Women in Business

Meet 30 professionals who embody the modern concept of leadership. Each has vision and passion, and each is innovative and collaborative. Learn how these women are transforming old business models and making their workplaces better.

Photograph by Jared CastaldiBetty J. Caffo 

The reason students at Wilmington University are so successful is because Betty J. Caffo, Ph.D., is in charge of student success. She’s also responsible for crafting many of the strategies that have made WU the fastest-growing institution of higher learning in Delaware. In the seven years she’s served as provost and vice president of academic affairs (she’s been there 24 years), Caffo has developed 19 new academic programs, increased the number of courses by 33 percent, beefed up enrollment by 3,900 students, and secured three new specialized accreditations for the school. The task force she created to increase enrollment at WU’s New Jersey sites doubled its goal within six months. Caffo, a nurse by training, gets an A+ for team-building skills. She meets with assistant vice presidents and deans every week, stimulating a level of communication “not many universities with 12,000 students have,” she says. “The meetings are the best way to maintain and improve academic quality with such a large cadre of faculty that’s spread out demographically.”

THE OPERATING PLAN Hire an army of long-term adjunct faculty while maintaining a small, full-time teaching staff.

RISK AND REWARD Her boss, WU president Jack Varsalona, “challenges us but encourages us to be innovative, risk-takers and decision-makers. He appreciates us and he shows it.”

- Advertisement -


Page 2: Julie A. Hester


Photograph by Jared CastaldiJulie A. Hester

Much has changed since The Sisters of St. Francis founded St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington in 1929. Named president and CEO in July, Julie Hester is remaking St. Francis’ business model during a volatile time in healthcare. “My goal is to continuously transform with the community we serve,” she says. “But any good organization is ready to change, and healthcare changes every year.” Times are challenging at St. Francis. Its service to the homeless has more than doubled over the past 30 years. The St. Clare Medical Outreach Van, a doctor’s office on wheels, struggles to keep up with demand. And the Tiny Steps Program, which addresses the state’s high infant mortality rates by fostering healthy pregnancies, needs to take big steps to become financially viable. Hester will build partnerships with community, government and corporate leaders, and is identifying grants from the Obama administration. She’s counting on generous donors. “The community is responding in a positive way,” she says.

THE CHALLENGE Hester has to analyze the source of payments for care at short-stay hospitals, which is difficult for hospitals that serve the disadvantaged.

PATIENTS FIRST Hester mandated daily morning huddles, requiring a team of dietitians, physicians, social workers and others to discuss the care of individual patients.

- Partner Content -


Page 3: Cindy Small


Photograph by Jared CastaldiCindy Small

The first few months of 2009 were not looking good for Kent County, says Cindy Small, director of Kent County Tourism. “But June and July were better than the previous year.” Because the lodging tax funds tourism in Delaware, hotel occupancy is Small’s primary focus of measurement—a measure that is growing rapidly, from 1,700 hotel rooms in the county to 2,900 since 2006. Small and her “dynamic, creative, hardworking staff” produce Old Dover Days in May and the Amish Country Bike Tour in September, and market leisure and business travel opportunities. She is planning a big splash for the opening of the Kent County Sports Complex within the next two years. Though she has enjoyed a distinguished career in tourism, she operates at a handicap, because tourism promotion in neighboring states is funded better. “Delaware invests only 25 percent of the lodging tax it collects back into tourism,” she says. “Conservatively, at a $1.40 return on every $1 invested, with a greater investment, we could deliver a greater return for the state, its businesses and its residents.”

THE OPPORTUNITY Tourism pumps $1.5 billion into the economy each year. Small is marketing Kent’s strengths, such as gaming, motorsports, history and heritage, ecotourism and agritourism.

GOING HIGH-TECH Kent County markets via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as through six electronic newsletters with 12,000 subscribers.

- Advertisement -


Page 4: Tsion Messick


Photograph by Jared CastaldiTsion Messick

Tsion Messick is overseeing the largest capital investment in the history of Pepco Holdings, the parent company of Delmarva Power, which is spending $1 billion to build the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, a 500,000 kilovolt transmission line that stretches 150 miles from Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula. That’s good news, because when power is imported from elsewhere, new power plants aren’t needed here. “The power line will ensure reliability into our region, meaning less blackouts and brownouts and sufficient power during shortages or emergencies,” says Messick. As vice president of transmission power delivery for Pepco, she also leads engineers in examining power grids and identifying innovative ways to expand the system. “Our research benefits customers by ensuring that we’ll continue to produce electricity reliably, and at an affordable price.” Messick, an engineer, is also a voting member of PJM Interconnections, a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states.

