Top 25 Women to Watch
2017 Top 25 Honorees

WiBN’s 2017 Top 25 Women To Watch

Jill Kingston, Executive Director and Co Founder, Brigids Path

Jill is the Executive Director for Brigid’s Path, a non-profit newborn recovery center opening in Kettering, Ohio.  She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Human Development and Family Science and earned her Master of Education degree from Wright State University.  Jill previously founded and ran a successful local business for twelve years before turning her focus to helping babies with NAS.  She and her husband are parents of three school-aged children, a toddler, and a newborn.  Her family is in their fourth year fostering newborns exposed to drugs during pregnancy. 


Sandra Brasington, Western Ohio Regional Liason, Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich

Sandra Brasington is the Western Ohio Regional Liaison for Governor John Kasich, appointed when he took office in 2011 covering 16 counties including Dayton & Columbus.  In this role she is the link between the administration and military, local business leaders, elected officials and community groups to meet the economic, business and local opportunities throughout the region. She is an effective leader who thrives on bringing individuals together to solve challenges.  Sandra previously worked for Ohio Auditor, Betty Montgomery. 

 With over 15 years of state and local government experience, Sandra brings the knowledge of being an elected official as well as private sector experience together to positively impact the community.  Her knowledge and passion began over 25 years ago while working with the Air Force, the American Red Cross, and local communities both stateside and abroad.  She continues to be involved in numerous organizations that champion and support our military.   


Carol Clark, Publisher, PRIZM

Carol Clark was an entrepreneur in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for 15 years, and after selling her business, moved into a career in media in 1990. 

With over 25 years in the industry, Carol Clark has led advertising sales teams throughout the eastern US, at large metro dailies, including The Columbus Dispatch and The Virginian-Pilot, as well as weekly community newspapers and niche publications. 

 Carol joined Dayton Business Journal in early 2008 as the Director of Advertising and was promoted to Market President and Publisher in March of 2011. Carol is now Publisher for PRIZM magazine.

 Carol has five grown children and one grandchild, all living in Columbus.  She is active in the Downtown Dayton Rotary, serves on the boards of the Wright-Patt Credit Union, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Dayton Partnership and Big Brothers Big Sisters.   She also serves on the Wright State University Graduate School External Advisory Board.


Christine M Soward, CEO/Owner, DMS ink

Christine Soward is President and CEO of DMS ink, formerly Dayton Mailing Services, and its subsidiaries, Barrett Brothers and The Bricks Agency. Christine has worked in every aspect and department of the company since it was started by her father, Robert Hale, in 1983. After purchasing the company in 2005, Christine’s constant dedication to her business, her customers, and her employees has grown the company, its revenues, and its offerings.

 Christine’s leadership, work ethic and focus on delivering superior products and services have made DMS ink the top choice for critical business communication. The company is a certified WBENC, MBE, and WOSB. 

 Christine is active in the community and is a board member at Dayton Children’s Hospital and the DACC. She is also involved in supporting Prevent Blindness Ohio and the Pink Ribbon Girls.



Mary E. Garman, Chief Opperating Officer, Premier Health- Good Samaritan Hospital

Mary Garman joined Premier Health in 2008 and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Good Samaritan Hospital.  She has over thirty years of healthcare experience and has served in leadership roles for organizations including Dayton Children’s Hospital, Bethesda North and Upper Valley Medical Center.

Mary sits on the board for Chaminade-Julienne High School, the Heart Institute of Dayton, and the American Heart Association and has participated on the board for the Ronald McDonald House, Catholic Social Services and Life Connection of Ohio.  Mary has contributed in advisory roles for the Wright State-Miami Valley College of Nursing, the Nursing Institute of West Central Ohio, the Heart Foundation, the Ohio Hospital Association, and the Ohio Organization of Nurse Executives.

Mary earned her BS and MS from Wright State.  She is a graduate of Leadership Dayton and a recipient of the Dayton Children’s Excellence in Nursing Leadership and the Dayton Business Journal’s "40 Under 40" Awards. 


Mary McDonald, Mayor, City of Trotwood

Mary A. McDonald is Mayor of the City of Trotwood and has served on City Council since 2005. Mayor McDonald is passionate about Trotwood and has ignited the City with new energy. Her tireless work has seen 10 million in new capital investment throughout the city.

