American Women in Business Sept. 22-28, 2020
CELEBRATING BUSINESS WOMEN FROM MYSTIC & BEYOND
On September 22nd of each year, American Business Women’s Day honors the accomplishments of businesswomen from around the nation. Take a moment to reflect on the contributions and achievements of the millions of women in the workforce. Also, consider the impact of millions of women business owners in the U.S.
The day also brings together businesswomen of diverse occupations to collaborate and network. The opportunity provides insight into platforms and inspirational ways for women to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally. Join us as we celebrate Mystic business women!
Donna Williston: Owner, Finer Line Gallery and Framers of the Lost Art
As owner of The Finer Line Gallery and Framers of the Lost Art, Donna has been serving the community for over 35 years, offering expert custom framing, art supplies, art classes, and affordable local art. Just recently she opened The Uptown Gallery at Finer Line, just upstairs from her corner location where some of the best original art in the region is showcased.
She not only has been active in the business community, having served as Board President for the Mystic Chamber of Commerce and various committees, she also played a big role in the founding of the Mystic River Park, serving as its Capital Campaign Chairman in helping raise over a million dollars for the Park’s creation. She was an active Scout leader for over ten years and is the proud parent of her two Eagle Scouts, Christopher & Matthew Williston.
Donna’s latest endeavor has been to become a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services here in Mystic. Her revolving shop door downtown makes it easy for buyers and sellers to connect with each other given the vast network of friends and customers Donna has made over the years. You’ll find her 7 days a week at her shop on the corner…that is, when she’s not out selling houses! Contact her at DonnaWilliston@bhhsne.com or call (860) 912-3293.
Courtney Moore & Maura Blaney: Owners, CMB Creative Group
Founded in 2006 by Courtney Moore and Maura Blaney, CMB Creative Group is a full-service advertising agency specializing in sales support, marketing, web and print design.
Courtney has been part of the local business community for years. She was educated at Southern Connecticut State University and worked in the newspaper industry. Prior to starting CMB, Courtney managed sales and administration for a local agency in Mystic. Courtney is married to Toby Halsey and lives in Mystic.
Maura brings many talents to CMB from her graphic design and web skills to her creative thinking. Maura graduated from Plymouth State in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with a BA in graphic design and ceramics and a minor in art history. Maura is married to Travis Paul and lives in Mystic.
Together - and individually - Courtney and Maura volunteer for events such as: Mystic Eats, Friar Tuck’s - ART events, River Jam Festival, Sails Up 4 Cancer and Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association Benefit Cup Committee in support of the Center for Hospice Care.
Maura and Courtney founded CMB to work with the community, stay creative and work for themselves. It can be challenging to run one’s own business but it is well worth it and is very satisfying to give back and to meet fellow business owners. Networking and being visible in one’s area is incredibly important for small businesses. Contact: cmbcreativegroup.com
Jill “JOOJ” Miles: Owner, JOOJ Boutique
Jill “JOOJ” Miles has loved jewelry and fashion her whole life. What began as a hobby in her youth while making friendship pins and string bracelets has evolved into the JOOJ brand where passion and wild creativity meets design and whimsy through unique jewelry, clothing and accessories. Although mostly self taught, she studied under a master goldsmith while living in Sydney, Australia and pursued higher learning at Mass Art in Boston honing the skill and art of fine metalwork and design.
Going in and out of creative periods and changing careers it was the illness of a family friend that truly reignited her desire to create and even heal through use of metal, stone, color and form as she handmade rosary and prayer beads for friends with cancer and other illnesses. Over the last several years she attended gem shows, did research and took courses to increase her knowledge and feed her passion for jewelry while quietly building a following. Over a year ago JOOJ decided, after focusing on raising her son, who is now 14, it was the right time to pursue her dream of a brick and mortar shop and thus JOOJ the boutique was opened.
Jooj partnered with her God daughter Hanna Kronholm to open “JOOJ BOUTIQUE” on Broadway avenue in Mystic to offer a unique perspective on fashion with custom jewelry design and creation, clothing, and accessories. After a wonderful first year in Mystic, with the incredible support of locals loyal clientele, they expanded to the adjoining commercial store front in their building, adding 600 square feet to their floor space. Being a part of the community of female owned and operated local businesses inspires Jooj daily to engage in, learn from and foster a commitment to female entrepreneurship, which is so well represented in Mystic and growing exponentially in our country.
