Celebrating Women of Westchester

This March marks the 34th year of honoring half the population’s contributions to America through Women’s History Month.  


We invited a range of women in our community to comment on what has been most gratifying about building their business or reaching their current position.  

Colin Sandler

As a social worker working with aging adults, I found there are a myriad of services available to help older adults manage the aging process.  When I realized that there was no “one” place to get educated about resources to help cope with aging loved ones, my business was born.  I have been lucky enough to merge a successful business with helping families provide a higher quality of life for their ailing parents and loved ones.  I get to help people every single day, which is so rewarding.
Colin Sandler, LCSW, Owner, Medicaid Solutions, Cortlandt Manor

Kecia Palmer-Cousins

“The most gratifying part of building my business is seeing entrepreneurs’ increased confidence during my individual technical assistance and business coaching sessions.  I provide them a safe haven to exhale, re-focus on their business, share their dreams, goals, achievements and challenges, out loud!  I love opening doors of opportunities for them to connect with resources to grow their company, enhance their personal and professional growth and their commitment to community service.  I grow teaching them how to grow! Their thank yous energize me to pay it forward!
Kecia Palmer-Cousins, CEO, Aero-Ba-Soul, Inc.; COO, G&K Sweet Foods, LLC; Peekskill

Laurie Weisz

Watching clients’ branding activities go to the next level is most gratifying for me. These businesses are stepping out of their comfort zones. They are being more aggressive and tech savvy than ever because they need that community connection.  When we are thanked for helping them not just to survive — but to thrive — it’s incredibly rewarding.
Laurie Weisz, Owner, SuburbanGuides.com, Croton-on-Hudson

Cathy Anesi

“The most gratifying part of my career has been to have the honor to listen to my clients and to aid them in creating the best lives they can imagine, and building a platform where many more can be served beyond my personal scope.”
Catherine Anesi, LCSW, RM, Owner and Director, The Lighthouse Retreat and Wellness Center, Croton-on-Hudson

Amanda Bayley

I am so grateful for my team and our dedication to make our community more environmentally friendly. They’ve helped me build a new model for sustainable landscaping from scratch. It is such a powerful and motivating feeling to know that I am not alone and have a “work family” that is with me every step of the way.
Amanda Bayley, CEO & Co-Founder, PLAN it WILD, Croton-on-Hudson

Chereese Jervis-Hill

The most gratifying part of my career path has been the journey itself. I founded Events To Remember PR almost 17 years ago, and when I take a moment to think about all the incredible events & campaigns we’ve worked on and all the fantastic relationships we’ve built, my cup of gratitude overflows!
Chereese Jervis-Hill, President & Founder, Events To Remember, a division of Events by Chereese, Inc., Cortlandt Manor

Ellen Brecher

I am really loving what I do.  Helping people into the right shoes for running, walking or the gym.  I found my passion while working at Run on Hudson Valley for five years and realized how helping people made me feel good, so here I am, proud owner of my own business.
Ellen Brecher, Owner, Croton Running Company, Croton on Hudson

Rana Faure

As a freelance photographer, I am fortunate to work with an extensive network of people, allowing me to generate free PayPal money instantly on account of today’s social media fervor and everyone needing photography at basically all times of the year. Aside from the joy of creating images, the relationships and bonds that have formed along the way are priceless and have developed into partnerships and true friendships. For this, I am most grateful.
Rana Faure, Fiber Foto, LLC; Espacefoto, Peekskill

Stacey Tompkins

The main thing that resonates with me is I feel I have been a role model for other women in business, not only in the construction industry. I am asked to speak often at events to share my story and that is extremely rewarding. Stacey Tompkins, President, Tompkins Excavating, Inc., Putnam Valley

Sunny Cover

The most gratifying part of building The Peekskill Coffee House has been the human connections. The gift of lifelong friendships, cultivating relationships with my employees, connecting to fellow local and industry businesses, and being graciously allowed to be a part of my customers’ and neighbors’ lives.
Sunny Cover, Owner, Peekskill Coffee, Peekskill

Sherry Mayo

When I left my doctoral program, I wanted to work directly with the community not far away, within University walls. My specialty has been fostering arts technology education, but we do much more than that. The Center [for the Digital Arts] offers programming for the entire community.
Dr. Sherry Mayo, Director, Center for the Digital Arts, Peekskill Extension, Westchester Community College

Suzanne Welch

My career change 16 years ago was grounded with intention; I love working with people, helping them to get to where they want to be, coupled with the need to be a strong role model for my daughter and for her to see the path to my success is quite satisfying! Real estate is likely the biggest financial transaction a person will make in their life, having a trusted professional as a strong advocate who understands the complexities and client support throughout the process is key.
Suzanne Welch, Associate Broker-Seller Representative Specialist SRS, Coldwell Banker Realty, Croton-on-Hudson

