Wednesday, May 4, 2016

4 Under 40 Winners

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:15 pm

According to the White House Council on Women and Girls, women now make up nearly 50 percent of our workforce. Thirty percent of the small business owners are women and almost 40 percent are the breadwinners for their families. Women are an integral part of the U.S. economy.

The volunteer rate declined by 0.3 percent for the year ending September 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “however women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than men across all age groups, education levels and other major demographic characteristics,” according to the report.

The winners of Charlottesville Woman magazine’s Third Annual 4 Under 40 Awards are no different. They’ve made their marks in academics, with youth, in banking, in health care and in service to the community. Thinking of others is something that this year’s winners—Dr. Dolly Garnecki, Barbara Heritage, Brooke Jenkins and Erica Lloyd—do every day.

Dolly Garnecki

Dr. Dolly Garnecki—known by many in the area as simply Dr. Dolly—has a deep passion to cherish her family, for her work as a chiropractor, as an entrepreneur and for the place she’s called home for nearly five years. Garnecki, 35, is the founder, president and clinic director of Spinal Health & Wellness LLC. She won the 2011 National SCORE Foundation Outstanding Veteran-Owned Small Business Award. It was during her rigorous time in the U.S. Air Force as an aviator, and after a serious hit-and-run accident, that she discovered how powerful high-quality chiropractic care can be.

“Dr. Bill Sparks changed my life. His approach to chiropractic care wasn’t a random adjustment whenever I felt like I needed it,

but he had a specific treatment plan for me to follow that included more frequent visits at first, and then it tapered to fewer as I improved,” Garnecki says. “He helped me regain neck function and mobility. Plus, I was able to get back into the things I loved: competing in triathlons, running, martial arts, sleeping in my bed (as opposed to ice packs on the floor) and doing my flying job for the Air Force.”

Garnecki earned 11 medals and awards in the Air Force. It was during her deployment to Iraq that she realized the rigors of her military career would prevent her from continuing that career path. “There was no chiropractor stationed with us in the desert, and physical therapy and time in the gym was not the same as a chiropractic adjustment,” she says. “I knew it was time to make a career choice that prolonged health and quality of life, instead of sucking it from my marrow. This career change was encouraged by Dr. Bill Sparks and my husband, Steve.”

Her job as a chiropractor is something Garnecki cherishes.

“Every day people enter into my office hurting (physically or emotionally) or are concerned for their children’s health. Most of the time they feel much better or notice a significant improvement in their posture, breathing, energy or chief complaint by the time they leave the office,” she says. “I’m in the business of helping people improve their quality of life naturally, without the use of drugs or surgical interventions. It’s exciting to witness miracles every day.”

Using an online survey on, Steve and Dolly decided to locate the perfect place to settle down, raise a family and launch a new practice. “We didn’t know anyone locally when we moved here in 2008, but it was easy to connect in this community, especially because of the very supportive women in business in this area and thanks to the kind folks we met at church,” she notes.

It was in 2008 she launched Spinal Health and Wellness, practically with her newborn son, Calvin Kai, on her back. And she loves it.

“I love having the flexibility to creatively implement new ideas, adapt my work schedule to be as busy as necessary or take time off as needed,” Garnecki says. “It’s wonderful to enjoy the camaraderie of other business owners—to share ideas, to learn from other’s struggles.”

Garnecki believes in giving back to the community because it “is comprised of my friends, neighbors, patients—and this community is like family to me. It’s important for me to give of my strengths and talents to my friends and family. It brings me great joy—fills my tank.”

She cofounded Cville Sheblogs, a local support and creative idea-generating group of bloggers, and cofounded and volunteered to teach at the new local Blogville conference. She does scoliosis screenings at schools and teaches children and adults about healthy lunch box preparation. She volunteers with her church and in her son’s school.

“As much as possible, I find ways to stay involved close to my family, or in programs or projects that can use my strengths or align with my passions,” she says. “If there isn’t a group or organization doing the work, then, with the grace of God, and usually with a great co-leader, I help launch something new.”

The Garneckis recently added to the family, adopting a baby girl, Autumn YuChen, from China in January. While they’re still adjusting to the changes another child will bring to the family, Garnecki will find joy in it all.

