Women2Women Magazine Spring 2023

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The Pardon Project: A Fresh Start pg. 12 spring2023 themagazine A Program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance W MEN2WOMEN 2 Women2Know Beyond the Bench W2W Conference + Expo April 20, 2023 Keynote Kick-off Speaker: Betsy Hamm, CEO – Duck Donuts 2023 ATHENA: Adelle Schade pg. 18-21 LightHouse: Shining Hope pg. 26




Top reasons to attend the Annual Dinner.

1Celebrating Success: There’s nothing more electrifying than hearing cheers as you see your hard work recognized by your peers. That’s what it’s like to be in the room as the Business Excellence Awards are being announced—several tables erupting into applause as their company is called and appears in lights across the big screens. Being honored as one of the best of the best of Berks County is deeply validating. Even for those who haven’t won this year, it is inspiring to hear the stories of success straight from the leaders who made it happen.

2Candace Nelson: We’re excited to have renowned serial entrepreneur, NYT bestselling author, executive producer, TV personality Candace Nelson. You may know her as the co-founder of Sprinkles—the first cupcake bakery and ATM—or perhaps you’ve read her best-selling “The Sprinkles Baking Book.” It’s possible you’ve seen her name on Hulu’s upcoming “Best in Dough” where she is co-creator and executive producer, or on Netflix’s “Sugar Rush,” or as a judge on more than 100 episodes of Food Network’s hit show “Cupcake Wars.” She’s here to do more than inspire us—she will move us forward with practical and actionable tools you can use to harness your passion into your business.

 Tuesday, May 23

 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

 Santander Arena

GRCA Members: $165 Future Members: $185

3 A Night Out: This is your chance to step out from the comfortable-casual, remote-work clothes and go OUT! Pull out that dress from the back of your closet, iron your best Oxford, and take out the good shoes. We will once again be taking over the Santander Arena to allow ample room to dine, socialize and network.

4Networking: This is THE event of the year to rub elbows and make connections. With the fastest growing businesses in Berks in attendance, you can form relationships, strengthen existing ones or just enjoy renewing old ties with coworkers and friends.

5 The Push to Excel: You enter the Arena dressed to the nines and

Scan code to purchase tickets or visit tinyurl. com/thedinner2023

feeling like the best version of yourself. This fuels the confidence to put yourself forward amongst the best business minds in the county. From there, enjoy dinner and drinks as you cheer with your colleagues for the year’s greatest success stories. The icing on the (cup)cake is a conversation with Candace Nelson. When you leave, you’ll feel more than inspired— you’ll have the tools to take the next step to excellence.



606 Court Street • Reading, PA 19601

berkswomen2women.com • 610.376.6766

Women2Women Council: Alison Snyder, Chairwoman Rosa Arroyo, Kelly Beaver, Kristi Bonanno, Michelle Conway, Becky Eshbach, Sara Frassinelli, Carissa Johnson, Katie Johnsen, Sarah McDaniel, Tracy Parmer, Jes Prutzman, Alyssa Redding, Donna Reed, Regina Rinehimer, Rachael Romig, Brenda Rosado, Erika Ruelas, Adelle Schade, Trish Shermot, Emma Rose Strohl

Women2Women is Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s catalyst for developing women leaders and connecting women from diverse backgrounds to learn, share ideas, and mentor each other. W2W offers a forum for women to create connections, gain knowledge, and build strategic alliances to foster their personal potential and career advancement. Joining the network is open to all who support women and Women2Women Magazine is a publication of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.


Betsy Hamm, CEO, Duck

To join: W2W@greaterreading.org Stay connected: BerksWomen2Women.com

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In Every Issue 05 Reflections & Inspiration 23 Community Call Out 32 W2W Around Town 39 Asked & Answered
Contents 20 Features 06 Meet the W2Writers! 12 The Pardon Project of Berks County: A Fresh Start 14 Duty and Mission: Kathleen Noll Leading the Council on Chemical Abuse 16 Berks Tec Centro: Breaking Barriers with Workforce Development 18 Women 2 Women — The Conference & Expo 20 Keynote Kick-Off Speaker Bio – Betsy Hamm 24 Actually, I Said That First! A Profile of Paula Barrett 26 LightHouse: Shining Hope for Homeless Women & Children 28 Wellness: Beyond Physical 30 From Pain to Power Women2Know 7 Women2Know W2W 2023 Upcoming Event Schedule 34 May & June Events 36 Program Speaker Profiles © 2023 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written permission of the publisher. Women2Women Magazine is published quarterly by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. • Reading, PA HoffmannPublishing.com • 610.685.0914 berkswomen2women.com 3
ON THE COVER: Carissa Johnson &TonyaButler-Magisterial DistrictJudges,BerksCounty Spring 2023
Conference & Expo
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Pagoda Patty (Reading’s erstwhile groundhog) predicted six more weeks of winter but Women2Women sees Spring on the horizon and there is no better way to begin the season than with the W2W Conference + Expo!

The 2023 event on April 20 will feature a variety of women-owned businesses, local nonprofits, personal and professional workshops, keynote speaker Betsy Hamm (CEO of Duck Donuts) and the 2023 ATHENA Award presentation.

You can read all about the W2W Conference + Expo in this issue plus:

• Women2Know: Beyond the Bench -The Honorable Magisterial District Judges Tonya A. Butler and Carissa Johnson

• The Pardon Project

• Kathleen Noll and COCA

• Kate Alley and Lighthouse

• and so much more!

Spring is a time to begin to shake off the cold, stretch upwards and outwards and begin anew. Let W2W Magazine inspire YOU to bloom and grow!

Kirsten P. Haas

The opinions expressed here by are solely the opinion of the author. They have not been read by nor approved by Girls on the Run® and do not necessarily represent the views nor opinions of Girls on the Run®.

the Every Day Women

March was Women’s History Month, a month of celebrating the achievements of the women who have gone before us, paving the way for future generations. It also served as a sober reminder of how far we have yet to go to achieve true equity and true equality.

It is worth noting that the historic figures about whom we learn and to whom we look up, are/were at their core, Everyday Women.

Sure, not every woman aspires to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation. Not every woman aspires to start their own business. Not every woman aspires to hold political office. But to say that the Everyday Woman does not aspire to anything is well an affront to All Women and minimizes the Everyday struggles we all face. Such a sentiment implies that an Everyday Woman has no desire to better themselves, better their families or better their communities.


Everyday Women cover the spectrum of economic circumstance, educational accomplishment, ethnicity, faith, skin color and skill. Everyday Women experience struggles, some of which are unique to themselves and some of which are common to many women. Circumstance, hard work and frankly, luck, play a role in the daily trials and daily triumphs of all Every Day Women.

Acknowledging that Every Day Women do indeed have aspirations, is essential to the pursuit of women’s equity and equality. It is my sincere goal as Managing Editor that in the stories of W2W Magazine, stories told by and told to Every Day Women, the Everyday Women of our communities see themselves reflected back.

Everyday Women, celebrate yourself and celebrate each other, Every Day!

berkswomen2women.com 5

Meet the W2Writers!

Meet the W2W Magazine Editorial Committee and Contributing Writers who volunteer their time and talent to bring the W2W Community articles that educate, entertain, inform and inspire. The W2W Editorial Committee members not only lend their writing talents to the magazine but also develop and direct the creation of each W2W Magazine issue.

In This Issue:

MITZIE BAEZ, Founder/Owner and Therapist with Monroe Trauma Healing Center, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in treating trauma with IFS Informed EMDR. Currently, I am the only provider in Berks County offering intensive trauma-focused treatment where clients attend week-long retreats to achieve permanent healing of their deepest wounds. Witnessing the healing of my clients has been the most gratifying part of my work. I am also a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and am proud of the work that we are doing to rebuild communities in the city of Reading. I also love remodeling homes with my husband and traveling around the world with our son.

TAYLOR BORDER, Patient Care Associate and Public Health Intern with Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

KIRSTEN P. HAAS, Executive Director of Girls on the Run Berks County, W2W Magazine Managing Editor

I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon. My grade-school classics include Anne’s Horse and “The Devil and the Crack in the Sidewalk” and I am an award-winning poet and newspaper journalist. I am a native of Hawaii (not native in the ancestral sense, native in the “I was born there” sense); grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia and have lived in Berks County since 1998. I love college football, specifically my alma mater, the 2021 National Champion Georgia Bulldogs (Go Dawgs!) and also enjoy JEOPARDY! (I was on it!), reading, running (sort of), writing and vodka martinis.

KATHERINE KETTER, AVP Customer Experience with Health Partners

I’m a customer experience innovator, a career coach and I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. My first job was working as an intern for the Voices publication of the Reading Eagle, where I honed by writing skills and dreamed of living in NYC. Fast forward to present day, I’ve now lived in Berks County for more than 40 years, have an established career as the head of customer experience for a health plan and love raising my family here in West Reading. In my free time, I enjoy weight training, joining my girlfriends for brunch at B2, and am a new dog-mom to our rescue Freyja.

