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Empowering Women 2021 Winners

Tradeswoman of the Year - Kaylin Leas
Saleswoman of the Year - Regina Higgins
Engineer of the Year - Jessica Norkis
Emerging Leader of the Year - Hilary Johnson
Mentor of the Year - Stacy Cassio
Innovator of the Year - Melissa Gaglione
Leadership in STEM/STEAM - Caeley Looney
Marketer of the Year - Jennifer Lynn Robinson
Industry Advocacy - Janet Bates
Leadership in Manufacturing - Allison Grealis
Leadership in Reliability & Operations - Amy Crosby
Leadership in DEI - Kristel Zaman

The 2021 Empowering Woman of the Year is:
Emily Soloby
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Jacqui Pressinger

Nominated for: Tradeswoman of the Year and Industry Advocacy

Jacqui Pressinger is Director of Strategic Partnerships at American Culinary Federation, the largest association of Professional Chefs in North America. Jacqui is a classically trained chef with degrees in culinary arts, as well as baking and pastry arts, graduating with high honors at the top of her class at the prestigious The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In addition, she has earned numerous professional culinary certifications, serves as a culinary mentor for rising culinarians, and serves as a judge at various National and International food competitions.


Jacqui is a vocal advocate for those working in the foodservice industry, and so devotes her efforts where she can make a difference. She is a member of James Beard Foundation’s Womens Leadership Programs Advisory Board, the National Culinary Competition Technical Committee for SkillsUSA, the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Food Writing Awards Executive Committee, is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), Chaine des Rotisseurs, as well as serving on several CTE culinary program advisory boards, and also served on the Board of Directors for Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR).


In 2020, Jacqui was also recognized as a People’s Choice Award winner for Nation’s Restaurant News in the category of Most Influential Operators. and continues to devote her time, skills and network to provide pathways to open doors for the next generation of aspiring culinarians.

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Samantha Kolner

Nominated for: Tradeswoman of the Year

Samantha owns and operates Prime Structured Cabling LLC, a commercial low voltage contractor specializing in copper & fiber structured cabling, network design and installation, security, telecom and other commercial technology needs.  Her career path has been far from conventional- from studying Criminal Justice in college to retail store management in New York, Miami and Charleston to today, to celebrating just over two years in business! When she is not wearing her CEO hat, she loves hot vinyasa yoga, spending time with her guy on their boat and relaxing as a family with their two (feline) boys on the couch.  She hopes the story of her journey can inspire at least one person to break the mold and maybe shatter a glass ceiling along the way.

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Kaylin Leas

Nominated for: Tradeswoman of the Year

Kaylin is a Journeyman Pipe welder/Fitter for TDIndustries in Fort Worth, Texas. As one of top welders, Kaylin works on large scale industrial and commercial projects in the Fort Worth and surrounding areas.  Kaylin, who is from Las Vegas, Nevada, grew up as a Rodeo Cowgirl. After college in 2011, Kaylin decided to change her career path. She had always had an interest in welding, which she got from her father. She knew that she had to start from the bottom but she set her sites on her new goal which was mastering the art of welding. With the help of welders on her first few jobs and by practicing after hours, Kaylin was able to pass any test in front of her, including brazing and soldering copper, and becoming certified in several new ways to join different types of pipe. Kaylin continues to learn new skills on the job, as well as continuing her education in other aspects of construction. Kaylin hopes to use her story to inspire any and all young woman who want to learn about the trades. She hopes to light that spark in others, to be as hungry for success as she is and not be afraid to go after goals, no matter what they are. 

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Cristy Aphimonthol

Nominated for: Mentor of the Year

Coaching & Mentoring is my Passion!! As an MCC Certified ICF Coach and Founder of the Pink Lotus Foundation, whose purpose is to Empower Women & Children through Personal Development, I love to inspire Women to become the BEST version of themselves. I've personally Coached & Mentored over 1000+ Women, many of whom work in Charities & Foundations whose work impacts thousands of Women throughout the World 

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Heather Eason

Nominated for: Mentor of the Year and Leadership in STEM / STEAM

Heather has a bachelor's in electrical engineering, a master's in business administration, is a blogger, a mom, an entrepreneur, a speaker, a CEO, and board member. She is taking the road that once was not allowed and is currently less traveled, and she is blazing the trail for young females and minorities today that are interested in pursuing a STEM centered career.

