Holly Hatcher, Ginger Germani, Allison Linney and Angela Ciolfi
Striving to make a difference. Each of the ladies nominated for the Charlottesville Woman magazine second annual 4 Under 40 Awards does that. This year’s winners—Holly Hatcher, Ginger Germani, Allison Linney and Angela Ciolfi—do it every day. They’ve made their marks in their careers, and within the community. Each has found a way to have a balanced life, while bringing about positive change in Charlottesville.
According to Forbes.com, in 2010 only 2.4 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 chief executives were women. While there are certainly reasons to be optimistic that the number will continue to grow, it’s rather dismal now. If Holly Hatcher could tell younger women anything it would be: “I believe that young women are sometimes more apt to second-guess themselves before going after leadership positions in any field. I hope to raise my daughter to be a confident young woman and I would say to any young woman to go after their dreams with full force. Through persistence, hard work, humility and kindness anything is possible.”
“She is a person who not only has ideas, but builds a team to act on them. In creating both Left of Center and The Future Fund, she has found ways to get other under 40s more involved in their community.” —Louise Dudley in her nomination
Holly Hatcher, 36, is Charlottesville Area Community Foundation’s (CACF) Director of Programs and Donor Engagements. Hatcher, who has been with CACF for five years, oversees both the grant-making programs, as well as assists donors with their giving.
“It’s a lot of fun being able to work with donors one-on-one and to assist them with their philanthropy because we have so many interesting and generous individuals in this community,” she says.
CACF was established in 1967 and serves Charlottesville and the surrounding seven counties. “More than 75 percent of our grant-making goes back to this community,” she adds.
Hatcher and Dave McDaniel, her husband, welcomed a daughter, Madeline Rose, late last year. “I’m not sure the balance actually exists,” Hatcher says. “The bigger question is figuring out a way to be a great parent and also have a great career and to be an active, engaged citizen and to also have a personal life.”
Hatcher adds, “Anna Quindlen spoke at the Emily Couric Leadership Luncheon a couple years ago and I remember her saying that we need to redefine what success looks like. I think it’s a very personal thing.”
Hatcher moved to Charlottesville in 2001 after graduate school and her first job in town was as a community organizer, and where she experienced one of her most rewarding professional experiences.
“My first job in Charlottesville was a community organizer with PHAR (Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents). Part of the job responsibilities was to run a resident leadership program where we worked with public housing residents and the idea was to help them get active in their own community and find their voice,” she says. “In the first round was man by the name of Harold Foley. He has now gone on to become an organizer himself. We remain really good friends and I’m really proud of him. To have a small role in that is something I’ll always be really proud of.”
While at CACF, Hatcher helped create The Future Fund for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Members contribute based on age and their money is leveraged against other members for collective giving. This is the third year for the fund. In 2009, there were 96 members and $30,000 was awarded for education. In 2010, there were 188 members and $75,000 was awarded for children and youth. Now there are 180 members and the theme is “healthcare.” Members choose the theme and amount awarded to the nonprofits, as well as whether they’ll do any additional fundraising.
“That’s what’s so great about The Future Fund, every year it evolves because we have these creative 20-, 30- and 40-somethings that are making it happen,” Hatcher says.
Hatcher says she was flattered to be chosen as an award recipient. She says she feels very lucky to have such a partner in her husband, and they are already looking ahead to how they’ll raise their daughter with a giving spirit. They purchased a Moon Jar to help her manage her money. It has three sections—one is to spend, one is to share and one is to save.
“It’s not just putting money in your piggy bank; it’s taking a portion of that and giving it away—to causes she cares about and developing her own philanthropy,” Hatcher adds.
