Joyce Grossman


Joyce R. Grossman knew from a young age that she was going to be a doctor and spent many early childhood days playing doctor in her backyard by helping injured grasshoppers. After earning a Bachelor of Science from Brooklyn College and a Master of Science in microbiology and chemistry from Indiana University Bloomington, she joined Weill Cornell Medicine at Cornell University, where she obtained a Master of Science in genetics in 1980, and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, ultimately achieving her Doctor of Medicine in 1986. After completing residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at Kings County Hospital Center, Dr. Grossman began her career as an adjunct professor for the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn in 1994, a position

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Ocassa “Cassie” Thompson began her professional journey by earning a Bachelor of Science in history, with a minor in education, from Good Counsel College in White Plains, New York, in 1969. She went on to complete graduate coursework and then began her career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Throughout her 33-year career with the CIA, she made a considerable impact as both a minority and a woman, and she is forever grateful to the colleagues and friends she worked with over the course of her career. Some of those colleagues and friends even became godparents to her children. Making a name for herself for her excellent management skills, Ms. Thompson is particularly proud of achieving the rank of Senior

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Marie Stephens


Greatly influenced by her mother, Dorine, Marie Stephens first earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education from East Central University in 1993 and went on to serve as an elementary school teacher in Oklahoma, Alaska and Kansas between 1994 and 2011. While in Alaska, she spent four years as a teacher, coach, lifeguard, reading specialist and after-school program director for the local Inupiat Inuit community. During her tenure in education, she cultivated significant expertise in marketing and business through her work as manager and owner of Vested Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Vested LLC, in North Carolina from 2005 to 2007 and as the business manager for Cedars Lodge in Ketchikan, Alaska, during the fishing season of 2006.

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Sandra Childs


Not initially sure what sort of career she wanted, Sandra Holbrook Childs was ultimately driven to pursue home economics out of a love of the field that was inspired by her grandmother teaching her how to sew. First earning a Bachelor of Arts in vocational home economics from Georgia College & State University, she then joined the University of Georgia, where she obtained a Master of Arts in home economics in 1975 and a Master of Arts in teaching children with developmental disabilities in 1987. Attributing much of her success to her parents, James C. Holbrook and Edna Holbrook, who encouraged and supported her throughout her education, Ms. Childs finds no greater joy than watching children learn, something that kept

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Darlene Brown


First earning a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 1984, Darlene D. Brown began her career as a lunchroom playground aid in 1982 and rose through the various ranks of teaching from there. Teaching in the City of Burlington Public School District from 1982 to 2004, she spent many years as a teacher with the Elias Boudinot Elementary School, where she was recognized for her achievements by being presented with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and named Teacher of the Year. In 2004, she became the vice principal of the Captain James Lawrence Elementary School, a position she held until the was promoted to the position of principal in 2020. During this

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Ann Schafer


Holding considerable expertise in learning disabilities and personal growth methods, Dr. Ann K. Schafer began her journey at the University of California Davis, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 1970 and a Master of Arts in educational psychology in 1978. She began her career as a professor with Sacramento City College and, in 1985, became the university’s learning disability program coordinator. That same year, she joined the Rosebridge Graduate School of Integrative Psychology, which later became part of Argosy University. Graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in clinical psychology in 1993, she opened a private practice in Sacramento and Sonoma, California, and became licensed as a clinical psychologist in 1996. Dr. Schafer is also certified as

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Jamie L. Claypoole has been involved in the beauty industry since the age of 13, when she got her first job helping out at her mother’s salon, Custom Cut & Style, an Aveda affiliated salon in Butler, Pennsylvania. Following high school, she briefly switched paths and pursued a degree in molecular biology with a Latin minor, but ultimately realized that college just wasn’t for her and returned to her mother’s salon. She solidified her skills with an Associate of Arts from the Butler Beauty School in 2004 and has been certified in three different methods of hair extension and as an innovative color artist. Now an Aveda senior color artist, Ms. Claypoole specializes in precision cuts, fashion color, balayage and

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Nanette Yabiku


With an early interest in both psychology and teaching, Nanette L. Yabiku earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Sonoma State University in 1984 and began her career as a teacher with the Bakersfield City School District in California, where she has excelled for over 35 years. First joining the John C. Fremont Elementary School, where she taught kindergarten, second and third grade, she went on to spend time teaching at the Ramon Garza Elementary School before accepting a position at the Dr. Juliet Thorner Elementary School. During this period, she began taking courses with the John Maxwell Team as a way to further develop her leadership skills, and achieved a certification in coaching. Finding success with these coaching

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Inspired by a deep love of helping others and serving God at the same time, Marisol Lardizabal Escobar strives to help people become the best versions of themselves through her roles as a nurse, interior designer, event planner and life coach. She first earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Saint Jude College in Manila, Philippines, in 1993, where she was recognized on the dean’s list and presented with the Loyalty Award. She then sought a master’s degree in psychology and maternal child nursing and is currently pursuing a doctorate in holistic medicine. For her excellence as a nurse, Ms. Escobar was presented with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses by The DAISY Foundation, which seeks to recognize nurses,

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Mary Obetz


Mary Beth Ogden Obetz was inspired to a career in medicine by her father, who was a physician, as well as by an opportunity she had early on to tour a hospital laboratory. After earning a diploma from Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1973, she joined Tennessee Tech University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in medical technology in 1977. Achieving her license in medical technology in the state of Tennessee, she began her career as a medical technologist in 1976. From there, she served in a variety of roles, including supervisor, lead technologist and quality technologist before joining the Lebanon VA Medical Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, as a medical laboratory scientist in 1993. With the Lebanon VA

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