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Deidre McEllhiney

Nominated for: Mentor of the Year

Born and raised in Kansas, Dede received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering followed by a master's degree in engineering management at Kansas State University. After graduation, she married her high school sweetheart and relocated to Minneapolis to begin her career as a research chemist for an adhesives manufacturer. Her next opportunity was to join an engineering team taking products from the final stages of development into full scale production, first for a large defense systems contractor and then for a company dedicated to control technologies. Dede took a break from her career after her two children were born, then ten years later reentered the work force as a project engineer in a wastewater treatment equipment manufacturer when her family relocated to the Kansas City area. When a former colleague introduced Dede to Grundfos, she joined them as an application engineer, then became a project team manager and later a technical sales manager. After ten years with Grundfos, Dede accepted the challenge of joining a chemical company to standardize their global customer equipment offering and build and remotely manage an equipment and digital solutions support team located in India. Dede rejoined Grundfos in 2020 in strategic market development for their industrial performance unit.

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Zainab Obaidi

Nominated for: Mentor of the Year

Zainab is a mechanical engineer with approximately  25 years of experience in the Heating ,Ventilation, and Air Conditioning  industry . Currently working with Grundfos , the largest pump manufacturer and a global leader in Water technology as a proposal engineer . As part of  Grundfos her focuses are on the needs of the clients and how to best implement them ,participate in a positive work environment through team coordination and taking initiative , optimized  the  work flow to face the challenges.

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Stacy Cassio

Nominated for: Mentor of the Year

In 2017, Stacy Cassio founded the Pink Mentor Network, Charlotte‚Äôs 1st female mentorship community. Followed by the creation of Pop-Up Mentor, a brand new model for mentorship in 2018. Today, that model is being used by organizations of all sizes & industries to build transparent, scalable, measurable employee resource programs. Stacy is dedicating her life to reshaping how individuals seek & obtain mentorship, and helping organizations build cultures of mentorship. 

In 2019, her work was nominated for the Athena International Corporate Award for Leadership and Charlotte Inno’s “Opportunity Champion” award. Stacy also was named a Mecklenburg Times 2019 Phenom, and most recently Acquisition International’s Most Influential Mentorship Innovator - 2021 and a Meck Times 50 Most Influential Woman. Stacy’s career was built & fueled by great mentors until she became one.

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Theresa Van Den Eeden

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Theresa is the Marketing Specialist for Rittal North America and brings 7 years of experience in Marketing Operations and Communications. Within the next 5 years, Theresa sees herself becoming a Director of Marketing. Recently, she's implemented a new lead process with the help of a cross-functional team that has resulted in higher volume of sales qualified leads going over to the sales team. She's also been heavily involved in overall marketing strategy and budget planning for Rittal. Theresa loves to travel, read, and watching TV.

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Allison Brown

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Allison is a building envelope consultant specializing in envelope design, forensic investigation and quality assurance oversight.  As a Registered Roof Consultant (RRC) and Registered Exterior Wall Consultant (REWC) with over twelve years of project experience, Allison provides a wide range of building assessment services from design phase constructability reviews, to construction phase system installation observation and testing, and end-use property condition and defect assessments.  As a member of the National Association of Women in Construction, she has focused on advancing and normalizing women's roles within construction by developing local and regional marketing efforts focused on inclusion, outreach, and showcasing what the NAWIC community at large is capable of. 

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Emily Petropoulus

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Emily is the Channel Marketing Team Lead at Rittal North America LLC where she manages a team responsible for all Channel Marketing initiatives that support the development & growth of partner relationships. She has a degree in Communications & Graphic Design and is currently pursuing her leadership development certification offered through the National Association for Electrical Distributors (NAED).

Emily is a strong believer that females can prove that they deserve a ""seat at the table"" in any male-dominated industry. She has learned from many successful men and women throughout her career that have enabled Emily to have an alternative perspective and better understanding of the electrical manufacturing industry.

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Stephanie Orozco

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Stephanie Orozco is the IT Marketing Project Specialist at Rittal North America LLC. She is a highly motivated professional with over 6 years of experience in the field of marketing. Stephanie was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from Illinois State University. Stephanie began her professional career at a technology company in the hospitality industry and has recently moved into the field of manufacturing. She is passionate about about her career and always eager to learn more. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys fitness, Chicago sports, live music, and spending time with her family.