The main goal of JOOJ BOUTIQUE is to offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for affordable luxuries. At JOOJ we believe people should embrace and express their boldest, most authentic selves. Get JOOJ’D
We say a huge thank you to all our incredibly supportive local customers that continue to support us.
Website : www.joojboutique.com
Hanna Kronholm has also become a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Mystic. She has lived in Mystic her whole life and has a deep love for the community. Hanna is passionate about homes, architecture, and interior design. “Buy and Sell Homes with Kronholm!” Contact her at HannaKronholm@bhhsne.com or call (860) 917-6128
Allison Kiley Nasin: General Manager, Capt. Daniel Packer Inne
From 1979 to 1983, my father, Richard "Dickie" Kiley, restored the Capt. Daniel Packer Inne. In 2001, while I was studying Communications and News Media at the University of Rhode Island, my father passed away suddenly. I helped my mother, Lulu Kiley, at the restaurant while still taking classes. While working at the restaurant, former General Manager Kelly Jackson and Business Manager Judy Hartley began teaching me everything from wine varietals to Quickbooks! I grew quite fond of pairing wine with food. This led to hosting themed wine dinners, expanding our wine list, and helping our guests choose wines for their special events, like rehearsal dinners and anniversary parties. In more recent years, I have been handling the business end of things. It has been a wonderful learning experience getting to know every aspect of the restaurant business.
In essence, you could say this business picked me as opposed to the other way around. I am grateful to help extend my father's legacy. My advice to other women who are beginning their careers would be to be present and accurate. When you are present, you are focused. When you are accurate, you do not have to spend your valuable time doing something twice that you could have done correctly the first time. With this advice, I know we are all human and sometimes we make mistakes. Try to use those times as teaching moments. Cheers to all the hard-working ladies!
Photo courtesy of Brittany Graf Photography
Amanda Ljubicic: Ace Overhead Doors, LLC
Amanda joined Ace Overhead Doors earlier this year, a business her husband Tom began back in 2009. After serving as Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT for two years, Amanda decided to switch gears in order to provide operational support for Ace and spend more time with their three children. Reflecting on her decision, she notes "It's a little more challenging than we anticipated with the current remote learning schedule of the children, but it's very rewarding to provide a much-needed service to our local community."
Amanda handles a variety of responsibilities for Ace, including insurance and licensing, finances, customer service and scheduling, and marketing support. Contact Ace Overhead Doors online at https://www.aceoverheaddoors.net/ or call 860-705-3562.
The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC)
The WBC of Southeastern CT (SECT), which is hosted by the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC), received the distinguished honor of Women’s Business Center of the Year in Connecticut for 2020. WBC-SECT has had an impactful record as a leading SBA Women’s Business Center, championing the economic equity of women. Since opening its doors in April 2018, WBC-SECT has helped over 1,000 women achieve their dream of launching or scaling their business. Through innovative entrepreneurial training, counseling, and technical assistance, these women have started 18 new businesses, accessed more than $735,000 in capital, and generated a combined $31.5 million in annual revenue.
In establishing itself as a leader in the community, WBC-SECT has developed strong collaborative partnerships with the SBA and resource partners, local Chambers of Commerce, community groups and financial institutions. These partnerships have extended to co-hosting programs that support the military community, and the local Blue Economy through an innovative initiative that targets entrepreneurs brought to Southeastern CT.
Most recently, the Center has teamed up with WBDC to offer micro-grants to women business owners in need of financial support - a critical issue amplified by the crises of 2020. WBC-SECT and WBDC look forward to awarding more clients grants in the coming year and continuing to drive business success in a tangible way.
The Women’s Business Development Council was founded by Fran Pastore in 1997 and is recognized as a pioneer in Connecticut’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, WBDC is at the heart of this ecosystem, as the only statewide organization focused on women entrepreneurs. Since our beginning, we have served over 14,000 clients, and assisted in the creation or expansion of over 6,000 businesses.
Our clients represent a variety of racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. We’ve worked with women (and men) starting home-based businesses, main street boutiques, and multi-million dollar enterprises.
To learn more about WBDC’s programs and services go to, www.ctwbdc.org. To schedule an appointment at our office in New London, please call 860-574-9246.
