WOMEN WE LOVE 2015
As the year winds down, we continue with our year end features. “Women We Love” is something we ripped off from Esquire Magazine a few years back. Each year we get nominees for outstanding women locally, statewide nationally and internationally. The criteria are simple: quality of work, recognition of community activities, and being in challenging positions that give them a profile, either good or bad. Also, if there is a “buzz” about the type of year they are having and how that impacts on themselves as well as the community. Nominations come in via the LuLac E Mail box and a certain number is needed to make the cut. After that cut is dwindled, we choose the winners.
This year was very different. Several of our nominees from the past were renominated for their electoral and governmental accomplishments. So “Honorable Mentions" go to Evie Refalko McNulty, Laureen Cummings and Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavants.
For 2015, The LuLac Women We Love
(Photo: Laurie and Lynn website).
The true success of any radio performer or for that matter any public person is how they relate to people. If you listen to WILK Radio Saturday mornings at 9AM you’ll hear Laurie Cadden speaking to her radio partner Lynne Evans as if she is your neighbor conversing with you over a fence. The Laurie and Lynne Show has become a staple for Saturday mornings in this community and Cadden’s personality is a contributing factor. A little bit about Laurie.
Laurie Cadden is not afraid of a little hard work. Owner of Laurie Cadden Enterprises and a real estate agent at ERA Real Estate in Scranton, she definitely gets to do her share.
Cadden began her career with the banking industry when she was only 19. She earned her realtor's license in 1988 while living in Philadelphia. After returning to the area in 1991, she became involved in the community through volunteering and working on different committees and boards, which she enjoys immensely.
At Laurie Cadden Enterprises, she is responsible for securing sponsorships, working with media partners, planning and organizing special events, and finding and meeting with potential sponsors. At ERA Real Estate, she works with buyers and sellers of commercial and residential properties.
The most influential person in her life has been her father, Jim Cadden. "He told me to be a leader, never a follower, and to do whatever I want," she said. Also, she has had great role models in her grandmothers and mother, all of whom showed her that women can be strong without losing their femininity.
Another great mentor has been George Pann for instilling in her the wisdom in not obsessing about who's behind you, who's beside you or who's in front of you, but in staying focused on where you are going. John Martines has also been a great role model, demonstrating the importance of civic responsibility and giving back to the community. Cadden also names Tara Finnerty, a friend who helped her understand the importance of self acceptance.
She advises up-and-coming business women to "learn how to flirt with women as well as men," she said with a laugh. She also firmly believes in the advice: "What you think of me is none of my business."
Cadden is the proud mother of two "wonderful" sons, Thomas J.Foley, IV, 21, a junior attending George Washington University, and Sean Cadden Foley, 16, a sophomore at Scranton Prep.
She is also engaged to a "terrific" man, Myer Moskovitz, and has two adorable dogs, Phoebe and Lulu, that keep her even busier. She loves traveling, reading, Broadway plays, volunteering, and shopping. Laurie's work ethic and her force of personality make her one of the LuLac Women We Love in 2015.
(Photo: CBS News).
A few of our readers decided to single out CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes. On a few nomination e mails, she was referred to as a straight shooting reporter that always seems to hold her own on CBS’ Face The Nation. I’m always struck by Cordes’ demeanor and her ability to make her case without getting snarky. Prior to joining CBS News in 2007, Cordes was an ABC News correspondent based in New York (2005–07), where she reported for all ABC News programs and covered many major news stories, including Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, and the 2004 election. Before that, she was a Washington-based correspondent for NewsOne, the affiliate news service of ABC News (2003–04). Prior to joining ABC News, Cordes was a reporter for WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. (1999-2003), where she covered the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, the 2000 Presidential race, the D.C.-area sniper attacks, and peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia. She began her career as a reporter for KHNL-TV in Honolulu (1995–97).
Cordes grew up in Hawaii on the islands of Kauai and Oahu. She is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu and a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. Cordes received a master's degree in public policy at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Cordes gets the votes of many LuLac readers because she reports the news well and is not afraid to push back on the Sunday talk shows. That’s why she is one of the LuLac Women We Love this year.
