Join the Movement

Mentoring Women’s Network is starting a movement to Pass the Torch for Women. Women and men around the world will pledge to support women professionally by taking the pledge and joining a community. This movement starts with YOU. By “Passing the Torch for Women”, you are declaring you want to make an impact by mentoring, inspiring, and empowering other women. Tell us why it matters to you and share this campaign with others. Together, we will create a lasting impact.


Our Mission


    The Mentoring Women’s Network Foundation is a 501c3 organization who exists as a community of empowered women developing one another professionally through mentoring relationships.  By joining our mentoring program, you are becoming part of the community of women supporting women.

    A world of equal opportunities for women in professional environments.  We will accomplish by creating the largest and most effective mentoring program for women in the world.

    We build meaningful partnerships with like-minded organizations who believe in the vision of women supporting women in a mentoring capacity and the value of creating access to those resources.  Our curriculum-based training helps develop leadership skills, while our access to certified mentors helps women garner knowledge and perspective from other women in one on one mentoring sessions.

    Your generous support enables us to facilitate this mentoring program for women, create scholarship opportunities, and continue to expand our resource offerings to achieve our vision of a world of equal opportunities for women in professional environments.  We are creating the largest and most effective mentoring program for women in the nation. Working together, we will create access to programs and resources to support women and allow them to achieve their leadership potential.

    By supporting or participating in our programs, you are helping to Pass the Torch for Women and are making a lasting impact in the lives of women. Together, we will change the world.  Join our fundraising team here.

    Donate Now!





    Watch the video to learn more about the benefits of Mentoring Women’s Network membership, including access to the professional mentoring program before applying.  Our mentoring program consists of a training and certification program and a software that aids in matching and scheduling mentoring sessions with women anywhere – by phone or by Skype.  Sharpen your skills by participating as a mentor and share your knowledge and experience with other women, and connect for 1:1 mentoring sessions with other women to expand your professional relationships with women in a variety of industries.

    Membership in Mentoring Women’s Network grants you instant access to our exclusive online directory and monthly live webinars, leadership development trainings, and live events across the country.  This program was created to provide you with access to expand your network and create long-lasting relationships. Your annual participation fee enables you to connect with up to four different mentors per year for monthly personal sessions, webinar trainings to help you develop your leadership skills, and events in cities nationwide.

    To participate in the program, you must join us as a member.

    Once you sign up via the link below, a member of our team will contact you to get you started on this journey.

    I like being a mentor because I want to help women, especially women who are in the process of starting a business.  I hope to help them avoid common pitfalls experienced in the startup phase of a business.  I gain fresh perspectives and ideas from each mentoring conversation.  The MWN virtual mentoring system makes it extremely easy to form mentoring relationships.

    Karen Zwick, Training CEO

    I have had the privilege of having some great mentors throughout my life and I couldn’t imagine where I would be without them, so my decision to become a certified mentor with the Mentoring Women’s Network was an easy one.  The virtual mentoring program they have developed is by far one of the best mentoring programs I have seen.  This virtual mentoring provides you with the opportunity to have a mentor or mentee geographically anywhere, not just located in your own city and state.

    Deborah Farrar, Publications

    I have been extremely fortunate with the mentoring relationships that I’ve had throughout my career. Not only have my mentors been able to point me in the right directions, but they’ve been able to help me develop the skills needed to confidently take that next step on my career path and in some cases help me realize that the skills were already there. I know that my success has increased as a result of their involvement. I am thrilled to be able to pay that forward, and am very excited about the opportunities that MWN provides so that I serve as a certified mentor and continue my learning as a mentee.

    Brianna Johnson, Healthcare

    Although it is supposed to be and is very much a professional relationship, I often feel like my mentors have guided me not only on the ins and outs of my career but also provided invaluable information on balancing work and family, how to deal (and participate in) office politics, how to dress, etc. My mentors do not sugar coat their advice and are blunt and direct when needing to be without being unprofessional. This has given me the confidence I needed to reach for and obtain a position with more responsibility. This is a prime example of Passing the Torch and I look forward to continued connections to more mentors though MWN.

