Congratulations to the 2015 Top Ten Business Women of ABWA

As a leading organization for working women, the American Business Women’s Association takes recognition to a national level with the prestigious Top Ten Business Women of ABWA program.

The Top Ten is the highest honor awarded to a member in ABWA. These women are applauded for their career accomplishments, community involvement, and of course, their contribution to ABWA. The Top Ten represent the best of our Association.


Name: Maria Martinez - 2015 American Business Woman

League: Lakeland Downtown Chapter
Occupation: Personal Development Coach/Owner; INNERactive Coaching LLC
Member Since: 2010

Having lost 80 pounds, Maria Martinez won a huge battle with weight and self-confidence. With that, she started her coaching business to empower others to identify and conquer their own fears and personal demons. Inspired by the possibilities and maintaining a “can do” attitude, she is also merging recruiting/career development for Kelly Services in addition to her own small business as a personal development coach.

“In 2010 I needed to tell my story and ABWA became my lifeline,” said Martinez. “New in business, ABWA reinforced the importance of public speaking, networking and concepts that shaped me as an entrepreneur. I struggle with the responsibilities of work, business and life but my involvement with ABWA keeps inspiring me


Name: Barbara Chatzkel

League: Valley of the Sun Express Network
Occupation: Owner, New River Group
Member Since: 2010

The recession hit the Phoenix metro area very hard and from 2009 through 2012 Barbara Chatzkel, Owner of the New River Group, did job transition coaching for many talented and recently unemployed managers. This is one of the hardest coaching situations since so much is on the line – money, the house, self-worth and relationships to name a few. Through a lot of empathy, skillful guiding and establishing accountabilities, Barbara is please to say that all her clients returned to employment at appropriate levels.

“As a sole proprietor, I have no business partner with whom I can discuss ideas and issues hoping to make my business better,” said Chatzkel. “The ABWA Valley of the Sun Express Network members have become my business sounding board. Every month, in addition to listening to a great business speaker, I get to meet with my ‘board of directors’ who are always interested and ready to pitch in.”


Name: Michelle Crone

League: Forks of the Wabash Chapter
Occupation: Business Banking Administrative Manager; Wells Fargo Bank
Member Since: 1996

In her role as Business Banking Administrative Manager for Wells Fargo Bank, Michelle Crone and her team manages the district which consists of five office locations in northern Indiana. She also supports eight bankers and one Business Banking Manager throughout the district. Since her time in this position, during three annual audit reviews her district received a fully acceptable rating of 100%, which is not handed out very often.

“I have grown in my professional life because of my involvement in the American Business Women’s Association.” states Crone. “My experiences in ABWA have allowed me to overcome shyness, build self-confidence, become comfortable with public speaking, improve my listening skills with my family and achieve my goal of a college degree. ABWA also builds community leadership skills – which has led me to serve as Board President and Special Events Chair for Habitat for Humanity.”


Name: Julia Fiedler

League: Charisma Charter Chapter
Occupation: Senior Ecommerce & Marketing Consultant; Fenway Group
Member Since: 2009

As a Dallas Business Journal’s 2014 Women in Business Nominee, Fenway Group gave this description when nominating Julia Fiedler. “Julia is Fenway’s Social Media Strategist providing thought leadership and social media insights to Fenway clients like American Airlines and CenturyLink, we well as mentoring other Fenway consultants on the best use of social media. Social media is a core component of Fenway’s business and our customer’s Omni channel focus.”

“I moved to Texas for the next step in my career, joining ABWA with Charisma Charter Chapter as my primary chapter.” said Fiedler. “My intent was to get involved, but emotionally crippling events got in the way. I dropped the ball in regards to some ABWA commitments. I felt embarrassed and almost didn’t return. What brought me back was the patient acceptance of my Chapter and I began to understand the true benefits of ABWA as a ‘Safe Place’.”


Name: Jackie Frady

League: Reno-Tahoe Express Network
Occupation: President and Executive Director; National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection)
Member Since: 2010

When Jackie Frady was promoted to Executive Director in 1992, few believed in the Museum and many predicted its demise within a year. She was driven by the dual challenge of creating financial stability and making the Museum a success as one of a few women directors of an automobile museum in the country. By the end of her first year as Executive Director, the Museum was operating in the black which was an enormous step in proving the Museum was self-sustaining.