Betsy Barry: Owner, Betsy Barry Art
My name is Betsy Barry and I have recently opened up my new art gallery/studio here in downtown Mystic!
I began my artistic adventures years ago, dabbling in different mediums of art but never fully mastering one. Through the years, I realized I needed to focus my talents in one area. I have a love of gardening and nature, so I enrolled in a program with the Society of Botanical Artists and learned botanical illustration using colored pencil. This coursework and focus helped to open the door to many opportunities through the years, including showing my work at design shows and local art shows as well as teaching what I love all over the country.
My new studio in downtown Mystic is a culmination of the past 10 years of working out of my kitchen, dining room, picnic table, and wherever else I could set up my drawing supplies. Finally having the opportunity to have a workspace where I can display and sell my finished product, interact with shoppers, fellow artists, and students is right where I want to be!
Marie Tyler Wiley, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Mystic
Born #6 of 10 children, Marie was raised in West Hartford, CT & summered, as did both her parents & grandparents (both sides) down at Groton Long Point. She married her summer love -her husband Kip, who also grew up at “The Point” and they have 4 children- Dillon, Erin, Lucia & Trey.
Marie has always had the entrepreneurial spirit. She brings her expertise & go getter attitude to the Real Estate world determined to share her passion and knowledge of the area with those selling or buying a home . Marie understands this can be a trying time and wants to make the transition as simple and enjoyable as possible.
She resides in Noank where she has been active, in the past, in local & statewide politics and in the local school systems. Having presented testimony before Congress, lobbied in DC on behalf of a national project, Marie’s winning attitude has allowed her to meet with most every member of Congress one on one. Her diligence has resulted in helping shape national laws & local attitudes.
You can depend on Marie‘s zest for life, love of the area and commitment to her real estate career to give you the most when it comes to service. You may reach her at 860-941-9519. Call her today!
Lorraine M Sanborn: Trainer & Coach, Isagenix
Here is a little of my story. After 30 years in the Life Insurance Industry and being the primary caregiver for my husband, he passed away 10 years ago and I had been his primary caregiver. I found myself putting myself on the back burner. I was beginning to become concerned about how I was going to maintain my health, energy and mental focus and achieve my weight goal. I was introduced to Isagenix and the Healthy Aging nutritional system 7 years ago the month I turned 72.
Isagenix is an internationally trusted and respected family-owned company that since 2002 has helped tens of thousands of people, in 26 markets around the world, reach their own personal resolutions, whether those resolutions were physical, financial or both. We help people eat better, feel better, look better, move better and do better. We are simply better together!
I am so excited about how I feel and I am looking to expand my business and one of my goals for 2020-2021 is to share this program with women 50+ so that they can live a life of vibrancy and vitality as I am doing. The best things in life are shared by people talking to people, and Isagenix will reward you for sharing our products with others.
Mary Davis: Owner, Mystic Massage & Wellness
Mary Davis has always loved helping people. After graduating Wheelock College with a BA in social work, Mary traveled and lived all over the USA before settling back in the Mystic area, where she found a wonderful place to raise her two beautiful stepdaughters.
After realizing her true passion of helping people through healing touch and massage, Mary opened Mystic Massage and Wellness in 2018. Owning her own business is a true labor of love, and one she does every day with an open heart and joy.
Her advice to all young women beginning their careers is to find what you truly love to do and put in the hard work but find a life balance so you remember what you are working towards, and always find time for self-care. In her downtime, Mary loves being a stepmom and riding horses.
Mystic Massage and Wellness Located in the Heart of Downtown Mystic, Connecticut, our aim is to Ease, Relieve and Relax you; Mind, Body & Soul. Catering to visitors and locals, we specialize in Therapeutic, Sports and Couples Massage. We're also ecstatic to offer Reiki energy services and skincare such as medical microdermabrasion, custom facials and peels. Find the best place for body and soul wellness at https://www.mysticmassagect.com/
Lyndsay Meiklem: Owner Glaze Handmade - The Vegan Potter
Lyndsay Meiklem Dean has reinvented herself after running Meiklem Kiln Works, a community based teaching studio for 16 yrs in Bozrah, CT. She closed her the studio in July 2018 and opened Glaze in August 2018. Glaze Handmade is a physical manifestation of one woman’s obsession with the craft of making pottery. She is self-taught and is constantly experimenting with new styles, designs and glazes, which add to her constantly evolving body of work. The studio and retail shop presents a unique experience for customers to step into a working pottery and watch the artist create.
