Edit Module
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print

YWCA Greater Harrisburg's Class of 2016 Women of Excellence

United by Passion, Driven by Words

When women put their minds to it, they can achieve greatness. As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously quipped, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

Yet most women’s successes are buried in the day-to-day activities and go unnoticed. That’s one of the reasons the YWCA Greater Harrisburg annually fetes a group of exceptional ladies who have supported their communities and given back endlessly through the years.

The class of 2016 Tribute to Women of Excellence is a cadre of nominees with varied talents, backgrounds and paths. What they share is a belief that one person can absolutely make a difference, and they’ve each sought to prove that point.

Mary Quinn, the CEO of the YWCA Greater Harrisburg, is in awe of the women who have distinguished themselves: “Every year, we receive more nominations for the Tribute to Women of Excellence than the year before, making the selection process more difficult based on the high caliber of individuals. This year’s nominees have influence beyond measure in their own fields of expertise and communities in which they live to impact real change through kindness, compassion and tenacity. They are forging the way of equality for future generations of women – they are the embodiment of the YWCA’s mission!”

The kickoff to the Tribute to Women of Excellence began on January 21, 2016, with a reception for honorees and their nominees that was sponsored by Boyer & Ritter. March 16, 2016, will mark the 27th annual awards dinner where each woman will be individually spotlighted. The dinner will be held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center and is underwritten by Signature Sponsor Highmark Blue Shield and Visionary Sponsors PPO&S, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. All proceeds for the event will support the mission of the YWCA Greater Harrisburg to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

To give a taste of each Woman of Excellence, Harrisburg Magazine asked them a few pointed questions. What we received were thoughtful, entertaining, unexpected and inspirational responses, a few of which are shared here.


What inspires you most?

“I am inspired by others who I look up to as strong leaders.”
–Mary Miller, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co.

“Seeing students, trainees and young physicians get excited about medicine and what contributions they make to help patients, advance science and teach others.”
–Dr. Cynthia H. Chuang, Penn State University College of Medicine

“I’m always inspired by the motivation of others, whether it’s a client who is bursting with motivation to reach his or her financial goals or a resident of a half-way house with the drive and determination to turn her life around. Motivation is fuel, and for me, it’s wonderfully contagious.”
–Alison Bach, Conte Wealth Advisors

“The success of my students.”
–Joan Tracy, Susquehanna Township School District

“Women in my organizations who strive to make a difference. Paying it forward.”
–Debra L. Yates, Plastic Surgery Center, Ltd.

“Stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. From people in the Bible, to our country’s forefathers, to stories I read in People magazine!”
–Jodie Ruediger, Highmark Blue Shield

“Selfless acts of kindness, respect and generosity.”
–Julia Coelho, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

“Feeling the positive results of helping others, whether it is delivering something because I am headed in that direction, being a support at the loss of a loved one, writing a personal note on a card or keeping a failing organization afloat.”
–Gretchen Ballard, Community Check Up Center

“Helping people achieve wellness naturally.”
–Elaine Nissley, McKonly & Asbury, LLP




What is your personal definition of excellence?

“Doing the best that you can.”
–Camille Erice, Community School of the Arts

“Delivering on commitments with passion, consideration, determination, initiative and persistence.”
–Dawn Milstead, Geneia

“There comes a point when we all realize where our individual bar is set in life. My personal definition of excellence is striving every day to jump over that bar.  The height is different for everyone – just keep jumping.”
–Mary Oliveira, PSECU

“My personal definition of excellence is the realization that being average or doing enough to get the task done is not enough. It is having that internal drive and motivation to devote 100 percent of yourself consistently to everything you do. As I always tell my children: nothing risked, nothing gained!”
–Diane C. Grove, Boyer & Ritter, LLC




How does excellence manifest itself in your life?

