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myRetreatTM Program Strategies for a Better Life

Your Financial Home and 5 Budgeting Tips Mentoring Success A Lasting Mentoring Relationship

January, 2010 | Volume 1

2010 Calendar Can’t wait to see you all again!

MyRetreatTM Program

Strategies for a Better Life

A RETREAT is defined as “a place affording peace, quiet and security: a period of group withdrawal for purposes of meditation and study.” The first-ever Xcel myRetreatTM, was held at a donated vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, MA - a unique and tranquil island nestled off the coast of Massachusetts – on October 10th and 11th, 2009. MyRetreatTM offers underprivileged women between the ages of 17 and 25 a sense of pause from their daily lives to develop skills that assist them to lead more lead more productive lives. Continued on pg 2

A Special Thank You

President’s Message

Board of Directors: Tricia Brunton Kenyetta Banks Makeda Keegan Neakai Lewis Kristin Wormley

Xcel, Inc. Members and Supporters,

Staff Members Jocelyn Dent Lynn Janczak Taleya Hamilton Rashmi Iyengar Arleen Rivera Past Board of Directors: Allison Appel Maegan Bell Olympia Valentine Partners Kisha Samuels, Events of Joy Women Leadership Coaches Team A Networking Series Program Peppercorn’s Grill (Sponsor) Barbara Babenco Joyce Boncal Melissa Bouchet Dr. Lyne Desormeaux Grace Fidalgo Barbara Flynn Asha Follins Carole Jacoby Donna McCarty Kimberly Williams myRetreatTM Program Steamship Authority (Sponsor) Adeshola Abiade Deborah Kantor Milton Jackson Judy Jamieson Valerie Lilly Elizabeth and Coleman Shattuck

It’s a brand new year and our organization is looking forward to yet another year of successful programs and services that promote the development of female students and professionals of all backgrounds. 2009 was one of Xcel Inc.’s most successful years thanks to the outpouring of support from our volunteers, members, donors Dasdcfdsargfretgeshaargbvs and the community. In the summer, we started A d Networking Series which provided networking and career development training to over 100 women in the Connecticut and Western Massachusetts communities. In the fall, we launched our first ever myRetreatTM Program which provided training at no cost to eight amazing young women of underprivileged backgrounds. Lastly, we recognized three very inspiring women in our Woman of the Month Interview In 2010, Xcel, Inc. will continue to provide its main programs which include the Mentoring Program, myRetreatTM Program, Workshops, A Networking Series and Woman of the Month. Our organization will also be reinstating our annual Xcellence Scholarship beginning in the fall. Our efforts to expand the reach of our programs and services throughout New England and the United States will be led by new and innovative initiatives to increase funding, in-kind donations, partnerships and volunteers. In closing, our Board of Directors and Staff thanks you for your support and involvement and we look forward to working with you during another successful year. Sincerely, Tricia Brunton Founder and President Xcel, Inc.

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

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MyRetreatTM Program

Strategies for a Better Life

Woman of the Month 2009 Awardees

Continued from cover The eight young women selected to participate in myRetreatTM were provided with transportation, meals, lodging and an intense series of developmental and personal enrichment workshops at no cost. These amazing young women participated in intensive and interactive workshops led by community leaders and experts in their fields who volunteered as facilitators. The workshop topics included Goal Setting, Effective Networking, Interviewing Skills, Leadership Development, Team Building in the Kitchen, Effective Networking, Communication and Listening Skills and Financial Management.

Nominate an amazing woman in your community at

Nominated for dedication and passion extended to increase awareness of and promoting the mission of the Hamilton Sundstrand Karen O’Shea Women’s September, 2009 Forum.

These workshops were designed to educate and engage the participants with the ultimate goal of igniting the passion to plan for and pursue their personal ideas of success in life: education, career, finance, standard of living and family. Martha’s Vineyard provided the perfect picturesque haven for self-assessment and study with its simple yet sophisticated backdrop of beautiful beaches, freshwater ponds and meadows. The beauty of this island provided an ideal venue for participant introspection while creating positive memories.

