WE Hatch Honor Circle

WE Hatch Honor Circle Celebration 2024

WE Hatch Honor Circle Celebration 2024

WE Hatch Honor Circle

Too often, the important contributions made by innovative and entrepreneurial women go unnoticed. We are dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the many exceptional women who have inspired us with their ingenuity, passion and persistence through the WE Hatch Honor Circle. Our hope is that their stories will empower the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

The WE Hatch Honor Circle is a cornerstone of the WE Hatch, an initiative that aims to empower innovative and entrepreneurial women.

The award ceremony is scheduled for March 14, 2024. 

Honor Circle of Women Innovators and Entrepreneurs

2023 Inductees

"Dr. Asenavage Loptes takes the initiative to formulate lasting relationships with people from all types of backgrounds and cultures. In her work, she travels beyond the U.S. to spread inspiration and innovation to other countries to improve their education systems and brings back what she's learned from these different countries to implement new, exciting and useful ways to better higher education in the U.S."

Julia Bayuk, Julie Lopez, Erin Bastien, Heidi Alobwede

"Kamika is the founder and CEO of Catalyst for Change/Girls with Pearls. Girls With Pearls is a Christian mentoring organization celebrating eleven years of inspiring girls to strive for excellence in education, develop an appreciation for the arts, and enhance their etiquette and social skills."

Porsha Green

“I met Jaclyn Cantler in 2014 through her Leadership Delaware fellowship. She was ambitious and determined to succeed in the male-dominated field of engineering. I have watched her progress in her career at Pepco over the past 9 years, from Senior Manager to Director to Vice President. Jaclyn is responsible for executing approximately $1B annually in infrastructure projects and leads the supplier diversity initiative.”

Terry Strine

“Cora is an optimistically tenacious woman with a strong presence and positive attitude. She supported legislation to make electric vehicle charging stations more accessible. Cora is very problem-solving oriented and loves entrepreneurship, making giving back to her community the next logical step.”

Vanessa Manges-Spence

"Every organization deserves great leaders who understand the significance of building kind, compassionate cultures rooted in empathy and belonging. Jen is leading the way in putting the human back in business. Jen established JLCG to support leaders in developing these skills so they can change the world."

Eileen Grimes

"Denée is an inspiring and innovative leader who provides support and encourages collaboration among the leaders she works with. She's strategic and hands-on, with a record of success in various sectors like healthcare, business, education, and youth development. In her current role, she is responsible for communications, community affairs, and charitable grantmaking (overseeing the distribution of nearly $20 million in 3 years!). She is an exceptional young leader with grit and heart."

Terry Strine

"Yolanda has done amazing work in our community through her role as executive director at Girls Inc. of Delaware. She guides and nurtures girls of all races and ethnicities to excel in the face of today's challenges. Through Girls Inc., Yoland has raised the prospects of young women to become leaders, innovators and examples for future generations."

Ayanna Khan

"Regina is dedicated, hardworking, and extremely organized. She is always looking to learn and develop best practices, so that she can provide her small business clients with the best possible service. Regina is passionate and enthusiastic about her work, and always looks to bring a personal touch to her clients and the community she serves."

- Ayanna Khan

"Chanel has given selflessly to the field of education and career development. She has started several nonprofit organizations, including M.A.C.S., a college readiness organization that assists first-generation and international students with the college application process. Chanel has partnered with several community organizations in Delaware, including the Y.M.C.A. Black Achievers Program, Delaware Elite, Teen Warehouse, and Bridges to Employment to provide college counseling services to students. Chanel is an asset to the Delaware community."

Dr. Steve Poulin

"Carolyn was at the cutting edge of FinTech with her roles at Paypal and other ventures in the early 2000s. She mentors early stage startups and generously gives her time to help Horn students. She is also a Trustee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a Board Member for US Sailing. She is an active investor and personally supports startups through FounderTrac and New World Angels."

- Anonymous

"Maria has risen to CEO of Trellist as a result of passionate listening to her customers and a continuous appetite for new learning and being unafraid to fail - the hallmarks of the entrepreneurs' growth mindset."

- Gail Ball

"Kemba is a steadfast leaders and supporter of early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs. At First Founders Inc., Kemba helped scale the organization since its inception and grown the community to including more than 300 entrepreneurs from all around the world. With her leadership, the organization has helped founders raise more than $500k in non-dilutive funding for their startups."

- Garry Johnson, III

"Following in the footsteps of her grandmother who served the community with love and purpose, Cierra is passionate about youth services and mental health. She is the visionary and founder of Network Connect. The mission of Network Connect is to improve the coordination of youth serving organizations by building effective partnerships for youth, families, communities, and organizations. She also serves as a board Member for the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is dedicated to the wellness of our community."

- Porsha Green

"Joy values teamwork and hard work. She is a successful pharmaceutical sales representative and cofounder of Elite Feet, a specialty running store. Joy also serves her community and helped charter the Middletown (DE) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization."