“ABWA has had a remarkable impact on my career.” states Frady. “I became actively involved and the return far exceeded my expectations. I gained confidence interacting within the group, gained leadership skills through committees and progressive board positions and have a network of successful business women and wonderful friends who have enriched my life.”


Name: Darlene Hajduk

League: Cy-Fair Express Network
Occupation: President and Owner; ProLine Supply Company, Inc
Member Since: 2007

As the owner of her own business, Darlene Hajduk is responsible for all facets of the business. In business development she initiates and executes strategies regarding networking, marketing, promotions, tradeshows, partnering with the community, branding, publicity and social media.  This solid infrastructure has given the company the foundation to grow at a consistent pace of 5-20% annually in net revenue.

“Through the Women’s Instructional Network, speaker’s presentations, national conferences and serving as a league leader, I have been exposed to many of the pertinent information I need to succeed,” recalls Hajduk. “And it goes with saying, that I have tapped the resources of our 50+ expert members of the Cy-Fair Express Network in all of these areas.”


Name: Dawn Lloyd, CFP®, CRPC® 

League: Tempe Charter Chapter
Occupation: President and Certified Financial Planner - Lakritz & Lloyd Wealth Management, LLC.
Member Since: 2010

Dawn Lloyd co-founded an independent financial advisory firm with another woman from the ground up – designing branding materials to provide a clear, concise and compelling message that defines the uniquely personalized approach their firm provides to clients in all facets of financial planning. She established and integrated the functional strategies of the company, exceeding revenue and production goals by 150% in the first three months in business.

“Having worked in Corporate America for almost 25 years, I longed to create a business that was my own,” said Lloyd. “Through my affiliation with ABWA, I met women from around the country in various stages in their lives, many of whom owned or had owned their own business. During a goal-setting activity at a Chapter meeting, I dared to put into words my dream of being a business owner."


Name: Lara Neidel

League: Heart of the Country Chapter
Occupation: Owner; Uniquely Green Eyewear, LLC
Member Since: 1998

Because of her career business successes and the connections she had made, in 2012 Lara Neidel was approached by an acquaintance who wanted her to start her own business selling a line of eyewear in the mid-west part of the United States. She created a 3-year program to grow the business by recruiting 10 independent representatives and having product in at least 20 states. Because of her early success, she has been asked to expand to even more states.

“Since joining ABWA I have attended every National Conference,” says Neidel. “It was at those conferences that I attended the seminars that trained me in how to handle situations with employees, clients and management. With the continuing education that I received, I went from being a shipping clerk to being the only woman in management.”


Name: Dana Roberson

League: La Luz Chapter
Occupation: Sr. Software Quality Engineer; Energy Enterprise Services – NCI
Member Since: 2009

Having had a long and multi-faceted career and volunteer history, Dana Roberson while formally educated as a geologist, is currently a Certified Software Quality Engineer and Software Process Instructor. During the time she was a junior in high school, girls were encouraged to take home economics classes instead of biology or physics. She continued to encounter this "science is not for women” attitude for most of her early career. For this and numerous other reasons, she has been a strong proponent for science and mathematics education for women.

“I want to use my Stephen Ministry peer counselor skills and assist women in stress or stressful environments,” said Roberson. “Working and networking with the women in my La Luz Chapter of ABWA has helped me think about and formulate these goals. Their ongoing support provides the impetus that I want and need.”


Name: Sandra Williams

League: Globe Chapter
Occupation: Specialty Nurse; Department of Defense
Member Since: 2007

During her career as a specialty nurse, Sandra Williams has created and implemented an HIV/aids training program in the work place for the civilian employees on Fort Hood. This program later became a mandatory training for all CRDAMC medical personnel. She created the smoking cessation program for the soldiers on Fort Hood and it has been implemented by the health promotion department on Fort Hood. She also created and implemented a tool to assess soldiers for high risk behaviors and it is currently being used by the company commanders during their counseling sessions.

“ABWA has had a positive influence in my personal and professional goal by providing me with the opportunities to attend numerous well planned and organized training in the Women’s Instructional Network and during the National and Regional Conferences,” said Williams. “The women of Globe Chapter are a diverse and experienced group of women whom I have come to rely on to help me with my education.”