Past Featured Members

Leslie Pfeifer
Speaker: History of the Flying Tigers

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Leslie Pfeifer speaks to audiences on her role as a flight attendant during the Vietnam War with Flying Tigers. She made over 75 trips into and out of Vietnam. The transport planes carried troops from all branches of the military. Flights departed various Air Force bases along the West coast and flew the polar route to different bases throughout Vietnam. The process was reversed on return flights, bringing back soldiers who had completed their tour of duty. 

Leslie shares how the mood going over to Vietnam was one of somber fear, and what it was like for her to face the reality as a 21-year old of taking young men to war. She says that the job was emotional and life changing, but she looks back on her experience and recalls that her fellow flight attendants were a hearty bunch with adventurous spirits and the experience resulted in friendships that have lasted 50 years. 

Leslie enjoys sharing her experience with Flying Tigers during the Vietnam War as well as providing audiences with knowledge of the history and bravery of the original Flying Tiger pilots during the Sino Japanese War and WWII.  

Leslie says she welcomes the opportunity to publicly thank Vietnam vets who are in her audiences “I acknowledge and thank veterans through my programs and encourage everyone to remember and honor those who served and those who gave their lives in service to America.”

A good business referral for Leslie is any organization that needs a speaker on a historical topic, has interest in airline or fighter pilot history, or interest in the status of women in the airline industry in the 1960s.

Leslie has been a long-time member of MDBW and was previously the group’s president, which she credits with giving her recognition and self-confidence. When not speaking to groups, Leslie enjoys reading, walking, travel, and history.

For Leslie’s contact information, please visit Mt. Diablo Business Women’s Member Directory

Trudy Triner
Co-founder of Paleoventures, an outdoor teambuilding company

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Trudy Triner is a long-time member of Mt. Diablo Business Women where she has served on the Board for 8+ years, including two terms as the group’s President. Trudy was named MDBW’s Woman of the Year in 2018 for her contributions to the group, the professional world, and her community. 

After retiring from Kaiser Permanente as the Director of Leadership Development for Patient Care Services in 2014, Trudy co-founded Paleoventures Outdoor Teambuilding with her son, Jack Foley, an experienced wilderness educator. Her leadership background, combined with her son’s expertise in outdoor skills, made for a unique, multi-generational outdoor experience enjoyed by teams from 7 to 120 teammates from such organizations as Kaiser Permanente, AAA, Marriott, PG&E, Facebook and CASA. Trudy says their goal has always been to help teams become more cohesive and productive and individuals to be happier and more satisfied in their work.

With the advent of COVID-19, when groups could no longer get together indoors or outdoors, Trudy pivoted to doing a variety of activities online with the same goal in mind; to help teams and individuals be more successful as they build relationships and hone communication skills. All this, while enjoying something hard to find during a pandemic-fun!

In addition to her involvement in MDBW, Trudy is also active in The Rotary Club of Walnut Creek where she served as President in 2017-2018 and in her church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Lafayette. She has also been an active volunteer at The Monument Crisis Center, Shelter, Inc., CASA, and Ability Now Bay Area.  

For more information about Paleoventures, visit Paleoventures website or call Trudy directly at 925-899-0809. Trudy says she would always be happy to hear from you!

Teresa Currivan
Licensed marriage and family therapist, school therapist, and parent coach

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Teresa Currivan is the author of the book, My Differently Tuned-In Child: The Right Place for Strength-Based Solutions. She has developed the Currivan Protocol™, an assessment tool designed to understand the co-occurring symptoms and learning styles of differently tuned-in children. She is a school therapist for the San Francisco Unified School District where she is currently adapting the Currivan Protocol™ to be used in its schools. 

Teresa guides parents through a process that includes referrals to appropriate professionals, discussions of outcomes of assessments and services, emotional support, and overall seeing them through to a positive outcome for their family and children.  She enjoys helping parents understand and get through difficulties with their child and prides herself on being a go-to person for differently wired families, including the gifted and twice-exceptional (2e), ADHD, dyslexia, autism, Sensory Processing Issues, high sensitivities, and various atypical learning styles. Parents benefit from Teresa’s work because they come to understand their children and themselves from a strength-based approach.