Jamilah Barnes

“Tiffany is the founder and CEO of Chelsea Consulting Group, which provides contractual grant writing, research and grant tracking/reporting services to nonprofit organizations amounting to over 150 grant awards totaling over $350 million dollars. Run more like a social enterprise than a for profit business, each new contract allows Chelsea Consulting to hire and train another survivor of trafficking in grant writing, providing them the knowledge and skills needed to remain gainfully employed at Chelsea Consulting.”

- Ayanna Khan

"Arianne has dedicated her career to impacting the wellbeing of those around her by helping them heal their bodies, alleviate pain, move better, and regulate their nervous systems. She opened Movement Paradigm, one of a few integrated health centers in the region. Arianne is an award-winning Doctor of Physical Therapy, Institute of Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, mindfulness educator, movement specialist and author. She is transforming lives!"

- Anonymous 

"Tiffani is an insanely inspirational young woman. She started and grew her own local small business from a one-woman show to a six-figure operation with multiple Delaware locations and many well-treated employees. Tiffani is paying it forward by coaching other local beauty business entrepreneurs. More recently, she started The Art of Giving Foundation, a nonprofit benefitting local foster children."

Michelle Askin

"Kristin is a leader in the financial trust industry and longtime supporter of the industry in Delaware. This year, Kristin helped establish a new business in our state, UMB Bank's Wilmington trust office. Kristin serves as inspiration around how a woman in a male dominated industry can leverage expertise and creativity to create new opportunities that benefit the community it serves."

Sarah Wahlig

“Martha easily develops and fosters relationships with her customers and her community. She's always so kind and knows how to make a lady feel fabulous. She actively participates in meetings and events; her participation enables her to understand the needs of the community surrounding her business.”

- Ayanna Khan

"Catalina has operated her business, Lingua Franca for 15 years and has learned to innovate and remake her business to continue to stay relevant in an ever-changing market in linguistics translation."

- Dr. Devona Williams

"Dr. Overby has created multiple dance performances that explore difficult stories about the lives of people of color. Each one is a slice of life in a different era of this journey. Each production is a collaboration of dancers, choreographers, educators, and researchers, and includes educational opportunities for the community."

Marion Hamermesh

"Jenesis was a Masterchef contestant and made it to the top 78 in the competition. She has been a key speaker to empowering young women and advocated in volunteering at the Food Bank and The Easter Seals."

Ayanna Khan

"Laurisa is best described as a force to be reckoned with in Delaware's education landscape. For six years, she led Teach For America Delaware and built a culture of creativity and innovation while relentlessly advocating for students across the state. Now Laurisa has founded and leads First State Educate, First State Action Fund, and Act Together for Kids - all organizations working to catalize radical change in education through the power of the community. Along the journey, she has inspired and empowered many others to be bold and to use their voice to make a difference."

- Felicia Harrington

"Michelle is a strong woman with a big heart. She is an innovative leader in a new venture called the Christina River Exchange, participates on boards of Christiana Care and Serviam Girls Academy, and is a great role model for her daughter."

Lee Podolsky

"Giftie is the founder and Director of Girls Leading Africa (GLA), a non-profit organization in rural Nigeria that equips local girls with the skills and educational support for personal growth and community development. Her organization has reached more than 200 girls to date. Giftie is also active in supporting women locally - chairing the Wilmington Junior League's Leadership Summit and speaking to the Delaware House of Representatives in support of providing period products in restrooms."

Meryle Melnicoff

"Giftie's commitment to empowering young women and ensuring they have opportunities to succeed is evident in every aspect of her life. If the world was in Giftie's hands, we would all live in a much better place."

- Sharon Kelly Hake

"I am nominating Giftie because of her vision and leadership of Girls Leading Africa. With 8 years of nonprofit experience, Giftie saw a need the rural communities of Nigeria that girls should have the same opportunities, resources, and support as their counterparts. She now leads the organization that does just that."

- Taylor Drainer

"Giftie is a change-maker! She had a vision of helping the disadvantaged youth in her home country of Nigeria, and she has the tenacity and entrepreneurial capacity to accomplish it. She is humble, hardworking, respectful and well educated. She WILL change this world and decrease gender disparities."

- Yvette Drazich


"Dawn was instrumental in the early days of Horn Entrepreneurship and used her leadership skills to help build the program. She has created jobs and opportunities for many people in Delaware. She also gives her time to charitable causes to help fight domestic abuse and homelessness."


"Lydia York is the first black woman to be elected to an executive position in the Delaware State Government with her installation as State Auditor of Accounts. A graduate of an HBCU (FAMU), the Wharton School for her MBA and Temple Law for her JD and LLM, she is an extraordinary example of the growth mindset and has continuously innovated in her career including as the founder and principal of York Elder Law, LLC. Additionally, she is an extraordinary leader with a sense of calmness and personal authenticity who leads with listening to find and execute what others want and need."

