Staten Island Business Outreach Center to honor 6 community leaders at annual Women’s Empowerment Breakfast

STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Staten Island Business Outreach Center (SIBOC) is hosting its Women’s Empowerment Breakfast in the States of LiGreci on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 and will honor six outstanding women. The event was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award winners are Loretta Cauldwell, Claudette Duff, Dr. Joanne Gerenser, Mary Lee Montalvo, Dr. Gracelyn Santos and Kecia Weaver.

“These extraordinary women were selected as honorees at the Women’s Empowerment Breakfast because they have demonstrated the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity, and corporate and social responsibility,” said Nina Flores of SIBOC. “They have made valuable contributions to our community through their volunteer efforts and exemplify the empowerment of corporate leadership. We are beyond thrilled to be able to host this event in person after being remote for so long.”

The Staten Island Business Outreach Center (SIBOC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving the Staten Island community since 1980.

SIBOC’s mission is to provide development programs and technical assistance to small businesses, and to provide services and improvements to trade corridors on Staten Island’s North Shore. Our goal is to support individual growth, which in turn supports community growth on Staten Island.

Read on for the profiles of the award winners.

SI Advance file photo

Loretta Cauldwell is Managing Director of West Brighton Local Development Corp. and director of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District. (Photo of SI Advance file)

Loretta Cauldwell is a former Chief Executive of the West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation and a former Chief Executive of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) – the first BID established on Staten Island. She is currently a member of Staten Island Community Board 1, where she chairs the West New Brighton/St. George/Tompkinsville Area Committee. She is Vice President of the 120th District Community Council and is a graduate of the NYPD’s Citizens’ Police Academy and CORO’s Neighborhood Leadership Program, which has proved beneficial in her day-to-day work at SIBOC.

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Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma mutton

Honoree Claudette Duff reacts to her roast at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Louis R. Miller Awards were presented on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the Excelsior Grand. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma mutton)

Claudette Duff is the Founder and Director of Integrity Senior Services (“ISS”), an agency providing psychological counseling and support services at home to the elderly, disabled, caregivers and their families. She is also the Founder and CEO of Out Of the Storm Senior Housing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization’s mission is to create a family-like, affordable and stable form of housing for seniors who are at risk of homelessness, victims of elder abuse, those on low incomes or who have survived on their own resources. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, grew up in Brooklyn and has lived on Staten Island since 1972. She received a BA in Art Education from Brooklyn College in 1978, an MPS in Art Therapy from the Pratt Institute in 1993, and a Masters in Social Work from New York University in 1998. Claudette has practiced in the mental health field since 1980 as an art therapist, social worker, and administrator.

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Joanne Gerenser (Courtesy/Project Hospitality)

Joanne Gerenser (Courtesy/Project Hospitality)

dr Joanne Gerenser is the executive director of the Eden II programs in Staten Island. She is also Associate Associate Professor at Brooklyn College. She received her master’s degree in speech and hearing sciences from Ohio State University and her Ph.D. Linguistics and Hearing Studies from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Organization for Autism Research. She serves on a number of boards including the Council of Autism Service Providers, the InterAgency Council of NY and the Staten Island Not for Profit Association. dr Gerenser is co-editor of the book ABA for SLPs: Interprofessional Collaboration for Autism Support Teams. She has authored several book chapters and articles on autism and developmental disabilities.

(Photo of SI Advance file)

MaryLee Montalvo (SI Advance File Photo)

Mary Lee Montalvo is the President of MLM Public Relations. Before founding her company, she was National Public Relations Director for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association; Director, American Red Cross of Staten Island; and Public Relations Director for the Staten Island Mental Health Society and Historic RichmondTown. She co-wrote the column read all about it for the Progress on Staten Island. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Journalism from Rutgers University; completed a scholarship from the Hispanic Women Leadership Institute, Rutgers University; Certificate in Public Relations Management School of Continuing Education, New York University and received a Mini MBA in Integrated Marketing Communications from Rutgers School of Business.

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SI Advance file photo

dr Gracelyn Santos has been a general and cosmetic dentist in private practice for 26 years. (Photo of SI Advance file)

dr Gracelyn Santos is a general and cosmetic dentist in private practice for 26 years. She is co-owner of Santos & Mroczek DDS, PC Family Dentistry in Meiers Corners. She graduated top of her class from Curtis High School, earned her BS in Biology from the City College of New York as a Presidential Scholar, and earned her PhD in Dental Surgery from the NYU College of Dentistry. She completed her PGY-I and PGY-II at Staten Island University Hospital where she attended urgent dental care. Since 2012 dr. Santos columnist for the Staten Island Advance/ She is a Board Member of the St. George Theater where she was Co-Chair of the SGT Fashion Show and served as Tennis Co-Chair of the Golf, Tennis and Bocce Outing. She is a former trustee of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, for which she co-directed the Neptune Ball, the Mistletoe Ball, and the American Girl Fashion Show; Meals on Wheels, for which she co-chaired the fall luncheon; the Staten Island Zoo; and the Staten Island Mental Health Society. She is a former Miss Staten Island for the Miss America Organization.

(Courtesy of SIBOC)

Kecia Weaver (courtesy of SIBOC)

Kecia Weber is the owner of Pavilion on the Terrace®. She bought the property in 2013 and after two years of renovation and the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue opened its doors in March 2021. The venue has a beautiful 19th century aesthetic and has hosted numerous events to date. Kecia is currently a member of the New York State Bar Association and is a graduate of Seton Hall University Law School.


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