Abrams,Naomi   Davey Winter, Karen   Grubinsky, Sharon   Mitchell, Ann   Schllaci, Beth 
 Almalel, Suzanne   Dawkins, Linda   Hanessian, Ruth   Nestoriak, Cathy   Sears, Barbara 
 Asti, Alison   DiMonte, Lisa   Harding-Green, Anita   Nillien, Monica   Segal, Angie 
Bassin, Gail   Dionot, Patrice W.   Henderson, Sylvia   Palmer, Michele   Shaw, Jeri  
 Bell, Michelle   Dukes, Dr. Charlene M.   Hopkins, Odessa   Parker, Necole   Soto Mayer, Kathleen 
 Bell Nance, Dina  Evans, Conni   Hunter-Taylor, Lila   Plummer, Carol    Stanton Caldwell, Ovtavia 
 Bell McKoy, Dianne L.   Fairweather, Jane   Jenkins, Lynn   Quinter, Robyn   Stewart, Chris 
 Berriman, Tracey   Gonzalez, Anita   Jenkins, Suzan   Sachs, Robyn 
Corah, Liz   Grau, Karen   Knight, Pam   Rotbort, Suzanne 

The Gazette of Politics & Business is proud to share with you our dynamic list of "Women Business Leaders of Maryland."

We would like to thank all the savvy business women who made this section possible. This prestigious list represents some of the sharpest minds representing some of our state's most "well rounded" companies and organizations.

We proudly introduce you to forty three women business leaders representing Maryland. Special thanks to our partners: The University at Shady Grove & Monument Bank.


We would like to thank our friends from the following business organizations who helped to get the word out to women business leaders through the state:

    • WBO of Montgomery
    • Leadership Maryland
    • Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce

So who was exceptional enough to make this year’s list? Keep scrolling to find out…

Enjoy –
Cliff Chiet
Vice President & Publisher, The Gazette of Politics & Business

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Naomi Abrams
CEO(Chief Ergonomics Officer)

Worksite Health & Safety Consultants
Rockville, MD

Naomi Abrams is on a mission to put herself out of work. She is determined to make ergonomics easy enough so that people are able to take control and protect themselves from injury. With expertise and eloquence she guides companies from chair confusion to employee efficiency. For every back pain, neck complaint or shoulder strain, she takes the mystery out of the computer workstation, focusing on behavior and setup instead of expensive equipment purchases. Saving companies time and money, she keeps employees at work...working.

Naomi started Worksite Health & Safety Consultants to provide comprehensive ergonomic and injury prevention services for companies who value their employees and strive for continuous quality improvement. She holds a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy and will complete her doctorate in just a few months. She has 10 years of experience treating injured workers, moms, chefs and weekend warriors. Specializing in the prevention and treatment of repetitive strain injuries and common work-related complaints, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and back and neck pain, Naomi lectures nationally on ergonomics, health and injury management.

Naomi is a member of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2011, a board member of Women Business Owners of Montgomery County and a founding member of Rehab Practice Owners Network.

Having pain at the computer? Naomi asks: where are your elbows? If you want to know why, check out her website: www.worksitehealthand safety.com.

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Suzanne C. Almalel
Vice President, Public Affairs & Government Relations

Dimensions HealthCare System
3001 Hospital Drive
Cheverly, MD 20785

Suzanne C. Almalel is Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Dimensions Healthcare System in Cheverly, MD. and oversees the Health System's public affairs, government relations, legislative activities, marketing and communications departments.

Suzanne is the former Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and worked for two administrations, Governor Glendining and Governor Ehrlich. In 2005, she joined Dimensions Healthcare System as Director of Public Relations. In 2007, she was promoted to Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Dimensions Healthcare System.

Suzanne serves on the Prince George's Crime Solvers Board as Secretary. She also serves on the Prince George's Sheriff's Advisory Board, Anne Arundel County Police Advisory Board, Trauma Net Legislative Advisory Board and Maryland Association of Hospitals Legislative & Regulatory Policy Advisory Board. She is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives, Public Relations Society of America, Maryland Government Relations Association, and Baltimore Washington Chamber of Commerce. In 2008/2009 she was named Who's Who Top 100 in the Madison Who's Who Registry of Executives and Professionals.

Suzanne is a long-time resident of Upper Marlboro, MD. and lives with her husband, Karl, and four children Jessica, Jacqueline, Julia and Justin.

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Alison Asti
President of Asti Strategic Advisors
Member of the McCammon Group "Alternative Dispute Resolution"

Asti Strategic Advisors , Sports and Economic Development Consulting

Alison Asti was General Counsel and later Executive Director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, where she negotiated the lease with the Orioles and the deal to bring the Ravens to Baltimore. She also oversaw the financing, design and construction of more than $1 billion in projects throughout the state, including the Baltimore and Ocean City Convention centers, the Hippodrome Theatre, Comcast Arena, Ripken Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M & T Bank Stadium.

Alison is a mediator with The McCammon Group, and President of Asti Strategic Advisors, which provides sports and entertainment industry strategic planning, management consulting, design and construction services, financing strategies and project advocacy for teams, universities and government. She has spoken at national and international conferences on sports and economic development.

Alison completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Economics at Duke University in four years, and graduated with honors from University of Maryland School of Law. Dedicated to public service, Alison served as President of The Maryland State Bar Association and was a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, Maryland Law School Board of Visitors, University System of Maryland Foundation and Anne Arundel County Red Cross.

Alison has been honored as one of Maryland's "50 Most Influential People," "Top 100 Women," "Leaders in Law," and "Maryland Legal

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Jerri Shaw and Gail Bassin

JBS International, Inc.
5515 Security Lane, Suite 800
North Bethesda, MD 20852

JBS International, Inc. (JBS) is a women-owned business providing management and information technology services to public- and private-sector clients across the nation and around the world. JBS's commitment to high-quality work and life is one of the many reasons JBS has the reputation as a firm with opportunities for its staff to grow along with the company.

Our multi-disciplinary staff includes health professionals, financing experts, policy analysts, researchers, psychologists, social workers, educators, web masters, and IT experts. We are also multicultural and multilingual and have significant experience working with non-English speaking and hard-to-reach populations within the U.S. and abroad. We work in every state and territory and in over 110 countries, providing professional expertise in areas that include evaluation, performance management, research, information technology, communications, clearinghouses, and capacity-building through technical assistance and training.

When asked to describe their proudest accomplishment, co-founders and co-CEOs, Jerri Shaw and Gail Bassin, said, "We started JBS because we wanted to build a firm that reflected our personal commitment to doing work that produces systems change and improves people's lives. And we wanted to create a strengths-based corporate culture that holds each individual in high regard, values each person's contribution, and emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, and relationship building, internally and with our clients. In 2010 we celebrate JBS's 25th anniversary and we are achieving what we set out to do."

At JBS, there's always the opportunity for new talent to join our team as we look forward to continued growth and success.

