Liz believes that if you don’t look forward to coming to your job, you’re in the wrong job. For Liz, that’s never been a problem throughout her more than 20-year-career as a leader focused on workforce and economic development. She’s turned failing organizations into award-winners, exceeded expected performance outcomes, innovated in project planning, grant writing, and fiscal grant management – and in the process, helped make a positive impact on countless lives. These days, she heads into the office motivated by the opportunity to promote business ownership by women, and she’s continually inspired by the commitment of the WBEC’s staff, board, and volunteers. Liz leads with empathy, kindness, and a great sense of humor. It is no surprise to learn that Liz is an advocate for rescued pets and has given many dogs, cats, and even ducks a welcoming place to call home.
Prior to joining us, Jamie enjoyed a nearly 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry promoting medicines that help people live healthier and longer lives. We couldn’t be happier that she’s decided to channel her enthusiasm for making a positive difference into her work with us. We are continually impressed by Jamie’s kind, giving nature, her desire to serve others, and how hard she works on behalf of the women business owners we serve. It’s clear that she’s inspired by the cause of promoting supplier diversity and dedicated to helping women succeed. Off the job, she’s something of a homebody, spending her time with friends and family, including 3 (soon to be 4!) beloved grandchildren.
We have our very own He’s for Shes on staff at WBEC-East! Steve joined our team during the pandemic and comes to us from the workforce development field with a degree in Hospitality Management from Penn State University. Steve brings a unique and creative perspective to our outreach efforts and has increased our social media followers in his first few months! He doesn’t know how to say “no” which is appreciated by all of our Partners who want us to share their events and resources on our website. Steve grew up in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania and – get this – he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan! (No… we didn’t know that before he was hired but we love him anyway!) In his free time, Steve enjoys watching football, collecting sports memorabilia, golfing, and fishing. He and his wife, Stephanie, live in New Jersey with their two cats, one who is appropriately named “Little Steve.” They recently welcomed their son, Oliver, in spring 2023.
Carolyn is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and an all-around excellent co-worker. Her professional strengths include diligence, empathy, and curiosity—all of which she brings to WBEC-East as certification coordinator. Carolyn is based in Pittsburgh and, together with Jamie, make up our wonderful Western Pennsylvania team. We’re so lucky to have her! She looks forward to supporting the certification of an increasingly diverse array of companies. When she’s not on a site visit or filing through paperwork, you can find Carolyn reading independently and for her book club, being outdoors (walking, biking and kayaking!), enjoying the cultural scene in Pittsburgh, and spending time with her family and cat who keeps her company after recently becoming an “empty nester.” Fun fact, Carolyn was included on the inaugural “40 Under 40” list published by Pittsburgh Magazine, so cool!
Having earned their undergraduate degree in philosophy, Eliot prides themself in approaching both work and life with a balance of critique and compassion, self-direction and cooperation, idealism and pragmatism. Eliot is a quick learner and highly adaptable, detail-oriented (some would even say meticulous and pedantic), and able to see the big picture and small steps needed to get there. As someone who started their own company before the age of 30, grew it from scratch over 5 years, and sold it before the age of 35, Eliot brings experiential knowledge of entrepreneurship and small business ownership to the WBEC-East team. Eliot is an avid gardener, film buff, a budding quilter, and occasional pet-sitter. They enjoy living on a quiet street in West Philly that feels very Parisian and is right next to a park so they can enjoy quality green-time in the city. While their cat Poncho (named after a Tom Waits song) is more of a lapdog trapped in a cat’s body than an actual cat, Eliot does hope to get an actual dog to add to the family soon.
Emily Glick joined the WBEC-East team in October 2022, and we are thrilled to call her one of our own! Emily joins WBEC-East from the world of hunger relief and food insecurity. Emily is a natural problem solver who finds the greatest satisfaction in untangling necklaces and is curious by nature. This curiosity serves her well as a Certification Coordinator, constantly diving into the WBE paperwork. When not at work, Emily spends time with her partner, two dogs, reading, cooking, and – most importantly – eating. She has a rather impressive cookbook collection and is constantly thinking about her next 2-6 meals.
Catherine Heckman is a member of CLA’s BizOps Outsourcing Team specializing in serving nonprofit clients. Prior to joining CLA, Catherine was the Controller for a regional multi-site nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in the Philadelphia area, and served as Finance Director and Controller for several educational nonprofit organizations ranging from startup elementary schools to higher education institutions. Catherine currently works with a wide variety of non-profit clients.
It’s been said that someone’s pets can tell you lot about them. So, let’s look at Meaghan’s two beloved felines, which are of the Devon Rex variety – a breed known to be highly intelligent and very people-oriented. Bingo! They are, however, also fond of sleeping on very high shelves, a habit we believe is foreign to Meaghan. At the office, you’ll often find Meaghan reviewing files with the volunteers she coordinates for the Certification Committee. Meaghan loves files – especially complex ones. (Go figure. Maybe it’s because she’s a trained paralegal.) At home, Meaghan likes to hang out with her cats. There may be knitting or crafting involved – by Meaghan, not the cats. Although, come to think of it, the Devon Rex is a very special animal...