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Jill Jozwik

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

  1. Jill has over 30 years of experience in paving new ground in B-to-B industrial marketing. She is passionate about finding innovative ways to help companies reach their goals. This typically involves first reassessing current campaigns for opportunities to be more customer-centric. Then paving new ground through targeted strategies, account based marketing (ABM), digital marketing, content creation, and marketing automation. The end goal is to look through the lens of the customer and see a journey that educates about trends or challenges, provides justification to consider solutions, and points to one irresistible solution they need to have.

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Jennifer Robinson

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Jennifer Lynn Robinson, Esquire is the CEO of Purposeful Networking. Her services include consulting, moderating, serving as an emcee, keynotes and workshops. Jennifer also gave a TEDx talk on change and disruption in June 2020 and does motivational speaking. She is a media contributor who has been featured both locally and nationally as well as a contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine. Jennifer works with several non-profit organizations doing pro bono speaking and consulting as well.

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Briana Houston

Nominated for: Marketer of the Year

Briana Houston currently serves as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Simplified Medical Management, LLC. She has several years of experience in strategic marketing initiatives and campaign creation, brand development, website design, and reputation management, and she has won national awards for her creative and unique social media and digital marketing campaigns. Briana also serves as the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for The Radiology Clinic, a role she has held since September 2017.


Briana attended Auburn University for her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Business Analytics and her Master of Business Administration degrees. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa, AL, with her husband, Tom, and daughter, Andie, and is involved in several community organizations, currently serving as the Vice-Chair of the board for Easterseals West Alabama, the Vice President of Social Events for the West Alabama United Way Young Leader's Society, and is the Vice President of the West Alabama Auburn Club.

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Caeley Looney

Nominated for: Leadership in STEM / STEAM and Emerging Leader of the Year

Caeley Looney is a total space geek, avid Netflix binger, and french fry lover. Her Twitter tag line reads 'Rocket Scientist by day, Editor in Chief by night' as she does exactly that. Having graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2018, she now works full-time as a Space Mission Analyst at L3Harris Technologies where she supports their small satellite programs.  Once the work day is over, she comes home and works on Reinvented Inc. As Founder and CEO of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Caeley works to empower young girls to pursue STEM fields through the creation of the nation's first ever print magazine written for girls in STEM and their princesses with powertools program (which is as awesome as it sounds!)

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Naomi Thomas

Nominated for: Leadership in STEM / STEAM

Naomi Thomas is building the future of STEM education. Her startup, Beyond, is an edtech platform that matches student interests with potential tech careers through an inclusive chat bot experience. By leveraging gamification and incentives to help students learn tech skills, Naomi is on a mission to improve diverse representation in STEM. She is also the founder and former chief executive for BB Market, a digital marketing company that serves public figures and global brands reaching millions of users a week. Naomi currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and in her free time she enjoys exploring the fashion industry as a Ford model.

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Kathy Nelson

Nominated for: Leadership in STEM / STEAM

Kathy Nelson is an electrical engineer who has been in the utility industry for 28 years. She hosts a podcast "Ordinarily Extraordinarily - conversations with women in STEM" which features women in different STEM fields in different phases of their careers and lives. Through this podcast she hopes to build community and provide education on what women in STEM do for jobs to inspire young women and girls to go into STEM . As an engineer, Kathy works at West Monroe Partners to help utility partners develop utility telecommunications strategy which underpins grid modernization going on in the energy and utility sector. Prior to joining West Monroe, she spent 25 years at an electric utility where she was also on an industry trade association, Utilities Technology Council (UTC) board of directors which she became the first Chairwoman of the 70 year old organization from 2017 - 2018.

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Loxley Browne

Nominated for: Leadership in STEM / STEAM

In April 2019, founder Loxley Brown began thinking of how she could turn a love of cars and racing into a team – a movement – a way of changing the status quo for young girls. The DRIVE change movement has been in full throttle ever since. High octane fuel is in Loxley’s blood. Loxley’s love of automobiles began as a tween-ager. At the age of 12 she announced she was going to become a designer. She did just that and has since designed everything from interiors, to landscapes, to furniture, to consumer products. But the pinnacle of iconic design, the siren song that has beckoned her ever since those formative years, is the Porsche 911. It’s sleek lines and impeccable engineering lit a passion for automobiles that cannot be extinguished. It is that love of automobiles, combined with her business acumen, marketing skills, and intense devotion, that serves as the driving force behind Athena Racing. With degrees in Design, Education, and Entrepreneurship & Innovation, she utilizes her broad skillset and spirit to ignite the excitement of learning. Athena establishes a fun platform from which to learn STEM principles and will open young minds to all the possibilities that lay before them.


