November Monthly Meeting: Role Models Panel

By Alicia Jones ’26

Women’s Leadership Initiative makes its way through November, hosting a “Role Models” panel, featuring four hand-selected women leaders from various career paths. Hosted on Zoom, participants got to sit in and listen to the ladies explain their work history, education, career journey, and insights on success. The session ended off with a vibrant Q and A session, in which participants got to ask the ladies their own questions. The panelists typically all offered an answer of some sort, giving different, and unique perspectives to each question. The event had a personal touch, as members of the Women’s Leadership Initiative Eboard, Baylee Fingerhut, Sophia Kosty, and myself, each got to select personal role models for the event.

The first of the panelists was Tinamarie Stoltz. Tinamarie Stolz is a Saint Joseph’s University Campus Minister. She has her undergraduate degree in communications with a concentration in public relations, her master’s in theological studies, and is currently working on her second master’s in writing studies. She has previously interned with Sister Joan Chittiser and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. She has also been a professor of Theology here at SJU. She offered advice on holding self-worth dear and how maintaining balance between self and career is of the utmost importance. 

Next up is Judge Stephanie M. Sawyer. Judge Sawyer is currently a Court of Common Pleas Judge in the Criminal Trial Division and a former Municipal Court Judge in Philadelphia County, who was sworn in on July 16, 2014. Judge Sawyer opened her law office in 1996. Determined to give back to the community, Judge Sawyer developed and maintained free legal seminars and helped students with mock trials throughout her years in private practice. During her practice, she continued to fight for fairness in all areas of law. 

Then on the panel was Kelly Dashiell, who is the Global Onshore Wind Finance Transformational Leader for GE Vernova.  She is a CPA licensed in the State of New York and is a certified Lean Leader from the International Association for Six Sigma Certification. As a finance transformation leader, she works to drive business process simplification and improvements throughout a global finance organization, leveraging Lean tools and philosophy. She explained that passion and a means to do it is all one needs to be truly successful.

Finally, the panel featured Laura Kelly. She is the founder and CEO of the Handwork Studio, a program that runs summer camps geared toward both education and fun for a wide array of ages. Laura currently is a graduate assistant at Gompers Elementary school. Laura can often be found facilitating SJU and Gomper’s relations, and is heavily involved in SJU service work at Gompers. Looking to the future, Laura will be working towards her doctoral candidate in education leadership (2026) at SJU. 

In general, the panel fostered an environment of comfortable, open discussion. The women attending the event seemed to really feel a sense of empowerment from the confidence and wisdom each woman brought in her own way. It is essential to see success is possible, and going to the future, each participant will have that example to hold on to.