" /> Women of the Year

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.

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Our 2016 award recipients:

Mary Ann Marzano

Business Woman of the Year, Mary Ann Marzano

Members who nominated Mary Ann said,

"Mary Ann is one of those rare people who embodies entrepreneurialism - she is a business owner, yes, but also constantly improves herself. Her passion for helping women gain confidence is contagious"

"Mary Ann has shown herself to be a very good member and a hard worker. Mary Ann always shows up for board meetings, and breakfast meetings. She is dependable and very entrenched in staying a member of WBOA and continuing her goals in the organization."

"I love Mary Ann's can-do attitude! She has lined up some fabulous speakers for us as the Programs Chair over the last 2 years. She has given inspiring presentations to the mentees at the WINGS program. Mary Ann is fun to be around and a great role model of a successful business woman!"

"Mary Ann Marzano has been a fantastic, amazing and wonderful inspiration to many of the women of the WBOA! She is such a beautiful person inside and out and has been actively contributing to the group"

About Mary Ann

Mary Ann Marzano is the owner of UBU Hair Design in Agawam. Her father, a very creative person with wonderful people skills started the salon 53 years ago as Sal’s. Mary Ann vowed she would never work there, but after trying out a few career options, she realized that the salon was where she belonged and she has never looked back.

She took over the salon and changed the name to UBU Hair Design more than 25 years ago and has enjoyed not only a successful business, but a sense of community and friendship with the staff and many of the clients.

Mary Ann was blessed to grow up in a large, close-knit family and that theme has continued. She is now married to a wonderful man named Ronnie. A second marriage for both, Mary Ann and Ronnie have a wonderful blended family of seven children and 10 grandchildren.

Mary Ann says, "I love the chaos when there is a holiday or birthday party. If you come to my house, you will notice I don’t always clean the glass doors right away because I love the little handprints those little darlings leave behind.

She believes that she was blessed to be a blessing. She has a heart for those who have come to hard times. As a volunteer making breakfast and lunch at the Paris Cupboard on her day off for two years helped Mary Ann get to know the community of homeless people in the area. Through that experience, she has developed a passion for them. For the past six years, she has spoken regularly at a homeless shelter, trying to offer some hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Belonging to WBOA and being on the Board as Program Chair has been a life-changing experience for Mary Ann. "Working with such awesome women of integrity has challenged me to grow in ways I never thought possible. They have encouraged and inspired me to follow my dreams and I have now launched my dream job of being a speaker. I launched Mary Ann Talks this year and through this, I hope to expose the power of the thoughtful pursuit of excellence."

Congratulations to Business Woman of the Year nominees Amy Woolf, Christine Southworth, Dianne Doherty, Gena Rotas, Lenore Anderson, Martha Johnson

Linda LigsukisOutstanding New Member, Linda Ligsukis

Members who nominated Linda said,

"Linda goes above and beyond in what she does. She has given of herself with her photography and helping with charitable functions through her store."

"Linda is consistently involved in making things happen with a smile on her face. She is giving of her time and her resources and is open and supportive of other WBOA members. She's also a lot of FUN, as well as professional."

"Linda came into WBOA not only as our photographer (which I think she has done an excellent job) but as an active member. When she heard about the WINGS program in its first semester she GAVE every mentee an outfit suitable to wear on a job interview or to work. She's working so hard on her new business at Designer Consignor and the store has made a huge turnaround since she has taken over."

About Linda

Linda Linard-Ligsukis is the owner of Designer Consignor, a boutique women’s consignment shop in Southwick MA. She also founded, and has headed for three years, a collaborative of wedding and event professionals known as Affordable Affairs. For 30 years, Linda has been a professional photographer and currently specializes in portrait and event photography, doing business as LensArt Studio.

Though her background is predominantly corporate, having spent 30 years in law firms in administrative capacities, mostly computer related, Linda has always been entrepreneurial and has owned everything from fast food restaurants in area malls to a cab company in New Jersey.

A seasoned multi-tasker, she spent a couple of years as a law firm network administrator while running the cash register at her “Mac’s Burgers” restaurant in BayState West, Springfield in her suit and heels during her lunch hours. Thus, she feels that running a women’s clothing boutique is very much a “fun” business in comparison to others she has owned.

Linda currently resides in Westfield. She has lived in several states but always returns to this area where two of her three children and her two grandsons reside. Because, she asks, "What is more important than family?"

Congratulations to Outstanding New Member nominees Abby Beale, Alexandra Tresch, Diane Sabato, Maureen Sullivan, Nicole Vadnais, and Sina Holloman!

Dawn CreightonWoman of Influence, Dawn Creighton

Members who nominated Dawn said:

"Dawn is a very important part of the community. Not afraid to take the reins, Dawn took over as President of the Western Mass Dress or Success program and has grown it to now have a pop up shop, partnered with different women's groups to help with donations, and also her awareness within the community to address the needs of women of poverty, domestic abuse and other situations."

Congratulations to nominees Burns Maxey, Cynthia Sheridan Murphy, Dianne Doherty, Freda Brown, Lori Fortuna, Martha Johnson, Pam Howland, Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian, Shelley Hines, and Tanya Ryan!

Sarah WilleySpecial Mentor, Sarah Willey

Members who nominated Sarah said:

"Sarah's trademark and law knowledge has been instrumental in helping our business. She is always pleasant to talk with and genuinely cares about small business."

Congratulations to nominees Amy Woolf, Cynthia Sheridan Murphy, Debbie Sorcinelli, Eileen Jerome, Freda Brown, Jasmin Keeley, Lori Fortuna, Martha Johnson, and Val Nelson!

Shelley HinesSpirit Award, Shelley Hines

Members who nominated Shelley said:

"Shelley has shown herself to not only help others, but to be a true spirit for WBOA!  She always gets back to you if you have a question, ALWAYS has a smile on her face and a blessing in her heart. She is always available if you need something and she never complains or thinks twice. She deserves to be recognized for her talents and contributions to WBOA and our members. She is a true Spirit!"

"Shelley is constantly newtworking within and out of the organization and has nothing but positive light to shine on others. You never hear a negative word from her, and she always looks at the good in people. She is always uplifting people and WBOA!"

Congratulations to nominees Amy Woolf, Carol Saltus, Cynthia Sheridan Murphy, Debbie Sorcinelli, Lenore Anderson, Linda Ligsukis, and Mary Ann Marzano

Liz ProvoQuiet Achiever, Liz Provo

Members who nominated Liz said:

"The amount of volunteering Liz does for WBOA and other organizations is unbelievable - I don't think she sleeps! In addition to being the After 5 co-chair and doing the WBOA newsletters and social media, she volunteered to work the breakfast registration table, AND coordinate volunteers for WNOC."

"Liz is an amazing woman who is always there when we need her. She does not need to be front and center, although where there's action, there's Liz! This woman simply does not complain, she acts!"

Congratulations to nominees Anita Eliason, Audrey Millgate, Betsy Roy, Bonnie Diamond, Christine Burns, Christine Southworth, Donna Brooks, Dr. Tami Nelson, Martha Johnson, Pat Banas, and Susan Kelley!