Women2Women Magazine

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Inked Anatomy: Women Owned & Operated Tattoo Studio pg. 8 summer2023 themagazine A Program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance W MEN2WOMEN 2 Women2Know The BOSS Issue FIT4MOM: Mamas First pg. 10 50 Going on 20: A Guide to Grey Divorce pg. 19
2 Women2Women | Summer 2023 Back to School Is For Parents Too Alvernia.edu/GradAndAdult Alvernia o ers accelerated adult bachelor programs and graduate programs with the working professional in mind: • Flexible degree options • Evening and online courses • Leading regional expert faculty • State of the art facilities • Caring and supportive community Get Started On Your Terms: S pecializinginWindowTreatments&HomeDecor! VALANCES • DRAPERIES • SHEERS • BLINDS • SHADES • BED ENSEMBLES • PILLOWS We can coordinate everything for a complete home look including room, walls and windows or just give you a few ideas. Stop in or call for an appointment: 717-354-2233 Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 1064 East Main St. (Rt. 23) | New Holland, PA www.HeritageDesignInteriors.com


Once again, the W2W Conference + Expo in April proved to be an incredible day of inspiration, learning, networking and…donuts! Keynote speaker Betsy Hamm (CEO of Duck Donuts) regaled the gathering with her story, citing the role of the Circle of Success in her journey. 2023 ATHENA Award recipient Adelle Schade (Founder of Total Experience Learning® at Albright College) wrapped up the day recognizing the role that teamwork and mentors play in one’s growth, personally and professionally.

In between, women from community businesses and non-profits alike shared their stories with each other, seeking to learn from each other and lift up each other. In this spirit, W2W Magazine brings you some of these stories in the Summer issue, aptly titled Women2Know: The BOSS Issue! In the pages, we highlight:

• Inked Anatomy

• FIT4MOM Reading

• OCOA Beauty

• Harmony Physical Therapy

• and so many more!

Women2Women is about women who find ways to overcome fear, overcome obstacles, overcome perceptions and ultimately, get it done. Read about these amazing women and be inspired to take charge, to be BOSS!

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®.

Be The Boss

A few weeks ago, I met a friend for breakfast. She invited me out to discuss an idea she had for how our two organizations might work together. As we ate that morning, she described her idea calling it “a shower thought” (no explanation needed, right?) and she laughed as she told me she actively encourages her team to bring all such ideas to the table. And, I love it! I’ve had so many shower thoughts and why not. What better time to be inspired than when you’re engaged in such a mundane activity as bathing that your brain is free to think great things (or remember where you left your phone)?

Our discussion progressed, sometimes going delightfully off-topic, and as we wrapped up, I expressed my full confidence that her idea was so original

and awesome that we can make it work. She concurred, saying how much she really wants to find the synergy in our organizations and telling me, “You live what you do, you live those values.”

And that, my friends, is what women can be all about: Bringing all ideas to the table, giving voice to all possibilities, supporting each other in distress and success and living what we do, living our values. So, think those shower thoughts, speak them aloud and make them real.

Be your boss, be THE boss!

Shout out to Tammy Dahms, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Reading Royals, for her Inspiration!

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606 Court Street • Reading, PA 19601

Women2Women Council: Tracy Parmer, Chairwoman

Rosa Arroyo, 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, Alison Snyder, 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.

To join: W2W@greaterreading.org

Stay connected: BerksWomen2Women.com

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Gold Sponsors

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4 Women2Women | Summer 2023 In Every Issue 04 Reflections & Inspiration 23 Asked & Answered 27 W2W Around Town
Contents 08 Features 05 Meet the W2Writers! 06 4G Nutrition: Healthy Family Fun 08 Inked Anatomy: Women Owned & Women Operated Tattoo Studio 10 FIT4MOM: Mamas First! 12 OCOA Beauty: Changing the Beauty Landscape for the Better 15 TK’s Toy Box: Play + Purpose 17 Harmony Physical Therapy: A Perfect Balance 19 50 Going On 20: “Grey Divorce” Brings Special Considerations for Women
ChatGPT: What is IT & What Does It Mean for Our Future?
Tower Health Street Medicine: Meeting the Patients Where They Live
of Caring
Upcoming Event Schedule
© 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
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31 Penn State Health: 150 years
for the Berks
W2W 2023
ON THE COVER: Sai Machain, owner of Inked Anatomy Photo courtesy of Zerbe Photography Summer 2023
The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Meet the W2Writers!

Meet the W2WMagazine 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 W2WMagazine issue.

In This Issue:

LAURIE GRUBE, Senior Vice President, Tompkins Community Bank, W2W Magazine

Contributing Writer

KELLY HANCOCK, Freelance Writer, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

I’ve been writing articles for Women2Women Magazine for several years now and have learned so much from all of the fabulous women I’ve interviewed. They have inspired me in more ways than I can count. I am a former elementary school teacher. In addition to writing, I also enjoy tutoring, photography, watercolor painting and drawing. More recently, I’ve been drawing pet portraits. My husband, Mitch, and I were married on the date February 29th, which also happens to be my birthday, so we celebrate my birthday on the 28th and our anniversary on March 1st when the 29th is nowhere in sight. We have three sons, and while I’d like to freeze time, we are on the cusp of being empty-nesters.

KATIE JOHNSEN, Event Coordinator, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

Katie is a self-proclaimed nerd. When she’s not cuddling with her 127-lb Cane Corso – named Mouse for obvious reasons – she spends her weekends coordinating weddings and playing roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons. An avid consumer of sci-fi and fantasy media, she is ready with a recommendation to your next favorite fictional series, or a long chat about whatever you’re currently streaming.

KATHERINE KETTER, CDP, PCHA, AVP, Customer Experience, Health Partners Plans, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

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

PHYLLIS MCLAUGHLIN, Freelance Writer, W2W Magazine Contributing Writer

JULIA NICKEY, Regional Director Marketing and Communications, Penn State Health, W2W Magazine Contributing Writerr

YOHELI ORTIZ, Mortgage Loan Officer, CrossCountry Mortgage LLC, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

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

MONICA RUSH, MHSA, MSN, RN, CHWC, Director of Rehabilitation, Downtown Campus and Healthy Community Initiative, Penn State Health St. Joseph, W2W Magazine Editorial Committee

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Women2Womenmagazine is a resource that helps to light the path for women forging their own journeys. As an advertiser, you can help others keep their candles of growth and empowerment glowing. We invite you unlock your potential and the potential of others who would benefit from your knowledge.