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Michelle Bell
President and CEO

1st Choice Government Solutions
8121 Georgia Ave, Suite 700
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Michelle A. Bell, PHR, is President and CEO of 1st Choice Government Solutions, headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, with offices in Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA and Charlotte, NC. 1st Choice provides nationwide services in program and project management support, staff augmentation, organizational development and training, document, data and records management to state and federal government agencies as well as commercial businesses.

Since founding 1st Choice in 2000, Michelle has been the driving force behind the company’s growth, especially within the federal market, where sales have tripled over the last two years. Her focus on developing strategic partnerships, creative marketing and sound fiscal management has escalated the company’s reputation within government agencies.

Michelle is active in the business community as an advocate for minority- and women-owned businesses. She is also a member of the board with the Maryland/District of Columbia Minority Supplier Development Council, where she serves as Chairperson of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee. Michelle is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), National Association of Female Executives (NAFE), and National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).

Michelle believes in giving back to the community as noted in her generosity to the N Street Village Women’s Shelter, donating a truckload of food to residents. Another community event 1st Choice hosts yearly, Project H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Eat), has provided thousands of families a warm meal every Thanksgiving for the past 10 years. Also, a firm believer in a solid education, Michelle offers scholarships to students of 1st Choice employees.

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Dina Bell Nance

Training by Design, Inc.
4640 Forbes Blvd, Suite 130
Lanham, MD 20706

Dina Bell Nance, President of the Lanham, MD-based Training by Design, Incorporated--"Where God Is The CEO"--oversees the Federal Government and Private Sector market for the organization.

Training by Design, Inc. brings more than 30 years of experience in providing technology training, professional development training, project management consulting, software testing and documentation preparation. Their seasoned professionals bring a wealth of technology, customer service and project management experience to every project they support. Some of their core courses include:

  • MS Project, MS Access, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint
  • MS Publisher, MS Word
  • Effective Communication Skills, Customer Service Excellence
  • New Supervisory Skills 101, Project Managment
  • Management Skills for Administrataive Professionals
  • Dealing with Difficult People "An Art To Be Mastered"

Ms. Nance serves the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce as a Project Management Strategic Partner & Chair of the Membership Services Committee. She is also a member of the Membership Services Committee for the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce and a Business Advisor for Sisters4Sisters Network, Inc.

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Diane L. Bell McKoy

Associated Black Charities
1114 Cathedral St., Suite 130
Baltimore, MD 21201

Diane Bell-McKoy is the President and CEO of Associated Black Charities (ABC), Maryland's leading African-American philanthropic organization, where she leads a team of "change agents" focused on closing the health and wealth gaps in the State of Maryland through strategic partnerships and investments. Their signature economic strategy is More in the Middle, focusing on a wealthier region by strengthening the assets of people of color, specifically African-Americans. To achieve this vision, ABC seeks to leverage relationships, advocate, inform, organize and financially invest in research-based strategies. She came to Associated Black Charities after completing an 18-month term as a Senior Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Diane was the President, now, Chair, of Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC)-the organization that managed the Empowerment Zone, which has placed more than 14,000 residents in jobs, more than 10,000 new jobs and now a return on investment from the business loan funds.

Diane is currently a board member for Business Volunteer Unlimited, Downtown Partnership; East Baltimore Development, Inc. (Biotech Park in association with Hopkins University); University of Maryland Research Park; and CMTA, Regional Transportation strategy. She is also a Trustee for Baltimore Community Foundation; and a board member, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.

Bell-McKoy attended the University of Maryland, College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore County, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work as well as a Master's in Social Work from the School of Social Work and Community Planning at the University of Maryland. She has received Leadership/Management certifications from a number of organizations, including Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

She is married to Richard McKoy and grandmother of seven.

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Tracey Berriman
EVP and Chief Operations Officer

Monument Bank

Tracy Berriman attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California for two years before transferring to American University in Washington D.C.; she has been in D.C. ever since.

Shortly after graduating college, Tracy was offered a position at the National Bank of Washington and jumped at the chance to have a secure job. She learned the ropes of banking there and four years later, left with a group of senior managers who started a niche community bank called City National Bank. Again, she worked there for about four years before being recruited by FWB Bank (formerly known as Grand Bank) as part of a turnaround team. She was asked to manage the operations of the organization and within 18 months, the bank was out of any orders that they were previously operating under.

In 2000, Tracy left banking but not entirely. She joined a technology firm where she acted as a consultant for start-up banks and assisted with their system development. In her tenure there, she got three D.C. area banks up and running. She later returned to banking and worked for Presidential Savings Bank before leaving in 2005 for a great opportunity at Monument Bank, where she is currently the Chief Operating Officer. At Monument Bank, Tracy's most rewarding responsibility is to "make sure the global vision of the company is implemented at all department levels." That includes electronic banking, loan operations, compliance, information systems and more. In terms of the banking industry, Tracy is proud to be part of an industry that has kept up with the times and used technology to improve business for their customer base. "It is exciting that we have done so much with technology since I began in 1984," says Tracy.

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Liz Corah

Studio 310

Liz Corah is founder/owner of Studio-310 in Rockville, MD. She is a certified aerobics instructor, continuing Education Provider, AFAA examiner, Personal Trainer, and seasoned Dancer/Dance Instructor. She has also studied with renowned choreographers and dancers; Wade Robson, Jermaine Browne, Hop Star Inc., Culture Shock San Diego, and Nike fitness Athlete Angie Bunch. Liz has been dancing all her life, and has danced professionally for over 10 years.

At 17, Liz taught for the nationally know gym 24 hour Fitness, where she integrated Cardio Hip hop into numerous San Diego locations. Liz fell into the fitness world by accident, but it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

"I know, without a doubt, that I am doing now what I was put on this earth to do. Through movement, fitness and dance I hope to inspire and motivate others to feel beautiful, comfortable and confident in their own skin..."

In 2008, with her dream and talent at hand, the doors to Studio-310 opened. At 24 years old, a lifelong dream was achieved. Liz is a firm believer that "the best is yet to come" and hopes to continue motivating everyone she meets through fitness and dance.

"One of my greatest strengths is my ability to motivate, to get people up and moving, no matter what shape or mood they are in. My mantras are "Just Dance", "Confidence is beauty", "Strong is the new thin", I believe we are all strong and beautiful and brought together for a certain purpose."

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Karen Davey-Winter
Executive and Life Coach, Speaker and Trainer

Work Life Coaching

Karen Davey-Winter is an executive and life coach, speaker and trainer, with a unique combination of experience and a take-action style. She has been in senior leadership positions for more than 20 years and leverages this practical experience along with her coaching skills to create her distinctive coaching and training practice. She is certified to administer Myers Briggs and is PMP certified.

Karen coaches people and organizations in the following areas:

  • Project Management Coaching for new and seasoned project managers as they develop their skills and experience in increasingly complex projects.
  • Executive Coaching for senior leaders as they improve their negotiation, communication, collaboration, team building and influencing skills.
  • Career Coaching for individuals who are making transitional or transformational changes in their careers or are looking for ways to enhance their existing work life.
  • Life Coaching for people facing complex life transitions and/or family environments as they look for new approaches to achieve their goals.

