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Worcester Businesswomen Look to Inspire Others

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

 

Jonelle Marie Garofoli

Jonelle Marie Garofoli of Worcester knows what it’s like to run a business. Her grandparents opened Boucher’s Religious Store in Worcester nearly 40 years ago and it’s been successful ever since. These days, her mother, Denise Boucher-Garofoli has taken over the shop and Jonelle does the marketing. However, the 33 year old caught the entrepreneurial spirit and recently opened her own business, Coco’s Closet, A Baby Consignment Shop on Lake Avenue in Worcester.

“We are a full consignment shop offering clothes from newborn to eight-year-old kids, toys and furniture, as well as my own brand of baby beanies and caps for both girls and boys called Coco’s Caps, “ says Jonelle.

Jonelle’s two children, Lorenzo, two-years-old, and Nicolina, 10 months, inspired her business. Jonelle was living in Florida, and needed a crib when she would visit her family in Worcester. She realized there were no baby consignment shops in the city, and made this her goal after relocating back home in early 2012. She leased a space at 252 Lake Avenue in Worcester and is now open three days a week and by appointment. Jonelle is also able to take her children with her to work, which is an added benefit.

“My husband and I have a good system going as far as our child care duties and days.”

Jonelle has her real estate license as well as experience in the local market. While she knows she can always lean on her real estate career, she says opening her business afforded her the flexibility of being available for her children and provided a much needed service to the city’s parents.

Jonelle’s advice to young mothers who want to embark on a similar business venture is simple: take it one day at a time.

“My advice to women is to truly believe in yourself and set goals. For me, as soon as I put my mind to something I go after it 100 percent. I wanted to be independent and I have great role models, including my mother who owns and operates her very successful religious store business right next door to my shop. It's almost 40 years strong and I hope to achieve that milestone some day for my family.”

Check out Jonelle’s business at cocosclosetconsignment.com.

Victoria Waterman

For Victoria Waterman, inspiring the city’s women is her life’s mission.  So it’s no surprise that she considers her latest role as CEO of Girls Inc. of Worcester as “the greatest job in the world."

“I fell in love with the mission of the organization three years ago when I became Board President.”

Girls Inc. of Worcester is a non-profit that inspires leadership skills and teaches all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Waterman joins Girls Inc. as the former owner of Leading Women, a global organization that brings leadership experiences to women in organizations. Having connected nearly 2,000 local women through networking events and workshops, she will bring these professionals to volunteer at Girls Inc.

“Now I can combine my business and leadership skills, network of women role models, and passion for the Girls Inc. mission to inspire the next generation of Leading Women.”

Victoria was awarded the prestigious Girls Inc. Excellence in Board Leadership Award in 2012 and plans to build on the work of Deb Hopkins, former Girls Inc. CEO who recently left the position to work for the national Girls Inc.

While Victoria’s focus is currently on the young women of Worcester, she will continue to provide insight from Leading Women to improve the lives of the city’s professional female population.

“I believe the biggest issue for women succeeding in business is the lack of sufficient training in business, strategic, and financial acumen. While at Leading Women, I studied how this impacted women’s advancement and was dedicated in teaching those skills to women in business.”

When she’s not working, Victoria spends time with her husband and shopping with her teenage daughter. Although for her, working at Girls Inc. is like working with extended family.

“Since I have become involved with the organization, I have been inspired every single day with the dedication and talent of our staff and board. I am fortunate to be surrounded by the best,” she exclaims.

Jessica Albino with her son Cristian

When Jessica Albino of Worcester took an after school job at a law firm in high school, she never thought she’d become an attorney. However after working as a legal secretary for eight years, she decided to take the LSAT and apply to law school.

“I made the best decision of my life!” she says.

Today, Jessica is a real estate attorney with her own Law Office. She made the decision to open her own real estate practice in 2009 after becoming pregnant with her son, Cristian. She acknowledges that being a full time mother and full time attorney has its challenges, and credits her family to helping her out whenever they can. Despite her struggles, she encourages other women considering a career in law to follow it through.

“The rewards are endless”, she said.

Though Jessica dabbled in law for years, she wasn’t always set on her current professional path. While studying at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Jessica majored in Psychology in the hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. She eventually decided this was not the career for her and pursued her current path which she plans to expand upon in the future.

“In five to 10 years, I see myself still practicing real estate, maybe with another attorney. I have been very fortunate to have established great relationships with many local real estate agents and lenders and hope to continue to successfully grow my business.”  

 

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