Karaine Holness

October, 2009

Future MyRetreatTM Programs are being planned by the MyRetreatTM Committee – Kenyetta Banks, Tricia Brunton, Taleya Hamilton, Rashmi Iyengar and Arleen Rivera. The next MyRetreatTM Program will be held in the fall for up to 10 underprivileged women residing in urban areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts. If you or your business would like to support MyRetreatTM, please contact Tricia Brunton at Submitted by Lynn Janczak, Xcel, Inc. Director of Marketing.

Penny Gerdeman

Awarded for founding Sistahs Jammin' LLC; an organization that brings together women from all over the country for a 7-day developmental retreat in Jamaica. Awarded for her remarkable management skills and endearing personality as Director of International Admissions at University of Findlay.

November, 2009 pg 2

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

Your Financial Home How Strong Is It?

How strong is your financial future? With all the uncertainty in the economy are you taking the right steps to ensure your financial plan is doing what you need it to be doing? Planning for a strong financial future is like building a home from the ground up. You wouldn’t want a large home with cracks in the foundation, would you? Below are some things to think about when beginning to build a strong foundation you can count on to protect you for any obstacles which may arise in your path. Emergency fund: What are the possible emergencies that can arise? How much money do you have set aside in case of an emergency? Will: Do you have a will in place to ensure your plans are carried out when you are not able to voice your opinion? Disability Income Insurance: How long would you be able to continue paying your bills should you be unable to earn a paycheck? Without a paycheck or any source of income how will you be able fund any other plans you have in place? Life Insurance: In the event of your death who would it affect? Do you have dependants counting on you? Are you dependant on someone

else, a spouse or another family member? What if they do not make it home tonight how will you survive? Each financial plan and home is unique to its individual owner. Whether it’s a Mansion, Condo, Single Family, or Multi Family there is a financial plan to fit your needs. Submitted by Paul Abeling, Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services Representative. For a no obligation consultation and/or review contact Paul today at (860) 678-2944, or email and ensure your current financial foundation is where it needs to be.

5 Budgeting Tips

Keeping a budget is possible! Tip 1: Create a Budget – Make a list of all of your income sources and recurring expenses. Next, make a list of all nonrecurring expenses you had in the past year. (Set up a plan for these expenses). Tip 2: Save a Little – Put aside a little, a lot (it will add up). Hard? Then, skip the coffee or pedicure and save it instead. Tip 3: Limit Credit Card Usage – Don’t buy it if you don’t need it and if you don’t have the cash to pay it off within a few statements (interest adds up). Tip 4: Treat Yourself – Budgeting doesn’t mean punishing yourself. Treat yourself responsibly every now and again; the best treat cost little to no money. Tip 5: Get Support – Get friends and family to join you in your budgeting. Submitted by Tricia Brunton, Xcel, Inc. Founder and President. pg 4

Mentoring Success

A Lasting Mentoring Relationship

The Xcel Mentoring Program is a unique program that unites female professionals and students based on any career and educational path. The aim of the Mentoring Program is to provide female students (mentees) with support that will assist them to achieve their educational and professional goals. Mentors also have an opportunity to get involved in the community and mold the leaders of tomorrow.

best and most informative shadowing experiences that I have ever had. She took the time to tell me what she was doing and explained the ins and outs of her profession. I actually got to watch her examine patients, which was incredible. Mirylsa remains a valuable person that I consult with despite our distance apart. She recently opened her own practice in Puerto Rico while I started a job in Philadelphia. I’m hoping to visit Puerto Rico sometime next year.

In 2008, our organization had an opportunity to match two amazing women together in a mentoring relationship that continues to this day. These amazing women Kristen Hoffman (Past Mentee) and Mirylsa Colón, MD (Past Mentor) share their experiences:

I anticipate that she and I will remain in contact and continue to develop our relationship. I am really grateful to Xcel for facilitating such a great experience for me. I look forward to helping Xcel in the future on the other side as a mentor.