Athena Racing is an award-winning, STEM-education program, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, that provides training for young girls in middle school and high school who are interested in discovering career paths in engineering, design, robotics, driving and business in the automotive, motorsport and transportation industries.

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Allyson Hawley

Nominated for: Leadership in STEM /  STEAM and Emerging Leader of the Year

Allyson is the Asset Health Lead in Teck Maintenance. She has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and starting working in mining in 2010. Her work is focused on creating situational awareness for maintenance execution and empowering data driven decision-making. She recently lead transitioning the business to off-site monitoring by creating a centralized asset health team that services the Teck mobile assets globally which she manages today.

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Melissa Gaglione

Nominated for: Innovator of the Year

Melissa is President of Safety4her Inc. A high-visibility reflective line of clothing for women working in the trades.  Safety4her began from Melissa's experience over the last 6 years in the towing/ trucking industry from her struggling to find comfortable safety clothing that fit properly. The clothing available that would comply with state regulations was always too long, too wide, and/or too heavy. Safety4her is first to market to design Safety leggings that are currently patent pending. Melissa wants women to feel empowered. We want to set an example for younger girls that nothing can stop you from being who you want to be. 

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Jessica Norkis

Nominated for: Engineer of the Year

​​Jessica Norkis is a Senior Project Engineer for the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority with over (10) years of design experience.  Jessica is New Jersey licensed Professional Engineer with a Master of Science degree in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University.  Jessica specializes in the design and permitting of water and wastewater treatment systems, sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer stations.  Jessica is inspired by her father whom is also a professional engineer in the wastewater field.  In her free time, Jessica enjoys running on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, fishing in the ocean, paddle boarding through the back bays and relaxing on the beach.

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Suzanne Krantz

Nominated for: Engineer of the Year

Suzanne is an Application Engineer for the Data Center Solutions team at Rittal North America LLC. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University and a background in product management. With more than 10 years of experience in the data center industry, Suzanne has contributed to projects from cabling infrastructure to system design.  In her current role, she developed multiple pre-engineered, modular, and scalable solutions to support edge deployments, with integrated cooling, monitoring, power, fire suppression, and enclosure systems.  She loves to hear about the challenging edge environments in which customers need to install their IT equipment and help solve their problems with a comprehensive system.

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Beth Leonard

Nominated for: Engineer of the Year

Beth's career path has included varied roles across sales, application engineering, tech support, and product management.  Her current position is System consultant and she is the first woman to have this role at her present company.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Management from Clarkson University, which specializes in STEM. 


Her mother is her biggest role model. With her own career in STEM, she has shown her that women can be and do anything they aspire too.

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Sarah McArthur

Nominated for: Engineer of the Year

Sarah graduated from Texas A&M and University of St. Thomas with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics respectively. She has been in the pump industry with Grundfos for all 6-1/2 years since graduating. She works on the Applications and Customer Service side of the industry.


Aside from work, she is a devoted wife to a writer/artist and the happy mother of three young boys. She enjoys outdoor activities, movies, anime, and video games or anything with a great storyline and beautiful art.

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Richa Paliwal

Nominated for: Engineer of the Year and Emerging Leader of the Year

After graduating with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, Richa entered the pump industry to pursue her passion in engineering, sales, and customer service. Currently, she works as a Regional Senior Manager of Customer Sales and Support for Grundfos Americas Water Utility segment. Her current role is to lead and integrate the customer service teams across Canada, USA and Latin America. Her greatest accomplishment within Grundfos has been successfully implementing SAP CRM for both outside and inside sales.

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Sonia Jam

Nominated for: Emerging Leader of the Year

Sonia started her career in energy sector, worked for a decade for variety of Oil & Gas companies. She completed her master degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M with bachelor degree in chemical engineering. With more than a decade of experience in oil and gas upstream and downstream, she joined Grundfos as sales engineer for Commercial Building Segment (CBS). Currently serving CBS team as Commercial and Pricing Excellence Manager, she is focused on sales planning with an ever-increasing passion for the application of high-tech products to optimize the project life cycle and save cost and energy.

