Women2Women Magazine Spring 2024

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13th Annual Conference & Expo Breaking the Glass Ceiling pg. 12 spring2024 themagazine A Program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance W MEN2WOMEN 2 People2 Know Lucine Sihelnik, First Female CEO, Leading the staff of Greater Reading Chamber Alliance pg. 6 Meet Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez Conference Keynote Speaker pg. 15 The Future of De Mujer a Mujer En Espanol with Translation pg. 25-27

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Rachael Romig, Editor-in-Chief 606 Court Street • Reading, PA 19601 berkswomen2women.com • 610.376.6766

Tracy Parmer, Chairwoman

Rosa Arroyo, Kristi Bonanno, Tracey Ciesnolevicz, Michelle Conway, Sara Frassinelli, Laurie Grube, Katie Johnsen, Carissa Johnson, Sarah McDaniel, Tracy Parmer, Jes Prutzman, Alyssa Redding, Donna Reed, Brenda Rosado, Erika Ruelas, Adelle Schade, Dennie Smith

Emma Rose Strohl, Ruthann Woll

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.

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De Mujer a Mujer

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In Every Issue 04 Reflections 06 People2Know 22 Community Call Out 29 W2W Around Town
join: W2W@greaterreading.org Stay connected: BerksWomen2Women.com BerksWomen2Women berks_w2w Berks Women2Women FOR ADVERTISING INFO CONTACT: 610.685.0914 x1 SEE PAST ISSUES AT W2W.HoffmannPublishing.com SPREAD THE WORD #W2WMag RECEIVE THE LATEST UPDATES BY FOLLOWING US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Contents 29 Features 09 Help A Girl Out: Equity & Access, Period 12 Women2Women — The Conference & Expo 15 Keynote Speaker Bio –Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez 25 The New De Mujer a Mujer 27 El Nuevo De Mujer a Mujer 34 Know Your Worth Pay Equity 35 Know Your Why 36 Conflict – A Path Less Followed Towards Positive Change & Success 38 Period Resources for Girls W2W 2024 Upcoming Event Schedule 35 May & June Events 37 Speaker Profiles © 2024 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
Women2Women Council:
ON THE COVER: Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Spring 2024
Penn State Health St. Joseph UGI Energy Services, LLC
UGI Utilities, Inc.
Tompkins Community Bank Univest Financial VISIONS Federal Credit Union
berkswomen2women.com 3
The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Putting YOUR Health First is Easy.

Women’s healthcare needs are unique and change throughout their lives, from pre-pregnancy to midlife, menopause, and beyond. Between juggling multiple tasks and caring for everyone, sometimes their health is overlooked.

Make your health a priority so you can continue to tackle the world and everything you enjoy.

Our national accreditations and certifications demonstrate Reading Hospital’s commitment to meeting the highest patient care standards. That means you can be confident you’re receiving care from a trusted, skilled team.

Start by scheduling an annual well-woman visit and preventive screenings. Then talk with your provider about how you can keep feeling your best.

To learn more, visit TowerHealth.org/WomensHealth


It’s here again…the Women2Women Conference & Expo…one of my favorite events of the year. It’s one of my favorites because it brings together so many women who are eager to learn, eager to connect, and in turn then empower others. 2024 marks the 13th Annual Conference & Expo, and what a path to get to where we areare from the first one 13 years ago.

2024 also means ‘goodbye’ from me. I have been the Director of this amazing women’s initiative for 5 years and can honestly say I put my all into it. I am constantly being struck by ideas for growth while in the shower, while driving on a sunny day, and during our volunteer committee meetings because a great idea first came from someone else. I have gotten the opportunity to meet 100s of inspirational women, many of whom I would have never met otherwise, many who don’t even speak the same language I do.

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I have so much pride in what we have accomplished together in a short five years. Let’s take a look.

• This March we launched the first all-Spanish De Mujer a Mujer, the path that our initiative is now taking, to reach women in our county who do not use English as their first language.

• We launched the inaugural local women’s groups get-together to show women all their options for development, connection, and giving back – and most importantly, without competition.

• We started hosting two events per year for high school and college students to engage with professional women.

• We hosted two strategic planning sessions to ensure the Women2Women program continues to grow.

There are so many more, and I recommend you ask someone you meet at a future Women2Women what they are proud of.

I can’t thank you all enough for believing in me, for supporting me, for challenging me, laughing with me, and enjoying my champagne bars with me at our big events (sort of my thing so truly, thanks, it’s not like you had a choice). Cheers to all of our futures, and see you soon!


YOUR Best Defense is Early Detection.

Regular mammograms are critical for the early detection of breast cancer. For women at average risk of breast cancer, annual screening mammograms should begin at age 40.

For women found to be at higher risk of breast cancer, annual screening mammograms may begin earlier, as directed by their medical provider.

The award-winning, high-quality services offered by our Nationally Accredited Breast Program can help to identify breast issues

before they become serious health problems.

To schedule your screening at an imaging location convenient to you, including Reading Hospital’s Mobile Mammography Coach, call 1-833-34-TOWER or visit TowerHealth.org/FindItEarly

To view the Mobile Mammography Coach schedule, scan the QR code at left.

berkswomen2women.com 5

The GRCA Staff

Welcome to the Woman2Know portion of the magazine; except this edition, it is the PEOPLE. Specifically, the people who make up the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, parent organization to Women2Women.

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People2 Know

In February 2024 the first female President & CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance was welcomed to lead the team into the future. Per her request, we will not only be featuring her in our article, but everyone, as each contributes to the overall success of all that GRCA accomplishes day to day. We’d like to introduce you to the team of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, with a note from the new President & CEO.

“I was inspired to take on the CEO role for GRCA because I have experienced working with their phenomenal team. I’ve been able to work alongside many of them for the past 15 years on community and economic-centric projects in Greater Reading. I believe that strength and success is in the capable hands of the transformative people and through leaders that come together as GRCA. Getting the opportunity to continue positive momentum for the City of Reading and Berks County is even more exciting when the others around you feel the same and have been working together to do just that. This is also why I wanted to ask THEM these questions, and now you can learn from their experience as well. Enjoy!” –

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

If anyone knows me they know I am determined to find solutions to problems. One day at work I mentioned about “things being figureoutable” and Leah Fassnacht, Director of Communications & Marketing, found a sign for me that says “Everything is Figureoutable.” To this day “Everything is Figureoutable” has become my mantra. If a problem is bigger than me or my department, I always think about what resources I have at my disposal to find a solution to that problem.

– Audrey Krupiak, Assistant Director of Communications & Marketing

Mel Robbins, an author and podcaster, espouses a phrase of ‘Let Them.’ Instead of getting upset at other people’s actions or trying to control their behavior, ‘Let Them.’ It is my new favorite life hack!

– Deb Millman, President of Greater Berks Development Fund

Every day is a new beginning to embrace boldness, humility, and curiosity.

– Mark Dolinski, VP of Training & Professional Development

What has led you to your current career path?

My passion for helping others and knowledge in lending has led me to have the opportunity to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to helping the Greater Reading community thrive and succeed.

– Kayla Hayick, Director of Lending & Business Outreach

What words of wisdom would you offer to other women?

Always be kind; you never know what is happening in someone’s life. Only YOU can make it happen! Do not judge other people’s job performance based on your skill set. Never repeat what someone has told you in confidence. – Steph Koch, Controller

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” I always turn to this phrase to make big decisions, help me prepare for the unknown, and present the most authentic version of myself personally & professionally.

– Lucine Sihelnik, President & CEO

In terms of “keeping me grounded,” music is the remedy I rely on most. All types of music seem to reorganize my mind. Everything from choir and a cappella, to Metallica and everything in between. If you have not already heard, the construction industry and even managing dated buildings are environments plagued with uncertainty, and music tends to bring me back to earth.

– Landon Bernheiser, Senior Director of Real Estate & Special Projects

What three things do you recommend that contribute to your success?

1. Embrace a lifelong learning mindset and routinely participate in professional development activities to enhance your skillset. Include non-work areas as well.

2. Support and regularly connect with your colleagues, peers, and professional network.

3. Express gratitude daily.

– Keith Stamm, Director of Workforce Development

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1. Welcome collaboration.

2. Approach everything with integrity.

3. Be kind.

– Aaron Gantz, Senior Director of Economic Development

1. Be accountable for your work and your decisions.

2. Take on projects outside of your comfort zone and try to develop in areas that are not natural strengths.

3. Manage time and prioritize work effectively.

What is the best advice you have received?

