Women TIES Retreat


(in order of appearance)

Tracy Higginbotham

Casey Crabill

Gwen Webber-McLeod

Laura Serway

Kathleen Hochul

Susan Bertrand

Mary Kate Intaglietta

Joanne Lenweaver

Anna Hartwell

Jodi DeAugustine

Anne Messenger

Musical Contributors:

Gail Lyons

Women TIES Advisory Board Members:

Joan Powers

Karen McMahon

Shannon Magari, ScD, MPH, MS


Tracy HigginbothamTracy Higginbotham

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham is the Founder and President of Women TIES (Women Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success) a company specializing in promoting, publicizing and uniting women entrepreneurs and their companies online and in person in order to cultivate strong economic relationships to advance their companies and eradicate pay inequality.

In 1995, Tracy created her first company, Five Star Events, an events management company which she ran for 15 years. In 2005, Tracy embraced her passion for supporting other women entrepreneurs and created her second company, Women TIES, LLC, in order to create a larger and stronger geographic buying network for women business owners across New York.

In 2011, Tracy created a division of Women TIES called the Women's Athletic Network, which promotes athletic events for women entrepreneurs to participate in, train for or support as spectators. In 2017, Higginbotham created a Women's Rights Equality Division to Women TIES to unite women who are interested in being more involved with equality issues for women.

Higginbotham is a 1986 graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and post graduate studies in Business Management.

Tracy's dedication to supporting women entrepreneurship was recognized by the Small Business Administration twice — once in 2005 and again in 2011 when she received the Region II "Women Owned Business Champion Award." The Women Business Champion award is given to someone for their significant contributions as an outstanding small business person and for dedicated support of small business.

Higginbotham has received numerous awards including the 2015 WCNY "Women Who Make America" Award, 2013 Zonta Crystal Ball Award, Women in Business Award, 25 Women in Leadership Award, the Girl Scouts "The 100" who Inspire Girls to Achieve and Lead, 40 Under 40 Award, and the SUNY Oswego Alumni Association Community Service Award.

Higginbotham is an Advisory Board Member of the State University of New York at Oswego School of Business; Board Member of the Upstate Women's Business Center in Utica; Advisory Board Member of Maureen's Hope Foundation, and 261 Fearless Club Director Advisor.

She was the columnist of the Syracuse Post Standard's "Ask the Entrepreneur" column for 11 years from 2001-2012. She has produced an inspirational e-newsletter for women entrepreneurs from 2005 to 2017. She is also the Past Chairwoman of the 40 Below Emerging Entrepreneurs Program and Past Public Relations Co-Chair of the Women's Fund of New York.
Higginbotham is also a published writer whose inspirational short stories and articles appear in several national publications and books, including the 2009 Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms.

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Casey Crabill Casey Crabill

Dr. Casey Crabill is Onondaga Community College's eighth President, leading Central New York's second largest undergraduate college with over 12,000 students, 550 full and part-time faculty and staff, and 460 adjunct faculty members, and an annual operating budget of $78 million. Founded in 1962, Onondaga is a two-year college operating under the State University of New York (SUNY) system, and is locally sponsored by Onondaga County.

Onondaga Community College's 280-acre main campus is located on scenic Onondaga Hill, approximately four miles from the city of Syracuse. The campus includes seven academic buildings, the state-of-the-art SRC Arena and Events Center, an athletics complex, and four residence halls accommodating nearly 900 residential students. It also operates a North Site satellite campus in Liverpool. Onondaga offers nearly 50 programs of study; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees available on campus through its regional higher education center, and more than 80 transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities throughout the region and country. The College also offers extensive community education and workforce development programs, including classes for professional and personal development, customized training for local businesses, and special programs for small business, children and teens, and other important audiences.

Prior to joining Onondaga Community College, Dr. Crabill served from 2006 to 2013 as president of Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey, where her accomplishments included setting record student enrollment; obtaining a $4.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train workers in new career paths; earning national awards for its Service Learning Program; becoming the first community college in the country to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; being selected as of one of 30 community colleges nationwide for the Achieving the Dream 2011 Cohort; and adding several new academic degree and certificate programs.

