ABOUT US / Meet the Team
Beth Bengtson, CEO/founder, brings 20+ years of business experience in marketing and corporate social responsibility, combined with her life-long commitment to service, to Working for Women to get more women into the workforce and achieve economic independence. Her unique model engages business members to contribute skills and money directed to nonprofits focused on creating employment opportunities for underserved women.
Beth knew well before the COVID-19 pandemic that too many American women faced barriers to workforce participation and struggled to support themselves and their families. She kept questioning why so little was being invested in women to change the situation, and then she decided to be part of the solution to create an economy that works for and benefits everyone.
Each time Beth runs one of the Working for Women programs, she sees first-hand the impact of connecting business professionals with women aspiring to enter and stay in the workforce. Everyone sits a little taller and leaves with new skills and increased confidence.
Purpose has always been a touchstone in Beth’s professional career and her personal life. She co-founded and led a digital marketing firm from 2011 to 2017, serving Fortune 500 companies, and embedded a giving plan where one percent of revenue was donated to nonprofits advancing women’s causes, along with professional skill-based volunteer activities. In her consulting work, Beth pursued her passions for empowering women in business and the workplace, for corporate environmental and social responsibility, and for responsible digital marketing. When she served as Vice President for Positive Impact at imc2 in Dallas, Texas, she held the first-known position of corporate social responsibility in a marketing agency and was recognized as a thought leader in that field.
Beth’s long history of community service ranges from volunteering at home and overseas – in many cases for programs that support women. In addition to the contributions made through her consulting agency, she was a mentor for Raising HOPE in Kingston, NY, helping women develop and achieve educational and career goals to become financially self-sufficient. She participated in a mission trip to Guatemala supporting women and families living in poverty. Currently, Beth serves on an Advisory Board for New Start for Women, a SUNY Ulster program for women living in poverty to earn a no-cost, one-year business certificate. She also is the Board President of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, a conservation organization geared to preserving open space, farms and trails in Ulster County NY.
Beth speaks at business and social impact events for Working for Women’s business members and to national audiences through NationSwell; Key4Women; and Inspired Capital; among others. The Harvard Business Review published her article “Reimagine Your Corporate Volunteer Program” in 2020, and she’s been interviewed by The Financial Times, Women’s Wear Daily, Radio Kingston, and on podcasts reaching businesses and those interested in social impact. She also authored the publications “The State of Sustainability Communications, A Study of the S&P 100” and “Social Media Advances the Sustainability Dialogue” in 2008. Beth taught marketing with emphasis on social responsibility as an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz from 2006-2007.
Beth earned an MBA from Schiller International University in Paris, France, and a BS in management from Penn State University. She is certified in empowerment design and facilitation through the Empowerment Institute.
Beth’s work is strengthened by an energetic family – two teen boys, two dogs, and her husband. She spends free time connecting with nature – biking, hiking, skiing, and kayaking; and with family and friends.
Marjorie McCord believes businesses doing social good are not purely altruistic. Businesses benefit from by creating connections with customers and retaining employees. As director, Marjorie wants to make it easier for companies, big and small, to fulfill social missions.
Marjorie grew up in the Hudson Valley of NY. She drove a beat-up car and fixed it herself. It was playing on sports teams and participating in school plays Marjorie says, that gave her the courage to walk into executive-level meetings to present her ideas as a young professional. For her daughters, she sees how sports and the arts instill the same type of courage, build confidence, and help them to believe in themselves. She wants to give back to women who have not had the same opportunities and support that she has had and knows there is much to learn from women with different life experiences.
Marjorie is a seasoned marketing professional and business owner. Her firm, Strategic Roots, located in Kingston, NY, helps all size businesses and non-profits root their marketing efforts in a strategic framework designed to deliver results.
Marjorie loves the outdoors and spending time in the mountains. She is unwavering, independent, and she is not afraid to care about other people.
Marketing DirectorMarjorie's Bio
Monique Speight’s career has centered around her passion as an avid supporter of charitable organizations targeting underserved women and children, including those creating leadership opportunities for women.
As program manager with Working for Women, Monique’s focus is to enhance the engagement, increase the capacity of our nonprofit partners, and expand their ability to reach and lead business members and their employees in meaningful projects. The work she facilitates will move more women to economic independence.
