October 29, 2018
Focus on outstanding women in business

Outstanding Women in Business: 2013 Alumnae

Christine Tieri

Christine Tieri

2013: President of Smith & Jones Idea Agency in Sturbridge
Now: Certified brand strategist, consultant and speaker at ChrisTieri.com in Sturbridge

Idea Agency in Sturbridge has certainly gone through its evolutions over the past 24 years, as has its president, Christine Tieri – especially since winning an Outstanding Women in Business award in 2013 – and more specifically, over the past month or two.

Over the years, starting out as Smith & Jones Advertising, the brand became smith&jones, smith&jones idea agency and then, Idea Agency.

Tieri was the organization's founder, president and certified brand strategist. Now she is a lead brand strategist with Pannos Marketing out of Bedford, N.H., having just sold Idea Agency to Pannos and joined its team on a consulting basis to get back to what she loves: brand development.

Her Idea Agency team members will have roles with Pannos, said Tieri, and Idea Agency clients have come along as well.

The acquisition followed Idea Agency's honing in on brand-development work several years ago, from its place as a full-service marketing agency. Marketing was making a shift, said Tieri, no longer just advertising but more about branded cultures, which involves how a workspace looks. Tieri has redone some companies waiting rooms.

"Clients benefitted from our renewed commitment to brand," she said. "It offered a deeper strategy for them."

Then Tieri sought to get back to that core interest – branding – even more. That's when the acquisition opportunity came about.

"When you run a company, it becomes about the operations and not the work anymore," she said. "While trying to be creative, I had to also make sure we were viable and that the numbers lined up."

It wasn't a part of the job she wanted to do anymore, she said.

She speaks highly of Pannos and the firm's partners, as well as her Idea Agency colleagues.

Tieri is now writing a book, a task likely made easier with a quieter house. When she won the award in 2013, she had three teenage boys at home, all of who were playing different sports on different schedules.

Bonnie Biocchi

Bonnie Biocchi

2013: President & CEO of MetroWest Chamber of Commerce in Framingham

Now: Executive director of the Northeast Public Power Association in Littleton

What have been your career highlights since 2013? Transitioning to a new industry and becoming the executive director of NEPPA, an organization serving the public power community across a six-state region. Serving on the board of the MetroWest Conference for Women, which gave me an opportunity to work with some amazing women and help a fledgling organization.

And personally? Becoming a Nonnie to Vincent, Eliana, Arthur and Nora. Grandchildren are the greatest joy!

How has the professional world changed since 2013? The increased use of technology has certainly created more opportunities for people to work remotely or have flexible schedules. This is especially valuable for women, many of whom are juggling jobs/careers, motherhood, volunteer responsibilities and household duties, to have the opportunity to control their own schedules. I hope this flexibility will help women achieve more balance in their lives which, will strengthen families and society as a whole.

Patricia Hallberg

Patricia Halberg

2013 & now: CEO for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts

What have been your career highlights since 2013? I serve as a co-chair for the Investing in Girls Alliance and as a commissioner on the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. The Girl Scouts STEM conference for middle school girls, Geek is Glam, has built momentum around STEM activities for girls and is going strong in its sixth year. The Girl Scouts has built a program to bring the Girl Scout leadership experience to girls who would otherwise not be able to participate.

And personally? I have four daughters who all married in the last six years. Our family has expanded to include two grandchildren.

How has the professional world changed since 2013? This award allowed me the opportunity to expand my network in the Greater Worcester area. Women are still underrepresented at leadership tables across the country, and even more so for women of color.

Mary Ann O'Connor

Courtesy/VNA Care
Mary Ann O'Connor

2013: President & CEO of VNA Care Network in Worcester

Now: Retired

What have been your career highlights since 2013? Took a leadership role in creating two innovative healthcare programs providing significant opportunities for frail elders to receive advanced treatment in their own homes, avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations.

And personally? Retired after a 45 year career.

How has the professional world changed since 2013? Changes in the workplace and advances in the healthcare industry has increased the opportunities for women to enter into rewarding leadership roles.

Diane M. Power

Diane M. Power

2013 & now: Executive director for Mirick O'Connell in Worcester, Westborough and Boston

What have been your career highlights since 2013? I returned to school to become a certified professional coach, focusing on leadership development, and have enjoyed incorporating my new skills at Mirick O'Connell.

And personally? Surviving the Sandwich Generation – caring for aging parents while navigating my son through his teenage years!

How has the world changed since 2013? It's more fast paced and competitive, with no end in sight.

Linda M. Smith, CPA

Linda Smith

2013 & now: Managing partner at Smith, Sullivan & Brown, PC in Westborough

What have been your career highlights since 2013? Business growth and visibility

And personally? Enjoying life better with more experienced staff, allowing me to take longer vacations and have more family time.

How has the professional world changed since 2013? Technology has allowed us to have two full-time staff working remotely from other parts of the country. We're using video conferencing rather than driving in/out of Boston for meetings, etc. We're more efficient with better technology. Our work-life balance has improved.

Read more about the 2018 Outstanding Women in Business:

Kate Sharry, president of Group Benefits Strategies

Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA, co-managing partner of AAFCPAs

Laurie Masiello, president of Masy Bioservices

Jennifer Luisa, vice president of marketing and communications at The Hanover Insurance Group

Marianne Lancaster, president of Lancaster Packaging Inc.

Sandra Brock, PE, vice president and chief engineer at Nitsch Engineering

Read about this year's judges

Read about the nine previous years of Outstanding Women in Business award winners:

2017 alumnae

2016 alumnae

2015 alumnae

2014 alumnae

2013 alumnae

2012 alumnae

2011 alumnae

2010 alumnae

2009 alumnae

Check out a column from this year's Innovative Business Leader of the Year on the importance of women business leaders in the Central Mass. community

Successful women shape our community

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