“I think one of the most inspiring things about Ginger is she is not only successful herself, but she works to help those around her be wildly successful as well.” —Andrea Heaps in her nomination
When you meet Ginger Germani, 36, you can’t help but think one word: dynamo. Germani is a wife, a mother and stepmother to four, a community leader and successful in her banking career. In her role as Quadruplicity chair she increased attendance by more than 50 percent; she has raised thousands of dollars for the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA with her volunteer efforts; and during the bank crisis of 2008 she brought in more than $50 million in new deposits at Virginia National Bank as the Treasury Management Officer.
She was an economics major in college, but worked for numerous years in marketing and tourism. “I loved it and it was fun,” she says.
She worked for a payroll company, which brought her to the Charlottesville area. When she learned from a friend that Virginia National Bank was beginning a Treasury Management Department she applied.
“It was a chance for me to come in with what I knew, working with businesses’ operational and accounting functions for five years, and talk with people and build what we now have,” she says. “You can’t plan for it.
That’s the type of thing you run across when you don’t expect them and think, ‘Wow, it’s something where I can leave a mark.’”
Germani says her passion lies in “being able to put time into things where I see that there is a need. I guess my passion really is surrounding myself with people that I find inspiring to do things I find inspiring.
“The biggest thing about me is that I totally credit where I am with the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with,” Germani adds. “From my husband—we’ve been married for four years—so there’s that decision, really knowing yourself when you make that decision. And my friends—it’s because I get something great from them. I find people I am interested in, who I am inspired by. Any success I have is really because of the people I spend my days with.”
Germani’s children are 14, 14, 12 ½ and 10 ½ and she says “these are the best years. I’ve reached my comfort level as a parent. I take them out to volunteer with me now. I enjoy teaching them ‘This is real life. You need to learn how to make this decision; make it for yourself, but here are some tools.’”
All areas of Germani’s life mesh well, she says. “I think one of the cool things about my position is I managed to find a company to what I do, where my skill set is, that has the same belief system in community,” she adds.
Germani says it’s communication that keeps things running smoothly in her life—and a priority.
“Everybody that I work with, deal with, my family, they always know where I stand and what needs to get done on any given day and what’s going on with me,” Germani says. “My husband and I talk probably an unreasonable amount for some. I start my day talking to him.”
Happiness—finding it for herself and teaching her children to find it—is what she strives for.
“This is it. You get to do this once and be happy. Recognize if you’re not happy. And if you’re not happy, do what you have to do to get to happy.”
“Allison helps the people around her—clients, colleagues, friends—shine as they work to accomplish individual and community goals, and her impact on those around her is immense.” —Rachel Brozenske in her nomination
Allison Linney, president and founder of Allison Partners, talks the talk of how to find balance, but also tries to walk the walk. She developed a course called “Choosing Balance and Leadership” and over the years has helped many on their own journeys.
She founded the business in 2000, between her first and second year at the Darden Graduate School of Business.
Linney met Leonard Sandridge and Bob Sweeney when she was selected as the only student member of the Board of Visitors as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia.
“My first business mentor, other than family, was Leonard Sandridge,” she says. “You can’t pay, really, for being around someone like Leonard who was supportive of what I was doing and interested. A lot of what I learned about raising money I learned from Bob [Sweeney].
“I had planned to go to a pure strategy firm after Darden and then maybe five years after that start the business,” Linney adds. “A lot of people in town said ‘You know people here you have a long history in Charlottesville, why don’t you go ahead and start it.’”
Twelve years later Linney gets to go to work every day with her best friend, Rachel Brozenske—something she loves.
“I grew up watching people communicate when things are difficult at work,” she says. “I watched how my parents constructively gave each other feedback”
The one thing Linney and Brozenske try to remember is that they should always have shoes. That stands for “we will never be the cobbler’s kids who never have shoes. Everything we’re out there trying to teach others about how to give feedback and be candid and good communicators and have balance and be happy, we do [also]. I’m not saying we achieve that all the time, but we try—we genuinely try,” Linney says.
Another thing she learned from watching her mother—“letting small things be small. Does everything require a conversation? Not everything has to be just right, it can be just good enough.”
