March 16, 2016 Member Spotlight

Lisa Mancuso Member Spotlight 0 Comments

Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a bi-weekly column where members highlight their careers and businesses. This week, we feature 10 accomplished women, so be sure to check out each of their profiles. VIP, Elite and Preferred Members: to be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter, contact us at featuredwomen@napw.com.

Nicole Caley

Company: Ace Hardware Corporation
Industry: Retail
Title: Director of
Accounts Payable
Location: Oak Brook, IL

 

NAPW: In what ways do you raise the bar for yourself and others around you?

Caley: I always try to see myself as a role model and continuously raise the bar for myself higher than I raise it for anyone else. It’s also about genuine servitude and creating relationships in which those around you are confident in you and believing you can take them where they could not go on their own. I also focus on supporting the continued growth and development of my team.

NAPW: Describe your typical day.

Caley: Serving, developing and leading a team of 38 people (seven direct reports). Ensuring that $4 billion in payments are on time, accurate and that no financial controls are violated while processing any accounting transaction.

NAPW: What is the most important quality you look for in an employee?

Caley: I look for employees who value continuous learning and are honest with themselves and others. I also appreciate those who are willing to provide feedback, as I find that feedback provides for great learning, not just for myself, but our entire team.

NAPW: What leadership style do you use to manage your employees?

Caley: First, let’s clarify, leadership is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach and there are so many theories one can adapt to given the situation. Most of the time, I would define myself as a transformational leader. I put a tremendous emphasis on emotional intelligence, motivation, conflict-resolution, as well as integrity and humility for myself and my leadership team. I believe in motivating people with a shared vision of the future. I inspire my team members by expecting the best from everyone, being a role model and holding myself accountable for my actions.

NAPW: What gets you excited and drives you to achieve?

Caley: Nothing makes me feel more excited or accomplished than serving others and impacting others’ lives in a positive way. I love to help people see themselves in a light they did not know or believe to be true. I value the relationships that are built in doing so and the trust that is further developed when you selflessly help others. I love assisting and empowering women to define themselves and what they stand for. My soul smiles when I hear a woman speak unapologetically when discussing what she stands for. Overall, I am driven by playing a role, small or large, in someone else’s success.

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Jeannine Cox

Company: Cox & Associates
Legal Nurse Consulting
Industry: Medical / Legal
Title: Principal
Location: Amsterdam, NY

 

NAPW: Describe the best boss and the worst boss you have ever had.

Cox: The best boss I ever worked for taught me to lead. After eight years in the Marine Corps, I thought I already knew how – but I only knew one way. He used the skills and training I had developed and refocused my efforts to a wider range of individuals. Even the worst boss I have had realized individual struggles and did not project them on the staff. This boss was open about goals and invited others to participate. Unfortunately, that led to no clear direction and loss of control.

NAPW: What is your dream job?

Cox: I have a few of these, but my main focus is to help others feel safe and in control of their environment.

NAPW: Describe two or three major trends in your industry or profession today.

Cox: Any Registered Nurse can tell you how flexible we have to be. Recent changes in healthcare are felt in every medical setting. As an Emergency Nurse, the technology now made available is inspiring and life changing. We are also finding that we can help those not wanting to heal in a hospital to find other options where home support is available.

NAPW: Think about an instance when you were given an assignment you thought you would not be able to complete. How did you accomplish the assignment?

Cox: Verbalize your frustration elsewhere and keep showing up. Change and handling new problems have been frequent occurrences for me, from different duty stations to traveling to new hospitals every three months. Each can be frustrating and sometimes I think I’ll break, but I have been lucky that I have a good support system and can talk through the problems with others.

NAPW: When is it okay to “break the rules?”

Cox: When the rules hurts others. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in structure and rules, but we have to think outside the box to challenge ourselves and each other to grow.

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Susan Davenport

Company:  Center for Discovery
Industry:  Healthcare
Title:  Registered Nurse
Location:  Grahamsville, NY

 

NAPW: What difficulties do you face as a woman in your industry and how do you overcome them?