“When you have children, excellence becomes about helping them to always strive to be the best they can be. But I need to model that behavior for them and hope that they seek excellence in their lives.”
–Danielle Harper, AholdUSA/GIANT

“Excellence matters to me and shows up in myriad ways. Sometimes, I plant seeds and do not see the results for years or decades, but it is always a thrill when excellence shows up.  I have been known to get frustrated when working on projects with low excellence expectations. When I have the opportunity to work with an excellent team, it always gives me great joy.”
–Dr. Carol Corlett Howard, The Program for Female Offenders

“Giving 110 percent to every endeavor.”
–Carol Gauker, KPMG LLP

“I have a busy schedule, and I enjoy completing my daily schedule the best that I can.”
–Lynida Hudson, Camp Curtin Memorial – Mitchell U.M.C.

“I love the quote, ‘Quality is a magnet for quality,’ and firmly believe it’s true.”
–Suzanne Graney, Four Diamonds Fund




How important is it to give back to the community?

“Very important. I continue to work to help make our community by sharing my knowledge and expertise.”
–Camille Erice, Community School of the Arts

“My husband is always commenting to others that I volunteer for everything! Winston Churchill is often credited with this great quote, ‘You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.’ It’s so true.”
–Jodie Ruediger, Highmark Blue Shield

“Very important! Both in response to and in gratitude for the countless blessings and privileges in my life, it is with immense pleasure that I work with others to make our community a more caring, inclusive place to live.”
–Margee Kooistra, Community Responders Network

“Incredibly. It’s more than giving back; it’s engaging with the community. As a member of the community, I feel it’s my duty to be the most effective member I can be within it. That means bringing all that I can to the table and engaging with others to build a greater quality of life for the whole community.”
–Tara Leo Auchey, today’s the day Harrisburg

“Giving back is very high on my priority list. My parents instilled in me, at a very young age, the value and importance of servant leadership.”
–Leigh Ann M. Urban, Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District

“Very important. From a teenager, I was always volunteering in my community. I would volunteer in shelters, soup kitchens, help with community clean ups, etc. It was how I was raised. No matter what we achieve individually, we should not forget where we came from and help others.”
–Rogette Harris, Dauphin County Democratic Committee

“From my early adolescence, I have always been committed to the community in which I lived to help children and women in poverty through volunteerism. I have also been very committed to the environment in the preservation of green space and clean air.”
–Lori Serratelli, Serratelli, Schiffman & Brown, P.C.



What is your personal mission?

“I used to have a list of personal missions before I realized that my life was getting too stressful. Now, I have prayer and a relationship with the power at the other end. I pay attention, hear the mission, spend some time trying to get out of it, then just move forward. It works better for me to avoid the whole personal-mission scenario.”
–Dr. Carol Corlett Howard, The Program for Female Offenders

“Never let anyone treat you like you are worthless! Only you know what you are worth!”
–Danielle Harper, AholdUSA/GIANT

“To provide education and care to those who cannot provide this service to themselves.”
–Regina King, Hamilton Health Center

“To live a life of service to others, that flows from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
–Marla Sheaffer, Leadership Harrisburg Area

“My mission is to be useful as long as possible.”
–Gretchen Ballard, Community Check Up Center

“My personal mission is to make an impact. I may not always be able to write a large check to organizations that are near and dear to my heart, but I will always be ready and willing to donate my time and enthusiasm to help make somebody’s day.”
–Mary Kate Holder, Harrisburg Young Professionals

“To leave the world a better place than I found it.”
–Carol Gauker, KPMG LLP

“To be happy and help others through my actions to live happier lives.”
–Amy Helmuth, PinnacleHealth System

“To make my place – the city of Harrisburg – better for as many of us as possible, especially the youth who will inherit the stewardship of this special place.”
–Tara Leo Auchey, today’s the day Harrisburg

“To help others overcome personal challenges by helping to equip them with the education and skills needed to be successful.”
–Jacquelyn Anderson, Penn National Insurance

“To raise my daughters to be strong independent, women who are self-reliant.”
–Judy Wray, Rite Aid Corporation

“Help women in need overcome obstacles and see a better life.”
–Linda Dietzel, The Hershey Company




What is one of your “bucket-list” goals?

“To take my children to as many national parks as possible. My parents did that for me.”
–Dr. Cynthia H. Chuang, Penn State University College of Medicine

“To travel across the country in an RV.”
–Mary Miller, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co.