Lean not on my own understanding. Crap happens to everybody; instead of trying to understand why things went the way they did, I need to accept it if it cannot be changed and move forward in the path that I’m being led. Most often, I am led to a better place than I was aiming for anyway.

– Melissa Hassler, Membership Coordinator

I’m learning to stop apologizing for being “extra” or taking up space. My creativity, drama, passion, and enthusiasm are a feature, not a bug. And if someone thinks I’m too much, they can go find less.

My parents often told me that there are two types of people in the workplace—problem makers and problem solvers. Make sure you always strive to position yourself as a problem solver. Those are the people others will want to follow and respond positively to.

Relax and see where life takes you. This doesn’t mean “be lazy.” This means you don’t have to know exactly where you’re going or how you’re getting there. It takes time to discover what you love and what you hate. Years, sometimes decades. Don’t expect to know all the answers.

The best advice I received was from my dad. He once told me to always give 100% to everything you do. I am very grateful for this advice as I have learned to be very proud of the things I have accomplished. I may not always get the result I was hoping for, but at least I tried with determination.

Dare to dream big and work even harder to turn those dreams into reality.


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uzanne Cody, Director of Business Development at Muhlenberg Greene Architects, is no stranger to turning ideas into real accomplishments. In her professional role, she oversees various aspects of client relationships; is responsible for growing the firm’s internship program and guides business development initiatives across eight states and D.C.

Cody is also the founder of the “Help a Girl Out” movement which recently wrapped up its third period product drive at the end of February. W2W Magazine reached out to her to find out what inspired her to put her skills to work to elevate the issue of period poverty and how she rallied the community to support the movement.

What inspired you to organize the “Help A Girl Out” period products drive?

I had been volunteering on a local nonprofit marketing committee and overhead them talking about lack of access to feminine products. I started purchasing two bags of pads to take with me to every meeting, which was met with extreme gratitude. This prompted a conversation with fellow committee member Liz Hafer of Berks Women in Motion. She gave me an opportunity to speak at one of their monthly luncheons, and from that presentation, the movement was born.

What are the desired outcomes of this project?

Pennsylvania has a lot of work ahead in order to provide these products to those in need. For now, raising awareness about the problem and its implications, plus helping to combat the issue in Berks County, are the main goals.

There are many states we can look to for ways to create menstrual equity:

• New York has passed laws eliminating the tampon tax, and requiring free menstrual products in public schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities.

• Illinois laws include allowing SNAP benefits to be used to purchase menstrual products, requiring free menstrual products to be stocked in public schools, universities, and community colleges, and eliminating the tax on menstrual products.

• Governor Murphy of New Jersey signed a bill in August 2023 to provide access to free menstrual products for students in grades six through 12.

2024 was the third year for the “Help A Girl Out” period product drive. How has participation in the drive grown since the first year?

The program has grown 137% from 2023 to 2024! Our 2023 collection yielded 19,923 units of product; this year we collected 47,314 units.

We had over 30 drop off locations this year across the county, plus small groups making their own collections. It’s incredible to see how many people want to be involved and the generosity of the community. Every year collaborations become stronger and more streamlined, creating opportunities to meet and join forces with influential allies like the Women2Women network.

Do you think the “Help A Girl Out” period products drives have raised awareness of period poverty and how so?

I was asked to present to three local organizations in 2023 during the ramp-up to the drive. It is greatly upsetting to learn that 1 in 4 girls in Pennsylvania miss school due to a lack of access to menstrual products. That’s 25% of our future female

Continued on page 10

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Below, left to right: Suzanne Cody, Jen Barkman and Stacy Perlaki
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workforce who is not getting the education they need to succeed. When you look at that statistic, and the revelation from the Imagine Berks August 2022 plan, showing that women with school age children are the larger workforce demographic in Berks County, you can see how this issue impacts employers, employees, students and teachers.

I try to share these facts with levity and humor when appropriate, but it is a very sobering topic. Every time I show the data on period poverty, people are shocked and moved to assist.

Have there been any unexpected positive outcomes of the project?

So many! The women I’ve met through this experience who have helped me come up with solutions and buoyed my efforts have been invaluable. I’ve thought a lot about last year’s Athena recipient Adele Schade’s speech, when she said you need to find a team of sharks who will protect you. I take that advice with me anytime someone wants to discuss the grassroots effort because I need help in order to make it possible and better.

How does the success of this project make you feel personally?

I feel humbled and grateful that the community has elected to have me steward this cause. I didn’t have any expectations when I started out, so I take all opportunities presented to me to speak on behalf of this issue; to use my time and talents to help make it possible for women, girls and all menstruators to go about their everyday lives with dignity.

I didn’t know I’d be a period poverty spokesperson, but if that’s what the universe wants for me, then I accept and appreciate the gift.

What do you want people to know about the importance of period poverty awareness and projects like “Help A Girl Out”?

Period poverty happens everywhere, even in America. It comes with a lot of stigma and shame, and that’s why you don’t hear about it. Women and girls feel embarrassed to discuss this normal, healthy, natural function. Imagine not being able to leave your house, or having to use something not designed for menstruating, and hoping you can make it through your day. It’s a dignity issue. 2


Alliance for Period Supplies at https://allianceforperiodsupplies.org

Always at https://www.always.com/en-us Kotex at https://www.ubykotex.com/

Help a Girl Out at https://www.mg-architects.com/events/ hago-berks

berkswomen2women.com 11 FEATURE
HEIDI MASANO HMasano@MasanoBradley.com hoffpubs.com
for new clients? Our readers are active, community-minded decision makers with disposable income.”
M. Lee Regional Media Sales Executive alicia@hoffpubs.com 610-685-0914 *210 Publishing Group


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

Breaking the Glass Ceiling & Claiming Credit for Your Ideas

Focusing time and energy on strategies for success and opportunities to shatter the glass ceiling which will be a call to action for each attendee!

2 conference expo the & April
16, 2024
a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: 1st Floor Theatre 12 Women2Women | Spring 2024


Ann Pehle, Past President of AAUW Pennsylvania, HR Professional, & Certified Career Coach

Know Your Worth: Exploring Pay Equity

Negotiating your salary is the most feared part of seeking new job opportunities, especially for women. We actually find it easier to advocate for someone else. Negotiating salary in an environment of pay inequity is even more difficult. In this workshop, we will explore the world of pay inequity and why earning what you are worth is so important to a woman’s economic security and we will glance at the skill building covered in Work Smart, AAUW’s salary negotiation FREE online course. You will leave this workshop understanding why advocating for yourself is important and with a strategy for learning the skills so that you will enter your next salary negotiation with confidence.

Location: 1st Floor Theatre

Courtnie Nein, Wealth Advisor, Good Life Financial Advisors

Reinventing Your “Meeting Personality”: Be the Leader at the Table

What fuels your passion for the work you do each day? What is the motivating factor for showing up? I think most of us have heard the phrase “know your why.” Fully understanding and successfully implementing those three words in both your personal and professional life can be the cornerstone to separate you from your peers. Clearly articulating your cause or beliefs that inspire you to do the work you do, is what drives you beyond monetary success. It is the foundation in creating your personal brand; or the unique combination of your skillset, personality, experience, or values that you present to the world. People do business with people who are authentic and can resonate with them, which makes practicing self-reflection to consistently and consciously communicate your why so important. When your personal brand is heard and validated by your target audience it will lead to more fulfilling and impactful outcomes, including opening new opportunities and earning the respect of your audience.

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


Break off from your colleagues and friends during your workshop tracks, but at lunch come back together to discuss what you’ve learned! Lunch is available for over one hour to offer time to eat, network & enjoy the Expo. Don’t forget to fill out your Networking Bingo Card to win a prize from Women2Women at the end of the Conference! | Lunch: 2nd Floor Ballroom


Karen Norheim, President & CEO of American Crane

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. ATHENA International is a catalyst for developing diverse, transformative leaders who create a balance in leadership voices worldwide. They ignite, amplify, and celebrate girls, women and allies through experiential programs that empower them to discover and activate the authentic leader within. For more than 40 years, they have recognized outstanding women and pioneering leaders with global, national and community ATHENA Leadership Awards. With nearly 8,000 recipients they celebrate the changemakers and trailblazers who open doors of leadership and opportunity for women in communities across the globe.

