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Sheila Lirio Marcelo


201 Jones Rd., Waltham, 877-227-3115, 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo’s online megacompany,, was inspired by a dilemma she faced when she was a young mother juggling the care of her Filipino parents with that of her kids. “I was sandwiched at an early age; it was a challenge to find trusted care. I knew this had to be an issue for other families.” A technology executive, Marcelo decided to harness the power of the Internet to create solutions for families. In 2007, Marcelo launched, which enables users to locate caregivers—including child care, senior care, tutoring, housekeeping, and pet care providers.

Fast forward to 2013. The Walthambased is now an online kingdom— a caregiving industry site with more than 8.8 million members spread across 16 countries. Marcelo has been featured in major media outlets, has received numerous prestigious awards, and, of course, has her own Wikipedia page.

When asked what advice the super entrepreneur would give other women, she replies, “Let go of the perception of perfection. Make choices for your family and career that work for you.”

Laura J. Cervizzi, P.C.

Founder, Cervizzi & Associates

350 Park St., North Reading; 100 Cummings Ctr. Beverly; 60 State St., Boston, 978-276-0777,

In 2002, after 20 years as a domestic relations litigator—including the position of Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County—Laura Cervizzi established a boutique-style law firm. “Boutique” because the practice concentrates on one area of law (family law) and because her tony offices befit Boston’s Newbury Street. Another distinction? The law firm is made up of all female associates. “I want to give women the opportunity to grow their practices and still have time to be mothers,” says the mother of two. “I want my employees and clients [to be] equally happy.”

The all-woman firm of Cervizzi & Associates represents both male and female clients, taking a total-team approach with each case. “There is no winning in divorce,” cautions Cervizzi, “but we practice legal expertise with compassion, conscience, and values. We’re creative in finding solutions for families.” In her North Reading office, wellappointed with chandelier lamps, elegant furniture, and a cozy fireplace, Cervizzi says she’s compassionate, but no pushover. “I’m a shark when it comes to standing up for my clients.”

Dayla Arabella Santurri

President, Dayla Arabella Inc. ; Co-Founder/Executive Vice President, Boston Women in Media & Entertainment

505 Paradise Rd., Swampscott 781-479-6951,

Dayla Arabella Santurri is an event planner whose clients include professional orchestras, healthcare organizations, higher learning institutions, and hightech companies. In 11 years, Santurri has produced over 200 annual concerts in Boston’s most legendary venues, hosted trips for private groups all over the world, and served as a talent buyer, hiring talent for appearances and performances for myriad organizations. “My clients hire and rehire me because they know I will engage my entire professional toolbox for them as a publicist, talent buyer, event planner, or a trip host,” says the Lynn resident.

Santurri sees welcome changes in her industry. “We are well beyond green events; sponsors want to know how you are responsibly using their gifts and how the event is going to benefit the largest [number] of people. I love that.” Santurri’s advice to budding women entrepreneurs is to “say yes” to opportunities; “fail fast” (when something isn’t working, move on); and “love to learn.”

Karen Hanson

Broker/Owner, By the Sea Sotheby’s International Realty

715 Hale St., Beverly Farms, 978-865-1168

Karen Hanson has always been involved in entrepreneurship, but becoming the owner of a Sotheby’s firm is a jewel in her real estate crown. “I love…having a vision and being responsible for it. I have the freedom to operate my business the way I feel is most effective and innovative in this


A mother of two, Hanson’s position at Sotheby’s is, “The most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life, outside of being a parent.” Hanson is also proud to say this has been a stellar business year. “Our office is selling twice the real estate in dollars per agent as our closest competitors, which are [three to] 10 times as large in terms of the number of agents they manage.”

Hanson feels “at home” in the real estate field. “I adore the concept of what a home means to a family, and having a positive role in that process.”

Michelle Conceison

Founder/Executive Manager, Market Monkeys

P.O. Box 960351, Boston, 888-980-9779

Founded in 2004 in Cambridge, Market Monkeys is a progressive music marketing and management company “dreamed up” by Rowley-based Michelle Conceison. “I named the company for characteristics of actual monkeys—smart, flexible, observant—with a solid track record of evolving,” says self-professed “monkey” Michelle Conceison.

Working now out of a renovated barn in Rowley, Conceison is a respected marketing manager who handles all aspects of her clients’ professional lives. “We are a unique company, built to serve with the future of music in mind. Clients who work with us know they are pioneering the future,” says Conceison. The talent she serves ranges from industry veterans to new independent artists, and is featured in media outlets worldwide. Conceison’s favorite music? “Songs that tell a story. Give me a lyric that slays—that’s the way to my heart.”

Paula Leed

Co-president, Royal Jewelers

58 Main St., Andover, 978-475-3330,

Growing up in Andover, Paula Leed had strong role models. “My mother and grandmother owned a Boston antiques business, while my father founded and ran Royal Jewelers. My work ethic came through osmosis,” says Leed, who is copresident with her brother, Steve, of the hugely successful Royal Jewelers. The award-winning business outperforms the majority of independent, single-store jewelers across the country and has a global customer base. “We have Royal shoppers on every continent,” says Leed.

Leed is a dynamo who brings a Park Avenue vibe to Royal’s boutique-style “store within a store” and follows her late father’s philosophy: “The people who walk through the door are more valuable than the jewelry we offer.”

A successful woman in a male-dominated industry, the innovative jewelry designer and entrepreneur has learned to “know when to say ‘no’” and to follow her instincts. Leed has her choice of the finest je welry in the world, but believes: “The women you surround yourself with are your best assets.”

Sheila Duncan

Founder/Co-creator, Trouble the Dog

P.O. Box 1272, Marblehead, 781-631-0887,

After retiring as the owner of Marblehead’s famous bar, Maddie’s, Sheila Duncan decided to “start a little trouble.” In 2007, Duncan and her niece came up with Trouble the Dog— a lovable stuffed animal that comforts children  experiencing their own troubles, like bullying, a divorce in the family, illness, etc. To date, 3,000 Trouble Plush Dogs and Here’s Trouble books, hundreds of Trouble Doghouses, and other related items have been manufactured. “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many Trouble Plush Dogs and books I’ve donated,” says Duncan.

Trouble the Dog has soothed children (and adults) globally. The comfort item with the motto “Where There’s Trouble…There’s Hope” has been presented to victims of the Haiti earthquake, the Boston Marathon bombing, the tragedy in Newtown, and in children’s hospitals and nursing homes around the country.

Duncan has high hopes for Trouble. “In less than five years, I see [it] as a universal symbol of hope and a household name with his very own animated television show, entertaining children around the world.”