Karen uses a variety of techniques in her coaching, such as Myers Briggs, Strengthsfinders, Appreciative Inquiry, and various coaching models that focus on goal definition and achievement. She also delivers training courses on Team Building, Project Management, Influencing Skills, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership skills.

She is a member of the International Coach Federation and Project Management Institute.

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Linda A. Dawkins

Eaglebank "We're Listening"
9600 Blackwell Road
Rockville, MD

Linda Dawkins is Vice President and Business Development Officer for EagleBank. An experienced banker, she joined EagleBank in 2004, and has been helping customers realize their dreams, take advantage of growth opportunities and celebrate their successes ever since.

Linda was educated in and raised her family in Montgomery County. She knows the area, the business climate and the financial challenges. Her ability to provide guidance and recommend solutions is based on listening to and spending time with the each customer to learn their business and their particular needs. From retail, professional, industrial, and nonprofit organizations to service-oriented, medical and commercial establishments, Linda knows that the right products and services as well as a solid relationship with knowledgeable bankers allows a business owner to spend less time on financial matters and more time running and growing their business.

Linda understands how important a banking relationship can be when a business is seeking to hold its own in a weak economy or take a giant step forward when an unusual opportunity arises.

The advantages of banking with EagleBank are many -- local access to top management and financial specialists who know the area, and quick, responsive decision making. Linda is focused on building lasting customer relationships that are based on trust, knowledge, personal service and attention. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Montgomery County Medical Society, serves on the Board of Governors for the Asbury Methodist Village and is Vice President of a local business and professional group.

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Lisa DiMonte

9600 Blackwell Road
Rockville, MD

With more than 33 years of experience in the legal sector, Lisa DiMonte serves as Chief Executive Officer for MyLegal.com. Lisa began her career as a court reporter in 1977 and founded what later became the largest independently owned court reporting firm in the Mid-Atlantic region-which was acquired by an international firm in 2005. In July 2009, Lisa joined MyLegal.com.

Formally launched on July 31, 2009, MyLegal.com provides a variety of simple but effective multi-media tools that eliminate the traditional obstacles to online marketing success by making it easy to upload and distribute content-a value which legal professionals can't get anywhere else.

Every member of MyLegal.com-lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants and others-is given a complimentary and personally customized listing in the Professional Directory, an Internet searchable listing of the services the member provides. By providing easy tools (browse and upload) for legal professionals to post content such as press releases, blogs, videos, podcasts, events and job opportunities, MyLegal.com makes it easy for members to expand their visibility and credibility in the marketplace.

Members can post status updates to MyLegal.com, LinkedIn and Twitter simultaneously and can also link their MyLegal.com account to other social media sites.

Lisa's goal in the coming year is to develop 12 new channel partners-thereby further solidifying MyLegal.com as the premier place to find a legal professional and for legal professionals to manage their online reputation in an intelligent way that helps them grow and profit.

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Patrice W. Dionet
Administrative Director

L' Academie de Cuisine
16006 Industrial Dr.
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Patrice Dionot is Co-owner and Administrative Director of L'Academie de Cuisine, Inc. (LAC) located in Gaithersburg and Bethesda. Dionot manages the day-to-day operations of the culinary school and is responsible for the school's curriculum development and its annual educational symposium. LAC was founded in 1976 offering recreational cooking classes. In 1983, LAC began offering two professional training programs: one in the culinary arts and one in pastry arts.

In 1994, LAC expanded to a second location in Gaithersburg where the professional and continuing education programs are currently taught. The school was proud to sign an articulation agreement with Montgomery College in 2003, allowing its culinary arts graduates to transfer 11 credits towards a Hospitality Management Associates degree.

Patrice has been a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) since 1986. She served on The Culinary Trust's (the philanthropic arm of the IACP) board from 1989-1995 and was its chair from 1993-1994. Patrice has been a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier since 1990 and was Co-chair of the 2001 Les Dames d'Escoffier International annual conference. Patrice is also a member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) and served on its board from 2003-2009; she co-chaired WCR's 2000 and 2009 national conferences. In 2010, Patrice began serving a two-year term on the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation's Board.

Patrice is also involved in Michelle Obama's "Chefs Move to Schools" initiative. She and her team at LAC are working with the Montgomery County School System to educate teachers in the basics of healthy buying, cooking and eating. In addition, Patrice has aligned LAC with Gaithersburg Middle School to teach students cooking and expand their palates to enjoy healthy food.

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Dr. Charlene M. Dukes

Prince George's Community College
301 Largo Rd.,
Largo, MD 20774

As president of Prince George's Community College (PGCC), Dr. Charlene Dukes' role is a varied one: community and business liaison working to ensure the college has resources it needs to realize its mission; state and local government lobbyist, encouraging leaders to assist in meeting the college's goals; and college community supporter, interacting with students to gain helpful insights into campus life.

Her dedication to higher education started early. She pursued her undergraduate studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received a degree in secondary education with a concentration in English. She went on to earn her Master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in administrative and policy studies with a concentration in higher education. After graduation, she thought she would go into teaching, applying for K-12 jobs. But when an admissions and financial aid officer position became available at University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, she took it. The rest is history.

Prior to becoming president of Prince George's Community College, Dr. Dukes served as vice president for student services for 12 years. She is as active on the campus as she is in her neighborhood community. Dr. Dukes sits on the board of the Business Roundtable, the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce, College Summit and is Vice President of the Maryland State Board of Education. She also is a member of the Presidents' Round Table and the American Association of Community Colleges, two organizations committed to meeting the Obama administration's goal of having five million more Americans with academic credentials in 2020-a task she is ready and willing, with the support of faculty and staff, to address.

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Conni Evans
Co-founder and President


Conni Evans is the Co-founder and President of Ancon, a professional services firm providing consulting and staffing services to government agencies and Fortune 1000 companies. Our service offerings include, but are not limited to: Administrative and IT Support; Civil Rights Training and Investigation; Resource and Project Coordination; and Program Management. Conni's professional experiences coupled with her entrepreneurial spirit have allowed her to successfully manage the daily operations and facilitate Ancon's steady growth to a multi-million dollar consulting firm.

She frequently shares her business experience and leadership skills by presenting workshops, participating in focus groups, and mentoring new female entrepreneurs. Her professional affiliations include Women Presidents' Organization; Center for Women's Business Research; and Howard University Institute for Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Innovation. Additionally, she has provided commentary on issues affecting small and woman-owned businesses to several publications, including the Washington Business Journal, USA Today, and ESSENCE Magazine.

Conni and her husband, Anthony (Co-Founder and VP of Ancon), strongly believe in giving back through coaching and nurturing new startups and existing small businesses. Key areas of focus are infrastructure building, business development, staff management, and accessing capital. Additionally, Conni is developing training on helping "the average woman" learn how to start and run her own business.