    Michelle Burnett, Retail

    Mentoring to me is critical in seeking objective views on situations, career path, and even perceived or real road blocks.   Sometimes it is your mentor who helps you through a tough situation that has upside when over and done.  Without your mentor, you may not have stuck it out.  We all need a reliable and trusted person to engage in such discussions.  What is great about the virtual mentoring, is that for those who do not have willing mentors available to them, this is an easy and safe place to find such a person.

    Cathy Weaver, Healthcare



    Become a Partner



    Learn more about the becoming a corporate program partner with Mentoring Women’s Network to offer a mentoring program to women in your company. By combining onsite training with access to quality mentors, you can create or enhance your women’s leadership initiatives and link it to real outcomes. Contact us to learn more!

    Learn More About Becoming a Program Partner

    Hear What Our Partners are Saying


    Here are some of our clients




    Who We Are


    National Board

    Kay Whitaker

    Kay Whitaker

    National Board Chairperson

    Kay is a founding partner of One Torch Fund, investing in early stage companies with a “gender lens” – an approach that serves as a “viewfinder” for identifying opportunities to increase ROI by having a woman on the senior executive team with a meaningful equity stake in the company.

    As a senior executive, entrepreneur and successful investor, she has focused on growth companies and has experience in all the business life cycles in both private and public companies. Most recently she took First Internet Bancorp public by executing on a successful capital strategy culminating in an IPO. She was COO of Citizens Energy Ventures which held a portfolio of operating entities. Kay’s first successful exit was at Golden Care, a woman led health care equipment provider (acquired by Sun Health). She co-founded the Indianapolis office of Grameen America, an international micro-financing program for women. As an investor, Kay consistently delivered top quartile performance in managing the Central Indiana Community Foundation endowment conducting due diligence and ongoing monitoring of its significant investment portfolio. Kay was named CFO of the Year by the Indiana Business Journal in December 2012. She was one of the first women to join PriceWaterhouseCoopers Indianapolis office specializing in financial services, health care, energy and entrepreneurial organizations.

    In addition to serving as the National Board Chairperson for the Mentoring Women’s Network Foundation, she is also the Treasurer of Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership which provides financial education and other programs that lead to homeownership. She graduated from Indiana University with both her masters and undergraduate degrees in business.  Contact Kay today!

    Patricia Roe

    Patricia Roe

    Board Member

    Patricia Roe has served as Senior Program Officer in the access and outreach department for the last several years. Her role focuses on increasing success in higher education, by working collaboratively locally and nationally with entities, to develop strategies which serve to support college success and completion for students and adult learners. In this work she interfaces with consultants, policy and principal investigators as well as with colleagues from other foundations to support institutions of higher education and best in class community based organizations. Ms. Roe has been instrumental in getting community, foundation and corporate leaders to increase their philanthropic giving in support of higher education by leveraging USA Funds philanthropic dollars. This background is instrumental in the work she will assume for USA Funds as Senior Program Director of Community Relations.

    Ms. Roe is currently the USA Funds liaison with national scholarship organizations such as Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Asian Pacific Island American Scholarship Fund.

    In her spare time, Ms. Roe can be found in her church, Phillips Temple CME, working as a mentor with young ladies in the Church and community, working with students and their families to identify and determine the best institutions and financial options for PSE, and providing counseling to students on the importance of education and making positive choices in their lives.

    Dottie Gandy

    Dottie Gandy

    Board Member

    Dottie Gandy is a seasoned professional with successful careers as an author, speaker, business owner, management consultant, facilitator and women’s advocate. Dottie is the founder of The Up to Something Group in Dallas, TX, whose members choose to be intentional about designing the lives they want – and create extraordinary results in the process and the co-founder of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She has successfully led teams, provided many keynote presentations and facilitated a wide range of business-related topics. She has chosen to “rewire” rather than “retire” by recently accepting her new role as the Market Director for the Mentoring Women’s Network in the Dallas, TX area.

    Natalie Guzman

    Natalie Guzman

    Board Member

    Natalie Guzman is a Marketing, Public Relations and Business Development Executive successful at providing the vision, strategies and leadership required to build reputation and brand for the sixth largest contributing affiliate in company. She is an innovative strategic leader with experience transforming concepts into high impact results. In addition, Natalie has a proven record in development and execution of winning marketing strategies that drive profitability and growth while positively impacting the bottom line. She has notable success in developing programs that differentiate the organization from its competition.

