October 29, 2018
Focus on outstanding women in business

Outstanding Women in Business: 2010 Alumnae

Elaine Fluet

Elaine Fluet

Now: President & CEO of GVNA HealthCare in Gardner

Since Elaine Fluet became an Outstanding Women in Business eight years ago, her organization has been doing more palliative care – care for those with a life-limiting condition – in addition to post-acute care, which is care such as oxygen administration and wound care after a hospital stay.

The home healthcare organization has grown from 160 employees to 200, serving a geographically more diverse area over the past eight years.

"The number of visits have increased 53 percent," Fluet said. "Those are pretty high numbers."

An employee since 1985 and its CEO since 2004, Fluet said GVNA works hard to meet increasing caseloads while hiring the best and brightest to join its team. Fluet said it is not unusual for people to live beyong 100 and want to stay in their homes.

"Our biggest challenge is in hiring paraprofessionals. It's not easy work, but for the right person, it's wonderful work," she said.

GVNA works to ensure arrangements work for its employees, too. The organization has a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In addition to quality staffing to maintain high standards of care, technology is always evolving, Fluet said. The company is always working to keep updated, seeking the best and most-efficient ways to serve its clients. The group is changing its electronic medical records' vendor, for example.

"We'll be able to capture better quality outcomes, help employees maintain a better work-life balance," said Fluet. "This product is easier to use."

GVNA stays current with technology to help keep people in their homes, not to take the place of visits, but to provide better monitoring in between for things like vital signs for patients with diabetes or heart disease.

Since winning the award, Fluet has welcomed three more grandchildren, and now has five altogether.

Gail Carberry

"They bring me great joy," she said.

Dr. Gail E. Carberry

Now: President emerita of Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester

What have been your career highlights since 2010? Since I retired in 2017, I have continued to serve on a number of educational boards including the Nichols College Board of Trustees, the Bay Path Educational Foundation board and the Massachusetts Education & Career Opportunities board. My most important role right now is ensuring the best possible start for my little grandson, now 19 months old as I provide childcare to him about 30 hours a week. My career has come full circle since I majored in early childhood education at Worcester State.

In my final few years as QCC president, we opened the QuEST Center and signed agreements in Northbridge. We began the music program and expended the manufacturing facilities (under the athletic center) and a computer technology center in Southbridge.

What have been your personal highlights? The naming of facilities in my honor (Carberry Center downtown and Carberry Gallery at QCC's main campus in the Harrington Learning Center) and numerous community awards in appreciation of my four decades of public service. A reengagement with my spouse of five decades has been incredible. We have more time to be together as we tag team and co-chase our active grandson together.

How has the professional world changed since 2010? The workplace for women continues to provide expanded opportunities. However, the equalization of compensation with male professionals is slower to take hold than is optimal. Women must keep pushing for equity. Women are increasingly entering into STEM careers and into business programs of study. At QCC and Bay Path Technical High School where I stay involved, more women and girls are exploring technical career options. At Nichols College, a college recognized for business education where I serve as trustee, female enrollment is on the rise.

Jill C. Dagilis

Now: Executive director of Worcester Community Action Council

Jill Dagilis

What have been your career highlights since 2010? I am proud of WCAC's work, the growth we have achieved and the positive impact the agency's services have had for so many people in need. Every day, I am thankful for the amazing board and staff team I am blessed to work with and the respect the organization has earned in Worcester.

And personally? Volunteering for many years on several local boards has been very inspiring to me. From small to large organizations whose missions range from social services, research and women, to construction and development, I have loved it all. Currently, I serve as chairwoman of the Worcester Business Development Corp. My husband and I – together for 40 years – are so proud of our son and daughter-in-law, our daughter and son-in-law, and just over the moon with our adorable and fun-filled grandchildren: Lucie, Winnie and Macallen.

How has the world changed? The national funding and political challenges are numerous. At the beginning of this year, the president's draft budget zero-funded nearly all of the programs WCAC offers. Our network of agencies across the country worked to ensure broad bipartisan support, and that budget didn't stick. It is essential to change the narrative around poverty and highlight what all of us doing this work know: We are more likely to succeed when we take care of each other.

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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