Location: 1st Floor Theatre

Ann Pehle Courtnie Nein
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Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez

Leading Authority on Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, Author & Community Advocate

Breaking the Glass Ceiling & Claiming Credit For Your Ideas

8:15 AM – 9:15 AM

Location: 1st Floor Theatre

In 2015, Dr. Bonilla had an article published in the Huffington Post titled “What Glass Ceiling?!“ where her lens was to focus on preparing yourself, especially through program participation where you’d have organizational support and being empowered to push through any challenges (because we’re all guaranteed to face them).

Challenges relating to identity and demographics can weigh us down and push us into a corner where we’re afraid to speak up and may not even take credit for our ideas or work. The Women2Women Conference presents a platform for us to candidly address such issues which can hinder women’s success, if ignored. We will highlight barriers connected to the glass ceiling but focus our time and energy on strategies for success and opportunities to shatter the glass ceiling which will be a call to action for each person – what will you do after you leave the conference? She will share her own experiences navigating leadership barriers including cultural nuances as captured in her new book Modern Marianismo: Its Relevance and the Connection to Impostor Syndrome and Perfectionism

Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez is a national leading authority on leadership development, especially as it pertains to diversity and inclusion. Her research about Latina leadership in the United States has served as the foundation for events, conference sessions, publications, and content development – to address the urgency of leadership development for a fastgrowing population and create a pipeline of diverse leaders. Her published written accomplishments include the books Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Workplace and Today’s Inspired Latina (Volume II), as well as contributing to the Huffington Post and being featured by several media outlets including NBC Latino, Chief Writing Wolf, and the Empowered Latinas series.


Danielle Stewart, President & CEO, Paragon HR Consulting

Conflict in the Workplace: Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Step into a transformative workshop where conflict resolution meets emotional intelligence, redefining how you view challenges as stepping stones to success. Discover the power of reframing conflict as a vital opportunity for growth and achievement, essential for reaching your business goals. With a focus on leading your team with emotional intelligence, you’ll learn to foster trust, support, and growth through any challenge or conflict situation.

Danielle Stewart

Through immersive exercises and engaging discussion, you’ll develop your framework for managing conflict effectively, turning it into an instrument for building deeper and more productive relationships with your employees. Equip yourself with the tools to navigate conflicts with confidence and empathy, creating a harmonious work environment that propels you towards achieving larger organizational goals. Join us in this session and revolutionize your approach to conflict resolution, harnessing emotional intelligence to drive success and cultivate a culture of collaboration and achievement.

Location: 3rd Floor Ballroom

Women2Women (W2W) is a special program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA).

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.

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Stay connected at: Facebook @BerksWomen2Women LinkedIn @Berks Women2Women Group Instagram @berks_W2W

Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez

Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez is a national leading authority on leadership development, especially as it pertains to diversity and inclusion. She delivers keynote addresses and presentations drawing upon her experience from roles in the non-profit, private, and government sectors, as well as her doctoral research. Her research about Latina leadership in the United States has served as the foundation for events, conference sessions, publications, and content development - to address the urgency of leadership development for a fast-growing population and create a pipeline of diverse leaders.

Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Social Work from the College of New Rochelle where she received the College President’s Medal, graduated with Departmental Honors, and was awarded the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Award. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Communications and a Specialized Certification in Corporate Communications, both from the College of New Rochelle. Personal endeavors of overcoming statistics and accessing higher education led her to earn a Doctorate in Education focusing on Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College. She selfidentifies as a lifelong learner and recently completed the Harwood Institute’s Coaching program.

To change the political and leadership landscape for Latinos, Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez ran for State Representative in the 189th District of Pennsylvania in the 2016 election cycle where she became the 1st Hispanic to make a State ballot in Pike and Monroe Counties. In November 2019, she became the 1st Hispanic elected as School Board Director in the East Stroudsburg Area School District where she served a 4-year term, and Chaired the Education committee during her full tenure. She represented the ESASD on the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 Board where she was the 1st Hispanic and person of color appointed and served as Vice President for 3 years. Passionate about supporting professional organizations, she is a Board Member of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Latina VIDA, Latinas on the Plaza and an Advisory Board member for several organizations including: The Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, Monroe County Children and Youth where she Chairs the Education committee and the League of Women Voters PA DEI steering committee.

Further accomplishments include serving as a Gubernatorial appointee to Governor Tom Wolf‘s Latino Commission where she served for 6 years and Chaired the Statewide Education committee, serving on the Brodhead Watershed Association Board, serving as Vice President of Professional Development for Prospanica New York,

serving on the Pennsylvania Department of Education Equity Task Force where she Chaired the Advocacy subcommittee and more efforts relating to social justice and equity at the local, state and national levels.

Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez was recognized as a 2014 Coors Light Lideres finalist and is the recipient of numerous awards including a proclamation from the NYS Assembly, Proud to Be Latina Soy Poderosa award, GACLA recognition award, SISGI Beyond Good Ideas Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership award, and Latino Diamante Comunidad. Her published written accomplishments include the books Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Workplace and Today’s Inspired Latina (Volume II), as well as contributing to the Huffington Post and being featured by several media outlets including NBC Latino, Chief Writing Wolf, and the Empowered Latinas series.

While she is proud of her many accomplishments, she highlights her greatest as being the mother of thirteen-year-old twin boys, Caleb and Joshua. She resides in Pennsylvania with her boys and husband, Robert. Her favorite quote is: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” (Newton). 2

Email: drdamarybonillarodriguez@gmail.com

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Ann Pehle is a retired human resource professional with over 30 years of human resources executive experience in a wide range of firms, from family-owned businesses to a global Fortune 125 company. Specializing in talent management, her interests include recruitment and career planning. After retiring from Textron, she became a Certified Career Coach and helped clients navigate career transitions.

Ann joined AAUW in 2015 because of the organization’s advocacy on issues impacting women and girls in matters of economic security, education, workplace equity, and leadership. Becoming a facilitator for AAUW’s salary negotiation workshop (Work Smart) leveraged her facilitation skills and human resources knowledge. If you want to know why Pennsylvania‘s current equal pay law doesn’t protect you, ask her.

Since joining AAUW Carlisle, Ann served as Public Policy Chair for the branch and Public Policy Co-Chair for AAUW Pennsylvania. She served two terms as AAUW Carlisle President and AAUW Pennsylvania President. She continues to be active on committees for both organizations.

Ann is a Chicago native and the eldest of three girls. She attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a proud Badger. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Her professional career allowed her the opportunity to work and live in Chicago, IL; Rockford, IL; Dayton, OH; New Orleans, LA; Charlotte, NC; and Providence, RI. She now enjoys retirement in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Courtnie Nein has been in the financial services industry since 2007. She is one of the original co-founders of Good Life Companies, a nationally known financial services company serving both financial advisors and middle American families nationwide.

Courtnie was President of Good Life for over the past decade, but in 2022 she stepped away from her duties as President to follow her true passion as an independent financial planner. As an independent advisor, she has the freedom to explore a wide array of investment opportunities and strategies without being tied to any single institution’s products or services. This independence is key to her unique, personalized approach, ensuring that her clients’ best interests are always at the forefront of her planning.

Her progressive work mindset has earned her numerous awards and accolades such as 2019 and 2018 Top 10 for Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce Top Businesses, 2019 Wealth Management Thrive 500 List, 2019 and 2018 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2018 and 2017 Forbes Top Millennial Advisors and 2018 and 2017 Working Mother Top Wealth Adviser Moms. Courtnie was also recently featured in Forbes Magazine. Courtnie is an advocate for local nonprofit organizations and donates her time regularly. In 2022, Courtnie and partner raised $15,000 for Dancing with the Reading Stars. In 2023, she and partner raised over $10,000 for Opportunity House’s Wine, Women, & Shoes annual event and in 2024 will be CoChairing the category “Shoe Guys” with the goal to increase donations YOY.

Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in Bern Township, Courtnie learned the value of hard work, dedication, and the importance of nurturing growth—principles she applies to her financial planning practices today. This early exposure to the cycles of nature and business instilled in her a profound respect for sustainable growth and the dedication necessary to achieve long-term success.