KAREN KLEIN, Principal, Fulcrum Information Resources, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

I’m a business researcher, project manager and technical writing consultant and started my own business in 2005. I’ve been writing for and served on the W2W Magazine Editorial Committee since 2016. W2W shines a light on women and organizations who otherwise fly under the radar. I love writing about women from various backgrounds and I always find their stories inspiring.

PHYLLIS MCLAUGHLIN, Freelance Writer, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

RACHAEL ROMIG, Senior Director of Events & Special Programs, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, W2W Magazine Editor-In-Chief

MONICA RUSH, Director of Rehabilitation Services, Wound Care, Residency and Dental, Penn State Health St. Joseph, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

I was born and raised in Berks County where I attended Central Catholic High School. I moved towards Philadelphia for nursing school where I met my husband, Stephen. We settled back in Berks County where I have been employed by Penn State Health St. Joseph for 33 years. We have three grown daughters and we all share the same love and passion for travel. I also enjoy reading, being active and recently learned to golf.

VANESSA STARR, Development Director with Berks Connections/Pretrial Services, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

I am living my best life. I get to work at one of the most remarkable nonprofit agencies in Berks County, whose mission and culture are second to none! BCPS is led by two dynamic women co-executive directors, and our team gets it done! In my personal life, I am a chauffeur to my son, who is also living his best life. He plays ice hockey on both travel and school teams, with what seems like a never-ending season, running from August to March. The most common response to an invitation out is, “I can’t, Jack has hockey.” In my free time I love to read and paint, and when the weather allows, spend time with my favorite person knee-deep in a creek hunting for glass and pottery shards from years gone by. 2

6 Women2Women | Spring 2023

Beyond the Courtroom

W2WMagazine shines the spotlight on two women whose respective commitment to community guides their actions on the bench and beyond the courtroom: the Honorable Magisterial District Judge Tonya A. Butler and the Honorable Magisterial District Judge Carissa Johnson.

Tonya A. Butler has dedicated her legal talents to public service and working creatively to improve the quality of life in the City of Reading. She began her legal career as a Berks County Assistant Public Defender. Subsequently, she opened up her own law practice offering affordable legal services in criminal, family and bankruptcy law. Butler then served as a City of Reading Assistant City Solicitor, representing the interests of both the City of Reading and its residents. In November 2017, she was elected Magisterial District Judge for Northeast Reading.

Continued on page 8

The Honorable Magisterial District Judge Carissa Johnson and The Honorable Magisterial District Judge Tonya A. Butler
berkswomen2women.com 7
Judge Carissa Johnson Judge Tonya A. Butler

Butler uses her 25 years of legal background and experience to serve the community with compassion and to ensure a fair and transparent legal system. She implemented a driver’s safety program for traffic violators and helped create MDJ shadowing, internship and scholarship opportunities for students interested in the criminal justice field. Butler is a participating judge in an eviction diversion program in Reading designed to help landlords and tenants resolve disputes and in January 2023, she co-hosted a Second Chances Expungement and Pardon Clinic for members of the community who have improved themselves and want to make a greater contribution to their community.

A graduate of Albright College and Widener University School of Law, Butler has a passion for youth. She speaks to the youth regarding social and legal issues and is known to have a student shadowing her in court. She also serves on the boards of the Berks County Bar Association and The Village of Reading.

Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Carissa Johnson is an example of leadership in action. A proud graduate of Reading Senior High School, she received a dual bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2006 from Widener University and she earned her MBA from Alvernia University in 2010. Between degrees, Johnson interned with the late Honorable District Justice, William N. Hall Jr., in the Berks County District Justice Office. Judge Hall’s compassion and service to his community influenced her role as a Counselor at the Berks County Jail System where she facilitated programming for inmates focused on smooth transitions back into society.

In January 2018, Johnson was sworn in as the Magisterial District Judge of district 23-1-02, located in Southeast Reading. As an MDJ, she dedicates her time to improving the conditions of community members and she credits her graduation from Leadership Berks as the catalyst that inspired her to seek to serve through leadership.

In her free time, Johnson mentors for The Sisterhood of Reading (an organization that empowers young women to achieve their dreams); is a member of the NAACP Reading Branch, Women2Women council of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated; volunteers for the United Way of Berks “Ready.Set.Read!” program and with other local MDJs, helped launch the Pipeline 2 Opportunities MDJ Shadowing Program which offers experiential learning opportunities in the criminal justice system to high school and college students. More recently, she was honored as an awardee at the City and State Pennsylvania Forty Under Forty celebration.


Judges Butler and Johnson

What’s your mission?

Tonya Butler: My mission is to fulfill God’s plan for me and to leave the world better than it was before I came. God has given me the desire to help people regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, etc. He also has given me a higher-than-average understanding of the law. I am able to simplify complex statutes and precedents. It has been my desire to use my legal background and experience to serve the community with compassion and ensure a fair and transparent legal system.

Carissa Johnson: To leave people better than when I met them.

8 Women2Women | Spring 2023 WOMEN2KNOW

What has led you to your current career path?

TB: When I was fifteen years old, I worked the closing shift at McDonald’s. One Friday evening, three guys came into the restaurant with two sawed-off shotguns and robbed us. They forced me and my coworkers to get money from the cash register. I watched them as they beat my manager until she agreed to open the safe. It was as though a giant rock shattered my sense of well-being and security. One of the robbers was caught, and as a result, I was called as a witness. This was my first introduction to our legal system. I was intrigued. I learned the value of making a positive difference in the lives of others and in my community and it was made clear to me that this is what I was meant to do. A scary and dangerous moment became a significant stepping stone in my life. I went to school to pursue a career in law.

CJ: My previous job was as a treatment counselor at Berks County Jail. While there I saw and heard from several people who I felt that if they had someone who just took the time to really listen to them, then maybe they could have been led down another path.

As a magistrate district judge, we are the first line of the criminal justice system. This is the opportunity to listen to the people, figure out what’s going on, and then see where changes can be made or where they can get help. I also try to figure out what’s really going on within, within their life or their situation, and I don’t really know if that was really being done before. People were just sticking people in jail. And when you do that, you’re creating another cycle of this person is in jail, now they don’t have a job, they can’t pay their rent when they get out, what’s going to happen?

What if they have kids? People aren’t taking that into consideration. So, I listen and help them down a different path.

How have you led other women in their career paths?

TB: I often interact with women who have questions pertaining to what career they should pursue. I encourage women to think about what they are passionate about. I strongly believe that you have to follow your passion. For women who are interested in a legal career, I connect them with people in the desired positions. I also helped start a MDJ shadowing opportunity and internship program for students who are interested in legal careers. Students interact with legal professionals in various offices within the criminal justice system and attend court while seeing the court system from the bench and the judge’s perspective. I also helped start and contribute to the Judge William Bill Hall Memorial Scholarship which gives a student interested in pursuing a criminal justice or related field a scholarship to attend a two- or four-year college or the police academy.

CJ: Judge Tonya Butler, Judge Kylie Scott and I started a shadowing program six years ago when we came into office. We give young adults the opportunity to see themselves in nontraditional roles, roles they historically haven’t seen people who look like them in. Growing up I never saw anyone who looks like me, a judge, whether it was a woman or a woman of color. We’re giving that opportunity so they can envision themselves sitting in that seat, or in other positions as well.

There are 486 sitting MDJs in Pennsylvania. Out of 486 there are 131 females and out of 131 females, 14 are women of color. As women we bring a unique perspective to all areas such as business, entertainment, law, government, etc. We are different in the way we handle situations, how we think, etc. We bring a unique perspective and experience to the courtroom and that helps us when making decisions on people’s lives. Being able to relate to their experiences, upbringing, roadblocks, etc., knowing that shapes how we handle the situations presented to us.

What are the most valuable ways women can support each other?

TB: Women must make room at the table for other women. Whenever possible, we should create opportunities, listen, offer concrete help, and avoid jealousy and envy. We all have something to contribute to our community. There are times when we need to give help and other times when we need to receive help. We should be open to the advancement of all women. We each should believe that others’ success is our success. It is not an “us against them” philosophy. If I hear of an opportunity for someone, I should

berkswomen2women.com 9
Continued on page
MDJ Student Shadowing Program

be able to share that information and vice versa. The singer Mary J. Blige recently came out with an album entitled Good Morning Gorgeous. We need to address women as gorgeous and beautiful. Let’s uplift our women and encourage each other to succeed. If you know of a womanowned business, support it whenever possible and encourage others to do the same.

CJ: Creating safe spaces where women can freely be their authentic selves. Allowing their selves to fully share how they are feeling and support each other where they are at that current stage in their life as individuals. Women are consistently pitted against each other, and we shouldn’t be. We should be each other’s safe space and confidants because we are most likely all experiencing similar situations, or will, or have.

What words of wisdom would you offer to other women?

TB: As women, we must “understand the assignment.” I have faced a lot

of challenges in my life including being robbed at McDonald’s, having a stroke in law school, and getting breast cancer one year after starting my job as a magisterial district judge. I had to keep going, believing that God has a plan for me and my life. In a commencement speech that I gave to Penn State Berks students last spring, I said the following which still remains true: “Life is full of stepping stones. Some come as gifts, some as blessings, and some as small challenges. Others come as rocks and boulders that can destroy dreams and alter lives. With an open heart, a clear mind, belief in yourself and others, and strong faith accept them all. When that road gets rough, continue to say I understand the assignment.”

