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. She claims to be bad at singing and cooking, but at home you might find her enthusiastically doing both (perhaps even at the same time). And if you stop by the office for a visit, you’ll likely meet Liz’s rescue dogs, Bindi and Tucker, who are proud to co-serve as Chief Fun Officers. (Just don’t tell Tucker he’s missing a leg; Liz never told him!)
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 family, friends, and her beloved chocolate lab, Gunnar.
We weren’t surprised to learn that Maria’s high school classmates voted her “most likely to brighten your day.” Although we’re jealous that their school days were enhanced by Maria’s presence (we would have loved to have been in her homeroom!), we are grateful that she’s part of our work lives. Maria embodies positive energy, which she brings to every task and to every interaction with colleagues and WBEs. This dynamic daughter of entrepreneurs made it her personal mission to help empower women to start and grow their businesses. We’re so glad we get to work with her to achieve that goal.
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.) Meaghan also runs our “WBE Onboarding” sessions. 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...
Ginger Rogers could do everything Fred Astaire could – only backwards and in heels. Isabel – a former ballroom dance instructor – is our Ginger. Although we rarely get to see her in heels, she’s mastered all the moves related to program development and management, which she executes stylishly, gracefully, and without breaking a sweat. Women business owners rely on Isabel’s out-of-the-box thinking to guide them with technical assistance on topics including licensing and market research. And she’ll never tap dance around a challenging question; instead, she’ll do the research and find the answer.
Our “Liz K” is a passionate nurturer. On the job, she’s focused on encouraging, equipping, and empowering women business owners for success, which we see her do tirelessly every day. In the process, she demonstrates unwavering commitment to the WBEC mission and a passion for teamwork. At home, she directs her energies toward raising her two young children. (We are fortunate she has the fortitude to do both!) One thing Liz K is decidedly not passionate about is talking about herself; but the success of the WBEs with whom she’s worked – and, no doubt, the futures of her wonderful kids – will speak very loudly on her behalf.
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 coaches a marching band, homebrews beer, and plays five musical instruments (probably not simultaneously, but... maybe?).
Sherry is enjoying what she calls her “encore” stint with WBEC-East. She was with us from 2005 to 2010, when she left to apply her skills in the corporate world. We were sad to see her go but were confident she was very well-equipped to promote supplier diversity in a different setting. We were overjoyed to welcome Sherry back in 2017. The connections she made on her corporate “hiatus” are serving us well – to say that everyone in the supplier diversity field in our region knows Sherry is not an exaggeration. She is inspired by the opportunities she has to help women succeed by overseeing our certification process and says the thanks she regularly receives makes her work worthwhile. With her children grown, Sherry has time to travel (she’ll take the beach or the desert – either is fine with her) and enjoys hanging out with friends, family, and her two cats, Sebastian and Minnie.
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’s on her way to her bachelor’s degree in nursing. When she 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.
We like whoever manages our finances to take what they do seriously. Very seriously. If they can take care of business without taking themselves too seriously, so much the better. In Kathy, we have exactly the right combination. She is someone who is “seriously funny.” And it’s not just us who say that – that’s how she describes herself. Which is very cool. But we’d also add words like “reliable,” “analytical,” and “productive.” When she’s not in the office, we have some fun by playing “Where in the World is Kathy Smith?” – she’s visited 15 countries and 38 states (since she’s a numbers person – so she keeps track!).
When it comes to planning our futures, most of us have five- or ten-year plans. Not Rebecca. She has a 40-year plan. By the time 2058 rolls around, Rebecca wants to be enjoying retirement near a beach in Ghana. We have no doubt she’ll realize that dream, because she consistently turns focus into achievement. She does it all – from strategic planning to operational support – and as a result, she’s contributed to the success of hundreds of WBEs. Somehow, during her tenure with us, she managed to earn degrees in Psychology and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Trust us: if she wants that beach, she’ll get that beach!