Picking the Main Line's Power Women
After narrowing down the list to 21 movers and shakers, one thing proved true: The Main Line is home to more than a few powerful women, and their ranks continue to grow.
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Every year, I look forward to selecting the profile subjects for our annual women’s issue. And while it may seem like a huge task, it’s actually not so bad. The hardest part, actually, is narrowing down the list of potential candidates.
This year was no exception. Among the 21 “Power Women” on 2012’s list are entrepreneurs, corporate vice presidents, restaurateurs, doctors and media moguls. I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but they’re an impressive bunch, to say the least.
I had the privilege of interviewing most of the women, and while their stories are quite different, a consistent theme emerged: the importance of giving back. Many are already juggling full-time jobs at home and at work, yet they still manage to find the time for nonprofit board meetings, fundraising events and fieldwork.
In addition to her position as executive director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, Maida Milone plays a key role in no less than five other area nonprofits. And Mary Bigham, founder/owner of foodie website The Town Dish, donates more than $100,000 annually in free advertising to charity.
Thanks to Jan Shaeffer, executive director of the St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, the next time I hit Whole Foods, I’ll think of the thousands of North Philadelphians without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The children of Malawi, Africa, walk eight miles to school for their one meal a day—a fact Heidi Hamels finds incomprehensible. Through the Hamels Foundation, she and her husband, Cole, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for school improvements in Philadelphia and Malawi (where they’re funding the construction of state-of-the-art elementary and high schools).