    Darla Beggs

    Darla Beggs

    Board Member

    Darla Beggs holds a degree from Scottsdale Community College, where she graduated with honors. Her broad business experience includes consulting with HR professionals to evaluate and establish effective managed care plans with a focus on cost effectiveness coupled with employee satisfaction and retention. Darla has held positions in account management, marketing, and benefits administration leadership. She has succeeded in balancing the needs of the employee population with cost-effective solutions for business clients to provide solutions that provide a “win-win” solution at every turn.

    Howard J. Ross

    Howard J. Ross

    Board Member

    Howard J. Ross is a builder of innovations in the field of diversity and inclusion and a unifier of people, organizations, and causes. He is founder & Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross Inc. and an advisor to major global educational, corporate, philanthropic, and governmental organizations. Through his unique combination of a personal and system-focused approach, Howard is an advocate for high-performing organizational cultures that advance people, performance, and profits. He is the author of ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance.

    Melissa Greenwell

    Melissa Greenwell

    Board Member

    Melissa Greenwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, leads human resources, communications and corporate social responsibility initiatives for Finish Line Inc., a national specialty athletic retailer. Melissa has applied her expertise in the design and development of organizations in many industries to help create high performance companies. Her career includes senior human resource leadership positions with Sallie Mae, Brightpoint North America, JP Morgan Chase, Oak Street Mortgage and Made2Manage Systems.

    Staff and Market Directors

    Alison Martin-Books

    Alison Martin-Books


    With impressive background work and roughly 17 years in nonprofit work, Alison Martin-Books has a passion for doing work that makes a difference in the lives of others.

    After serving as Executive Director at two different national nonprofit organizations, her commitment to her passion for developing female talent led her launch Mentoring Women’s Network and the Mentoring Women’s Network Foundation.  She is also the author of the book, “Landing on My Feet: Learning to Lead Through Mentoring” and speaks regularly on behalf of the organization. Contact Alison today!

    Tina Imperial

    Samantha Lawson

    Director of Corporate Partnerships

    As a founder of a non-profit, author, and motivational speaker, Samantha harbors deep passion for giving back to the world through inspiration and motivation. Her journey, thus far, has led her to the wonderful opportunity of working for Mentoring Women’s Network as the Director of Corporate Partnerships. Samantha values the notion of leveraging opportunity for women in the workplace and hopes to make a difference by helping women live their full potential through mentoring relationships.

    With a high-energy and persistent personality, Samantha will be developing the corporate market in order to utilize the resources that Mentoring Women’s Network has to offer women of all ages. While harboring and maintaining relationships are at the top of her agenda, Samantha is up to the challenge of wearing different hats and trying new things- perhaps even skydiving one day!  Contact Samantha today!

    Elcira Villarreal

    Senior Consultant, Indianapolis

    Dr. Elcira Villarreal was born in Colon, Republic of Panama. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas and received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Oregon State University. She spent more than 25 years in advanced roles in the pharmaceutical industry and has a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience to help advance other women leaders. In her role, she consults with organizations to align strategies to support this.  Contact Elcira today!

    Madelyn Zalon

    Madelyn Zalon

    Executive Assistant

    Madelyn spent the majority of her career as a Quality Assurance professional working for major retailers such as Lane Bryant, Sears, Montgomery Ward and Brylane where she developed and ran their quality control programs. After spending over 30 years in this field she switched to the non-profit world using her successful organizational skills in an administrative capacity. Madelyn is on the board of the Carmel Green Initiative and spends much of her time on her passion for helping the environment through educational programs in the community.  Madelyn and her husband, John are avid cyclists.  Contact Madelyn today!

    Toni Widman

    Toni Widman

    Fort Wayne Market Director

    Toni Widman is the CEO of Women’s Executive Search Group. An industry expert with more than 20 years of successful experience in full life cycle Recruiting and Business Development, Toni Widman has a proven ability to foster relationships with C-Suite and senior executives in the Financial, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Non Profit and Retail Industries.

    Toni co-founded Women’s Executive  Search, an Executive search firm specializing in placement of Executives (including Presidents, CFOs, CEOs, COO’s Division Presidents, VPs of Operations, and Director level positions) in a variety of Industries. She has successfully completed hundreds of successful searches, helping professionals grow and advance in their careers.