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“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”
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4G Nutrition: Healthy Family Fun

The intro on 4GNutrition’s (4 Generations Nutrition) Facebook page reads, “A Wholesome Blend of Health and Playfulness—we are not your ordinary smoothie bar.” W2WMagazine Editorial Committee member Yoheli Ortiz checked in with 4G Nutrition’s founder and owner Sollangy Nunez to find out more about what inspired her to mix healthy beverages with family fun.

What has led you to your current career path?

Sollangy Nunez: My family and other families. I do not have a business background, but I have been blessed enough to be around examples of people that have made nothing into something, especially if you're passionate about what you do. Seeing others succeed gave me faith that I can succeed as well.

What inspired you to start your business?

SN: I was inspired by my kids. I was a stay-at-home mom for seven years. I wanted a healthier lifestyle for me and my family but I could never find anywhere to go that my family can hang out to play while also having a healthy meal besides fast food places. I knew I couldn’t be the only one struggling with this so I created a space where families can enjoy healthier options while enjoying our play area.

What does your business do and what is its mission?

SN: My business provides a safe place for families to come together and have healthier food choices. We give the opportunity for parents to have those conversations with their children about nutrition. Our mission is for everyone that visits us to have a longer, healthier life.

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

SN: I would love to thank my husband and business partner, Leo. He has supported and believed in my vision since I’ve started this journey. He continuously pours his faith and wisdom into me which allows me to continue pouring into others. As well as my mother, who from a young age has always given me the ability to know that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Is there an “aha” moment or experience that defines who you are?

SN: My “aha” moment happened when I lost two people very close to me in a short period of time. It taught me that we must have gratitude for not only the big things but the small as well and to always do things and surround yourself with people that fill your life with color.

What was the best advice you have received?

SN: My mom told me, “Romanticize the small things in your life like a good cup of coffee, give yourself grace and if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”

Learn more about 4G Nutrition at https://www.4gnutrition.com/ or visit them at 3609 Pottsville Pike, Reading PA, 19605. 2

What advice do you have for woman who are considering starting their own business?

I would say don’t get caught in comparisons and stay true to your mission and belief. It won’t be easy; it will make you stronger.

How can women support each other in such big endeavors?

We can support each other by showing up and being genuine. Providing the words needed and taking the time to share our skills. You cannot do it alone; you need community. Together we are stronger.

How do you stay grounded?

I stay grounded by getting the necessary rest my body needs. Taking breaks and not being in the hustle of life, slowing down when needed. As women we are told we can do it all and carry the weight of the world and we forget to take a step back and reset when needed. It’s okay to sit down and rest; we don’t always have to be busy.

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Sollangy Nunez



Imagine my surprise and excitement when someone told me about the all female-run and owned tattoo shop here in our hometown. And then I found out about the work they do for women recovering from breast cancer… free tattoos for them to make them feel “normal” again. Cue the waterworks.

Being a lover of tattoos and people who care about others, I had to meet the owner. When I walked into Inked Anatomy I was greeted by three women, and looked around at the inviting waiting area. Once in the owner’s studio space, I saw all the awards on the walls.

As the owner, Sai, and I talked, I knew I was getting my next tattoo here and made an appointment immediately. And of course, the tattoo will be for my daughter. Women support women, you know?

I’d like to introduce you to Sai Machain, owner of Inked Anatomy. At Inked Anatomy they offer so much more than standard tattoos. The artists also offer permanent makeup, and as I mentioned, free services for breast cancer survivors. I have never met such a compassionate and caring person in Sai, and realized that we had much more in common than I would have ever known.

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What has lead you to your current career path?

I really like to challenge myself and to prove my fear wrong. The fear of “No, you can’t do this,” or the voice that says, “You are a woman, who do you think you are?” takes up space in my head but then I think about the opportunity I am missing out on because of those voices. Tattooing is a male dominated field, though women are making strides in recent years. I wanted to be part of that metamorphous. I love bringing people’s stories to life through body art, so I quieted the voices, honed my skills and took the leap.

What inspired you to start your business?

I realized while I enjoyed working for others, I had dreams of creating a space for people to feel safe to tell their stories behind the tattoos they were requesting. I enjoy putting myself in their shoes and to really understand and connect with those stories. When I can connect it impacts the artwork I create for them. Much of my art is bringing their story to life on their body and to see their reactions is so heartwarming and rewarding. I have such a sense of pride. They will have this art for life. I realized I wanted everyone to feel that pride and by opening my own shop, I had control over the environment I was creating for my team and our clients. It’s more than a transaction. It’s about building relationships.

What does your business do and what is its mission?

We are in the business of body art: tattooing, permanent makeups and medical tattoos. But while we do this, our true mission is to create a space where everyone who enters through our doors feels safe and cared for, and leaves proud of the art they purchased. We believe in listening and learning from our clients and each other and then, bringing that vision to life. It’s not ‘just a job’, but we are motivated by consistently doing quality work and having fun

being creative in the process. When we care and create a safe space, we build trust among the team and our clients, and they become our best ambassadors.

Tell us more about your medical tattooing you are doing for people in the community.

Beyond our typical tattoos, I started doing medical tattooing to hide scars, and build new areolas for women who had their breasts removed due to cancer. It’s devastating when you get that diagnosis, and it can erode a woman’s confidence and sense of self. Helping women feel beautiful despite losing a breast is incredibly rewarding. Tattooing may be what we do, but caring about people and their stories is why we do it.

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

My family was helping me with my struggles. By giving me advice and guidance to a better direction they helped me believe in myself and that I would make everything work to achieve my goal. I know life in general can be hard, but if you are surrendering yourself with the right people it makes the whole world feel better.

What is the best advice you have received?

Trust yourself first. I’ve been given good, and not so good, advice and I had to sit quiet with that and listen to my instincts. I ask myself – what can I learn from the advice? Is it going to help me or is it meant to hold me back? When we tell ourselves stories that we can’t or shouldn’t, we often dismiss that our instincts are often right on target. It doesn’t mean I have all the answers, but I need to trust that I know the path to take to become knowledgeable and grow my skills, or whatever it is I need and at the end of the day, it’s my journey and I am the only one responsible for its legacy.

What advice do you have for women who are considering starting their own business?