(Photo: Laurie and Lynn website).
This year LuLac readers reaffirmed our good thoughts about the team of Laurie and Lynne on WILK Radio. Readers said that the radio show gave an interesting perspective on not only women’s issues but what goes on socially in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is the profile the other member of the duo, Lynn Evans.
Long-time clients of Lynn S. Evans, CFP®, say it’s her unique combination of sincerity, honesty, breath of financial knowledge and expertise that enable her to guide them through the rewarding process of financial life planning. Lynn founded her company Northeastern Financial Consultants, Inc. twenty-five years ago so she could do business her way. That is, she takes the time not only to understand the hopes and dreams of her clients, but also to ensure they understand the financial strategies she implements on their behalf.
Recently, Lynn’s focus has been on what she views as the financial knowledge gap of Baby Boomer women where traditional stereo-types are being reexamined and exciting new opportunities await on the horizon. Viewing divorce, retirement, and widowhood not as a time of withdrawal and fear, but gearing up for new challenges and rewards, Lynn helps her clients prepare financially — and emotionally — for these significant transitions.
As it has from the start, Lynn's fee-only business model ensures that there are no conflicts of interest. Quite simply, her clients' needs come first. In fact, clients view Lynn not simply as a financial ad-visor, but as their partner in life’s financial journey.
Passionate about educating her community on financial matters, Lynn has authored a monthly personal finance column for the Northeast PA Business Journal since 2001. What’s more, she's a sought after public speaker on topics ranging from financial life planning, and the new retirement to estate planning. A valued source to the local and national media, she has been quoted in a variety of publications.
Lynn earned her BA from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She’s held the CFP® mark of distinction for more than 25 years Active in her community, Lynn holds leadership positions in a variety of civic organizations including the Women's Resource Center of Scranton, which she co-founded, Northeast Philharmonic, and Cedar Crest College's Alumnae Association.
Lynn and her husband, Patrick A. di Napoli, enjoy spending family time with their son, Tyler, and boating on Lake Wallenpaupack in PA's Pocono Mountains.
(Photo: LuLac archives).
For decades she was a respected school teacher but a few years back decided to get into the political arena by running for Luzerne County Council. One of the charter members of the Luzerne County Council and its form of government, McCloskey Houck has made her mark as a skilled practitioner of reasonable politics. Houck has been very even handed and steadfast in her beliefs about how this new government should work. Many readers said that she did not demonize the County Manager but instead tried to give him as well as the new system the benefit of the doubt.
While there may have been a few discordant notes as the Charter form of government started, Houck, a graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and certification in Music Education tried to accentuate the positive.
While her career was primarily music and education, her own family became involved in politics in the 80s. Her mother was the first female ever to serve on Luzerne Borough Council serving after her father ran but passed away before being able to serve. She was later elected to the seat in her own right and served a total of 4 years.
Houck ran for County Council at the encouragement of colleagues, who found her to be very organized, methodical, and process-oriented. During her two campaigns she told people that “I'm not much of a politician but I hoped to be a good public servant”. (If only someone had whispered that in Jeb Bush’s ear!!) Houck did a lot of work in the first 2 years working on the Codes and setting up the ABC process. Re-elected to a second term, as Chair of Council in this past year she tried to solidify the processes for how the work of Council is managed, being consistent with how items are introduced and progressing from work session discussion topic to voting session item. This year at her direction, Council scrutinized the proposed 2016 County budget line-by-line, so that all had a thorough understanding of what is in it - an approach that has received many favorable comments from other Council members and from the public as well.
Personally, she has been a professional musician most of her life - started playing piano at age 4, began playing the organ in her parish (St. Ann's (Lithuanian) Parish, now Holy Family Parish, in Luzerne) when she was 13 years old and continues there today as organist/choir director and Director of Worship. She was music director for many shows in community theaters for many years and is still the music director of MostlyOpera, an operatic troupe based in Scranton. (Maybe in her spare time she can compose an Opera on the Charter form of Government!!! Can you imagine the cast???)
