Steps to Success

Steps to Success

October 5-8, 2020

Steps to Success is the annual signature event of the Frederick Women’s Business Network…and it’s virtual this year! From its earliest beginnings, the vision and purpose of this event is to connect professional women and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The WBN seeks out the best facilitators who lead group discussions in a wide variety of topics that include business growth initiatives, women’s health, and personal development. In these zoom sessions, you will find yourself with like-minded women who support your desire for self-improvement. The daily session consists of one or two speakers with group discussion designed to INFORM each woman with tangible tools to accelerate the growth they desire.

For our 13th annual Steps to Success event, our Keynote Speaker is Sarah Hempel Irani, Artist and Owner of Hempel Studios. Sarah will discuss her work on The Claire McCardell Project. Claire McCardell is a Frederick fashion icon from the 1940’s innovating women’s clothing in ways that we now take for granted! You will not want to miss this!

Additional speakers and topics include:

As an integral member of the virtual summit, you will have the opportunity to ENCOURAGE your peers by sharing your insight around the experience you bring to the group’s focus. You will receive the SUPPORT you need to move forward as you take your next STEPS TO SUCCESS!

Registration Opens Friday, August 7, 2020


Until Steps to Success Starts!

Keynote Speaker

Monday, October 5th, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Sarah Hempl Irani

"Shattering the Bronze Ceiling"

Sarah cannot wait to share her work on The Claire McCardell Project, “Shattering the Bronze Ceiling” by putting a monumental woman on a pedestal. She will discuss the process from clay to bronze, as well as why it is significant for Frederick to honor Claire McCardell in this way.

Claire McCardell was not just a fashion designer. She changed the way American women see themselves and innovated in ways that we now take for granted such as:
• She placed closures on the sides or front of dresses so that women could dress themselves.
• She rejected stiff, uncomfortable foundation garments with the belief that women should be able to move freely in their clothing, while also looking fabulous.
• She observed that men looked comfortable with their hands in their pockets and slacks were more practical at times than dresses.

When the head designer of the fashion house where she worked saw her wearing the clothes that she had made, he brought her onto the design team. After he died suddenly, she finished the collection, and it was a huge success. She had integrity and a sense of purpose in making quality garments that fit and offered freedom of movement. Her clothes gave women independence.

As Sarah has gotten to know Claire, throughout the course of this project, she has come to admire Claire not only for how she transformed our wardrobes, but more so for how Claire McCardell committed herself to her craft no matter the barriers. She worked with humility and a genuine confidence, not a haughty certainty, but a knowing that she was leaning in to her calling. As women of action, we can all take this ethos into our own work, as designers, realtors, CEOs, accountants, retail store owners, etc. The work we do is not about mere acquisition, opportunism, or seeking acclaim for its own sake. When we press into our individual callings, doing our work with excellence and integrity we make ourselves flourish and the world a better place.

Sarah Hempel Irani has been sculpting figures in clay for more than 20 years, creating sacred and public art that celebrates what it is to be human. Originally from Michigan, she moved to the Washington Metro area to apprentice with Jay Hall Carpenter, former artist-in-residence at the Washington National Cathedral. She assisted him on a project that included twelve saints and holy people for a church in the Chicago suburbs, in addition to a larger-than-life-size bronze monument of the former comptroller of Maryland, Louis Goldstein.

When it was time to branch out on her own, she teamed up with another young sculptor to create fourteen 4’ x 2’ bas-relief Stations of the Cross for Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Potomac, Maryland. Once they were installed, Our Lady of Mercy commissioned Sarah to create two larger-than-life-size marble sculptures depicting The Virgin Annunciate and St. Joseph, the Carpenter. She articulated the clay sculptures in her studio, then sent the plaster casts to a marble carving studio to be cut in stone. She traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy, where she was introduced to Italian carving culture as she worked with the multi-generational Studio Antognazzi.

Sarah went on to earn a Master of Arts in Humanities from Hood College, with a concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Her thesis focused on the intersection of the artist, the patron, and the community in the commissioning of the Misericordia Polyptych by Italian Renaissance Master, Piero della Francesca. Sarah has also contributed sculpture to national shows and has done more than a dozen portraits for museum displays around the country. She has received several awards, including the Maryland Arts Council Individual Artist Award.

In 2009, she and her husband moved to Northwest Pennsylvania. After adopted their daughter, Sarah took time off from commissioned sculpture. During her time there, the local economic development office asked her to launch a 501(c)3 arts nonprofit; the new organization opened an arts center in 2014. While the work was incredibly rewarding, Sarah was eager to get her hands in the clay again.

Sarah moved back to Frederick with her family in 2015. She is currently creating a larger-than-life-size bronze sculpture of renowned fashion designer, Claire McCardell, for Carroll Creek Linear Park. The Frederick Art Club commissioned the work in celebration of their 120-year anniversary with plans for an unveiling in May 2021. This project is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate what is good and noble about humanity, as these qualities were embodied in the life of this creative, innovative, and hardworking woman.