CJ: First, travel every opportunity you get near and far. It helps you learn about other people, their cultures, helps you understand people from all walks of life. This in turn helps you learn about yourself on a deeper level.

Also, do not put yourself in a box, don’t allow other’s or society’s unrealistic standards to dictate or determine who you are and what

you want to do or be. We try to keep up with these unrealistic societal standards on women, such as having kids, getting married, what type of jobs we should have, etc. We tend to hinder ourselves by these standards and how they define us, when we should be changing our mindset and look at these differences as strengths and the characteristics that push us and shape us.

Finally, I’m extremely big on self-care because especially in this role as a magistrate or district judge, you take on a lot. I have my own family and things that I need to take care of, so it’s extremely important to make sure that we pour into ourselves and fill our cups, because if my cup is not filled, what do I have to give to others at that point?

What is your favorite mantra, favorite saying or words that keep you grounded?

TB: “She believed she could, so she did!” My faith has guided me through every facet of my life. I knew from 15 years of age that I wanted to be an attorney and make a difference

10 Women2Women | Spring 2023 WOMEN2KNOW
Judge Butler & community members Judge Butler & Happy Couple Judge Johnson with State Senator Judy Schwank

in my community. That was the desire that God placed in my heart. I did not know how I was going to pay for it or how it was going to happen. There were people who said it would be too difficult for me to do it. I went from a neighborhood high school in Philadelphia to Albright College to Widener University School of Law. I worked as a public defender before working as a private attorney for a local office and then working for myself. I then worked as a city solicitor before running for Magisterial District Judge. I had not only to believe in myself but also in God’s plan for my life. I had to encourage myself when others told me that I would not be successful or said it was going to be too hard. A lot of times we are the only person who believes in our goals and we still must believe and persevere. Once we start stepping out on faith, we can achieve a lot more than we imagined.

CJ: “Jesus be a fence.” I’m definitely a woman of faith; when I’m in a moment, whether negative or positive, or if I feel overwhelmed or even if it’s a joyous occasion, the first thing that comes to mind is literally, “Jesus be a fence.” It helps to calm me, redirect me, and remind me as to why I’m doing what I’m doing, who put me on this path, and why I’m on this path.

What is the best advice you have received?

TB: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, make your own table.” Not everyone will like or respect your thoughts, ideas, and/or opinions. You will not always be popular or invited to hang out with the popular crowd. Your worth to others will not always be valued to the degree that it should be. You cannot control any of that. However, none of this means that you or your thoughts, ideas, or opinions do not matter. I learned early in my career that I matter and

I belong. I left two positions when my worth was no longer valued and subsequently opened up my own law office. It may not have been much by other people’s standards, but it worked out great for me. I became my own boss and was able to offer affordable services to people in my community. I was also able to be present for my kids in their early years.

CJ: It was from my grandfather Kermit Stern. He said never be afraid to ask for something because the worst they can tell you is no. And if they tell you no, you are no worse off than when you started. So that has freed me to be open and not afraid to ask for things or ask questions.

Would you wish to acknowledge a mentor or friend who helped you aspire to this point in your life’s journey, and why?

TB: My mother, Ruth Scott, was my first mentor. While I was growing up, she worked as a paralegal at a prestigious law firm in center city Philadelphia. She showed me what a professional looked like. My mother wore suits and high heels to work daily and had her make-up and hair perfect every day. I would go to her office

every evening when I was done with my after-school job and we would ride the train home together. I loved to watch my mom as she interacted with the attorneys and her coworkers. I also vividly remember how tidy she kept her desk down to putting away every staple and paperclip. It was also very important for her to finish her work and put every file away. I also learned from my mother how to be a working mother. She worked full-time while raising three children. My father was a truck driver and was away a lot throughout the week. My mother ran the house most of the time and never missed an assignment, an activity, etc.

CJ: My cousin Ramona Turner-Turpin. She was the first powerful black woman that I saw live (in real life) growing up. She knows everyone, she’s very respected, she’s an intelligent, charismatic, inspiring, God-fearing woman. Always working to lift women up and connect them to each other. She loves the City of Reading, and it shows in her involvement of its advancement. I have always looked up to her and wanted to help others like her. She took me under her wing as she has done with many women and helped me see my true potential and for that, I am forever grateful! I try to continue that legacy of uplifting and encouraging women. 2

Judge Johnson & community members
berkswomen2women.com 11

The Pardon Project of Berks County:

Convicted of Burglary for taking five bags of chips from a corner store in 1993 when he was just 19 years old, Matt* is still paying for his crime today. In order to be permitted to go on a school field trip with his daughters, Matt had to explain his 30-year-old conviction to his daughters’ school. He refers to this experience as a painful and embarrassing one for his family. Decades after his conviction, he is still missing out on work contracts that could allow him to provide more for his family and community.

When will Matt’s punishment be over?

He is hoping that the answer is: SOON! Matt is one of the first people to go through the pardon application process with The Pardon Project of Berks County.

The Pardon Project of Berks County was established in October 2021 with the guidance of the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) and State Senator Judy Schwank, and in cooperation with the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, the Berks County Bar Association and Berks Connections/Pretrial Services (BCPS). The goal of this initiative, a free program, is to assist individuals with a criminal record who have served their sentence and are seeking a pardon of their records.

BCPS serves as the Pardon Hub in Berks County. The Pardon Project Coordinator interviews potential participants to determine their suitability for the project, and then works with them to compile all required documents needed for the submission of their application. Once the initial court documents are acquired, the Pardon Project Coordinator connects the applicant with a trained volunteer Pardon Coach who guides them through completing the pardon application. There are two essay questions on the application which often carry more weight with the Board of Pardons. Pardon Coaches are trained to better understand what the Board of Pardons is looking for in an application and they help applicants organize and effectively tell their personal story.

Why are pardons important?

“Pennsylvania has long been one of the most heavily incarcerated states in the nation (Pennsylvania is ranked 5th in the US). While we have been leaders on the punishment side of criminal justice, we hadn’t paid any attention to the rehabilitative or forgiveness side. The result is that we’ve been needlessly keeping families in poverty and keeping millions of dollars away from our communities. That makes no sense to anyone.”

– U.S. Senator John Fetterman, Pennsylvania

“Mistakes made long ago shouldn’t follow you for the rest of your life.”

– PA State Senator, Judy Schwank

FEATURE 12 Women2Women | Spring 2023
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

Pardons are not just good for the individual, but for the community as well. In 2020, the Economy League called pardons a “no-cost workforce development and community investment.” At the stroke of the Governor’s pen, pardons resulted in close to $16.5 million flowing into communities across Pennsylvania – and higher income tax revenue – merely by allowing people to get the better jobs for which they are qualified. The Pardon Project offers individuals a life-changing opportunity to finally break free from their past mistakes and live their lives according to their current potential.

Matt’s experience is not unique. More than 70 million adults in the US have a criminal record and one in three American adults have been arrested or convicted of a crime at some point in their lives. Research shows that a past conviction can raise over 40,000 barriers for an individual, including employment, education, professional licensing, housing and volunteering for their children’s activities. After these individuals have “repaid their debt to society,” they should be given the ability to succeed and to become contributing members of our community.

For more information on the Pardon Project of Berks County, becoming a volunteer Pardon Coach, or to see if you are eligible to apply for this program, go to BCPS’s website: www.berksconnecions.org. 2

Berks Connections/Pretrial Services, or BCPS, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has worked in the criminal justice and corrections system since 1975. With extensive experience creating and implementing workforce development programs, collaborating with community partners, and serving diverse populations, BCPS is the leading provider of reentry services in Berks County.

What is the volunteer time commitment of a Pardon Coach? A one-hour training session is required to become a Pardon Coach. The time it takes to complete an application depends on the applicant and coach. The process takes between two to four hours.

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Women continue to be increasingly prominent in leadership roles, and the Council on Chemical Abuse joined the movement after appointing Kathleen Noll as their new Executive Director in December 2022. Kathleen brings a wealth of experience to the table as she defines her new role with a wide variety of programs to help combat a rising trend in substance and alcohol addiction around Berks County.

Kathleen graduated from Reading High School in 1981 and she received her degree in Social Work from West Chester University. Following graduation from West Chester, she was hired as a case manager for Berks TASC (Treatment Access & Services Center), a drug and alcohol central intake and treatment referral agency licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs contracted by the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), the single authority in Berks County. Kathleen was promoted to supervisor at the agency, and later served as Executive Director for nine years before leaving in 2001 to work for COCA. While employed at COCA, Kathleen received her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Alvernia University.

meshed well with my personal mission to meet other people where they are and to treat them with dignity, compassion and respect.”

“COCA is not a branch, but rather a single county authority in Berks County,” Kathleen explains, breaking down the various roles COCA plays in Berks County. “We receive federal, state and local funding and distribute it to provide services for drug and alcohol treatment. We primarily administrate and contract services throughout the county. Our Berks County Commissioners are so supportive of everything we do which allows us to make an impact on the community. All of our programs are regulated by the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.”