“On the days I spend a long and full day at the office, I am always greeted by a giggling and joyful son who’s been anticipating my arrival all afternoon—an amazing homecoming several days a week, every week,” she says. “On days I’m not working in the office, I homeschool

our son. Mostly, we read lots of books together, discuss literature, art and music selections, and we do hands-on math games. So, our time together on my days off of work is very focused, quality time that we both enjoy immensely.”

Finding balance as a business owner can be difficult, but Garnecki has established boundaries between work and home.

“When I’m at the office, I work on the patient paperwork, hands-on work with patients, return business-related phone calls and lead my team,” she says. “When I’m at home (most of the time), I avoid office paperwork and returning phone calls related to scheduling or other business matters and instead do my job as a mom/homemaker. Sure, I’ll respond to an emergency call as needed, but I’ve learned that I can quickly spend hours adjusting the office schedule and returning phone calls on days I should spend time parenting my son.”

Her relationship with her husband is something she cherishes, though she admits to sometimes having a difficult time feeling in balance in that aspect.

“Since we were first married over 12 years ago, our careers, life, health circumstances and lifetime milestones have changed considerably. However, it’s the journey that’s drawn my husband and me closer as best friends, a couple and a team,” Garnecki notes. “Sometimes it seems as though we’re just handing the baton back-and-forth between shuttling our son to and from school, or determining whose turn it is to cook dinner. I’d like to say that there’s always room for improvement in valuing my relationship with my husband, and constantly working and improving upon communication and expectations within marriage.”

Garnecki was surprised to learn she had won the award.

“I couldn’t quite believe it. I had to re-read the email a couple of times and make sure it was indeed sent to the right person,” she says. “I was extremely surprised and then I was elated.”

Barbara Heritage

Barbara Heritage, 33, is the Assistant Director and Curator of Collections with the Rare Book School, housed at Alderman Library at the University of Virginia, as well as a graduate student with the university, essentially holding down two full-time jobs. The Rare Book School is an independent, non-profit institute that provides continuing-education opportunities for students of all disciplines and levels to study the history of written, printed and born-digital materials with leading scholars and professionals in a field.

“My father has a small collection of rare books that fascinated me from an early age.

As soon as I received my driver’s license, I began exploring the used and second-hand bookstores and antique stores in Northern Virginia,” Heritage says. “I was intuitively drawn to books and antiques, and to the people who sold them. I learned that books have lives, too, just like people. I loved their bindings and dust jackets, their marks of use, ownership, and reading, and evidence of their former prices and sale in the marketplace.”

Heritage moved to Charlottesville in 1997 to attend U.Va., where she studied as an Echols Scholar in the Department of English. While still an undergraduate, Heritage worked under Scott Fennessey at Blue Whale Used and Rare Books on the Downtown Mall (he also nominated her for the award—one of several). Fennessey introduced her to Terry Belanger, founding director of Rare Book School and another nominator, which she calls “a life-changing opportunity for me.”

“The first time I stepped foot in Rare Book School I was coming with Fennessey to a reception hosted by the Bibliography Association of U.Va.,” Heritage recalls. “As I was walking through the door, I walked into a room and it was filled with copies of ‘Jane Eyre.’ The drinks and food were in another room, but I never made it there. I was spellbound. I had just read ‘Jane Eyre’ for the first time.”

It wasn’t only the story that fascinated Heritage, stopping her dead in her tracks. “I had worked in the book trade here in Charlottesville and was getting my master’s degree in the English department but I had never thought about collecting multiple copies of the same book. It just didn’t occur to me,” she says. “All of these different covers, different blurbs on the back and I realized, I just saw it in an instant, wow, this is a way to study literature and study books at the same time.”

Heritage began working at Rare Book School in 2002 and was co-curator of a “Jane Eyre” exhibition in the Rotunda in 2005.

“I showed in that exhibition the different components of the story. One case was just full of covers and all of these different images. No Jane was the same,” she says. “There was a case full of illustrations from the different books, a case on the films, children’s books of ‘Jane Eyre.’ There were hundreds of objects. It was really showing the life of the book, almost like a biography of the book, showing it in all its different manifestations—how ‘Jane Eyre’ became a classic and what it means to be a best seller.”

