Listee Features — June 2021

Jennifer Swain


Jennifer Swain grew up amidst the agricultural and farming industries and took great pride in the work even as a child. She had a sense of how crucial farming was to addressing the world’s problems and keeping people healthy, and wanted to continue this work when she grew up. Ms. Swain’s journey began at South Florida State College, where she completed an Associate of Arts in biology and biological sciences in 2013 before pursuing additional coursework in environmental biology at Indian River State College the following year. Deeply committed to education and driven by a lifelong learning ethos, Ms. Swain continued her studies at Florida Atlantic University for the next several years, earning certificates in geographic information systems and environmental

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Helen Elizabeth Voegele Gourley was an optical scientist, consultant, and engineer who spent more than 70 years developing lighting and optical solutions for some of the most prestigious institutions and manufacturers in the world. A curious and analytical child with a natural passion for learning and a drive to understand how the world worked, Ms. Gourley found herself drawn to science and mathematics at a young age. In 1949, she was awarded a four-year New York state scholarship to attend the University of Rochester, quickly adding merit-based scholarships from the University of Rochester and optical manufacturer Bausch & Lomb to her total. During summer breaks at the University of Rochester, Ms. Gourley began her career with jobs at Kodak and

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Colene Allen, DN, has dedicated more than 26 years to providing patients with alternative and holistic health care options as a provider at Holistic Alternative Solution. Inspired by her grandmother, a holistic medicine practitioner, and her childhood on a remote farm, Ms. Allen wanted to become a doctor since the age of 7. She holds a Master of Arts in holistic alternative psychology and became a Doctor of Naturology in 1998 through the American Institute of Holistic Theology. Ms. Allen holds numerous credentials in her field, and is a registered holistic counselor, a licensed massage therapist, a certified myoskeletal pain therapist, a certified traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, and a board-certified holistic alternative psychology provider. She has pursued continuing education in

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Alyssa Gleason


Alyssa Gleason is a pharmaceutical industry consultant and project manager specializing in immuno-oncology and cancer therapies. Currently, she is a project manager for SAI MedPartners, LLC, a global firm created to advise health care institutions, researchers, and manufacturers on everything from navigating emerging markets to creating long-term research and development strategies. She joined the company in 2018 as an analyst and had risen to becoming a senior consultant by the end of 2019. Ms. Gleason has occupied her current position as a project manager since 2020. Her role offers her the chance to meet with some of the leading voices in cancer treatment and research, including professors from Harvard, Yale, and UCLA, and oncologists from around the country, in order

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Susan D. Duncan has enjoyed four decades of success in the real estate industry as a certified real estate broker associate. She earned her first real estate license in Arizona in 1979 at only 19 years of age, and continued to build her career to become one of the best-known brokers in the area. Before entering the field, Ms. Duncan held a series of hospitality jobs, eventually leading her to a position as a server in a high end fine-dining restaurant. At the time, she felt little sense of direction, and recalls thinking that she had “no idea what she wanted to do” in the long-term. Naturally personable and detail-oriented, Ms. Duncan was one of the top servers at the

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Joan Hutchins


Joan Morthland Hutchins celebrates more than six decades of distinction in business leadership, manufacturing and agriculture. A trailblazer for women in the construction industry and large-scale commercial agriculture, Ms. Hutchins considers her greatest accomplishments to be the diversity of her knowledge and ability to succeed across industries. She began her career in 1961 as a junior mathematician for the Shell Development Company after graduating from Radcliffe College at Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts. She remained with Shell Development Company until 1963 and spent the next year as a mathematician for British Petroleum. During her time in the energy industry, Ms. Hutchins worked on the development of several key mathematical models for use in the oil industry, work she

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Peggy Smalls


Peggy Ann Lamar Smalls is an award-winning elementary educator and educational consultant who enjoyed a 31-year career in Atlanta Public Schools before retiring in 1997. Born and raised in Atlanta as one of five siblings, Ms. Smalls developed a personal understanding of the value of education from a very young age. She credits her ambition to her parents, especially her mother, who she remembers as “very present and involved,” and who counseled her to always do the best she could at everything she attempted. Ms. Smalls’ mother was open about her own educational background: though a strong student, she had been forced to leave school and find work after her parents’ untimely deaths, and she encouraged her children to make

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Pauline Thomassen


Born in 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio, Pauline F. Thomassen, RN, dreamed of becoming a nurse for as long as she could remember. Galvanized by a traumatic experience with a high school guidance counselor who told her that she would never amount to anything, Ms. Thomassen doubled down on pursuing her dream of a career in medicine, working overtime and borrowing money from her mother in order to pay for nursing school. She enrolled at Southern Colorado State College, earning an Associate of Arts in nursing in 1974, and received a tuition grant to continue her education at the school. The following year, Ms. Thomassen completed a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and relocated to the Seattle, Washington, area to begin

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Deborah Messer Gonzalez is a teacher and educational administrator currently serving as the superintendent of the Slater School District, a position she has held since 2016. A proud graduate of Slater High School, Ms. Gonzalez was raised and educated in the district that she would later return to teach in. For much of her life, she anticipated building a career in business administration, and completed a bachelor’s degree in business management at Missouri Valley College in 1984. She credits her husband of 36 years, Bob, with providing her the initial inspiration to consider a career in education. A teacher himself, Bob was hired by the Slater School District in the 1980s, bringing Ms. Gonzalez back into contact with the student

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Dr. Barbara Ann Woods is a business and management expert with more than five decades of entrepreneurial and human resources experience. Since 1999, she has been a project manager for SVR Inc., LLC, where she handles general operations and employee oversight for a team that monitors and supervises the dissertation process for students at various colleges and universities. Dr. Woods has been the founder and leader of numerous businesses since the early 1970s, and describes building a successful company as one of her major callings in life. Born into a family of nine children, Dr. Woods was an exceptional student with big dreams who found limited family support for her ambitions. After graduating high school as a straight-A student, she

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