Kathleen credits her early years at COCA with providing her with the experience needed to take on the role of Executive Director. “Initially, I was hired as a data analyst, with lots and lots of reporting. At the time I was hired, George Vogel (who served as Executive Director for 40 years) was my mentor. He allowed me to grow and I got to work on a lot of very interesting things and it was very impactful. COCA’s mission to help people through prevention, treatment and recovery

The court systems play a major role in the network of drug and alcohol treatment. Kathleen was involved in helping to put together “treatment courts” to channel individuals who are caught in the vicious cycle of substance abuse into programs which provide a layer of sensitivity and understanding. “We have several treatment courts, including veteran’s court, drug court, mental health court, and DUI court, where people can apply and get support and a pathway to treatment, or having charges dismissed. The DA is great, as well as the judges in the specialty courts. Individuals apply to the courts, and the DA decides which cases are appropriate for which court.”

With a generous amount of funding flowing into drug and alcohol treatment and prevention, Kathleen sees the careful management of this funding as the most important aspect of her job. “I think that making sure that we are using the funding to provide the right highquality services, and continually identifying gaps to help meet the

14 Women2Women | Spring 2023 FEATURE

needs of the community as our highest priority. Our talented team is constantly measuring ways that we can accomplish this, evaluating technology, making sure that curriculum is up to date and works. I also feel that it is important to make sure that the work environment is warm, inviting and inclusive. I had mentors who provided this for me, and I want to do the same.”

Kathleen notes that the face of COCA has changed over the years, and for the very first time it is a women-led organization. All managers are women, 22 employees are women and two are men. This team, along with a supportive and very knowledgeable board of directors, is staged to tackle the many aspects of drug and alcohol abuse through evidence-based practices in the programs they support including prevention programs for kids, additional support for people in early recovery and recovery for families.

“It is our duty, and our mission, and we are going to carry it out.”

For more information on The Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), visit https://cocaberks.org/. 2

berkswomen2women.com 15
COCA is designated by the County Commissioners as the Single County Authority (SCA) for Berks and serves as the coordinating agency for publicly supported drug and alcohol programming.

Berks Tec Centro: Breaking Barriers with Workforce Development

In 2018, the Wyomissing Foundation proposed the establishment of a workforce development model to address the issues of poverty faced by residents in the city of Reading. Working closely with the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) in Lancaster and then SACA CEO Carlos Graupera, a series of meetings was initiated with local professionals in Reading. They had a vision for a Greater Reading free of poverty and economic barriers which provides quality employment and economic equity for all Latinos in Berks County.

In May 2019, the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC) (also known as Berks Tec Centro) was incorporated as the official entity that would represent the workforce development objectives. The mission of the new organization, modeled after that of SACA-Tec Centro in Lancaster, is to move Latinos out of poverty by providing education, economic development, empowerment and training and workforce development. One year after its incorporation, Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation successfully obtained official 501(c)(3) status.

Violet Emory started with the organization as a Career Navigator then moved into the role of Program Director. She is now the Executive Director of the BLWDC and we met with Violet to congratulate her on the first class of nurse aide graduates and to learn more about this relatively young organization.

Like many industries, healthcare is facing multiple staffing issues. Finding sustainable and reliable employees is a challenge and Reading is not immune to this fact. Add to this situation a community that experiences insecurities with day care, food, housing and mental health. BLWDC recognized this need and worked to create programs that will be a win-win for all. The health occupation classes offered at Berks Tec Centro (in conjunction with RACC) provide an inspiring opportunity for the community.

The current classes offered are Nurse Aid Training and Phlebotomy with Medical Assistance classes to be phased by the end of 2023. Enrollees in the Nurse Aid Training and Phlebotomy program are only allowed to miss 4.5 hours (one day of training). It’s a serious commitment with a promising reward. Graduation rate for the first cohort

of Nurse Aid Training was 90% and Violet expects the second cohort to graduate 100% in March 2023. They are at 100% participation in the Phlebotomy program, which began their clinical training (the final phase of the class) in February 2023.

BLWDC is also part of collaborative efforts with the city of Reading Community Development Department as well as local nonprofits who support residents and local businesses to improve the region’s population health.

While the focus of the BLWDC is education and workforce development, the end-game is family self-sufficiency. When a family is self-sufficient, it can break out of the cycle of poverty and empower the next generation thus enriching the foundation of communities. Berks Tec Centro also offers workforce and economic development intervention by implementing occupational training in both non-biotech and biotech fields, professional development, job readiness and certification programs to Berks County residents.

“The free programs offered at Berks Tec Centro allow our community members to learn new skills and an opportunity

16 Women2Women | Spring 2023 FEATURE

for employment that could be life changing,” Violet states. The opportunity doesn’t end with enrollment in the courses, though; Berks Tec Centro meets anyone who has an interest in enrolling “where they are at in their personal life.”

Whether through intensive case management, small groups or career navigators that can help guide one’s employment decisions as well as provide better understanding about hourly rates and benefit packages, Berks Tec Centro provides additional support to those enrolled for one year.

The team at Berks Tec Centro works together to coach and mentor those interested in creating a better life for themselves, their families and the community. As Violet shares, “We become family!”

For more information, you can visit the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation/Tec Centro Berks offices at 450 S. 6th Street, Reading, PA 19601, call (484) 513-3344 / (484) 513-3347 or visit https://blwdc.org/. 2

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2 conference expo the &

April 20, 2023

7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Santander Performing Arts Center


The Circle of Success

Betsy Hamm shares her story from coasters to donuts and a half dozen leadership lessons she learned along the way.

Location: 1st Floor Theatre

This is what we look forward to all year –a full day of connecting and growing!




Blair, Senior Director, Diversity, Equity and InclusionB. Braun Medical Creating a Successful Game Plan with DEI

As our organization’s mobilize on our ‘new future’ after 2020, the placement and value of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives quickly emerged as an opportunity and challenge for organizations. This session will explore the value-add of DEI to your organization strategy and ways to create sustained commitment and buy-in for all to meet the needs of our diverse communities, customers and employees.

Location: 1st Floor Theatre

Jenna Armato, OwnerJenna Armato Growth & Success Coach Bridging the Multigenerational Gap

This is a rare time in history that we have 5 generations across the workforce. It’s also a time when communication and behavioral misunderstandings are creating silos and driving conflict resolution requests to an all-time high. Learning about the perspectives and drivers of each generation and applying that understanding in the workplace can positively impact communication, collaboration, and productivity. In this discussion, we’ll explore each generation and learn how you can take steps toward creating a generational synergy.

Location: 3rd Floor Ballroom


Total Experience Learning® Team led by Adelle Schade, Founder

Learning is Ageless: Becoming a Better Leader & Learner

The Learning is Ageless seminar is designed to empower individuals to become better leaders and learners who seek to expand their skill sets and become more effective in their respective fields. During the seminar, participants will explore strategies for developing a growth mindset and fostering a culture of continuous learning in their organizations. The seminar will cover a range of topics, including:

• The importance of lifelong learning and its impact on personal and professional growth

• The role of fostering innovative and creative work environments

• The importance of adaptability and resilience in navigating change and uncertainty

Throughout the seminar, participants will engage in interactive workshops and group discussions. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from experts in the field and learn from real-world Total Experience Learning® case studies.

Location: 4th Floor Ballroom

Overview: Be sure to visit our 40+ Expo vendors in the 1st floor Lobby & Mezzanine. The vendors represent W2W sponsors as well as women-owned businesses and not-for-profit organizations from our community. Be sure to support them and learn more about their services by visiting each! | Expo: 1st Floor Lobby & Mezzanine


This year you will follow your personalized agenda, enjoy a delicious lunch, and network with other inspired & inspiring women based on your timeslot and movements through the day. Each track will be dining together. Lunch: 2nd Floor Ballroom


Adelle Schade, Dean of Pre-College and Summer Programming - Albright College

Join us to honor this year’s recipient of the ATHENA Leadership Award, presented to a woman/man who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. | Location: 1st Floor Theatre

berkswomen2women.com 19
Scott Blair Jenna Armato Adelle Schade



Inclusion (DEI)

Scott is an accomplished educator, mentor/coach and diversity, equity and inclusion thought leader and practitioner.

Betsy Hamm, MBA, oversees the overall direction of the organization and leads the development of the company’s long- and short-term goals and strategic initiatives. She is committed to building and protecting the 100+ unit growing franchise brand by generating awareness and driving revenue. She works alongside her team to identify and provide the necessary tools and resources to ensure franchisees achieve ultimate profitability and success. In her previous role as chief operating officer, she oversaw operations, marketing and business development, focusing on product development and daily operations. Prior to being named chief operation officer, she served as the marketing director.

Betsy joined Duck Donuts with 15 years’ experience as the marketing director for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, a world-class entertainment and hospitality company that owns and operates many of the sweet attractions, resorts, and entertainment venues across Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Betsy serves on the Board of Harrisburg’s Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) and Central Penn College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Master of Business Administration from Shippensburg University.

Scott joined B. Braun in April 2022 as its inaugural DEI leader in the role of Senior Director for DE&I. Blair is responsible for building upon and implementing strategies that will encourage and build an inclusive and diverse workforce throughout the Company. He also has the privilege of leading B. Braun’s dynamic Employee Resource Group community and supporting the Company’s health equity, sustainability, and supplier diversity work.