She has also served as president of the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA, from 1999 to 2006; as acting president and dean of Learning and Student Development at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT; and division chair for Academic Development and Learning Support at Dundalk Community College in Dundalk, MD. Dr. Crabill received her B.A. in English from Skidmore College and an M.S. in Teaching English as a Second Language and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, both from the State University of New York at Albany.

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Gwen Webber-McLeodGwen Webber-McLeod

Gwendolyn (Gwen) Webber-McLeod, M.S., is President/CEO of Gwen, Inc. She has over 30 years of experience in leadership/organization development, facilitation, strategic planning, the development of effective coalitions/collaborations, helping companies design and implement diversity/inclusion strategies and the strategic development of women and minority leaders. Gwen is a frequently sought after lecturer and conference keynote speaker on the topic of leadership. Her clients are CEOs, executive and mid-level managers, and leadership teams in public, private, health care and education businesses and organizations. Gwen, Inc. exists for the sole purpose of helping leaders achieve business goals by focusing on the competencies of confidence, competence, courage and calm.

In addition, in 2009, Gwen founded You Can't Fail (Because Your History Says You Can't) conference as an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind conference designed to provide a strategically designed multicultural leadership development experience for professional women of color and women leaders of other races and cultures who support them. It was founded as a way to pay her success forward to other women leaders. You Can't Fail is a unique opportunity to promote the positive growth of this important group of established and emerging leaders. In 2015 You Can't Fail, Inc. was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization devoted to the development of emerging women leaders.

Gwen writes "The Leadership Journey" column for Auburn's hometown newspaper, The Citizen, and is a blogger for the "Great Black Speakers" blog. She is a published author with contributions most recently featured in Resilience: Living Life by Design by Dr. Deana Murphy and published in 2015 and available on Amazon. Her chapter, "Thriving Through a Season of Grief," chronicles how the vision for incorporating Gwen, Inc. was the result learning to thrive through a difficult moment in life.

Gwen contributes her success to the support of her loving family and to working daily to simply be the type of leader she believes God called her to be—A Servant Leader.

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Laura SerwayLaura Serway

Laura was born and raised in Central New York. Her work brought her to various cities throughout the country, until 2003 when she decided to move back to her home — Central New York. Highly respected for her work in the media industry and known for her event planning and sales skills training, Laura retired in late 2012 and now dedicates all of her time to current projects. Once a media expert always a media expert, Laura still works with various companies in Central New York, assisting them with their media relations and event marketing concepts.

Laura co-owns Laci's Tapas Bar, Laci's Real Estate Ventures and Laci's Luscious Sauce with her life partner Cindy Seymour. Laci's Luscious Sauce, a favorite sauce that Cindy created, is used in various recipes and has been selling at the local Wegmans since November 2015.

She has a passion for life and shares her many talents by giving of her time and energy to various community organizations such as AccessCNY with the David Clark Learning Center, New York State Brain Injury Association, Syracuse Chapter, Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation, Salvation Army Civic Luncheon Committee and many other organizations. Being a successful female entrepreneur sanctioned her a seat on WISE Women's Business Center Advisory Board and as an active member of the Women Presidents' Organization.

In 2013, Laura was asked by CenterState CEO to be on the annual panel of 7 Habits of 7 Highly Successful People, sharing her habits that have abetted her as a successful, highly-regarded business woman in Central New York.

In 2014, Laura and Cindy were awarded the first ever Community Visionary Award, from CenterState CEO, sponsored by Wegmans. The vision and the energy that they both brought to the Hawley Green Historic District has helped re-energize an otherwise deteriorating neighborhood.

Laura credits much of her success to her father, who taught her to always be disciplined and to embrace and practice ethical business principles, while always being kind at a very young age. Every Tuesday thru Saturday evening, you will find her greeting their guests, telling jokes, and embracing each moment at various tables with amazing hospitality at Laci's Tapas Bar.

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Kathleen HochulKathleen Hochul

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was elected in 2014. Prior to her role as a statewide official, she was elected at both the Federal and local level—she was a Member of Congress in New York's 26th Congressional District, served as Erie County Clerk, and began her career in public office on her local town board.