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Jane Fairweather

Fairweather Collection
4709 Maple Ave
Bethesda, MD

If you live in Montgomery County you have probably seen Jane Fairweather's name or face before... not necessarily in person, but on countless "For Sale" signs on the front lawns of houses all throughout Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

A 30-year veteran of the business, Jane Fairweather is a staple in the Maryland Real Estate business. Together with her team of highly specialized assistants and buyer agents, Fairweather sells an average of 170-190 homes per year, in a market where the average agent sells just 5 homes. She has been named the #1 Coldwell Banker agent in the Washington Metropolitan Area for 8 years. Fairweather has consistently ranked among the Top 10 Coldwell Banker agents in the nation since 1998. In 2008 Fairweather sold $117 million!

Fairweather is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (class of 2009). She currently serves on Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's Economic Advisory Council and was invited by Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot to testify in Annapolis in September 2008 on the state of the real estate market.

Every year since 2005, Fairweather has given a residential real estate "State of the Market" speech in June at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce's Real Estate Update Presentation.

Fairweather is considered an expert in the Washington Metro Area real estate market by the local media. She often appears on CNBC and Fox 5 News and is frequently quoted in the Washington Post Real Estate section.

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Anita Gonzalez
Personal Stylist

Anita the Diva

Accessories are the key to a great look, says fashion designer and wardrobe consultant, Anita Gonzalez. Her studio has the latest collection of day and evening accessories to compliment your look and budget. With every season, she debuts a new line.

Over the last three years, "Anita the Diva's" acclaimed collection of handbags and specialty created jewelry is current, and often worn by the area's most "stylish" women. Many of her captivating items, have beautiful embellishments of Swarovski crystal, metals, and semi-precious gemstones. The Studio has a extensive selection of jewelry and personal appointments.

As an accessory and wardrobe consultant, she'll arrive full circle to meet a client's request for business, travel, and social events by appointment. Photo shoots and Bridal parties can easily be accommodated. For a look that is unique and fashion forward your appointment is waiting.

Her position as innovator of her company, followed nearly three decades of customer care experience, while maintaining a "passion for fashion" and the luxury brand, at which she feels best qualified to serve you in stellar service and quality products. Her motto is, "When you look good, you'll feel wonderful!"

Married to her inspiration, Carlos, Anita is a community leader, who has served on various boards. She is an active volunteer in political campaigns for the County Executive and State Governor. She believes, we become wiser, stronger, and more confident for our purpose in life when we share our gifts.

She is an active supporter of fashion events and women's organizations in the local area.

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Karen Grau
EVP and Chief Financial Officer

Monument Bank

Ever since her internship during high school at Friendship Savings and Loan, Karen Grau has not looked back, enjoying a successful career in banking. She worked in a few different banks, including Home Federal Savings (where she dedicated 13 years) and FBR National Bank and Trust, while simultaneously earning a BA in Accounting from the University of the District of Columbia and a CPA certification.

In 2003, Karen made the move to Congressional Bank in Potomac, which was a great experience, as it afforded her the opportunity to work at a start-up bank. At the bank, she was able to develop policies and procedures for the bank from scratch and hire people who want to get involved-everyone at every level has a stake in the bank.

Two years later, she decided to make Monument Bank, another start-up bank, her professional home. As Chief Financial Officer of Monument Bank, Karen directs all accounting, finance and human resource activities.

"Monument Bank is a great place to work as it is an environment which values women at higher levels and encourages professional development," says Karen. For the banking industry in general, Karen would "like to see more women involved on the financial side in addition to the customer service side."

Karen is also a dedicated member of the community. She still sits on the advisory board of her daughters' school, even though they have since graduated. "It's been very rewarding," Grau says.

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Sharon Grubinsky
Certified Public Accountants

Santos, Postal & Company, P.C.
11 North Washington St. Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20850
E-mail:SGubinsky@SantosPostal.com http://www.santospostal.com

As a Senior Manager at Santos, Postal & Company P.C., Sharon B. Gubinsky, CPA, has seen the firm triple in size during her 14-year tenure. Gubinsky provides services for audits, reviews and compilations, taxes, consulting and prevention of fraud with a concentration in the areas of medical, real estate, not for profit, government contracting, retail, hospitality industry and professional services. Prior to joining Santos, Postal & Company, she worked for the private sector in finance, within the construction/contracting, medical and hospitality industries. Sharon has a passion for working with women-controlled entities and assisting women develop leadership roles within their organizations.

As a means of giving back to the community where Sharon works and lives, she serves on the Finance Committee for the EagleBank Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds for local hospitals for breast cancer treatment and recovery in the Washington, D.C. metro area. In her quest to support the interests of women CPAs, Gubinsky is a founding member and serves on the Executive Board as Treasurer for the American women's Society of CPAs (AWSCPA) D.C. Metro Region Chapter. Sharon is also on the Community Services Committee for the Maryland Suburban CREW chapter; and, she is affiliated with the MACPA, AICPA, ACFE, AWSA and the Montgomery County Humane Society.

In her free time Sharon enjoys golfing, gardening & writing for her blog: GubinskyCPA.blogspot.com.

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Ruth Hanessian

Animal Exchange
605 Hungerford Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850

At age 71, and in her 32nd year in business, Ruth still works seven days a week, even taking baby birds home if they need night feedings. Among the many people who have worked at the store, nine have become veterinarians; several others have gone on to be professionals in scientific fields.

Business accomplishments

  • Founder and member of Women Business Owners
  • Past President Kiwanis Club of Rockville
  • President Maryland Association of Pet Industries

A big proponent of the benefits of science, she is the Science Cafe' Coordinator for the Rockville Science Center, responsible for garnering leading world scientists for in-depth presentations monthly, on the third Tuesday of the month. While a reluctant participant to the computer world and the Internet, she has received more than 400,000 YouTube views about animal care at animalexchange@YouTube.com.

Ruth's personal experience with breast cancer propelled her to start the Lunch Bunch, which has met every week since February 1994. This unique group of women (and men) has found great benefits in the collective knowledge and support that even doctors have come to recognize as unusual.

In her "spare" time, Ruth authored "Birds on the Couch, The Bird Shrink's Guide to Keeping Polly from Going Crackers and You Out of the Cuckoo's Nest"ˇ with Wendy Bounds. She still learns something new from customers every day!

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Anita Harding-Green

1300 Mercantile Ln. Suite 100G
Largo, MD 20774

Anita is proud to serve as the Founder and Executive Director of Blue Sky Financial Group, Inc. a new housing counseling agency in Prince George's County. In this role she is committed to providing high quality housing & supportive services for low-to- moderate income people and families.

At BSFGroup Anita is in charge of the day-to-day operations of an agency that addresses the counseling and educational needs of the community through home buying seminars, one-on-one pre-purchasing and post-purchasing housing counseling, budget and credit counseling, foreclosure prevention and financial literacy training.

An alumni of Bowie State University, she has completed the National Housing Counseling training program and the foreclosure prevention training sponsored by Fannie Mae and Neighborworks. Anita has more than 12 years experience in the real estate and finance industry.

Anita recently initiated a ground breaking annual event, The Prince George's County Home Expo, focused on 'Increasing Homeownership Opportunities'. The Expo will serve as a collaboration of experts and professionals from the real estate community catering to the residents of the county.