Kristen Hoffman: At the first mentoring meeting, I liked my mentor Mirylsa on sight. A woman with an adorable dress and a sharp handbag strolled in as I was speaking to my friends, fellow Xcel members. She had an air of confidence that I immediately admired and gave a bright smile when we made eye contact. Once we were introduced as mentor and mentee, we began to share our stories – neither of us are a bit shy! I realized that she had accomplished so much and would be an amazing resource for guidance and support as I began to pursue my professional goals.

Mirylsa Colón, MD: I feel very fortunate to have been a mentor for Xcel. It was my first time in Boston. I had just finished my Orthopaedic Surgery Residency in Puerto Rico, and was about to start a fellowship in Foot and Ankle Surgery. Xcel had contacted me via email and I immediately felt the responsibility of giving back as a mentor, especially after finishing a career like mine, and having had a mentor myself during my medical school years. This wonderful woman, who was a very accomplished orthopaedic surgeon in New York, helped me pull through medical school and kept me believing that I could do what everybody else said was impossible.

After that first meeting, we developed a great relationship via email. I would email her questions about which classes to take and how to go about realizing some of my pursuits, and she was very thoughtful with her responses. We met twice throughout the semester besides the Xcel mentoring events, and one of the times she suggested I come and shadow her at her work. I was so excited and grateful, and it turned out to be one of the

At the first Xcel meeting, I spotted Kristen and I knew she would be my mentee. She had a spark and she was very enthusiastic, and she’s right, neither of us is shy. We both clicked and developed a very good friendship that still lives on.

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

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Mentoring Success continued

2010 Calendar

A Lasting Mentoring Relationship

Can’t wait to see you all again!

Kristen had questions about what it would be like to be an orthopaedic surgeon, what was residency like, the application process, and such. I believe I answered all her questions, while keeping it real.

January 16th – Start Jan-Jun Mentoring Rotation

Xcel not only gave me the opportunity to be a mentor, but also introduced me to other wonderful and very talented young women. Kristen and I still keep in touch via email or even video chat. I am very proud of her and even happier to have contributed in such a positive way in her life.

March Celebration of Women’s History Month 13th – Start Mar-Sep Mentoring Rotation 27th – Xcel, Inc. Workshop at 5th Annual Women In Business (WIB) Conference. April 20th – A Networking Series May 18th – A Networking Series

She knows that I am always there for her and that she should follow her heart in whatever decision she makes. And to anyone reading this, when you really, really want something with all your heart, if you work hard for it and keep your focus, it will inevitably come true. Give back, be an Xcel mentor!

June 13th – Start Jun-Dec Mentoring Rotation 22nd – A Networking Series 30th – End Jan-Jun Mentoring Rotation

Who is the Director of Mentoring?

August 24th – A Networking Series

Kristin Wormley, Director of Mentoring has a background in association management as well as in community service. Most recently she served as a Computer Instructor for "The Center for Family Resources" and as a Board Member for the "NW Black Chamber of Congress" in Georgia. Kristin was also a member of INROADS Inc./CNE from 1995-1999. Kristin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from Regis College in Weston. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. Currently, Kristin is an Account Manager with CQ StateTrack a division of Congressional Quarterly. For information about the Mentoring Program, please visit or contact Kristin at

July 1st – Xcellent News, Volume 2 20th – A Networking Series

September 21st – A Networking Series 30th – End Mar-Sep Mentoring Rotation October 9th&10th - myRetreatTM Program December 30th – End Jun-Dec Mentoring Rotation January, 2011 1st – Xcellent News, Volume 3 16th – Start Jan-Jun Mentoring Rotation Support Us! To support one or more of our programs, please visit our website or contact Tricia at

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

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To submit an article or ad in Xcellent News, please contact Lynn Janczak, Xcel, Inc. Director of Marketing at

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.| PO Box 622 Allston MA 02134 |

Xcellent News  

Xcellent News is a semi-annual newsletter published by The Females' Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.; a non-profit dedicated to the...

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