Each year, the WBOA recognizes and honors a member as the Business Woman of the Year, a woman who has been inspirational and has “stood out” in both her business and personal life. The date for our 2016 event has not been finalized, but will be held in June.
Our 2015 award recipients:
Business Woman of the Year, Eileen Jerome
Members who nominated Eileen said,
"Eileen has been a very dedicated and responsible member of WBOA. She favors no one, and gives to everyone. She has donated her time, her expertise and leadership many times over having served as a Board Member, and through the ranks to President of WBOA. Eileen still continues to serve and has more then proved her dedication and commitment to this organization. She would be an excellent 2015 Business Woman of the Year and truly deserves it."
"For years Eileen was a great president. I believe she has been overlooked. She is also active in the community with her company, Jerome's Party Plus."
"Eileen has always stepped up to the plate when needed. She has been President, Chaired both WOTY and WNOC and is active on the board."
"Eileen has contributed to WBOA in a significant way; she is a role model of success as a business owner and a contributing member."
My husband, Greg, and I are celebrating 30 years in business this year at Jerome’s Party Plus in Westfield. Our past jobs and life experiences meld together to provide exceptional experiences to our customers when they’re planning a party or event. Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other, creating a balanced work environment. This, plus a phenomenal staff, is the “secret sauce” behind our success, and we’re now the largest party rental and retail center in Western Massachusetts. We are members of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and I am also a member of the Sons of Erin Auxiliary, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting the community and promoting Irish heritage.
While I love working alongside my husband, I also love girl time, and my direct sales business with Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski provides me with exactly that and two other passions, entrepreneurship and jewelry. I look forward to someday retiring with the jewelry business as my supplemental income.
In the winter months, our party business slows down considerably and gives us time to enjoy our favorite activity, skiing. I'm a certified ski instructor with PSIA, Professional Ski Instructors of America, and I recently earned my 20 year pin with them. I'm also an avid golfer and play on two ladies leagues in the summer months.
My church is a very important part of my life, and I serve as the treasurer on the Board of Deacons. Recently, we ran a capital campaign to raise funds for some much-needed repairs on the building. Greg and I co-chaired the campaign, organized the committee, ran the meetings, and with the help of God we surpassed our goal.
I've thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in the WBOA. In my eight years as a member, I've served as President, Business Woman of the Year chair, Women's Night of Comedy co-chair, and Cheryl Reed Memorial Loan Fund chair. I can't say enough about this wonderful organization, what it's done for me both personally and professionally, and about the incredible friendships I've made.
Congratulations to Business Woman of the Year nominees Amy Woolf, Fran Fahey, Martha Johnson, Susan Kelley
Outstanding New Member, Lori Fortuna
Members who nominated Lori said,
"Lori stepped up and co-chaired the After 5 Committee almost as soon as she became a member. She is willing to help out when needed and has a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm."
"Lori Fortuna came into the organization last year with a willingness to delve into whatever WBOA needed. She has been consistent in helping with several projects over the last year. Lori has been more than outstanding, and I see her as a future leader in this group."
"She has been such a big part of WBOA that I was surprised to see her on the new member list."
"Behind the scenes Lori has gone out of her way to connect with other new members. She is always cheerful and willing to help."
Lori is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Lori Fortuna Coaching. My mission is to help you reestablish amazing and effective old fashioned customer service.
I bring more than 25 years of operations and human resource management experience, with a laser focus and passion for effective training and facilitation from several Fortune 500 companies in both retail and quick service industries. I received my Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development and Counseling. In addition I am certified with the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching and am credentialed as a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.
Any day that I have the opportunity to teach, coach and guide leaders and their teams to reach their highest potential is a great day for me!
Congratulations to Outstanding New Member nominees Abby Beale, Mary Kearney, Jackie Griswold
Woman of Influence, Gina Barry
Members who nominated Gina said:
"Gina runs a nonprofit and is an advocate to others through her legal work."
Congratulations to nominees Deborah Whitford, Diane Sabato, Gretchen Duhaime, Jennifer Ladd, Martha Johnson, Meagan Murphy, Reverend Andrea Ayvazian, Sister Elizabeth Oleksak, Suzanne Parker, Tanya Ryan, Laura Albano, Jennifer Roberge, Nancy Howard
Special Mentor, Diane Sabato
Members who nominated Diane said:
"Asst. Professor Diane Sabato from STCC is a business teacher with a passion and a drive to get more women into the business world. She holds classes and seminars for women in business. She has business contests that have grown state wide to increase women in starting up their own business and implementing their ideas through panel discussions and Power Point productions."
"Working at STCC, she has influenced many students in their quest to be business owners."
Congratulations to nominees Dianne Doherty, Martha Johnson, Mary Ann Dennis, Val Nelson, Anne Miller
Spirit Award, Debra Sorcinelli
Members who nominated Debbie said:
"Debbie is fun, light, always building connections between members. Always upbeat and willing to help."
"She is a connection maven."
"Deb has always been the Spirit of WBOA since she joined. She always has nothing but kind words to say about everyone, and she is there to talk with and suggests ideas, people to meet etc. ALL the time.I think Deb has hooked up more business relationships in WBOA than anyone in the history of the organization! LOL! She definitely deserves this award!"
"Through both social media and personal interaction Debbie is constantly suggesting that you "like" or call other women in her circle of acquaintances."
"Deb is always matching people and their businesses up for the betterment of everyone."
Congratulations to nominees Beth Ayn Curtis, Dianne Doherty, Fran Fahey, Jennifer Roberge, Susan Allen, Mary Ann Marzano
Quiet Achiever, Lori Todd
Members who nominated Lori said:
"For many years, Lori has quietly helped for months at a time with the Holyoke High School Spring Musical. Her tireless efforts should be recognized."
Congratulations to nominees Burns Maxey, Christine Burns, Christine Southworth, Deborah Whitford, Fran Fahey, Martha Johnson, Susan Kelley, Nancy Howard, Ida Tassinari