Blue Sky Financial Group, Inc. seeks to foster homeownership through financial literacy programs and provide economic development opportunities in low & moderate income communities in Prince George's County.

Discover more about Blue Sky Financial Group, Inc. and The Prince Georges County Home Expo by visiting our websites: www.bsfgroup.net, www.pghomeexpo.com.

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Sylvia Henderson

Springboard Training
USPS: PO Box 588
Olney, MD 20830

After 23 years at IBM and America Online, Sylvia Henderson is CEO-Chief Everything Officer-of Springboard Training, your "go-to" provider for life-and-business-changing professional development solutions. Focused on four powerful elements that determine interpersonal and business success-appearance, communication, attitude, and behavior-Springboard Training works with organizations and individuals to define success, then position themselves to achieve shared visions, goals and a congruent image.

Springboard Training provides total professional development solutions using a multi-pronged delivery strategy based on its Pathways to Positioning© model. Sylvia assesses organizational needs, designs and delivers programs customized to organizations and individuals. Solutions include a mix of training, workshops, keynotes, info products, remote seminars, retreats, one-on-one or team coaching and a monthly program that delivers "bytes" of professional development content electronically. Long-term behavior and attitude change rather than hit-and-run training is key to a success investment.

Sylvia is an author, blogger, and host of "Think About It!" on cable TV16. Her two most recent books-Hey, That's My Idea! and TXTVERSATIONS: How Old Farts Must Communicate With Young Whipper-Snappers (And Vice Versa) provide strategies for effective professional interpersonal skills. Henderson is a community leader active in Leadership Montgomery (LM2011), Girl Scouts, National Speakers Association, Toastmasters, National Association for Self Esteem, E. Diane Champe Institute, and is Founder of the non-profit Success Achievement Foundation (SAFYR.org). She lives in Olney with her life partner and two Corgis dogs, rides a motorcycle and roller coasters for fun, and enjoys relaxing and laughing with friends.

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Odessa T. Hopkins
President and CEO

Another Approach Enterprieses

As CEO of Another Approach Enterprises (AAE), a company that builds partnerships, alliances and relationships between small businesses and private and government agencies, Odessa T. Hopkins knows the value of leadership and responsibility. She has almost 20 years of experience in onsite government contracting for a major energy regulatory program, and was directly responsible for more than tripling the value of that contract... giving her the unique advantage of being able to aid in building relationships and growing businesses, and contracts, from the inside out. However, she is best known for her ability to successfully bring together small businesses, large corporate decision makers and local politicians at AAE's Awards Gala. Following the first Gala, Ms. Hopkins received the Prince George's County Council Proclamation for "the many contributions and the perseverance in helping the small minority and women-owned businesses flourish in today's society."

Prior to Another Approach Enterprises, Odessa owned a company that focused on instilling self-esteem and confidence in young women. What began as a favor to a guidance counselor, grew into workshops at institutions which included Hampton University.

Currently AAE is providing diversity consultation for a major medical facility that is expanding within the mid-Atlantic region. AAE's responsibility is to ensure that minorities, women and service disabled veteran owned businesses are included. "It is a great time for women because President Obama and agencies, such as the GSA and SBA, are implementing initiatives that will assist women entrepreneurs with more contracting opportunities,"...Hopkins says.

Odessa serves on the board of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce and sits on several advisory boards as well. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy work.

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Lilla Hunter-Taylor

The Staff Hunter
"Career Placement Services"
3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 700
Bethesda, MD 20814

Lilla Hunter-Taylor, CEO of The Staff Hunter located in Bethesda, MD helps bridge the gap between qualified candidates and employers to form successful relationships.

Prior to establishing The Staff Hunter, Lilla Hunter-Taylor ran a successful insurance brokerage firm for more than eight years. Her knowledge of working with small to mid-size companies and individuals prepared her for working with companies and candidates in the staffing industry.

Lilla Hunter-Taylor works with Dress for Success Baltimore, MD and conducts seminars to help women become successful in their future careers. Taylor every year participates in the Susan G. Komen race for the cure in Washington, D.C.

The Staff Hunter is a premiere recruiting agency that focuses on direct hire and recruiting the best for the best. The Staff Hunter is a certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE), and a member of the American Staffing Association. Lilla Hunter-Taylor was nominated for Washington Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business.

The Staff Hunter is the winner of the 2010 Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Maryland and the Top 500 Emerging Businesses in the U.S. by DiversityBusiness.com

Lilla Hunter-Taylor received her Bachelor's degree in Communications from Bowie State University and lives with her husband, Dr. Merwyn Taylor, in Beltsville, MD.

The Staff Hunter offices are in Bethesda, MD and McLean, VA.

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Lynn Jenkins
Vice President

Mountaintop Marketing Group, LLC
"Helping You Reach Your Peak! 8070 George Ave., Suite 310
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Lynn Jenkins is a genuine Woman Business Leader in Maryland. As Vice President of Mountaintop Marketing Group, Lynn heads a team of business development and training consultants focused on securing government contract opportunities for firms throughout the nation. She is a highly sought-after speaker and was a featured panelist for the Maryland/District of Columbia. Minority Supplier Diversity Council annual conference.

With a sincere passion for assisting small, minority- and veteran-owned business, Jenkins served as the Co-Chair of the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation Annual Golf outing, which raised funds to support the Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP) Program an intensive business training program provided for veteran business owners completely free of charge.

Lynn, as a lead instructor for the program, currently teaches the Capture Management course. Each year, Lynn and her firm, Mountaintop Marketing Group, hosts the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Minority Business Awards reception. Mountaintop Marketing developed the awards program to allow for Congressional members to recognize outstanding Minority Businesses and supporters. The 2010 Awards event featured more than 400 attendees and was applauded by U.S. House of Representatives attendees Chris Van Hollen, Bobby Scott, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee who received the legislative leadership award.

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Suzan Jenkins

Arts $ Humanities Council of Montgemery County
801 EllsworthDr.
Silver Spring, MD 20910 P:301.565.3805 x 23

For Suzan Jenkins, creativity is the heart of innovation and success. A visionary CEO with a knack for leading cultural institutions, Jenkins relies on creative business practices to ensure that her agency, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, delivers outstanding services to more than 450 cultural organizations and 1,200 artists and scholars.

In today's tough economy, creative problem solving coupled with solid business acumen is a business imperative. Despite reduced funding for the arts, Suzan's constituents still expect high-quality service. To deliver quality, Jenkins uses technology to streamline internal administration, capitalizing on her small but highly effective team through the use of conference calls, webinars and telecommuting, which allows staff to connect with stakeholders County wide without losing valuable time to commuting.

Externally, Suzan's agency stays connected to constituents through two interactive websites, social media, an online grants program, e-communications and surveying services. Recently, Suzan re-envisioned how nonprofits could take advantage of bundling administrative services through bulk purchasing. She co-launched the Nonprofit Energy Alliance, the first of several such initiatives, which allows a coalition of nonprofits to aggregate funds to lower energy costs and purchase clean energy.