Mary’s leadership and vision has positioned the city into a regional player in home ownership and financial stability. As Mayor, economic development within the City of Trotwood has experienced a resurgence with repurposing many retail structures and the relocation of several major corporations to the area. One of Mary’s initiatives was the renovation of the Trotwood Community & Cultural Arts Center. Through her efforts, Trotwood has experienced partnerships from State and Federal leaders that will provide positive benefits to its residents.

Mary is a proud mother of two, Alexandra “Kate” Rivers (Shamel) & Daniel Caldwell and Gigi of the dynamic Sydney & London Rivers.


Natasha Randall, Vice President of Design and Operations, Unlimited Events

While completing her degree from WSU in acting, a chance encounter doing character work for a themed party altered the course of her career.  Little did she know that her training and ability to troubleshoot and improvise, combined with her drive and ambition would be perfectly suited the special event industry.

Quickly rising through the ranks, Natasha went from entertainment coordinator/office manager to Vice President of Design and Operations for Unlimited Events, the regions leader in specialty event décor, design and coordination.

In her “free” time, Natasha loves spending time with her husband Craig and their daughter, Isabella.   With a pay-it-forward philosophy, Natasha volunteers for many noteworthy causes.  She chairs the After Party for Doors of Compassion and works with the Red Shoe Society, both benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.  Natasha is the president of the board for Zoot Theatre Company and sits on the board for The Dayton Theatre Guild.


Elizabeth Graves, President, Prime Controls

Beth Graves is the President of Prime Controls, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of inspection equipment for the canmaking, automotive, appliance and other metal forming industries. The company is a second generation, family owned business and under her leadership was named a 2016 Dayton Business Journal Manufacturing Business of the Year. She is a graduate of Wright State University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She has taught international business courses as an adjunct at the University of Dayton. She is on a mission to change the face of manufacturing from an industry that is old and dirty to one that is full of smart engineering and talented production work. What she enjoys most about her current role is the opportunity to lead and grow each and every member of her team.  When she is not at work, she can be found on the sidelines of a soccer field or a basketball court, supporting her kids as their no. 1 fan.




Juanita Darden-Jones, Owner/Creator, Third Perk CoffeeHouse and WineBar/JM Enterprises, LLC

Dayton, Ohio native Juanita-Michelle Darden-Jones is the owner of Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar, Third Perk Express and Well-Rounded Tees. Juanita-Michelle is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at
Sinclair College where she has served since 2008.

Juanita-Michelle the wife of musician Robert Jones, the mother of Kenan, Kendell, Kayland, Christopher, Renatta and Anthony. She is the proud grandmother lovingly known to her Grands as G. Her Grands are
Jaiden, Keyshawn, Nayomi, YaNiah, Aden, Ashton, Karter, Braylen and Landon.

Juanita-Michelle has become a Social-Preneur assisting entrepreneurs in Dayton, Ohio with capital to begin and grow their business through the Dreamer’s Gala. Juanita-Michelle is committed to making sure that the struggle of small business endeavors are not ignored and that she become an agent of change to make sure that the community understands that small businesses must be supported from beginning to end if they are expected to start and survive.


Tina M. Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, Homefull

Tina has been with Homefull since 1995, and has been the agency’s CEO since 1999. Tina is a strong leader who works tirelessly to achieve the agency’s vision of a community where there is no homelessness. Under her guidance, Homefull has expanded its focus from simply servicing the condition of homelessness to focusing on implementing strategies to end homelessness. Under Tina’s leadership, the agency’s annual budget has increased from $500,000 to over $4,000,000 with programs serving persons throughout the continuum of homelessness. Homefull, under Tina’s leadership, now provides technical assistance, consultation and training to communities, organizations and providers all over the country. Tina’s vision led to the creation of a social enterprise Homefull Solutions to provide job opportunities and training to homeless men, women and families. She currently serves on several Boards and committees.




Gina Handy Minyard, Theatre Magnet Director, Stivers School for the Arts

Gina Handy Minyard is an actor, teacher, playwright, producer, and choreographer.  Currently, Gina is the theatre magnet director at Stivers School for the Arts.  An award winning 20 year acting vetern, she was recently in 26 Pebbles at the Human Race Theatre Company. Gina was a part of the inaugural Teaching Artists Training Program at Lincoln Center Education.  She holds a BFA Musical Theatre from Mars Hill University, and is a member of Actor's Equity Association.  As the Founding Artistic Director of Magnolia Theatre Company; she produces shows with strong female characters as a way to provide gender parity in the arts.  This year, Gina was awarded a Culture Works and the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District grant.   She enjoys volunteering with pit bull rescues and the Junior League of Dayton.  Gina and her husband, Gary, have been married for 14 years, and have a pit bull named Petunia.