Scott brings close to 20 years of experience in Higher Education, most recently serving as the Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at DeSales University. Blair was their inaugural leader for universitywide efforts in advancing DEI while delivering related professional developments to the DeSales faculty and staff and engaging the student population to assess and support enhancements to the campus climate around DEI and community engagement efforts.

Blair currently is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and numerous regional efforts in the Lehigh Valley (PA) community to advance DEI and serves as a member of the Inclusion & Diversity Roundtable community with AdvaMed. Scott holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Education/ Secondary Education-English from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education - Race and Equity Center.

20 Women2Women | Spring 2023 W2W EXPO

Jenna Armato became a certified coach and trainer in 2018 with the mission to facilitate growth in people’s lives, organizations, and communities.

She provides clients with tools, training and strategies in Leadership Development, Effective Communications and Growth & Resilience.

Jenna is a John Maxwell certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer, a DISC certified Trainer, an EQ certified provider, a Faculty Member for the Empowered Living Teaching Team, and is one of 4 Executive coaches selected by Paul Martinelli, co-founder of the John Maxwell Team, and founder of the Empowered Living Community, to serve his global network of clients.

Prior to launching her coaching and training practice, Jenna spent 20 years working in corporate marketing and advertising, developing strategies in customer experience, relationship development, commerce, and both online and offline engagement.

Jenna serves as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia American Marketing Association, serves on the Board of TriCounty Community Network, The Board of the Pottstown Hospital, and The Pottstown Rotary Foundation Board.

Jenna also serves as the Director of the Leadership TriCounty program for the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce.

GRCA’s mission is to be Berks County’s leading resource for building a healthy, competitive business community by assisting companies to retain, expand and grow their operations and employment while also attracting new business to Berks County.

Greater Possibilities Start Here. Visit greaterreading.org for resources we can offer your business, or connect with us directly with any questions you may have at info@GreaterReading.org or call 610-376-6766.

Adelle Schade is the Dean of Pre-College and Summer

Programming at Albright College, Reading, PA. Prior to Albright College, Adelle was a science teacher at Conrad Weiser High School, Robesonia, PA for 25 years. Adelle is the Founder of Total Experience Learning®, formed in 2015, and the CEO of ConvergEd, LLC, formed in 2018. Adelle founded the trademarked learning and instructional methodology, Total Experience Learning®. Total Experience Learning® was named a top 4 STEM program in the United States in 2019 by District Administrator Journal. In December 2022, the program received international recognition during a ceremony by the United Nations, New York, as the Most Innovative Educational Model by the Materials Science sub-division of the United Nations. In 2022, Adelle was named the recipient of the Whitaker Center’s Women in STEM Game Changer Award. In 2023, she was named a Berks County Take the Lead winner by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP).

Adelle earned a Bachelor of Science from West Chester University. In 2006, she earned a Master of Education degree from Kutztown University in Biology Education. In 2015, she earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Microbiology from the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Philadelphia, PA. Currently, Adelle is a PhD candidate in Cell and Molecular Biology at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA. Additionally, she holds an appointment as an Adjunct Instructor of Pediatrics in the Penn State College of Medicine.

Adelle Schade is also the 2023 ATHENALeadership AwardRecipient!

berkswomen2women.com 21
Stay connected at: Facebook @BerksWomen2Women LinkedIn @Berks Women2Women Group Instagram @berks_W2W
Women2Women (W2W) is a special program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA).

Thank you to our 2023 Sponsors!

Title Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Berks Community Television

Berks County Living

Customer's Bank


First National Bank

Platinum Sponsors

Women in Business Sponsors

GAGE Personnel

Iron Roots Salon

M.J. Reider Associates

RC-J Consulting Associates, LLC

Sweet Street Desserts

VA Productions

Fulton Bank

Herbein + Co

Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys

Masano Bradley

Met Ed/First Energy

Palo Magazine

Reading Truck Body


Tompkins Community Bank

Univest Financial

VISIONS Federal Credit Union

De Mujer a Mujer Sponsors

GIANT Food Stores

HGSK Lawyers


22 Women2Women | Spring 2023


4G Nutrition

Adalyn Rose Foundation

Alvernia University Graduate & Adult Education

Assured Assistance

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Homesale Realty - Julia Curry

Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County

CASA of Berks County

Club Pilates Wyomissing

Community First Fund

Cornerstone Financial Strategies, LLC


Everlasting Wellness


FIT4MOM Reading

Girl Scouts of Eastern PA

Girls on the Run of Berks County

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

John Paul II Center for Special Learning

Legacy Cigar Lounge

LightHouse Women and Children's Center at Hope Rescue Mission

LMG Marketing Solutions

Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant


Moyer-Drabick & Associates, Ltd.


Penn State Berks & Berks LaunchBox

Penn State Health St. Joseph

Pretzel City Press

Reading Dermatology Associates

Reading Hospital Tower Health

Reading Truck Body

Relay for Life of Berks


Safe Berks

The Children's Home of Reading

The Dave Mattes Team ReMax of Reading

The Salt Lounge

TK'S Toy Box, LLC

Tompkins Community Bank

Urban Charm / Kim R Lewis Design

WCR Center for the Arts


Fostering Hope

We’ve all heard “It takes a village…” when raising our own children and the same is true when raising someone else’s children, even if it’s only temporary. Fostering Hope provides an exchange of resources to those who are willing and able to turn their families into foster families.

Fostering Hope’s goal is to provide meaningful help to foster families and the children in their care. Fostering Hope began by helping a small community, but quickly moved to helping an entire county of general foster parents, kinship families (those caring for a family member or close friend’s children), and also biological families who have an open case with the county or are on a safety plan working toward maintaining custody of their kids. Our goal is to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our community are provided the resources they need.

Welcoming a child into a home requires many resources. The FosterShare Closet provides a free store for foster families to shop for clothes, supplies, books, toys and the many other items to make children feel welcome in their new home.

We are looking for volunteers to host a drive at your school or business for much-needed items for our FosterShare closet at any time during the year. We also encourage you to volunteer your time with our organization and help give back to children impacted by the foster care system.

For more information about the Berks Chapter of Fostering Hope, go to https://fosteringhopepa.com/chapter/berks-county/ or contact us at email to:

berkswomen2women.com 23 COMMUNITY CALL OUT

Actually, I Said That First! A Profile of Paula Barrett

What drew you to the field of accounting?

Paula Barrett: I always loved math and had an aptitude for numbers. My Dad was an inspiration for me. He never earned a college degree yet he became an accountant, working his way up with the A&P.

I have an analytical brain and a curiosity about business. I was fascinated by how big businesses run and how they could get people to produce goods and services.

How are you different from other individuals in the accounting field?


is a Women2Women founding member, 2013 ATHENA Award recipient and former Family Business Alliance peer group facilitator. A native of Scranton, PA, her 40-year career as a CPA took her to New York City and Philadelphia before she arrived here in Berks County in the 1990s.

Throughout her journey, Paula experienced first-hand the challenges of being the rare female in a male-heavy profession. Recently retired from RKL, she shares what attracted her to her field, what motivated her to excel and how she learned to be an advocate for herself as well as for others.

PB: I Iove working with people! Accounting is a very technical field; you have to understand a lot of regulations. I really liked helping people understand the accounting results to help them make decisions in their business.

I enjoyed the numbers and I wanted to help people understand how they can use the information to help grow their business and achieve their desired goals. It was the perfect combination of skills, especially as a consultant.

How did your people skills serve you in your career?

PB: I started as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand in New York City. It was a very challenging environment, a very male environment. One of my early experiences there involved being assigned to do a physical inventory at an agricultural client’s warehouse. Back in those days, standard business dress for women was a dress or suit combo with stockings and heels. The warehouse was dirty and dark and I thought to myself, “Are you kidding?!” I was sure I was being tested by my male supervisor. But I stayed focused on the job at hand. I turned to my supervisor and asked for his help. He handed me the clipboard and then he climbed over the boxes to give me the count.

Lesson learned? It’s OK to ask for help. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. Also, stay focused on the job or project at hand and do not get sidetracked by distractors. Overall, whatever the challenges presented to me, I was not going to let them win. I approached relationships in my career with a sense of humor and I was always willing to ask questions. You have to be comfortable with the fact that you don’t know everything. A little humility can go a long way!

In February, you gave a W2W Presentation, “Actually, I Said That First: Lessons Learned Through the Years.” What inspired your presentation?

PB: I grew up the youngest of four siblings, all of us vocal, especially at the dinner table. I can recall times when I would say something that would get ignored only to hear one of my older siblings say the same thing minutes later and thinking or protesting aloud, “I said that!”

Early on professionally, I often felt my voice was not heard, particularly when a male colleague said the same thing. It didn’t feel good.

24 Women2Women | Spring 2023 FEATURE

I recall one instance during a meeting, the discussion was getting quite heated. When I tried to interject my thoughts into the discussion, I couldn’t get a word in. So, I finally raised my voice, actually yelled what I wanted to say. Afterwards, a colleague pulled me aside and told me to calm down. I said, “You’re teaching me that to be heard, I have to yell.” To which he replied, “Don’t let our bad behavior change who you are. We invited you to the table for your expertise and voice.”