Suzan has served as Executive in Residence at Loyola University, New Orleans and at American University in Washington, D.C. and in leadership positions at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Recording Industry Association of America. Jenkins is the Conceptual Producer of the Peabody Award winning series Let the Good Times Roll, produced for Public Radio International.

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Pam Knight
Small Business Marketing Coach

Client Business Services LLC.
Suitland, MD 20746 P:202.812.115

In 2005, after 20 years in the corporate and government contractor world, Pam Knight, started her coaching firm in Maryland Client Business Services. In the years since, she has helped dozens of local business owners improve their sales, operations and profitability. In addition to coaching business owners, she is the founder of the Smart Business Empowerment Group, hosts a monthly networking meet-up group and currently participates on various local committees and business building groups. Pam also tirelessly works in the community in Prince George's County.

Whether working one-on-one with a client or connecting hundreds of business owners with each other, the focus of Pam's business is to build a strong community of like-minded individuals who are creating opportunities for themselves and others in their business ventures. What makes Pam's approach unique is the depth of her commitment to the success of every client. She focuses on implementing plans and strategies designed to create the business they dreamed of when they first started it. With her guidance and support, clients can expect to work hard and get the kind of results they never thought possible. "Many people don't know what to expect from coaching," Pam says. "I am committed to ensuring they receive true value from the coaching experience. In fact, I guarantee it."

Pam Knight is a certified small business coach and is also a member of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce, Sisters4Sisters Network and Smart Business Empowerment Group.

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Ann Mitchell
President and CEO

Montgomery Hospice
1355 Piccard Dr., Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

For the last 12 years, Ann Mitchell has served as President & CEO of Montgomery Hospice, a nonprofit medical hospice that cares for the seriously ill residents of Montgomery County. Under Mitchell's leadership, Montgomery Hospice has grown substantially.

Unfortunately, despite the increase in patients served and the growth in services provided, the level of reimbursements Montgomery Hospice receives from Medicare, Medicaid and other private insurance companies has remained essentially flat. To tackle the challenge of insurance payments not even keeping up with the yearly inflation rate, Montgomery Hospice has embarked on a three-year fundraising campaign to raise 8 million dollars. Half of the funds raised during the "Gentle the Journey: the Campaign for Montgomery Hospice" will go to the creation of an endowment to support nursing care at Casey House (the only health care facility in Montgomery County exclusively designed for hospice patients) and the other half will support bereavement services and care provided in patients' homes.

Mitchell has been in hospice management since 1981. She has worked as a researcher for the Yale Center for Health Studies. In the mid-1990s, Mitchell was the principal investigator of a study on the economics of hospice care that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Mitchell holds a Master of Public Health degree from Yale University. She is Chairman of the Board of the Hospice Alliance and was elected to the Board of Directors of the Hospice and Palliative Care Network of Maryland every year since 1999.

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Cathy Nestoriak
Franchise Owner

10 til 2 The Part-Time Placement Service
"We Call It Part-Time...Our Clients Call It Perfect."
E-mail:cnestoriak@tentiltwo.com http://www.tentiltwo.com

Cathy Nestoriak is the owner of the Montgomery County West office of 10 til 2 - The Part-Time Placement Service. 10 til 2 started with a question, actually two, Why do so many top-notch professionals, in the prime of their careers, voluntarily drop out of the nine-to-five rat race? And how could businesses benefit from all this untapped talent?

Increasingly, college-educated professionals are not willing, for any number of reasons, to work a forty-hour work week and find limited options for professional part-time employment. These potential employees are ready to give their all to an employer in return for a little flexibility in their work schedule. 10 til 2 realized that this sector of the workforce is a treasure chest just waiting to be opened, and the beneficiaries to this gold mine are small to mid-sized businesses. Through 10 til 2, they now have access to experienced, part-time professionals and only pay for the hours the employee works.

Cathy has a Master's degree in Human Resource Development from Marymount University and, prior to owning her 10 til 2 business, specialized in Workforce Development and Corporate Training throughout the D.C. Metro area and Baltimore. "I have always been passionate about helping companies identify, develop and maintain talent," Cathy says. "Employment trends are shifting away from the confines of the standard HR paradigm. I truly believe that now is the time for 10 til 2."

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Monica Nillen
Exective Meeting Center

Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center
8120 Wisconsin Ave.,
Besthesda, MD 20814

Monica Nillen is the Executive Meeting Center Manager at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Bethesda. She is responsible for servicing and managing conferences, meetings and conventions for the Doubletree's International Association of Conference Center (IACC) approved 18,000 square feet of meeting space. Monica's role is to ensure that each meeting client receives the personal attention they deserve and expect when they plan an event or meeting at the recently renovated Doubletree Hotel. Her ability to take care of every detail and request of each group includes the handling of audio visual needs, catering requirements, room arrangements and many special requests. Her level of personal service and willingness to go the "extra mile," have earned Monica accolades from her many long-standing meeting clients.

Prior to joining the team at the Bethesda Doubletree, Monica was the Events Manager at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., and during her tenure there became experienced with large city-wide bookings, creating strong customer relations and was innovative in developing systems for the planning and managing of group meetings at the hotel. Previous positions Monica attributes to her success in managing group meetings at the Doubletree include her role as Food & Beverage Administrator at the Capital Hilton and as Workforce Development Specialist for the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights.

Educated at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Nillen majored in social work and has used the many "people skills" she learned at UDC to earn her the respect and loyalty of many of the Doubletree's meeting clients.

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Michele Palmer

We Plan - You Party
Social and Corporate Event Solutions
E-mail:michele@weplan-youparty.com http://www.weplan_youparty.com

After a life-changing occurrence, Michele Palmer promised herself to pursue one of her many passions. Since she gave up playing the drums in bands just prior to starting a family, Michele recognized that going the music route would probably not be a viable option now that she is older.

Working for a local PR/Marketing firm for a number of years, Michele recognized that working on events was one of her untapped strengths and she had an innate ability to extract a client's basic idea, develop it and produce an event that was exactly what the client desired. "Starting my own event planning business was my true passion and I realized this while overlooking the monuments lit up in the DC skyline during a client's rooftop event one evening. Shortly thereafter, I launched We Plan - You Party."

We Plan - You Party provides social and corporate event solutions and offers full service planning or partial event solutions and assistance at any stage. Their established connections with caterers, venues and other vendors, enables them to provide you with event solutions within your budget.

Michele makes sure that social events create memories that will never be forgotten when celebrating life, love, success and milestone celebrations. We Plan - You Party understands the importance of a corporate customers business, so allow Michele at We Plan - You Party to provide you with event solutions, enabling your employees to concentrate on your business and your clients. Michele also realizes the importance of employee morale and believes that even in today's economy, your employees should feel their significance.

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Necole Parker
Principal and CEO

The Elocen Group LLC
12138 Central Ave., Suite 458
Bowie, MD 20721

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Necole Parker founded The ELOCEN Group, LLC in June 2007, a Program Management firm providing consulting services for project and construction management, design services, relocation planning, and facilities/event planning.