She’s been married to Dale, who is also a professional musician and a retired music teacher, for over 34 years, and they have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren. She was a stay-at-home mom when the kids were little and started teaching elementary instrumental music at Wyoming Valley West 21 years ago when her youngest daughter entered kindergarten. A few years ago she underwent a career transition teaching 1st and 2nd grade remedial reading. She’s also been the president of the WVW Education Association for 8 years.
She is a woman of faith (Republicans take note, Democrats can have faith too!!) serving as the Director of Worship, and a member of the Pastoral Council at Holy Family Parish.
She loves to bake, and during the various campaigns she introduced her Pepper Cookie recipe which we’ll show you here.
This year the readers of LuLac picked Linda McCloskey Houck as one of the 2015 Women We Love for her slow and steady pace in leading the County Council as well as contributing her time and energy to make her home area a bit better.
THE CHAIR'S PEPPER COOKIES
4 ½ cups flour ½ box currants
6 -7 tblsp cocoa 1 ½ water
2 ½ tblsp baking powder 1 1/8 cup sugar
1 ½ tblsp cinnamon 1 cup oil
1 tsp cloves (less - cloves are strong) 1 cup nuts
1 tsp pepper ½ box chocolate chips (or ½ small bag)
Boil currants in 1 ½ cup of water for five minutes, then cool water and currants.
Beat oil and sugar well.
Add currants and water.
Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients slowly.
Add ½ cup more water if needed.
Add nuts and chips.
Refrigerate dough at least ½ hour. Roll into balls between oiled hands.
Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Ice with chocolate icing after cooled.
One of the women that made the list of LuLac Women We Love is WNEP’s Sharla McBride. Most of the voters advised that the reason for her selection was the smooth and almost seamless transition she made from Sports Reporting to co anchoring the nightly news. Plus it was also mentioned that no LuLac Women We Love ever had a bobble head made in their image.
Sharla co-anchors the evening newscasts weekdays at 7pm, 10pm and 11pm. She originally joined the Newswatch 16 team in April of 2008 as a weekend sports anchor, and weekday sports reporter.
Sharla’s passion for reporting began in Athens, Georgia, while studying Broadcasting and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.
A graduate of UGA, Sharla roots for her “Dawgs” every chance she gets and even had an English bulldog named Herschel Walker!
While in college, Sharla interned at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, and later worked there as an associate sports producer. In May of 2007, Sharla took a job as a sports reporter and fill-in anchor at KTXS-TV in Abilene, TX.
When Sharla isn’t working, she enjoys volunteering her time to several area organizations including the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA, Susan G. Komen Foundation of NEPA, and the United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA.
You can also find Sharla watching sports with her super sports fan of a husband, Todd.
Her quick wit, her ability to engage with the vast WNEP TV audience on all levels as well as that bobble head are the reasons why Sharla McBride is one of the women we love in 2015.
(Photo: Scranton Times Tribune).
When Kathleen McGuigan was on the Scranton School Board she was sensible, pragmatic and brooked no nonsense. She has been on the LuLac radar for years and it is ironic that after she left the School Board, she was voted as one of The Women We Love in 2015. McGuigan was on the school board for 11 years and her resignation still reverberates.
Essentially she had her fill of back room dealing that has been a Scranton School District hallmark for years! McGuigan did what few politicians ever do, called out her colleagues as being selfish and ineffectual. She also claimed that the Board members were forcing administrators to resign and creating a hostile atmosphere in the District. She was lauded for taking a stand and to this day some Scranton residents wish she was still active in the District.
Since leaving the board, she has maintained her career serving the Scranton area as their local GEICO Insurance Agent since 2008. Her office serves residents of many of the neighboring communities including Wilkes-Barre, Carbondale, Dickson City, Dalton, Factoryville, Olyphant, Jessup, Taylor, Moosic, Moscow, and Pittston. Meeting people in the area and helping them get proper car insurance is what she enjoys most about being a local GEICO agent.