THE CHALLENGE Getting permits. Some large transmission projects can take 10 to 14 years to complete. Much of the time is spent on the regulatory approval process.

THE REWARD Having a positive impact on the environment.


Page 5: Lynn Lester


Photograph by Jared CastaldiLynn Lester

Lynn Lester never dreamed she’d run an inn, let alone one listed on The National Register of Historic Places. “I was looking at retirement and thought I’d enjoy years of doing nothing,” she says. Instead, the former educator bought the 173-year-old Brick Hotel in Georgetown—where she ended up doing everything. In January 2007 she embarked on a multimillion dollar renovation to combine historic integrity with modern amenities. She opened on Return Day 2008 to capitalize on Vice President-Elect Joe Biden’s presence. In only a year, online bookings have increased 50 percent, and the newly named Brick Hotel on The Circle is attracting a prime market of attorneys visiting for Chancery Court hearings and other business. Lester is building partnerships with local chambers of commerce, and advertising in metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

NO BRICK IN THE BRICK Lester painstakingly removed layers of plaster that covered interior brick walls, only to learn that preservation laws required her to duplicate the original look. She had to cover them up again.

THE FIRST CUSTOMERS The Markell family stayed overnight on Return Day. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee was among guests who watched the parade from the second-floor veranda.


Page 6: Tobey M. Daluz


Photograph by Jared CastaldiTobey M. Daluz

“The average bankruptcy lawyer could’ve told you we were in a recession long before we hit the skids,” says Tobey M. Daluz, managing partner for Ballard Spahr LLP in Wilmington. Daluz juggles about 40 cases at a time, focusing efforts on mega-clients like DuPont. She became a partner at Ballard in 2002, then opened the Wilmington office as head of its bankruptcy division. The branch employs 10 lawyers and seven staffers, but Daluz plans to expand the team. Daluz is also passionate about mentoring African-American teens who show interest in the law. “We have to show inner-city kids that there are opportunities for them, and it’s not insurmountable for them to go to college,” Daluz says. “We have to be there for them.”

THE B WORD Bankruptcy doesn’t always mean failure, says Daluz. “It actually provides an opportunity for a corporate entity to restructure and emerge a healthier company, which benefits not just the company, but also creditors and employees, who can maintain their jobs.”

THE FIRM The three partners in Ballard’s Delaware office are women. Two are women of color.


Page 7: Alison Blyth


Alison Blyth

Alison Blyth is designing what she says is Delaware’s first carbon-neutral restaurant, so her go fish! in Rehoboth Beach will be renamed go fish! go green! next month. Blyth founded the British fish and chips spot in 2002. This month she installed 72 photovoltaic solar roof panels at a cost of $160,000. “I got in right when the stimulus program was giving 80 percent to commercial businesses going green,” Blyth says, “and I expect the panels to take care of about 80 percent of my electric bill.” If solar produces excess electricity, it will be fed into the utility grid, generating a credit on Blyth’s electric bill. She plans to sell the credits to produce more income. Business is up 30 percent from last year. Blyth grosses more than $1 million a year.

SALES REP Go fish! recently became a sales center for Flexera, an environmental engineering firm. A computer portal in the restaurant reveals the progress of solar panel installation.

HER RESUME Blyth founded and sold the Rehoboth restaurants La La Land and the former Yum Yum Asian Bistro.


Page 8: Deborah W. Brooks


Photograph by Mark SeligerDeborah W. Brooks

When actor Michael J. Fox set out to start a research-based nonprofit devoted to Parkinson’s disease, he put out feelers on Wall Street. One name came up several times, Deborah W. Brooks, who’d enjoyed a nine-year run as a vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co. before becoming a social worker. “No one does that,” says Brooks. With Fox, she founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. During her seven years as president and CEO, the foundation funded more than $90 million in research. Brooks, who now lives in Greenville, maintains a national role by leading fundraising efforts.