• Set goals and motivate yourself every day to do something toward those goals, even if it’s small.

• Create alignment between your head and heart – have good processes in place and put relationships and safety first, physical and emotional.

• If you are building a team, communicate clearly that your mission and values are what drives you.

• Set healthy boundaries for yourself and your team and be a good example for your workers. Inspire them to take challenges and build in ways to give back to your community.

How can women support each other in such big endeavors?

Stand up for women! Share your personal goals and opportunities. Help create supportive, learning and development programs. Offer mentors and encourage skills. Celebrate each other’s efforts and acknowledge gratitude to each other for that support.

How do you stay grounded?

Get some fresh air. Painting and listening to great tunes allow me to escape and quiet my mind. I practice self-compassion. I’m not afraid to reach out to those I trust and respect when I need someone to talk to who can help me sort through the challenges.

Follow Inked Anatomy on social media at @inkedanatamonytattoo or visit them at 3811 Perkiomen Ave, Reading, PA 19606.

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FIT4MOM: Mamas First!

FIT4MOM is a fitness franchise that puts Mamas first: “Workouts created by Moms, for Moms.” Offering pre and postnatal health, wellness and fitness programs for all stages of motherhood, FIT4MOM Reading celebrated “5 Years of Strength in Motherhood” in June and W2W Magazine Editorial Committee member Kelly Hancock checked in with local owner Kaitlin Day to find out more about her mama fit journey.

What has led you to your current career path?

Kaitlin Day: In 2017, I was looking for a way out of my job/career. My search began solely to find something new, but also with the desire to be more present with my children and have more of a flexible schedule. Thanks to a newfound love of fitness, I saw the opportunity to own a FIT4MOM franchise on my Facebook newsfeed, and in 2018 I made the decision to begin this new career.

What inspired you to start your business?

KD: Oh wow, well there wasn’t really ever a strong desire to start my own business. I have a background in education. Growing up and working in child care, I had a desire to open my own daycare but once becoming a teacher, I never really saw owning a business as a path anymore. But, plot twist! 2017/2018 happened and here we are.

What does your business do and what is its mission?

KD: FIT4MOM offers pre- and postnatal health, wellness, and fitness programs for every stage of motherhood. All of our programs were created by moms for moms to provide Strength in Motherhood®. We are moms on a mission to help all moms find strength in motherhood through physical, mental and emotional health.

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

KD: First off, I think it’s important to thank and appreciate the support I have gotten from my parents, husband and even my kids

throughout this journey. Though it wasn’t the direct path we saw my life going, they’ve supported me every step of the way.

My FIT4MOM village–because let’s be honest–without these mamas, FIT4MOM Reading wouldn’t be here. They show up for each other and support me as a friend and business owner every step of the way.

Lastly, Jessica Peralta, my FIT4MOM business coach. I’ve been working with Jessica as my coach since 2021 and I wish I had started sooner. Jess is a former FIT4MOM Las Vegas franchise owner; we meet bi-monthly, she has given me support in ways beyond FIT4MOM and I could never truly show her my appreciation for that.

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What is the best advice you have received?

KD: Find joy in every day! The founder of FIT4MOM, Lisa Druxman, once shared that with us on a podcast. Some days there is a lot to be joyful about, in personal life and/or business life, and some days you may think there is little to find joy in. So, take a moment, take a breath, step back and find joy in every day, even if it is something so small.

Learn more about FIT4MOM Reading at https://reading.fit4mom.com/or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fit4momreading.

Photos courtesy of Kaitlin Day

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OCOA Beauty: Changing the Beauty Landscape for the Better

What began as a curiosity evolved into a business for OCOA Beauty founders and sisters, Cory Varona-Corniel and Nicol Varona-Cancelmo. “In 2016, we each were experiencing transitions in our lives,” explains Nicol. “Cory was pregnant with her first child, and I had decided to move out of my childhood home. We had developed a curiosity about the ingredients that were used in beauty products and hair care.”

The sisters were inspired to formulate their own skin care products and natural hair care products. Before long, Cory started making products at home. “The products that we had been using for our hair worked well, but the ingredients were so unhealthy for you. We knew there had to be a different way.”

Nicol shared they noticed a gap in the industry for products formulated specifically for Latinas. “In the Dominican Republic, women are taught not to embrace their hair. When we started formulating our own products, we loved them more than the things that we were buying. We said to each other, ‘Let’s go find someone who can help us make it better!’”

The sisters found a Reading-based manufacturer to help them bring their new products to fruition. Unfortunately, after only a few months, the manufacturer had to halt production; Cory and Nicol found themselves starting from scratch once again. “We started with the idea of introducing five products but had to set a more realistic goal since we were self-funded with no capital. We had to be smart about the product.”

They would spend two years testing their products before finally launching their curl cream in March 2021. In 2023, the duo rebranded the business to OCOA Beauty, named for their mother’s hometown in the Dominican Republic, and launched two products. OCOA Beauty specializes in high-end, curly hair care made with clean and nourishing ingredients inspired by the Dominican Republic.

OCOA Beauty wants to empower women to embrace their natural beauty and to feel confident to go out in the world, appreciating their natural beauty. All products are inspired by the beauty of the Dominican Republic and use ingredients that are part of the fabric of the country. These ingredients include mango butter, hibiscus oil and avocado oil. Nicol and Cory want the line to not just focus on hair care, but to include

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skin and scalp care, since the scalp is part of the skin. OCOA Beauty scalp products include nourishing and detoxifying agents such as apple cider vinegar. The focus on quality is what the sisters believe will encourage women to embrace their natural beauty.

In tune with the theme of celebrating the beauty of the Dominican Republic, the product labels are printed in both Spanish and English. “We grew up in a world of speaking two languages and this was important for us to showcase.” The logo is unique and symbolizes two sisters, joined by their hair. For Cory and Nicol, this was a journey that was important to them, and they wanted to incorporate this idea of sisterhood into the branding. “Once you become part of our brand, you are a sister that is part of our community,” Nicol shared.

W2W Magazine Contributing Writer Kat Ketterer caught up with Nicol to get her insights on what empowered the duo to start the business, how they overcame challenges and what lessons they would impart to others looking to follow in their footsteps.

As female entrepreneurs, what challenges did you face?