The Lieutenant Governor chairs Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils, which have reinvented economic development by empowering local leaders in business and academia. This strategy has brought more jobs than ever before to New York State.

As the highest ranking female elected official in New York State, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is committed to inspiring a new generation of women to enter public service or aspire to leadership within their chosen field through the #NYWomenLead initiative. The Lieutenant Governor spearheads the administration's key efforts to advance equality, championing campaigns for fair wages, paid family leave, Enough is Enough to combat sexual assault on college campuses, and eliminating the wage gap. In 2016, she was elected chair of New York State's Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission.

The Lieutenant Governor is dedicated to her role as the Governor's eyes and ears on the ground. She makes a point of traveling to all 62 counties every year she's in office, traveling enough miles to circle the globe over 3 times.

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Susan BertrandSusan Bertrand

Susan Bertrand is the President and Founder of Maureen's Hope Foundation, which she began in 2004 in memory of her sister, Maureen, who lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 31. Susan resides in Baldwinsville, NY, with her husband Ron and three sons, Connor, Ronnie and Charlie. Sue sits on the board of the Baldwinsville Community Scholarship Foundation, as well as the Northwest Family YMCA. Past awards include the 2012 Post Standard Achievement Award, the 2013 Outstanding Philanthropist awarded by the CNY Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Girl Scouts CNY Woman of Distinction Award. A favorite quote is, "Little miracles come into our lives not on huge bolts of lightning, but on gentle beams of light, hope and love." —Dan Zadra

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Mary Kate IntagliettaMary Kate Intaglietta

Accomplished non-profit executive, Ms. Intaglietta has over 13 years of experience in strategic planning, fiscal management, public relations, operations, and fundraising for both national and local organizations. A native of Central New York, Ms. Intaglietta is currently the Executive Director of Paige's Butterfly Run, Inc., a local non-profit dedicated to funds with integrity to benefit current and future pediatric cancer patients and their families in Central New York through the sponsorship of pediatric oncology research and patient programs at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse.

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Joanne LenweaverJoanne Lenweaver

A life-long student of the entrepreneurial spirit, whether within her women-owned business or other large corporations, Joanne believes in creative problem solving, calculated disruption, and never accepting the status quo in any situation. Starting in 1985, Joanne, with her husband Dave, guided their design firm of remarkably talented creatives through many award-winning years. Lenweaver Advertising+Design Inc. was featured in national media for its innovative use of the first Apple Macintosh installations in a design firm setting in the US. Lenweaver A+D led the way in a new world preceding the current standard, Adobe InDesign. Inspired by the tech explosion of the 1990s, the firm diversified into FoodWeb®, which was one of the first food portals on the web. Linking almost 2,000 food and food products sites and preceding Google and other search engines, FoodWeb pushed the limits of established web creation at the time. As a result of the immersion into food promotion and data, LA+D, Inc. expanded its expertise in marketing food products to European gourmet cheese.

Most recently, in the last year, Joanne, as Director of the WISE Women's Business Center has taken the Center to a new level—its tenth anniversary as a Women's Business Center, which in 10 years has served more than 8,000 clients and provided more than 10,000 hours of business training.

Joanne currently lives on a scenic organic farm in Fabius, NY, with her husband Dave. Most recently, she has been awarded: "Dedication to Entrepreneurship," 2017, Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University; Guest Speaker and State Department Delegate to the WE-APEC conference, Lima, Peru, 2016; Guest Speaker to the WE-APEC conference, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016; accepted for WISE, New State Broadcasters' Award for special programming with Cumulus Media, Radio 93Q, 2016, – Women in Entrepreneurship profiles/interviews; "Women of Distinction" 2016, by New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe; 2015 Successful Business Women Awards for Outstanding Mentor, CNY Business Media; Economic Champion 2013, WISE Women's Business Center, by CenterState CEO; Zonta Crystal Award 2013 by Zonta International; "Women Who Mean Business" 2012 by the Red Cross; Falcone Center "Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award" 2011, Syracuse University and The US Small Business Administration "Women's Business Center of the Year" 2011.