WHAT SHE’S PROUDEST OF Bridging the gap between scientists and pharmaceutical companies such as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to create a new way of funding research.

HER REAL JOB Finding the money. New treatments take “billions of dollars and years to accomplish.”


Page 9: Judy Cook


Judy Cook

“It’s hard for people to trust financial institutions these days,” says Judy Cook, vice president of Operations for Del-One Credit Union in Dover. Yet under her leadership, Del-One has expanded. “Our focus has been in educating our front-line staff.” Though delinquency and foreclosures have increased, Cook has turned hardship into opportunity for customers and employees. “We can explain how different lending products can help,” she says. Cook oversees daily operations of Del-One’s seven branches, as well as overall cash operation, security and fraud prevention, and renovation.

HER PASSION Educating youth about finances.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS Cook and her two kids brave the Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Delaware.


Page 10: Mary Ann Ehlshlager


Mary Ann Ehlshlager

The Delaware Theatre Company has survived many challenges during its 31 years. When managing director Mary Ann Ehlshlager made her entrance in August 2008, the recession was kicking into high gear, so she began making the theater more sustainable in the changing market. She’s overseen reductions in force, reorganized staff and diversified revenue streams. Her immediate goals for maintaining good fiscal health are to rent the theater to corporate clients, cultivate relationships with donors, increase earned revenues and develop an intergenerational clientele. But the show is the thing, so Ehlshlager is banking on artistic director Anne Marie Cammarato to deliver great performances. “For the cost of parking for one night in Manhattan, you can bring an entire family to a quality night at the Delaware Theatre Company,” she says.

BUTTS IN SEATS Ehlshlager’s new ticket pricing strategy supports the artistic mission, but still makes shows affordable.

TECH TOUCH DTC is launching a Website with online ticketing capabilities.


Page 11: Jennifer Gondolfo


Photograph by Young's StudioJennifer Gondolfo

Jennifer Gondolfo needed to support herself and her five children when her 31-year marriage ended. In 2007 she bought the Two Men and a Truck Delaware South franchise. By early 2009, she had increased her number of moves nearly 77 percent, and her franchise became the second-fastest growing in the Two Men system. (There are 209 franchises.) The single mom and owner employs 15 staffers in a business that thrives “in spite of or because of the recession,” she says. “This economy brings life changes.” Gondolfo respects her movers. “Men who have done labor-intensive jobs aren’t exactly used to working for people who care about them and their families,” she says. “But the moving business is competitive, and it’s an honor when customers pick me. I convey that to my guys. Nobody better mess with my customers.”

HER CHALLENGE The company name, Two Men and a Truck, because there can be several men and several trucks used on a job.

HER MENTOR Mary Ellen Sheets, the single mother who founded Two Men and a Truck in 1985.


Page 12: Cindy Green


Cindy Green

Pigments, specialty chemicals and refrigerants are all cool to Cindy Green, president of DuPont Fluoroproducts. “We actually call refrigerants ‘the science of cool,’” she says. An engineer, Green oversees all aspects of the division, including manufacturing, marketing and sales. She devises ways to run plants more efficiently and is part of the team that studies global environmental trends such as solar cells, clean energy sources and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Green oversees the division that also makes Teflon, Tedlar and applications for chemical process industries. Green is a 30-year DuPont veteran.

THE REWARD “We don’t sell directly to consumers, but we make consumers’ lives better with our products.”

THE CHALLENGE Staying connected with customers.


Page 13: Paula Gunson


Paula Gunson

As executive director of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, Paula Gunson is responsible for building a positive image of western Sussex County. She works with the Laurel and Delmar chambers to do it. “That’s so the entire Route 13 corridor can act as one voice on issues and challenges unique to the western side of the county,” she says. Gunson has been increasing benefits for the chamber’s 300 member businesses while keeping the costs down. “We didn’t raise dues, but we did increase the number of connections available to members.” The chamber tracks legislation that affects member businesses on local and federal levels. Key concerns are the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

COOL EVENTS Gunson staffs the Nanticoke Riverfest, Woodland Ferry Festival, Apple-Scrapple Festival and World Championship Punkin Chunkin’.

SOCIAL MARKETING The chamber is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr.