Nicol Varona-Cancelmo: We both come from a background outside of beauty and the first challenge was simply to learn. We learned industry terms, the process of making a product and how to obtain funding. We were outsiders in an industry that has a lot of networks and people who already know each other. One of our major hurdles – and successes – was finding a way to get to know people, building relationships and meeting people who helped us get to the next level, the next meeting and the next conversation.

Continued on page 14

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What do you know now about business that you wish you had known from the start?

NVC: People love our products, but we didn’t think about the first impression that people would have with our brand – the look and feel of the product, the labeling and the marketing. We had to take a step back, dig deeper and make sure that our mission and vision for the brand was highlighted through the bottle.

What advice would you give to other women thinking of opening a business?

NVC: Invest in yourself and invest in the idea that you have from the beginning. Take your idea and know that your idea is valuable, and you must invest in yourself. Hire experts to guide you from the start, take courses to further your knowledge and attend networking events. You are valuable, you are capable and your idea deserves to be seen by others!

Do not forget about the power of mentoring and helping other women as well. Help other women to see their potential and help them with their businesses. Offering to help others and mentorship has been the most important thing that has gotten us to where we are now. Cory and I want to highlight Mabel Frias, CEO and Cofounder of Luna Magic. Mabel has been an instrumental mentor for us this year as we look to land our first retail partnership in the next few months.

What are your plans for the business?

NVC: We want to continue to grow. We are working on new styling products that we hope to launch by next year. We would like to be in a mass retailer by the summer of 2024. We’re focused on getting our new products to the market so that more people can find us, discover us and join our sisterhood!

Learn more about OCOA Beauty at http://ocoabeauty.com and follow them on social media @ocoabeauty. 2

Photos courtesy of Nicol Varona-Cancelmo

In April, Cory and Nicol won the tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition, which included a $10,000 prize with in-kind services valued at $100,000.

OCOA Beauty is a client of Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute SPARK Business Incubator.

OCOA recently became a part of the portfolio of Benjamin Franklin Ventures and is now looking toward a future primed for success!

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Play + Purpose

Many female entrepreneurs take steps to become business owners, trying to earn income while also raising their children. Tara Kennedy Kline, founder and owner of TK’s Toy Box, found herself in this exact situation.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur, but my passion for the toy industry began after my boys were born, and I realized I needed to have a business that allowed me to raise my kiddos while still earning an income.”

Her inspiration came naturally once she found her niche. “I love being a business owner. Being my own boss and creating my own destiny. As soon as I realized that there was a space I could fill in the toy industry that would allow me to continue to raise my kiddos while working with the toy manufacturers and charitable and corporate giving programs I had formed relationships with, I knew I had to take the chance and go for it!”

Tara describes her businesses: “I currently own three businesses that focus on toys in vastly different ways. TK’s Toy Box is my original business which concentrates on sales and distribution of high quality, educational toys to charitable and corporate giving programs. Snapo Toys is our own brand of construction blocks which we manufacture right here in Reading, Pa. and Throw Dat! is our novelty and custom carnival supply company.”

She continues, “In each one of my businesses, our focus is to create and deliver joyful

experiences to everyone we work with, from our employees and sales partners to our customers and the people who receive our products. Our company motto is ‘When we give, we receive’, and we continue to give back to the people, organizations and the planet in any way we can.”

Tara has garnered inspiration from many sources, but when asked to narrow it down she replies,” My parents were my first and biggest mentors.” She also credits the inspiration to become a business woman to Lane Nemeth, the founder of Discovery Toys: “I strive every day to be the successful Mother, Entrepreneur and Leader she is.”

When asked if there is an “aha” moment or experience that defines who she is, Tara reveals, “Yes. It was the day I received the phone call at my dog grooming salon that my baby brother had died from a heart attack. He was 20 years old. I didn’t even take the call the first time the phone rang because I was ‘too busy’. My sister was babysitting my two very young sons IN MY OFFICE so they could be with me, but I hadn’t seen any of them all day long and I had been working 14-hour days all week because it was the week before a holiday.

“In that moment,” she confides, “I realized that no time on this earth is promised

and my kiddos needed more of me than just occupying space together. That’s when I decided to sell my grooming salon and focus on creating more joy and connection.”

Learn more about TK’s Toy Box at https://www.tkstoybox.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ TKsToyBox. 2

What advice do you have for women who are considering starting their own business? Of course, you can! And Build Bridges.

How can women support each other in such endeavors?

By joining and creating networks like this one and being active in them. We also need to be willing to support one another. Our time is valuable, but strong connections are priceless. We need to invest in each other.

How do you stay grounded?

Hahahahaha! If it ever happens, I’ll let you know. Just kidding. I am constantly learning, taking classes, reading, joining mentor groups, networking and also taking time to literally ground myself. Journaling, meditation and practicing mindfulness – it all has to balance for me, otherwise I get completely overwhelmed. And no one functions at their highest level when they are overwhelmed.

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16 Women2Women | Summer 2023
WE ARE nationally recognized for safe, quality care

Harmony Physical Therapy: A PERFECT BALANCE

Andrea Miller was born and raised in Fleetwood, PA. She attended Penn State Berks for her undergrad in kinesiology and business, then Temple University for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). She started her career as an aide in a local private physical therapy clinic. After graduation, she spent some time in long term care, then returned back to private practice as a physical therapist (PT). Actively involved with the community, Andrea helps her sister-in-law with pediatric tennis clinics (Conquer Your Court) and her husband with tennis and pickleball tournaments. In addition to enjoying new foods and breweries, Andrea and her husband admit to being “coffee addicts” and are always looking to try fun new places. At home, they have two cats and two rescue dogs that keep them busy and bring lots of joy. Andrea also enjoys reading and traveling (she recently completed a trip to Costa Rica). W2W Magazine Editorial Committee member Monica Rush talked with Andrea about her new venture, Harmony Physical Therapy.

What drew you to the field of physical therapy?

I think deep down I have always been destined to be a PT. I can still remember my mom, who is a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) at Penn State Health St. Joseph, taking me into the old hospital and letting me “help” get things ready in the department before taking me to pre-school in the morning! I remember being so intrigued by all of the equipment and loving that my mom and her colleagues got to help people every day. My mom also found a picture that I drew when I was seven years old and it literally said “If I was a physical therapist, I would help people.” I loved the idea of being able to help people live their best life!

How did you come up with the name of your new business?