Teresa actively shares her knowledge, giving talks about twice-exceptionality to faculty at San Francisco Bay Area schools, and has educated teachers and therapists on the topic. She offers free support groups to parents of differently wired children. In addition to her book, you can find more of her writing online including on Mother.ly, Filter Free Parents, GHF (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum), and Hoagies Gifted Education Page, and she regularly blogs on her website. She is also co-author of the book, Perspectives on Giftedness

Teresa appreciates referrals from schools, parent groups, doctors’ offices, psychological testing centers, or anyone who sees an outlier child struggling in school.

Teresa is proud to be the current president of Mt. Diablo Business Women. She welcomes anyone to join who wants a collaborative, supportive group in which to grow their business and/or career, and who would like to gain some friendships along the way.

When not working with schools and families, Teresa enjoys creative writing, hiking, yoga, and parenting her teenage son (most of the time.)

For more information about Teresa, visit her website, helpmychildthrive.com, or connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or Instagram.

Manya Helgerson Casto
Independent Career Agent, United HealthCare 

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Manya Helgerson Casto, has 10 years of experience helping people who are aging into Medicare to review the available insurance options and, if still working, determine whether to leave their employer’s insurance coverage. For those who are fearful or confused about navigating Medicare, Manya can advise and counsel them through the process. Clients who work with Manya gain peace of mind knowing that she is an experienced, qualified insurance agent who has helped them make the best choice for their specific situation. 

n addition to helping clients, Manya has also counseled those interested in working as a Medicare Plans Insurance Agent. She has trained several women who have retired from previous occupations to find success in the industry. 

Manya is a long-time member of Mt. Diablo Business Women and has served on its board of directors, including as the organization’s president. She enjoys MDBW for the friendships she’s made. 

A great referral source for her is a benefits manager from a small business who assists employees transitioning into retirement, or anyone going on to Medicare.

When she’s not helping clients work through Medicare options, Manya can be found volunteering at the American Cancer Discovery Thrift shop one afternoon a week. 

Prior to COVID, Manya enjoyed traveling, which in years past included seeing new sights, with her husband, a retired attorney, who enjoyed magic as a hobby. Their travels also involved Manya assisting her husband during his magic show performances. 

To get in contact with Manya, reach out to her by email

Carolyn Seefer
Business Professor at Diablo Valley College

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As a business professor at Diablo Valley College (DVC), a two-year community college in the Contra Costa Community College District, Carolyn teaches a variety of business classes, both on campus and online. She is also the faculty advisor to Phi Beta Lambda, DVC’'s premier business club, which provides her the opportunity to work closely with students, helping them develop their leadership and communication skills.

Students at DVC represent a variety of backgrounds with a variety of goals. Carolyn says this adds value to the classroom and campus life, and she enjoys being able to help students achieve their academic and career goals. Students in DVC’s business administration degree and certificate programs gain the skills and knowledge they need to transfer to four-year universities, to start their own businesses, and to succeed in today's highly competitive and constantly changing global business environment.

Carolyn says she tries to inspire her students by staying up-to-date in her field, showing enthusiasm for the subject matter, displaying professionalism at all times, encouraging students to always strive to do their best work, and instilling in them a passion for lifelong learning and exploration.

Carolyn has been a member of Mt. Diablo Business Women (MDBW) for the past two-and-a-half years, and says it’s one of the best decisions she’s made in her career. She adds, “I have met professional businesswomen in a variety of fields and have learned so much from them that I am able to share with my students in the classroom. Some of the MDBW members have been gracious enough to give presentations to the members of Phi Beta Lambda, and MDBW has also created a special student membership rate for these students.” (The student membership rate is $50/year. For more information, fill out the contact form on the MDBW website stating that you would like to become a student member.)

When not teaching or working with students, Carolyn enjoys reading, photography, and is a budding chef, a history buff, and a worldwide traveler. To date, she and her husband have traveled to 36 countries on five continents, and the next two years will take them to five additional countries and one new continent. Carolyn says, “there's a beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored!”

You can connect with Carolyn and see her many activities by following her on Facebook.

Lorna Van Ackeren
Marketing Director and Community Liaison, 
Hillendale Home Care

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Lorna is marketing director and community liaison for Hillendale Home Care, a non-medical home care organization providing personal assistance and compassionate care for those needing help with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, meal preparation, shopping, light housekeeping, companionship, and more. Hillendale also operates the East Bay CNA School, certified by the state of California to provide training for those interested in entering the healthcare field as a Certified Nurse Aide.

 

Hillendale prides itself on its person-centered care. All clients have a care plan written by an RN who supervises client quality of care. All caregivers are background checked, bonded, insured and supervised by a care manager. As Hillendale’s community liaison manager, Lorna is able to connect clients with the community’s many services.

