2022 #WomenInBiz

October is Women in Business Month

1Berkshire has chosen October as a special time for focused recognition of the dedication, talents, contributions, and successes of the women powering the Berkshires’ local economy. All 1Berkshire members who identify as a woman in business, are invited to participation in Women in Business Month. Read their thoughts and stories below. Visit our Women in Business page.

Want to Participate?

  • Make sure to follow us on social media for more shout outs and #WomeninBiz recognition.
  • Use the #WomeninBiz hashtag during the month of October.

Nicole Antil, Principal and Creative Director for Antil Creative, LLCNicole Antil

Principal and Creative Director for Antil Creative, LLC

To be a businesswoman in the Berkshires means opportunities for creativity, connection, and community. Which is ideal because my consulting business is to help organizations grow on purpose and by design through branding, communications, culture, and strategy. And, at the core of that is my own purpose: to cultivate connection and community through creativity! So, I suppose you could say I’m in the right place. And I’ve never felt more welcomed or supported – there is an incredible generosity of spirit from this community of women in business and I’m grateful to be part of it.

Katie Brelsford, President and CEO of KB Accounting IncKatie Brelsford

President and CEO of KB Accounting Inc

Being a woman in business in the Berkshires is unique compared to what I assume it is like in other areas. We have such a collaborative attitude in the Berkshires that it has created this atmosphere were there is such support from everyone to help get you through the rocky parts of business. I couldn’t do what I am doing without my cheering squad being there to help lift me up when I feel like I am falling.

McKenna Burzimati Owner and founder of Roxies Barkery LLCMcKenna Burzimati

Owner & Founder of Roxies Barkery LLC

Being a women owned business in the Berkshires is truly amazing. I started Roxies Barkery as a small home based business with a dream to make it so much bigger. I worked hard to make that dream a reality while receiving so much support and love for what I do along the way. The Berkshires has proven to be an extremely supportive area and is an amazing community for small businesses. I believe the Berkshires is a great area to operate a small business, our community is very eager to shop local and support small businesses. I’m forever thankful for the support and love the Berkshires has shown and continues to show for my business.

Soma Dinicola, Soma’s Aromas Soma Dinicola

Owner, Candle Maker, and Shopkeeper of Soma’s Aromas

I’m incredibly proud to be a woman in business in the Berkshires. I started my business from an idea at home and worked hard to grow that idea, facing and overcoming continuous changes and challenges all along the way. Most of our community has been incredibly supportive and uplifting, and now with my retail store, I’m incredibly lucky to be able to give that love back. I want other women in the Berkshires to always feel welcome, supported, and valued.

Elizabeth A. Filkins, UCP of Western MassachusettsElizabeth A. Filkins

Fundraising & Communications Manager of UCP of Western Massachusetts

A woman’s place is in the revolution. I have always held that thought close to my chest. I see it in myself. I see it when I can help other women in my community rise up and succeed. I view their success as a step in the right direction in our revolution. In reality, we, as women, often battle with the feeling of not being enough. But because we do battle, we can grow stronger and confident that we are on the right track. Women are revolutionary.

Kat Hand, Berkshire Cider ProjectKat Hand

Co-Owner of Berkshire Cider Project

I am inspired by the community of women-led food, beverage and hospitality businesses in the Berkshires, and in North County in particular, and proud to be among them!

Lori Gazzillo Kiely, Regional President of Berkshire BankLori Gazzillo Kiely

Regional President of Berkshire Bank

If I could describe being a woman in business in one word, it would be “balance.” I am continuously working to find balance in my life as I navigate professional and personal demands. I think it’s very important for professional women to find balance, and to take the time to take care of themselves in order to take care of others and work to succeed in their careers. We are always a work in progress. I enjoy my career, and work each day to improve upon the ways we serve and support Berkshire County.

Julia Marko, Director of Finance & Operations Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public SchoolJulia Marko

Director of Finance & Operations of Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School

Julia was nominated as a Woman in Business.

Paula Messana, Owner of Inspired CreationsPaula Messana

Owner of Inspired Creations

Being a woman in business in Berkshire County has proven to be an exceptional experience for me. Opening an Artisan-Gift shop has only increased my creative side, my willingness for personal growth and confidence within myself. When I started this journey 1 1/2 years ago I had no idea how many woman business owners there are in the Berkshires. I am beyond thankful to be one of them.

Mindy Miraglia, Founder & CEO of Berkshire Camino LLCMindy Miraglia

Founder & CEO of Berkshire Camino LLC

I love scouting Berkshire trails, researching local history and staying on top of what’s going on in this vibrant area as part of my job. I translate that into the experience that our hiking guides share with guests. There is a feeling of encouragement that I’ve channeled from 1Berkshire, other chambers of commerce that we are members of as well as organizations including EforAll, the Western Massachusetts Small Business Development Network, Community Development Corp of South Berkshire that have all supported me as a female entrepreneur.

