Meet Our Counselors
Anne Flynn Schlicht
Anne received her Masters of Business Studies in Entrepreneurship from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a Best Practice in Teaching Entrepreneurship Certificate from the University of Cambridge, UK. Anne brings a wealth of international experience as a professor of entrepreneurship and as a business consultant. Anne has presented at seminars and conferences internationally on the topic of entrepreneurship education and women entrepreneurs. In January 2005, Anne was chosen as the second "Rooney International Visiting Scholar," which facilitated her move to the US. Anne joined the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship in 2008. In 2016, Anne was appointed Director of Chatham's Women Business Center (CWBC). In 2019, CWBC and CWE merged into one Center and Anne was appointed Director.
Wendy is a serial entrepreneur that started her entrepreneurial journey by co-founding Medical Equipment Source, LLC a multi-million dollar medical equipment company. After experiencing domestic and international success, Wendy went on to co-found VIVO Worldwide Inc. to serve as a strategic partner to Medical Equipment Source, LLC to manage the growing international distributions channels as well as medical device development. Her next entrepreneurial endeavor CompleteIt Consultants was formed from Wendy's years of entrepreneurial experience where she utilizes her talents in "getting things done" to help organizations succeed by planning, implementing and achieving their goals. Wendy's passion for the entrepreneurial spirit has led her to be active with business development/entrepreneurial programs at several universities and organizations around the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Prior to her entrepreneurial journey, Wendy was an award winning sales professional with over a decade in Pharmaceutical sales and sales training experience. Wendy believes that the entrepreneurial dream is attainable through with good planning, strategic execution and hard work.
Dione Cahillane has been active in world of entrepreneurship and family businesses for many years through her work at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, IEE. During her time at the IEE Dione served as Membership Director, Director of the Entrepreneurial Fellows Program and Peer Forum Facilitator. Dione has a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, an Entrepreneurship Certification from the Kaufmann Foundation and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh. In 2018, Dione earned her 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) from the Himalayan Institute where she is an instructor. After a 20+ year career at the University of Pittsburgh, Dione recently started her own business as a Realtor with Howard Hanna.
Kate began her entrepreneurship journey over 15 years ago working in family businesses, as a banker, a business owner, and in finance at a manufacturing company among other roles. She received her MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University with specializations in entrepreneurship and finance and her BA from Johns Hopkins University. Kate has been trained as an appraiser and is a licensed auctioneer. She is a devoted community volunteer and is excited to support women's entrepreneurship in the region.
Debbie is a business strategist who assists small businesses with strategic business planning throughout the entire business life cycle. As an entrepreneur over the past 20 years, she understands the challenges of working in and on a business. Debbie brings her expertise in small business advising, real estate development, finance, marketing, and operations management to support small business development in the region. Debbie received her BA from the University of Kentucky and her MBA from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
Lillian, founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, launched her business at 23 years old. Originally from Pittsburgh, and a graduate of New York University, Lillian has always had a passion for travel and supporting small businesses. Without raising a dollar, Lillian has grown Pack Up + Go to a multi-million-dollar business, learning so much along her entrepreneurial journey. She has been honored as a member of the inaugural Pittsburgh Business Times 30 Under 30 class, a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a Travel & Leisure A-List Travel Planner, and a Top Woman in Hospitality. She is thrilled to share her love of entrepreneurship with the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship.
General Business Counseling for the Food Industry
Nicolette Spudic is a long time food industry professional with close to 20 years of experience in the food space. Her particular focus is on helping food entrepreneurs achieve their goals by assisting them with business and marketing plans, product and process development, and strategic consulting. As the Food Innovation Lab Coordinator for CRAFT, she's excited to provide entrepreneurs with the services they need to thrive. In addition to her position at CRAFT, Nicolette is also an adjunct professor for Chatham University's Food Studies Masters program.
General Business Counseling for the Food Industry
Maura started her career as a sustainability-oriented chef in New York. She worked as a chef and manager in Michelin rated restaurants and high-volume bakeries and catering companies for six years before returning to school. Maura received her MBA and Masters in Food Studies from Chatham in 2019. Upon graduation, she began her entrepreneurship journey. She was working on opening up a hard cider company before Covid. In the past year she has pivoted her company, Napkin LLC, into a consulting company for small, mission driven food and agriculture businesses. She offers expertise in product development, general food startup advice, local food systems sourcing and management, operations management, and growth planning.