Lorna believes in the importance of people being able to age, or recover from surgery, in place with dignity and independence. She has a keen understanding of this, not only because of her role at Hillendale, but also due to the fact that she was the family caregiver for both of her parents.

For those clients not receiving round-the-clock care, Hillendale offers the Electronic Caregiver (ECG) that helps people monitor their health by recording health vitals.  This product also offers medical reminders, GPS tracking through remote monitoring and emergency response.

Lorna has been a MDBW member for several years and says she’s enjoyed meeting highly-motivated, inspiring women. She’s involved in the community as appointed member to the CCC Advisory Council on Aging, Commissioner for the Commission on Aging for the city of Pleasant Hill, board member for Meals on Wheels CCC, Bboard member for the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the East Bay Veterans Community Partnership and Senior Mobility Action Council. She truly believes that it takes a village!

Most people are a good referral source for Lorna since we all have family and friends who at some point struggle with caring for loved ones. Especially good referrals are adult children just beginning the journey with their aging parents.

When not working, Lorna enjoys family time, weekend trips once or twice a year with a group of women who have been soul sisters for over 40 years, art projects, and working in her garden.

Visit Hillendale’s website, or Lorna’s and Hillendale’s LinkedIn. Also checkout Hillendale’s June Family Caregiver Bootcamp.

Michael Anne Conley
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist-Habits Into Health
Founder, Stillpoint Center

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As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of the Stillpoint Center in Lafayette, Michael Anne Conley sees clients who are experiencing anxiety, stress, and pressuring themselves into doing it all. Some are weary from dealing with chronic health issues, many have family issues, problems at work, and some turn to food, wine, pills, or poor relationship choices to try to manage their problems. Michael Anne works with them through a process of investigation, discovery, and healing to help them and their loved ones to unwind the trauma that hurts their health, risks their relationships, and keeps them stuck in self-defeating habits, all of which disconnects them from their highest self. 

Clients benefit from Michael Anne’s expertise through the support and resources they receive for resolving their issues from the wide perspective, team approach, and therapeutic coaching they receive from experts at the Stillpoint Center. They learn new ways to ease their emotional symptoms and quiet their busy minds, and do not feel alone as the treatment and healing process evolves. A step-by-step map is created for clients, laying out how they will achieve their goals, resulting in a confidence boost about forming a more peaceful and powerful future than they’ve experienced in the past. 

Good referral sources for Michael Anne are doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, nutrition counselors, massage therapists, physical therapists, personal trainers, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other health professionals. In addition, business professionals such as attorneys, health insurance agents, hairdressers, and life coaches are also good referrals.

Michael Anne has been a member of Mt. Diablo Business Women for several years and says she has enjoyed meeting and getting to know women who are resilient in their lives, and who are making a difference in their own ways. She says MDBW is a great antidote to the isolation that is inherent to her business, so the openness of the group, and its shared learning attitude is a lot of fun for her.

When not working with clients, Michael Anne says she enjoys “following my nose,” doing whatever she pleases whether it’s reading a book, repotting plants, talking with friends, writing, taking a walk, listening to music, watching stand-up comedy, or on rare occasions doing next to nothing.  

For more information on Michael Anne, visit her websiteLinkedIn, or Facebook page.  

Madison Gunn
Absolute Trust Counsel

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Madison is an associate attorney with Absolute Trust Counsel, a boutique law firm based in Walnut Creek that specializes in California estate law. The firm provides estate planning, trust administrations and probates, and assists with incapacity plans, Medi-Cal eligibility, and veteran's pension eligibility.

Madison joined Absolute Trust Counsel in 2019. She earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2017 from John F. Kennedy University School of Law. While at John F. Kennedy, she served as a member of the Elder Law Clinic, working to interview clients and help draft related estate planning documents. She is passionate about helping seniors, individuals, and their families protect and prepare for their futures by finding customized solutions to fill their unique estate planning needs. Madison says she enjoys educating clients regarding how estate plans can benefit them and guiding them through the legal process of estate planning, trust administration and probate. 

Clients benefit from Absolute Trust Counsel’s services by becoming better equipped to deal with emergencies, incapacity, death, and other issues that can arise. Madison says that the firm helps people to plan so that they don't have to worry or stress as much about the "what if" scenarios.

 

As a member of MDBW, Madison says the group inspires her because its members have been encouraging and supportive.