Jo Carol Wood: Interior Designer & Owner, Showhouse Ready, LLC
I have been in the field of Interior Decorating & Design for over 25 years. My journey began when I opened an Art Gallery in Avon, CT. From there I moved into Corporate Art, where I worked with many talented artists. I became a Designer for DOMAIN Furniture. I found inspiration from Domain's founder, Judy George, a woman who started her business from the back of her station wagon, where she traveled to her clients. In time she had grown a multi-store business, with exciting new ideas for home decorating. In time I went on to join ETHAN ALLEN, a company which is constantly keeping pace with the new and ever-changing market. They opened up the full world of Interior Decorating & Design to me. I have decorated a wide range of Homes & Offices.
I specialize in a full spectrum of WINDOW TREATMENTS from Curtains & Draperies to Cellular Shades, Blinds & Shutters. I also represent a wide range of fabric companies. I can offer Re-Upholstery for those with a special piece of furniture which needs a "face-lift" or major reconstruction. I can advise those who need help with planning a home project, from choosing paint colors to selecting a perfect addition of furniture or accents for a room. I always felt encouraged and motivated by my Mother, a woman who was ahead of her time in her design & decorating style. She always had such a flair! I now offer “At-Home” Shopping Services, which allow me to travel to my customers & clients, making it convenient for them to make decisions from the comfort of their home. No home or office is the same, so I always look forward to a new challenge. It is very important to be up-to-date on all of the latest products and innovations, which I am.
Bethany Perkins: Owner, B. Carver’s Home & Gift & The Bees Knees
After a nearly twenty-year career in the corporate world, Bethany fulfilled her desire of one day owning her own business when she opened B. Carver’s Home & Gift in Mystic in August 2016.
Bethany fashioned her shop on those of past generations that offered quality products, exceptional customer service, and a feeling of family, home, and community. In keeping with that tradition, she offers quality items for oneself, home, entertaining, and gifts.
B. Carver’s continues to evolve and now also offers fine quality women’s apparel along with a selection of jewelry and accessories including handbags, shoes, and scarves.
B. Carver’s is named with love and in honor of Bethany’s beloved grandmother whose maiden name of Carver has been used throughout her family. The name conveys that family is the most important thing and is at the heart of B. Carver’s, a shop that is family-owned and operated as shops were in the past.
For other women whose dream is a business of their own Bethany advises “follow your instincts, give your business time to grow, and don’t be afraid to evolve and change.” Website: https://www.bcarvers.com/
Maria Cerino: Owner, Seniors Helping Seniors
I started my business, a non-medical companion agency called Seniors Helping Seniors, in 2007. I was looking for a new opportunity where I could use what I learned in my career and my personal life over the prior twenty+ years. I also knew I needed to do something that directly helped others, and that an agency focused on client needs and providing the highest quality of services would be a tremendous benefit for families in our area. I was interested in the Seniors Helping Seniors business model because I’ve always had an affinity for working with seniors, so I decided to go for it.
My advice for women just starting out is, first and foremost, to choose a field that ignites your passion. Working in an industry or career that really matters to you is what makes it all worthwhile. Also consider setting up a small informal “board” of community mentors who might meet with you a few times as you’re developing your business, who can give you unbiased advice and resource referrals – you’ll need legal, financial, marketing, operations, HR, tech and other experts as you develop. Being able to bounce your ideas off of a few knowledgeable, experienced individuals who can help you develop a good work plan, and who can recommend local experts you’ll need to work with, is invaluable. Contact: email@example.com | 860-536-4767
Susan Fisher: Executive Director, Mystic Museum of Art
I moved to Mystic to assume my current position as Executive Director of the Mystic Museum of Art (MMoA). I came here from Taos where I was Executive Director and Curator of the Taos Art Museum. These were not consecutive steps on a career plan. They were outlets for my love of the practice of art, my reverence for art institutions, and a tendency to think “I could do that” when spotting a particularly appealing opportunity.
In college, I had the good fortune to study what I liked best: art and literature. I liked looking at art, making art, talking about art. I liked the narratives of literature. I appreciated the importance of people’s stories being told, or drawn, or painted, or illuminated. I had no hesitation about going for an MFA in studio art.
