Get to know the force of female entrepreneurs leading the professional
services industry in Manayunk.
By Meghan Sack
Photography by Melissa Kelly Photography (melissakellyphotography.com)
Fun fact: Approximately 75 of Manayunk’s small businesses are owned or co-owned by women. For those keeping track, that’s about one-third of all businesses in the 19127 zip code.
The entrepreneurs in our district are unique, talented, hard-working people who bring style and leadership to Manayunk, especially the many women who bring professional services to our thriving district. From accounting to nutrition counseling, from homebuying advice and even jam sessions in a recording studio, we sat down with just a few of the leading ladies that offer something different and welcome all walks of life to Main Street.
Co-owner of McGovern & Associates P.C.
It’s hard to not think about tax season this time of year, especially for Annette McGovern of McGovern & Associates P.C.
“Owning a business does become your life,” Annette said of the business she shares with her husband, Jack. “You’re always busy, but we enjoy it.”
Annette, a former marketing major and graduate of Penn State University, has always liked working with numbers. She took many accounting courses throughout her time at Penn State where she also met her future husband and business partner, Jack. The two worked at separate firms in the Philadelphia area and after about five years in the workforce, they decided to start their own firm here in Manayunk.
“It was just Jack and I when we first opened up over 25 years ago on Main Street,” Annette said. “When you own a small business, you do everything. I oversee the operational end of the business: billing, HR, scheduling workflow, event planning, and marketing.”
Today, McGovern & Associates P.C. is one of the most reliable and accomplished businesses in Manayunk, offering services such as income tax preparation, accounting and auditing, bookkeeping and various financial services. In fact, many of Manayunk’s other entrepreneurs use their services from year-to-year.
“We have great people working here,” Annette said, noting that her staff can frequently be seen at Main Street events and often give back to the community where their business resides. “We really love the area.”
Annette and Jack have more than just their own small business invested in the district. The McGoverns also own real estate in the neighborhood — three properties on Main Street and several others on Green Lane and Ridge Avenue.
While tax season is by far the craziest time for Jack and Annette, they certainly know how to unwind and make the most of the off-season.
“We are big Eagles fans!” Annette said from her desk, surrounded by Philadelphia Eagles gear. “We’ve been going to the games for 30 years and host memorable tailgates with over 50 people. They’re our dinner parties. We invite clients, their families, and friends, which have resulted in a lifetime of bonding experiences and networking opportunities. We’re also ‘summer people.’ That’s great about our business — we can enjoy the off-season and not work seven days a week.”
When asked what advice Annette would give to other women looking to open their own business, she said it plain and simply.
“Hard work does pay off.”
Studio Coordinator at MNYK Studios
Kristen Humphries always knew music was in her future.
“My first memory of music being so meaningful was when I was a kid,” she explained. “I would watch VH1 with my dad before kindergarten and I remember one morning, I saw Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,’ and I told my dad I wanted to be Steven Tyler.”
Even at a young age, seeing the crowd’s emotions and the logistics of the band’s performance at work made music something Kristen wanted to pursue as a career. Today, she’s the studio manager at MNYK Studios, a 3,000 square-foot studio used for audio and visual recordings and 800 square feet of event space on Station Street.
Originally from Collegeville, Kristen went to West Chester University as a communications major with a passion for basketball and music. Eventually choosing the latter, she took her first great leap into the music industry by joining the university’s radio station. Next thing she knew, she was studying in Los Angeles for a semester gaining valuable music industry experience, ultimately leading her to her current position at MNYK Studios.
Owned and built by Muhlenhaupt + Company, the studio was established from a noise cancelling room sitting unused in their building. Rather than converting it into a salad bar, they created a space for all kinds of creatives.
“My favorite thing is when people come in with projects that are the love of their lives,” Kristen explained. “For me to be able to help them with that is the coolest thing.”
Kristen is hoping to expand the event space so everyone can benefit from the experts and passionate atmosphere enveloping the studio.
“The family vibe, especially in Manayunk — everyone here is willing to help each other out and everyone is ready to collaborate,” Kristen said. “We have really found that with every Manayunk business.”
One of Kristen’s favorite memories is from a Sofar Sounds’ recording MNYK Studios hosted.
“It was the first time I saw our space being used in such a way that felt close to me,” Kristen said. “My favorite thing to do is to go to shows and I had never been able to host them or be involved behind the scenes. The way that it filled the room and made everyone happy — from then on, I wanted to host events all of the time.”
Anybody interested in the Philadelphia music scene can easily see the perks of Kristen’s job, focused around creating a safe, workable space for music, videos, podcasts — you name it and she has it covered. However, entertainment industry is a daunting one for both artists and management. As the only woman working in the studio, Kristen is excited about the forward movement we are seeing in the 21st century.