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Aixa Lopez

Nominated for:  Emerging Leader of the Year

Aixa has over twenty-nine years of experience in engineering, organizational process improvement, strategic planning, and team leadership, working with public agencies and private companies in Puerto Rico, New York, and New Jersey. She has a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering, working in multiple industries such as pharmaceutical/medical device manufacturing, public works, water infrastructure construction, and nonprofits. At the age of 30, Aixa became the first non-civil engineer and female to direct a department of public works in a municipality in Puerto Rico, managing over 200 construction & sanitation employees. Her work caught the attention of state-level officials, and she was appointed to manage Metro Region water infrastructure construction projects, in charge of a capital improvement program of over $100 million in public assets. Aixa currently serves as an independent consultant for organizations, acting as an extension of their staff and supporting process improvement, reengineering efforts, and project management and programmatic logistics. She has received multiple productivity improvement awards in the manufacturing industry and was recently recognized as one of NJBiz's 50 Best Women in Business. Aixa is a speaker at NYU's GSTEM Summer Program.


Aixa lives in the Finger Lakes Region in NY with her husband Jose Reyes, an industrial engineer with expertise in Quality and President of Qualis-Solutions, LLC. Their daughter, Andrea, lives in NYC and works in fashion product development.​

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Hilary Johnson

Nominated for:  Emerging Leader of the Year

Hilary Johnson, an MIT doctoral student, who just won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, has solved a big problem related to hydraulic pump inefficiencies. She has invented an entirely new kind of centrifugal pump (called a “variable volute” pump) that does something engineering experts previously thought was impossible -- it physically adjusts to more efficiently move water based on immediate need, resulting in energy and cost savings. The 5 percent energy improvement over the lifetime of a pump is a huge savings considering the hundreds of billions of kilowatt hours they consume. 

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Sherry Primm

Nominated for: Emerging Leader of the Year

Sherry has been in the plumbing and heating industry for over 25 years. Her leadership style is rested in a firm belief that communication is key. She says "If we don’t know each others expectations, then we won’t be able to align and meet them. I’m my teams biggest cheerleader and take great pride in their accomplishments. It’s also important to lead by example. I aim to bring out the best in my team by pushing them outside their comfort zone and consistently developing their professional skills, and in turn, they bring out the best in me."

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Savannah Lingard

Nominated for: Emerging Leader of the Year

Savannah was raised in and around the construction industry. She grew up with an older brother and learned quickly how to adapt and ‚ hang with the boys. She says "Playing many different sports, the main one being horseback riding, taught me how to be a quick learner, committed, and a hard worker. These things helped me survive college and working my first semi adult job." After college she made the move to Texas with her family and has since started her permanent career in the construction industry. 

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Janet Bates

Nominated for: Industry Advocacy

A construction industry veteran, Janet Bates is the client solutions manager at JE Dunn Construction, responsible for business development in Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry. Bates heads JE Dunn’s efforts to build long-term strategic relationships with clients in the commercial office, education, hospitality, and healthcare markets. While construction was not where she planned on ending up, after over a decade in the industry, it’s very clear she’s found her home. She is passionate about building the community she loves and is driven to change the face of construction so young girls and boys can see themselves in all roles in the industry. Janet is the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Palmetto Chapter and her work with NAWIC garnered her national recognition as the NAWIC 2019 Future Leader of the Year. She sits on the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Regional Policy Council, and is a member of the Leadership Charleston class of 2021 and the 2021 Charleston 40 under 40.

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Sherry Lee

Nominated for: Industry Advocacy

Sherry is a mother of Teen Actor, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick. She works as an Engineer at Space Force (Air force) during the day and she currently owns a Public Relations Agency for the Entertainment Industry, GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC. She currently reps The Legendary Paul Anthony of the Grammy winning Full Force, Nana Churcher of the Nana Churcher Show out of London. She reps clients in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, London, Canada and currently has over 50 clients. She says "I try to remember how I want my son treated in this industry and treat others in the same way. I hope someone will help him as I am helping others."

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Sanya Mathura

Nominated for: Industry Advocacy

Sanya is an entrepreneur based in Trinidad & Tobago with a passion for adding value to the industry through strategic reliability solutions (it is also the name of her company). She is a strong advocate for women in STEM and a published author (with a couple more books on the way). While she has her bachelor's degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering, after getting into the lubrication industry, she fell in love with reliability and pursued her Masters in Engineering Asset Management. Later on, she attained her ICML MLE certification and became the first person (and only female) in the Caribbean to do so.