Davenport: I believe part of portraying a professional persona is to keep emotions in check. There are those who still believe in the stereotypical “hysterical” female. To me, it is important to depict a stable, reliable personality with decisions based on fact and logic. I do think it is important to have empathy for my patients; however, when dealing with peers, I think it is essential to limit emotional displays and outbursts at work.

NAPW: What woman in history has most influenced your beliefs?

Davenport: When I had to present a paper on Florence Nightingale in nursing school, I was totally impressed and amazed. She went into the nursing field when it was looked down upon to do so and left a life of luxury behind. She understood that the healthcare industry needed educated women to recognize and improve current conditions. Leading by example, she was brilliant, tireless and ahead of her time. She taught that health is directly related to environment and nutrition and went on to establish a nursing school and wrote “the book” on how to run a hospital. Ms. Nightingale’s dedication is unparalleled and her name is recognized worldwide.

NAPW: What is the best business advice you ever gave to another woman?

Davenport: I think it is unfortunate that as women we are too often in competition. We do not always understand how important it is to support each other, to be teachers and mentors. If you teach and mentor your coworkers and peers, you make the entire team stronger and you will be respected for it.

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to succeed?

Davenport: When I was young, my grandmother inspired me. She was a strong woman who could do anything. She was not a material person and was happy with her life. She took joy in small things and loved to laugh. She didn’t have much, but she always had a hot meal and a warm bed ready for those in need. She loved children and always made time for them. She believed there is a clear line between right and wrong and the lines do not blur for the sake of convenience. She taught me that the easy way is seldom the right way and how important it is for me to respect the person who looks back at me in the mirror every morning. She taught me about God, Mother Nature, life and death. As a grown woman, I can now look back and feel more appreciation for what an amazing woman she was and how important it is for us to give our time and knowledge to the next generation. She is my foundation, my inspiration and my motivation.

NAPW: Describe the challenges of moving up in a male-dominated industry.

Davenport: My industry is not male-dominated in numbers, but males in the industry are promoted ahead of females. I try to look at the leadership skills I would like to see if I were promoting someone, and emulate them. There are things I cannot control, but rather than complain about them, I choose to improve myself and be the best candidate for a leadership role.

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Servola Frazier

Company: Motivate Enterprises, LLC
Industry: Professional Training, Development & Coaching
Title: Owner
Location: Orlando, FL

 

NAPW: If you could take a day off from work, what would you do first? Why?

Frazier: Spend time with my family. My family supports me in everything I have ever done. They are collectively with me through the good and the bad. I never want to forget their sacrifices and hard work to help my dream become a reality. So, on my days off I like to enjoy my family!

NAPW: How big of a factor has your personality played in your success?

Frazier: My personality has had a huge impact on my success. One of the first things that people notice is my smile. I have learned to smile no matter what. Many people do not know this but a simple smile can open big doors!

NAPW: If you travel for business, how do you maintain your home life?

Frazier: I think there was a time when I thought home had to be on autopilot, operating how it would if I were there – meaning, as long as I took care of everything before a trip, things would be fine. The problem with that was that I was not fine. I learned that I needed to trust my husband to take care of home duties when I was not there. He works a full-time job and has challenges doing all that I do. For instance, I remember one day stressing out over missing an event for our children and my husband said to me, “You are still a great mom!” Those words rocked my world. I never realized that I had been trying to control everything because I did not want to be considered a bad mother. He knew it, because he knows his wife! So, now when either of us is traveling, we trust each other to hold down the homefront.

NAPW: What one key factor made the difference in your business?

Frazier: Making a decision to be true to myself. Many women try to become someone who they are not and it makes it very hard to sell that brand. I have learned that there are many things that I thought were not “me,” that actually were. When I embraced that, it changed the way I did business.

NAPW: Describe a career setback that you have learned the most from.

Frazier: I have learned the balance between others’ opinions and who I really am. I was allowing people to change my brand in order to please them, and I allowed my perceptions of what I thought others were saying about me to affect me so much that I just stopped. I stopped moving forward. I learned that I have lessons I need to learn from others’ feedback, fix any problems and keep on moving. Ripping myself apart because I messed up is not how I choose to live.

