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South Shore women’s network celebrates 20th anniversary

South Shore Women’s Business Network recently recognized four of its founders (from left): Susan Hammond, Pat Mullaly, Nancy Boyle and Vickie Donlan. South Shore Women’s Business Network recently recognized four of its founders (from left): Susan Hammond, Pat Mullaly, Nancy Boyle and Vickie Donlan.
By Paul E. Kandarian
Globe Staff / December 4, 2011
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Twenty years ago, a group of six South Shore entrepreneurs - Connie Nordhal, Jeanne Yocum, Susan Hammond, Pat Mullaly, Nancy Boyle, and Vickie Donlan - got together to start a business network for women.

The South Shore Women’s Business Network has grown to more than 300 members. The growth can be explained by the reason the network started in the first place, said Janet LaBerge, the group’s president: More women starting their own businesses.

“There were more women starting their own businesses this past year than men,’’ said LaBerge, owner of Dirty Deeds in Pembroke, an eight-year-old company that cleans out basements, garages, attics, or entire houses. “Maybe it’s the economy, maybe they can’t find jobs and are breaking away to start their own business, but there are definitely more women jumping into the fray. And that’s a good thing.’’

The network celebrated its 20th anniversary at a gala last month at the South Shore Country Club in Hingham. Katie Howard, the network’s executive director, said the founders created the group because “women network differently. They saw a need for change, so they got together, and it grew from there.’’

“Women are much more about building relationships,’’ LaBerge said. “Men are more about product and service, and getting the best price. Women are more about knowing the person and making the decision if there is a relationship to work together on, and then deciding if it’s a good product and price. We’re much more into relationship-building, knowing more about the person.’’

The next step for women in business, she said, “is women having more presence in the board room. You can have a great business, but if you’re not at the higher-level positions to make changes in the Legislature and how people spend money, your impact is limited. That’s the next big thrust, and groups are starting up to address that, places like Bridgewater State University have programs for it.’’

The network’s gala was also the setting for the first South Shore Women’s Business Achievement Award, presented to Corlis McGee, president of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy. She noted the similarity of purpose behind founding the network and the start of Eastern Nazarene’s LEAD program for adult studies.

“It was around that same time Eastern Nazarene also recognized a need in the community and launched our adult studies program,’’ McGee said, “which has helped many women complete their education while juggling work and family responsibilities. So I see our two missions as very complementary.’’

Howard recognized the group’s founders, four of whom were at the gala: Hammond, Mullaly, Boyle, and Donlan.

“Thank you for changing the lives of so many women,’’ Howard said. “We celebrate you and your vision each and every day.’’

Visit www.sswbn.org for more information.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Orthodontist Robert E. Chavez, co-founder of ARCH Orthodontics with six offices on the South Shore, was reappointed to the medical staff of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as an associate surgeon to the adjunct staff in the surgery department. He has been associated with Brigham since 1978.

Melissa Browne of Cohasset, and Elizabeth Conrad and Catherine Duggan, both of Scituate, were named new board members of the Scituate Animal Shelter. Browne is a Realtor with Coastal Countryside Properties in Cohasset and serves on the board of Pilgrim Bank, the Hingham Group, and the Cohasset Country Club. Conrad is a paralegal for the Disability Law Group in Norwell, and is a shelter volunteer. Duggan, branch manager of Rockland Trust in Cohasset, serves on the board of South Shore Support Services.

Three physicians at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Braintree - pediatrician Michael Somers, cardiologist Patrice Come, and neurologist William Mullally - were named “Top Doctors’’ in a list created by US News & World Report. The list is created annually in collaboration with Castle Connolly, which maintains a data base of top doctors recommended by colleagues for their professional expertise and achievements.

Donna Pelland (inset) of Marshfield was named director of operations at Safer Places Inc. in Middleborough, which provides pre-employment screening/background checks, tenant screening, and security consulting. Her career in security started 24 years ago as a store detective for the Zayre Corp., and later with TJX Corp., where she was loss prevention supervisor and trainer. Most recently, she was an investigator with Longwood Security in Brookline.

Marlene MacDonald Ketchen (inset), founder and president of the Cabinetry Kitchen & Bath Design Studio in Hingham, was named to the board of directors at the national Bath & Kitchen Buying Group, which has more than 230 member kitchen and bath dealers in the United States. Ketchen, a Scituate native and current Hull resident, has been in the cabinet business since 2003, when she joined the company her uncle, Ed MacDonald, owned, buying it from him in 2004. Her grandfather, Norman MacDonald, began making cabinets in 1960 under the name MacDonald Kitchens.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com

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