At Rare Book School, she co-wrote a grant funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a new fellowship program based in Charlottesville in the amount of $896,000—the largest grant ever awarded to the school.

She is passionate about books. She’s a member of the American Printing History Association, the Bibliographic Society of America, the Bronte Society and more. “I’m an active supporter of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center in Charlottesville, a member of the Bibliographical Society of U.Va. and a regular participant in the Virginia Festival of the Book,” she notes. She also mentors those younger than she, especially women. “I would not be in this job if it had not been for Scott Fennessy. Many people have mentored me here in Charlottesville, and I think my nomination is proof of just how important the book community is here.”

In 2007, she decided to go back to school to get her doctorate. The university does not allow part-time students in the graduate school, but she didn’t want to give up her job at Rare Book School. It was a negotiation, but she’s made it work.

“It is a lot of work,” she agrees. “My husband was so good to me, during those times particularly. He really believed in my work; he thought it was important that I do it.”

Finding time with her husband, Carsten Clark, is important to Heritage in finding balance. “My husband and I have a deep respect for each other’s feelings, professional work and pursuits, and we are very much partners in all that we do,” Heritage says.

“My husband is extraordinarily supportive: he is my best friend and best critic. He tells me when I’m off balance and when I’m not my best self, and I do the same for him.”

She also considers the words of two of her mentors. “Terry Belanger has a great saying, ‘The mind is a delicate object; it should not be dropped.’ And the current Rare Book School Director (and nominator, Michael Suarez) likes to remind our staff that the word ‘curator’ comes from the Latin ‘curare,’ which means to care for. As rare book curator I’m the custodian of many rare objects that are important to the studies of many people but I cannot attend to them, or the faculty or students at our school, if I do not first care for myself.”

She notes she tries to get eight hours of sleep a night to help her focus on what she needs to do. “I feel a deep need to be tuned in to my surroundings and my intuition is my best resource for creative problem-solving. If I start feeling as though I need to take a break, I take one or change tasks for a bit,” Heritage says. “I find that talking to other women about their careers is helpful: how they got where they are, how they knew when to move on to the next job, how they balance their time at home with their time at work. I also try to do the other things I love: reading, watching films, listening to music, going to art galleries or to the theatre or to musical performances.

I would be lost without the arts. They help me recharge.”

Brooke Jenkins

At only 32, Brooke Jenkins has accomplished a lot in her banking career and her desire to help the community. As Virginia National Bank Merchant Service Executive, Jenkins notes she has had to overcome the perception that she’s too young for her position.

“I have a lot of banking experience for someone my age,” Jenkins says. “I don’t really see this as an obstacle, but instead embrace it as a challenge and I look forward to always giving 150 percent of myself daily.”

She’s been in banking since she was 18, and loves the relationships she cultivates. “I started in banking because my mom told me to. I stayed in banking because I get the unique pleasure of waking up every morning excited to go to work and help protect business’ financial futures,” Jenkins says.

She has beaten sales goals every year, doubling Merchant Services revenue in her first year and growing it an additional two-and-a-half times in her second year.

“When you think of a banker many different images probably come to mind, but I am not just a banker, I’m a relationship builder,” she says. “I love building relationships and helping customers with their money and helping them protect their financial futures. I still pinch myself when I get up in the morning because I feel so lucky that my job is to help business owners with their financial futures.”

Jenkins and her husband, David, moved to Charlottesville shortly after college graduation in 2005.

“We thought we would move to Charlottesville, and stay only long enough for [David] to get promoted and move to North Carolina,” she recalls. “I am extremely happy to report he has been promoted, but we have no desire to ever move from this beautiful place.”

She loves many things about Charlottesville.

“I love the mountains and the breathtaking views. We live outside of town and the drive to work is so peaceful and filled with natural beauty. I love that all of our friends who live in ‘big’ cities just want to come visit us because we have way more than any big city could offer. I love that on any given weekend I go only a few miles to find good friends and local beer and wine. I love U.Va. football and tailgating with friends. I love U.Va. baseball, or well any U.Va. sporting event. I love everything about this town!”