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Renee Hamilton-Wilson

Company: Red Kat, LLC
Industry: Sales and Service
Title: Owner / CEO
Location: Suffolk, VA

 

NAPW: What woman in history has most influenced your beliefs?

Hamilton-Wilson: There are so many but if I had to choose one, I’d choose Oprah Winfrey. She personifies how a person can enter this world with insurmountable odds (born to an unmarried teenage mother, lived in poverty, molested, teenage pregnancy) to become one of the most influential African-American women in the world. Her story empowers all women to understand that the circumstance in which you enter this world and how you grow up has little relevance on what you can become and what you can achieve. I firmly believe your adverse early childhood conditions do not forecast your future aspirations.

NAPW: What is the best business advice you ever gave to another woman?

Hamilton-Wilson: Make sure you are marketing to the appropriate clientele. Be authentic and grounded in the realities of business and entrepreneurship. If you don’t have it already, develop thick skin – not everyone will embrace your business. Lastly, don’t be afraid to reassess, reanalyze, restructure and rebrand if needed.

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to succeed?

Hamilton-Wilson: I find inspiration in other positive female entrepreneurs who had an idea and from that idea they undertook the risk of business ownership. I also find inspiration in knowing that I have people who look up to me, emulate me and expect me to set the example. My family motivates me to succeed and I want to leave a legacy that will create opportunities for my children and future grandchildren.

NAPW: What advice would you give someone who wants to move from just a business card to someone well-respected in their field?

Hamilton-Wilson: Define your brand and believe in your product or service. Be very cognizant of your reputation – once damaged, it’s hard to recover. Don’t take on work if you can’t produce or deliver the quality product or services promised. Always let your customers / clients know how much you appreciate their business.

NAPW: How do you get more clients / customers for your business?

Hamilton-Wilson: I obtain customers through social media marketing, sponsoring events, networking social meetings, email marketing, giveaways, vendor events, local charity involvement, club membership and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

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Monique Klein

Company: Automation GT
Industry: Life Sciences
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Location: Carlsbad, CA

 

NAPW: What is your dream job?

Klein: For me, it’s not a specific job that makes it a dream job – instead it’s the people, environment and culture that make up the company. It’s a job where I can mentor and lead others to make sound decisions and create a positive difference in the company, its employees and its entire customer base. The industry is not the deciding factor as long as it is focused on helping and / or improving lives and society as well.

NAPW: Think about an instance when you were given an assignment you thought you would not be able to complete. How did you accomplish the assignment?

Klein: My attitude has always been that if there is a will, there is always a way. If I don’t think I can complete an assignment on my own, I network to find others who have experienced a similar scenario and incorporated their advice and wisdom with my own knowledge and experience. By regularly reaching out to others in this way, I have developed a large resource network that I trust and rely upon. I seek out additional mentors and join professional communities / forums to further my growth. People like to help other people!

NAPW: When is it okay to “break the rules?”

Klein: Breaking of a rule should be looked at as a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted. When your intention is for the better good and improvement of things, then it’s time to break – and even change – the rules. Doing everything by the rules doesn’t always allow for innovation and doesn’t allow for growth. As things change, you must change with them.

NAPW: What kinds of people do you work best with?

Klein: There really isn’t any kind of person I cannot work well with as long as they are willing and open to learn and try new things. I challenge myself to bring out the best in employees, let them realize their own abilities and empower them to work at their highest potential. I am very solution driven, so I tend to work better with people who are data driven and think outside the box. I also like to work with people who have a strong customer service mentality.

NAPW: How do you handle a chaotic work situation?

Klein: I pull together a team to identify the root cause and collaborate on proposed solutions. We socialize the issue and proposed solutions around the company by having impromptu conversations with employees to get a consensus for a recommended solution. This strategy not only empowers employees to become part of the solution, but it also leads to additional feedback / input that could prove useful. It’s a dynamic, win-win approach! When times are bad, people will come together if you are transparent of your goals and objectives. This approach helps to motivate, earn trust and retain staff.

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Stacie Luter

Company: Rodan + Fields
Industry: Social Commerce /
Health and Beauty
Title: Business Developer
Location: St. Louis, MO

 

NAPW: What ways have you found to make your job easier or more rewarding?

