Bios for the fabulous women presenting at the WBON Spring Conference 2021.
(Listed in alphabetical order.)
Mad Motion, LLC
Marion Abrams has been podcasting for 8 years and has a diverse background in content creation, and strategy. Her career began in documentary filmmaking in NYC but the mountains called. She moved to Vermont where she worked on TV projects airing on PBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, HGTV, Spike TV, OLN, Spike TV and The History Channel and earned NE Emmy nominations. In 2011 Marion directed the film “Flood Bound,” an intimate portrayal of her town’s resilience in the face of a natural disaster. Today she produces the “Spartan Up!” podcast which she co-developed with Joe De Sena the founder and CEO of Spartan, it boasts over 30 million views and downloads to date. Marion works with thought leaders, business leaders, and podcast hosts to design and elevate their podcast presence, and hosts her own podcast “Grounded Content.”
MINDY HIGGINS BERO
Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group
Mindy Higgins Bero joined Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group in September 2014 as a Client Advisor in our Burlington office. She is responsible for the development and cultivation of medium to large commercial clients. Mindy attended Reims Management School in Reims, France and she is a graduate of Northeastern University with a B.S. in International Business. Mindy represents the United Way of Northwest Vermont as a Pomeroy Ambassador and volunteers as an instructor for the Center for Women & Enterprise teaching new business owners the basics of insurance in business. Mindy resides in Essex with her husband and two young children.
Small Business Administration Vermont
Darcy Carter is the District Director of the SBA Vermont office since 2008. She is responsible for the delivery and management of the U. S. Small Business Administration’s financial and business development programs throughout the state of Vermont.
Vermont Federal Credit Union
Lea Coker has been in the commercial finance industry in Vermont for over eight years and is currently a business lender at Vermont Federal Credit Union, where she has worked since 2016. She loves that her work takes her across the state – she has learned so much about our region, communities, and the strength and resilience of Vermont business owners. She is also proud to work for a not-for-profit organization that is truly able to give back to the community, as community involvement has always been a priority for her throughout her career. Lea has spent most of her life in Vermont with two notable exceptions:She attended college in Jackson, Mississippi, and later went on to spend two years working as a high school English teaching assistant in Madrid, Spain. She studied creative writing in college and loves to read and write in her spare time. She aspires to publish a novel someday! Her other hobbies include running, skiing, hiking, baking, and hanging out with her three-year-old daughter, husband, and a very mischievous orange cat at their home in Jericho.
Write Stories Now
Paula Diaco, book and writing coach, helps creative entrepreneurs play with words and language. Using an array of storytelling tools, she shows them how to produce content that builds their platform of informed thought and ideas as well as the larger book projects they want to complete.
Out of the Office Virtual Assistance
Denise Dukette, former marketing director, former admin, former “glue that keeps it all together,” is the insanely curious, super enthusiastic owner Out of the Office Virtual Assistance. Working from her home office in Vermont since 2006, Denise works with select clients who make the world a better place and pass the “Is Awesome to Work With Test” utilizing automation to streamline administrative tasks while curating consistent content for digital marketing. Currently, Denise also is business mentor and Co-Chair of SCORE Vermont and is new to the Board of >WBON. In her free time, Denise enjoys her XBox (a little too much), reading, attending Vermont Lake Monsters games, and, when Mother Nature allows, kayaking.
PATRICIA C. HEFFERNAN
Marketing Partners, Inc.
Pat Heffernan is president and cofounder of Marketing Partners, Inc., a Burlington, Vermont-based creative agency established in 1992. Marketing Partners helps mission-driven organizations amplify their impact through strategic communication. Prior to establishing her own business, Pat served as Associate Dean at Vermont Law School. She is a PhD candidate in communication and change theory, holds an MBA, a BA, and has also earned the designation of Certified Management Consultant (CMC). Pat has helped small and women-owned businesses for years — as founding president and board member of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), founder and board member of Women Business Owners Network, member of the SBA Region I Advisory Council, co-chair of the Vermont delegation to the White House Conference on Small Business, and currently as co-chair and board member of the American Sustainable Business Council. Pat is a dedicated cook who delights in the outdoors as a winter trekker, kayaker, and long-distance cyclist (as in 100-mile bike rides).