“It’s less intimidating now more than ever because we’re seeing more CEOs and executives’ titles in general who are women getting promoted within music management companies,” Kristen explained. “Nonetheless, it can still be intimidating because of the narrative that has existed from day one. Especially in music, women have always been the ‘muse’ and never the artist.”
When asked what she is most grateful for, besides her family, she replied, “There were so many opportunities that I didn’t let myself have when I was younger because I didn’t feel I deserved them or didn’t think I’m good enough to learn something new. I don’t have to have all the answers and that is usually how to find your next passion or great idea.”
Realtor at Keller Williams
An energetic, driven, and exciting person to be around, one of Manayunk’s best realtors is Christine Ertz from Keller Williams on the My Philly House team. Originally an executive assistant and office manager, Christine brought her experience and organization skills along when she took the leap into the real estate business.
“I love the idea of being my own boss, but it goes further than that because if you’re not self motivated, you’re not going to get anywhere in this industry,” Christine explained. “I’ve always been self-motivated and organized. I like to push people to their potential.”
Although Christine has only been in the industry less than two years, her team’s success speaks for itself. Collectively, they did a total volume of $84.2 million in sales in 2019.
“Every house I sell is so I can buy my dog more toys,” Christine laughed.
Whether her clients are buying, selling, or just maintaining their space, Christine shares three best practices with them: keep it simple, hire a professional, and clean your house. In other words, don’t paint your walls green if you want to sell, hire a professional for any home improvement projects, and always keep a clean and tidy home.
She stated proudly, aside from her loving husband and beloved rescue dog, her clients are her wakeup call — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When I see other people’s excitement or when I see the fire in my investor client’s eyes and their passion,” Christine explained. “When people are over the moon about seeing their homes and they can move on to that next chapter in their lives.”
Christine can be found at her office at 4359 Main St., walking the street with her contagious smile, or showing her clients the wonderful Manayunk listings hot on the market. She has the inside information on all the great neighborhood properties and the inspiration for D.I.Y. and home renovations, which can all be found on her public Instagram page, @certzrealestate.
Christine is a big believer in the Manayunk community and promoting all we have to offer here.
“I try to share and give shout-outs to every other female business owner on the street on social media,” Christine said. “Even if that doesn’t mean going and buying each other’s products, I can share what she is doing on social media. It’s such an important tool.”
“I want people to know that they can come to me for something,” she added. “I want to be a person in the community that they know I’m there if they need it. I don’t know what I can offer, but I’m here and I have an ear.”
Owner of Healthy Bites Nutrition Counseling
Kristen Kochenour, MS, RD, LDN is the owner and operator of Healthy Bites Nutrition Counseling. She returned to school to become a certified dietitian after the sudden loss of a dear friend. It was then she realized, “Life is too short to not be doing what you love.”
Kristen became a registered dietitian at Drexel University and previously earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of Delaware. Both skills are being put to good use promoting her practice here in Manayunk since opening in March 2018. After working in hospitals and long-term care, she set out to create her outpatient practice with a proactive medicine approach. Growing her business and promoting awareness for dietitians are top priorities on Kristen’s list.
“Knowing I am going to come in everyday and see clients and help them get excited and make progress is rewarding,” Kristen noted.
Healthy Bites provides a unique experience to help people create a healthy lifestyle for themselves. Her clients’ needs range from weight loss, a boost in energy, and getting rid of pesky stomach pains. Not only does meeting with Kristen encourage her clients to reach their goals, but she also offers an Online Healthy Eating Program for continuing on the right path.
“I created this program because my clients were running out of insurance visits or they couldn’t get covered at all without a certain diagnosis,” she explained. “I wanted to make it affordable. It’s a meal-planning software that helps create a plan based on the scripts that I give them. It works via a video conference call or they come to my office and we create goals that fall within their nutritional needs.”
Kristen’s take on food trends is holistic and beneficial for long-term health.
“[The food trends] are really just marketing from food companies — paying for research that shows different things,” she said. “My ideal for integrating a healthier diet is to find a balance and have realistic expectations.”
There are no quick fixes to healthy living; and although it seems daunting, Kristen is there to help each of her clients find success in a healthy and enjoyable way.
“Keep your goals simple and realistic,” she said. “If you’re trying to lose ‘X’ amount of pounds in ‘X’ amount of days, that’s too broad of a goal and it becomes impossible. You can make small changes every day.”
Luckily, there are plenty of options for healthy eating right here in Manayunk.
“Winnie’s all day breakfast is great,” Kristen said, mentioning that it helps her eat healthy and get her day started no matter the time of day. She also recommends Taqueria Feliz’s brussel sprout tacos and camarones ala diabla (shrimp tacos).
“But still feel free to hit up Lucky’s Last Chance to get your favorite burger and tots — in moderation!” Kristen laughed.
“Be kinder to one another, and it starts with being kind to yourself,” Kristen added. “Not having the positivity you need or the support is something I hear often from my clients. Loving yourself wherever you are at is the way to go. Finding happiness where you are will make you strong.”