My husband had a big part in this, as initially I was thinking “Balanced,” or “Empowered” PT. However, he made a great suggestion for something easier to “roll off the tongue”: “Harmony.” It also reflects

something that I truly believe in, that things should function in perfect harmony. My goal is to offer services that blend in with my patients’ lives that can ease their stress of being able to work PT into it. It was also an appropriate name due to sharing a space with a chiropractor and massage therapist; our hope is to work together in perfect “harmony,” to best serve our patients.

Can you explain how your physical therapy business is different than the “traditional model”?

The most diversifying aspect of my practice is that I am going to be cash-based (cash, credit card, HSA, check), which means I will not be credentialing with insurance. Over my years in practice, I see how insurance tends to dictate care, and unfortunately, it tends to mean that you have to see more patients in a day and you have much less time to spend with your patient. I feel strongly that in order for a patient to improve, they need to have more one-on-one time with their therapist. This allows for the therapist to truly get to know the patient and understand what and how they are feeling and how I can best serve them. I can figure out much faster what motivates that

Continued on page 18

berkswomen2women.com 17

patient and tackle their biggest goal. I get to be your own PT – you don’t have to worry about being passed around to other personnel. This can also drastically reduce the amount of time for your recovery, injury/surgery-dependent, of course. I will be available more readily via email, texting and calling, more so than your traditional practices. I am also looking to be able to travel locally for patients who either do not feel comfortable leaving their home or just literally don’t have the time to drive to me!

Is there an “aha” moment or experience that defines who you are?

I have to say that opening up my own practice has been the “aha” moment for me. I did not have the confidence or belief in myself that I could make it happen, but when my dad basically gave the advice to not look back in life and regret what you did NOT try – it was a no brainer – you will never know unless you try. And no matter how anything turns out, I can never look back and regret learning all of these new skills, becoming more independent and meeting incredible people along the way.

What is the best advice you have received?

“Take a leap of faith” and “go for it; you don’t want to look back in life and regret not trying.”

Learn more about Harmony Physical Therapy by emailing HarmonyPT23@gmail.com. 2

What advice do you have for women who are considering starting their own business?

My best piece of advice is to take opportunities presented to you seriously and don’t immediately brush them off and say “no” – even if they initially sound overwhelming or scary. Ask tons of questions to those who are already doing what you are considering getting into. Reflect on what would make you happy and bring you the most fulfillment in life. Believe in yourself and your abilities – the world is your oyster. In a nutshell; “take that leap of faith,” as this has already been one of the most empowering and exciting journeys of my life and I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

How can women support each other in such big endeavors? One of the best ways to support each other is to give each other advice and be willing to help step-by-step. When I was first offered to open my own business, I didn’t even know where to start. I ended up reaching out to a wonderful friend, Sam, from PT school, who took over two hours out of her day to walk me through every detail, and she continues to help me to this day. She wanted to “pay it forward,” and now this is something that I will also do if anybody needs me. She could have easily viewed me as competition, but instead, she saw it as an opportunity to better our profession and lift another woman up in this crazy world.

How do you stay grounded?

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I have found that running has been the best way for me to stay both physically and mentally grounded at this time. I also find that if I am stressed or worried, which is totally normal with starting any new endeavor, that journaling about those fears is helpful, as I can get them out of my head and then tackle them one-by-one. Support from family and friends has also been huge during this time.

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18 Women2Women | Summer 2023

50 Going On 20: “Grey Divorce” Brings Special Considerations for Women

According to the American Bar Association, Americans over the age of 50 make up one quarter of all divorces, and one in 10 divorces are couples over 65 years old. While the life events leading up to a divorce are often out of your control, the way you live your life afterwards, ladies, is in the palm of your hands.

The emotional weight of going through a divorce is challenging enough but just as concerning is the financial impact that follows. If women have not been living a financially independent life alongside their joint financial life, they may find themselves in a trying situation with money. Establishing yourself as an independent party is critical. An easy way to begin your new, independent lifestyle, especially with your finances, is to think SOLO:

• Create a bare necessities budget. Identify expenses that are absolutely crucial to you getting through this transition period. It may mean dropping some familiar comforts or penny-pinching for a short time while you adjust to your new life. This adjusted bare-bones budget will reveal areas that are life-sustaining (home,

food, childcare) versus areas that you can layer back in once you are stabilized in your new independent life.

• Open credit accounts in your name only – “solo” accounts (a small line of credit, for example). Establishing your own credit history can take some time, but in the end, it will benefit you by allowing you to take the reins of your financial future. Don’t forget to close joint accounts with your ex-partner as soon as possible to avoid any of your exspouse’s financial decisions having a detrimental impact on your new life.

• Open savings accounts in your name only – “solo” savings. Build up that ‘rainy day fund’ if you do not already have one. Begin to make consistent deposits of at least 20% from any regular income sources so you can begin to understand your own cash flow situation and spending limits.

Once you have the foundations in place, begin to make smart use of the tools to which you have ready and easy access. For example, many people neglect to seek financial advice from a professional during this transitional time, which can be a costly mistake. Professional and trustworthy financial advice during a big change like a divorce can make a significant difference.

Continued on page 20

berkswomen2women.com 19

Other items to safeguard are assets you may have forgotten about that can be used as additional funding for your new life. For example, an engagement ring sold at a discount or a piece of artwork can be great resources for funding that ‘rainy day’ account or for other emergencies (think attorney fees that have accrued, or a larger-than-expected down payment for a mortgage on a new home due to lower qualified individual income).

One last important item to remember is to update your beneficiary designations on your pre-existing and new investments, retirement plans, life insurance policies and estate planning items. You will want to ensure that the decisions regarding the individuals to whom all of your personal assets will go are entirely your own. Mid-life divorce is full of challenges but, with thoughtful planning and careful decision-making, female divorcees can begin to take control of their newly independent lives –especially their financial ones! 2

20 Women2Women | Summer 2023
ReadingFILMFEST Oct 26-29, 2023 9th Annual ReadingFilm.org BECOME A SPONSOR! Embrace the captivating world of storytelling by sponsoring Berks County’s 9th annual film festival. Regular Hours: Sunday: 11-2 Monday: Closed Tuesday-Saturday: 10-5 Muddy Creek Soap Company 608 Penn Ave., West Reading, PA 610-816-7474 | www.muddycreekspoapcompany.com

ChatGPT: What

is IT & What Does It Mean for Our Future?