Courtnie’s academic journey took her to Syracuse University, where she was awarded a full tuition scholarship for field hockey. At Syracuse, she pursued a degree in Marketing from the renowned Whitman School of

Continued on page 18

berkswomen2women.com 17 FEATURE
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Management. This background equipped her with a unique blend of analytical skills and creative thinking, enabling her to craft bespoke financial strategies for her clients. For Courtnie, her greatest accomplishments are not found in the accolades of her career but the joys and challenges of raising her two sons, Colt and Graham, and embracing her future stepson, James. Each of her boys brings a unique light into her life, with their individual personalities. She is very engaged with her children’s schools and is currently the President of the Schuylkill Valley Education Foundation while also offering personal finance classroom workshops for high school students. She also enjoys coaching and watching her boys’ soccer teams and participating as a volunteer at many of their school functions. For Courtnie, her family is her team, and together, they navigate the complexities of life with the same strategic planning, adaptability, and heart that she applies to her career.

Courtnie enjoys living a physically active healthy lifestyle. She spends much of her free time working out and focusing on fitness.

Danielle Stewart,SPHR, MBA, is the President & CEO of Paragon Consulting Group, an organization at the forefront of providing effective Human Resources Management solutions. With over 20 years of experience, Danielle has built a reputation for effectively handling complex HR challenges and improving workplace cultures across various industries.

Founding Paragon Consulting Group in 2007, Danielle quickly identified and supported a crucial need for specialized HR support within the local business community. Her strong focus on relationship development and dedication to offering tailored HR services propelled the company from a one-person operation to a team of 8, now serving over forty clients across Pennsylvania and beyond.

Danielle’s expertise covers a wide range of HR issues, from dealing with critical incidents like workplace violence to developing unique strategies that enhance HR functions and support organizational goals. She’s known for her ability to create positive change, improving operational and financial outcomes for her clients through elevated HR practices. Her educational background includes an MBA from Alvernia University with a concentration in Human Resources and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Towson University. A certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Danielle is also a member of the Institute for Management Consultants and the Society for Human Resources Management.

Danielle emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence and conflict resolution in building a positive workplace culture. Her approach is practical and resultsoriented, aiming to equip organizations with the tools to foster an environment where communication and understanding are prioritized. During this session, Danielle will share actionable insights and methods drawn from her extensive experience. Attendees will learn how to apply emotional intelligence and conflict resolution techniques in their workplaces, leading to better team dynamics and overall organizational success.

Danielle offers a wealth of knowledge in HR management, with a proven track record of enhancing workplace environments. Her straightforward, effective strategies are a valuable resource for any organization looking to improve their HR functions and foster a more positive and productive workplace.

18 Women2Women | Spring 2024
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INSPIRING? Naturally! Outdoor School

Team Anewalt’s just held its first Outdoor School experience, a day to reconnect students with God’s Nature to ensure a strong future for both the upcoming generation and our environment.

Sixteen eighth graders, many of whom are residents in the City of Reading, came from Sacred Heart School in West Reading to spend the day at Anewalt’s in Bernville, learning and exploring nature.

Violet Foster, the Assistant to the VP in Training at Anewalt’s, spent the day at Outdoor School.

“What inspired me the most was seeing everyone working together, willing to learn new things, and even being excited about it. I don’t see many kids who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and do something completely new, and during Outdoor School it seemed like a lot of them did just that. I loved to see them getting excited to learn things they had never known about before.

Violet adds that Team Anewalt’s cares about investing time and efforts to influence upcoming generations for the better, and that she loves being part of this mission at Anewalt’s.

During the day, Ed and Lori Anewalt shared background information with the students, led them in fun activities, and toured them through the very special Swiss-inspired Serenity Walk. The eighth

graders learned about Anewalt’s Trees & Bees for Tomorrow Program, a mission to save pollinators through the planting of pollinator gardens, and enjoyed exploring nature trails.

Jeff Thompson, Anewalt’s Sales/ Account Manager, joined with Lori to discuss with students different aspects of plant identification and what certain plants have as their WOW factor – or - why you would choose the plant for your landscape.

Spring clean-up, pruning perennials, and garden tool safety topics were also covered by Jeff, who said of the

20 Women2Women | Spring 2024

students, “If they take away a better understanding of plants and in turn a better understanding of the environment, we may have made a difference.”

A relative and customer of the Anewalt’s, Cynthia Bickley was a teacher and early childhood director for twenty years. She joined in to guide the Sacred Heart students through their Outdoor School Experience and was inspired by the day.

Cynthia said, “The impact of Outdoor School for me was how Lori was able to thoroughly engage the 8th graders in environmental science. The kids learned many skills: to observe, identify, prune, and plant. They will be back in three weeks and so will I!”

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“The thing that impacted me the most about outdoor school was the serenity walk. It impacted me the most because it made me feel calm and relaxed for the first time in a while” – Coy K
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The Berks4Peace Campaign’s annual schedule of events and activities is set for April 22-April 27, 2024 during National Youth Violence Week, a time for communities to come together, raise awareness, and learn about strategies for ending youth violence. Everyone is invited and encouraged to join youth and teens across America to take a stand against violence and uplift our youth here in Berks County. The Berks4Peace 2024 Campaign is supported by The Berks Youth Violence Prevention Roundtable, the Not One More Youth Lost to Violence program, and the RIZE Program.

National Youth Violence Prevention Week

#Berks4peace @Berks4peace

#TogetherWeCanEndViolence #NYVPW

#Berks4peace @Berks4peace

#TogetherWeCanEndViolence #NYVPW

April 22 - 27th 2024 in Berks County

National Youth Violence Prevention Week

April 22 - 27th 2024 in Berks County

Berks 4 Peace Campaign 2024 Tool Kit

Berks 4 Peace Campaign 2024 Tool Kit

The organizations and individuals involved in Berks4Peace, like many other organizations, programs, and people in Berks County, know the urgency of addressing youth violence in our community. Youth violence has risen dramatically since 2020. Reading’s former police chief Richard Tornielli observed that violence-involved youth are getting younger and include youth who reside in “multiple municipalities.”

Berks4Peace, born in 2021 out of collective trauma, is organized by the Berks Youth Violence Prevention Roundtable, a collective of youth organizations, students, and youth activists, with a mission to protect ALL kids from violence. The Roundtable’s work is rooted in community-based solutions that value all races and ethnicities. Children have a right to be safe wherever they are, including at school, at home, and in communities.

The first initiative for the Berks Youth Violence Prevention Roundtable was the Berks4Peace Campaign in 2022. Highlights included the 2022 Walk4Peace with over 400 attendees and the

Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges performances at Penn State Berks. In 2023, Berks4Peace held a Berks Youth Violence and Gun Webinar featuring Senator Judy Schwank, State Representative Manny Guzman, State Representative Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, Dr. Ebonie Cunningham Stringer, and Reading School District Board Member Shaykayarira Delrio-Gonzalez. The 2023 campaign also included the unveiling of the restored Dove sculpture in City Park, the site of the Berks4Peace rallies. An article in the Reading Eagle quoted Mayor Eddie Moran, who said that “the sculpture is a powerful reminder of the need for everyone in the community to work together to create a better community.”

Working together as a community is an important value of Berks4Peace as it embarks on its third campaign. The 2024 Berks4Peace Campaign invites and encourages all members of our community to participate in the full array of events and activities for National Youth Violence Prevention Week.

APRIL 19, 2024: Deadline to submit original artwork and writing pertaining to youth violence prevention for the Art and Writing Contest. Winners will be announced at the Youth Rally on April 27th (see below for more information) and will receive prizes. Submit your work by emailing berksforpeace@gmail.com or tag our socials @berks4peace.

APRIL 21, 2024: JCWK Dance Lab presents Regeneration at Alvernia University, Francis Hall Theatre at 2pm. Purchase tickets at the door or at https://jcwkdancelab.org/regeneration/.

22 Women2Women | Spring 2024

APRIL 22, 2024: A Community Cleanup hosted by the Neighborhood Auntie and Not One More Peacemakers on the 100 block of Pear Street will take place on Monday, April 22, at 5pm. Meet at the corner of Pear and Washington Street. Supplies will be provided.

APRIL 23, 2024: Poetry 4 Peace hosted by Poetry That Works and Barrio Alegria at 140 N. 5th Street in Reading, 5-7pm (free admission).

APRIL 24, 2024: Dance 4 Peace at the City Hall Steps on 801 Washington Street in Reading at 4pm (free admission). Learn the Berks4Peace Dance.

