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Worcester Businesswomen Offer the Key to Success

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Heather Ball MacCartney

Heather Ball MacCartney of Worcester says it’s important to reach out to the various women’s groups in the city to network and support each other. The Corporate Benefit Account Manager at Benefit Development Group in Worcester is a member of the Young Professional Women’s Association and belonged to the Junior League of Worcester. She also volunteers at Girls Incorporated of Worcester to support others and receive support herself.

“It's extremely important that we reach out and engage with all of these organizations to leverage the networking and professional development support that is available”, MacCartney said.

Heather graduated from Clark University and entered the work force as an Account Coordinator in the Retention Sales department at Fallon Community Health Plan. She was eventually promoted to the role of Account Manager where she managed a block of 400 small businesses, and today works at BDG. She has steadily moved forward in her career and says the only thing she might have done differently is to join local women’s organizations earlier.

“It's critically important that young women just entering the work force engage early and take advantage of the experience available throughout the city.”

In addition to her involvement with women’s groups, Heather serves on the board for Girls Inc. and helps organize their fundraisers among other duties. When she’s not working, the newlywed makes time for her health by staying physically fit at Frank Nash Training Systems in Worcester and spending time with her fabulous family and friends.

Consider your talents

When it comes to succeeding in business, Tracy Dill of Worcester advises women to “look into areas that you excel at, not necessarily what you earned your degree in.”

Tracy currently serves as the Manager of Events at The EcoTarium in Worcester. She leads the organization’s Biennial Gala Auction, its Live at Sunset summer concert series and other major events during the year. Tracy says she has seen more women than men serve in roles like event planning

Tracey Dill

and attributes women’s attention to detail and good communication as reasons for this.

“The women that I have worked with know the importance of logistics, double checking details and getting the message across in a creative way,” she said.

Tracy has been very involved in the community serving as President of two non-profit boards, volunteering for Preservation Worcester and is currently a Corporator for Becker College. She says networking is important for success in business and in life and feels the city is supportive of women’s career goals.

“I know many women who own their own businesses or work for companies at an executive level in the city. Worcester is a City you can make a difference in.”

Tracy was instrumental in the success of Preservation Worcester’s Dancing With the Stars fundraisers held a few years back which featured local notables including City Manager Michael O’Brien and his wife Beata O’Brien, and Department of Public Works Commissioner Robert Moylan. Tracy gets involved in organizations she’s passionate about and encourages other women to do so.

“Talk to everyone you know and be open to different opportunities and fields,” she said.

When she’s not working, Tracy spends time with her husband, Jeff, her son, Sebastian and their two dogs. Her garden and her historic home are her other biggest passions along with supporting non-profit cultural organizations in the city and going out to listen to live music. Nick’s and Ceres Bistro are two of her favorite venues with Dale LePage, Bobby Gadoury, Niki Luparelli and Dan Burke are among her favorite acts.

Local entrepreneur

PJ Kardokas

PJ Kardokas learned at an early age what it’s like to own your own business. She grew up learning the ropes of entrepreneurship from her parents who owned Flowers by Michael in Worcester for 30 years. These days, PJ runs her own hair salon, Shear Bliss on Hamilton Street in Worcester, which is the same street Flowers by Michael was located on.

“Oddly enough my salon phone number is the same phone number my parents had at the flower shop. I hope to follow in their footsteps and also have a successful business,” says PJ.

PJ has learned that when owning a business, no one can run it like the owner. She says you always have to be present at your place of work. The Worcester resident also notes it’s important that hairdressers and beauticians constantly educate themselves because trends change, and they need to stay ahead of them.

“You need to understand the ins and out of the salon business and have a strong education and continue educating yourself as often as you can. Always remember you can never learn too much in the beauty industry.”

PJ says she feels supported as a female business owner in Worcester, citing local women’s networking groups as great ways to meet potential clients. She believes she can overcome obstacles by remaining strong willed and one pointed. PJ has learned to surround herself with talented staff members that work well together. She follows the mantra “treat others as you would like to be treated”.

PJ is appreciative of her clientele and remains focused on keeping her work manageable and producing quality service. She advises future salon owners to, “Be sure you are a strong woman as you will come to learn the behind the scenes of owning your own salon is much harder than just being behind the chair.” 


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