Giving back to the community is something that Jenkins holds near and dear to her heart.

“I like community service work because it’s NOT work! Community service is the part that fills my soul and recharges my batteries,” Jenkins says. “I get the honor and pleasure of meeting so many incredible people that are passionate about the same causes as I am. I have met some of my closest friends through community involvement.”

In January 2012, Jenkins became the president and one of the founding members of Red Shoe Cville. Its goal is to help support the children, families, staff and volunteers of the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville. She has been a Campaign Team Leader for the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area since 2011. She recently joined Women United Together in

Philanthropy, as well. She is the chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Women’s Round Table and has helped with the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA Critter Ball.

“I love every second of community involvement because in life we can choose to just live in a community or we can BE a part of the community,” Jenkins says. “I feel so honored to BE a part of Charlottesville; it always makes me smile.”

Jenkins is known in the community for her positivity and smile.

“It sounds cheesy but it makes me smile to realize two people noted my positive nature,” she says. “I was taught at an early age that you must live life to the fullest and treat each and every day as if it is your last. What that means to me is I like, no LOVE, to smile. I always choose to look at the glass as half full, actually the glass is always 100 percent full.”

She credits her relationship with her husband as helping her find balance.

“I am spoiled because my husband is my best friend and soul mate. He loves me for the goofball I am,” she says. “Also, I am lucky because he likes to give back to the community as well, so we do a lot of our community service work together. And we love to laugh and have fun. He is an incredible man that I feel so lucky to call my husband. Balance is easy when you’re with your other half.”

Erica Lloyd

For a decade Erica Lloyd, 32, has served as program director for the I Have a Dream Foundation. It has been her job to develop and implement long-term programs for the students (Dreamers), focusing on high school graduation, with the ultimate goal of ensuring these students enroll in higher education and achieve their goals. The program accepted all 62 children in kindergarten in 1999 at Clark Elementary School.

Lloyd came to Charlottesville to attend U.Va. for an education degree.

“Even while finishing my degree I felt I might want to do something other than be a classroom teacher,” Lloyd recalls. It was at this time she heard the former director speak at the university.

“In my journal from that night it says ‘I WANT HER JOB’ in big letters,” she says.

She started afternoon tutoring with the foundation right away and used the program for her master’s thesis. Lloyd began looking for similar programs, interviewing at one in New Jersey.

“I stopped by the office to talk it over with the executive director,” she says, “and she let me know she had just gotten engaged and would be relocating—her job would be open. Right as I was graduating, she was going to be moving. I applied for what is my dream job.”

Most of the original Dreamers have received their high school degrees and many have moved on to higher education, though four did drop out. “I’d love to be able to say that we had no kids drop out at all, but unfortunately we have those few,” she notes.

Working with the I Had a Dream Foundation has been the “most satisfying thing of my life,” she says. “The kids and families I have worked with have been so amazing. I was welcomed as part of their families.”

She began college visits with the children when they were in third grade to show there are many types of campuses, school dynamics and locales. “The light bulb moment when one of the students could see themselves there changes how they go about their day-to-day life,” she says. There were less glamorous parts of her job, of course, including taking a student to Louisa County for the SAT because there was no other ride and wait while he completed the test.

“I love what I get to do—making policy and programs that will change the dynamic for these families,” she says, including the trip to Louisa. “I love that that’s part of my job.”

Lloyd says she makes a concerted effort to take care of herself spiritually through her church, physically and emotionally. She made a pact with herself that she would do some exercise every day. “It was non-negotiable,” she notes. “And I have wonderful family and friends that are so supportive.”

Now that her students are no longer in high school, she’ll be transitioning out of her role as overseer, and is starting to look to what the next stage will entail. “I’ve always wanted to live abroad,” Lloyd says. She notes she’ll do something in education and with youth and visited Haiti in January as a possible location to continue her work.

While she’s excited about the future, she said she would love to see the I Have a Dream Foundation continue in the area, though there are other programs in which people can get involved with.

“There are tons of really amazing things happening; call and ask how you can volunteer or what supplies they need,” she says.

The response to this award has again been tremendous and we are humbled to learn about 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 fourth 4 Under 40 Awards later this year on the website.


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