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Anna HartwellAnna Hartwell

Anna was born and raised in California, making her way to the Syracuse area in 2002 by way of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The first 10 years of her career were spent as an Executive Assistant. After moving to Syracuse she was forced to change careers and landed at Welch Allyn working in Purchasing. Although blessed to work for an organization like Welch Allyn she left after 10 years with the decision to follow her passion.

She has since been greatly rewarded through helping people build a solid foundation for income protection and retirement planning. What makes Anna successful is her sincere passion for connecting with people to understand who they are and what they want.

Anna believes strong connections and strong relationships are crucial in helping people achieve their dreams. Understanding people allows her to build a plan using the best resources in the industry to help families achieve their dreams.

In her free time, Anna enjoys golf, networking, family time, local festivals, outdoor activities and serving on the Board of Directors as President of WBOC.

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Jodi DeAugustineJodi DeAugustine

Jodi DeAugustine has been in the financial/banking industry since 1986, currently employed by Pathfinder Bank at their Pike Block office in downtown Syracuse. In her tenure she has served in many capacities for international and local community banks within CNY. Prior roles have been VP Retail Banking, VP Commercial Lending, VP Branch Administration, and Capital Campaign Coordinator for Food Bank of CNY. Specialties include organizational management/leadership, board development, fundraising, staff development, strategic planning, portfolio management, relationship building, new business development, and network expansion. Jodi is a graduate of SUNY Cortland with a degree in Economics/Management and has pursued her MBA through LeMoyne College.

As a community representative, Jodi serves on the Madden School of Business at LeMoyne College Advisory Board (2017-present), is Co-Founder of HerPath to Success (2016-present), is past President and has served on the Vera House Agency Board of Directors (2003-2010), currently serves as Chair of the Vera House Foundation Board (2010-present), serves as Board Member of Gigi's Playhouse-Syracuse, Food Bank of Central NY Strategic Planning Committee and Co-Coordinator of their Capital Campaign (2010-2012), Greater Camillus Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2000-2004), St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center Auxiliary (2002-2005), St. Rose of Lima School Board of Directors (2003-2007), and member of CenterState CEO Government Relations Committee. Volunteer service includes the Samaritan Center, Vera House Sexual Assault Advocate, Vera House White Ribbon Campaign Committee, Vera House New Beginnings Gala Committee, Vera House Speakers Bureau, Gigi's Playhouse-Syracuse Program Committee, CCD Teacher at St. Rose of Lima Parish, and former member of the Strategic Planning Commission for the Syracuse Diocese Schools.

Passions in her life are her faith and her very large extended family, including her immediate family: husband Philip, a successful teacher and coach; and daughters Kennedy Anne, a talented artist and film student at SUNY Purchase; and Madison Rose, a talented athlete and Health and Human Services student at Nazareth College. Favorite activites include running, cross-fit, and yoga.

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Anne MessengerAnne Messenger

A career management professional, business owner, teacher and mother, Anne Messenger has worked her entire life to lift people up and bring them together. Through her work in both public and private sectors, Anne has helped thousands of Central New Yorkers find gainful employment.

The daughter of a steel worker and homemaker, Anne was instilled from a young age with her family's rock-solid work ethic and can-do attitude. After college, Anne worked in the financial industry before becoming a teacher. Anne taught many different grades, finding a favorite niche as a special education teacher in the North Syracuse School District. It was during this time that Anne had her daughter, and, just a year later, lost her husband to heart disease and cancer. As a result, Anne learned firsthand the struggles single parents face.

When Allied Chemical laid off 1,400 workers in 1985, Anne took a lead role in forming the federally funded CNY Worker Reemployment Center, helping forge the center into a beacon of hope for Central New York workers who found themselves displaced by plant closings and downsizing. Over the course of the next decade, as Executive Director of the Syracuse-Onondaga County Private Industry Council and then as Career Center Director at Lockheed Martin, Anne helped secure and leverage public grants and private funding in order to provide world-class job search and training programs to those in need.

