YWCA New Britain

52 Weeks of Inspirational Women

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

“Take life one day at a time.  If we remember that our time is limited, and that worry only replaces happiness, each day can start with renewed energy rife with possibilities.” – Amy Hare

“To finish my BA! Without a college degree, I could not have the present job I have now. It is important for anyone out there to finish their first Bachelor Degree in anything since it is a requirement for many jobs.” – Yvette Ghannam

“Life’s too short to spend it unhappy.  If what you’re doing doesn’t bring you joy, then make a change.  We all have the power in us to make that change, its simply having the courage to do so.” – Abby Dreher

“If you want to be successful just remember it takes more than one person to make that happen.” – Evelyn Morin

“My mother told me to always be kind to everyone, even to those who seem least deserving of your kindness.” – Lynnelle Tarca

“My father told me to take every opportunity to help others and my mother put it into action throughout her life.” – Paula Gilberto

“It was never spoken advice, but through their example, my parents taught me to treat everyone with the highest degree of respect, warmth, and hospitality, regardless of whether they were a stranger or a friend, or their station in life.  I still struggle to meet their high standard.” – Maria Simao

“Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.” – Marge Piccini

‘My father told me when I was young, “if you invest in going to college and earn your degree, nobody can take that away from you.” I heard his advice and I became a lifelong learner.’ – Yeollie Iglesias

“Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.  Always remember if you don’t know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.” – Endia DeCordova

“Not to be afraid to be the first.  I was the first in my family to attend college and it helped me break the cycle of poverty that my family had experienced for decades.  I carry this with me to remind myself on a daily basis, that in order to be my best self, or to effect change, I may have to be the first.” – Yvette Highsmith Francis

“Follow your passion, always do good, inspire people, and you will be rewarded in ways you cannot imagine.” – Betty Fumiatti


What does success mean to you?

“Success is a measure of how well you’ve risen to your challenges and overcome them with strength and determination.  It’s blazing a path for others and rising above the fray to lead by example.  It’s showing others that respect and compassion for others is the ultimate currency in life.” – Erin Stewart

“Success means knowing that I did something that helps others.” – Lisa Rivers

“Success means I have lived well, loved much, and improved the quality of other’s lives.” – Jody Davis

“Personally, the times I think I have been most successful are when I see someone I have coached, mentored (or) encouraged achieve something they never thought they could do.  That is the best feeling in the world.” – Robin Lamott Sparks

“Success is having the love of family to share your journey as you make a difference with your gifts and talents.” – Karen Hinds

“Success is individualized and culminates in the satisfaction a person feels when they put forth the effort to act, to move forward and know their involvement let to making something happen or a situation better than it was before” – Sandie Lavoy

“Wayne Huizenga said it best, “Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” – Maria Sanchez

“Success means living a life that contributes to the well-being of my community and the hard work to achieve it?” – Terry Gerratana

“I would consider myself a success if those lives or careers I have touched were better for it.  Using my knowledge and experience, I love to help solve life/work challenges.” – Donna Rutola


What life lessons do you wish you knew 10 years ago?

“Worry less, enjoy more.  Life’s too short, enjoy the party!” – Joan Rhinesmith

“Be bold, be brave, take risks, and believe in yourself.” – Doris Arrington

“Don’t be afraid of trying.  When you see something you really want, you should go for it, even if it seems impossible to reach.  It may be life altering.” – Jean Alicandro

“Focus on today and living it to the fullest.  Take time to experience and appreciate what each day brings instead of just watching it pass by.  Appreciate where you are at this moment instead of focusing on where you have to go next.”  - Sabrina Trocchi

“I wish I had taken more time to listen and take time to enjoy day-to-day life.” – Jean Palin

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no; figure out what you want and speak up for yourself.” – Amanda Nardiello

“Life is about the journey, not the destination so it is important to appreciate and experience every moment in life instead of focusing solely on what’s ahead.” – Alexia Cruz

“The secret to success is to let go of your fear.  The more authentic you are, the more happy, successful and fulfilled you will be.  Find your tribe, and support one another to succeed.  And if you ever find yourself in a place where you aren’t sure what the right path is, remember that more is lost by indecision than bad decision – go for it!” – Allegra Anderson