Page 14: Karan Guyon


Photograph by Thom ThompsonKaran Guyon

Employees of Synchrogenix in Wilmington say executive vice president Karan Guyon has single-handedly led the company to international success. Guyon credits owner and founder Ellen Barrosse, who “ran the company for 18 years, then hired me to grow it.” And grow she did. Synchrogenix, a medical writing group that serves the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is constantly hiring medical and regulatory writers here and in offices in the Philippines. Under Guyon, the company has grown by 20 percent each year for the past five. It has opened offices in England and Boston, and it will open more next year in the Carolinas, Princeton and San Francisco. Guyon will now focus on building relationships with large pharmaceutical and large and mid-size biotech companies, but the company’s success comes from word of mouth. “As a team, we’ve become one of probably two large medical writing companies in the world.”

PRIME POSITION Pharmaceutical firms are cutting costs by cutting writers, “so we’ve become their writing arm.”        

BELIEF IN BALANCE “Life outside work matters to us.”


Page 15: Sueann M. Hall


Sueann M. Hall

Low employment rates are not a problem for Sueann M. Hall, owner and president of Just Legal Inc., a legal staffing company and legal secretarial training school in Hockessin. Since opening the firm in 2002, Hall has served 300 law firms, graduated 150 students, opened an attorney placement division and launched a new consulting services division. “We have personally placed more than 3,000 people in seven years,” she says. “I have interviewed about 7,200 people.” The legal community’s woes are her gains. “Law firms were heavily hit with layoffs in the recession. When firms get additional caseloads, they have to call for temporary help, so our temp business has grown exponentially.” Before founding Just Legal, Hall sold an agency in Florida to a national firm. She stayed on as vice president, running 30 offices and growing sales from $3 million to $28 million in two years.

IT’S NOT ALL GOOD The recession has negatively impacted Hall’s permanent placement division, which should improve as the economy recovers.

THE UPSIDE Hall has built a solid reputation with law firms throughout the tri-state area.


Page 16: Laura Harding McCann


Laura Harding McCann

Love Grotto pizza? Thank Laura Harding McCann for hiring the folks who make it. Founder and owner Dominick Pulieri calls McCann “his memory” because she keeps him up to speed on the successes and challenges of Grotto’s 18 locations and 1,200 employees. As director of employee and community relations, McCann’s responsibilities range from overseeing daily operations to managing new product launches. In May she introduced a Secret Shopper Program, hiring 45 diners to patronize each shop and offer feedback. This month the diners are circulating in all three counties to test a pasta entrée introduced in October. (McCann designed the boxes.) McCann, who started as a human resource rep at Grotto in 1998, can often be spotted with Pulieri at various locations on Saturdays “just checking things out.”

GOOD MOVE Grotto opened its first Kent County location at Dover Air Force Base this year.

GOOD SAMARITANS McCann and Pulieri give back. In February 2002 they delivered pizza to recovery volunteers at Ground Zero. They also provided aid and food to Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans.


Page 17: Helen Haughey


Helen Haughey

Helen Haughey once wanted to be a famous Broadway actress. Now, as a publicist, she wants to make others famous. After an acting stint in the Big Apple, Haughey returned to Delaware to start the successful Dover retail store, Bell, Book, & Candle, which she sold in 2007. When she married musician Greg Haughey, she realized that big label producers rarely heard local musicians, so she founded Group E Publicity in Magnolia in March. In nine months, she grew her client base by seven times. She offers representation to bands, solo artists and speakers. In July she founded the Pub and Tavern Association of Downtown Dover to create better nightlife by making downtown Dover pubs and taverns part of city revitalization efforts. Its launch party was “a great success,” says Haughey. “Many of the pub, tavern and restaurant owners said they drew historical numbers, and most were packed all night.”

LONG-RANGE GOAL To become an independent music publisher in the next five years.

A LEG UP “I help companies who’ve downsized PR departments. They are more likely to continue using my services once the economy recovers.”