In addition to her stint on the Scranton School Board she is very involved in community events that benefit the needs of local children. There are Gecko events for the Ronald McDonald House, the Jewish Discovery Center, the Scranton Cultural Center and at various high school and youth events in both Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. McGuigian was recently appointed as a board member of the St. Francis of Assisi kitchen which provides hot, nutritious meals to our area's less fortunate. Her office also serves as a drop-off point for the annual Toys for Tots program.
Just a few years after taking a stand against interference and non transparency of the Scranton School Board Kathleen McGuigian is still remembered as a person of principle. That’s one of the reasons why she was named one of The LuLac Women We Love in 2015.
MANDY BOYLE PENNINGTON
(Photo: Mandy Boyle Pennington).
We are very happy to announce the choice of Mandy Boyle Pennington for the LuLac Women We Love. Mandy is one of the co-founders of the BlogCon organization which has lent professionalism and educational development to the blogging community. Mandy Boyle Pennington is the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven, a website provider for the automotive industry. In that role, she leads a team of SEO analysts, SEM specialists, local directory managers, copywriters, and social media managers, all working toward meeting client goals.
But outside of her 9-to-5, Mandy is involved with several other pursuits. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Organizer of NEPA BlogCon and Squirrel Girls Tech Camp.
NEPA BlogCon is the region's only blogging and social media conference, and since 2012, NEPA BlogCon has educated hundreds of bloggers from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and beyond! Unlike other conferences, NEPA BlogCon has a mission to support community enrichment and development by donating all proceeds to fund local non-profits or education projects. This year, NEPA BlogCon will turn 5 and in that time, it has raised thousands of dollars to benefit the Arc of Luzerne County, Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge, the NEPA Veterans Multi-Care Alliance, and to fund the Squirrel Girls Tech Camp.
Squirrel Girls Tech Camp, organized in conjunction with TecBridge, is a STEM education camp for girls in grades 4-6. Campers spend time with local tech professionals, learning about computer programming, critical thinking, gaming design, and other skills that can build their confidence in technology. In the coming year, Mandy, along with fellow co-founders Karla Porter and Michelle Davies, will be working on further developing the camp so that it can serve even more girls throughout the region.
Mandy is also an adjunct instructor in Communication Arts at Marywood University, where she graduated with both a BA and MA.
She is a published freelance writer, with credits including Binghamton University Magazine, the Back Mountain Community News, Search Engine People, The Next Great Generation, and most recently, White, an Australian wedding magazine.
Mandy is an active member of the regional theater community, too. She is a founding member of the New Vintage Ensemble, and regularly performs with them as well as other theater groups in the area, including Gaslight Theater Company and Diva Productions. You can see her in the New Vintage Ensemble's production of "Hamlet" this January at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.
She enjoys hugs, is an adventurous eater, and has a passion for communication. And she believes that there is so much potential in NEPA, if you take the time to look. :)
You can find her at MandyBoyle.com, on Twitter @mandyboyle, or on Facebook.
PAULA DEIGNAN REYNOLDS
(Photos: Facebook.The Christmas photo with Bob, Paula, Maggie Mae, PookiScammer, and PJ.
One of the persons nominated this year is a veteran broadcaster who has been part of the fabric of Northeastern Pennsylvania for a few decades. Paula Deignan Reynolds has been taking the helm of the WILK Daily News broadcasts since the retirement of Bud Brown. Reynolds made the transition easily and prior to that was a news person at WARM Radio and WWDL in Scranton.
Paula graduated Scranton Central High School where in her senior year she was in a play which placed first at the State High School Festival at Penn State. She claims that's why she chose Radio/TV/Theater as her major. Like many who got the broadcast bug in college, she began working at the old WSCR in 1978.
After graduating from Marywood in 1980, she tried to get the most experience wherever she could. She tells LuLac the most important lesson she learned was to get involved in anything you can for experience because you never know what can happen. She was the Easter Bunny at Scranton Dry, joining Santa Claus as Mrs. Claus when he arrived at The Globe Store, being a clown in the early days of St. Joe's Center Festival and taking part in the filming of promos for WDAU-TV during the "Looking Good" Campaign. Without saying a word in the promo, she later got a phone call to apply for a part time position at then WBGI AM/FM. Joining the other broadcast denizens in the basement of Scranton Prep she worked at the old WGBI AM and FM, she was a listener favorite.
