Here’s to the Ladies Who Lead 

Last month, 914INC. magazine honored 21 local leaders at its annual Women in Business Awards luncheon. Here we present two recipients from Northern Westchester who are familiar to the River Journal North audience. (Profiles text by 914INC.) 

Amanda Bayley President + CEO  Plan It Wild 

Amanda always had an “ecopreneurian” spirit. She began her career with a cutting-edge environmental engineering firm, installing rain gardens and bioswales in New York City sidewalks. From there, she worked as a project manager for the New York City Parks Department, managing the funding for green infrastructure and creating the first green infrastructure maintenance protocol for the city. With a multitude of successfully completed projects under her belt and a deep understanding of the importance of green spaces, Bayley founded Plan It Wild. 

The company has a very simple mission with a global impact: to transform residential and commercial landscapes into better environments by putting biodiversity back into the ecosystem, expanding the population of pollinators, and creating homes for wildlife.  

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“We can help restore nature in our own private yards,” explains Bayley. “The monarch butterfly can only land on milkweed. If we don’t have that plant, we don’t have butterflies. So not only is it beautiful, it’s also functional. 

For Bayley, creating “the now” also means building a better future for county wildlife, even if it’s one yard at a time. “I love seeing a planting years after it’s been completed,” she says, “because it’s functioning as it’s supposed to.” 

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Deborah Milone President Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce

When she left the grind of a first career in television, then another in publishing, Deb craved more stability in her life. It brought her to the presidency of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, in Peekskill.

“I made a quality-of-life decision and decided to do something I love,” she says. 

She also loves that no two days are the same at the Chamber. Her position demands strategizing, multitasking, and creating clear priorities. In her 11 years at the helm, she has grown the chamber membership by nearly 50%, to more than 500.  

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Deb’s also proud of starting the Chamber’s non-profit foundation and a government action committee, with a strong focus on legislative advocacy for her members. Milone believes the Chamber became a vital resource during the pandemic, helping clear the way for struggling businesses. 

Her leadership and personal style during the last 18 months were consistent with how she’s mapped out her professional life. “I’ve always followed a path, trusted my instincts, and didn’t let negativity affect me. I’ve persevered and listened to my inner voice.” 

 

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