Luter: Every career has its challenges. One of the strengths that I have identified in myself is my ability to identify, understand and then solve problems. This strength can become a liability if you don’t sit back and give attention to all the things that are going right in your business. When I take time to reflect on what I have already accomplished – it makes me even more excited for what I have yet to achieve. It strengthens my belief and definitely highlights why I continue to do what I do—because I am able to help others every day.

NAPW: Describe your typical day.

Luter: I try to live a balanced life everyday! It certainly takes practice. I wake up at 5 am and spend 20 minutes reflecting on my goals, aspirations and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. I then spend about an hour with a cup of coffee performing my essential functions for my business – networking! I then transition to a 30-minute workout and after that I put on my mommy hat and get the kids off to school. From there I may commute to the hospital where I work a part-time job helping rehabilitate people with hand injuries, or I work from home on my network marketing business. I pick up my daughter at 2:30 and then my son and we do all the normal things that families do. At 8:30, the kids go to bed and I spend another hour or so on my business (having phone calls, planning for the next day, supporting my team) and then hit the sack at 10 pm. If I am lucky, I will get in a little bit of reading – usually a personal development book.

NAPW: What is the most important quality you look for in an employee?

Luter: I look for people who have a good set of values instilled in them: are they driven, adaptable, open to new opportunities? You can teach anyone a skill set. You cannot teach someone values; they must have them or the desire to develop them.

NAPW: What leadership style do you use to manage your employees?

Luter: Lead by example. I don’t ask anyone to do what I am not willing to do myself. I definitely work alongside the willing and share my personal experiences to help others through their challenges.

NAPW: In what ways has technology changed your business / industry?

Luter: I love technology. My business is definitely leading the social commerce revolution and it is allowing people like me to create substantial wealth around very busy and full lives.

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Emily McCoy

Company: Turning Point
Suffragist Memorial Association
Industry: Historical and Cultural Education
Title: Board Member / Co-Chair, Interpretation / Design Committee
Location: Fairfax, VA

 

NAPW: When working on a team, what role do you usually take?

McCoy: I usually take the role with the greatest impact for success / most critical need. It’s the best way to ensure the success of the team’s project.

NAPW: Share your job search tips with fellow members.

McCoy:

  1. Find someone in the field to be your advocate and adviser.
  2. When writing a letter or resume, make the format track with the skills / interests as listed in the job description. This format will make it easy for HR personnel to determine that you are fully qualified for the job.

NAPW: What would you tell young women about the obstacles they will face in your industry?

McCoy: First, never create or imagine obstacles. In the charity and fundraising world, dealing with volunteer boards and donors may be your biggest challenge, whether you are staff or a board member. Accept that everyone has a unique style of communicating and unique needs for information. Adapt your style to theirs. Ask questions. Show interest in your colleagues. Be encouraging but not condescending. This manner of thinking is necessary on-the-job training unique to the organization and its people.

NAPW: If you were running a company that produces X and the market wasn’t interested in that product anymore, what would you do?

McCoy: I would first consider a shift or change in our product offering. I would also analyze the organization’s talents to see how best to redeploy that talent if possible.

NAPW: If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?

McCoy: After ensuring we have a great grand opening of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial by 2020 and a great working tourism plan in operation, I plan to devote myself to the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for women, if still needed.

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Natalie Solomon-Brimage

Company: Health Resources / Services Administration, US Department of Health & Human Services
Industry: Federal Government / Healthcare
Title: Public Health Analyst / Project Officer /
Contract Officer Representative
Location: Bowie, MD

 

NAPW: What is the best business advice you ever gave to another woman?

Solomon-Brimage: Celebrate yourself at each stage of your journey! You are unique and have valuable life experiences that only you can offer to enhance your professional and personal career, which makes you your own best product and advocate.

NAPW: Describe the most significant piece of writing that you have had to complete.