Page 18: Darnyelle A. Jervey


Darnyelle A. Jervey

Speaker, author and consultant Darnyelle A. Jervey of Wilmington wants everyone to discover her own incredible-ness. As founder of Incredible One Enterprises, Jervey’s goal—via workshops, speeches and webcasts—is to motivate people to excel in life and business. She walked away from a successful career at Mary Kay Cosmetics, where she was Delaware’s Top Pink Cadillac executive sales director and the youngest African-American woman to earn that honor. “My challenge is reaching new markets and expanding beyond my immediate area,” Jervey says. She’s using the Internet to connect with decision-makers. She intends to reach 100 clients per year via keynotes, workshops, seminars and coaching. She’s well on her way. In 2009, Jervey delivered a combination of 40 keynotes and seminars, a 68 percent increase over the previous year. She also hosts a weekly radio show about empowerment.

INNOVATIVE COACHING Jervey originated the Burn the Box Coaching program.

AWARDS Black Achiever in Business and Industry Award, and the Community Commitment Award of Delaware.


Page 19: Orly Katz


Orly Katz

People are still proposing marriage, but instead of spending $15,000 on a diamond ring­­ like they did five years ago, they’re spending $2,000. That’s a big drop for Orly Katz, owner of Orly Diamonds in Wilmington, whose speciality is diamond engagement rings. So in October she partnered with Disney’s Jewelry for Girls to offer the exclusive Princess Collection of fine jewelry. Katz was born and raised in Israel, where diamonds are a leading industry, so her products come from Israel’s Diamond Bourse, where her cousin is an acclaimed cutter and designer. “He sends the diamonds to me, which is why the majority of our pieces are unique,” she says. Katz recently unveiled two collections with rings priced below $3,000. “They come in the same box. They’re treated with the same care. They have the same glitz and glamour.”

THE REAL DEAL Katz’ engagement ring was purchased at a New York subway kiosk for $8.

KUDOS Orly Diamonds received the 2009 “America’s Best Jewelers” award from National Jeweler Magazine.


Page 20: Susan D. Lloyd


Susan D. Lloyd

Susan D. Lloyd was 27 when she was named executive director of Delaware Hospice. That was 1987, when the then-5-year-old nonprofit had served 1,000 families with the help of 50 staffers and 275 volunteers. Now president and CEO, Lloyd oversees a growing organization whose 250 staffers and 750 volunteers have served nearly 33,000 families. She managed the construction of the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford in April 2008 and is planning a second building in New Castle to open by 2011. Lloyd was integral in the creation of the New Hope Program, which helped 1,500 Delaware youth deal with the loss of loved ones and became a model for hospices across the country after being featured on “Dateline NBC.” Lloyd also helped create the Transitions Program, which offers non-medical support to seriously ill individuals. “My job is a privilege,” says Lloyd. “To have the ability to provide the best care and keep the focus on the patient and family has been an honor.”

WHAT SHE COULDN’T DO WITHOUT Her team. “I have a very dynamic board of trustees, and my staff are hard-working, awesome individuals. But volunteers are the backbone.”

HER ROLE To let her team do their jobs their way while she focuses on the larger picture.


Page 21: Patty McDaniel


Photograph by Marc CleryPatty McDaniel

Patty McDaniel is founder and president of Boardwalk Builders Inc., a full-service remodeling firm in Rehoboth Beach. She oversees everything from window replacements to whole house remodeling. McDaniel has built 17 homes, but she averages 60 projects per year, ranging in price from $500 to $3 million. “These are challenging times, but I don’t think the rules of the game have changed,” she says. “The penalties for not following the rules are just more severe. It’s more important then ever to maintain integrity, manage effectively, protect your assets and be fiscally conservative.” McDaniel became a Certified Graduate Remodeler in 2003 and a Certified Green Professional in 2008. “In my experience, people care about character more than gender, and this is especially true in the construction arena.”

THE BUILDER WRITES McDaniel’s byline can be seen in The Journal of Light Construction.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION Professional Remodeler magazine named Boardwalk Builders one of the 101 best employers in the residential construction industry. Boardwalk Builders also earned design awards from Qualified Remodeler magazine, Remodeling Magazine, and Professional Remodeler.


Page 22: Lisa W. More


Lisa W. More

As vice president and head of client services for the investment management unit of Wilmington Trust Corporation, Lisa W. More works with a team that  manages more than $35 billion in assets and advises clients on fixed income investment issues. There’s been a lot of handholding during the recession. “Over the past two years, the credit crisis has created a higher need for client interaction because there was a lot of dislocation in the markets,” says More. She often uses analogies to translate banking jargon, which helps to calm anxious clients. Wilmington Trust has a good track record with investment portfolios, so clients were not as negatively impacted by problems in the marketplace as some others. “We were able to retain clients and subsequently bring in new clients.” More’s close rate is 90 percent. She has been instrumental in growing the company’s fixed income assets, which stand at more than $13 billion. 