    Toni offers both clients and candidates exceptional professional service, absolute confidentiality, and the most ethical values in executive search.  For almost 20 years, Toni has guided the careers of many candidates; helping them with their career transitions.  Toni has developed an exceptional background in people and project management and a professional style based on excellent interpersonal communications and has an ability to make the best use of her personal network.

    Contact Toni today or learn more about upcoming events in Fort Wayne.

    Kim Kelly

    Kim Kelley

    Market Director for Houston, TX

    Kim has over 34 years of professional business experience in various positions and industries. Her background includes Administrative/Office Management, Human Resources Management, and Financial Services. Her HR career includes generalist/employee relations management positions at large companies like Mercer and Equifax, as well as two start-up companies.

    Kim changed careers in 2005 and is now a financial services representative with Wealth Design Group, LLC helping individuals and business owners establish strategies to fulfill financial goals and stay financially organized and balanced. She also specializes in providing a wide array of business owner, executive and employee benefit solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses.

    She is very involved in the woman business owner market and has a heart to help women succeed and fulfill their life calling, whether they own a business or are on a corporate career track. She knows that identifying and utilizing mentors and “cheerleaders” that support and encourage us as we progress is absolutely critical to our success.

    Kim has a history of serving on non-profit and professional boards, as well as serving on various committees and ministry projects. She is the current President of the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and was NAWBO’s “Woman of Excellence” honoree in 2010. She is a charter member of the Houston Lady Lions Club and is very involved in her church.

    Kim has a MA in Human Resources Management and a BBA in Personnel Administration.

    Susan Tolles

    Susan Tolles

    Market Director, Austin, TX

    Susan Tolles is the Founder of The Flourishing Life™ and Flourish Over 50® and a Certified Life Purpose Coach® whose clients surround the globe. Her expert guidance leads women to celebrate their unique value, follow their life’s purpose and live authentically from the inside out. Susan is a passionate advocate for professional women, equipping and motivating them to envision more and reach higher, building a career they love without sacrificing their personal wellbeing. Through Susan’s dynamic coaching programs, workshops and keynote speeches, she embodies her own life purpose “to inspire and empower women to flourish from the inside out.”

    Anne East

    Anne East

    Market Director, San Francisco

    Anne is a forward-thinking, social innovator with more than 20 years experience managing fund development programs for social service organizations, such as the March of Dimes. Her experienced includes all aspects of nonprofit development; from the identification and qualification of donors, to grant writing and administration. Anne’s funding strategies and programs have delivered over $10 million to social service causes to date.

    Most recently, Anne served as CEO and Founder of AED Events where she engaged in event planning and management consultancy for social service organizations. AED Events built ongoing strategic relationships throughout the volunteer community and delivered over 100 events with budgets ranging from $10,000 to $600,000.

    Anne continues her affiliation with several service and professional development organizations, including: National Association of Business Women, Association of Junior Leagues International, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Meeting Planners Association, Business Civic Leadership Center, AARP Women’s Leadership Circle, Cause Marketing Forum, and Center for Nonprofit Success.

    Anne holds a Bachelor of Science degree from William Woods University, and a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Lesley University.

    Annette Tirabasso

    Atlanta Market Director

    Annette is an experienced advisor to the highest levels of executives. Her expertise results in value creation in strategy and operations, business transformation, and the advancement and retention of women. Annette engages and works effectively with diverse cultures and management teams using creative problem solving skills. She is a former Partner from Deloitte Consulting who served in numerous industry, geography, and service line leadership roles. She is currently an independent consultant, coach, and business advisor and board member of OnBoard, the leading authority and catalyst for women in the boardroom. Annette has 30 years of experience across multiple industries and positions of influence at financial services and healthcare companies selling, advising and delivering measurable results within budget.

    She is a sought after speaker on topics of business transformation, the retention and advancement of women and most recently two of her programs called “Selling to Women” and “Creating Purposeful Life Plans”. Annette was a Task Force Member for the creation of the first Executive Women’s Day at The TOUR Championship sponsored by Coca-Cola, the PGA Tour and the Eastlake Foundation. She was also recognized for her leadership and people development skills as a recipient of the “Woman of Inspiration”
    award from the City of Atlanta.







    Contact US


    Mentoring Women’s Network

    202 East Market Street

    Indianapolis, IN  46204



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