Marketing Counseling for the Food Industry
Rachel Graper is brand marketer who specializes in building compelling narratives and marketing strategies. Over the past 15 years, she has worked in a variety of marketing roles from corporate (Heinz, GNC) to entrepreneurial endeavors, including Ideal Grain Free Granola. She partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to craft their unique brand positioning statements and select communication tactics which support their story. She earned an MBA at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business and a B.S. in Hospitality Management at NYU.
Diversity Certification Technical Assistance
Marian Neilson provides primary support for Abator's GetDiversityCertified.com service designed to assist SDMWVLGBTBE business owners on the path to diversity certification. Having documented eligibility requirements for federal, state, city/county and third party certifying organizations in the US, Ms. Neilson has unparalleled knowledge of certification processes with a deep commitment to help others successfully navigate them. She is responsible researching and tracking any new certifications offered or eligibility requirement changes to existing certification programs. She is a 2003 graduate of Chatham University with a BA in English, minoring in History and the SBA's Emerging Leaders Program.
Human Resources Technical Assistance
Jessica's experience in human resources and recruiting have made her an expert in the industry. Jessica founded HRT Solutions in 2016 with a focus on providing services in HR, University Recruiting, and RPO Services. While she works with clients of all sizes, Jessica enjoys partnering with small businesses and is able to leverage her own experience as a business owner.
Accounting Technical Assistance
Judith Herron, CPA works with businesses to deliver financial information to investors, banks, taxing authorities and managers. Judith helps her clients sharpen their focus on financial data essential for managing performance. Prior to working in public accounting at Crawford Ellenbogen, Judith served in executive positions for Fortune 500 companies including CIGNA and GE Capital. Judith provides technical consulting for the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. Judith's continuing education work includes Six Sigma certification, GE Situational Leadership training and Synectics Facilitation Workshops. She has an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and a BA from NYU.
Legal Technical Assistance
Tracy Zihmer is the founder of Zihmer Law Firm and focuses her practice areas on Corporate/General Business law and Estates and Trusts. Tracy provides guidance to small and midsized businesses to help foster growth and ensure the business has the proper legal structure in place. Tracy assists business owners in the formation of their legal entities, drafting of governance documents and agreements, assistance with purchase or sale of a business and developing a business succession/exit strategy plan. Tracy combines her experience with estate planning and work with business owners to assist her clients with developing a business succession plan/exit strategy. Tracy earned her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law.
Beth A. Slagle
Legal Technical Assistance
Beth A. Slagle is a business attorney at the law firm of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP where she maintains an active practice focused principally on business disputes, insurance coverage, entrepreneurs, and employment law. Her involvement in insurance coverage claims has translated directly into the recovery of millions of dollars for many companies, including more than $100,000,000 for a single corporate client. She represents a number of entrepreneurs and new ventures, assisting them with business and operational issues, and has dedicated a significant amount of her practice to assisting female-owned companies in business formation and executing strategic solutions for a myriad of business issues. Ms. Slagle is the Chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Group, Co-Chair of MUSolutions (focused on entrepreneurs), and Chair of the Diversity Committee. She is included in Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Coverage and Commercial Litigation, has been selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list and maintains an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating Program. Additionally, from 2005 to 2013, she founded and operated BizChicks, a professional women's organization focused on networking, education and empowerment, and now owns/operates a residential rehab business.
Digital Marketing Technical Assistance
The owner of RedTree Web Design, Meesha Gerhart and her team help companies build their businesses by building better websites. She provides expert niche services for any type of business through smart website development and design, inspiring user experiences and lead-producing SEO. An award-winning developer and designer, Meesha gets to the heart of her client's goals to help supersede them by generating exciting, solid results.
Jane Ann Regan
Marketing & Branding Technical Assistance
Jane Ann has more than 30 years of experience in Marketing across multiple industries with experience at H.J. Heinz Co., AT&T Wireless, and regional grocer, Giant Eagle. She founded Regan Management Consulting, LLC (RMC) in 2012 to help small businesses focus their limited resources on the efforts with the largest impact. A passion for learning, drives Jane Ann! She quickly grasps a business challenge and transforms that challenge into a set of realistic targeted plans to drive successful results. RMC helps clients to establish a focus supported by solid business analysis on their journey to creating a successful strategic plan and marketing strategy. A native of the Pittsburgh region, Jane Ann attended Seton Hill University and has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
As President/Owner of My Business Builders LLC, Melanie is well versed in assisting small businesses. She is a past Bank President, current business owner, and a teaching professor at several universities on the topics of Finance and Small Business Planning and Management. Throughout her career, she has worked with thousands of business owners and those contemplating starting a business to help them achieve their life dreams of being successful entrepreneurs!