- Gail Ball

"Chinyere is a unique and persistent young woman from Nigeria. She is shifting culture in her country by creating an understanding of people with special needs, and forging educational opportunities and advocacy. She fervently learns all she can about special needs opportunities in the US, so that she can create programs in her country, where people with differences are often stigmatized."

- Natalie Katz

"Sandra has embarked on a very difficult challenge as an entrepreneur. She is building a business by manufacturing a product that has no established segment and little recognition in the water quality industry. Something brand new. Sandra’s entrepreneurial experience and business acumen developing this new market is the reason for my nomination. This challenging path is taking shape and the PondHawk brand is getting recognition in the water quality industry as a best-in-class product for the long-term health of stormwater retention ponds. Sandra should be recognized for the success she has generated."

- Craig Burton

"Meredith exemplifies how women can succeed in predominantly male fields; law and finance.  After UD then Villanova Law School, Meredith practiced corporate law in DE.  She next helped grow a litigation funding company, to level the playing field for inventors.  Afterwards, she challenged herself and joined Context Business Lending (CBL), the specialty finance company focused on Asset Backed Lending (ABL) of which she is now CEO.  Knowing little about ABL at first, she quickly was appointed by the Board as CEO.  When Meredith took over, it had just 3 loans and 2 employees.  In just 3 years, she has grown it into a $260MM portfolio with 21 employees, 57% of whom are women.  CBL has since been recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies in Commercial Finance and Meredith was a 40 under 40 award winner just last year.  All of this while raising our two amazing children.  Meredith could be a role model for UD women to see that it is possible to have a successful career and a successful family through hard work, caring and perseverance."

- Michael Carter

"As part of Kelly's doctoral research, she sought to truly understand what the students of urban Philadelphia wanted in a school. She then built that school. Twenty years later, she has grown a network of four schools in the region. On any given day, you can walk into any campus and feel a palpable difference in the way students and staff interact and how students engage with their learning. Urban educators often feel a tension between empathizing with their students' circumstances and the expectations they have for the students. Kelly has consistently been an example of how to hold the highest expectations and dream the biggest dreams because of the empathy she has for students. Kelly is a creative genius, has an unmatched sense of resourcefulness, and always finds a way to overcome obstacles."

- Felicia Harrington

"I met Joelle Flynn on orientation day at the University of Delaware in 1989! My girl is a true best friend, amazing Mom, kind human, feminist, innovator, inventor and inspiring entrepreneur. Joelle started working at the age of 14 ½, paid her way through UD and became a stockbroker at 22 managing over $350MM.  She has led many successful entrepreneurial ventures while making sure to always support other women along her path.  Most recently, Joelle invented, multi-patented and trademarked a product for her teeth named FunkkOFF! TeethRefreshers.  In 2021, FunkkOFF! Inc. was awarded the Blue Hen 17&43 Most Promising Venture award.  Joelle supports Girls on the Run Orange County, the nonprofit she founded and was the first Executive Director of that empowers young girls.  Joelle’s passion and persistence are truly inspiring to witness all of these 33 years!"

- Christa Zaro

"Ms. Green is a mother, daughter, sister and friend who puts her all into her family and business. She is a one-of-a-kind Publicist and the State of Delaware is lucky to have her. I was there when she started her business (Purpose PR Agency, LLC) 7 years ago and became her first client. She is a true diamond and makes you shine bright. She is outgoing and cares deeply about people. She inspires me every day."

- Rysheema Dixon

"In addition to bringing her firm to the stage of revenue generating customers and meaningful partnerships with 10's of 1000's of athletes, she works to foster and support the full community of women in the hard sciences startup ecosystem."

- Gail Ball

"Dale is a very successful Woman in the Financial Services industry, working on Campus at University of Delaware in the Tower at Star.  She is a self-made entrepreneur who sits as the Chief Risk Officer of 2 privately held companies that she helped start.  She also contributes time with students at UD developing them and preparing them for their life after graduation, employs 7 students on her team to help develop them further, and volunteers at several charitable companies, including sitting on the board of the Girl Scouts."

- Stephen Hoops

"Jamie is a leader in the Kennett Square, PA and surrounding communities and her impact is immense.  She leads the efforts of several charitable activities, including multiple fundraisers and "road races," Kennett Area Community Service's (KACS) Engagement Strategy, and hundreds of authorship talks and workshops.  Before Jamie became a close friend and mentor of mine, I saw her talk to my son's elementary school.  I was surprised to hear that she just "willed" herself to become an author of children's stories, and empowered the children in the crowd to do the same. Since then, I have seen her grow her authorship and production company into a musical production, service-based organization and given some AMAZING inspirational talks in the TEDx series.  Jamie has had a huge impact on all she encounters.  I hope everyone has a chance to see what great things she brings to the community and the world."

