Melissa Juried Kriebel
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Staten Island Business Outreach Center (SIBOC) hosted more than 150 guests at LiGreci’s Staaten on the morning of Oct. 25, to honor six women impacting their community.
“When we created the Women’s Empowerment Breakfast our goal was to celebrate strong, mission-driven women in Staten Island and inspire other young women to pursue their dreams while also helping their community,” said Teresa Cirelli, SIBOC Board President and co-chair of the event. “Our six amazing honorees have done exactly that and have contributed so much to the Staten Island Business Outreach Center. We’re proud to honor their everyday dedication and celebrate them today.”
The honorees accomplishments are vast:
- Loretta Cauldwell is the former Executive Director of the West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation and former Executive Director of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District (BID). She is currently a member of Staten Island Community Board 1 and the vice president of the 120th Precinct Community Council.
- Claudette Duff is the founder and director of Integrity Senior Services (“ISS”), an agency that provides in-home mental health counseling and auxiliary services to seniors, the disabled, caregivers, and their families. She is also the founder and executive director of Out Of the Storm Senior Housing, which creates a family-like, affordable and stable living arrangement for seniors who are at risk of becoming homeless.
- Dr. Joanne Gerenser is the executive director of the Eden II Programs in Staten Island. She is also an adjunct associate professor at Brooklyn College. She is Vice-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for 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.
- MaryLee Montalvo is the President of MLM Public Relations. Prior to the formation of her business, she was the National Public Relations Director for the American Parkinson Disease Association; Director, American Red Cross of Staten Island; and Public Relations Director for the Staten Island Mental Health Society and Historic RichmondTown.
- Dr. Gracelyn Santos is a general and cosmetic dentist in private practice for 26 years. She co-owns Santos & Mroczek DDS, PC Family Dentistry in Meiers Corners. Since 2012, Dr. Santos is a columnist for the Staten Island Advance/SILive.com. She is on the Executive Board of the St. George Theatre and is a former trustee of Snug Harbor Cultural Center; Meals on Wheels; the Staten Island Zoo; and Staten Island Mental Health Society.
- Kecia Weaver is the owner of Pavilion on the Terrace. She purchased the property in 2013, and after two years of renovations and the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue opened its doors in March 2021. The venue boasts a beautiful 19th century aesthetic, and has hosted numerous events so far.
Said honoree Dr. Gracelyn Santos: “My late father, Jess Santos, taught me three important life lessons: ‘To set your goals high and work hard to make them reality; that education is the great equalizer and something that can never be taken away from you; and finally, if you have a chance to help someone, do it, because God is answering their prayers through you. We do not succeed in life alone. We all need each other.
“The SIBOC award is a reminder for all of us to help one another. So let’s all aspire to raise each other up, instead of tearing each other down. After all, if other women succeed, we all succeed, because we are all woven into the fabric of our Staten Island community,” she said.
The Staten Island Business Outreach Center (SIBOC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that has been serving the community of Staten Island since 1980.
The mission of SIBOC is to provide development programs and technical assistance to small businesses and to deliver services and improvements on commercial corridors on the North Shore of Staten Island.
The organization’s goal is to support individual growth, which in turn fosters community growth on Staten Island.