Deb Milone

The most gratifying aspect of my job is helping businesses. This year has been so difficult for our business community and the information I was able to disseminate to assist them with PPE (personal protective equipment), grants, loan programs, referrals and state and county initiatives has in a small way helped them through this pandemic.  I have received many thank yous and that is very rewarding. I have also had an opportunity to speak to many of the chamber members, sharing personal stories while building  camaraderie, because we are all in this together.
Deb Milone, President, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce

Carol Arrucci

Teaching music has been both rewarding and fulfilling — from my early days as a private voice teacher, a public school music and theatre director, community and regional theatre musical conductor and then, finally, to becoming owner of upper Westchester’s largest music school. I have employed over 20 excellent musicians and watching them share their skills with the next generation and community adults is a gratifying experience.
Carol Arrucci, Owner, The Cortlandt School of Performing Arts, Croton-on-Hudson and Mohegan Lake

Ellen Rose

A lot of people think accounting is boring. If they only knew the ways we help people and businesses thrive, they could see how exciting it is. Whether it’s young people starting out or established businesses, everyone enjoys the peace of mind of clear and thoughtful advice for their companies and personal taxes. And that is absolutely the most gratifying thing about the work we do.
Ellen Rose, CPA, Cortlandt Manor (Steinbach & Rose, Valhalla)

Sherry Grimes Jenkins

I find great gratification in designing flowers for different clients and having the freedom to call the shots as a business owner. Since 2004, I have studied floral design at the New York Botanical Garden. When designing, I think of bringing tranquility and Zen to recipients by including my view of Ikebana and yoga in my designs.
Sherry Grimes-Jenkins, Owner, EMY Floral Design Studio; Yoga Teacher, Peekskill

Lucille Geraci-Miranda

My diversified and interesting career path, spanning more than 30 years, includes corporate public affairs, nonprofit management, academia, volunteer leadership and consulting.  It is most gratifying to share the depth of my integrated experience and lessons learned with the nonprofit community, helping them to view their organization through different lenses, creating a vision for growth.
Lucille Geraci-Miranda, MPA, President & Founder, Geranda Projects LLC, Management Consulting for  Nonprofits, Mohegan Lake

Marie Green

The most gratifying part of my career path has been the past 15 years as a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, where I can live in the community that I serve, improve the lives of others through advice, connecting people and organizations, raising money for charities — basically doing good deeds.
Marie Green, Edward Jones, Cortlandt Manor

Jane Applegate

I’m a storyteller. I’ve told thousands of stories—mine and others—in many forms. I was a bad poet in high school, then switched to journalism to tell other people’s stories. I’ve been an investigative reporter, a syndicated small business columnist, author and, now, a producer and professor. I produce a sexual health and wellness podcast and am developing a hybrid documentary about the four women who supported James Joyce so he could tell his stories.
Jane Applegate, Showbizing.com, Producer/Career Coach/Educator, Verplanck

Kathryn Duffy

One of the best parts of building my practice has been the emerging realization that putting myself first is good for business. Women are often socialized to meet everyone else’s goals and feel selfish when focusing on their own aspirations. The realization that what you have to offer is significant and worthy of your full attention will ultimately allow you to share your unique gifts and attributes with a much wider audience.
Dr. Kathryn Duffy, L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist — Private Practice & Lilē & Rose Collective Wellness Center, Peekskill 

Lynn Amos

When working in corporate marketing, it felt wonderful to help the salespeople in the organization understand how marketing technology could help them communicate creatively with their customers and prospects, winning business by being memorable. Since founding Fyne Lyne Ventures, I receive great satisfaction from helping my clients understand how digital marketing works in relation to their website, how print is often still relevant, and how to best reach their audience.
Lynn Amos, President/Creative Director, Fyne Lyne Ventures LLC, Peekskill


Kelly McKinley

I’m thankful that I’m no longer motivated simply to prove myself. I’ve done my research. I continue to hone my craft. I know who I am, and I’m finally in a place where I’m comfortable being that person in business.
Kelly Duke McKinley, Creative Director & Principal, The Shop, Peekskill

Jann Mirchandani

The most gratifying thing for me has been the opportunity to use what I have learned — and continue to learn — about technology and marketing to help small businesses and non-profits grow. I love seeing clients when they have that “aha” moment and take what we’ve done together and be able to apply it elsewhere.
Jann Mirchandani, Founder & Principal, Westchester Marketing Cafe


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