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Worcester Businesswomen Leading by Example

Friday, August 24, 2012


Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk

Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk of Auburn might have a difficult last name to pronounce, but it’s a name people know, thanks to the professional reputation she has created for herself. Kate currently serves as the Vice President for the Central and Western Massachusetts Markets at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and says she loves her job.

“My role is to knit together all the functional areas of our health plan through a viewpoint of what the Central & Western markets want and need in terms of health care options," she said. "It is actually a lot of fun."

Kate credits those who took the time to mentor her in high school and college for her success and gives back by guiding others in their careers. She does this often for friends and colleagues. She also says hard work, networking and knowing yourself are essential in climbing the corporate ladder and achieving personal triumphs.

“I'm passionate about all the different things I do - and I have to be honest with myself that there are clearly elements of being passionate that are good, and elements that can drive other people crazy.” She adds that knowing your moral compass is key, saying, “At the end of the day the only things we own are the decisions we make, right?”

Kate says her husband is great for getting her to relax and slow down when she needs to and jokes about her an affinity for Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2. The Worcester State University graduate brings her fun loving personality to everything she does, whether its work, enjoying time with life-long friends, or volunteering.

“Everyone has something that our non-profits need, whether it‘s time, treasure or talent. It all adds up.”

As for the women of the community, Kate feels the city supports women’s causes, and calls on women to be their own advocates.

“The best thing you can do to position yourself for success is to make sure that both entities start from the same page as it relates to expectations," she said. "This tends to be where most of the breakdowns occur down the road. This is the easiest form of advocating for yourself - the key is to find the right style, and make sure you are comfortable with your stance. Make sure your expectations are fair and reasonable. “

Lisa Condit

The Hanover Theatre for Performing Arts in Worcester has brought world class entertainment to the city, and one woman is partially responsible for making that happen.

Lisa Condit of Hardwick, MA is the theatre’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations. She has held her current position since before the theatre opened and continues to build its success by publicizing shows and working with local stakeholders to increase the visibility of the city’s creative partnerships.

“I have the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of people and organizations to really make a difference in our community and contribute to the revitalization of our area”, she said.

Lisa credits her team of co-workers as well as other interns and volunteers for managing the theatre’s success. Together they create and implement marketing, public relations, and advertising plans for 150 different performances each year, including national Broadway tours and shows featuring international entertainers. They also work with regional promoters, local businesses and non-profits that use the theatre for fundraisers and community building activities. It’s a lot of work, and Lisa is up to the challenge.

“I am continually looking for ways to partner with other WOO venues in order to encourage people to experience the new Worcester”, she said.

In addition to her responsibilities at the theatre, Lisa has a daughter entering eighth grade at Our Lady of the Angels in the Fall. In order to accomplish her goals at The Hanover Theatre and balance family life, she has learned she needs to put her health first.

“There are also a few non-negotiable demands that ALWAYS need to be taken care of," Lisa said. "So I make other arrangements to support the areas where I need help. I’ve also learned to let go of some of the things that really don’t matter in the long run.”

Lisa is great at prioritizing and delegating, and stays focused on her goals which include plans to do more traveling to learn how to best market the theatre. She continues to improve her skills and uses humor to relieve stress. Lisa advises other professional women to constantly challenge themselves and find creative ways to achieve their dreams.

“Most of the time, you’re probably going to have to step outside of your comfort zone, but you’ll be stronger and smarter as a result. Even if you don’t get the results you anticipated, you will learn valuable lessons and potentially make connections that will help you in the future,” says Lisa.

Diane Hastings

Another woman who kicks butt in the city (quite literally) is Diane Hastings. She is a Personal Trainer and General Manager of Frank Nash Training Systems in Worcester and knows first-hand the biggest obstacle for many of her female clients in accomplishing their goals: time.

“A lot of women will put work or family first instead of themselves. Getting them to realize that their good health and fitness will only make them better at both can be a challenge. We must make time for ourselves and especially our health,” says Diane.

The Worcester resident was originally a client of Frank Nash and eventually became trainer certified because of the passion she developed for fitness. Diane says she’s always been interested in helping people achieve their goals and views her clients’ success as her own. She trains both women and men and says, while occasionally a male client might not be as receptive to a female trainer, for the most part it’s rare.

“When you love what you do and live it, it carries over into your performance and people respond positively to it,” she explains.

Diane encourages women interested in getting into the health and fitness field to join a gym if they haven’t already and get involved at any level.

She suggests shadowing trainers and doing an internship. Ultimately, Diane advises women to ask a lot of questions and to be willing to start anywhere. It worked for her, and now she does what she loves and gets paid doing it! Oh, and she also follows her own advice and makes time for herself.

“It may sound corny but I love just being home and relaxing with the family. I love being outside. A great day at the beach with family and friends and a good book would probably be my ideal day,” she says. 


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