By Rod Lee
The sunshine-like glow on the face of Laurie Nelson is the same whether she is talking about her place of employment—Christopher Heights of Webster—or Woman in Business Inc. (WIB) as that organization’s new president.
WIB was very much on Ms. Nelson’s mind early last Thursday morning, as well it should be. She was fresh off the previous day’s WIB Board of Directors first meeting of the fall and so still bubbling with excitement over the team that has been assembled for 2017-18.
Constituting WIB’s governing ranks going forward are Ms. Nelson; Maxine Carter-Lome (owner and publisher of the Journal of Antiques & Collectibles, Guide to Brimfield and Your Hometown Shopper), VP; Brenda Bianculli, a CPA, treasurer (outgoing); Brenda Lacaire of Steve’s Collision Center, treasurer (incoming); Sue Tarasiak, an accountant with Ms. Bianculli’s company, recording secretary (outgoing); Jill Motyka of Bay Path University and Dress for Success, director, recording secretary (incoming); Blaine Schnare, marketing manager for Harrington Healthcare System, director, publicity; Linda Goodbrand of Frontier Communications, director, membership and Carol Porra, a former WIB president and longtime member, director.
Ms. Nelson, who is executive director of Christopher Heights of Webster on Thompson Road (an assisted-living community, where “taking care of the residents and the staff is my pride and joy,” she says), succeeds Karen Spiewak as president of WIB and will serve in that capacity for two years. Ms. Spiewalk stays on as a member.
The vision for WIB that was enunciated by Founder Judith A. Jaeger back in 1985 remains a driving force in the activities and events the networking and support group charges itself with putting on to help working women in South Central Massachusetts in their daily jobs and daily life, Ms. Nelson said. The first of these was to be a panel discussion over lunch at the Oliver Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village on Wednesday, September 13th featuring Ms. Motyka, Mary O’Coin of United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton, Cindy Howard of the Center of Hope and Lynn Brouillette of Kids in the Congo on ways women in the marketplace can give back to their community. A holiday gathering will be held in December.
With a shifting of the gears there has been no slackening of effort or enthusiasm.
“There’s a new energy,” Ms. Nelson said from behind her desk at Christopher Heights of Webster. “Not that the old energy was bad. We have this dynamic Board. I sit at the table and marvel at the intelligence, motivation, heart and commitment. It’s a distinct honor for me to be part of that. There is a bright, caring, tireless energy on that Board. They are movers and shakers in the community.”
Events are planned out “through March” and will include “one here at Christopher Heights of Webster on November 8th, a collaboration between WIB and the Northeast Connecticut Women & Girls Fund—a support group that is a tremendous resource for women of all ages. That event will take the shape of a forum from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., focusing on such topics as “health, nutrition and mentoring.” It also reflects a decision by the WIB Board to change things up a little from the usual noontime monthly get-togethers at OSV to other times and places as well, she said.
A specialist in gerontology, career planning and human development (she is an adjunct professor at Quinsigamond Community College) who has been with Woman in Business Inc. for about five years, Ms. Nelson said she will be leaning for advice and direction on veterans within the ranks including Carol Porra who is one of WIB’s longest-tenured members. “I will be using Carol to help me see things as they have been done!” she said.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.