WHY SHE’S ADMIRED More shuns the limelight. “It’s more about the ‘we’ than the ‘me.”

LOUD AND PROUD More enjoyed a seven-year term as board president of Read Aloud Delaware, which encourages young students to read.


Page 23: Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson


Photograph by Lindy PowersCindy Pettinaro Wilkinson

Verino Pettinaro started the Pettinaro real estate development company in 1967. His daughter Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson founded Pettinaro Relocation in 1996. Since its inception, Pettinaro Relocation has built and managed five properties that offer hundreds of short-term apartments, condominiums and town homes. Wilkinson beefed up the business in 1999, when she included law firms and insurance companies as clients. Working alongside sales director Nancy Rochford, Wilkinson created a business that became known among builders and real estate brokers by housing hundreds of corporate executives, individuals and families from the United States and abroad. Wilkinson sweated the small stuff, offering amenities such as large bathrooms and gourmet kitchens. “We wanted to make life for customers better, at least for the short term,” she says.

THE FUN BEGAN In the late 1990s.Wilkinson provided housing to Bruce Willis while the actor and his crew were in Wilmington to make a film by native Delawarean Joe Feury in 1997.

HER PASSION Volunteering. Wilkinson works with Governor Jack Markell and Carla Markell on the Better Delaware initiative to increase volunteerism.


Page 24: Cathy Rossi


Cathy Rossi

Cathy Rossi has performed so well as manager of public and government affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic, she’s become one of the most recognized people in the regional public relations industry. This year she worked with legislators to create a state cell phone bill. Last year she led AAA’s Delaware Teen Driving Day at Dover International Speedway, which exposed hundreds of teenagers to the hazards of drunken driving and texting while driving. “If we saved one young person from being involved in an accident, then we did something good,” Rossi says. But it was her previous journalism experience that prompted WHYY to offer her a regular gig on “First,” a weekly Delaware news program. The show offers the native Delawarean an opportunity to do what she loves best, “to banter publicly about the issues Delawareans talk about.”

STREET CRED This year Rossi earned accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, a designation earned by only 25 percent of PR pros in the country.

HER MENTORS Rossi’s mother, Barbara Niedbalski taught her values. Her elementary school teacher, the late Neilia Biden, spotted her writing skills.


Page 25: Ellen Ross Sarafian


Ellen Ross Sarafian

Ellen Ross Sarafian founded Dezins Unlimited in Wilmington, a residential and commercial interior design and furniture showroom, during the recession. It was a risk. “But I had confidence that quality product, superior service and many ranges in pricing would surely outlive the temporary economic hardship,” she says. So far, so good. Before starting the business in 2008, the president and senior designer worked with Europe’s most respected designers and oversaw projects such as the restoration and design of four Georgian buildings. She also managed the restoration of the Oscar Wilde House Museum in Dublin, Ireland, where she continues to serve as curator.

SHORT-TERM GOAL To design interiors that can accommodate “the very moderate to the higher price points.”

LONG-TERM GOAL To build a larger showroom in her Fairfax Shopping Center space.


Page 26: Patricia Susan Slaughter


Patricia Susan Slaughter

Patricia Susan Slaughter, Ph.D., of Rehoboth Beach and Boston left college to become the youngest family scheduler for President Jimmy Carter. After the White House years, she graduated from Harvard University, then earned a doctorate in international business and marketing from Boston University. She became an international speaker, prompting NBC producers to label her the nation’s leading career expert. Now a partner at CSI The Banking Group, she finds jobs for banking executives. “It’s the best year I’ve ever had,” she says. “While some of the larger banks are merging, we still have contracts to place a lot of experts who can fix credit problems and help people begin new businesses.” Slaughter authored “Your Exclusive Destiny,” a book that offers career advice. Her second, “Your Exclusive Success,” is in the works.