Good referral sources for her are financial advisors and real estate agents because Madison finds those professionals are typically familiar with their clients’ assets and have a sense of whether they have an estate plan, or if they need one, or if their current plan needs to be updated. 

In addition to MDBW, Madison is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area National Aging in Place Council, which helps to educate the community about resources on aging.

When not working, Madison’s favorite things to do are camping with her family, reading fiction, and crocheting.

Learn more about Madison by visiting her LinkedIn page, or checking out her bio on Absolute Trust Counsel’s website.  For more information on Absolute Trust Counsel, visit its website and Facebook page

Denise Caldwell
HB Resources Insurance Services

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As president of HB Resources Insurance Services, Denise Caldwell is available for her clients 24/7.  Her company is an independent insurance agency serving Bay Area small businesses. It specializes in employee benefits, offering customized products to meet the needs of a company and its employees. It also offers personal insurance, business insurance, and life insurance products. Clients who work with HB Resources Insurance Services find that Denise takes the pain out of administering insurance requirements.

In addition to running her company, Denise has coached and mentored associates in her industry, providing them with the knowledge and expertise she’s gained through her 30-plus years in insurance. She says it’s inspiring to give back and pay it forward, because she had many mentors and coaches that helped to build her career. Denise was a student of, and later a teacher of a Toastmaster-type class for a local insurance women’s association called "Communicate With Confidence." Denise credits it with helping her to gain the confidence, seek opportunities, and move forward in her career. ​Denise says, “I never thought I could run my own agency, but here I am!” 

 

As a member of MDBW for the past six years, Denise says she’s gained fellowship, knowledge, and self-improvement from her participation in the group. 

Good referrals for Denise are businesses that also provide services or products to small businesses, such as bookkeepers, accountants, payroll administrators, human resource administrators, and commercial bankers.

When not working, Denise helps care for her 87-year-old aunt who lives alone, cannot drive, and is beginning to show the first signs of dementia. Denise takes her to medical appointments, does her grocery shopping, picks-up prescriptions, cleans her house, and visits with her.

Some of Denise’s favorite leisure activities are hiking with friends, and traveling (it hasn't been so easy during the pandemic), but she has an upcoming ski trip planned to Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe.  A dog and two guinea pigs keep her busy, and Denise and her husband also enjoy visiting with their daughter who attends UC Santa Barbara.

Find out more about Denise by visiting her website or connecting with her on LinkedIn.

Dale Marie Golden
Vice-President, Bridge Bank

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Dale Marie Golden is very active in business and the local community. In addition to being a Vice-President at Bridge Bank, she is also an officer in several associations and consults in fundraising and board development in numerous other nonprofits. She was recently elected to the board of directors of Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and was awarded the Anne Woodell Business Leader Award. Dale Marie also serves on the Oakland Ballet Board and the Oakland Teen Empowerment Board. She is an officer in three other associations and consults in fundraising and board development in 11 other nonprofits.

At Bridge Bank, Dale Marie specializes in lines of credit, loans, and commercial lending. She offers special programs for small businesses and nonprofits. She says she loves that Bridge Bank is a community bank with all the bells and whistles of a big bank, and adds, “We are a relationship bank not a transaction bank so you know we truly care.”

 

Dale Marie mentors clients on how to take their business to the next level. They benefit from working with her by gaining the ability to expand their services through best financial practices and credit products. Dale Marie says, “I am the silent partner in your business that will not be silent. After 28 years in banking I am happy to help take your business to the next level.”

Good referral sources for Dale Marie are any nonprofit 501(c)(3), woman-owned business, trust and estate lawyers, and fiduciaries. Dale is an active member of MDBW and says she enjoys being with other professional women on a monthly basis.

 

When not working or involved with community organizations, Dale Marie loves to read and has been in the same book club for 30 years. She also enjoys bringing orchids back to life and swimming. Her favorite thing to do is being with her 2-1/2 year old grandson, (even on Facetime)!

Visit Dale Marie’s LinkedIn page to learn more about her.

Pam Beyer
Beyer & Associates

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Pam Bayer has worked in the bookkeeping and write-up accounting industry for almost 40 years. She started her firm, Bayer & Associates in 1988 as a bookkeeping firm helping small businesses with their record keeping. After a while, Pam realized that she was providing clients with information about what to look for when doing their taxes and making estimated payments. She then studied, passed the required tests, and began doing taxes as an added service to her business in 1995.