Over the last few months, you might have heard quite a bit about ChatGPT, a prototype artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot publicly released in November 2022 by AI research company OpenAI. Its release spawned a lot of discussion on how this powerful tool will impact us personally and professionally, as well as the ethics of its use in business and academia.

Since its launch, other companies have joined the fray in the ChatGPT world including Google’s Bard and Meta’s LLaMa (Large Language Model Meta AI).

For this article, I joined forces with fellow W2WMagazine Editorial Committee member Katie Johnsen to see how ChatGPT tackles the topic of, well, ChatGPT. Katie prompted ChatGPT (openai.com) to write an article about what ChatGPT is and how it might be used in the workforce. After she got the results, I reviewed what ChatGPT created and I responded from a very real human perspective.

Let’s just say I am humbled.

Katie’s prompt: Write 350 words for a woman's business magazineaboutwhatChatGPTisandhowitcanbeused inabusinesssetting.

What ChatGPT produced:

Title:UnlockingBusinessPotential:Harnessing the Power of ChatGPT

Intoday'srapidlyevolvingbusinesslandscape,technology continuestoreshapethewayweworkandengagewith customers.Oneinnovativetoolthathasemergedasa game-changerisChatGPT.DevelopedbyOpenAI,ChatGPT isanadvancedlanguagemodelpoweredbyartificial

intelligence(AI)thatcanrevolutionizecommunicationand problem-solvinginabusinesssetting.

ChatGPT, short for"Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer,"isdesignedtounderstandandgenerate human-liketextresponses.Ithasbeentrainedonvast amountsofdata,allowingittogeneratecoherentand contextuallyrelevantresponsestoawiderangeof questionsandprompts.ThepowerofChatGPTliesinits abilitytounderstandnaturallanguageandprovideinsightful andhelpfulinformation.

Inabusinesscontext,ChatGPTcanbeemployedinvarious waystoenhanceproductivity,streamlineoperations,and improvecustomerexperiences.Hereareafew keyapplications:

1. CustomerSupport:ChatGPTcanbeutilizedtoprovide automated,24/7customersupport.Itcanaddress frequentlyaskedquestions,troubleshootcommonissues, andguidecustomersthroughproductusage.Byhandling routineinquiries,ChatGPTfreesuphumanagentsto focusonmorecomplexcustomerneeds.

2. Market Research:Gatheringmarketinsightsiscrucialfor anybusiness.ChatGPTcanassistinconductingsurveys, analyzingcustomerfeedback,andextractingmeaningful data from unstructured information. This enables businesses to make data-driven decisions and tailor their strategiestomeetevolvingcustomerdemands.

3. Content Generation:ChatGPT'snaturallanguage processingcapabilitiesmakeitavaluabletoolfor contentcreation.Itcanhelpgenerateblogposts,social mediaupdates,andevendraftmarketingcampaigns. ByleveragingChatGPT,businessescansavetimeand resourceswhilemaintaininghigh-qualitycontentoutput.

Continued on page 22

berkswomen2women.com 21 FEATURE

4. Internal Collaboration: ChatGPTcan serve as a virtual assistant,aidingemployeeswithtaskslikescheduling meetings,providinginformationoncompanypolicies, orconductingresearch.Itenhancesefficiencyand productivitybyenablingseamlesscommunicationwithin teams.

5. TrainingandEducation:Businessescanleverage ChatGPTasatrainingtoolforemployees,allowing them to simulate real-world scenarios and receive instantfeedback.Itcanalsoassistincreating interactivelearningmaterialsorprovide personalizedtrainingmodules.

WhileChatGPToffersnumerousadvantages,it's importanttorememberitslimitations.AsanAImodel,it maysometimesproduceinaccurateorbiasedresponses. Carefulmonitoring,ethicalconsiderations,andperiodic humaninterventionareessentialtoensureresponsibleand unbiasedusage.

Asthebusinesslandscapebecomesincreasingly digital,ChatGPThasthepotentialtotransformtheway organizationsoperateandengagewiththeircustomers. Byharnessingitspower,businessescanboostefficiency, elevatecustomerexperiences,andstayaheadofthe competitioninthiseraofrapidtechnologicaladvancement.

I couldn’t have written it better myself. It took Katie less than five minutes to write the prompt and watch ChatGPT create it. The only “flaw” was that ChatGPT exceeded the prescribed 350-word limit by 83 words. But I’m quibbling.

As a business researcher and technical writer, I am torn between feeling threatened or excited by the power of this tool. I see how it can help me get started on a research project by providing an overview of a topic and resources

to consider. But it’s also concerning that ChatGPT has the capability to take business away from me as companies start incorporating ChatGPT into their processes.

I would like to think that the experience, curiosity, healthy skepticism and analysis that I bring to the table, in other words the human factor, will keep my skillset relevant to clients.

My job now is to make ChatGPT work for me, not against me. In the meantime, I will marvel at ChatGPT’s speed. It took me almost an hour to write my “human” reaction to ChatGPT’s output. I am guessing it would have taken twice as long if I followed Katie’s prompt. Humbling.

To learn more about OpenAI and ChatGPT, go to https://openai.com/. 2


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• Recovery support for alumni.

22 Women2Women | Summer 2023
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Have you used ChatGPT?

Technology is everywhere around us, impacting daily lives and influencing daily decisions. From smart phones to smart cars to smart houses, AI (artificial intelligence) is here to stay. We asked members of the W2WMagazine Editorial Committee and our Contributing Writers if they have used ChatGPT and if so, how and what do they think of it?

I’veused ChatGPT quite a bit – it’s handy as a research resource, and can offer a generic outline for some writing, but it’s not a tool I use daily.

Iwasrecently corrected on ChatGPT versus BPT. I actually saw it in an article the other day, then got the correction email. I thought, “I can play this mistake one of three ways. One, own it and claim I was testing you to be sure I am not an AI. Two, I mixed up my “G” and “B” keys (you know, European keyboard). Or three, back away slowly.”

ChatGPT has proven to be a great tool. I’ve used it to help create sales cadences, synthesize information and construct outlines for white papers, assist in creating job descriptions and roles and responsibilities summaries, and more.

Technology allows us to bridge the gap between business needs and availability of or budgets for human talent. ChatGPT is one of those technologies, and I’m quite enjoying it.

