Listee Features — September 2021

Frances Murillo


Born in Mexico with the name Francisca Alicia Santos Rosas, Frances A. Murillo immigrated to the United States with her family as a child, where her father changed all of their names to sound more American. She started her career doing field work with her parents in the summers and working as a waitress at a variety of restaurants, including Nut Tree, Coffee Tree, Black Oak and the restaurant of the local golf course, during the school year. Always enjoying her time working at restaurants, when one of her employers wanted to sell his business, she and her then husband put together the necessary funds and bought the restaurant. Murillo’s Mexican Food opened for business in Vacaville, California, in 1971.

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Holding considerable expertise in financial reporting and performance standards; project, records, facilities and risk management; policy and procedures; process improvement and staffing support; strategic consulting and revenue cycles; and transportation services, Tonja Smith, MBA, was inspired to pursue a career in health care by her cousin, who has autism and intermittent explosive disorder. Earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Morris Brown College and a Master of Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University, she embarked on her career as a business office manager with Emory Healthcare in 2004. She then became the business manager for DeKalb Surgical Associates and the DeKalb Medical Center from 2006 to 2007 and the senior financial analyst

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Knowing that she wanted to be a nurse from a young age, Donna M. Rogers, BSN, RN, earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing and was certified as a registered nurse at Southern Mass University, now the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in 1981. She attributes much of her success to the excellent education she received there and to the teachers who helped her along the way. Following her graduation, she joined Southcoast Health Hospital, where she has spent the last 40 years growing and developing along with her field. She has been additionally certified in advanced cardiac life support and basic life support. Ms. Rogers’ primary positions at Southcoast Health have been as a resource nurse and a critical care

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Suzanne Altobello


An accomplished realtor, sales executive and consultant, Suzanne Altobello attributes much of her success to working hard, being upfront and honest, and listening carefully to her clients’ needs. She first embarked on her studies at Endicott College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in interior design in 1973. While taking a year off from her studies to work in interior design at a small furniture store, she was exposed to the field of cosmetics, which piqued her interested. She resumed her studies at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art education in 1976. During her time at Hartford, Ms. Altobello worked at G. Fox & Co. and

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Carol Modesitt


Carol Ann Modesitt is a professor of music and former chair of the department of music at Southern Utah University, where she has taught voice, opera, diction and vocal pedagogy for more than three decades. She joined the faculty at Southern Utah University in 1993, helping establish and develop the school’s voice program into one of the best in the region, and guiding her students to win more than 200 state- and national-level awards for performance. Currently, she is the head of Southern Utah University’s voice department and director for the school’s award-winning musical theater and opera productions. During her time with the university, Ms. Modesitt has directed more than 40 student productions of repertory classics including “La Boheme,” “Don

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Since 2006, Judy Michaud has been the owner, president, and managing broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Meadows Mountains Realty, a real estate brokerage firm serving residential buyers and sellers across North Carolina. As a child, she loved visiting new houses and dreamed of becoming an architect. Her passion for building remained with her, and she describes each home as “a chance to see the possibilities inside.” A graduate of Florida State University, Ms. Michaud earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1970, and began her career as a flight attendant with National Airlines, where she worked until 1974, when she was denied maternity leave to care for her first child. After leaving National Airlines, Ms. Michaud returned to her

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Ellen Feiler


Holding considerable expertise in health care program development and promotion, Ellen G. Feiler has had a long-standing love and appreciation for public health. While studying at Hunter College, she was greatly influenced by one of her professors, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in health education in 1973. Following this, she embarked on her career as an instructor of health education at Queensborough Community College and Brooklyn College, positions she held until 1980. During this time, she obtained a Master of Science in health and safety education at the University of Illinois in 1974 and completed coursework in gerontology at Columbia University from 1977 to 1979. Relocating to Florida, Ms. Feiler became the director of health promotion and social marketing

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Darlyn Counihan


Darlyn J. Counihan is a mathematics teacher and coach celebrating more than 25 years of dedication to supporting her students with innovative instructional methods and curriculum. Raised in poverty by parents who worked odd jobs to make ends meet, Ms. Counihan discovered her gift for mathematics at a young age and had decided to become an educator by the time she had entered second grade. Inspired by the strength that she saw in her parents and grandparents and her desire to escape the cycle of poverty, she attended Hood College after graduating high school, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1970 and a Master of Arts in 1982, and pursued additional postgraduate coursework at the University of Maryland in College

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