 

Today, she works exclusively with small businesses, including sole proprietors, "C" and "S" corporations, partnerships, non-profits, as well as income tax preparation specializing in individuals and small businesses. She is a member of the East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents.

Pam enjoys her clients and educates them on current laws and government rules and regulations pertaining to their businesses. She is very cognizant of the need for secure systems and the confidentiality of clients' personal information and takes steps to safeguard everything.

 

Pam says her firm is very family oriented and even allows clients to bring their children and sometimes their dogs.

A good referral for Pam is someone who cares very much about their business and is committed to growing a business that has integrity and honesty. 

 

Pam serves as treasurer on Mt. Diablo Business Women’s board of directors. She says she enjoys the women she has met in the group as well as becoming aware of the types of businesses in the community.

 

Pam is currently giving back to the community by making donations to food organizations that are helping the many people in need during the pandemic. When not working, Pam enjoys engaging in her hobbies that include activities as a singer and a musician, reading, making origami, and magic tricks.

You can learn more about Pam on her LinkedIn page as well as reading great reviews about her business on Yelp

Mary Schulze, GRI, SRES
Realtor, Intero Real Estate Services, Mt. Diablo Business Women Founder

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Mary Schulze is a realtor with Intero Real Estate Services, serving Contra Costa and El Dorado counties, and she is also the founder of Mt. Diablo Business Women. She founded the organization in 1994 to help local businesswomen build business relationships, referral networks, and partners. Today the group boasts almost 70 members from a variety of business sectors. In addition to being the group’s founding member, Mary also serves on the Board as program chair, and is responsible for bringing speakers on business and personal development topics to the group’s monthly events. 

Mary’s vast network of contacts has helped her to be a successful real estate consultant, helping clients sell their houses, and buy a dream home in what is now a very competitive market. She enjoys finding the right home for each buyer, whether they are a first-time homebuyer or a senior who is downsizing. 

Clients benefit from Mary’s almost 20 years of experience in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento region, as well as her negotiating experience, which provides clients with the fair price on purchases and closing the deal. As a realtor with Intero Real Estate Services, clients can have worldwide and local exposure and marketing, all of which can result in swift action on multiple offers. 

The best referrals for Mary are new business lenders, insurance agents, contractors, handyman services, divorce attorneys and CPAs.  She also receives many referrals through word-of-mouth from happy clients, along with the many friends and business contacts she has met through her years as the founder and member of MDBW.

In addition to her work as a realtor, Mary is active in the community. She contributes a portion of her transactions to a non-profit focused on serving children and the elderly in the community. She is also a member of the Assistance League of the Sierra Foothills, a non-profit that has helped to support over 1,500 children and adults in the community. 

When she’s not working, Mary enjoys cooking, playing the piano, learning to speak Italian, playing with her dog, Maxx, a giant schnoodle, and being with family and friends. 
 

Visit Mary’s website to learn more about her.

Belma Mirvic
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones

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As a financial advisor at Edward Jones, Belma Mirvic’s vision is to take time to get to know her clients and become knowledgeable about what is important to them.  She empowers them by providing the information they need so that they can have the confidence and comfort to live they life they want. Belma enjoys being able to positively impact clients’ lives.

Belma provides clients with guidance on retirement planning and creates personalized strategies including estate consideration, college planning, and insurance. In addition, she works on making adjustments when life happens and partnering with clients for life.  She says that with her guidance, clients can reach their financial goals.

As a financial advisor, Belma says she wants to help make a difference in people's financial lives and to help them stay on track to reach their financial goals. She knows that everyone's path is different and unique, so she listens to understand what is important to each client.

Belma’s own path began in Bosnia where she grew up. As a young child, she had to go through something unexpected - the Bosnian war. Because of that, she knows that life can be unpredictable, from losing someone you love to a daily struggle with money. It was not easy growing up like that, but Belma says she learned to see life with different eyes and appreciate small things.

Good referral sources for Belma are estate attorneys, CPA/enrolled agents, real estate agents, insurance specialists and Medicare consultants.

While Belma is a relatively new member of MDBW, she is already quite active in the group and is on the board of directors as co-director of membership and hospitality.  She says a benefit of joining the group has been the amazing friendships she’s made.

Volunteering is something she enjoys, and Belma is also involved in the Mt Diablo Moms Club and the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce.

In her free time Belma enjoys spending time with her son, husband, friends and family, and traveling.

Connect with Belma on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or visit her website.