A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:

ALI STIEGLBAUER and SUE HAWKES YESS! Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, Inc.

Title: Stieglbauer, marketing manager; Hawkes, CEO

Age: Stieglbauer, 22; Hawkes, 50

Ali Stieglbauer and Sue Hawkes of YESS! Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, a Minneapolis-based professional training and coaching firm, hope to inspire young women to consider entrepreneurship as a career option through their newly launched mentoring program.

Stieglbauer, an English major who had dreamed of being a writer, now writes frequently for YESS! after joining Hawkes, her stepmother, at the firm a year ago.

Like other millennials, Stieglbauer said, she knew little about small business ownership before interning at YESS! Her interest in entrepreneurship flourished after Hawkes took her last spring to the annual conference of the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), a nonprofit peer-advisory group for women who own multimillion-dollar companies.

"I saw 800 of these amazing women in one room and the light bulb went off and I thought, 'This could be me someday,' " Stieglbauer said.

"Her friends didn't know this world existed," Hawkes said.

That realization led Hawkes and Stieglbauer to organize their Women's Entrepreneurial Experience program, which will host free workshops for women ages 18 to 30 on Jan. 27 at Lurie LLP and March 8 at Clockwork Active Media Systems.

The Jan. 27 event will feature local WPO members discussing business ownership and meeting individually with participants. The program will offer scholarships for participants to attend the WPO'S International Conference in April in Baltimore.

YESS! uses EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, "to help people and their businesses perform better," Hawkes said.

Q: How did attending WPO conference together affect you?

Ali: It opened my eyes to the fact that when you're an entrepreneur or work in a small business, you can impact people in such a positive, close way.

Sue: I've been going to that conference for 11 years. It wouldn't have occurred to me how magical it would have been for Ali. It was like going to the conference for the first time.

Q: How are millennials missing out on learning about entrepreneurship?

Sue: They're on such a track that when college stops, they don't have a path. If you're not on a professional track or going into a big company, you don't say small business makes sense because you don't know about it.

Q: Why do you now aspire to own a small business?

Ali: As a millennial, what is attractive about small business is there are so many opportunities and so many hats you can wear because you have the hands-on time and you're working closely with the CEOs and get to be in front of the clients.

Todd Nelson