Seagrave-Whittle heads PBN 2021 Business Women honorees

PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS announced its honorees for the 2021 Business Women Awards program.
PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS announced its honorees for the 2021 Business Women Awards program.

PROVIDENCE – Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island Chief Marketing Officer Brenda Seagrave-Whittle has been selected by Providence Business News as this year’s Career Achievement winner among local businesswomen, heading a group of 28 honorees in the 2021 Business Women Awards program.

The annual program recognizes leading women in various business, government and nonprofit sectors and their work for their respective organizations. Seagrave-Whittle and this year’s Outstanding Mentor, Tracy McCaughey, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island managing director of compliance and ethics and corporate compliance officer, are among 16 industry leaders and women to watch, along with 12 achievement honorees, unveiled on Friday.

Career Achievement: Brenda Seagrave-Whittle

During her two decades at Neighborhood Health Plan, Seagrave-Whittle was critical in helping implement the federal Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island. She played a key role in Neighborhood expanding Medicaid to childless adults and developing new health insurance options for those who could not get such policies from their employers. Her efforts brought more than 40,000 members into Neighborhood between 2014 and 2017.

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Outstanding Mentor: Tracy McCaughey

McCaughey serves as the executive sponsor of Black Council @ Blue, an employee business resource group at Blue Cross. She’s helped multiple employees at the health insurer gain knowledge through professional development and grow within the company. As a board member for the Women’s Resource Center, McCaughey played a critical role in helping the center’s executive director, Jessica Walsh, learn to navigate the intricacies of working with a board for the first time and mentored her through challenging transitions with staff.

Other 2021 PBN Business Women award winners include:

Creative Services Industry Leader

JoEllen Fiorenzano, F.A.F. Inc. CEO and president

Creative Services Woman to Watch

Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing founder

Financial Services Industry Leader

Mary Leach, BankNewport executive vice president of consumer relationships

Financial Services Woman to Watch

Jess Hutchinson, Bank of America Corp. vice president and talent mobility advisor

Government/Quasi-Government Industry Leader

Doris Blanchard, R.I. Commerce Corp. SupplyRI assistant director

Government/Quasi-Government Woman to Watch

Amy Grzybowski, R.I. Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner executive director of R.I. Higher Education & Industry Centers

Health Care Services Industry Leader

Christine Gadbois, CareLink CEO

Health Care Services Woman to Watch

Jessica McCarthy, Care New England Health System vice president of marketing, public relations and communications

Professional Services Industry Leader

Diana Ducharme, Cervenka Green & Ducharme member

Professional Services Woman to Watch

Melissa Shaw, Shaw Search Partners LLC founder and owner

Social Services/Nonprofit Industry Leader

Karina Holyoak Wood, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses executive director

Social Services/Nonprofit Woman to Watch

Meghan Grady, Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island executive director

Technical Services Industry Leader

Rebecca Chhim, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport director of cybersecurity undersea warfare combat system integration for submarines and USW systems

Technical Services Woman to Watch

Andrea Baranyk, Northeast Collaborative Architects LLC principal

The 2021 Achievement Honorees include (listed alphabetically):

  • Cassie Collinson, Cassie’s Can owner
  • Christine Soave Crum, Gentry Moving & Storage owner
  • Lori Duquette, Duquette Family Eye Care Inc. owner
  • Sheryl Guglielmo, DiPrete Engineering Associates Inc. architect
  • Lisa Mattiello, Pranzi Inc. CEO
  • Kelly McShane, The Granny Squibb Co. LLC partner-owner
  • Susan Mocarski, Cleverhood LLC owner and principal designer
  • Carole Ann Penney, Penney Leadership LLC founder
  • Stephanie Robat, FR Engineering Group Inc. owner and president
  • Yemi Sekoni, Donahue Models & Talent LLC owner and director
  • Rita Danielle Steele, Steele Realty Consultants International LLC owner
  • Kaitlyn Szczupak, S&S Transmissions and Auto Repairs Inc. owner

All honorees will be recognized in a virtual ceremony May 27 at noon and will be profiled in a special section appearing in the May 28 issue of PBN. More information can be found by visiting

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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