Monique began her nonprofit career working on children’s education and youth programs, first at the United States Committee for UNICEF, then with the Edward W. Hazen Foundation. During this time, she became an Education Policy Fellow with the Institute for Educational Leadership, a nonprofit leadership program.
She and former classmates from her alma mater, Wesleyan University, launched a public charter school in DC to establish an early childhood education inclusion program. As a founding Board member, Monique was instrumental in establishing the school’s governance structure, along with administrative and financial management policies and procedures.
Through all these experiences, Monique has used her business and project management skills to strengthen the business processes and strategic management of various organizations.
She earned a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Economics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She also completed the Georgetown University Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program and holds a certificate in Federal Grants Management.
Monique has returned to her home state of New York and lives in Westchester County. She enjoys visiting orchards, attending outdoor festivals, taking long nature walks, and attending performing arts events.
Program ManagerMonique's Bio
Elizabeth Stanley is a life long champion of the underserved, focusing most of her effort in the realm of mental health disparities and food insecurity. She has years of experience serving as an Administrator in both Director and Senior roles.
The majority of Elizabeth’s working life has been in nonprofit service. For several years, she worked in substance abuse residential treatment as Director of Program Support Services; in charge of case management, Detox Unit management and liaising between the center and third parties such as probation, child protective services, and patients’ loved ones. Prior to maternity leave, Elizabeth worked with The Community Food Bank of New Jersey to plan and develop a Type II Diabetes program for pantry clients. In addition to the Working for Women team, she runs her small business and actively participates in the school system as a substitute teacher and leader in the PTA, and advocates for those in the recovery community through service work at various treatment facilities and community outreach organizations.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Elizabeth moved to New Jersey in 2014 with her husband. Together they have a beautiful five-year-old boy, who is the highlight of her life. Though Elizbeth believes motherhood is her greatest accomplishment, she is also a seasoned marathon runner and fitness enthusiast as well as a Summa Cum Laude graduate. Recently, Elizabeth turned her love for soap making and natural body care into a small business which is an outlet for creativity and a chance to learn more about entrepreneurship and best practices in business. Elizabeth believes that being of service to others is a priority finds ways of giving in both her personal and professional life. In 2015, Elizabeth ran 40 miles down the coast of New Jersey to raise money for cancer care and has since participated in many endurance events that support causes close to her heart. Elizabeth’s small business provides cancer care body products to women in treatment at no cost.
Project CoordinatorElizabeth's Bio
Anjana Pursnani believes that women are still trailblazing their way to meet individual career and work goals and need more help than they are receiving. Without structures in place to support and encourage them, she worries that the disadvantages will only grow deeper.
In her Board role with Working for Women, she aims to tap her women’s leadership and marketing expertise to elevate the status of all women. This is her way of expressing gratitude for the opportunities she has been given.
Anjana credits her personal and professional success to her parents for creating a circle of support and a pathway that gave her and her sister the freedom to pursue advanced education, and to believe they should be financially independent women. Her family moved from India to the United States when she was eleven years old.
Anjana has worked for more than 25 years as a marketing professional, and as a consultant for organizational effectiveness and marketing team management. In tandem, for the past 10 years, she runs an executive coaching practice that focuses on enabling women to achieve whatever they set their sights on – and on their own terms. She also serves as a volunteer mentor to women in her community who aspire to move into workplace positions with growth opportunities by helping them see their own potential, grow their networks, and build out the tools to achieve their goals.
She holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, and a BA in Economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She trained in Leadership Coaching at Georgetown University, and is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC).
Anjana and her family love to travel to places where they can be exposed to other cultures. These experiences remind her how much there is to learn about other ways of life and other perspectives. Anjana lives in Northern California with her husband, two teenagers and extended family.
Board Vice ChairAnjana's Bio
Carol Staubi is optimistic about the potential for real changes in the workplace that will finally lead to equity for women. She sees this as crucial to global prosperity.
As a Board Member for Working for Women, she wants to help women see what they can’t see, and attain the confidence and skills that allow them to reach their full potential and achieve economically independent lives.