- Brad Verrico

"Dr. Alice Stevens is a unique human being. What she accomplishes would not make sense to the average person. Her vision for Holistic Elevation is grand and the steps she's taken to get where she is currently have not been easy or smooth. Challenges keep coming and she keeps showing up anywhere she is needed, with a smile and positive attitude.  Nothing prevents her from moving forward.  Through the many things she's involved in, she maintains a laser focus on service to the community. Every conversation, decision, action, centers back to service and how to improve services to the community. She's a true entrepreneur, because if everything she has worked for disappeared tomorrow there is no doubt in my mind she would simply start rebuilding. I'm nominating Dr. Stevens, because she will have an impact on generations to come, through her direct work and as a model of future entrepreneurship focused on social advancement."

- Vanessa Harris

"Dr. Leonce Stevens works with high risk communities in breaking cycles of trauma, suicide and mental health challenges. Dr. Leonce focuses on innovative methodology to incorporate individuals and systems together to sustain preventative and intervention programs."

- Anonymous

"Dr. Alice is the owner of Holistic Elevations.  She works with the youth and homeless community.  She provides the following service to them: Prevention Education, Youth & Family Advocacy, Outpatient Mental & Behavioral Health Services, and Professional Development. Her work has been able to reduce the suicide rates in our community."

- Ayanna Khan


"I believe that Katie would be a great mentor; she is very active in multiple organizations and has developed many great relationships in the community.  She is a very positive person and would serve as a great example of a true entrepreneur."

- Cheryl Ecton

Dr. Ryan is an entrepreneur and physical therapy practice owner of ALL Therapy Physical Therapy & Wellness located in the Middletown Delaware area. She is a licensed Physical Therapist in Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia. She is a recipient of the University of Delaware’s Kinesiology Department’s Outstanding Alumnae Award. Her nomination was made anonymously.


"Margaret O'Dwyer is the type of leader who constantly keeps the growth of her mentees in mind. Whether it's offering resources to already ambitious students or offering guidance to those who need more help, Margaret brings never-ending empathy and compassion. The way she takes risks to live her values has empowered me and her community to do the same. Another reason why I am nominating Margaret is that I believe a lot of her work goes unrecognized. With so much focus on the students and the uplifting of others, she uses an influence that catapults people beyond her - never to hide in the background, but to share the wealth of knowledge that was given to her."

- April Singleton


"Sophia Angelatakis inspires me every day! As Sophia's former First-Step partner, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with her; it was truly an honor! She is so driven, intelligent, and really does it all. I am confident that Sophia has a bright future ahead of her, and I think she would be a phenomenal addition to this group."

- Lilly Checkoff


"Sophia is an incredible person who embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. I first connected with Sophia when I was in the beginning stages of founding my nonprofit organization, The Urban Garden Initiative. After learning more about her background with community gardens and community building (though her project with building gardens at Nemours Children's Hospital), Sophia was the perfect person to join the TUGI board. Through her position on TUGI's board she has given incredible advice to move TUGI forward, facilitated incredible connections, and has become an integral part of the TUGI team. Through learning more about Sophia, she has also created other amazing projects such as podcast to feature young entrepreneurs and has participated in many entrepreneurial competitions at UD. Sophia truly exemplifies what a powerful and passionate leader is!"

Megan Chen 


"Sophia has constantly shown me how important it is to love myself and has been a role model in the way she presents herself to the world, especially our Delaware Innovation Fellows (DIF) peers. She is committed to woman empowerment and I can't think of anyone better fit for this award."

Kaitlyn Carrick


Sophia Angeletakis is committed to women empowerment. It is one of her core values and is the most innovative and inspiring young woman I know.

Rafaela Dougherty

"Gail has been blazing the path for women for decades through her own personal and professional experiences and her mentorship of many women. Her interest and devotion to helping women entrepreneurs is inspiring and truly making a difference." 

- Holly Flanagan

"Jamilah has been an entrepreneurial leader in the entertainment business supporting the advancement and promotion of black talent and driving significant charitable initiatives that support causes associated with the desires of her clients. She currently serves as the Operations Director for the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation."

- Charlie Horn

"Amy is a dynamic force in helping divorced women stand up for themselves both financially and emotionally during a critical crossroad in their lives"

- Anonymous

"Working with Amy is a masterclass in imagining a better future and working toward that end. When she had a creative new idea to revolutionize healthcare simulation, Amy thought she would sell the idea to a company and they would take things from there. While they were impressed, none of the companies in the field were interested in developing her innovative product, as it would compete against their existing products.

Instead of giving up, Amy used her ingenuity and found her own investors, found community resources including Horn Entrepreneurship, and started her own company, tackling every obstacle between her and her dream for future healthcare learners everywhere. While she never set out to be a CEO, she took the role when needed and has led Avkin from producing one product in a tiny one-room/attic office to numerous products and services reaching a worldwide audience.