Yes,but just for fun and to see what it can do. It’s impressive and I hope that in the future you will be able to tell a real person writing from a bot. I know that the program is sometimes repetitive but I’m sure ‘they’ will work those kinks out. The robots are taking over.

berkswomen2women.com 23 ASKED&ANSWERED

Tower Health Street Medicine: Meeting the Patients Where They Live

Tower Health Street Medicine is partnering with Hope Rescue Mission to provide gynecology (OB/GYN) and pediatric care services at the new LightHouse Women & Children’s Center on North 6th Street in Reading. The planning to provide these services onsite for residents has been in progress for nearly a year and services are projected to be available in Fall.

This new partnership, with support from the Reading Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Berks County, allows LightHouse Women & Children’s Center to offer free healthcare services to community members who otherwise may not have access to them. Street Medicine services at LightHouse Women & Children’s Center will be provided by employees of Tower Health who volunteer their time to the program. These new services will be led by Christopher F. Valente, MD, Chief Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, and Holly E. Metzgar, DO, Reading Hospital OB/GYN Department.

Street Medicine offered by Tower Health through Reading Hospital provides wellness and medical services to individuals experiencing homelessness, shelter residents and others at high risk of experiencing homelessness. The goal of the program is to bring primary and specialty care to patients who are most in need and who may be unable to obtain services otherwise. The team of physicians, clinicians and administrative professionals visit locations such as encampments, homeless shelters and other local non-profit service organizations to care for these individuals.

“We are so happy to help provide even more help to the underserved in our deserving community,” said Charles F. Barbera, MD, President and CEO of Reading Hospital. “This is the first time that the team will offer OB/GYN and Pediatric Care through Street Medicine, and we are very happy to include services for expectant mothers.”

“We understand how critical it is to offer the Street Medicine service,” said Sue Perrotty, CEO of Tower Health. “For some, this may be the only form of healthcare they receive. We appreciate the chance to work with our partner organizations to ensure our neighbors have access to safe, accessible care.”

The Street Medicine team also plans to offer virtual care options through a Telemedicine Kiosk located at the LightHouse Women & Children’s Center, further expanding access opportunities.

Desha Dickson, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Community Wellness, said, “I’m so proud of the Street Medicine volunteers for the impact they have made in the lives of our patients. We began seven years ago and we’ve been fortunate to see growth in all aspects – the number of patients treated, number of volunteer participants and the services we provide. We’ve also been fortunate to see how this program can positively impact the patients’ personal lives.”

To learn more about Tower Health’s Street Medicine program, visit https://www.bewellberks.org to watch an informational video. 2

24 Women2Women | Summer 2023 FEATURE


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 & join Women2Women, visit www.berkswomen2women.com.


WOMEN’S NETWORKING EVENT ANetworkingExperiencewithLocal Women’sGroups

Join not only Women2Women, but several other local women’s groups to network and connect. We will be meeting at a local, woman-owned business with members of organizations like:

- Junior League of Reading

- Berks Women in Motion

- Berks Women Networking

- American Business Women’s Association / Women Excelling Reading Chapter

- League of Women Voters

- American Association of University Women: Reading Branch

- NAACP of Reading


These facilitator-led groups are comprised of 12 to 14 women coming together to learn, grow and support each other in an atmosphere of confidentiality and trust. If you are considering your career and personal goals, think about investing in yourself and your future and take advantage of this opportunity. If you are a supervisor looking at the women in your organization and considering your next generation of leaders, think about investing in their future by supporting their participation in a Lean In Circle.


Time: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Venue: The Center for Business Excellence (49 Commerce Dr.)

Price: FREE to attend!

- VoiceUP Berks

- Governor Mifflin High School

- Reading Area High School

This is your chance to connect with a wide range of women from all over Berks county. As with all our W2W Networking events, 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.


Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Venue: Location TBA

Price: FREE to attend!

Continued on page 26

berkswomen2women.com 25


Join us in October for a celebration of empowerment and inspiration! The Evening of Empowerment brings together 200+ and always offers a takeaway to immediately help you develop professionally and personally. We will also be visited by the President & CEO of ATHENA International, Traci Costa, who is visiting Pennsylvania as a stop on the ATHENA Enlightment Tour. She is excited to share updates about ATHENA International, their latest Leadership Program (including discounts for W2W members!) and each attendee will receive empowering items to take home with them. You can't miss the opportunity to meet her!

Saturday, September 23rd 10AM - 3PM

DATE: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2023 **new date!

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Location TBA

Price: $60/GRCA Member $75/Future Member

Stay connected at:

Facebook @BerksWomen2Women

LinkedIn @Berks Women2Women Group

Instagram @berks_W2W

Travel with W2W this summer!

Share a pic of you enjoying W2W Magazine & tag us at #W2WMag

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.

26 Women2Women | Summer 2023

CONNECT GROW LEAD 2 Conference & Expo 2023

Thursday, April 20 | Santander Performing Arts Center


• Keynote: Circle of Success

Betsy Hamm – CEO, Duck Donuts

• Creating a Successful Game Plan with DEI Scott Blair – Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, B. Braun Medical

• Bridging the Multigenerational Gap

Jenna Armato – Owner, Jenna Armato Growth & Success Coach

• Learning is Ageless: Becoming a Better Leader & Learner

Total Experience Learning® Team led by Adelle Schade, Founder

• ATHENA Award Recipient: Adelle Schade, Founder of Total Experience Learning® at Albright College

An all-day celebration of everything W2W – connecting women, and offering a forum to gain knowledge, build strategic alliances and foster personal potential and career advancement. Featuring 44 sponsors, non-profits, and women-owned businesses in our Vendor Expo, and a donut wall of delicious Duck Donuts!

berkswomen2women.com 27 W2W AROUND TOWN
Continued on page 28
Photos courtesy of Lauren Little Photography

W2W Networking & Mentorship: Keys to Building a Lasting Relationship

Thursday, May 11 | Abraham Lincoln

Speakers: Carissa Johnson & Tonya Butler – Magisterial District Judges, Berks County Judge Johnson and Judge Butler gave us tips about how to turn networking into mentorship, and how to foster that into a lasting relationship. Attendees also received complimentary headshots courtesy of W2W, from Don Carrick, Studio 413.

S CO RE is currently looking for qualified volunteers to mentor people going into business or currently in business.

We have a need for accounting, legal, computer skills, general operation expert.

If you have extra time and would like to help us with our request, you can go to our website or call 484-577-9791.