“Ten years ago I was a retired Nurse Executive leading a relatively stress-free life.  A life-long friend and colleague asked me to work on a project for one year; I said ‘yes!’.  One year lasted nine years.  I learned that professionals never ‘retire.’  We are not ‘tires’ who need ‘re-tiring’ – we are passionate, talented, vibrant, and highly skilled professionals who can ‘REWIRE’ for a new phase of life and put our wisdom to good use.” – Maria Pietrantuono

“I started running ten years ago.  As the 5ks turned to 10ks and 15ks and half-marathons, I found that I trusted my own judgment more.  I was willing to take more risks and try new things in all areas of my life, trusting more in my own abilities and my own strength.  I think I started to become a better leader, a better parent and a better friend.  I wish I had known ten years ago how strong I really was.” – Robin Sharp


Who is your role model and why?

“My role model is my mom, Phyllis Patz.  I try to live each day as she does – family first, but you also need to look around you and see who is in need and lend a hand.” – Kathy Riccio

“It was and is my father, Ron Ormsby.  He taught me the importance of doing a good job, supporting your organization (in good and bad times), being fair and honest with the folks you work with, and ensuring that you are doing your best each and every day.” – Stacey Ormsby

“My role model and mentor was Connie Wilson Collins, OIC New Britain’s first Board Chair.  She left me with this motto that I live by: You are your brother’s keeper.” – Paulette Fox

“My cousin Sophia Miller, RN, has been and always will be my role model and Shero.” – Leslie Gomez

“My mother is (was) my role model.  She taught and encouraged a lifelong involvement in the community.  I saw as a child her extensive involvement in the New Britain community and naturally followed her lead.  She also believed that kindness and humility were essential.  While doing this, she also demonstrated that you can be nice and still be tough as nails!” – Lisa Amodio

“I feel fortunate to come from a long line of strong, inspirational women, but my mother has been my greatest role model.  As a trailblazing female scientist in the ’70s and ’80s, when women in the workplace were often told “no”, she built a successful career and a loving family.  She taught me the value of commitment, education, and pursuing my personal professional goals.” – Janette Edwards

“My role model is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  She is small but mighty: tireless, feisty, hardworking, and powerful.  She sticks to her guns and has been a powerful advocate for her gender equality and so many other social justice issues.” – Joeline Wruck


What can you do today that you could not do a year ago?

“One year ago, I wouldn’t have thought I could run our foundation (The Ana Grace Project) alongside and with the support of a university.  I didn’t know I could run a team or have a board.  I didn’t know how strong I was until I met other women along the way who believed alongside me and who became my mentors and inspiration.” – Nelba Marquez Greene

“In the last year, I have focused on teaching myself to play the harmonica.  Music is my God-given gift and in the future, I will use this gift to entertain at convalescent homes.” – Patty Strazzulla

“Merging family daycare and traditional models in childcare due to innovative work in our community.” – Tracey Madden-Hennessey

“I can assist donors in creating charitable funds to achieve their philanthropic goals in our community and beyond.” – Kaylah Smith

“Today I recognize that each day is a gift and that one must appreciate the people and friends that continue to share their love and kindness to the people we support at CCARC and who continue to enrich my life.  Life is short, enjoy each moment!” – Anne Ruwet


What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child – unknown.” – Cori Humes

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi.” – Sonia Colon Mora

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’ – Martin Luther King Jr.” – Melissa Mendez

“Never, Never, Never give up. – Winston Churchill” – Cynthia Cassada

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. – Martin Luther King, Jr.” – Jessica Hernandez

“Some say we are responsible for those we love.  Others know we are responsible for those who love us – Nikki Giovanni.” – Dayna Snell

“I see every challenge before me as the flame that ignites the light that guides my path to fulfill my purpose-driven future” – Ingrid Canady


What are you doing to pursue your dreams right now?

“I start each day maintaining a positive attitude and do not let yesterday’s mistakes stop me from achieving or controlling my success of today!” – Caitlin Greco


How did you prepare for your current job?

“I never had a specific goal to become a CEO – but I worked hard at each position I’ve held, took every opportunity to learn something new, and enjoyed my job each and every day along the way.” – Maria Falvo