Necole began her career as a contractor for the federal government working on multiple construction projects. She has worked for two (2) prominent A/E firms, a construction company and a Commercial Real Estate Advisory Group, notably as Vice President of Program Management and Director of Relocation Planning. She has over seventeen (17) years experience in project management, which extends from a project's pre-concept stages to close-out. Specifically, Ms. Parker has managed more than eleven (11) million square feet of office space comprised of new construction and/or renovations, while successfully completing several large/complex multi-phase federal and private sector projects.

Necole has grown the company's sales from roughly $300,000 dollars in 2007 and 2008, to currently $6.5 million dollars. This has occurred from her adherence to the mantra of, "Satisfied customers become satisfied clients for life." Via a proven historical track record, Necole has demonstrated her ability to compete for and acquire contracts in the local and federal government sectors. Of significance is the awarding of a five (5) year Project and Construction Management contract with the National Science Foundation and two Project Management/Design Services contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Necole possesses uncompromising integrity and determination, a keen ability to lead her staff while multitasking at all levels, and a passion for providing customer service excellence.

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Carol Plummer
Managing Director


Carol Plummer is the Managing Director of the Montgomery County, MD chapter of eWomen Network. eWomenNetwork is an organization dedicated to supporting, promoting and showcasing its members' products and services and helping them achieve their professional objectives. It is community of women who want to provide unlimited opportunities to transact business with women. eWomenNetwork is the number one resource for connecting and promoting women and their businesses.

As the Managing Director, Carol views her job as lead matchmaker and women's business connector for Montgomery County. Each month, the local chapter has luncheons featuring its trademarked Accelerated Networking and a variety of other events for connecting women and promoting their businesses.

Before becoming the Managing Director for eWomenNetwork in July 2010, Carol was an entrepreneur for five years with a jewelry business and a self-improvement course. She also has 30 years of corporate experience with a large computer company. She has an MBA from American University and a BS in Computer Science.

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Robyn Quinter

Quinter Design

On a mission to rid the world of unattractive and ineffective marketing materials” has been Robyn Quinter's mantra since starting Quinter Design in 1993. Quinter and her staff embrace each and every project with a passion to create collateral that perfectly balances their clients' needs and desires.

Quinter Design's satisfied clients range from nonprofit organizations and fledgling businesses to professional practices and government agencies. Each has reaped benefits from one or more of the firm's core services: 1) innovative graphic design 2) custom-designed tradeshow displays, posters and banners 3) comprehensive publicity services. A dose of humor is a value-added benefit from working with Quinter Design, whose principals portray themselves as red-caped superheroes on their crusade.

Every brochure, logo, advertisement, tradeshow banner, news release and annual report receives Quinter's personal attention. She employs the skills and experience gained as a news reporter, editor, communications director and publicist to ensure that each is crafted perfectly to the client's specifications.

Quinter is also passionate about children's mental health. She is president of MCF, the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health, a statewide nonprofit providing education, direct services and advocacy to families with a child facing mental health challenges.

Active in the business community, Quinter co-chairs the Olney Chamber of Commerce's annual Community Night, the county's oldest business expo.

Quinter Design's success and contributions to the community have received several accolades. Quinter was recipient of an ATHENA Award in 2008 and was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Woman for 2010. The firm received a Governor's Volunteer Service Award in 2010 and has been honored by the Olney and Rockville Chambers, Peerless Rockville, Threshold Services and others.

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Suzanne L. Rotbert

Samek and Rotbert
15245 Shady Grove Rd., Suite 300
North Rockville, MD 20850

Upon graduating among the top of her class from Georgetown Law, Suzanne Rotbert decided to settle in the Washington area where she grew up. After 10 years working for large, prestigious D.C. firms, doing primarily mergers, acquisitions, and corporate work, Suzanne moved her practice to Montgomery County to be closer to home. With the lower hourly rates of a suburban firm and her Montgomery County roots, Rotbert's practice blossomed.

On January 1, 2007, Suzanne and Roger Samek formed Samek & Rotbert, LLC, which currently represents more than 800 clients. Many of Suzanne's clients have been working with her for more than 10 years. "It's our commitment to quality, integrity, and results," Suzanne says, "that has earned us our reputation." Samek & Rotbert serves primarily small to mid-size companies (spanning many industries) with all of their corporate, employment, contract, and business transaction needs. Suzanne has received the highest peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and an "excellent" rating from AVVO. Suzanne is active in the local community. Having formerly served on the board of the North Potomac Citizens Association and as President of her neighborhood's HOA, Suzanne currently serves as outside General Counsel for the Community Ministries of Rockville, Inc. on a pro-bono basis.

Suzanne's success as an attorney is due to her responsiveness, efficiency, high-quality work product, and sensitivity to her clients' needs. "Having represented businesses for more than 20 years, I've seen it all. I enjoy being able to apply that experience in helping my clients meet their business challenges and not only resolve problems but prevent them." Rotbert says. "My goal is to provide legal and business counsel that will help my clients' businesses succeed."

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Robyn Sachs

RMR and Associates
5870 Hubbard Dr.
Rockville, MD 20852

As the owner of RMR & Associates for 23 years, Robyn Sachs has turned the company into an award-winning, dynamic, and consistently successful integrated marketing and public relations firm. The firm has gained significant recognition within the metro Washington, DC area for their work within the business-to-business market. The Washington Business Journal has consistently recognized RMR in its Top 25 Public Relations Firm listings from 1991 to 2010.

Robyn has won many individual awards as well, including the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1998. In 1997, she was awarded WJLA's Women of the Year award, sponsored by Toyota. She has also won the Washington Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business award in 2007 and was named a Brava Women Business Leader by Washington SmartCEO Magazine in 2009. Robyn has served on the board of the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO), and currently serves on the Entrepreneurs' Organization of Washington, DC (EO) board, a non-profit organization for business owners with companies over one million dollars in sales. Additionally, Robyn is a pro bono professional mentor appointed by Montgomery County and was recently honored by the county with a Small Business Workforce Award.

As a leader and mentor, one of Robyn's top priorities is to ensure that she provides a fun, educational and positive working environment. Robyn listens to her employees' ideas and makes them an active part of a winning team. This same enthusiasm is what has kept Robyn going throughout her vigorous tenure in the public relations field.

Robyn can attribute much of her success to her ability to develop strong and long term relationships with her clients. Always delivering the promise of the proposal, Robyn serves as a mentor to her clients, coaching them on the best communications strategies that will use their budgets most effectively and create the most profitable ROI. Through success and hardship, Robyn's drive and determination is what continues to push her to new heights. Her love for the field, her clients and the relationships at the heart of it all, despite the trials along the way with any career, come together to make Robyn an outstanding businesswoman in the public relations field.

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Beth Schillaci
Founder and President
Author of Your Social Media Roadmap

Villages Communications Inc.
50 Citizens Way, Suite 402
Frederick, MD 21701

For more than a decade, Beth Schillaci has helped businesses understand and implement new media marketing. From web sites and email to the newest social media tools, Beth has always focused on helping companies define what they need to use to be strategic and effective.