And she did it all in five years."

- Amy Bucha

"Deborah Brenner is paving the way for women and people of color in the alcohol and beverage industry. Working with her has made me feel empowered, challenged and heard. Her passion is what drives the work we do, which makes every moment feel invaluable."

- Olivia Campbell 


"She is a game changer in an established industry.  Deborah Brenner always looks for ways to get women involved and advanced in a male industry by inspiring them with her vast knowledge."

- Anonymous


"Deborah united an industry with Women of the Vine & Spirits, bringing competitive leaders of the world's largest alcohol beverage companies together to exchange best practices, creative innovation &  policy clauses to propel the industry forward for women. She brought out of the shadows issues that prevent women from excelling in this industry, by initiating dialog around harassment & conscious/unconscious bias, by identifying the signs & characteristics, breaking them down & providing education to both prevent & eradicate such barriers. Long before others, Deborah has been focused on DEI & Business Development. She continues to find new paths & experts to stimulate critical conversations & education, focused on creating an equitable environment where women & men in the industry can thrive. As a UD graduate, what an honor to be acknowledged for the work she has done & continues to do."

- Elizabeth Campbell Boyd

"Carol Curley has inspired and taught hundreds of women to be engaged angel investors through her leadership of the Golden Seeds Knowledge Center.  She has been an outstanding leader and supporter of startups in the Wharton ecosystem in her role as a member of the Board of Overseers of Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship.  She is the very embodiment of creative, open mindedness and a growth mindset...and she inspires others to achieve the same entrepreneurial frame of mind."

- Gail Ball

"Gayle's story is extremely inspirational. She created Gable Music Ventures when she realized that there weren't any venues for her 16 year old daughter to perform her original music in. She began renting rooms to feature all ages original music back in 2011, and has grown the business in ten years founding events like The Ladybug Festival, and Firefly Music Festival. She has offered thousands of artists opportunities to perform and earn income from their original music."

- Jeremy Hebbel 

"Rysheema has been a champion of entrepreneurship for women and youth in the Delaware community. She also has served as an Adjunct Professor for Horn Entrepreneurship. A member of the elected Wilmington City Council, Rysheema does much to promote entrepreneurial activities in the city, helping women and youth rise up through coaching and programs designed to create new careers and prosperity. She was an 2014 Delaware Today Woman in Business Honoree for her company, RD Innovative Planning."

- Charlie Horn

"Hattie currently serves as Program Manager of Learning Experience for Delaware Innovation Space, facilitating start-up programming and other training initiatives. She has over ten years of experience leading education and professional development.  Prior to joining Delaware Innovation Space, Hattie led incubator programming focused on innovation and social entrepreneurship for a global network of colleges and universities. Hattie holds an M.Ed. in International Education from Vanderbilt University and dual B.A. degrees in Communication Studies and English from Clemson University."

- Anonymous 

"Cheryl built her business while going through a horrific divorce and having a child in need of 21 surgeries. She never gave up and stayed focused on her goals and a positive attitude. Now in business 31 years in 17 states and over 600 employees. In addition to having so much to deal with of her own, she continued to help others in need."

- Sara Canuso

"I realize how important it is to have a role model in your life. My mom, Susan Frech, has become that for me. I have seen her volunteer her time as a mentor to so many who have gone on to be very successful. She is the Founder and CEO of a successful tech company and I have seen how this role has allowed her to give back. She mentors high school and college students. She hires college interns and has two UD graduates that are now full time. I am a sophomore in high school and because of her I am one of very few females in my computer engineering track. She has encouraged me to find my passion and follow it. She was also named Female Entrepreneur of the year in 2019 and 2020.  I am amazed at her success and she has raised my 2 siblings and me to be thoughtful and ambitious. She inspires our family and donates her time and to help others to reach their potential."

- Emily Frech

"I was one of Cynthia's interns this past fall as a part of Team UDLR of which was comprised of 8 young women. Cynthia is a UD alumna who never fails to give back to the UD community. She provided us with an opportunity to gain real-world experience while guiding and teaching us how to be successful young women in the social media & marketing field. On a larger scale, Cynthia taught us crucial life lessons regarding how to navigate the professional world as a whole. Cynthia inspires me to chase my dreams and not let the fear of failure prevent me from going after what I am passionate about.  Cynthia begins with a vision, and does not stop until that vision blooms into reality. Cynthia not only did that with Cynthia Gale New York, but also by building Team UDLR and the legacy lock ring. Without the experience and confidence gained in my time as an intern for Cynthia, I would not be confident enough to apply to various internships and opportunities that I have."