Sara Kristman is a member of CLA’s BizOps Outsourcing Team and specializes in providing accounting assistance for small to mid-size businesses in multiple industries. She has 16 years of experience in both public and industry accounting working with entrepreneurs, executive teams, investors, financial committees, board of directors, and third-party stakeholders. Sara quickly adapts to challenges, and promptly and efficiently resolves financial and managerial issues. Currently she works with mid-market and non-profits clients. Her experience ranges many industries including non-profit, home health care, consumer products, vegetation management, and construction.
Colleen absolutely loved being a Girl Scout. Later, as she embarked on her professional career, she went to work for the organization. So, her current position with us seems like a natural progression: “I love working in a place where women are empowered to change the world,” she says. And we’re glad she’s here to help us do that. She’s a jack-of-all-trades – pitching in on everything from certification to strategy. She takes pride in being a great multitasker, which comes in very handy not only here, but also in her off-hours, when she raises a resilient toddler, coaches a marching band, homebrews beer, and plays five musical instruments (probably not simultaneously, but... maybe?).
Yana Massey is currently Certification Manager at WBEC-East. Prior to joining the WBEC-East team she was part of WBENC’s Midwest RPO (WBDC). In her role, she assists women business owners obtain their WBENC WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) Certification. In addition to her experience with WBENC certification, Yana also has experience working with workforce development programs and facilitating micro-finance training programs with women in India. Yana holds a MA in International Development from Eastern University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and sweet little corgi.
Melanie McLeod, CEC, PCC is the President and Founder of Coach You Solutions. She is a certified business and life coach. She has owned several businesses over the years and has rebranded as Coach You Solutions. She works with individuals and businesses to help them determine life and business goals, create a plan, and accomplish their goals. Melanie has extensive experience in management in corporations and government. She is also an adjunct college professor of business. She has dedicated over 20 years specializing in business strategy coaching for entrepreneurs. She teaches people how to develop a business mindset, navigate the planning process, and develop the financial understanding needed to run a successful business and life. She also helps entrepreneurs understand how to navigate work/life balance.
Allie describes herself as a silly but thoughtful person that has a good balance of routine and spontaneity. She loves to learn, tinker, create, and problem-solve. She’s a sucker for sarcasm, baked goods, and a hot cup of coffee. With strengths that include problem-solving, collaboration, and organization, Allie is finding new, creative opportunities within existing programming that benefits our Women’s Business Center clients. She is eager to work with the local business community who want to grow and expand upon the training workshops we offer. When she is not at work Allie can be found doing some novice gardening, volunteer work, graphic design/creative endeavors, trying out new recipes, traveling, watching and analyzing tv/movies, and hopefully getting to a yoga class here and there. She hopes to one day fully design and create her own Lego set! We can’t wait to see what she creates!
Madeline is someone who loves to learn! Her family jokes that they can’t remember the last time she was not enrolled in some sort of class. Madeline recently graduated from the International Institute of Social Studies with an MA in Development Economics and holds a BA in Urban Studies and Sustainable Development from Columbia University. Prior to joining WBEC-East, she worked at non-profits in NYC focused on housing equity and summer programming for young folks from underserved neighborhoods. Madeline is inspired by the WBEC-East community and our commitment to women’s empowerment. Having a penchant for puzzles, she is looking forward to bringing her problem-solving skills to the certification team. Outside of work, Madeline loves to hike with her new rescue dog, Murphy, and she is teaching herself to play piano. Fun fact, she spent the last two years living in The Hague, a city in the Netherlands, where she attended graduate school. These days, you’ll find her reading narrative non-fiction, building the perfect road trip playlist, and watching the Phillies.
Stephanie is fond of reminding us that her name means “to be crowned.” And, indeed, we think of her as our Queen of Administration. Unlike most monarchs, Stephanie is extremely accessible – always welcoming, encouraging, and very helpful. Her reign with us began in 2000, which makes her institutional knowledge invaluable; in fact, she’s kept WBEC-East running smoothly and efficiently for so long that we can’t imagine life without her. So, we won’t. Long live Queen Stephanie!
We wish Gabby, who started with us as an intern while in high school, wanted to spend her entire career here. But that is not to be. She recently earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and is now pursuing her passion in the nursing field. When she officially moves on, our loss will be the gain of countless patients (who better listen to her, trust us – she’s a no-nonsense Philly woman!). In the meantime, though, we are very glad that we get to work with her. She’s really good, and really smart. She makes a huge contribution to our Certification Committee by handling of a variety of important responsibilities. Even though she’s a millennial, her old-school ethics and work habits remind us that we shouldn’t generalize about an entire generation.
Taylor is a resourceful and resilient individual who identifies as “your typical anxious millennial.” She has six years of experience in the non-profit humanities sector where she developed a love of networking across geographic divides, storytelling, and attention to detail. She is also a yoga instructor and brings a mindful approach to the engagement and outreach team of WBEC-East. When she is not at work or at the yoga studio you will find her on her couch with her husband and two cats, gleefully Googling gluten-free bakeries nearby. Ps. she adores alliteration!