She went on to Winter Haven, Florida at WZNG-AM and Lakeland Florida WPCV-FM. After a stint there, she moved back home, and started part time at WWDL-FM/WICK-AM where she stayed and eventually became Program Director until 1995.
Multi tasking was in her DNA, and in 1985 she started as the host of "Call The Doctor" on WVIA. It was Saturday morning, an hour, live, with live phone calls from 1985-1998.
Having never done anything on TV, never mind LIVE with medical professionals, no commercial breaks on a whole host of topics, Reynolds was a local favorite. One of the first topics in the area included the very first show on "Male Impotence" long before that little blue pill and the babe in the football jersey we see on TV now were a prime time commercial.
Near the end of her time hosting the show her mom died from Colon Cancer in 1997. Her mom was her inspiration, as she fought a disease no one talked about back then, for over 10 years. Her mom, though, was around for a seminal moment in her life. In 1993 she began the best adventure of her life marrying Bob Reynolds and helping him raise his 4 children.
Reynolds joined the staff of WARM Radio in 1995 and stayed until right before Thanksgiving in 2004 when the staff were called in one by one to be told the station was "changing format" and "we wish you well in your future endeavors". That day essentially ended WARM Radio as many adults in this area knew it.
After her stint on WVIA ended, she was invited to host a public affairs show on WSWB-TV. This was a combination of on-location shooting which brought her to numerous activities throughout NEPA, and in-studio interviews with local public affairs topics. During her time there, she was also able to be an announcer for one of the St. Patrick's Day Parades in Scranton on FOX 56.
She then moved onto positions in the non broadcast sector. When WNAK was undergoing a change she joined their staff as it transitioned into Lite 94.3FM.
After occasional fill-ins on WILK, when veteran newsman Bud Brown decided to retire, Reynolds was the perfect choice.
Back at WILK full time in the morning, she is also a fill-in anchor on WYLN-TV for their 5:30 newscast and was able to be their street reporter in the recent Wilkes Barre Santa Claus Parade.
For other activities, she lectors at St. Patrick's Church in White Haven which I’m sure thrills the Reverend Mike Kloton. She is a member of Pleasure of Your Company Therapy Dogs and Furry Tails Reading Partners with her therapy dog Maggie Mae. Paula also enjoys spending time with her husband Bob, their children and grandchildren.
She has never stopped "getting involved" in things for experience...because you never know where it might lead you. That factor is something she instills in her grandchildren and other young people she has the chance to mentor. Her ability to tackle any challenge, improvise and succeed throughout her long career as well as her ability to inspire others makes Paul Deignan Reynolds one of the LuLac Women We Love for 2015.
(Photos: LuLac archives).
When I first heard that Valerie Tysanner was going to be interviewing me for PA Live I was both excited and eager to work with her. I had seen her on WBRE News as part of the Central Pennsylvania News team, the renowned WBRE TV I Team, as well as when she was co anchoring. I could tell that she was indeed a political junkie and found all about that on The Fourth of July segment I had taped this past summer. Valerie came in before the show and we sat and met as pictures were taken. This California-born transplant and I got along fine except for snow in the winter. I’m against it and she’s for it.
On PA Live Tysanner is a steady presence, lighting up countless living rooms with her personality and she keeps guests calm. To guests who have never been on TV, she smiles and tells them not to worry. “It’s live and it’s fun, don’t worry about being afraid, just enjoy the time here”.
Tysanner joined the Eyewitness News team in June 2013 from WVTT, an independent television station in Western New York. While there, she spent much of her time covering Pennsylvania's northern tier. Before moving to the Empire State, she worked at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
While at NBC 4, Valerie worked as an editorial assistant. She also field produced for NBC's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, and Conrad Murray trial.