Gabriella Vergantino 

"Cynthia Gale has taken on such an admirable endeavor by birthing Team UDLR and guiding us towards success. Cynthia has dedicated her time to teaching us everything we need to know about creating a business built upon passion and philanthropy. Through her efforts with Team UDLR's Digital Marketing Internship, Cynthia has connected such a powerful group of strong, young, intelligent women  who otherwise may not have ever crossed paths. She taught us to be uplifting during these incredibly challenging times and to cease any opportunity that comes our way. Though we were never able to collaborate in-person, Cynthia constantly challenged us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. She taught us to have fun and be creative throughout the internship process, always while practicing professionalism and poise. Given everything that Cynthia has done further my career development, it would be my honor to nominate her for this award."

Victoria Langro

"I had the honor of being Cynthia Gale's intern for her jewelry company, Cynthia Gale New York, and was able to collaborate and promote the UD Legacy Ring. In this process, we learned about unity/community along with digital marketing skills. The facts that Ms. Gale was able to oversee eight interns on a complete remote basis, while also forming personal relationships with them, demonstrated what a leader is. She was relatable, approachable, and an extremely inspiring person to say the least. It was a pleasure to learn from her experiences and to take the tools she taught us and apply them to our own lives."

Mallory Reinken

"From the first time I met with Cynthia over Zoom, her kindness was seen through the screen. Her motivation to do good in the world while building a business empire is very admirable, especially as a young woman myself. It is so inspiring to see Cynthia's work ethic, she is incredibly professional but seems to create business relationships that turn into friendships. Her unique idea of Team UDLR and the UD Legacy Lock Ring is so unique and impressive. For the first time in a while since being in college, I am able to look up to a role model, Cynthia."

Leslie Goodman

"Cynthia has been an exceptional mentor these past months and taught me invaluable knowledge. She continues to share her expertise, give me endless opportunities to grow and exhibits enthusiasm in everything she trusts me to do. She is an incredible role model to women and entrepreneurs."

Caroline Posner 

"I am nominating Cynthia Gale in reference to her commitment to the University of Delaware and strong efforts to inspire women through her internship program this past fall semester. I worked alongside Cynthia and a small team of female UD students to promote and market her company's college ring to the University of Delaware. Throughout this experience, Cynthia made sure to emphasize the importance of networking, connection, and growth for this learning experience."

Amanda Ramirez 

"This past semester I had the opportunity to intern for Cynthia Gale at her jewelry company CGNY. I am choosing to nominate Cynthia as she has started her own jewelry company from the ground up and turned it into the well known brand that it has become today. Cynthia is an entrepreneur who inspires women to work towards their goals in life even if they seem far off. Cynthia is an inspiration to the fashion community as she values sustainable practices within her company while also working to empower women. Last year I had the pleasure of attending the Women in Business Lunch-in which was hosted by the Biden Institute here at UD. Cynthia spoke about how as women we sometimes may be left behind and it is important for us to rise above challenges we may face in the work place. Cynthia is an inspiration to all women who aspire to work in the business world and she is able to show how she has used her innovation to create a great company."

Carly Conway  

"Amber is a beacon for all of us looking for inspiration from women entrepreneurs and for her engagement with our community."

- Charlie Horn 

"Katlyn is all about empowering young women.  Since the beginning of the pandemic her reach continues to grow to nearly 400,000 members.  Katlyn is inspiring for thinking and going BIG!"

- Dan Thompson

"Having worked for over 30 years in university entrepreneurship and technology commercialization—I have worked with hundreds of highly innovative people. With that background, I freely state that Dr. Martha Hall is the most innovative person I have ever met. Dr. Hall’s range of innovations (over 35 in two years), benefit countless populations with health, life, and wellness challenges. Dr. Hall deeply inspires by involving over 50 students per year in her work through the Health Science Innovation lab which she founded. Moreover, the vast majority of students go on to be co-inventors—exposing them and training a whole new workforce.  Not satisfied with merely inventing for the benefit of the world, Dr. Hall started a company to commercialize her inventions so they can be used by those for whom they are designed. Dr. Hall goes beyond innovation and inspiration. She is a leader in both. See www.drmarthahalldesigns.com."

- Sherry Hoskinson

"Daneya is very dedicated to empowering all women, young to young-at-heart.  She is a role model to so many including her biggest admirer, and husband, Anthony.  Daneya is owner of Candy Connections and provides the best fresh made cotton candy.  Candy Connections is currently located in the Christiana Mall and online.  Daneya's customers always enjoy their treat and experience whenever visiting Candy Connections."   

Anthony Jacobs

"Great Dames is founded on the strength and impact of a global community of women who support one another to successfully achieve their goals and dreams. For five years, Great Dames has hosted a women-only Remarkable Ideas pitch competition, which led to a Remarkable Ideas supportive community of women innovators and entrepreneurs. Since 2015, it has assisted over 600 entrepreneurial women with funding, resources, and expert advice. In 2020, Great Dames moved to a virtual model to create greater community access. Women from at least five countries participated in this year's pitch event, mostly Millennials and Gen Z students. The 2020 competition winner was Giftie Umo, a Nigerian business leader residing in Delaware, who founded 'Girls Leading Africa.' Additionally, one of the 2020 runner-up pitches by UD students April Singleton and Izzy Hughes, whose idea, 'Create Socially Just Futures,' was inspirational."