Carol founded Digitalwitt LLC in 2014 to help forward thinking businesses embrace the digital culture. Her work is driven by inspiration, creativity and action. Before becoming a digital entrepreneur, she held senior roles in technology at Pfizer where she worked with Marketing, Prescription (Rx) to Over-the-Counter Switches, and Digital Marketing teams. Her work brought her to 25 countries across six continents, providing her with in-depth global insights into digital consumer trends and solutions.
She has an MBA in Finance from Fordham University in New York, and an MS in Arts from Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Carol also earned a Certificate in Critical Thinking/Negotiation through the Executive Education program at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Carol’s passions are culture, technology and transformative ideas that empower people. She splits her time between Dallas and New York City.
Board DirectorCarol's Bio
Debbie Botwick’s involvement on the Board of Working for Women stems from her desire to bring her passion, experience, and skills to bear for social good. Equally significant is that it pays tribute to all her female role models, leaders, colleagues, and friends who have provided a lifetime of support and guidance. She believes that everyone deserves that kind of support.
Debbie used to fall asleep as a young child to the sound of an old-fashioned electric typewriter. Her mother had returned to college for a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies. This left an impression on Debbie, along with two significant life lessons: she realized her mother had the financial means and support to make that happen while many other women do not have that luxury; and she learned the importance and value of women supporting women as her mother’s female network grew via her college experience.
Debbie’s 20+ year business career at a Fortune 500 company has encompassed a variety of Marketing and Learning & Development roles that have allowed her to pursue her personal mission to “empower people through my life and my work.”
Debbie has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Asian Studies and Women’s studies, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
When not at work, Debbie spends her time in extreme climates – hot yoga, bike riding during hot summer months, and watching her son on ski slopes or playing ice hockey. She and her family live in New Jersey.
Emily Positano is fueled by the belief that our world is becoming more purpose-driven, more attuned to societal inequities, and more motivated to affect positive change than ever before. All sectors are needed to create long-lasting, meaningful impact on systemic issues. That’s why Emily is passionate in championing the Working for Women mission.
Emily has spent a decade living and breathing purposeful marketing. She founded a brand identity agency in 2016 to work with small businesses and entrepreneurs and build stand-out brands that engage their consumers’ hearts and minds – and connect to a higher-order purpose. She intentionally works with many female founders, and companies passionate about women’s issues.
She fully realized the transformative power of brand in her first marketing role at a grassroots organization serving the homeless in Washington, DC. She continued to master her skill as a brand strategist at leading agencies in New York City for some of the world’s most renowned purpose-driven organizations.
Emily earned her BA in Communications and Social Welfare and Justice from Marquette University, and is certified in Social Impact Strategy by the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her Board role with Working for Women, she mentors founders at 1871— a business incubator in Chicago that takes start-ups from idea to Fortune 50.
Emily is inspired by trailblazers and creative problem-solvers moving our world forward. She and her husband and their rescue pup live in Chicago.
Board DirectorEmily's Bio
Lisa Weiss believes that helping women achieve economic independence by tapping the desire of businesses to contribute in a more meaningful way is a win-win. For her, supporting the Working for Women model means boosting the likelihood for success for all participants. The approach mirrors her passion for fostering the potential of others, especially those typically overlooked.
The importance of focusing on women is best reflected for Lisa in a quote from the moderator of a UN Federal Credit Union Foundation conference for the Commission on the Status of Women: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime, but teach a woman to fish and everyone eats for a lifetime.” She is thrilled to be on the Board of an organization aiming to create tangible and lifelong changes, which in her opinion are long overdue.
Lisa has been in the public relations field for 35+ years, working with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis in healthcare. She has conceived and executed award-winning communications programs and campaigns for many clients.
As a life-long reader, she is drawn to stories about overcoming obstacles and life challenges. She loves travel, especially meeting and learning from people from other cultures. She mentors young girls in high school and middle school who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the hope of helping them see their own strengths and promise.
Lisa earned her Master’s in Public Health from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a dual degree in journalism and liberal arts from Syracuse University.
Lisa, her husband, and their effervescent Golden Retriever live in New York.
Board DirectorLisa's Bio
Marla Gitterman believes that investing in women is an investment in families and communities, which exponentially increases our ability to live in a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world. She leverages learnings and skills honed from her work internationally to break down inequalities she witnesses in her own backyard.
Marla sees Working for Women as a means to create a positive feedback loop among women who are economically marginalized, businesses and communities.