Prior to working at KNBC, Valerie reported for Santa Barbara City-TV, and KCSB radio. She also interned for Dateline NBC and the FOX affiliate in Los Angeles.
Valerie graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is excited to explore Central and Northeastern PA. She loves an adventure and has gone skydiving, parasailing, and zip lining. She also enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and a good book.
As stated before, I have had the pleasure of doing the political segments on PA Live with Valerie the past few months. She is an avid news junkie and enjoys the political process for what it provides in both educational and entertainment areas of Journalism.
Tysanner has become a daily part of the lives of those daytime TV viewers who eagerly await the news as well as the lifestyle segments provided by PA Live. For that reason and many more she is one of the LuLac Women We Love in 2015.
MILANA ALEKSANDROVNA VAYNTRUB
(Photos: AT&T, Wikipedia.com)
That woman you see on those AT&T commercials is actually an Uzbek-American actress, comedian, writer, and producer who is best known for playing the "Lily Adams" character in a series of AT&T television commercials. Her name is Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub.
Vayntrub has appeared in many short films and in the web series "Let's Talk About Something More Interesting" co-starring Stevie Nelson. She currently stars in the Yahoo! Screen series Other Space.
Vayntrub was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and is Jewish. She moved to West Hollywood with her parents at the age of three. She started acting in Mattel Barbie commercials at the age of five, due in part to her family's financial problems.
Vayntrub briefly attended Beverly Hills High School, but dropped out after her sophomore year, got a GED, and went on to get a degree in communication from University of California, San Diego. She received training with the improvisational comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade
Vayntrub and Stevie Nelson teamed up to start the YouTube comedy channel Live Prude Girls where they produced a number of shorts and the hit web series Let's Talk About Something More Interesting] Live Prude Girls went on to be featured on NewMediaRockstars' Top 100 Channels countdown, ranked at #93.
Vayntrub has had small roles in film and television, including Life Happens. She has also starred in several CollegeHumor videos. In 2011, Vayntrub was the lead in the music video for "Teenage Tide" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults. She appeared as Tara in an episode of the sitcom Silicon Valley.
Since November 2013, she has portrayed a saleswoman named "Lily Adams" in a series of TV commercials for AT&T and also currently portrays Tina Shukshin on the Yahoo! Screen original series Other Space.
So apparently LuLac readers aren’t the only ones committed to pure politics. This year they surprised us by selecting the spokesperson for a cell phone carrier. Who knew that with all of her honors in her career, Vayntrub would snag an award like this!!!!
(Then Governor Tom Corbett with one of his biggest supporters. Photo: Facebook).
There are many volunteers in political parties that are known as the unsung heroes of ever campaign cycle. You never see them out front but rather they are the first persons to arrive and the last to leave. In effect they are the political roadies that set up the stage for the candidates. They stuff the envelopes, work the phone banks and bake the cookies. You’ll see them at the sign in tables as well as chasing down errant candidates for a picture.
This year Susan Zaykoski was chosen as one of the Women We Love in 2015. Now you may not know her as a political household word in Luzerne County but people like her are the backbone of any political organization.
Zaykoski became involved in politics around 2007 when she was inspired by past LuLac winners of "Women We Love", WYLN TV 35’s Tiffany Cloud as well as newly elected Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings. Since then she has been a mainstay at local party events. Zaykoski has been front and center at these events and is guided by both religious and patriotic principles. Zaykoski wears these principles as well as she wears the Red, White and Blue vest she sports at GOP gatherings.
She works for Commonwealth Health as a Medical Pathology Transcriber, lives in Bear Creek with her husband of more than 3 decades, and has two children Adam and Leigh.
Her steady dedication to the cause of the Luzerne County GOP, her reliability as well as her sunny personality (not to mention baking abilities) makes Susan Zaykoski one of the Women We Love in 2015.
Sources: Biographical information submitted by nominees, Linked In, Facebook, Scranton Times Tribune, LuLac archives, Citizen's Voice, CBS News, nominee websites or workplace websites).