Cynthia Shechter


Passionate about helping others lead fulfilling lives despite their illness, Cynthia J. Shechter CLT-UE, CORE, IORS, CIMT, OTR/L, MA, has dedicated her life to providing rehabilitation services to patients who live with lymphedema. Since 2013, she has excelled as the owner, president and director of rehabilitation of her own private company, ShechterCare. An expert in breast cancer and lymphedema rehabilitation, she also oversees the daily operations of her business, including the management of documentation, finances, staff training and hiring, and insurance reimbursement. She has been located in Emerson, New Jersey, since 2019. Ms. Shechter’s mission is to educate patients on lymphedema management, enabling them to return to their normal lifestyles. An advocate for individual patient care over “rules,” she believes

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Lea Rutherford


Lea T. Rutherford has always been driven by a desire to help others. While attending Spelman College, she volunteered in the neonatal intensive care unit at a local hospital, though she ultimately opted for a career in education instead of health care. She graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in natural sciences and was certified in lifetime teaching by Teach for America in 1996. In 1997, she was licensed as a science educator by the Texas Education Agency. Embarking on her career as a teacher in her local school district, she was recognized early on for her excellence and was elected to be chair of her department. She also represented both her district and her region for science

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Having accrued more than five decades of expertise, Mary F. Beland, MT (ASCP) has built herself an honorable career in information technology for the health care system. Ms. Beland was initially inspired to join the field of information technology by a nuclear physicist with whom she worked. The nuclear physicist’s work pertained to computerizing the chemistry analyzer she was running manually, which sparked her curiosity about computerization and information technology within the medical and scientific sectors. Subsequently, Ms. Beland realized this line of work was an excellent fit for her skill sets and interests, leading her to focus her studies on medical technology and engineering. To prepare for her career, Ms. Beland matriculated at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts,

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Backed by more than three decades in her field, Dr. Phyllis Jane Reeder, PhD, RN, has influenced multiple generations of students through her dedication to community health. From watching her aunt excel as a nurse, she wished to emulate her and sought a career in nursing in her own right. In 1960, she obtained a diploma from South Chicago Community Hospital and commenced her career as an intensive care unit and critical care unit staff nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, Illinois, holding the position from 1961 to 1975. Subsequently, Dr. Reeder earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Olivet Nazarene University in 1975. Moving into the next stage of her professional work, Dr. Reeder accepted an opportunity

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BeEtta Stoney


BeEtta Stoney, PhD, has dedicated more than 30 years to teaching others and improving the field of education as an administrator and associate professor at Kansas State University. Since 2021, she has been the school’s interim chief diversity and inclusion officer, overseeing institutional measures toward providing equity and access for all. Her interest in inclusive education was born from her experiences in high school sports. A competitive track and field athlete, Dr. Stoney was asked to help coach a visually impaired physical education classmate in hurdling. Despite her initial reservations about the challenge, the other student was eventually able to clear a hurdle, and she recognized that she found a great deal of satisfaction in helping others achieve their full

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Jessica Johnsen


Jessica Johnsen is a child development expert and the chief executive officer of Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, a chain of childcare facilities with locations in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Ms. Johnsen stepped into the role in 2019 with more than 15 years of experience in early childhood education and business development. She was drawn to her field while studying marketing and management at Colorado State University after learning that less than 10% of children in the United States receive age-appropriate, high-quality childcare and remained in school to pursue an additional four-year program in child development, graduating in 2009. She remained with Colorado State University after graduation and pursued her passion for education by becoming a preschool teacher

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Angelene Vinson


Angelene McCoy Vinson, BS, has excelled as the owner and operations manager for AA&G Group Homes, LLC since she joined the company in 2005. Through AA&G Group Homes, Mrs. Vinson and her team provide care to intellectually disabled individuals who require either additional support throughout the day or 24-hour care. She splits her time between her home office and the primary office and continues to ensure that everything is running smoothly as she and her team provide support services to group homes, which are active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and work one-on-one with intellectually disabled individuals to help them learn money management skills and how to be careful buyers. In 2019, Mrs. Vinson brought AA&G Group

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Candace Tompkins


A respected professional in the psychological and counseling space, Candace Tompkins, MA, LMHC, has proven her skills as the director of psychological services for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Since 2019, she has focused her efforts on helping to prepare people with intellectual disabilities and aid them in attaining success in their respective communities. Likewise, she works on a multidisciplinary team to meet the needs of the residents of the facility and bring awareness to society. Ms. Tompkins specializes in working with adults with severe and persistent mental illness in an inpatient or residential setting and seeks to bring about a greater awareness of mental illness and work against the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. She pursued her

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Debra Jo Totton-Soper is an information specialist and independent consultant who has found success in her field for more than three decades. Throughout her career, Ms. Totton-Soper excelled in a broad range of administrative roles while working for several offices of the United States government, including the United States military. She is a proud veteran of the United States Navy and served for one year during the Vietnam War as a communications technician administrator. Following her discharge, Ms. Totton-Soper remained with the United States Navy for the next seven years, managing naval avionics. Her responsibilities in avionics required an in-depth knowledge of aircraft technologies and electronics and built on the skills she had developed while enlisted as well as her

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Elizabeth Osta


With a fulfilling career spanning four decades, Elizabeth Osta is a distinguished educator and award-winning author of several books and essays. At the start of her career, she received a Bachelor of Science in speech correction from Nazareth College in 1967, followed by a Master of Science in education from the State University of New York. Ms. Osta then served a long and successful tenure as a staff training development specialist in the Rochester City School District for the New York State Education Department between 1977 and 2001. She then became a visiting instructor at Nazareth College, teaching history and philosophy of education. Ms. Osta’s writing career commenced with the publication of her first book, “Jeremiah’s Hunger” in 2011. The

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