"It's not about being the first or using the newest hot platform,"Beth explains. "It's about using the right platform and strategies to deliver your message to your target audience. No company has to do everything online, but every company has to do something, even if it's just monitoring."

Beth's focus on creating effective new media marketing strategies for her clients is part of what led her to be named one of the 25 CEOs to Know in 2010 by The Gazette of Business and Politics. It's also part of what led her to write her new book, Your Social Media Roadmap, which provides small businesses with her own successful framework for working with clients.

"Helping companies make sense of how to use social media and other digital strategies to grow their business is what I'm passionate about," says Beth. "Ensuring that my clients have a successful, strategic social marketing plan is what I do best."

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Barbara Sears

Linowes and Blocher LLP
7200 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20814

Barbara Sears has dedicated her professional career as an attorney to land use law. After graduating from Drew University, Sears went on to receive both a law degree and a Master's in urban and regional planning from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Her first job out of law school afforded her a great opportunity to put her knowledge to the test, as the Associate General Counsel for the Montgomery County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. This agency is a major player in preparing master plans to guide the County's growth, reviewing rezoning and special exception applications, advising on zoning code changes, approving subdivisions, and more. Working as legal advisor to the Planning Board gave her a solid base on which to build her career in land use. From here, she moved to private practice with Linowes and Blocher LLP, where for over 30 years she has concentrated her practice in the areas of land use, land development, real estate, administrative and municipal law. At Linowes and Blocher, she has served as Managing Partner and is Chair of the firm's highly regarded Land Use Practice Group.

"What is great about Linowes and Blocher is that women are indistinguishable from men in terms of their career track," says Barbara. "It's always been a place where individuals can progress based on their merits and achievements and not on their gender."

"As a woman business leader, I feel it is not only important to be an example to other women, but also to provide women with equal access to the career path," says Sears. Part of this is helping to ensure that other women are given the same opportunities that she has encountered in the last 30 years at Linowes and Blocher.

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Angie Segal
Owner and Business Coach

13403 Clifton Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20904

In 2007, after 20 years in the corporate world, Angie Segal purchased an ActionCOACH franchise-- the world's #1 business services franchise as ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine for the past seven consecutive years and started a business coaching firm in Silver Spring, MD. In the years since, she has helped dozens of local business owners improve the sales, operations and profitability of their businesses.

In addition to coaching business owners, she is the co-founder of The ORIGINAL Third Tuesdays, a monthly networking event designed to bring business people together. She also sits on the board of several local business-building and charitable groups. All of these endeavors are Angie's way of improving the business community in Montgomery County.

Whether working one-on-one with a client or connecting hundreds of business owners with each other, the focus of her business is to build a strong community of like-minded individuals who are creating opportunities for themselves and others through their business ventures.

What makes Angie's approach unique is the depth of her commitment to the success of every client. She focuses on developing and implementing plans and strategies designed to create the business they dreamed of when they first started. With her guidance and support, clients can expect to work hard and get the kind of results they never thought possible.

"Many people don't know what to expect from coaching." Angie says. "I am committed to ensuring they receive true value from the coaching experience. In fact, I guarantee it." Angie is a certified business coach who focuses on building strong and successful businesses.

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Kathleen Soto Mayer
Vice President

OBA Bank
20300 Sececa Meadows Parkway
Germantown, MD 20876
P:301.916.0742 x 277

Kathleen Soto Mayer has been in the banking industry since 1987. She started off as a teller and in just two short years, worked her way up to Branch Manager. During her career she has been employed at such reputable banks as Equitable Bank, First Montgomery Bank, Citizens Savings Bank and Provident Bank. She is currently Vice President at OBA Bank.

In 2001, Kathleen started at OBA Bank as a Branch Manager, and became a Business Development Officer in 2002. For the last three years, her focus as a commercial banker has been commercial lending, which she finds most rewarding. "It is my job to help businesses get the financing that they need to purchase a property or a business, to construct a property or expand their current location--or just get a line of credit to help with short-term cash flow needs," says Kathleen. "Not only do I get to meet many different and interesting people, but I get insight on a variety of businesses and professions."

Kathleen is happy to be affiliated with a community bank as it offers personalized attention for its customers and is well-capitalized safe and sound and eager to lend.

Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Business Administration and is a proud mom to three sons and devoted grandmother to her two grandchildren.

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Octavia Staton Caldwell
Managing Director

ROC Consultants
10903 Indian Head Highway, Suite 211
Fort Washington, MD 20744

Octavia Stanton Caldwell is passionate about helping organizations be more effective in doing what they were created to do. Octavia was the Director of the Office of Personnel Services (OPS) for the Maryland State Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (DLLR) where she implemented a process improvement initiative that resulted in OPS overall customer satisfaction rating increasing from 3 to 7 in a two-year period. She was initially hired by DLLR, a five-year-old agency at the time, to develop a grants management unit for the agency's federal grants. Passionately confronting a myriad grants management issues, including an USDOL Inspector General Audit, she successfully created the unit, hired staff, integrated the state and federal accounting systems, implemented a compliant cost allocation model and introduced federal accounting principles to the agency. Prior to her Maryland State experience, she worked in Prince George's County government agencies, including Housing, Management and Budget, Personnel and Public Works and Transportation for 15 years.

ROC Consultants, LLC was launched by Octavia as a management consulting practice in 2004, specializing in organization development and human resources. She assists a variety of public and nonprofit entities locally and across the nation to address their organizational needs and challenges by applying strategic solutions that produce measurable results. Her 26 years of experience allows Octavia to rapidly assess situations, offer recommendations and facilitate implementation of the organization's choice of action. ROC uses small and large group facilitation, customized training, on-hand technical assistance and executive coaching to affect organizational change.

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Chris Stewart
President and Chief Executive Officer

Educational Dimension, Inc.
9500 Arena Dr., Suite 230

Chris Stewart is President and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Dimensions, Inc. (EDI), an educational training and consulting firm. With her leadership, EDI has worked with school districts throughout the United States and has provided a range of services to local and federal government agencies, colleges and universities, and corporations and other businesses. As an active member of the educational and training community, Chris provides research-based professional and personal development; curriculum support; leadership development and training; organizational reviews and performance/efficiency studies; business coaching and technical assistance; strategic planning; and program development and implementation. Her expert delivery of services has afforded her the opportunity to serve as a faculty member for the prestigious Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, a world leader in educational training and research.

As an active community leader, Chris has served as President of the D.C. Council for Social Studies, D.C. Representative to the Middle States Council for the Social Studies, Co-chair of Exemplary Programs for the National Council for the Social Studies, Chair of the D.C. Area Writing Project, and board member for Leadership Greater Washington. Chris served under the direction of Montgomery County superintendent, Dr. Jerry D. Weast, on the Education Policy Advisory Committee for the State of Maryland. Chris is currently the National President of the Continental Societies, Inc. and Board member for Leadership Prince George's.

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