I realized I was needed. You learn that sitting back and waiting for the right time, speaking directly, firmly and unemotionally can be very impactful. It’s not necessarily a gender thing, but women tend to bring sensitivity to the table and sometimes we need to adapt to the environment around us and learn to be assertive without losing control.

What other nuggets of wisdom did you pick up along your journey?

PB: Possibilities exist. I had a great career and accomplished much of it working as a part-time professional which was not very common in the 1980/1990s. Part-time positions in our profession and job-sharing was very new, even in big metropolitan areas. I started in 1989s as part-time until 2010 by which time my kids were grown. I became a partner at RKL in 2000 but I really had to think about it: would my life/work balance be upset? I was afraid to fail; it might be a bad example for other women! A friend of mine pointed out that even if I went through “the doorway” to Partnership, I could always turn back. It is important to keep perspective and know it’s not your burden alone.

I never saw gender as a barrier. I always had male friends, coworkers. As a matter of fact, my strongest mentor/advocate was a male. Certainly, I witnessed gender bias but I tried not to overreact to it (I feel like a reaction validates it). Some might criticize this philosophy but I tried to work with it, through it and not let it hold me back. I’ve seen males hired and males rise through the ranks faster than females. It was hard to watch and tough to work through but sabotage reflects back on you. You learn to work collaboratively and be patient. Experience and persistence pay off!

Value authenticity. Stay true to yourself but be willing to adapt. When I talk to younger folks about adaptation, they resist. Adaptation is not about giving in. If you want to be heard, you need to be flexible and adapt your style to your audience.

Was there ever a time during your career when you felt it wasn’t worth the battle (if you can even call it that)?

PB: Yep. There were times when I quit in my own brain. There were times I didn’t feel into it. But I realized that if you leave, you’re giving in. Bad work situations can exist anywhere but if you’re ultimately happy with the work itself, it’s worth working out the environmental issues. Of course, it can be a healthy exercise to reflect and to ask questions.

What advise do you have for women struggling with their voice in the workplace?

PB: As women, we wrestle with advocating for ourselves. It is more natural for men to broadcast their accomplishments. When we do it, it feels selfish as we are naturally nurturers. I worked hard on learning to advocate for myself. I had to ask myself, how do you carry the flag for yourself without sacrificing who you are, what you believe in? Answer: Open honest communication. Make sure you have facts and while it’s a natural impulse to draw comparisons to colleagues, focus on YOU, YOUR role and YOUR responsibilities. You need to find a way that feels natural for you.

Why is it important for women to stand up for each other? What does that look like?

PB: It’s not an easy issue and some women think we single ourselves out but in fact, women do face particular challenges in the workplace, in life. Everyone is fighting battles, everyone has their own beliefs, their own biases but we can identify with each other on some level and encourage and support each other without posing a detriment to anyone else.

Make no mistake, there are (still) lots of barriers but don’t let them stop you.

If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?

PB: Don’t be afraid to fail. Try new things. Trust me, it took me a long time to get here! Be confident!

What are you most looking forward to in your retirement?

PB: You need to know when to exit and believe it or not, retirement takes work! It’s a lot easier when you have a plan and identify your “replacement property” for this next chapter in life. I’m excited about continuing my work in the community leading The Breidegam Family Foundation and to having more time to spend with family, friends and on travel.

Take the rocks off your shoulders and enjoy your personal passion! 2

berkswomen2women.com 25

LightHouse: Shining Hope for Homeless Women & Children

The old saying goes, if you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life. That saying couldn’t be closer to the heart for Kate Alley. “I love being part of something that is much bigger than me. This is an amazing opportunity to provide privacy, dignity, and compassion to many families in the area.”

Kate Alley is the Executive Director of the new LightHouse Women and Children’s Center, which is expected to be completed this Spring. While the Hope Rescue Mission has grown over the past 129 years into one of the largest and most experienced men’s emergency and transitional shelters in the region, the needs of women, children and unaccompanied youth were previously unmet. LightHouse will be uniquely equipped to meet these needs.

The initiative began more than two years ago, in January 2020, with the launch of a capital campaign to support the project, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the fundraising efforts to be suspended. In the summer of 2022, the mission began a $5,000,000 renovation project to transform an existing thrift store into The Lighthouse Women and Children’s Shelter.

When open, the 25,000-square-foot facility will feature 43 individual rooms, each with a private bathroom. It will be able to support a total of 125 people, including women, women with children and unaccompanied youth. “After the traumatic experience of being homeless, women have the chance to have security, be able to take care of their kids and restore their lives,” Alley shared.


Born and raised in Berks County, the Wyomissing High School graduate initially left the area only to return to live out her passion. After finishing her Master of Business Administration at Boston University, she would return for her Master’s in Social Work. “I had two skill sets and I wanted to be able to use them both to help others.” Prior to joining the Hope Rescue Mission Team, Kate served as the Chief Development Officer at Opportunity House for seven years, where she became familiar with the landscape of the homeless community.


Kate shared that many things have changed after the pandemic. During the pandemic, there was a moratorium on evictions. If an

26 Women2Women | Spring 2023
Lighthouse Women and Children's Center at Hope Rescue Mission

individual was faced with homelessness during the pandemic, they could not be evicted. Kate shares that now, “76% of the homeless are first-time homeless who had been living paycheck to paycheck before. The safety net is now gone. Increasing rents have affected our community and women are faced with new circumstances affecting their families.”

One day, a woman came to the Hope Rescue Mission with her two young children. She was in her mid-30s, living in West Reading and successfully providing for her family. Her property owner sold her house to a new property owner, who raised the rent by $200 a month. The woman could no longer afford to pay the rent and found herself without any place to live. “We helped her make phone calls and secure a place to stay for the weekend. I only wish that LightHouse had been available to her then,” Kate said.

“The thing that excites me most personally is the opportunity to make a difference for people and to give them hope. When you see someone and they’ve experienced the despair and rejection from being unsheltered, they lose hope. To help someone regain footing and provide them with hope and security is a privilege. I’m really excited to be able to offer that to women and women with children.”


“We’ve been fortunate to have commitments from many community partners. My goal is to continue working with what is already working well in the community and to avoid duplicating other efforts,” Kate shared as she talked about partnerships with the community.

The Tower Health Street Medicine team will have an ob-gyn clinic in the building and LightHouse will have a partnership with Safe Berks to offer domestic violence services. LightHouse has also secured aid from Reading Area Community College (RACC) to offer ESL (English as Second Language) and GED classes. LightHouse has signed an agreement with Teen Challenge to offer addiction counseling and will partner with religious institutions to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of clients. Kate also looks forward to partnering with other community programs for job training and placement. She acknowledges that there are so many great programs in Berks County, and they are excited to make new community connections.

“We are grateful for all of the people who have helped LightHouse to get up and running and the thousands of dollars that have been contributed to make this a reality,” Kate said. “I just want to let women in our community know that we are here for them, and we created a place with them in mind.”


There will be a Welcome Home Party on May 22, 2023, at LightHouse Women and Children’s Center at 715 N. 6th Street in Reading. Attendees can make a flower arrangement that will be placed in one of the 43 rooms and can also make an arrangement to take home. There will be mocktails, hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes. More information can be obtained by going to https:// www.hopeforreading.org/lighthouse or by sending an email to Kate at KAlley@HopeForReading.org. 2

berkswomen2women.com 27 TICKETS $125/person Purchase online at hopeforreading.org/events Monday, May 22, 5–8pm | 715 N. Sixth St., Reading We will be offering mocktails, light bites and a full dessert bar, as well as tours of the new center. Attendees will also have the opportunity to create a beautiful flower arrangement for themselves or to leave behind for a future guest of the LightHouse. PLEASE JOIN US TO CELEBRATE AND SUPPORT THE OPENING OF The LightHouse Women & Children’s Center

WELLNESS: Beyond Physical

When you think of the word wellness, what comes to mind? Do you think of how much healthy food you eat? How much you exercise per week? People tend to perceive wellness in terms of physical health such as exercise and nutrition, but it is much more than that. Wellness is a holistic approach that incorporates many aspects to help achieve optimal health and a full quality of life.

In the wellness world, there are eight dimensions: intellectual, emotional, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, social and spiritual. All eight dimensions play an essential role in personal wellness and all are interconnected with one another to achieve equal balance. Attention must be equally paid to each dimension as neglect of one aspect will affect the other aspects over time.

Intellectual wellness encourages you to expand your knowledge and skills through personal and professional development such as participating in personal hobbies, community activities and cultural involvement. By learning and exploring new ideas, you grow your potential. There are many ways to improve your intellectual wellness in your personal lifestyle and daily activities through small activities such as reading a book for ten minutes a day or doing sudoku, word searches, crosswords, or other puzzles. You can also expand your knowledge by staying up to date on current news and politics, picking up a new hobby or even learning a new language.

