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Inaugural Women of Excellence honorees announced

Inaugural Women of Excellence honorees announced

The recipients of the first-ever Rochester Business Journal Women of Excellence awards have been selected.

women_excellence_final_revised02The Women of Excellence awards were established this year to recognize women for their career accomplishments, community involvement, leadership and sustained commitment to mentoring.

This year’s class, selected by the editor and publisher of the Rochester Business Journal, features 34 women from a variety of industries. They all have achieved professional excellence, display a commitment to community service, and embrace having a positive impact on others by serving as a mentor.

In addition, six women will be inducted into the Circle of Excellence. The Circle of Excellence recognizes women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women.

“This year’s Women of Excellence honorees inspire those around them through their actions, words and deeds. They have achieved personal success, but they also contribute to bettering the communities in which they work and live,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of the Rochester Business Journal. “Their commitment to mentoring the next generation while also balancing the many facets of their busy lives makes them role models for all. The Rochester Business Journal is honored to recognize their accomplishments.”

The Women of Excellence awards will be presented Wednesday, April 11, at an awards celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Winners will be profiled in a magazine that will be inserted into the April 13 issue of the Rochester Business Journal and will be available online at

The 2018 honorees are:

2018 Women of Excellence Recipients

  • Stephanie F. Benson, partner and chief operating officer, Edgemere Development Inc.
  • Mary Walsh Boatfield, president and CEO, Ability Partners Inc.
  • Laurie Broccolo, CEO and owner, Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care
  • Flor M. Colon, associate general counsel and chief ethics officer, Xerox Corporation
  • Marisa Geitner, president and CEO, Heritage Christian Services
  • Shelby George, JD, CEBS, senior vice president, advisor services, Manning & Napier
  • Melissa Geska, president, US Ceiling Corporation
  • LaShay D. Harris, account executive, American Medical Response
  • Pamela P. Heald, president and CEO, Reliant Community Credit Union
  • Staci Henning, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, Greater Rochester Enterprise
  • Cynthia Langston, corporate vice president, chief analytics & data officer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Kate McClung, member, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
  • Kathy Metcalfe, chief culture officer, Clark Patterson Lee
  • Dianne Cooney Miner, founding dean and professor, associate vice president for community engagement, Wegmans School of Nursing, St. John Fisher College
  • Dallas Nelson, MD, associate professor of medicine, University of Rochester
  • Kathy Palokoff, chief igniter, goFirestarter
  • Susan Parkes-McNally, executive vice president, corporate secretary and treasurer, director of human resources, O’Connell Electric Company Inc.
  • Jacqueline Phipps Polito, shareholder, Littler
  • Deana L. Porterfield, president, Roberts Wesleyan College
  • Marisol O. Ramos-Lopez, commissioner, City of Rochester, DRYS
  • Seema Ali Rizzo, partner, chair, domestic relations & family law division, Gallo & Iacovangelo LLP
  • Kimberly Roberson, president and founder, executive director, Caring and Sharing Child Care Center Inc.
  • Laurie G. Sagona, president, Sundance Marketing LLC
  • Jessica M. Savage, managing partner, account services, Dixon Schwabl Advertising
  • Monica Savino, chief financial officer, The Bonadio Group
  • Karen Serinis, executive vice president, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust
  • Renu Singh, senior associate dean of operations, University of Rochester School of Nursing
  • Deborah C. Stamps, system vice president, quality, safety and innovation, Rochester Regional Health
  • Cheryl Nelan Stein, president, CMIT Solutions of Monroe
  • Salley Thornton, director, national field marketing, Toshiba America Business Solutions
  • Patricia Uttaro, library director, Rochester Public Library & Monroe County Library System
  • Lori VanAuken, executive director, Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Karen Zandi, president and CEO, Mary Cariola Children’s Center
  • Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation

Circle of Excellence Honorees

  • Lauren Dixon, CEO, Dixon Schwabl Advertising
  • Hilda Rosario Escher, president and CEO, Ibero American Action League
  • Anne Kress, president, Monroe Community College
  • Fran Weisberg, former CEO, United Way of Greater Rochester
  • Christine Whitman, president and CEO, Complemar Partners
  • Louise Woerner, chairman and CEO, HCR Home Care