Listee Features — Business

Elaine Damschen


A master of marketing and business operations and customer service, Elaine Damschen realized her professional potential after her electrician husband, Todd, required assistance on the business side of his company, Mainstream Electric Heating Cooling & Plumbing. Initially starting out as a schoolteacher, she found her involvement to be an organic process and the couple ultimately decided to diversify their business to accommodate much larger projects. Serving as the company’s president and co-owner since 2000, as well as a member on its board of directors, Ms. Damschen attributes her success to small, everyday incremental actions and decisions and her unwavering perseverance, even when she did not have the full energy to complete a task. Prior to dedicating herself to her current

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Susan Gitelson


Proud of the programs she has originated, Susan A. Gitelson, PhD, believes in humanitarian values and encourages people now and in the future. She started working at an early age because her father recruited her to help him present awards when she was 9 years old; her father didn’t have any sons, so he was delighted that she responded so positively to his teaching. Dr. Gitelson has done it all as a woman, and has appeared many places as a professor, community leader for different organizations, organizer of programs and speaker. Dr. Gitelson began her professional career as a trainee with the Rockefeller Foundation, which promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world. She then joined the Hebrew University of

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Patti Martin


Famed for its cozy, community-oriented atmosphere, Patti A. Martin serves as the sole proprietor of the Rolla Pub in a small, historic farming community in the Peace River district of northeastern British Columbia, Canada. It was first founded around 1912 as a way stop and steamer landing on the Peace River. Farms were established, as the prairie was open, and the soil was rich. A successful oil well was also drilled in 1922, establishing petroleum as an industry in the area. The late arrival of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway to the Peace District in 1930 hindered development. The town itself is roughly 20 kilometers north of Dawson Creek. The pub resides in a 90-year-old building and serves

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Marie Gill


Helping small minorities, women, veterans and disadvantaged business to develop and succeed in the market, Marie R. Gill believes there is a great need of help for small businesses. There is great sense of joy she experiences when a small business receives a loan that will help them succeed. Since 1990, she has served as the president and chief executive officer of her own company, M. Gill & Associates, Inc., a specialty consulting firm that develops, administers and manages strategic growth and economic development initiatives for small and minority businesses, government agencies, corporations and educational institutions that operate in the local and global economies. M. Gill & Associates, Inc., also operates the MBDA Export Center. Prior to this post, Ms.

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Dolores Van Rensalier


Born in New York in 1940 to white parents, but raised in California, Dolores M. Van Rensalier was astounded to learn of her black ancestry when she was 17. It shook her self-identity, but she knew she had to openly honor all of her heritage. She couldn’t abandon those who were fighting for their civil rights. Ms. Van Rensalier thus set out on a healing journey of self-exploration. While raising two children from a previous marriage to a black pro-football player, she attended college at night while building a career in Los Angeles. She ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University in 1976. She also became a Certified Advanced Management Analyst (CABA) through the

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The president and owner of Sunrise Title Services since 2006, Patricia “Patty” Fisher-Dally is distinguished for her expertise in renewing and reviewing titles. She has more than 35 years of real estate and title experience, so she is well positioned to help her clients with everything from searching titles and plots to assisting attorneys with cases. Her main goal is to protect homebuyers. Ms. Fisher-Dally began her journey through the field right out of high school when she was hired to work for Robert Berry, a land surveyor. She spent nine years with him before he moved his office location. She elected to remain where she was, so she joined the office a real estate attorney. Eventually, Ms. Fisher-Dally and

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Najat Badriyeh


Leading a staff of about 95 people, Najat El-Ayi Badriyeh became involved in her profession because she has passion for the electronics industry. She grew up with the goal in her head that she was going to start her own business. As she grew up, she found herself surrounded by electronics. She was working with a company that she knew was going to be sold, so she stepped in and took it over herself. What inspired Ms. Badriyeh along her professional journey was her passion for what she is doing in the industry. Since 1995, Ms. Badriyeh has served as the CEO and president of Naprotek, Inc., located in the heart of the Silicon Valley. The company stands out as

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Providing housing units to the homeless, Sharron E. Liggins-Rogers, EdD, had the idea that nursing was an honorable profession instilled in her at a young age by her mother, Rubye Mae, and her aunt, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Whitehurst. During that time, options were limited for African American women; she could either be a nurse or an educator. Today, she has been the founder and CEO of her own consulting firm, Liggins and Associates Consultants, which she opened in 1998. In addition to this role, Dr. Liggins-Rogers is the executive director of the Continuum of Care Network, NWI, Inc./Drug Free Gary Coalition, Inc. in Gary, Indiana, since 2003. Through this position, she is responsible for planning, directing, implementing, and facilitating the

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Katy Abraham


Growing up, Katy K. Abraham loved to watch her father at work. He founded Construction Cost Management, Inc. (CCM, Inc.), in 1979, and always demonstrated a passion for construction and customer service. In 2012, Ms. Abraham decided to continue his efforts by buying and growing his business. As a professional estimator, she works with large architecture and engineering firms on projects like building and renovation and handles a lot of the sales and marketing. Ms. Abraham also manages a staff of 15. Notably, at Christmas, each employee gets to choose an organization that means something to them and then the company makes a donation in their honor. To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Abraham earned a Bachelor of Arts in

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Respected for her detail-oriented nature and her ability to communicate with employees, Marjorie A. Nyquist Mero excelled in the utilities field. She started out as a clerk at the Southern California Gas Company, and grew into more advanced positions like engineer technician and job analyst at Power Co. and compensation supervisor at the Avista Corporation (now the Washington Water Power Co.). Ms. Mero knew she had found her niche when she joined Avista. She was promoted to compensation administrator after nine years in her previous position there, and to compensation manager two years after that. She retired from the organization as a human resources strategist in 1998. While she was with Avista, she also garnered experience with the Consumer Credit

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