Solomon-Brimage: My most recent accepted abstract submission for my agency’s 2016 Research Symposium – Securing Your Oxygen Mask First! How to Honor Unspoken Cultural Norms: Next Steps Beyond – Enhancing Access to and Retention in Quality HIV/AIDS Care for Women of Color Initiative. This presentation is designed to start a dialogue to explore the rationale of why these women may not appear interested in receiving care and how to promote the concept of ‘securing their own oxygen masks first’ so that they can be around to care for those that depend on them. It is an opportunity to discuss how to honor and acknowledge unspoken cultural norms and disparities associated with lack of interest in HIV care that could enhance engagement and retention in care for women of color.

NAPW: Did you have a mentor who guided you on your career path? Would you have had the success you have now without them?

Solomon-Brimage: Yes, I’ve had several. I don’t think my experiences would have been so rich and allowed for me to challenge and surprise myself with the amount of support and confidence-building relationships that a mentor encourages. A mentor can see things in you that you dismiss or take for granted. It’s empowering and exciting!

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to succeed?

Solomon-Brimage: My family, my sister, my co-workers and the grantees I serve inspire me. They are all amazing and awe-inspiring in so many different ways. My parents emigrated from Jamaica and have created a wonderful life for themselves and their families through hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, which has been passed down to my sister and me. My sister is a School Administrator for Learning Support at the Hong Kong Academy in China, enhancing her students’ and faculty’s lives going on six years. My co-workers and grantees are courageous. Each day, we work to get People Living With HIV / AIDS (PLWH) access, linked, retained into care and treatment to give them a better quality of life as we continue to try to find a cure for this epidemic. Knowing that my efforts and what I do every day—personally and professionally—has the capacity to not only enrich my life, but the lives of those I am lucky enough to work with and make a positive impact with by giving back is what inspires me.

NAPW: What advice would you give someone who wants to move from just a business card to someone well-respected in a field?

Solomon-Brimage: I would say network, learn and be open to different opportunities that are not just focused on your field of study. It’s crucial to be well-rounded and know a little bit about everything. It creates a platform to relate to those outside and within your industry, and appreciate the multi-faceted outlook and qualities of each person you encounter.

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Ambra Watkins

Company: Guideposts to Hope
Industry: Service
Title: Author / Owner
Location: Denver, CO

 

NAPW: Are you where you want to be right now? If yes, what business skills did you use to get there? If no, how will you rectify the situation?

Watkins: Successful people are driven and at any given moment most of us would prefer to be further ahead. However, over the course of my career I have learned that work is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important to master processes, to continually challenge the status quo and to be a lifetime learner.

NAPW: Author / Poet Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When networking, how do you make people feel so that they’ll remember you?

Watkins: I believe people remember me as an authentic personality. I don’t approach relationship building as an activity that requires me to create a persona that makes a particular person feel a particular way. Instead, when I network I seek out people whom I can connect with and want to engage in a particular conversation. Then, while I give them a framework for understanding my perspective, I focus on exploring how they feel.

NAPW: Do you think men are threatened by strong women?

Watkins: Of course. Even women are threatened by strong women – they just react to that threat differently than men do. Women who have a healthy sense of who they are and where they are going make people who do not have that same sense of security feel uncomfortable. Men respond by trying to minimize a woman’s impact, which often includes forming a boys’ club, while women are less subtle. The better way to interact in the workplace is to appreciate each other’s strengths and bolster up weaknesses in order to achieve clearly defined, positive results.

NAPW: Where do you envision your company in five years?

Watkins: I envision Guideposts to Hope as the go-to organization for information and training on how to communicate with other generations in a way that will improve both mental and spiritual health. We want to create a world where communication bridges the gap between generations. By 2021, we plan to offer a full range of Tools for Triumph that will empower young adults to be catalysts for cultural change. We aspire to play a critical role in transforming attitudes that impact the spiritual and mental health of rising generations and stop the growing trend of anxiety and depression.

NAPW: When things get tough, how do you keep yourself going?

Watkins: When challenges seem too big to conquer, I know that it is time to step back and take another look at the big picture. I am a bottom-up thinker so when I get frustrated, I know it is time to step back and re-evaluate the organization and its mission from the top down. By doing so, I ensure that the organization remains strategically aligned. More importantly, looking at the big picture means reconnecting with people I seek to serve. Talking to people who suffer from anxiety and depression or to people who love and support them reminds me why I do what I do.

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