Angela Felice McMurry, Science Curriculum Coordinator (K-12), Darke County Educational Service Center

After spending 12 years in the classroom, teaching everything from 5th grade to High School AP Biology, I’ve spent the last five years as the Science Curriculum Coordinator at the Darke County Educational Service Center. In this role, I enjoy the privilege of working with PreK-12 teachers in the eight school districts our county office serves. Additionally, I have consulted and facilitated programming for over 200 school districts throughout the state of Ohio. As curriculum coordinator, I spend time every day developing new teaching strategies and techniques that teachers can utilize to help students better learn science and build educational confidence.  My goal (directly or indirectly) is to help all students realize that they can be independent thinkers and problem solvers, reasoning their way through situations while understanding the world around them. In my role as a STEM Advocate for the Ohio Academy of Science, I have been instrumental in implementing vital new programming to inspire Ohio’s students to pursue careers in STEM, thus impacting the future success of Ohio’s economy.  As a member of the Ohio Math/Science Coalition and the Ohio Department of Education’s Network of Regional Leaders, I also communicate with state legislators and policy makers regarding educational mandates and policies currently impacting our students and classrooms. I am a firm believer that students discover the physical world around them best by getting outside! As a member of the Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Board and creator of the LIGHT Project, I have an opportunity to collaborate with students, teachers and the communities in which they live to see that this happens on a regular basis. I am currently the president of the Science Education Council of Ohio (SECO), the state organizational chapter of over 1000 members. SECO is the state chapter for the National Science Teacher’s Association. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering at Brukner Nature Center, participating as a member of the Associate Board for the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and coordinating the District 1 Science Day for Champaign, Darke, Miami and Shelby Counties.  I am a proud mom of two science-loving boys and one future princess physicist. I could not fulfill my professional and personal dreams without the support of my loving husband Glen McMurry and my amazing parents, Lee and Kristine Goodson. 



Melissa Fowler, Project Manager, Campus Suite

Melissa Fowler, APR is a product development operations manager with Campus Suite, a Cincinnati-based company that designs websites and CMS platforms for school districts and other clients nationwide. She is an award-winning writer, editor, and content creator in a number of mediums, including digital content, print, and public relations. She has developed social media strategy and brand messaging for nonprofit and commercial clients locally and nationwide. 

Melissa formerly served as public relations manager for Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, where she created an electronic brand identity for the agency and led the overhaul of its website and online communication strategy.  And as communication specialist and webmaster with Dayton Public Schools, she served as project manager for two district website overhauls, overseeing implementation of a new content management system and administration of more than 30 department and 26 school sites.

She enjoys serving as a member of many community organizations, including PUSH Dayton.


Angela Clements, Assistant Vice President for Advancement, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Angela Clements is the assistant vice president for advancement at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.  She is responsible for progressing the medical school’s fundraising and alumni engagement efforts and overseeing the Offices of Development and Marketing and Communications.  She joined the Boonshoft School of Medicine as the director of major gifts in 2012 and most recently was executive director of development.

A certified public accountant, she has held positions as a development officer, private consultant providing accounting, payroll, tax, and training services;  a fiscal manager for the Dayton Urban League in the late 90’s; and an auditor for Battelle & Battelle LLP. Clements is a board member of the Dayton Metro Library Foundation Board, Premier Health CHI Diversity Subcommittee, and the Dayton Food Bank. 

Angela has been married to Anthony for 25 years.  They have two adult children.



Audrey Starr, Director of Marketing and Communications/Manager of Special Events, YWCA

Currently director of marketing and communications and manager of special events for YWCA Dayton, Audrey Starr is responsible for strategizing and implementing all of the organization’s public relations, marketing, and print and digital communications. She also executes the agency’s 9+ annual special events and fundraisers, including its largest, the Women of Influence awards luncheon.

Prior to joining Y-Dub, Audrey spent several years in marketing and communications for colleges in Dayton and Erie, Pennsylvania. A recovering journalist, she began her postgraduate career as a reporter for rural community newspapers in Tennessee and Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and blogs at

Audrey is a member of the Dayton chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and is a past president of the Junior League of Dayton. She serves on the Board of Directors for We Care Arts and the Associate Board of the Dayton Art Institute; in 2016, she graduated from Leadership Dayton, and volunteers as Team Manager for Southdale Elementary’s Destination Imagination Rising Stars team.