- Maria Hess

"I am nominating Andra for her inspirational and tireless work within the mental health community. Andra is the Founder & CEO of the Kindness Campaign, an organization that is on a mission to normalize emotional health. They believe in our youth and their ability to communicate, connect, and lead differently. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among teenagers, and TKC's programs aim to generate authentic conversations & lessons around self-love & positive emotional outlets.

Not only has Andra spearheaded this initiative, she has also developed an improved school curriculum and has created an affirmation journal. Additionally, she launched a podcast that inspires women to harness their own power as well as assist them in recognizing that sometimes their hardships are also their greatest lessons. 

Andra is a true example of a female entrepreneur whose success and mission not only does good for her community, but will be felt for generations."

- Amber Glassman

"I do not know of anyone who has the technical and business skills of Shoshana. She has a PhD in mathematics and started a company that became one of IBM's central CRM offerings."

- Philip M. Sugar

"Vicki is an intensely creative and entrepreneural professional in the energy sector including her work in communications, programs, research and development, as well as innovation."

- Natalia Mathura

"Michele (Malanowicz) McCann Kelley AS '86 is a business entrepreneur at the helm of her own corporation, currently in business for 31 years. She is a National Award Winning Resume Writer that has literally shaped her industry over the past 3 decades, and has created successful careers for some of the most notable global and national professionals."

- Michele Kelley

"Michelle Trincia and Kaylyn Minix co-founded bloom daily planners in 2010 and, since then, have worked tirelessly to grow bloom into what it is today. Not only have they grown bloom in numbers but more importantly, they have grown bloom into a team and community of like- minded women that are constantly improving themselves and the world around them. Kaylyn and Michelle are constantly encouraging and motivating the women that they are around- employees of bloom, customers, store partners, etc., the list goes on and on. I can personally testify that since coming on to the bloom team in 2016, I have learned so much from these two women. I believe I am a more creative, driven, passionate, engaged, and a more motivated woman because of these two. Michelle and Kaylyn are not only leaders but role models. They truly carry out what our company stands for, empowering and inspiring women to bloom into the best versions of themselves in their daily lives."

Lauren Hess

"Colleen honorably served in the United States Air Force for 7 years after completing her BA degree at the University of Delaware, and serving as part of the Air Force ROTC. She went on to become a valued Air Force government contractor, and is now part of the new United States Space Force work as a civilian government contractor. Her drive and dedication to making our country and our world a safer place is inspiring to many women."

Victoria Luttrell

"Rebecca has maintained growing positions within the Wilmington entrepreneurship and development scene. Over the past 5 years, she has built relationships with tech companies, start-ups, and difference-makers that extend well beyond their day-to-day coworking needs. She utilizes her active role to connect and grow the infrastructure of these companies through conversation and intentional introductions. Aside from these interactions, she partners with companies to project professionalism through photography. Working diligently to provide small and large organizations with quality images, Rebecca will truly help in any way that she can to ensure the success of the people around her." 

- Anonymous

"Lee is an inclusive, empowering, kind and generous woman. She started Breakwater Accounting + Advisory 6 years ago, and has managed to grow it from 2 women with 15 clients to over 40 women (and our 2 male coworkers who are equally as integral to our success) and over 160 clients.  She is involved in all aspects of her business making each person in the chain feel equally as important and inspired."

Jessica Boykin

"I'm very proud of the work Holly has done this year discussing equity in Delaware, especially through the Seeking Equity series underwritten by Wilmington Alliance. The voices of Black and Brown business owners were amplified, along with the challenges they've faced, both pre-COVID and during the pandemic. Though the series was planned since January, it happened to launch in early June during the height of the George Floyd/BLM protests, and that made the conversations especially candid. The conversations sparked from the series have helped shape equity programs like E3, and the discussion is ongoing."

- Anonymous

"Stephanie is an incredible mentor, supporter, and friend, and she is a shining star in social entrepreneurship, leading the way for future generations.  When I came to UD, there was no support for social entrepreneurs, and, as in all other places where entrepreneurs and innovators gathered, I felt like social entrepreneurship was valued less than fintech or tech entrepreneurship.  But Stephanie changed that.  She completely changed my educational experience when she brought social entrepreneurship to UD and Horn Entrepreneurship.  I felt valued, appreciated, and supported.  Stephanie made sure to meet with me 1:1 when we first met and constantly asks how she and the social entrepreneurship initiative can better support me and other social entrepreneurship students.   Stephanie is one of my greatest mentors and heroes, and she is incredibly humble and kind in all her endeavors!"