APRIL 25, 2024: Berks Youth Summit at Penn State Berks, 4-8 pm. Event is free but registration is required by April 22, 2024. Register at https://forms.gle/XtCWib5ft1tvypBY7 or email berksnotonemore@gmail.com for more information.

APRIL 26, 2024: “Cabaret” presented by Alvernia’s Fine and Performing Arts Department at Francis Hall Theatre, 7:30pm (free admission).

APRIL 27, 2024: Berks4Peace “This is All of Us” Youth Rally at City Park Peace Dove, 11 am-3pm (free admission).

The Berks4Peace campaign is itself a community effort with many contributors, all committed to working together to end youth violence. For example, Christi Terefenko, Executive Director of VOiCEup Berks, believes that “Beyond simply advocating for peace, Berks4Peace events serve as a rallying cry for unity, compassion, and understanding among all residents. Jessica Warchal King, founder of JCWK Dance Lab, “hope[s] that youth in Berks County will see Berks4Peace as a community of adults who want to support them.” Edna Garcia-Dipini, Director of the RIZE Program and Programming Director of Not One More Youth Lost to Violence, who pours her heart and soul into Berks4Peace, believes that “Together we can do more. Berks4Peace and the Berks Roundtable break down silos for the betterment of our youth and community.”

Berks County Commissioner Michael Rivera recognizes the significance of Berks4Peace and the Roundtable’s efforts to bring the entire Berks community together to ensure that every child has the opportunity to find and follow their passions and reach their potential. “By fostering environments of safety and respect, we not only protect the well-being of our youth but also ensure the prosperity and harmony of our neighborhoods, businesses, and institutions. Investing in peace today secures a brighter tomorrow for everyone.”

Please follow us @berks4peace. 2

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit newsroom dedicated to high-quality investigative and public-service journalism about the Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues. Spotlight PA was founded as a bold, collaborative answer to the rapid and significant decline of corporate-owned, for-profit media in our state, resulting in drastically reduced coverage of issues vital to Pennsylvanians.

The organization seeks to return journalism in our state to its fundamental role as a check and balance on the powerful, especially politicians and policy makers, and a public resource to empower residents to take action and drive change. Spotlight PA journalism is produced to serve the public interest — not profit motives. There is no charge for access, and their journalism is shared with 100+ newsrooms in the state for republication at no cost.


In Berks County, the severe decline in local reporting in recent years has stifled transparency and accountability at all levels, and has made it hard to understand what is happening. To address this issue head-on, Spotlight PA is exploring the creation of a potential new journalism bureau dedicated to covering Reading and Berks County. The bureau would be independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit, with no opinion, endorsements, or political ads. This would be Spotlight PA’s second regional bureau; the newsroom launched its first in 2022, based in State College and covering north-central Pa.

Thanks to a planning grant from Berks County Community Foundation, Spotlight PA is working with a host of community partners in Berks County in 2023-24 to build a blueprint for revitalizing local news and investigative journalism. Heather Adams of Berks Community Television is serving as Spotlight PA’s Berks County Project Lead, guiding the planning process through June 2024. Her work involves assessing community needs in Berks County and studying feasibility for a bureau through conducting listening sessions and research, exploring content distribution methods, and developing the local bureau strategy with the input and direction of local voices.

Interested in learning more?

Visit spotlight.org/berks or contact Heather Adams, Berks County Project Lead, at heather@spotlightpa.org.

berkswomen2women.com 23
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The New

In December of 2012, the Women2Women Latina Initiative roundtables were launched by a group of Latina business owners and the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry. What started as small discussions, and a committee of female volunteers who wanted to see the program succeed, has grown to workshops of 50-100 attendees. The pandemic also didn’t stop De Mujer a Mujer, but it did slow the growth down as many other programs and organizations slowed. In February 2023, the De Mujer a Mujer “Healthy is the New Skinny: Prioritizing Your Mental Health” workshop lead by Giannina Reyes, owner of New Beginnings Counseling Services, gathered 105 women. It made Women2Women history.

As our committees continued to meet, and engaged new voices from the community, the same question continued to surface…

Why isn’t De Mujer a Mujer presented in Spanish?

We listened.

In Berks County, based on 2023 Census Bureau data, 24.5% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. Now, we know not all of these people might speak Spanish but that is a quarter of the county. And in the City of Reading, where we host De Mujer a Mujer events, 67.2% of the residents are Hispanic or Latino. Spanish events for women were a necessity.

So we changed.

In March 2024 Women2Women hosted its first of three fully-Spanish events – our new De Mujer a Mujer events. We weren’t sure what would happen, but we hoped it would be successful. Over 50 women attended our first event on Financial Literacy & Setting Financial Goals for Yourself led by Ericka Ruelas, VP, Branch Manager & Small Business Lender with First National Bank. Questions and chatter with friends and colleagues, filled the room while Centro Hispano offered their space to us in partnership.

Moving into 2024 we will continue to offer Spanish events, with more partners and collaboration into the future. We only see growth here and better connecting women!

A huge thanks to our partner Our Konnection who is helping us to properly translate our flyers. Our Konnection’s duty in the community is to serve as a bridge between people who need better communication clarity, and bring down the language barrier. For this purpose, they offer important document translation services, and conversation interpreting in meetings, hospitals, courts,

and others. You have made it possible for them to train and hire professionals from our own community. To receive our services, please write to contact@ ourkonnection.com, call 484-334-8989, or visit www.ourkonnection.com for more information.

Upcoming Events held at Centro Hispano from 5:30pm-7pm.

JUNE 13 – Mentoring, Community Partnership, & 5th Annual De Mujer a Mujer Awards

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 on June 13, 2024 over drinks, food, and networking. Get inspired by amazing women in our community and grow your network! Three women will be awarded recognition in various categories.

Lourdes Peralta, a Dominican entrepreneur, founded “Saraí Variety Flower Shop” in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her journey began in New York in 1995, where her passion for floral design bloomed. In 2015, she brought her dream to Reading, quickly earning acclaim for her artistic arrangements and warm personality. Lourdes’s achievements extend beyond business; she’s recognized for her community leadership. Her shop, the first Latina-owned florist in Reading, symbolizes her dedication and success in realizing the American dream.

NOVEMBER 14 – Overcoming the Gender Pay Gap –Resources & Education

Ana Amarante-Craig, Esquire, Litigator and Personal Injury LawyerHaggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. Register at berkswomen2women.com.


Celebrating 20 Years of Making Businesses Shine


5th Annual De Mujer a Mujer Awards

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 on June 13, 2024 over drinks, food, and networking. Get inspired by amazing women in our community and grow your network! Three women will be awarded recognition in various categories.

Consider nominating the amazing woman in your life! Visit berkswomen2women.com for the nomination form.

Nominations due 5/3/24.

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

This recipient is a young woman between the ages of 18 and 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 that is thriving and engaging in the community. The business can be headquartered anywhere in the Greater Reading/Berks County region.

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El Nuevo

En diciembre de 2012, se lanzaron los eventos de mesas redondas de Women2Women Latina Initiative (Iniciativa Latina Women2Women) por un grupo de empresarias latinas y Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Cámara de Industria y Comercio del Area Metropolitana de Reading). La pandemia tampoco detuvo a De Mujer a Mujer, pero sí disminuyó el crecimiento a medida que muchos otros programas y organizaciones bajaron la marcha. En febrero de 2023, el taller de De Mujer a Mujer “Healthy is the New Skinny: Prioritizing Your Mental Health” (Saludable es la Nueva Delgadez: Priorizando su Salud Mental), dirigido por Giannina Reyes, propietaria de New Beginnings Counseling Services, reunió a 105 mujeres. Hizo historia en Women2Women.

A medida que nuestros comités continuaron reuniéndose e involucrando nuevas voces de la comunidad, la misma pregunta continuó surgiendo...

¿Por qué De Mujer a Mujer no se presenta en español? Escuchamos.

En el condado de Berks, según los datos de la Oficina del Censo de 2023, el 24.5% de la población es hispana o latina. Ahora, sabemos que no todas estas personas hablan español, pero eso es una cuarta parte del condado. Y en la ciudad de Reading, donde organizamos eventos de De Mujer a Mujer, el 67.2% de los residentes son hispanos o latinos. Los eventos en español para mujeres ya eran necesidad.

Así que cambiamos.