Linney also has been very involved in the community over the years. She is the chair of U.Va.’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies Advisory Board, U.Va.’s Council of Foundations and the Live Arts Board of Directors. Her most recent venture is as the co-chair for the new Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Council. During the Dialogue on Race several conversations centered around the need “for some kind of minority business council to support the advancement and development of minority businesses in the community, which still have a hard time sometimes getting ahead and getting the business,” she said. “I just can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the Chamber stepped into that place.”
Linney says there are several ways she finds balance: being able to say no; being able to know what’s enough; and knowing there is a lot more within her control than it may at first seem.
“A lot of things do happen to us that are out of our control,” she says, “but our response and choices we make about them—we have more choice than we think.”
Being happy in the present moment is something Linney strives for, too.
“At the end of the day, my great pride would be—even if we never grow another person—was that I helped create a place where people wanted to do good work and felt rewarded and supported,” Linney says.
“Angela is not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is just and right in the courtroom, in the General Assembly or in the realm of public opinion, even if it is the unpopular position.” —Kate Duvall in her nomination
Angela Ciolfi, 34, is the Legal Director of the JustChildren Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center. “One of the things I like about my job is there is no typical day and it’s never solely in the trenches and it’s never solely in the policy weeds either,” she says.
“On any given day I may meet with a client or law students to talk about a client and then be driving toRichmondto try to talk to a policy maker about how the rules they’re making affect my clients’ lives.
“Children don’t have lobbyists. They don’t vote. They don’t have money. It’s easy for them to be forgotten inRichmond,” Ciolfi adds.
Ciolfi and her husband, Jeff Barratt, welcomed a daughter, Wallis, in 2011, and with parenthood even more challenges to finding balance.
“I knew that it would be challenging, but I don’t think you can truly appreciate it until you’re doing it,” Ciolfi says. “It’s challenging in ways I didn’t expect, but my daughter, she already seems to have this really cool personality—she’s so much fun!”
Ciolfi grew up in Rappahannock County and does get help from her family. Additionally, “my husband and I share responsibility. I have a huge amount of newfound respect for people who do it with less support. I just feel really lucky.”
Her interest in juvenile law has been there since she learned such a thing existed, Ciolfi says. “I think what drives us is our core belief that we’d rather see our future workforce behind desks than behind bars,” she adds. “One of the biggest challenges is that when kids make mistakes we have to remind people that they’re still kids. Even the Supreme Court has recognized that kids aren’t developmentally able to see the consequences of their actions.”
Ciolfi’s greatest professional satisfaction comes when she gets a child back into school.
“There’s no better adrenaline rush than getting a child back in school who’s been out of school for whatever reason,” she says. “You know that they need an education to be successful.”
She notes, however, that it’s important to go into this type of work with eyes open.
“There’s terrible heartache,” she says. “Our clients have had to go through things no one should have to go through in 100 years, much less 10, 15 or 20 years. You need to have support from your family and your coworkers.”
Ciolfi says she is also extremely proud of the work JustChildren did when the organization encouraged the state to increase the minimum graduation rates. “We realized that high schools in Virginia could be fully accredited even if they graduated fewer than 60 percent of their students and that’s kind of counter-intuitive and counterproductive,” she says. “Graduation is sort of the ultimate student outcome measure and it should be on equal footing with test scores.”
Ciolfi sat on the Board of Rivanna Trails for five years, resigning just before her daughter was born, though hopes to get back to it.
“We’re one of the few communities in the country to have that kind of urban trail system,” she says. “What’s even more amazing is it’s an all-volunteer organization.”
The response to this award has been tremendous and we’re humbled to learn about all the amazing women that help make Charlottesville an incredible place to live. We thank them for all they do, but also our partners who help us spotlight these wonderful women: Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, CBS19, Z95.1 and WINA1070. Watch for the dates to nominate for the third 4 Under 40 Awards later this year. Congratulations.