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Stephanie Baum

Nominated for: Saleswoman of the Year

Stephanie has been a Safety Specialist (Sales Executive) for 3M Personal Safety Division for the last four years.  She says "Our division sales safety PPE (respirators, hard hats, fall protection, safety eyewear, hearing protection and more) to our customers in various industries including healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and more."  Previous to working at 3M, she worked for a national safety distributor working in sales for 7 years and marketing for 3 years.  She covers the Greater Philadelphia area, and lives in a Philadelphia suburb with her husband Matt, and their three children, Owen (8) and twin girls Adelynn and Elizabeth (6).  She is an alumna of Drexel University where she obtained her BS in Business Administration, an MBA, and an MS in Financial Management.  

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Holly Montrose

Nominated for: Saleswoman of the Year

Holly has spent the majority of her career in technical sales. Currently, she is the Western Regional Sales manager for HVAC VFDs at ABB,inc, a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. While she doe not necessarily use her Chemistry background these days, she says "I do feel I have used my technical aptitude on a daily basis to help provide my channel partners with the best solutions for their applications. I consider myself fortunate that I've been able to take my sales skills through different strategic positions and industries over the course of my career. I have always worked under the philosophy that you are never done learning and I'm truly excited about what my future holds!"

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Gloria Joseph

Nominated for: Saleswoman of the Year

Gloria completed BSc (H) in Mathematics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University in India. She moved to US in 2018 and started working with Grundfos shortly after as a Frontline Rep. She loves to support social causes and volunteered for Rahi Foundation in India that focused on raising awareness on child sexual abuse and how to prevent it. Currently in Grundfos, she leads the Walk for Water committee in partnership with Water Mission to solve the Global water crisis.

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Regina Higgins

Nominated for: Saleswoman of the Year

Regina's passion is providing innovative pumping & technology solutions to meet the needs of customers while leading the Eastern US Municipal Sales Team for Grundfos. Beginning her career in engineering roles afforded Regina a solid foundation to successfully transition into technical sales‚ her true love and fit for her intellectual curiosity, thrive of new challenges, and customer-centric mindfulness. 

Regina’s recent accomplishments include selection as Grundfos Municipal MVP for 2 consecutive years and chosen as Grundfos' Reach for The Stars 2019 Sales Award Winner.  Outside of Grundfos, Regina offers support and hope to parents of children battling cancer. She knows firsthand how difficult it is to be a parent battling for their child's life, and the importance of hope and support.  Her pledge to make the journey a little easier for others is a result of her son's survival and resilience for 16 years and counting."

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Rebecca Henderson

Nominated for: Saleswoman of the Year

Rebecca says "I have never been shy about joining the man’s world. My industry career began in 1994 as a manufacturer's representative. I went on to become the hydronic sales manager for an industrial wholesaler and then a regional sales manager. My passion for this industry has given me opportunities to speak at local colleges with construction management programs, develop training presentations for Grundfos, and many years of job-site experience in mechanical rooms. This industry provides so much for women who are willing to take their seats at the table. I'm completing my MBA and MLS online and look forward to becoming a more valuable asset to Grundfos."


Allison Grealis

Nominated for: Leadership in Manufacturing

"Allison Grealis is founder and president of the Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM), a national trade association focused on supporting, promoting and inspiring women in the manufacturing sector. She also is president of the WiM Education Foundation, the 501(c)(3) arm of WiM, which provides effective and affordable educational opportunities for women in manufacturing.

Grealis is a frequent speaker at industry events, including the Financial Times's Future of Manufacturing Summit, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence conference, the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit, the Generis American Manufacturing Summit, and more. She also regularly is featured on industry podcasts and in the media. Grealis is also the host of Hear Her Story, a monthly podcast which celebrates the stories of women in manufacturing careers. 

Grealis was recognized as one of 2018 Crain's Cleveland Business' Women of Note, which celebrates women for their outstanding leadership in the community.

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Cherie Hicks

Nominated for: Leadership in Manufacturing

Cherie has an extensive background in leadership development, program design, facilitation and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She considers herself a learning technology champion, with experience in developing and implementing virtual learning strategies using a variety of different platforms including mobile apps and social collaboration tools.

As a member of the Leadership Excellence team at Trane Technologies, she manages several different women development programs designed to help empower, connect, and support women leaders.

Cherie currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing on the Board of Directors for the Association of Talent Development Charlotte Chapter. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in Charlotte, NC and a Master of Science in Adult Education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. 