Emotional wellness refers to your ability to handle personal life stressors successfully and to adapt to obstacles and changes you face while being aware of, understanding and accepting of your emotions. There are many ways to improve emotional wellness that will help you feel better on your “bad days.” Setting

aside time each day for self-care and relaxation activities is an essential activity that should be scheduled into your calendar. Additionally, practicing gratitude and having a growth mindset can help. Developing inner resilience by learning and growing from past experiences can help improve emotional wellness in the long term. If more resources are needed, don’t be afraid to seek help from a local counseling center.

Physical wellness takes care of your body for optimal health and the functioning of daily activities. There are many aspects that encompass physical wellness such as eating a well-balanced diet; getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night; and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. There are small lifestyle changes you can make on a daily basis such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator; drinking water instead of soda; and limiting alcohol and tobacco use. Make sure to get routine check-

28 Women2Women | Spring 2023

ups with a doctor and follow up on your health status to prevent future health complications.

Environmental wellness is surrounding yourself in safe and positive environments that support your well-being. Access to clean air, water and food is an important aspect of this dimension as well. Improving this dimension of wellness can be as simple as decluttering your room or office and reusing, reducing and recycling. Spend time outdoors and volunteering to help clean up your local community are great ways to expand and balance your environmental wellness.

Financial wellness is the ability to meet basic needs and manage money in the short-term and the long-term. Everyone has a different level of financial wellness necessary to support their needs and living habits. As we are all on different financial journeys, it is important to have the basic financial skills such as setting and committing to a budget that fits your needs. Within a budget, try to incorporate an emergency fund and set short-term and long-term saving goals.

Occupational wellness is the balance between work and leisure which promotes personal satisfaction and personal health. Enjoying what you do plays a role in your occupational wellness. In your current role, find the benefits and the positives this job offers and create meaningful connections with your co-workers.

Social wellness involves building and engaging in relationships with others around us. Healthy relationships and support systems between friends and family can help improve social wellness. Try to make one social connection daily. There are so many ways to connect with others, especially on social media. Join a Facebook group of one of your favorite hobbies or find a personal connection with a co-worker.

Spiritual wellness is about finding your purpose and understanding the values that guide your actions. Identifying the values and beliefs that are most important to you is the first step in increasing your spiritual wellness. Writing those values and beliefs in a journal can help guide you back to them when you are feeling unsure or misguided. In addition, disconnecting from distractions is a great way to become more spiritual.

Making the right choices to improve your wellness can be challenging. You may find yourself going back to your old ways and that is okay. Small steps to enhance and improve each of these dimensions is key to your overall wellness.

What small steps to wellness will you take today? 2

APRIL 22 - MAY 8, 2023

berkswomen2women.com 29

From Pain to Power

As I ponder why that is, I am taken back to my childhood. A flash of images in my mind – different versions of the same story. A little girl, standing in the corner of the room frozen with fear. I look at his face and I don't recognize him. I know he's my father, but his eyes don't have love in them, they have rage. Immobilization sets in as I pray for time to quickly pass. Please, let it be over. Time and time again, my body enters a freeze response to cope with the intense fear. When we experience difficult emotions, we experience emotional pain, and these experiences leave an imprint on the mind and body that can feel as present and overwhelming as physical pain.

At 14, after years of growing up under the care of a parent with an untreated mental health condition, the pain intensified. My father died by suicide. At that moment, I realized that someone I loved ended their life and, simultaneously, my life forever changed.

As I looked around, there was no one to take care of me or my emotions. My loving mother was too grief-stricken to be present, my relatives condemned my father, rumors swirled about my family and no one seemed to know how to talk about any of it. My loved ones were now facing their own mental health impacts, including trauma, grief and shame.

And there I was, left standing alone, with nothing but the pain.

Although a part of me was heartbroken, angry and confused, another part of me held an enormous amount of compassion for my father. What was the connection? Pain. The immense pain that I suffered after he passed was ironically comforted by the awareness that he too had pain and that his anguish was so extreme, one could call it unbearable.

The primary goal of suicide is not to end life, but to end pain. I now understand the effects of unresolved trauma and accumulated pain, which is why I have dedicated my life to helping individuals heal and learn from their past. Pain can be turned into something positive if we learn to harness it for our purposes. It can be a powerful motivator and if we are willing to use it correctly, it can help us to achieve our goals. By using pain as a catalyst for change, we can create the life we desire.

We all experience setbacks, losses and misfortunes. The question is, will you continue to carry the pain from each trauma with you throughout your life? Or will you consider seeking help, processing your pain and finding your purpose and power in life? With each new hurt, both great and small, a little more pain is added to this tragic cargo that we carry and we are ultimately responsible for unloading that cargo.

Over the years, I have worked closely with my inner child to relieve her of the burdens she carried from childhood. Although no easy feat, I was able to turn inwards to find her, witness her pain, unburden her and integrate her into my present-day life. I identified the origins of my pain and allowed myself to experience the full range of associated emotions necessary to heal. In doing so, I accessed my highest Self. This has allowed

30 Women2Women | Spring 2023
Emotional pain: the inevitable, human experience that many of us try to escape.

me to prosper in more ways than I could have ever imagined, including being an agent of change in the mental health community. I now own a private practice specializing in intensive trauma-focused therapy and have found my purpose in helping others heal.

You too can do the same.

You may have had experiences in life that made you feel like you had no control over your situation, where maybe you felt powerless. While we cannot control the world around us, we can always choose how to respond. Power can be found in truly understanding that you are your own hero, your own healer and your own leader. Power is when you share your truth with compassion, clarity and courage. As you make progress in your freedom and wisdom, your power grows. Ultimately, truly powerful people utilize their Self-energy to enrich all they know with love.

Now is the time to reclaim your power. 2

“At first, the prospect of selling my home overwhelmed me. Then I called the Eric Miller team, and my concerns disappeared. The Erics were incredible. Every question was answered promptly, clearly, and thoroughly. Their handson guidance walked me through every step of selling a house. It was a pleasure to work with the Erics, and I highly recommend their team!”

When it comes to the biggest investment in your lifetime, you shouldn’t have to choose between an agent’s experience and your own.

Born and raised in Berks County, as students, coaches, and playground leaders, The Eric Miller Team knows the area and market better than anyone.

Over the last 40+ combined years in Berks real estate, they join less than 0.5% of Re/Max agents worldwide having Circle of Legends status, along with international, award-winning marketing strategies and over $650 million sold. And their passion for our community paired with uncompromising honesty, integrity, attention, and tenacity allows them to give customers the experience they deserve, every step of the way.

If there’s anything they love more than calling Berks County home, it’s helping others make the best decisions when it comes to theirs.


visitations to go hand-in-hand with a customized care plan specifically for your loved one. We are locally owned and operated, giving us a stake in your community.

Office: 610-670-2770
you and your home deserve THE BEST!
• Cell: 484-269-2394 EMiller@GoBerksCounty.com BerksCountyUpscaleHomes.com Because
berkswomen2women.com 31
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Eight of the Most Powerful Words a Leader Can Use

Actually, I Said That First Speaking 101: How to Get The Lead Out & Get Comfortable In Front of A Crowd

32 Women2Women | Spring 2023 W2W AROUND TOWN
ATHENA Recipient Panel Left: Past ATHENA Recipients Cheering Each Other On Above: Raffle winners for Sarai Flowers
Above: Paula wowing her male colleagues
Rachael Romig and speaker Joelle Terranova

Your Professional Toolbox Optimizing Your Skills & Talents

berkswomen2women.com 33
Maximizing Your Personal Brand Social Media & More
Above: Speakers Cory and Nicol Above: Winners of Sarai Flower Raffle Speaker Terri Hill Women from Alvernia University
StrengthFinders Book Winners



Women2Women (W2W) is Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s catalyst for developing women leaders and connecting women from diverse backgrounds to learn, share ideas, and mentor each other through offering a forum for women to create connections, gain knowledge, and build strategic alliances to foster their personal potential and career advancement. Joining the network is open to all who support women.

De Mujer a Mujer, una iniciativa de W2W, continúa conectando a mujeres de diversos orígenes al ofrecer programación especializada en la noche y destacar a oradores de diversos orígenes.

To register for events & receive the Women2Women e-newsletter, visit www.berkswomen2women.com.

MAY 2023

Mujer a Mujer NETWORKING & MENTORSHIP: Keys to Building a Lasting Relationship A W2WNetworking Experience

TonyaButler&CarissaJohnsonMagisterialDistrictJudges, BerksCounty

Mujer Mujer

Networking is the place to start when you are looking to grow. From there, finding a mentor may come organically. We welcome Tonya Butler & Carissa Johnson, Magisterial District Judges and mentors to many, to kick off our networking event by offering tips to creating and fostering a lasting relationship. Following the session, we will be breaking into tables to network with one another.

We are asking all who attend BRING ANOTHER WOMAN to empower and lift up! Consider inviting an up-and-coming leader in your workplace, friend, daughter, or mentee. High school and college women will be attending to expand their networks. We will also be hosting Don Carrick, Studio 413, who will be offering complimentary headshots to update your resumes and LinkedIn profiles!


Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Venue: Abraham Lincoln Events – Roosevelt Suite

Price: $10/GRCA Member | $15/Future Member

Free to W2W sponsors, high school and college students!