En marzo de 2024, Women2Women organizó el primero de tres eventos íntegramente en español: nuestros nuevos eventos De Mujer a Mujer. No estábamos seguros de lo que pasaría, pero teníamos la esperanza de que fueran exitosos. Más de 50 mujeres asistieron a nuestro primer evento sobre Educación Financiera y Auto-Fijación de Metas Financieras, dirigido por Ericka Ruelas, Vicepresidenta, Gerente de Sucursal y de Préstamos para Pequeñas Empresas de First National Bank. Las preguntas, las charlas con amigos y colegas, llenaron la sala mientras el Centro Hispano nos ofrecía su espacio en colaboración.

De cara a 2024, seguiremos ofreciendo eventos en español, con más socios y colaboración en el futuro. ¡Aquí solo vemos crecimiento y una mejor conexión entre mujeres!

Un enorme agradecimiento a nuestro socio Our Konnection que nos está ayudando a traducir correctamente nuestros folletos. La labor de Our Konnection en la comunidad es servir de puente entre personas que necesitan mayor claridad de comunicación y eliminar la barrera del idioma. Para esto ofrecen sus servicios de traducción de documentos importantes, y de interpretación de conversaciones en reuniones, hospitales, tribunales, y demás. Ustedes les han posibilitado entrenar y contratar profesionales de nuestra propia comunidad. Para recibir atenciones, por favor escriba a contact@ourkonnection.com, llame al 484-334-8989, o visite www.ourkonnection.com para más información.

Próximos eventos que se llevarán a cabo en el Centro Hispano de 5:30 p.m. a 7 p.m.

13 de junio – Mentoría, Colaboración Comunitaria y 5ª Entrega Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer

Como celebración de la diversidad de mujeres increíbles en Berks y el área metropolitana de Reading, Women2Women organizará la 5ª Ceremonia Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer el 13 de junio de 2024 con bebidas, comida y networking. ¡Inspírese con mujeres increíbles en nuestra comunidad y haga crecer su red de contactos! Tres mujeres serán reconocidas en diversas categorías. Lourdes Peralta, empresaria dominicana, fundadora de “Saraí Variety Flower Shop” en Reading, Pensilvania. Su viaje comenzó en Nueva York en 1995, donde floreció su pasión por el diseño floral. En 2015, llevó su sueño a Reading, ganando rápidamente elogios por sus arreglos artísticos y su cálida personalidad. Los logros de Lourdes van más allá de los negocios; es reconocida por su liderazgo comunitario. Su tienda, la primera floristería propiedad de una latina en Reading, simboliza su dedicación y éxito en la realización del sueño americano.

14 de noviembre – Superando la brecha salarial de género – Recursos y Educación

Ana Amarante-Craig, Esquire, Litigante y Abogada de Lesiones PersonalesHaggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C.

Regístrese en berkswomen2women.com.

berkswomen2women.com 27 Continúa en la página 28

5ª Entrega Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer0

Como celebración de la diversidad de mujeres increíbles en Berks y el área metropolitana de Reading, Women2Women organizará la 5ª Ceremonia Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer el 13 de junio de 2024 con bebidas, comida y networking. ¡Inspírese con mujeres increíbles en nuestra comunidad y haga crecer su red de contactos! Tres mujeres serán reconocidas en diversas categorías.

¡Considere nominar a la mujer increíble en su vida! Visite berkswomen2women.com para obtener el formulario de nominación. La fecha límite para nominaciones es el 3 de mayo de 2024.

Impacto Comunitario

Esta ganadora es una mujer que ha demostrado liderazgo y compromiso con la comunidad en Reading y el condado de Berks.

Jóven Propulsora de Cambio

Esta ganadora es una joven de entre 18 y 25 años que ha demostrado liderazgo, dedicación y compromiso con la comunidad. Esta joven muestra un gran potencial para ser, o es, una de las próximas mujeres líderes del condado de Berks.

Propietaria de Pequeño Negocio

Esta ganadora es propietaria de un negocio que está prosperando y participa en la comunidad. La empresa puede tener su sede en cualquier lugar de la región del condado de Berks o el área metropolitana de Reading.



28 Women2Women | Spring 2024
2024 SCAN FOR MORE INFO CONNECTING BERKS COUNTY TO ADDICTION RESOURCES Serving Berks County Since 1971 cocaberks.org | (610) 376-8669
EDUCATION FREE NARCAN, MEDICATION LOCK BOXES & DISPOSAL BAGS TREATMENT & RECOVERY RESOURCES 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.
berkswomen2women.com 29
Excelling in Your Executive Role (ATHENA Panel)
Breakfast4Success/Women2Women “Visions for the Future” (Female College Presidents Panel) 1.09.2023 2.07.2024 Continued on page
W2W AROUND TOWN Networking & LinkedIn Basics 2.21.2024
Thank you, Co Chairs, Dave Verrill and Pete Kostick Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE | www.berksschuylkill.score.org | 401 Penn Street Reading PA c/o Alvernia University 30 Women2Women | Spring 2024
currently looking for qualified volunteers to mentor people going into business or currently in business. We
a need for accounting, legal, computer skills, general operation expert. If
have extra time and would like to help us with our request, you can go to our website or call 484-577-9791.

Let’s Up the %: Women on Boards



De Mujer a Mujer - Financial Literacy
berkswomen2women.com 31

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.

Stay connected at:

Facebook @BerksWomen2Women

LinkedIn @Berks Women2Women Group

Instagram @berks_W2W

MAY 2024


Join Women2Women and three other amazing women’s organizations for the 3rd annual Regional Business Women’s Networking Mixer in York! Get together with:

• Lancaster Chamber’s Women in Business

• York County Economic Alliance’s Women’s Business Center Organization

• Harrisburg Regional Chamber Business Women

This is the perfect place to meet women within and outside of Berks County to grow your networks! Appetizers and a cash bar will be provided. Network with us and connect with new women who are making positive impacts in their communities.


Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Venue: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Price: $35/W2W Member

Thank you to our Premier Regional Sponsor – RKL LLP


Elaine McDevitt –former President & CEO, The Rose Corporation & CommunityVolunteer

Author and Podcast host Brene Brown famously wrote, “One day, you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through, and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” Elaine McDevitt, former business owner and heart transplant recipient, will tell her story. She hopes to give others perspective on fear—how it can motivate and also, at times, paralyze you—but you can move forward to make good things happen.

**This event is presented in partnership with the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance's Manufacturing Industry Partnership, promoting the manufacturing industry so robust in Berks County. All are welcome to attend this event!


Time: 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Venue: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

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

To register for events & join Women2Women, visit www.berkswomen2women.com.

32 Women2Women | Spring 2024


JUNE 2024

Mentoría, Colaboración Comunitaria y 5ª Entrega Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer

Lourdes Peralta - Owner, SaraiVariety Flower Shop

Como celebración de la diversidad de mujeres increíbles en Berks y el área metropolitana de Reading, Women2Women organizará la 5ª Ceremonia Anual de Premios De Mujer a Mujer el 13 de junio de 2024 con bebidas, comida y networking. ¡Inspírese con mujeres increíbles en nuestra comunidad y haga crecer su red de contactos! Tres mujeres serán reconocidas en diversas categorías.


Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Centro Hispano – Casa de la Amistad

Price: $15/GRCA Member | $20/Future Member

Free to W2W sponsors, high school and college students!

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 a delicious dinner and great people. Come with friends or colleagues and be ready to meet other amazing women! 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 womanowned business!


Time: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Venue: Go Fish! Seafood Market & Sushi Bar

Price: $100/GRCA Member $120/Future Member


Building a Growth Mindset De Mujer a Mujer

Elaine McDevitt worked in television in Houston, Texas; advertising in Buffalo, NY, and public relations at The Artworks at Doneckers in Ephrata before becoming a Human Resources Manager at The Rose Corporation, her parent’s business founded in 1987. Located on North 8th Street in Reading, The Rose Corporation is a contract manufacturer of large industrial equipment. After 12 years there, and the sudden death of her father, Lou Bruno, Elaine became CEO of the business. During the following years, robust Lean Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement programs were implemented and helped take the business to the next level of manufacturing.

Mostly because of Elaine’s serious health issues, however, The Rose Corporation and its sister company, Mark Metals, were sold in 2017 and remain in operation today.

A graduate of Reading High School and Millersville University, Elaine is currently an Ambassador for The Gift of Life and the Vice-Chair of the Berks County Municipal Authority Board. Past board participation included Berks County Community Television, the Berks County Community Foundation, and the Boy Scouts of America/Hawk Mountain Council. She and her husband, Tom, reside in Cumru Township and have two delightful grown children.