With more than 20 years’ experience in managing purpose-driven programs and projects across 15 countries, Marla’s work has focused on economic and social development issues ranging from empowering youth and low-income women; micro, small and medium size business development; environmental advocacy; and, supporting refugees and street children.
She helped build the international nonprofit Bpeace (Business Council for Peace) from an informal volunteer network to an international NGO with a $1.2 million budget, 350+ volunteer members, eight staff, and programs in five countries. While on staff, Marla developed a skills-based volunteer program connecting US business professionals with owners of fledgling businesses in conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Guatemala and El Salvador. Bpeace lifts communities in need by working with local entrepreneurs to scale their businesses, create significant employment for all, and expand the economic power of women.
Early in Marla’s career, she worked as a Program Associate at Women’s World Banking, a global microfinance network, and assisted in coordinating the International Coalition on Women and Credit – a coalition of 32 national, regional, and global microenterprise development organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America.
In addition to serving as Board President with Working for Women, Marla is on the Board of Bpeace. Marla earned a BS in Environmental Policy from the University of Vermont and an MA in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.
Marla lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughter, and a feisty black Labrador.
Board ChairMarla's Bio
Megan R. Simmons, MPA/JD is the CEO and Founder of MRS Consulting, LLC. She formerly served as a Federal Agent and was tasked with investigating reports of sexual assault for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in the Middle East as well as the United States. She later married her education to her experience by contributing to policy that materially impacted the lives of women and the execution of investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct within higher education. Ms. Simmons’ aforementioned involvement in government, law, and policy was the catalyst for her career in legal compliance, corporate consulting, and equity advocacy.
Ms. Simmons is a skilled trainer, facilitator and investigator. She executes and conducts various trainings on sexual harassment, Title IX regulations, Equal Employment Opportunity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at various universities throughout the year and volunteers with civic organizations regularly. Megan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Grambling State University and her law degree from Charleston School of Law.
Megan R. Simmons
Board DirectorMegan's Bio
Michelle Mirchandani wants women to know it’s okay to want more for themselves. She says it takes self-love and self-assurance to dream big, but worries that too many women feel they should put others first and not be “selfish.” As a Board Director, Michelle wants to ensure that women have the confidence to take the first step on the ladder to success.
Michelle also dreams of a world where all women have access to affordable childcare and healthcare. She knows how difficult it is to juggle these types of care even with the advantage of a successful career. She realizes too that many women struggle with the basics and can’t break free from poverty to pursue education, careers, and dreams.
Michelle has over 20 years’ experience in marketing in the healthcare industry, currently as a marketing consultant. As an executive vice president at Digitas Health, and a partner at Rosetta, Michelle developed multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns for some of the largest brands in healthcare. She discovered it is best to work smarter, not harder, or longer.
She earned an MBA from Columbia Business School with a dual concentration in marketing and management of organizations, and graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in the history of science.
Having been born and raised in Kuwait, but considering herself a New Yorker at heart, Michelle currently lives in sunny southern California. She enjoys reading, hiking, and posting pictures of her ever-entertaining Papillon puppy on Instagram. Most of all, she values spending time with her husband and daughter, and is keenly aware it is a privilege she should never take for granted.
Board DirectorMichelle's Bio
Phil Roberts is passionate about many things, but the common thread is supporting those who don’t always get a “fair shake” or “have a voice” – whether it’s access to information about financial literacy, healthcare services, or a sense of belonging by not being able to participate in activities that may be limited by a physical or developmental challenge.
In his Board role with Working for Women, he hopes to challenge both conventionally held ideas and ever-changing gender-based roles, and serve as a role model for his three children by being part of the solution.
Phil works as a Wealth Advisor for a diverse client base at various stages in life and with a broad spectrum of wealth.
By empowering people from all walks of life with information needed to be successful – however they’ve defined it – his hope is to help people become independent, confident, and content with their own role in this world, and not be constrained by money, gender, race, religion, political ideology, heritage, or occupation.
He earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Temple University, with emphasis in actuarial science and risk management.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, he lives in Summit, NJ with his family. He loves his chosen profession, spending time with family, and cooking – especially barbecue, for which he and his brother have won several awards at various competitions.