as a positive force in their professional and/or personal lives, bringing a sense of strength, calm and serenity when, in many instances, there has been only turmoil … Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you without hesitation that Linda is a rudder when one is adrift, rudderless, in turbulent seas.”

Much of Horn’s quest to assist other female business owners has been achieved through her work with Women Entrepreneurs Inc., a volunteer organization which pairs prospective and fledgling women business owners with established, successful ones. As a mentor, board member and two-time chairwoman, Horn has helped female entrepreneurs design business plans and guided them through the loan application process to get bank financing for their ventures.

“She was instrumental in obtaining financing for WEI, which was used to provide training programs for new entrepreneurs, scholarships for would-be entrepreneurs and mentoring programs for any entrepreneur who needed assistance in running her business,” says Barbara Ullman Gerla, a Cincinnati-based attorney who is also active in Women Entrepreneurs Inc. “She has assisted many women find the right advisers for their businesses without a thought of gain for herself or her own business.”

Horn is also a member of the Greater Cincinnati Women’s Network, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the National Association of Female Executives and the Ohio Association of Women in Accounting, among other groups. She even founded Cincinnati’s first all-women’s softball league.

“Linda is the rare kind of leader who can both envision a new dream and roll up her sleeves to make the dream real,” says Peg Moertl, vice president and CRA market manager for Bank One of Cincinnati. “[She] happily spends considerable time mentoring both start-up entrepreneurs and those grappling with the challenges of growth … I consider Linda to be a truly outstanding advocate with a distinctive perspective and the ability to inspire others.”

Horn was one of 12 national honorees chosen by the Avon Corp. in 1992 as an Outstanding Woman of Enterprise. In addition, Women Entrepreneurs Inc. named her Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993 and she was selected among the Leading Women of Cincinnati in 1996 in the finance category.

“Her advice has enabled new businesses and those who have come to her to clean up their messes to get their financial and organizational operations in order …” Gerla says. “Linda champions the success of others. She is always approachable and always willing to help advance the needs of other small business owners and help them reach their stars.”