Groennfell Meadery and Havoc Mead
Kelly Klein is the founder and CEO of Groennfell Meadery and Havoc Mead, a certified B Corp located in St. Albans, Vermont. Groennfell and Havoc brew craft mead perfect for craft beverage fans: with light carbonation, single-digit alcohol content, and a dry finish, they are smooth and supremely drinkable. Kelly has worked since the company’s founding to use the business as a force for good and to create a healthy, supportive environment for their growing team of employees.
DEVI CURRIER MOMOT
Devi Currier Momot is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Twinstate Technologies®, the leading provider of progressive technological solutions in the Northeast. Devi is a passionate leader in the information technology space and an active community member, sharing her expertise on advisory councils for global technology titans and serving as the president of the InfraGard Albany Member Alliance. She is passionate about helping organizations understand the threats they face and their role in protecting our Nation’s economy. Under her leadership, Twinstate has become an award-winning certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) on the Federal level and in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. A lifelong learner, Devi has become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) by (ISC)2, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium Inc. She has core cybersecurity leadership certifications from the SANS Institute, including the GSLC® and GISP® and continues to attain new certifications with regularity.
Northfield Farmers Market
Cassie Morse is a farm wife and international corporate communications consultant who lives at the end of a dirt road on top of a hill in Northfield, VT, where she manages the local farmers’ market and is the town moderator. She and Charlie operate a small farm raising pigs, chickens and vegetables, with their dog Lincoln, and puppycats Tango and Mayhem. Before living her dream in Vermont, Cassie served in the U.S. Navy, then built a career as a branding, marketing and communications professional in corporate America, primarily in the commercial nuclear power sector. She finished her career at Westinghouse Electric Company where she was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications worldwide. Since moving to Vermont in 2016, she has managed projects for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, and the Washington County Substance Abuse Regional Partnership at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, VT.
Main Street Alliance of Vermont
Morgan Nichols, a Vermont native, Emerge VT graduate, board member of Stowe Vibrancy and former Stowe Selectboard member, leads the Main Street Alliance of Vermont with first-hand knowledge of local politics and community development. With a wide-ranging background including education, public service, event production, and most recently in the field of leadership development, Morgan is passionate about working with the small business community to find ways to address the complex and intersectional issues that face Vermonters.
Hatch Law & Consulting, PLC
Katherine O’Neill is a small business and start-up attorney serving clients throughout Vermont. Passionate about helping people pursue their dreams of stepping out on their own and creating their own businesses, Kat helps clients with their transactional business law matters, explaining concepts in plain English. With an eye towards the sweet spot of providing quality legal services that don’t break the bank, Kat aims to provide value with her approachability, flexibility, and wide array of professional contacts throughout the business community in Vermont and beyond.
Center for Women & Enterprise Vermont
Gwen Pokalo is the Director of the Center for Women & Enterprise Vermont which provides statewide individual business counseling, training, and certification to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and expand their businesses. She got started as an entrepreneur when she developed one of the first student-run retail incubators in the country featuring products from emerging Vermont entrepreneurs. She owned an artist representation and business consulting firm and has worked in rural development research and held teaching positions at Vermont colleges around the state. In addition, Gwen serves on the boards of LaunchVT, the Vermont Community Loan Fund, and the Women’s Business Owners Network (WBON).
Sas Stewart is an entrepreneur passionate about creating products, spaces, and events that engage and activate community. She co-founded Stonecutter Spirits, an award-winning craft spirits distillery in Middlebury, Vermont, and later launched the activist cocktail bar Highball Social in Burlington, Vermont. Sas is also the creator of Adventure Dinners, the sought after pop-up cocktail dinner series in secret locations around Vermont, now in its fifth year.
In 2019 Sas was named one of the top 50 entrepreneurs to watch in the US, and currently consults in brand and business strategy with a specialization in food, beverage, and hospitality.
Sas and her projects have been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Food and Wine, Outside Magazine, Sift, Bloomberg, Imbibe, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications.
She is a graduate of the SBA Emerging Leaders program, and holds a B.A in English from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Sustainable Planning and Development from Pratt Institute.