Mentoría, Colaboración Comunitaria

Lourdes Peralta, empresaria dominicana, fundadora de “Saraí Variety Flower Shop” en Reading, Pensilvania. Su viaje comenzó en Nueva York en 1995, donde floreció su pasión por el diseño floral. En 2015, llevó su sueño a Reading, ganando rápidamente elogios por sus arreglos artísticos y su cálida personalidad. Los logros de Lourdes van más allá de los negocios; es reconocida por su liderazgo comunitario. Su tienda, la primera floristería propiedad de una latina en Reading, simboliza su dedicación y éxito en la realización del sueño americano.

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The AAUW is a nationwide network of more than 170,000 members and supporters, branches and college/ university institution partners.

For more than 141 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Their commitment to their mission is reflected in all aspects of their work.

The mission of the AAUW is Gender Equity & Economic Security. AAUW has led the fight for fair pay and economic opportunity for women — and the battle continues: Women still get just 83 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and men continue to dominate the top roles and highest-paying professions.

The values of the AAUW are Intersection, Inclusion, Intergenerational, & Empowering.

Though they are nonpartisan, they are not values-neutral: They fight to remove the barriers and biases that stand in the way of gender equity. They train women to negotiate for pay and benefits and to pursue leadership roles. And they advocate for federal, state and local laws and policies to ensure equity and end discrimination.

AAUW tackles these issues through their main focuses of:

• Economic Security

They’ve been working to narrow the gender pay gap, which greets women as soon as they enter the workforce and widens throughout their working lives. Unequal wages stand in the way of a woman’s ability to pay off student debt, build wealth and save for a secure retirement.

• Education

They champion equal opportunities in education. Though more than 60% of college graduates are women, they face barriers and biases throughout their schooling. From pre-school to graduate school, girls and women are unconsciously steered into certain fields of studies and away more lucrative ones, such as in STEM.

• Advocacy

Their members, supporters and staff work on local, state and federal levels to support laws and policies that enable women’s success. Their work in statehouses and the U.S. Capitol has helped pass hundreds of pieces of legislation. Their Legal Advocacy team has supported plaintiffs in more than 125 gender equity legal cases.

• Fellowships & Grants

AAUW has awarded over $135 million in fellowships and grants to more than 13,000 scholars and organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Gaum and 150 countries, one of the largest scholarship programs for women in the world.

Connect with AUUW National to learn more - aauw.org

Want to get involved locally? aauw-pa.aauw.net

Facebook /AAUWPennsylvania

Women2Women is proud to host

Ann Pehle, former President of American Association of University Women (AAUW) Pennsylvania, as a workshop speaker on pay equity. Not only will she be sharing resources around “Knowing Your Worth” and how to tackle pay inequities, but she will be sharing the “Work Smart & Start Smart: Salary Negotiation” online course with attendees where you can learn to successfully advocate for yourself — and help close the pay gap for women everywhere. Read more about her workshop on page 16.

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What fuels your passion for the work you do each day? Most of us have heard the phrase “know your why.” Finding and owning your why is paramount to developing your personal brand. Building a successful business in the financial services industry for the past two decades has been one of my most significant accomplishments. I knew this industry was my calling early on and was fortunate to discover my purpose quickly. My why has always centered around helping clients in our local community define and live out their version of the good life. That is and has always been my personal brand. Although the path to staying true to my cause has changed multiple times throughout my professional career, my why and purpose have not.

Since 2007, I have been a financial advisor, providing my clients with personalized planning, investment strategies, and insight. I am a dedicated partner in helping clients walk through their financial journeys. Not many can say they found their “forever career” with the first opportunity presented to them at 22 years of age. I attended Syracuse University on a full tuition field hockey scholarship and was accepted into the Whitman School of Management as a freshman. During my senior year, my field hockey career abruptly ended due to injuries I sustained. Being an athlete has been my identity since I was a young girl. It was my first lesson in reinventing myself, pivoting from being a collegiate scholar-athlete to a businesswoman.

I was fortunate to learn resilience through that experience, and I have incorporated that into my professional career. I embarked on a journey to establish a financial planning practice, building it one client and one relationship at a time. I recognized that I was in the business of branding

myself, my personality, and the skill set I had to help people navigate the financial planning process. When clients engage, they entrust me with their life savings, and I have never taken that lightly. Being honest about your financial situation can be challenging, let alone opening up to a stranger. I connected with clients personally and brought a different approach to a competitive industry. I found my why early on and was doing the business differently than others. I was sitting down with clients and having honest conversations about their future and the role I hoped to play in the financial decisions they had to make. My clients have always told me that I simplify complex ideas and explain them in a way that clients can understand. I have always exuded confidence and compassion in the most uncertain of times. Because of this, the practice was on the fast track and highly successful. However, there was a desire for more autonomy in making investment recommendations and building a broader business beyond the financial planning practice. There was a general calling to help

more people; the only way to do that was through establishing relationships with other like-minded financial advisors.

In 2012, upon leaving the firm that allowed me to build a financial planning practice at a young age, Good Life Financial was born. In addition to the private practice, Good Life morphed in many different directions, including creating service offerings to support other independent financial advisors. My role expanded beyond the private practice to serving as President and overseeing the operations of an ever-growing business. The firm grew to have a presence in nearly 35 states, with over a billion dollars in client assets. Despite achieving top industry awards and accolades, my seat at the table no longer fulfilled my why.

With growth comes sacrifice. I was unwilling to compromise or sacrifice the reason I embarked on the journey as a financial planner. In 2022, I relinquished my role as President and returned to my roots, solely serving my wealth management practice. The practice was the foundation for Good Life to grow and thrive on a national scale, and because of it, I was able to impact thousands of lives through the organization I co-founded, Good Life Companies.

Since then, I reinvented my brand to reflect my personal and professional growth. I am intentional about the table I sit at and partner with community organizations I am passionate about. As a working mother, I have strived to create a more manageable work-life integration to be ever-present for my three boys. My priority is setting a positive example for them to emulate, and I am embracing a healthier physical and mental lifestyle for my family. 2

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IA Path Less Followed Towards Positive Change & Success Conflict

n the realm of professional and personal dynamics, conflict is generally perceived as negative and something to be avoided. However, after years of resolving conflict in both a professional and personal capacity, I’ve come to recognize the inherent value of conflict and have witnessed and experienced the transformative power it holds.

Conflict always comes with a gift, but it is up to us to reposition our perspective so that we can receive the benefits it brings to both our personal and professional lives. And while I still wouldn’t characterize myself as feeling “happy” when conflict arises for my clients or myself, there is a part of me that immediately feels excited because I know from experience that conflict, when handled with emotional intelligence, holds the power to bring forth incredible positive change.

At its core, conflict represents a clash of perspectives, interests, or values. It is not a looming obstacle to be avoided, but a potent catalyst for critical change and strengthened relationships. Change that we otherwise may have not seen the need for if the conflict had not been present. Its existence within an organization signals a diversity of thought, which is a vital ingredient for innovation and progress.

The critical factor in transforming conflict from a potentially destructive force into a constructive one lies in our perception of conflict. We must shift our personal paradigm to genuinely perceive conflict as an opportunity rather than a threat. It involves us individually recognizing that through the friction of differing viewpoints, we can uncover deeper insights, foster empathy, identify critical need for change, or develop better solutions to our challenges.

Emotional Intelligence

The key to receiving the positive benefits and change that conflict can bring is emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. And developing this aspect of ourselves is an essential first step in reaping the benefits that conflict brings. It empowers us to navigate disagreements with empathy, clarity, and constructive intent.

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Here are impactful ways emotional intelligence can transform our experience of conflict resolution:

1. Self-Awareness and Regulation: Emotional intelligence begins with introspection. Recognizing our own emotional responses to conflict enables us to understand the underlying reasons for our feelings. This self-awareness is crucial for regulating our reactions, ensuring that we respond to conflict situations thoughtfully rather than react emotionally or impulsively.

2. Empathy: At the heart of emotional intelligence lies empathy—the ability to perceive and understand the emotions and perspectives of others. In conflict situations, empathy facilitates open and honest dialogue. Genuine empathy can bring down walls and develop trust. When we have regulated our own emotions and are in a self-aware state, we can access our ability to be genuinely empathetic for others. But when we are too focused on our own emotions and feelings, finding the necessary genuine empathy to successfully navigate conflict can be very challenging.

