October 29, 2018
Focus on outstanding women in business

Outstanding Women in Business: 2012 Alumnae

Polly Tatum

Polly Tatum

2012 & now: Attorney and owner at the Law Offices of Polly Tatum and Mediation Advantage Services in Worcester

Polly Tatum, an attorney specializing in divorce mediation and family services, got into her chosen field with personal experience; she and her ex-husband had successfully learned to co-parent their three daughters after their divorce.

Knowing the value of co-parenting, she's built a career helping other couples do the same, learning how to co-parent (or implement parallel parenting in situations where the two parties have more pronounced differences).

But since earning the Outstanding Women in Business Award in 2012, she has found herself doing it all over again. This time, Tatum and her daughter Jasmine, 33, have assumed temporary custody and are together co-parenting three brothers – ages 2, 3 and 5 – who can no longer live with their parent.

"Service starts at home," said Tatum, who notes she is living all the strategies she teaches divorcing parents about child-rearing – in a different way, this time.

"We are really putting that into practice," she says, of herself and her daughter parenting together. "Our styles are very different."

Since telling WBJ readers six years ago mentoring and support of girls is important to her, Tatum has stepped up to serve the community as vice chair of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts Board of Directors. She said its mission of social responsibility, healthy living and youth development resonates with her.

Last year, Tatum opened up a satellite office in Northborough for her growing practice and is offering classes for divorced or separated couples who are co-parenting their children.

Since winning the WBJ award, she's seen the need for what she does even more.

"Many children suffer as a result of their parent's divorce – not because of the breakup itself – but based on the level of conflict over custody and parenting times," she said. "Parents have the power to improve the relationship with their ex for the sake of their children."

Debbie C. Guiney

2012 & now: President & CEO of AllCom Credit Union in Worcester

What have been your career highlights since 2012? Ensuring we continue to make a difference in the financial lives of our community and our membership. Accomplishing this while continuing to lead a profitable and viable small financial institution.

And personally? My continued involvement with the Veterans Inc. Military Gala serving as co-chair and seeing first-hand the difference this fundraising effort makes in the lives of our veterans.

How has the world changed? The professional world has become much more cognizant of the value and perspective women bring to the business sector, particularly in the boardroom.

Jeannie Hebert

2012 & now: President & CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce in Whitinsville

What have been your career highlights since 2012? Bringing to fruition the 30-year-long project to open a learning institution in the Blackstone Valley. The Blackstone Valley Education Hub, located in the Linwood Mill complex with the BVCC, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 18. It is a vocational training facility with a computer lab, design lab and fabrication lab, focusing on the student population, who cannot gain entrance into vocational/technical high schools.

And personally? Traveling to Italy with my entire family; my granddaughter Eve's entrance into college honors program; my grandson Jack's acting performances. Celebrating 20 years of helping animals through my charity, Pet Rock Fest.

How has the world changed? I see more women sitting at the table. Pay inequality is not just a hot topic, it is not going to go away until we fill the gap.

Sharyn Rice

2012: Senior vice president for access transition & development at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner

Now: Professional retiree, moving from Princeton, Mass. to Wells, Maine

What have been your career highlights since 2012? Retired from MWCC in 2013 with the honorary degree of doctor of humanities.

And personally? I was able to share memories and time with my father prior to his death just before his 98th birthday. My three grandchildren, all boys, have been able to visit me in Maine, and I have been free to spend time with them. Keeping up with my eldest grandson kayaking is a challenge since he is on the Shrewsbury crew team. Go Gramma! I am a member of a local group called Women Who Drink and Do Good, an informal group of women in the Kennebunk area who meet on a regular basis to provide support to local individuals, families and organizations.

How has the world changed? Many of my colleagues have retired, and many have moved out of the area.

Mary Craig Ritter

2012: Vice president of strategy & planning for Fallon Community Health Plan in Worcester

Now: Senior vice president for strategy & business development for Fallon

And personally? In 2015, I launched my own consulting business, Maywood Consulting LLC. My clients included health and human services organizations. It was the most rewarding career experience I've had. In June of this year, I returned to Fallon, a company I love, because of the people, the mission and the chance to be part of a fantastic team.

And personally? Spending time with my mom and mother-in-law, watching my kids launch their careers, and traveling with my husband.

How has the world changed? Technology, technology, technology. It's great, but it has the capability to create a 24/7 work environment. A wise person said to me, "Be careful, work is like PacMan, it can gobble you up."

Candi Wolfe

2012: Owner of Ericson-Wolfe Photography in Northborough

Now: Entrepreneur at Connect to Success in Mendon

What have been your career highlights since 2012? I work with women who are struggling with emotional issues, such as anxiety, low self-esteem or depression, and I help them create work they enjoy.

And personally? Purchasing a gorgeous home in Mendon my family loves, and making sure to take more time for my family and myself! Another highlight is that I've created a supportive group of women friends (my tribe!) who work on being authentic and mindful as a team.

How has the world changed? I'm surprised by how many women I talk to outside of work mention their true career goals or project dreams. It's so nice to see women are taking action as leaders.

Read more about the 2018 Outstanding Women in Business:

Kate Sharry, president of Group Benefits Strategies

Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA, co-managing partner of AAFCPAs

Laurie Masiello, president of Masy Bioservices

Jennifer Luisa, vice president of marketing and communications at The Hanover Insurance Group

Marianne Lancaster, president of Lancaster Packaging Inc.

Sandra Brock, PE, vice president and chief engineer at Nitsch Engineering

Read about this year's judges

Read about the nine previous years of Outstanding Women in Business award winners:

2017 alumnae

2016 alumnae

2015 alumnae

2014 alumnae

2013 alumnae

2012 alumnae

2011 alumnae

2010 alumnae

2009 alumnae

Check out a column from this year's Innovative Business Leader of the Year on the importance of women business leaders in the Central Mass. community

Successful women shape our community


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