Thank you, Co Chairs, Dave Verrill and Pete Kostick

28 Women2Women | Summer 2023
| www.berksschuylkill.score.org | 401
Street Reading PA c/o
University W2W AROUND TOWN
Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE

Prep Your Life Panel: Things You Need NOW!

Thursday, June 1 | GoggleWorks Center for the Arts


- Ruthann Woll, RKL LLP (panel moderator)

- Regina Rinehimer, Kingsview Partners

- Sarah Rubright McCahon, Barley Snyder

- Amy Strouse, RKL LLP

From finances in your 20s to taking care of aging parents, and even preparing for when we won’t be around anymore, our expert panel gave us the tools to start taking steps to secure our future.

berkswomen2women.com 29

Redefining ‘Productive’:


Mindfulness, & Time Management

Tuesday, May 16 | The Rookery at Berks Nature

Speaker: Kate Ecke – Founder, The Unconventional Therapists

Kate taught us to narrow down our focus to what we really want out of life, so we can stop focusing on hustle culture and get back to doing the things that will make us fulfilled.

I chose both

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30 Women2Women | Summer 2023 at your fingertips. Your life Security | Fire | Video Systems | Smart Home Systems 2020 23rd Annual Helping you keep what matters most safe and in your control. Locally owned and operated since 1988 www.sahinc.com sales@sahinc.com 610.372.8872 25th Annual ELAINE SCHAEFER SCHUYLKILL RIVER GREENWAYS preservation or progress
Deposit and loan products are offered through Tompkins Community Bank, Member FDIC. Investments and insurance products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, and may lose value. Tompkins Insurance is licensed to conduct insurance business in all 50 states. 4/23

Penn State Health: 150 years of Caring for the Berks Community

As it celebrates its 150th year serving the Berks Region, Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center has proven its staying power. Recognized among the safest hospitals in the U.S., having earned an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, St. Joseph Medical Center is a Healthgrades Five-Star Recipient for Treatment of Heart Attack, and it’s outperforming the industry in certain quality measures. None of this would have been possible if Monsignor George Bornemann, pastor of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, had responded differently in 1873 when asked to develop an inpatient hospital in the City of Reading. Together with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, he answered the call to care for the sick, injured and poor by turning a small, 12-room building into St. Joseph Hospital – a place of healing that would evolve into today’s Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center.


As the hospital grew, so did the demands on the Sisters of St. Francis. Unable to perform all the nursing care as well as manage the hospital’s administrative and household duties, they began offering nursing training to a few carefully selected women. In 1903, three of these women became the first graduating class of St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing. The program gained momentum, enrollment increased and recognition of its curriculum and teaching methods led to full accreditation in 1956 by the National League for Nursing. The school continued to educate nurses for nearly 35 more years before graduating its final class in 1990.

Today, St. Joseph Medical Center continues to invest in the growth and development of its nurses with the Mae Langan Nursing Awards. Created in honor of a nursing school graduate from the class of 1934, the scholarships are presented annually during its Nurses Week celebration.


After more than a century of growth and innovation, the hospital joined Penn State Health in 2015, increasing access to advanced specialty care for conditions such as cancer, high-risk obstetrics issues and neurologic disorders. Three years later, the health system acquired Berks Cardiology – now in its 50th year serving the region – ensuring patients had access to the most advanced diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions in Berks County.

Penn State Health invests in leading-edge technology so patients don’t need to travel to Philadelphia or Baltimore for the most complex heart and vascular conditions. Recent advancements include new operating rooms designed specifically for cardiac procedures and state of the art cardiac imaging and scanning equipment.

It also continues to recruit expert cardiologists, vascular surgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons. One of its more recent additions is Dr. Bidhya Timilsina, a female cardiologist who is keenly aware of the ways in which heart disease presents itself differently in women than in men and who is better able to understand the subtle clues that female patients may reveal about such possible conditions.


From the early guidance of the Sisters of St. Francis to the women who represent almost half of St. Joseph Medical Center’s current leadership team, strong female role models have helped shape the hospital’s Catholic mission and culture of caring.

Central to that effort are Wendy Clayton, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer; Dr. Kimberly Wolf, Vice President of Medical Affairs; and Alexandria Cirko, Vice President of Mission and Ministry. They have put their support behind a variety of initiatives, including those that target improved patient safety as well as the growth and development of nurses.

“We are honored to continue St. Joseph Medical Center’s legacy of women leaders supporting faith-based health care that heals body, mind and spirit,” said Clayton. “Together, we strive to live our mission and core values in service to our patients and staff.” 2

berkswomen2women.com 31 FEATURE

5 Top reasons to attend the Annual Picnic

1 Networking with Berks businesses: Have you wanted to meet the movers and shakers of the community? They will be out and about laughing and enjoying themselves at the Annual Picnic. The Picnic is the perfect place to take a seat with a colleague, new contact or meet the marketing team of many companies.

2 Berks Biz Homerun Derby: Each year we have over 15 people who compete for the title of Derby Champion. Derby contestants are made up of our sponsor companies and the field gets heated with glares (nice ones) and loud voices (of positivity). Laughs always ensue because our on-field commentator always has something to say about your performance. Consider being a sponsor and come out to hit some balls with us—ALL are welcome!

3 New Cornament: Yep, we went there (cornhole + tournament)! We know that not everyone is able to join the Homerun Derby, so we are bringing another sport to the mix. Only 16 teams will be randomly selected to play, and yes, there will be a trophy awarded at the end of the night. Each team will have 20 minutes to win and when time’s up, the team with the highest score wins. Now you have two reasons to bring your competitive and friendly spirit to the Annual Picnic!

4 Swag: If you’ve been to our events ,you’ve seen the awesome swag that our marketing team has been bringing. From ring lights for your Zoom phone calls, to little planters with wildflowers, to light-up message boards, we have been killing it in the swag game. We can’t wait to announce what we will be bringing with us to the Picnic!

5Summer vibes: Who doesn’t love the sun in the sky, hand over brow looking at the outfield of the FirstEnergy Stadium? Beers are flowing and music fills the air. Each year we host one or two local bands and performers who keep the vibe fun. Dance it up with us, lean on the bar to watch or network to build your business!

 Tuesday, Aug. 22

 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

 FirstEnergy Stadium

Scan code to purchase tickets or visit tinyurl.com/

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