You can find Sarah elbow deep in clay at her studio at the Griffin Art Center, downtown Frederick.

Find Sarah Hempel Irani online:
Hempel Studios
Instagram: @SarahHI
Facebook: /HempelStudios


Tuesday, Oct 6th, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Diane McFarland

"How to Keep Your Business Going During These Uncertain Times"

Diane began her professional career in education after earning a B.S. degree in Elementary Education, being certified in pre-kindergarten – 8th grade. She taught grades pre-K – 8thgrade for 12-plus years, and then obtained a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision. She then spent 17-plus years as an assistant principal in a K-12 (one year) and served as a principal for the remaining years.

After retiring from education, Diane worked in an administrative role and as an appraisal specialist, managing that broker’s office. Having prior experience running and operating a family-owned candy business, she was familiar with sales and the day to day operations of running a business.

Prior to coming on board with the Maryland Small Business Development Center, Diane also worked in retails sales and management at a bridal shop. She has now been with the SBDC as the training manager responsible for the statewide training program for business owners for the past eight years.

Wednesday, Oct 7th, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Dr. Deborah Morrone

"Taking Care of Yourself Should Another Unexpected Event Occur"

Dr. Deborah Morrone (generally known as “Dr. Deb”) has been living and practicing in Frederick, MD since 2002. Her practice, Frederick Chiropractic Wellness Center, utilizes a “whole person” approach to improving health, instead of focusing on managing symptoms and disease with medication and surgery. She enjoys taking care of people of all ages, and getting to know as much about your unique concerns so she can work together with you to get, and keep you, as healthy and active as possible. She loves working with people who take an active role in improving their health, and firmly believes in a “team approach” to healthcare by collaborating with other members of your healthcare team to help you achieve your health goals.

Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport,IA
Hiram College, B.A. in Biology

Professional and Community Associations:
Fredericktowne Rotary – Past President (2012)
ChiroMission – Board of Directors (2012 – Present)
Maryland Jaycees
American Chiropractic Association
Maryland Chiropractic Association
Woman to Woman Mentoring
Women’s Business Network of Frederick

Wednesday, Oct 7th, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Casey Clark

"The New Marketing Normal - What Works in Virtual Times"

A serial entrepreneur, Casey Clark, MBA, M.A., is the Founder and Chief Growth Office of C Clark Consulting (C3), a growth agency in Frederick, MD that serves clients across the nation with a focus on inbound marketing. C3 has helped dozens of companies increase revenue by leading with a helping first mentality.

Casey is a big advocate for personal growth and considers herself a life-long learner as she is constantly taking classes and completing certifications even after earning two master’s degrees. Casey has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master’s of Business Administration, both from Argosy University, as well as a Master’s of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching from Maryland University of Integrative Health. When not improving herself or others, you can find her near the water or enjoying the beauty of nature while hiking or spending time with family.

Influenced by Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry, like them, she measures success not by the money that is made but by the lives that are changed.

Thursday, Oct 8th, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Rachel Philips

"Time Management Tips"

Rachel supports mothers who may feel lost in motherhood and are searching for that missing piece and want to find their passion and purpose. She offers unique one on one coaching and group coaching, and free challenges in her Facebook communities that empower mothers to define the role of Mom that works best for them and allows them to live happily in harmony, creating memories instead of simply surviving motherhood. Women gain the ultimate fulfillment in both motherhood and in themselves and do so totally guilt free. She has a huge place in her heart for fellow boss-moms and believe we can all live the life of our dreams. To attract what we desire and deserve in life it starts with us as the foundation. You get to create the life you love starting with loving yourself.

aka Super Mom

Thursday, Oct 8th, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Maria Lewis

"Goal Setting for 2021"

With expertise in Business Strategy & Planning, Business Operations and Sales, Marketing and Public Relations, Maria is a S.C.O.R.E mentor assisting both Start-Up Businesses and those in Recovery/Transition phases develop goals and strategies for a successful future.

Maria spent the bulk of her career in the hospitality field and has worked with golf courses, restaurants and hotels including Morton’s the Steakhouse, Carmine’s of New York and LMS Business Services. She was a Sales Excellence Award Winner in Wine & Spirit Sales, a NJ Tourism Award winner and is a founding member of ACRNG Networking Group.

In 2017 she relocated to Frederick, MD. She is currently a Chief Judge with the Frederick Election Board and a SCORE Mentor.

Virtual Happy Hour

Thursday, October 8th, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Become a Sponsor!

We are excited to unveil sponsorship opportunities that are designed to be cost effective while maximizing each company’s exposure! We are offering four levels of sponsorships which include valuable promotional benefits. Being a Steps sponsor is a wonderful opportunity for your organization or business to have high visibility for an entire year! We would be honored to partner with your company for this event. We encourage you to review the sponsorship options and to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

2019 Steps to Success Sponsors

See what past participants are saying...

Reserve your space Today!


Until Steps to Success Starts!

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