Celebrating the Women of Impact



In 2018, BusinessWest created a new recognition program, one to recognize the contributions of women. We did this … well, because we needed to.

Indeed, while we have other programs that certainly recognize women — 40 Under Forty, Difference Makers, and Healthcare Heroes — a separate program focused exclusively on women and the many contributions they are making to quality of life in this region was clearly necessary.

The reason is that so many of the stories we’ve told since 2018 might not have been told otherwise, and some women worthy of recognition might not have been duly recognized.

We could have called this program ‘Women in Business’ — other business publications have done just that. But we believed this was too limiting. We wanted to recognize all the many ways women can excel and make an impact. Thus, the name Women of Impact was chosen.

And the program has lived up to that title. This tradition of honoring women from across a wide spectrum of professions, pathways, and methods for making an impact continues with the class of 2023.

This class includes business leaders, nonprofit managers, a healthcare provider, an author and public speaker, and even a flight instructor — who is also a business owner.

The stories are all different, but there are many common threads. These women are leaders, they are inspiring, they are mentors to others, and they give back in many different ways.

And there is something else as well. These women all recognize what one of our honorees, Dawn Forbes DiStefano, called the “power of one woman,” especially when it comes to influencing the lives and careers of other women.

And they demonstrate that power, in myriad ways.

Indeed, our honorees have all made it a priority to help empower women and enable them to rise higher, quite literally when it comes to flight instructor and flight-school owner Rika Ballard; or by helping them get into the still-male-dominated auto industry, in the case of Carla Cosenzi; or help them enter (and then persevere in) the financial-advisor industry, in the case of Amy Jamrog; or help them overcome postpartum depression or the trauma of child abuse, as Arlyana Dalce-Bowie and Lisa Zarcone, respectively, are doing; or, in the case of Michelle Theroux, help young people with disabilities thrive in music and in life.

In many ways, our Women of Impact program has become a vehicle for displaying the awesome power of a single woman. Since 2018, our honorees, including those in the class of 2023, have demonstrated the power to lead, inspire, and generate positive change in the lives of not only women, but all those they impact.

It’s a striking, impressive class, and we’re excited to share their stories with you.