Gail Molari

CEO & President of MOLARI Employment and HealthCare Services

Once I was dismissed by a woman I respected as having started “a kitchen table business.” Although I wasn’t working from a kitchen table, my first thought was of Jane Fitzpatrick and her start at founding Country Curtains. What is wrong with starting small and building a strong foundation to enable other women and the population in general to prosper? Over the last 39 years I have felt supported and respected as I worked with women and men employees, business owners, and the community at large to build a strong community.

Yina Moore, Owner and Founder of Adams Theater LLCYina Moore

Owner and Founder of Adams Theater LLC

I encountered more women business owners in the Berkshires than anywhere else that I have lived. I believe that the arts and cultural industries cultivate women’s leadership more than other fields. Through my work in the Berkshires, I met many other entrepreneurs who are community focused, collaborative, and believe in women’s leadership. I hope that this trend will continue as more corporate professionals and entrepreneurs are moving to the county, attracted by the possibility of working-from-home while enjoying arts and nature. This represents growth opportunities. I will certainly work towards building a more supportive environment for women in business in the Berkshires.

Christa Proper, President/CEO Proper Connections Christa Proper

President/CEO of Proper Connections

Christa was nominated by Marci Proper: “Bringing over 30 years of decisive leadership in the technology industry, clarity of vision, and executive management experience to her teams, Christa’s career has positively impacted so many people. She goes above and beyond to be a productive role model to young women. Christa is a woman who has given her entire career of 30 plus years to leadership, professional growth, mentorship, her community, and overall excellence. Christa’s enthusiasm in a male-dominated field of Technology and Telecommunications is unwavering and recognized. Her collaborative growth and efficiency for clients, passion, honesty and customer service has propelled her career. In her career, Christa has successfully grown, launched, and built multiple businesses. Her leadership has made signification and lasting contributions to the technology and telecommunications field in Massachusetts and other states. Her reputation and accomplishments are a testament to hard work and unswerving character.”

Sarah RealSarah Real

Owner & Head Brewer of Hot Plate Brewing Co.

Being a woman in business in The Berkshires is truly exciting. Since we first relocated here, there have been no shortage of incredible women running small businesses, and so many of them have been so willing to collaborate, cross-promote, and support each other.

Christine Sierau Christine Sierau

Co-Founder and Mentor of Blue Rider Stables

Christine was nominated as a Woman in Business by Julia Nevid.

Katie Smegal, owner of Bianco’s LimousineKatie Smegal

Owner of Bianco’s Limousine and Livery Service

It wasn’t until I became a woman in business that I realized just how many of us there are. Several of my friends have opened their own businesses here and it is great to see the support we all show each other.  Having small children of my own, I know just how hard many of these ladies work to not only make their businesses successful, but create a mom/work balance while doing so.  It can be quite taxing.  Many of us “younger folk” up and leave the Berkshires in order to build a career and I have tremendous respect for anyone who creates something sustainable to keep people here.  I decided to go full fledge with Bianco’s Limousine in March of 2020 – right in the heart of the world shutting down. We scraped by that first year and a good chunk of the second, but honestly, it was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to get my feet wet instead of jumping in at the knees. I was able discover what worked and what didn’t and grow at my own pace, all while creating an outstanding team and reputation. I learned a lot in those first two years, and as the world is beginning to fully open back up, I am still learning. There is tremendous growth potential for this business and I have so many ideas I hope to accomplish!  It is an incredible feeling to know that through my business, I was able to put over $200k back into the Berkshires in wages just this year alone.

Colleen TaylorColleen Taylor

CEO of Bay State Hospitality Group and Berkshire Catering Co

The Berkshires are a place that make room for women to succeed. We are able to lead and nurture the staff in a way that supports the staff. Part of my time I work alongside staff members to inspire, teach, and motivate them. My thoughts are that my life path was to lead people and our business was a platform that has given me that opportunity. Leadership is a skill that is learned behavior and I have had many lessons both good and not so good but I try to go through hard times with my head up.

Amanda ZepkaAmanda Zepka

President of Souliere & Zepka Construction, Inc.

Being a woman in business in the Berkshires, specifically in the construction industry, is many things for me. It is by far the most challenging yet rewarding work. I grew-up in and around the industry and I have seen it change throughout the decades. As a woman construction business owner in the Berkshires, it is important to me to continue to uphold my family’s legacy of top quality building and knowledge of construction work. In addition to that, it is also a great opportunity to forge new ways of communicating and interacting with the people and the communities we are a part of.

2022-10-26T16:07:02-04:00September 1st, 2022|Categories: News, Women in Business|Tags: , |

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