In 1997, Anne formed Messenger Associates, putting her knowledge of career management and human resources to work for a nationwide, broad base of clients. Her expertise as an executive coach and facilitator led to her selection as Chapter Chair of three chapters of the Women Presidents' Organization, a global non-profit member organization for women presidents, CEOs, and managing directors of privately held, multimillion dollar companies.

Anne serves our community in a number of leadership positions. She currently sits on the boards of CenterState CEO and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. She is a member of St. Joseph's Health Council of Advisors and Syracuse University's Thursday Morning Roundtable, and a founder of Syracuse Social Media Breakfast. Anne was the 2013 Syracuse Go Red For Women Campaign Chair and is the former board chair of the Community Foundation of Central New York, Onondaga Community College, and the Syracuse Stage Board of Trustees. Anne is a past board member of the CNY Girl Scout Council, the Leadership Great Syracuse Board, the Onondaga County Water Authority, the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights, the United Negro College Fund Board, the United Way, and the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.

Anne earned her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, teaching certifications from Hunter College and San Jose University, and completed an Executive Program in Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The proud mother of Sarah Longley, a sales leader at CareerBuilder in Chicago, Anne resides in Manlius. She plays tennis, gardens, and doesn't know what she'd do without her book club.

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Musical Contributors:


Gail LyonsGail Lyons

Gail Rupert Lyons has spent her career as a harpist and teacher in Syracuse, NY. Mrs. Lyons is Professor Emeritus at Onondaga Community College and Professor of Harp at Syracuse University for more than 40 years. She was Principal Harp with the Syracuse Symphony from 1967-1971.

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Women TIES Advisory Board Members:


Joan PowersJoan Powers

Joan Powers is the Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College. She has been with the SBDC since 1996, first as a Business Advisor, Assistant Director and as Director since 2013. The SBDC provides customized solutions through advisement, education, research and advocacy for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and the Small and Medium Enterprise community. Joan has extensive experience in accounting related fields. Prior to joining the SBDC, she worked in the private sector for almost 20 years handling the payroll for 5000 employees, plus sales and property taxes for the largest Burger King franchise in the country. Joan is a Board of Trustee member for the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC). She received her B.A. and M.S. degree in accounting from Syracuse University.

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Karen McMahonKaren McMahon

Karen McMahon is The Affiliate Whisperer, providing strategic planning, in-house evaluation, and coaching to guide advertisers to make the most of their affiliate programs. Karen has worked as an affiliate publisher for the last nine years, heading up a successful loyalty model affiliate program. In addition, she has worked as a high growth affiliate manager for over seven years. Karen began her career in advocacy and politics before joining her husband's family business, helping to build it into a nationwide multi-million dollar company. Karen's wide range of business experience, "thinking outside-the-box" creative ideas, and natural intuition direct her to successfully meet the needs of her clients.

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Shannon Magari, ScD, MPH, MSShannon Magari, ScD, MPH, MS

Shannon is a principal owner of Colden Corporation, a privately held company, wholly owned and managed by five senior professionals, all actively involved in the practice. Shannon serves as vice president of health sciences and co-chair of the litigation support practice. She aids clients in determining the origin and nature of workplace health concerns and provides litigation support in suspected cases of occupationally or environmentally induced illnesses. Over the course of 10+ years, Shannon has evaluated myriad industrial and nonindustrial settings and a wide range of health effects. She has investigated occupational and environmental clusters involving reproductive, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory illness.

Shannon holds a doctor of science in environmental health from Harvard University with a concentration in occupational epidemiology. Her thesis focused on evaluating the cardiovascular health effects of airborne particulate air pollution. She also holds a master of public health in epidemiology and biostatistics from Boston University, a master of science in engineering science from Dartmouth College, and a bachelor of science in bioengineering from Syracuse University.

Shannon continues to perform air quality research and teaches and advises students through academic appointments at the Harvard School of Public Health, SUNY Upstate Medical Center and the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University where she is advising Engineers Without Borders students working on the health and safety aspects of developing a kitchen in an orphanage in Kenya. Shannon is also a member of the Women TIES Advisory Board.

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