Patricia Abboud. Ph.D., Pediatric Intenivist, Sidra Medical and Research Center 

For 11 years Dr. Abboud cared for the most critically ill children at Dayton Children’s Hospital as a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric critical care physician.

Patricia assumed numerous leadership role within the hospital including the Chair of Medicine, Medical Director of Transport Services and Chairperson of the Code Committee. She's involved in medical student and resident education through Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine where she is an Associate Professor.

She's been recognized for her outstanding role as a physician and mentor with awards for collaboration in caring, Teaching awards, and through the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Patricia has been a passionate supporter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was Dayton's Woman of the Year in 2012. She is a member of the board for the Dayton Arab American Forum.

As of December 2017, she has been in the country of Qatar where she is working as a pediatric intensivist in a brand new 550 bed women and children’s hospital, Sidra Medical and Research Center.  She is very excited to be working with physicians and practitioners from all over the world and learning from her colleagues.

She's most proud of being the mother to three children, George, Joseph, and Sophia, and spouse to George her avid supporter and a structural engineer. 


Jennifer N. Heapy, Chief Executive Officer, Dayton Metro Housing Authority dba Greater Dayton Premier Management

Under Jennifer’s leadership, GDPM has become a nationally recognized housing authority.  In 2016, the agency was one of only two housing authorities nationwide to be awarded two significant, competitive grants exceeding $3.8M.   Choice Neighborhood and Jobs Plus will be used to transform and revitalize Dayton’s west side.   

Through Jennifer’s progressive initiatives, GDPM was recently approved by HUD to participate in the rental assistance program which will contribute millions of dollars of investment to replace and rehabilitate distressed housing in our community.   Serving more than 7,000 families, GDPM continues to expand affordable housing this year including two new housing developments with an $18M budget.

Jennifer’s collaborations include the Montgomery County Continuum of Care, Dayton Children’s Hospital Asthma Alliance, Chamber of Commerce Leadership Circle, and Dayton Public School’s Community Advisory Board.  She serves on the National Public Housing Directors Ethics Committee and is a member of the American and Ohio State Bar Associations.



Leann Castillo, Director, National Trail Parks and Recreation District

Leann is the Executive Director for the National Trail Parks and Recreation District in Springfield.  She joined National Trail in August of 2011 and is an advocate for parks and recreation services. She works to ensure that the residents of Clark County have opportunities to participate in programs and are provided parks, trails and open spaces that enhance their quality of life.

 Leann began her career at the Centerville-Washington Park District, where she worked for 15 years. She has served the Ohio Parks Recreation Association in many capacities and most recently served on the Board of Directors for 6 years, one year as the Association’s President. She is a member of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Board and numerous community planning organizations. 

Leann is a life-long resident of Clark County and holds a BS degree in Recreation Management from Ohio University. She and her husband Mickey have 3 boys, Lucas, Nate and Eli. 


Maria Gossard, Owner/Artistic Director, Think Paper & Maria Gossard Designs

With a background in Art and Design, Paper Conservation and Printing, Anglo- Cypriot Designer Maria Gossard loves taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. She grew up on the island of Cyprus and came to the States right after high school to attend university. While training with a leading design firm in Washington DC that specialized in palatial residences throughout the Middle East, she met her husband Paul. Dayton, Ohio has been their home for the last twenty eight years. In the midst of raising four children, Maria developed a line of accessories for the Home and Garden and later on bought and developed a Cross Stitch label that sold Internationally. In 2006 she was offered the business she used for printing and took it. That business continues and in addition now offers custom design and printing services for weddings and all occasions. Maria's desire is to offer her community and beyond the very best design and print on the very best paper no matter what the occasion.



Mary Murphy, President and Chief Nursing and Care Officer, Ohio's Hospice of Dayton

Mary is President and Chief Nursing Care Officer of the Ohio’s Hospice Southwest Region where she has been employed for 28 years. She obtained her BSN at Miami University and her MS at Wright State University. Mary is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Oncology and has an advanced certification in both Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Care. She is a nationally recognized author and speaker for topics of oncology and end-of-life care. Mary has also earned national awards in both fields. She serves on the West Central Oncology/ONS Board as well as the Wright State Alumni Board.