Kate Ecke, LCWS –The UnconventionalTherapist

In this workshop Kate will be redefining what productivity means in a results driven world. Focusing on rewiring our perceptions about busyness and our worth, Kate will help participants to develop healthier and more adaptive skills to manage 'hustle culture'.


Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Venue: The Rookery at Berks Nature

Price: $35/GRCA Member | $45/Future Member

Free to W2W sponsors!

34 Women2Women | Spring 2023

JUNE 2023


It's time to get control of your finances, a plan for the future, and make a checklist! Have you ever thought about the items you need to have in order for your future? Not only your future that you'll experience, but the future where you won't. Hear from an expert panel across industries like legal, banking, insurance, and more to understand the items you should have in place now and for the future, plus learn about the timeline in which you can start to check off the boxes with DONE and READY! We will be discussing:

• Helping Parents Before They Are Gone

• Forms You Need Now – wills, health directives, power of attorney

• Assigning Beneficiaries

• Financial Planning for the Unexpected And much more!


Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Venue: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Price: $35/GRCA Member | $45/Future Member Free to W2W sponsors!


As a celebration of the diversity of amazing women in Berks and Greater Reading, Women2Women will be hosting the 5th Annual De Mujer a Mujer Awards Ceremony & Celebration. Three women will be awarded recognition in various categories including Small Business Owner, Community Impact and Young Changemaker. Nominate a mujer today at berkswomen2women.com!


Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Venue: Abraham Lincoln Events – Roosevelt Suite

Price: $15/GRCA Member | $20/Future Member Free to W2W sponsors!

Join Women2Women for a night of casual networking, fun, and connection for our annual Lobsterfest to kick off the summer! At Go Fish! Seafood Market & Sushi Bar you can expect 2 beverages of your choice, sushi and oysters as appetizers, your choice of lobster or chicken entrée, delicious sides and dessert. We will have outdoor and indoor seating on what will be a perfect evening! Bring your own bib/apron for lobster claw cracking and support a woman-owned business!


Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Venue: Go Fish! Seafood Market & Sushi Bar

Price: $100/GRCA Member | $110/Future Member


A perfect series of classes for a beginner wanting to learn new skills, or better their existing skills. Over the course you will learn from a golf pro, all culminating to playing 9 holes with your new golf friends!


May 3, 10, 17 (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

& May 24 (on course – 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.)

June 7, 14, 21 (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

& June 28 (on course – 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.)

July 12, 19, 26 (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

& August 2 (on course – 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.)

August 9, 16, 23 (6 p.m. – 7p.m.)

& August 30 (on course – 6 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.)

Course: Manor Golf Club (Sinking Spring)

Cost: $115 per Golfer Register at www.themanorgolfclub.com or call Cheryl Heckman at 610-334-8690

berkswomen2women.com 35 Continued on page 34 ON THE CALENDAR
2022 Award Recipients


Kate Ecke, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the founder of The Unconventional Therapists. The Unconventional Therapists is a boutique mental health practice providing therapy and medication services to adolescents and adults.

About The Unconventional Therapists…

Has everything gone to sh*t? Are you tired of the stereotypical therapy session where you talk, they take notes & you leave feeling like you just ripped open your soul for a stranger who may or may not think you’re a total wackjob? I have and that’s why I gathered a group of cool ass therapists to help you work through your sh*t.

What we are: a group of therapists and prescribers that are cool, non-judgmental & ready to help you figure your sh*t out. What we offer: teletherapy sessions that are secure & on your time. What you’ll get: a session that’s focused on you & your needs.

What will happen: you’ll schedule an appointment with one of our bomba$$ therapists or prescribers & start to feel better. We may pull tarot cards to help you unlock deeper issues. Oh, and there will most definitely be cursing because we are human beings & who we are outside of session is the same as inside the session.

Kate specializes in trauma and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, Nurtured Parent and Functional Family Therapy. Kate lives on her farm with her herd of horses, mini horses, goats, ducks, chickens and her husband and daughters.

Tonya Butler is a Magisterial District Judge since 2017 and veteran attorney who has dedicated her legal talents to public service and has worked creatively to improve the quality of life in the City of Reading. Tonya has twenty-five years of legal experience, using her legal background and experience to serve the community with compassion and to ensure a fair and transparent legal system. Tonya is a graduate of Albright College and Widener University School of Law. Her passion is for our youth, speaking to them about social and legal issues and having students shadow her in court. Tonya is married to Wynton Butler and has two adult children: Wynton II and Wesley.

The Honorable Magisterial District Justice, Carissa Johnson is an example of leadership in action. A proud graduate of Reading Senior High School, she continued her educational journey at Widener University where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2006 and obtained her master’s degree in Business Administration at Alvernia University in 2010. Upon the successful completion of her bachelor’s degree, Carissa interned with the late Honorable District Justice, William N. Hall Jr., in the Berks County District Justice Office. Inspired by the level of Judge Hall’s compassion and service to his community, this experience influenced her role as a Counselor at the Berks County Jail System. In January 2018, Carissa was sworn in as the Magisterial District Judge of district 23-1-02, which is located in the Southeast of Reading. As an MDJ, she dedicates much time to improving the conditions of the community members that she serves. She credits her graduation from Leadership Berks as the catalyst that implored her to seek to service through leadership. In much of her free time Carissa can be found as a mentor for: The Sisterhood of Reading (an organization that empowers young women to achieve their dreams), member of the NAACP Reading Branch, Women2Women council of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, volunteer for Ready. Set. Read program through the United Way of Berks County and launched the Pipeline 2 Opportunities MDJ Shadowing Program.

36 Women2Women | Spring 2023
berkswomen2women.com 37 3049 Pricetown Rd. (Rt.12) Temple, PA • (610) 929-5049 • riverviewtree.com SHOP Pond Plants, FISH & MORE

Nominate a Mujer Today!

This recipient is a woman who has shown leadership and commitment to the community in Reading and Berks County.

The Process

This recipient is a young woman between the ages of 18-25 who has shown leadership, dedication and commitment to the community. This young woman shows great potential to be, or is, one of the next women leaders of Berks County.

This recipient is the owner of a business who is thriving and engaging in the community. The business can be headquartered anywhere in the Greater Reading/Berks County region.

◯ A Selection Committee, made up of a diverse group of community leaders, will review all nominations. The recipients will be announced at De Mujer a Mujer Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

◯ You are encouraged to work closely with your nominee to complete their nomination.

◯ Nominations for any award must be submitted using this nomination form and format.

◯ You may include supporting documents (articles, testimonials, etc.) with your completed nomination form.

◯ All nominees must identify their ethnicity to be of American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic or Latino.

◯ We will accept all nominations but note that we are celebrating the diversity of our community through this award ceremony.

Award recipients will be celebrated at the 5th Annual De Mujer a Mujer Awards Ceremony on June 8th at the Abraham Lincoln.

NominationsdueMay5th.Findthenominationformatberkswomen2women.comoremail RachaelRomigatrromig@greaterreading.org.

38 Women2Women | Spring 2023 FEATURE
Solutions for the innovative 484.706.9882 | Temple, PA www.eb-designs.com Solutions for the innovative PRINT DESIGN LOGOS & IDENTITY MENUS ADVERTISING SOCIAL MEDIA WEB DESIGN PROMO GRAPHICS INVITATIONS
HEIDI MASANO HMasano@MasanoBradley.com Mujer Mujer

Who’s Coming to Dinner?

In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, we asked women what historic woman they would ask over for dinner, why, and what one question would you ask her? Here’s who’s coming to dinner!

WHO: Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer

WHY: Because she established the template for the philanthropic celebrity and champion of global causes for good.

QUESTION: If you had lived, what would your impact have been on society – and how would your presence have changed the trajectory of your family’s recent experiences?

WHO: Christa McAuliffe, first American civilian in space on shuttle Challenger

WHY: When I was a kid, we watched the space shuttle launches on television in school. School was closed on January 29, 1986 (my freshman year of high school) and my sister, mom and I had the space shuttle launch on tv that morning. We watched the shuttle Challenger lift off and then a minute later, explode, killing all on board.

QUESTION: What was going through your mind as you lifted off on such an amazing adventure?


Girls on the Run Berks County

WHO: Eleanor Roosevelt

Carol Jones

W2W social media comment

WHO: Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer

WHY: She was young, naive, and in love with Prince Charles when she was swept off her feet into a life that was about to turn her world inside out. I believe that she was genuine in her desire to be a good wife and mother, rather than to garner a seat at the royal table when she agreed to marry Charles. I believe that the experience broke her, and molded her into a stronger woman to the point where she said enough is enough. She used her position and popularity to do a tremendous amount of good around the world until her life tragically ended.

QUESTION: What gave you the strength and courage to stand up to and break out of the impossible situation you were in?

WHO: Michelle Obama

WHY: I have always been impressed and inspired by her history, the challenges she overcame, and the lessons/hope she offered. Always presenting herself as professional and eloquent in her messages. A powerful advocate for women around the world. I think of her as the classic and confident role model.

QUESTION: I don’t really have one question. I just want to meet her and let her know what an inspiration she is and continues to be. But I’m sure if we started talking, I wouldn’t be able to stop asking questions!

berkswomen2women.com 39 ASKED&ANSWERED
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