3. Effective Communication: Emotional intelligence enhances our communication skills, enabling us to convey our thoughts and feelings in ways that are transparent, respectful, and non-confrontational. Utilizing “I” statements, actively listening to others without prejudging or interrupting, and expressing empathy through verbal and non-verbal cues are practices that foster an atmosphere of trust and resolution. Incorporating these communication techniques can decrease defensiveness and balance emotions, moving us through the conflict aspect more quickly and with less friction, delivering us to the resolution stage sooner.

Key Strategies for Long Term Success

The following strategies effectively support changing how we view conflicts, enhancing emotional intelligence, establishing clear procedures for conflict resolution, and improving listening skills. By integrating these or similar approaches, we can ensure conflicts lead to positive outcomes, enhancing teamwork and productivity.

1. Cultivate a Positive Perception of Conflict: Encourage a culture that views conflict as an opportunity for growth and learning. Workshops and training sessions that reframe conflict in a positive light can help shift perceptions and prepare people for challenging, but essential conversations.

2. Develop Emotional Intelligence Skills: Invest in emotional intelligence development programs. These can include workshops, coaching, and practical exercises designed to enhance self-awareness, emotional regulation, empathy, and communication skills among team members. Needing support in this area is very common, as most people are never formally taught how to understand or manage their emotions, let alone how to leverage their emotions to produce positive results during conflict.

3. Adopt a Structured Approach to Conflict Resolution: Implement a consistent process for addressing conflicts that emphasizes emotional intelligence. This will create transparency on how conflict is handled and lessen anxiety that results from the usual uncertainty surrounding these situations.

This could involve steps such as:

- Identifying the conflict and the emotions involved.

- Encouraging open and empathetic communication.

- Exploring underlying needs and concerns.

- Collaboratively generating and evaluating potential solutions.

- Agreeing on a course of action and monitoring its implementation.

4. Practice Mindful Listening: In conflict situations, make a concerted effort to listen actively and attentively to the other person’s perspective. Mindful listening involves fully focusing on the speaker, understanding their message, and responding thoughtfully, demonstrating that you are fully present and are valuing their viewpoint.

Conflict is a powerful engine for positive change. It challenges us to grow, innovate, and connect with ourselves and others on a deeper level. Through reframing how we view conflict and leveraging the power of emotional intelligence, we can transform our negative experiences into pathways to positive change and success. 2

Danielle Stewart, SPHR, MBA, and founder of Paragon Consulting Group, is an expert in conflict resolution and emotional intelligence. With a focus on practical strategies and a straightforward approach, Danielle emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence in navigating successful conflicts. Her expertise is sought after for developing emotional intelligence, strategic communication, and problemsolving skills. As a consultant, speaker, and mentor, she offers tailored services that equip her clients with the necessary tools for turning conflict into opportunities for incredible growth and improvement. For support on enhancing your conflict resolution capabilities, Danielle can be reached at danielle@paragonhrconsulting.com.

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Period Resources for Girls

The phrase “knowledge is power” is important to remember as your family navigates puberty. If the child understands the changes they may experience, they are less likely to fear it or think something is “wrong” with them. Remember, the child’s body and emotions are changing so quickly and some may be embarrassed by the changes they are experiencing. Talking about it will help them feel more comfortable. You also want to avoid a situation where a girl is experiencing puberty or gets her period and is unaware of what it is or what is happening.

In addition to discussing the changes the body will go through during puberty, I also recommend families discuss the importance of daily hygiene and feminine/ period products. Once puberty begins a child should take daily showers with soap and water. I always tell caregivers who come into my office that is it their job to lovingly tell their child if they have an unpleasant odor. The child’s sense of smell is different than ours and they will adapt to their own scent making it harder to identify an odor. Any items that trap odor, such as clothes, socks, underwear, and sheets, should also be changed frequently.

It can be helpful to have a kit of the feminine products that your family has agreed upon for use. Such items could include deodorant, soap, and period products like panty liners, pads, and/or tampons. A newer product that is readily available is “period panties” and “period shorts.” These items are not bulky but have a thick lining to help absorb any excess blood and are great for sleep or to help ease the fear of “leaking.” If you need additional information on how to use or explain these products I recommend looking at the manufacturer’s website or YouTube channel for helpful videos.

Here are three common questions I often hear from parents and caregivers:

Puberty vs. Menstruation. What’s the Difference?

Many people unintentionally confuse puberty and menstruation, but there is a difference. Puberty has five stages called “Tanner Stages.”

• Stage 1: No visible external changes but internal organs are growing in preparation for puberty changes.

• Stage 2: Breast buds develop, height and weight increase, hair growth in new places, glands in skin produce oil which can cause acne, sweat has stronger odor, and body shape changes.

• Stage 3: More of stage 2. Menstruation begins for some girls.

• Stage 4: More of stage 3. Menstruation begins for some.

• Stage 5: Menstruation becomes “regular” as most girls are now ovulating every month, adult breast and pubic hair pattern, girls will reach full height.

Are Girls Getting Their Periods Earlier than Previous Generations?

Girls are starting puberty about three months sooner per decade from 1970 to today – a total 9-12 months earlier. There is no conclusive data on why this is occurring, but there is some interesting research being done to look at nutrition, obesity, chemical, socio-economics, stress, and the role of genetics and ethnicity. While girls are getting their periods three to six months earlier than those in the 1950s, this is a much less dramatic change than from the 1890s to the 1950s when the age of onset dropped from 17 to 12 years old. The cause hasn’t been studied so we cannot speak to the dramatic change.

When should you have “the talk”?

I don’t recommend just one talk but rather a series of conversations as the child grows. When the time is best, your pediatrician will begin to have ageappropriate discussions about this during the child’s annual well visit. One of the reasons we do a full body exam during your visit is to look to see how the outside is developing and this will let us know if internal hormones and body parts controlling puberty are working as expected.

If you are looking for additional resources, I also recommend:

• American Academy of Pediatrics : Concerns Girls Have About Puberty - HealthyChildren.org

• From American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG): Your First Period | ACOG

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How to start the conversation

I encourage you to have open, honest, and empowering conversations with your girl. It’s important to find a way to normalize discussions about puberty and periods.

• Be kind to one another. Change can be hard for people so we need to be understanding.

• Educate yourself on the correct puberty terminology and the changes girls will go through before you begin discussion. The current generation of young women does not want the “cute” nicknames many of us grew up using.

• Use your pediatrician/PCP as a resource.

• If you feel more comfortable having your physician start the discussion –ask them.

• Start having these discussions before the child begins puberty.

• Keep your language neutral, non-scary, and non-stigmatizing.

• There are so many different period products on the market. Educate yourself on these products so your family can decide what is best for your girl.

• Empower your girl as she goes through these changes. Assure her that everyone will go through it and, in addition to you, identify a key person or two in her life she feels comfortable going to if she has questions. 2

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GREEN Seeing

1Celebrating Success: The Business Excellence Awards highlight the hard work and dedication of local businesses that have achieved significant growth and success. Attending the event allows you to celebrate and support these businesses while also gaining inspiration for your own entrepreneurial endeavors.

5Top reasons to attend the Annual Dinner.

2Brian Westbrook: As a former Philadelphia Eagles All-pro running back and Villanova star, Brian Westbrook brings a unique perspective and valuable insights to the keynote address. His presence will surely excite and engage the crowd, especially for those who are fans of the Eagles and football in general.

3Bold, bright, decor: The visually appealing decor at the event not only showcases the new branding of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA), but also sets a vibrant and energetic atmosphere for networking and socializing with other attendees.

4Networking: The Annual Dinner offers an unparalleled opportu-

 Wednesday, May 22

 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

 Santander Arena

 GRCA Members: $165 Future Members: $185

nity to connect with a wide range of professionals, business leaders and decision-makers from various industries. Building relationships and making connections at this event can lead to potential collaborations, partnerships and opportunities for growth.

5Streamlined event: By listening to feedback from attendees and making improvements to the event format, GRCA has prioritized the convenience and comfort of guests.

Scan code to purchase tickets or visit greaterreading.org/dinner24

The shorter duration of the event allows attendees to enjoy the evening without feeling overwhelmed or rushed, making it a more enjoyable and manageable experience.


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