Melissa Bertolo, Welcome Dayton Program Coordinator, City of Dayton Human Relations Council

As Welcome Dayton Program Coordinator, Melissa Bertolo is responsible for facilitating community efforts and developing cross-sector strategies to improve immigrants’ and refugees’ successful integration into the community. She is tapped nationally for her expertise on creating welcoming communities and has spoken at national, regional and local conferences. She participated in the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange, where she and a group of U.S. and German practitioners exchanged best practices related to refugee integration. She was recently named a SPARK Fellow with Welcoming America through which she receives additional education regarding racial justice and immigration. Under Melissa’s leadership, two of Welcome Dayton’s programs have received national recognition as a best practice by the White House Task Force on New Americans.

Prior to joining the City of Dayton, Melissa gained national and international experience working on immigration issues and earned a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health from New Mexico State University. 


Pratibha Phadke-Gupta, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Central State University

Dr. Pratibha Phadke-Gupta has Ph.D  in Biochemistry from BHU, India ,came to USA for  post-doctoral in ophthalmology, hematology-oncology, from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, She worked as a project Scientist at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton and  Associate Professor at Nursing College. She has 19 years of teaching experience in Medical Sciences. She is currently a Research Assistant professor at Central State University in Human Health and Performance. Being PI for several research projects and author of several publications in the area of Cancer, immunology her mission is to promote Healthy lifestyle and prevention of obesity and diabetes among the general population. She is a CEO of optimal Health consulting LLC in Dayton which is weight management clinic based on Nutrigenomics. She was president of India Club in 2015. She lives in Beavercreek with her husband Major in US Airforce and two children Aditya 22 and Anjali 16 years old.


Shelly Heller, President/Owner, Allied Shipping & Packaging Supplies, Inc.

Shelly Heller, President of Allied Shipping and Packaging Supplies, Inc. celebrating 35yrs in business, and is Co-Founder of a new startup called Tempagenix, LLC.  She has been in the packaging engineering business for over 17 years and WBENC Certified for 9 years.  Her husband of 10yrs is Kevin Heller, she has a dog named Smartie and she is proud to call Andrew and Adam stepsons.  Shelly lives in a historical restored barn in Kettering, Ohio and attends Southbrook Community Church.  Shelly is very active in the recovery community and is a strong supporter of The Bogg Ministries, both personally and professionally. Shelly is an invaluable resource and mentor for women from all facets of the community.  She is also a Member of Dayton Rotary, a WBENC forum member and a board member of The United Group.  Shelly was also awarded one of the Largest Women Owned Businesses plaques from the Dayton Business Journal 2017.



Stephanie Keinath, Director - Public Policy & Economic Development, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Keinath is the Director of Public Policy & Economic Development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.  Stephanie has been part of the DACC team since 2007. A registered lobbyist with the State of Ohio, Stephanie directs the Chamber’s advocacy work, public policy programming and economic & workforce development outreach.

Stephanie was the recipient of the Dayton Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award Winner in 2011 and was selected as a “Business Leads” Fellow for the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce in 2011 and 2012. Stephanie is an alumni of the 2013 Leadership Dayton class. She earned her BA in International Studies from Wright State University and her MPA from the University of Dayton. She also holds a certificate in Non-Profit & Community Leadership from UD.

Stephanie currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Dayton Visual Arts Center as well as the Welcome Dayton Committee. 



Tanya Kirsty Williams, Co-Owner/General Manager, Windsor's Place/Xenia Bouncy Castle

Tanya Williams is the Co-Owner and General Manager of Xenia Bouncy Castle, and Windsor’s Place.  She oversees finances, scheduling and business opportunities.  Tanya continuously works with Xenia City leadership and local companies ensuring contributions reach into the community and veterans organizations.  As a spouse to a Wound ed Warrior Tanya understands the sacrifice that veterans and their families go through.  At any opportunity she personally discusses VA benefits and provides charitable support through the businesses to sponsor or donate services to different causes.  From her desire to help others, the Xenia Lowes chose Windsor's Place as a Hero's Project.  Lowe’s completely remodeled Windsor’s Place, and built a new deck, wheelchair ramp, and indoor chair lift that meets ADA regulations.  Tanya volunteered time and services to Xenia City Night outs, Xenia First Fridays, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base fundraiser for the fisher house, and volunteers services to families fund raising for Service animals.







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