HER MENTOR Former Democratic National Committeewoman Becky Twilley Gates. “She told me you can do anything, no matter who you are, or where you’re from.”

WHY A DOCTORATE? “I believe education in the United States is still the best vehicle for career development.”


Page 27: Richelle Vible


Richelle Vible

In March 2008 then-Bishop Michael Saltarelli appointed Richelle Vible executive director of Catholic Charities Inc., which coordinates the charitable and social service programs of the diocese. Vible, a Wharton School-trained former president and CEO of Citizens Bank Delaware, knew to expect challenges. Catholic Charities was already serving 70,000 people a year, “but given the current economy, there has been a huge increase in the demand for our services,” she says. “Requests for basic assistance have nearly tripled.” Vible has strengthened relationships with partners such as the Food Bank of Delaware, and enhanced existing services, instituting round-the-clock phone counseling services at Bayard House, a residential program for pregnant teens and women. “It’s rewarding when we’ve helped a family to adopt a child or another keep a home after losing a job,” Vible says.

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD Catholic Charities is helping more people than ever. It’s also forced to turn more away.

RECENT HONOR In September the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce awarded Catholic Charities The Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Award.


Page 28: Carla G. Vicario


Carla G. Vicario

Carla G. Vicario of Newark is founder and president of Ben-Dom Printing, a commercial printing company named after her two sons, Benjamin and Dominick. A sign on her wall reads, “Attitude is as important as ability,” and it’s a sentence that describes Vicario’s work ethic and belief in the people she leads. The single mom has stayed in business for 15 years. “Some people invest in new equipment and can print their own materials,” says Vicario. “But many others would rather turn their work over to a professional printer who can customize a plan, whether it’s offset, digital or screen printing.”

HER CAUSE Vicario has saved, adopted and placed hundreds of animals in homes. She donates printing services to Friends for Responsible Pet Care in Newark.

HER MANAGEMENT STYLE “I know when to put on my owner hat and manage production, but I give my manager a lot of authority, and I don’t bark orders all day long.”


Page 29: Vikki Walls


Vikki Walls

Vikki Walls has transformed the downstate music scene. As entertainment director for Highway One Limited Partnership, which owns the Rusty Rudder, Bottle & Cork, Northbeach and Jimmy’s Grille, all in Dewey Beach, she has mostly replaced cover bands with original bands. “It’s about the music now, not the partying,” she says. “I’m proud to have brought acts here that no one would’ve seen otherwise.” As an independent contractor, Walls calls her own shots. She also directs the Delaware Music Festival, Dewey Beach Popfest, High Tide Jamfest and the Dewey Beach Chickfest. She founded and runs the Dewey Beach Music Conference & Festival, too, which attracts about 175 local, national and underground bands to town every fall. That’s a boon for the local economy. “These folks eat lunch at the Rudder and hit Grotto Pizza after bars close.” 

A FILM GIG, TOO? Walls is assistant to the director for the film “Mayor Cupcake,” a Bridgeville-based indie starring Lea Thompson and Judd Nelson. Her boss, Alex Pires, a partner with Highway One, is co-writer, director and producer.

STARS SHE HELPED DISCOVER The band Hailstorm signed with Atlantic Records. Philadelphia singer Melody Gardot did “The David Letterman Show.” The band Parachute is touring with Kelly Clarkson.


Page 30: Patsy Ware


Patsy Ware

Patsy Ware’s job is to find good work for good local people. Since becoming president and owner of BesTemps of Dover in 2008, she has registered 5,326 Delawareans for temporary work in a territory that stretches from Greenwood to Wilmington. Ware finds for clients skilled and unskilled labor positions in industrial plants, construction companies and businesses. “Unemployment is up because businesses are gone,” says Ware. “I have manufacturing experts, college grads, machine operators and superintendents. What I find is that they just don’t know where to start.” Ware has endured a challenging year, but money “is not the object,” she says. “If a person stays down too long, it’s hard to get back up. Short of holding hands and walking people into the door, I’ll do everything I can to get them back to work.”

CHEAP PAPER Ware found a great way to reduce printing costs. She uses the services at the Department of Correction. “We’re talking 500 business cards for $17.”

PEACE OF MIND Ware works with agencies that provide temporary health insurance to temps. She also absorbs workers’ compensation and liability insurance for temps. 

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.