“To take an African safari with my niece, nephew and mother.”
–Kelly Lick, Homeland Center

“Sky diving and taking an extended vacation to tour Europe.”
–Brittany Brock, M&T Bank

“To visit every continent, or at least a majority of them.”
–Julia Coelho, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

“To provide specialized services for the under-served youth in Harrisburg and surrounding areas.”
–Regina King, Hamilton Health Center

“Attend the Summer Olympic Games.”
–Mary Kate Holder, Harrisburg Young Professionals

“To enjoy the luxury of time with my children and grandchildren in Montana in 2017 when I turn 80.”
–Margee Kooistra, Community Responders Network

“As a retired science teacher, I would like to travel to the National Parks and enjoy the wonders of nature.”
–Linda Kreiser, Lower Dauphin School District

“To spend more time finding inner peace and relaxation.”
–Lori Serratelli, Serratelli, Schiffman & Brown, P.C.

“An Alaskan cruise with Dr. Charles Stanley.”
–Elaine Nissley, McKonly & Asbury, LLP




Whom do you credit for being there unconditionally for you?

“My mom. We have been living in separate countries for the past 8 years, and there was not a single day that she did not check on me. I know she is there caring about me all the time.”
–Dr. Patricia Silveyra, Penn State Hershey

“My parents have always supported and encouraged me from childhood to adulthood. They both instilled in me the importance of giving back, being true to yourself, always striving to be a good person and to lead a life of purpose. Without their love, understanding and support, I would not be the person I am today.”
–Diane C. Grove, Boyer & Ritter, LLC

“My wonderful family. They have supported me throughout my life and continue to support me.”
–Lynida Hudson, Camp Curtin Memorial – Mitchell U.M.C.

“My family, specifically my parents, have been my greatest supporters and cheerleaders.”
–Suzanne Graney, Four Diamonds Fund


If you could work in any other field, what would it be?

“I would be an entrepreneur, likely in the food-service or hospitality industry. One of my first jobs was working in catering and event planning, and I really enjoyed it.”
–Brittany Brock, M&T Bank

“I love exercising. If I could, I would own a gym and train people on good health habits through fitness and nutrition (but I’m sure I will find a way to incorporate genetics and physiology in the picture.)”
–Dr. Patricia Silveyra, Penn State Hershey

“Teaching on a college campus. …I have been blessed with incredible opportunities and experiences that fill my knowledge and skills bucket.  It feeds my soul to share that with young adults and help to influence their development and growth.”
–Mary Oliveira, PSECU

“I would be a librarian or a teacher because I love to read and look for information that can help someone solve a problem.”
–Amy Helmuth, PinnacleHealth System

“I would like to work on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and autism. Both have affected friends and loved ones.”
–Kelly Lick, Homeland Center

“To work for the United Nations. I have seen the work they do in Sudan.”
–Joan Tracy, Susquehanna Township School District

“Law. I enjoy the psychology of the debate.”
–Judy Wray, Rite Aid Corporation

“I would be an athletic trainer. As an athletic trainer, I would help athletes train for their sports and assist them in recovering from injuries.”
–Linda Kreiser, Lower Dauphin School District




What is your favorite hobby/pastime?
“I’ve been playing the cello since I was 8, and I’ll play for church on Sundays or perform for community concerts throughout the year.”
–Alison Bach, Conte Wealth Advisors

“A good dinner out with family and friends.”
–Debra L. Yates, Plastic Surgery Center, Ltd.

“Fishing and golfing.”
–Dawn Milstead, Geneia

“Going to the movies and spending time with family.”
–Jacquelyn Anderson, Penn National Insurance

“I’m addicted to sports. So anything sports-related, I’m in!”
–Leigh Ann M. Urban, Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District

“I love going to the movies and to any type of theater/Broadway show. The arts are very relaxing for me and spark my creativity.”
–Rogette Harris, Dauphin County Democratic Committee

“Looking for shells at different beaches.”
–Linda Dietzel, The Hershey Company

“Reading historical fiction, entertaining friends and family.”
–Marla Sheaffer, Leadership Harrisburg Area

Add your comment:
Edit Module