- Sierra RyanWallick  

"Dee Robinson is an ideal role model for all of us who want to do good and create value for others using creativity and entrepreneurship."

- Gail Ball

"Dallas is an illustrator-turned-art director as well as a best selling author. A nationally recognized creative worked for everyone from Oscar de la Renta, Four seasons, to Maybelline on visual design. She resides  in Wilmington DE. Dallas has brought many visual concepts to DE beginning with Blitzen, a Christmas pop-up bar in downtown Wilmington, and is working on a number of other projects in the area."

- Anonymous 

"Leanne has spent the last year combining her knowledge as a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and technology at the forefront of telehealth to bring a vital product to market for kids and parents who need these services, especially during COVID. Innovating on traditional therapist models, Leanne's work enables care at home that promotes better outcomes that parents can afford, both in time and finances."

- Ben Pincus

"Rebecca is an accomplished scientist who focused her curiosity and expertise to the start up ecosystem where she continues to inspire, support and mentor female founders, in particular, in pursuing their ideas to work on solving the world's biggest problems."

- Gail Ball

"In 2008, a small team of 28 individuals entered on a journey to build a small company into an industry leader. Daphne Thomas was brought on board to head up Professional Services. She played a key role in iPipeline becoming a leader in cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry. Our platform accelerates and simplifies sales, compliance, operations, and support. We provide process automation and seamless integration to every participant in our ecosystem including carriers, agents, general agencies, advisors, broker-dealers, RIAs, banks, securities/mutual fund firms, and their consumers on a global basis. Our solutions include pre-sales support, new business and underwriting, policy administration, point-of-sale execution of applications, post-sale support, data analysis, reporting, user-driven configuration, consumer delivery and self-service, and agency and firm management. With 825 employees, iPipeline was sold to Roper for $1.6 billion."

- Michael Persiano

"Michelle Trincia and Kaylyn Minix co-founded bloom daily planners in 2010 and, since then, have worked tirelessly to grow bloom into what it is today. Not only have they grown bloom in numbers but more importantly, they have grown bloom into a team and community of like- minded women that are constantly improving themselves and the world around them. Kaylyn and Michelle are constantly encouraging and motivating the women that they are around- employees of bloom, customers, store partners, etc., the list goes on and on. I can personally testify that since coming on to the bloom team in 2016, I have learned so much from these two women. I believe I am a more creative, driven, passionate, engaged, and a more motivated woman because of these two. Michelle and Kaylyn are not only leaders but role models. They truly carry out what our company stands for, empowering and inspiring women to bloom into the best versions of themselves in their daily lives."

Lauren Hess

"Tanya is a brilliant and inspiring leader and entrepreneur.  She impressed me long ago when I worked with her years ago in telecom but her accomplishments and drive become even more evident with what she has achieved with Goalsetter.  Taking inspiration from her daughter and turning it into a Goalsetter with a mission to inspire parents and teach children the basics about finance/savings and establishing financial goals is truly an achievement.  With a kind and gentle core, she leverages her intelligence to drive results while inspiring her team to remain committed to a cause.  Her confidence was evident on Shark Tank (when she appeared to promote Goalsetter) and enabled her to establish partnerships with Mastercard and several financial institutions.  She is not only an inspiration to women, but also to all aspiring entrepreneurs."

- Eric Gary  

"Dr. Devona E.G. Williams, a University of Delaware alumnus and current Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Delaware State University, is one of the most inspirational and innovative business women of all times. Since 1986, Dr. Williams, President and CEO of Goeins-Williams Associates, Inc., has used her talents to help over 50,000 individuals and organizations achieve greater productivity and performance in strategic work environments. Delaware's Senator Margaret Rose Henry has known Dr. Williams since 1994 and describes Dr. Williams as a 'Superstar; an amazing, intelligent, creative, forward thinking trailblazer.'"

- Tamara Stoner

"Amy has been a frequent visitor to my classes for four years now, a willing UD Blue Hen in giving back. She has accomplished great milestones as the now CEO of Soom Foods, a company she helped co-found in 2013. Her achievements in creating a successful business is the FIRST reason for my nomination! The second is the impact she has had on UD students! Amy has openly shared her successes, failures, lessons learned with many semesters of my sales and marketing students. She is genuine, as honest as can be, except maybe in downplaying her success! Amy has helped students after class, connecting with them, sometimes offering internships to work for her, being a mentor. I have had many (>20) various speakers in my classes, and Amy has received the best feedback of all!"

- Ted Foltyn

Inspired to follow in your footsteps and support your innovative spirit

Our Honor Circle members were lauded by their family, colleagues and friends for demonstrating day in and day out that success isn't just about what you accomplish in life, its about what you inspire others to do.

Your value will not be what you know, it will be what you share

- Ginni Rommetty CEO, IBM