Looking for work in the real world, I saw that art institutions needed people who could articulate compelling reasons for supporting the arts. I thought “I could do that.” I had confidence expressing what I thought was important and found fascinating jobs doing so. These jobs formed a pattern. They all had to do with public engagement in the arts.
I gained momentum as I learned along the way. I worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. I helped found an artists’ co-operative. I spoke publicly, I lectured—not to complete a career To Do list, but to stay close to what I wanted: a lifetime in the arts.
Jacqueline Simard: Owner, Surface Skin Care
My name is Jacqueline Simard, owner of Surface Skin Care in Mystic. For more than 25 years, I have been an advocate of looking great by achieving healthy skin. At my intimate skin care center, I offer a full range of facial treatments designed to bring your natural glow to the surface. I welcome you to make an appointment and encourage you to take the time you need to feel healthy in your own skin.
Let's celebrate the kids (of all ages) going back to school — now through 9/14 all treatments include a complimentary paraffin wax treatment to soothe tired hands, as well. Schedule online at https://www.surfaceskincarect.com
Karen Etchells: Owner, INNOVAST Digital Marketing
I launched Innovast Digital Marketing in 2015. As a busy mom working full time, I learned how to build websites back in 1996 by taking evening classes at RISD and practicing what I learned at night while my children were asleep. Over the years, I've held various positions in Website Design and Online Marketing which have given me a firm foundation for the services I now offer.
At Innovast Digital Marketing, we work closely with local businesses and independent professionals to get their brand to stand out on the web. We build websites, write content that is optimized for search engines (SEO), and provide Social Media Management services. We offer monthly subscription packages for small businesses to outsource their digital marketing needs at a fixed rate with speedy turn-around for website updates, ad campaigns, and email blasts.
My advice for women just starting out in business is to establish a support system. If you wear too many hats, you'll run yourself ragged and do nothing exceptionally well. Reach out to other professionals, ask questions, and utilize the services of those who have expertise in areas you don't.
Find Innovast Digital Marketing online at https://innovast.com.
Supawan Au, Owner of Thai Sawasdee Restaurant Group
Thai Sawasdee Restaurant Group includes Thai Sawasdee in Groton, The Spice Club in Niantic, Pink Basil in the Olde Mistick Village and Samurai Noodle Bar and Grill in downtown Mystic. Supawant came to America as an Au Pair in 2005 with not much more than a dime in her hands. Her dream was to learn and practice English, see America and possibly get a piece of the “American Dream”. After doing her time as an Au Pair, she took up waitressing and got married to her boyfriend Ricky Au.
In 2007 they decided to open a restaurant together. They used the money they had saved in a short period of time. In November 2007 Thai Sawasdee Authentic Thai Cuisine was born. It was a tribute and inspiration from her mother that had taught her how to cook as a child. It was a small restaurant but big for her at the time. It was perfect. She would cook all the food herself from scratch all day and all night. It was long and tiresome days but she loved it. She loved cooking for guests and knowing they left full and happy. In 2012 they opened The Spice Club in Niantic.
Niantic was renowned as a beach town during the summer but known for its long cold and very slow winters. It was a gamble worth taking for them. In June of 2012 it was opened with open arms from the town of Niantic. It was an instant success from day one. Although Niantic and Groton were successful locations, Mystic was always dear to their hearts. They both loved Mystic for its beauty and how it embodied a classic New England coastal town. Mystic was home for them. When given the opportunity to open a restaurant there they jumped on it. In 2015 Pink Basil was opened in the Olde Mistick village. Although it has some classic Thai cuisine it added a more variety of foods from Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia and Japan. It also has two beautiful patios for outdoor seating.
In Sept 2017, a new member joined the family. They had a baby boy Ethan Au. Even with their hands full with three restaurants and one baby, they decided to open one more location. This would be different than the other locations. During their travels to the city they always had a craving for authentic Japanese Ramen and Japanese BBQ. So in 2018 they opened Samurai Noodle Bar and Grill in the heart of downtown Mystic. The ramen noodle is all made fresh daily with an imported noodle machine imported from Japan. Their are 15 BBQ tables where you order your preference of meat and is cooked at the table. This makes for a great interactive meal. There is a 40 foot bar with 4 large televisions, which makes for a great sports night. While she isn’t working, she takes great joy in taking care of her son Ethan and traveling.