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Amy Crosby

Nominated for:  Leadership in Reliability and Operations

An Electrical Engineer from Marquette University, currently using analytical and problem-solving skills to better the customer experience for Drives at ABB. Started career as a Field Service Engineer and is passionate about helping customers and promoting women in STEM fields. Currently a member of the local School Board and a member of the Industry Advisory Board for Electrical and Computer Engineering at Marquette University. Has mentored countless early career women in the industry to be bold, true to themselves and be heard in a male dominated field.

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Eve Rodriguez-Re

Nominated for: Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Eve Rodriguez-Re has been at Grundfos Pumps for over nine years and is currently a Customer Sales and Support Center Manager. She holds a B.S.E. in Biomolecular & Chemical Engineering with a minor in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to an MBA from Baker University. She has supported diverse teams of application engineers, customer service representatives, and project managers. As a result of employee feedback, Eve kicked off the creation of a voluntary new hire mentor program that paired new application engineers with senior engineers. Eve also worked cross-functionally to create a proactive tool that would allow sales, customer service, and operations to align communication, to execute customer orders, and find potential trending issues to resolve. This tool was later leveraged to create an automated digital tool for use in the Americas region. Eve takes pride in successful collaboration of her teams to find effective solutions and improvements to positively impact team members, customers and Grundfos. When not working, Eve enjoys exploring new places and learning new hobbies with her family.

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Blanka Gyorgy

Nominated for: Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Blanka is a Director in Genpact’s Transformation Services group focused on HR Transformation. She is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Change Intelligence, Change Management Professional Certified executive with over 16 years of experience, leading transformational projects across Technology, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Food & Beverages, Media, and Communications industries. Blanka Gyorgy has lived in multiple countries. She dives deep to embrace varied cultures and savor the richness of their diversities. Has a passion for people-related functions. From the start of her career, she realized that people are the most important part of any of the transformational programs/projects. She is encouraging the presence of an inclusive and divers team. Her broad skills, people function-related diversified profile, and affinity towards continuous improvement, lead to the discipline of leading transformations with a human centered approach. She demonstrates a history of achieving enterprise-wide adoption of new technologies, initiatives, process improvements, and procedures. She takes a methodological approach to tackle complex business problems and continuously strives for excellence in the work she provides.

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Jessica Escalante

Nominated for: Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Jessica says "I come from a line of Strong Latina Women." Empowering women, embracing diversity and working towards inclusion is her passion. Through joining a Multicultural Sorority (Sigma Lambda Gamma in College), to gaining respect in her HR career in the Oil & Gas Sector, and joining D&I groups with Grundfos, her current employer, she hopes to continue to pave the way for all and will continue to use her voice and experience for it. Most recently, she is assisting to raise strong girls as Troop leader to her daughter's Girl Scout troop. "If I can motivate one more girl... I have done my job," says Jessica.

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Rachane Wood

Nominated for: Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rachana is a career HR professional who has a passion for growing and developing talent.  In her current role, she is responsible for leading the organizational transformation of the Water Utility business from an HR perspective to ensure delivery of the key Global Priorities for the business. She built a strong team of HR Business partners to world class HR business partnership globally through collaboration with the end to end OneHR delivery model. She engages with the leadership teams within the organization to ensure that we lead by example in delivering as a high performing and inclusive team.

She is a member of the Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Council and executive sponsor of the Pride@Grundfos Employee Resource Group and co-leader of the Inclusion theme of DE&I at Grundfos.

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Kristel Zaman

Nominated for: Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Kristel Zaman is a Director of Marketing and Product Management with Grundfos. Kristel is a known speaker and contributor to number of industry organizations. Kristel describes herself as a learner and servant leader: sensitive to the needs of customers, encouraging mentor developing her team and inspiring others around her. She is passionate about supporting diversity and inclusion at the workplace and focused on empowering women in industry. Kristel was born in Estonia, moved to USA almost two decades ago. At her leisure, Kristel is an avid reader, beginner yogi, loves needle crafts, and enjoys spending time with her rescue cats.

Additional Nominees Not Listed Above
Tradeswoman of the Year
Gemma Elkin
Joy Spatz
Mentor of the Year
Laverne Harris
Candice Fobb
Marketer of the Year
Meredith Hitchcock
Leadership in STEM / STEAM
Lia Johnson
Engineer of the Year
Brooke Edwards
Emerging Leader of the Year
Angela Arriaga
Saleswoman of the Year
Kristen Kowal
Cindy Kransler
Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Mark Joseph
MacKenzie Christie
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