Ms. Schibli is an experienced entrepreneur, forward thinker and creative problem solver. She’s used technology as a way to introduce new online communities and markets. Her recent role as co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont, an online equity crowd-funding platform connecting all Vermonters with opportunities to invest in Vermont businesses, included not only creating the platform but also the development and education of a new market. In 2017, Milk Money won Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility’s (VBSR) Innovation and Inspiration Award. Her recent area of focus has been in the funding ecosystem for Vermont businesses by connecting the players while educating businesses of their funding options in a centralized place.
Passionate about the people and businesses of Vermont, in particular female founded/led businesses, Ms. Schibli led the charge to bring iFundWomen to Vermont as an alternative source of funding. In 2020, Louisa was a fellow at RSF Social Finance’s Integrated Capital Institute (ICI). With a focus on creating financial activists, the program teaches how using different forms of financial and social capital can be used as tools for positive change to complex social and environmental problems. She’s also a founding member of the Vermont Women’s Investor Network (WIN) that supports female investors and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Vermont with goals of pooling skills, expertise, and capital to help close the gender gap in funding; supporting local businesses; creating positive environmental and social impact; and generating positive financial return. Louisa is currently in this year’s cohort at the Vermont Leadership Institute where she’s learning about herself as a leader, the workings of complex systems and building awareness and authentic engagement with those of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
CHRISTINA R. UBL, CFP® CDFA™
Clute Wealth Management
Christina R. Ubl is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. She joined Clute Wealth Management (a Registered Investment Advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial) in 2000 and became a partner in 2014. As a partner, she enjoys the opportunity to work with small business owners and individuals on a daily basis helping them to pursue their financial and personal goals. She helps them to understand both the short- and long-term financial decisions. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Financial planning offered through Clute Wealth Management, LLC.
Since the start of her tenure as Executive in 2012, Vickie has supported over 1,000 Vermont professionals to reach deeper into their communities and build long lasting business relationships which have resulted in over $80 million in referred business here in Vermont!
Vickie has resided in Vermont since 2001 and has called Shelburne her home for the last eleven years. She lives with her opera-singing, computer-savvy husband, Neil, her 10-year old dog, Ajax, her 6-year old cat Tosca, and her 7-year old snake, Marley.
With a degree in Mathematics and 2 degrees in Opera Singing, Vickie’s background is a collection of food service, interior/exterior house painting, and a 5-year stint in Home and Auto Insurance in partnership with a 5-year BNI Membership. She is still actively involved as a professional Opera Singer and has been teaching voice lessons since 2002. Vickie has been a volunteer at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts for over 10 years, and is a board member on the ALS Association Northern New England Advisory Counsel. And if this isn’t enough, she also plays trumpet at UVM Basketball and Hockey games, and is the accordionist with the Vermont-based German Polka Band named IN-ZEL-DOOD-LER.
Her key to success is the based on the following quote: Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.
Perfect Pitches by Precious, LLC
Have you ever met the full-figured diva who has taken the business world by storm and won BIG? Well now you have! Precious L. Williams, also affectionately known as the #KillerPitchMaster, can help you #slayallcompetition with her “killer” elevator pitches, media pitches, and investor pitches. Precious is a world class master communicator who works with successful entrepreneurs and speakers and helps them take their professional pitching and speaking skills to the next level. With over 26 years of experience in creating unique speaking and public speaking techniques, Williams is also known for her innovative training programs and services to her clients and sales teams at Fortune 500 companies. These companies include Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, NBC Universal, etc.
As a 13-time national business elevator pitch champion, Williams has been on top television shows and publications for her pitching, branding, and professional speaking skills. She was featured on Season 8 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Forbes Magazine, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, the movie, “LEAP,” as well as several others around the world. In 2019 and 2020, Precious became a 2X best-selling author of the #1 business book series, “Bad Bitches with Power Pitches: For Women Entrepreneurs and Speakers Only” and has been featured on Time Square billboards, top podcasts and stages around the world.
The philosophy of her “killer” pitch is evident in the strategic and personalized creative communications and presentations solutions Williams puts forth. As serial entrepreneur, international professional speaker, and corporate trainer, Williams is equipped to bring life, authenticity, strategy, and boldness to all your oral and written communication needs.
Williams is a graduate of Spelman College and Rutgers School of Law. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more about Perfect Pitches by Precious, LLC, please visit: https://www.perfectpitchesbyprecious.com