The Gift of WU
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Having grown up with four brothers, I was very comfortable operating in a male world – I could hold my own and got along just fine. I honestly didn’t think I was missing anything until 1997, when my friend and colleague, Susan Kendrick, introduced me to Jean Otte, the Founder of WOMEN Unlimited. That’s when I realized I was missing something very important – being part of a sisterhood of strong women who could impact individual women’s lives and begin to change the workplace. Serving as the Midwest Regional Director for the last 17 years has challenged me to be a better woman and professional.

Some of the gifts WUI has given me:

  • Over 1300 graduates in the Midwest region, along with more than 1000 managers who sponsored these high-potential women.
  • Over 500 mentors and over 100 panelists who’ve given of themselves to help emerging leaders grow.
  • Jean Otte (Founder), Rosina Racioppi (CEO) and Nina Dougar (CFO)–who have trusted me to carry forth their mission.
  • The Midwest WUI team: Brenda Knapp, Judy Busby, Kelly Buchnat, and Robyn Becker — one of best teams I’ve ever been privileged to lead.
  • All of my WU sisters across the US who believe in a common mission and demonstrate excellence every day.
  • The opportunity to build relationships across many industries and to hone my own leadership and facilitation skills.

My personal brand is to “Cultivate Environments for Growth”, which I have been able to do with WU, as well as in my role as President of Hornell Partners and as author of “Good Things for a Full Life”. The well-tended garden that is WU-Midwest is in full bloom, and will continue to flourish as I step away from my role at the end of 2014. I’ll continue to support WU as I do my other clients-facilitating occasional workshops and projects. I’ve got a “few good years” 🙂 in which to explore new projects and clients, take some risks, as well as expand the work I’ve begun with my book. Wish me luck in this new, exciting chapter!

©2014 All Rights Reserved

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  1. Good luck to you deb in all your new ventures. I know that you did as much if not more, for women unlimited than they did for you. You helped make that company the success it is today, and you provided so many women with the tools and the confidence to break through the glass ceiling. Kudos on your career here.

  2. See you soon, sister!!! Lovely tribute and look back. What a ride we have had!!!! SO grateful for it and I know you are as well.

  3. Deb,

    Wow! 17 years with WUI is a gift to all of us who’ve benefitted from your mentorship and experience. The best of everything to you in this next chapter!

    Hailey Venters
    WUI 2012

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