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<strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong><br />

Women in Charge<br />

thelma castillo<br />


I<br />

from the editor<br />

I’ve spent the greater part of my adult life being in charge of an army of one: Me.<br />

Because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life -- up until fairly recently -- single,<br />

every decision I have ever made was all about moving my little army, small as it was,<br />

forward. This has particularly been the case with my working life. Though I spent<br />

the first 20 years of my career as an employee working for Da Man, at the end of<br />

2002, I left Corporate America to work for myself.<br />

When I made this decision, I didn’t have to answer to a board of directors. I didn’t<br />

have to explain to a spouse any of the details -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- of<br />

what I earned versus what I spent.<br />

I feel very fortunate to have survived the sometimes bumpy road of selfemployment.<br />

As a marketing consultant, I help other businesses. There can be no greater joy, in<br />

my line of work, than creating something that helps another business or organization<br />

move forward. I am a creative person who is able to work in a creative field doing<br />

work that I enjoy.<br />

There can be no greater agony<br />

than waking up at 3 a.m., sorting<br />

through my finances in my head<br />

and worrying about paying the bills<br />

next month or the month after.<br />

Anyone out there who is selfemployed<br />

can relate.<br />

However, through the ups and<br />

downs of financial worry and gain,<br />

self-employment has been good<br />

for me. I’ve stretched farther than<br />

my fingertips can reach. I’ve been<br />

braver than I thought possible in<br />

my little Patti-Cocooned World.<br />

The longer I work for myself, the<br />

more certain I am that it would be<br />

very difficult for me to return to<br />

work in a corporate job. The only<br />

exception I ever consider would<br />

put me in charge -- of everyone<br />

there. I would get to be Da Man.<br />

That is what this issue of Blue<br />

Water Woman is all about: Women<br />

who lead their organizations. I have<br />

dream it and do it! you, too, can climb a<br />

mountain! editor patti samar hiking in zion<br />

national park, utah, summer of 2013. no<br />

longer an army of one, photo was shot<br />

by her partner in crime, husband dale<br />

hemmila.<br />

so much respect for the wisdom<br />

all three of them have. Some are<br />

outgoing personalities, others are<br />

shy, quiet and reflective. What they<br />

prove to me is that leadership does<br />

not have to come with bravado<br />

and splash. It comes by providing<br />

gentle guidance. It doesn’t come<br />

from huffing and puffing and blowing the house down. It comes from allowing staff<br />

-- no matter how big or small -- to be empowered to make decisions.<br />

Most of all, true leaders know themselves well and understand their strengths and<br />

their weaknesses. They are brave enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable and<br />

strong enough to listen to what others have to say.<br />

So whether you are in charge of your own little army of one or you are Da Man<br />

(or maybe you want to be Da Man), buck up, be strong, stand up and stretch. That<br />

is the only way your fingertips will ever reach the stars.<br />

Peace,<br />

content<br />

Thelma Castillo 5<br />

Denise Klieman 6<br />

Susan Bennett 8<br />

advertise<br />

in Blue Water Woman!<br />

it works! just ask our advertisers!<br />

The ad deadline for the next issue of Blue Water Woman<br />

is October 1, <strong>2014</strong>.<br />

Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!<br />

Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;<br />

sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!<br />

What a deal!<br />

For more information, contact Patti Samar at 810-987-1256<br />

or email her at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

volume 4, number 3 <strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong><br />

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,<br />

3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.<br />

Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company<br />

Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:<br />

Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060<br />

News releases can be emailed to pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Questions or comments?<br />

Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256<br />

Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication<br />

for women living, working and playing<br />

in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.<br />

Its stories and features are written and designed<br />

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.<br />

www.BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

© Blue Water Woman is the property<br />

of Patti Samar of The Write Company<br />

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design and marketing<br />

consultation firm. View our online portfolio at:<br />

www.TheWriteCompany.net<br />

Patti Samar<br />

Editor & Publisher<br />

Blue Water Woman<br />

2 <strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

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t Physician HealthCare Network, we know that not all healthcare needs can be scheduled in<br />

advance.<br />

That is why we offer the community three walk-in clinics and two offices with extended hours.<br />

Our offices are located in your neighborhood, close to home.<br />

We also offer specialty care physicians who provide a continuum of care for you and your<br />

family. New patients are always welcome. We believe: Healthy living. Happy family.<br />

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<strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 3

professions<br />

thelma castillo, port huron<br />

When Thelma Castillo moved to the Blue Water Area in the spring<br />

of 2013, she was looking for a lifestyle change. She didn’t know then<br />

that, within a year’s time, she would be responsible for one of the most<br />

visible organizations in the community.<br />

In April, Castillo took the helm as president and CEO of the Blue<br />

Water Area Chamber of Commerce. Castillo, who previously lived in<br />

the metro Detroit area, last year moved to Sanilac County with her<br />

husband to be closer to his family.<br />

“I came up here knowing I didn’t have a job,” she said. “I came here<br />

because we were making a life decision change.”<br />

After years of living in an urban setting, the couple -- he is a Detroit<br />

firefighter -- decided that a slower pace of life in a country setting was<br />

appealing.<br />

Fast forward to this past spring when Castillo -- who previously spent<br />

18 years working for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce<br />

-- took the helm at the Blue Water Area Chamber.<br />

“Chamber work is fun, exciting and passionate work,” she said.<br />

During her tenure at the Detroit chamber, she was exposed to many<br />

facets of the industry. A lawyer, Castillo initially began her career at<br />

the chamber working in human resources and operations. She was also<br />

involved in advancing technology and lobbying.<br />

4 <strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Building relationships<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

Since she has taken the helm, Castillo has spent a lot of time<br />

building relationships with individuals and other organizations in the<br />

community that help foster a healthy economic climate in the area.<br />

“People have been very open and wanting to work with the<br />

chamber,” she said of her initiation into the community. “I’ve made<br />

some in-roads that will help move the region forward.”<br />

She has been working closely with the Economic Development<br />

Alliance of St. Clair County to help build a skilled workforce.<br />

“If you don’t really have a good talent skill level within the<br />

community, it is hard to attract businesses to come here,” she said.<br />

“This is a great destination in terms of tourism, but we need to do more<br />

in terms of attracting people who want to move here to work and live<br />

and play here.”<br />

She said that the Blue Water Area Chamber has an excellent<br />

foundation, built on a strong membership that likes to be involved.<br />

“We have great volunteers that really support the chamber,” she said.<br />

“We have a good core membership and I want to work on capturing<br />

more like them.<br />

“And most of all, I really want the state to know what we have to offer<br />

in the Blue Water Area.”

<strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 5

professions<br />

denise klieman, fort gratiot<br />

caring for<br />

the community<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

6 <strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

It was inevitable that Denise Klieman would end up working in a field<br />

that specializes in helping people.<br />

The daughter of a Detroit firefighter and a nurse, Klieman didn’t<br />

choose a direct path into healthcare as her mother did, but she grew up<br />

to become the chief operating officer for Physician HealthCare Network,<br />

the largest independent physician practice in the Blue Water Area.<br />

Klieman took the helm at PHCN in 2012 when she was promoted<br />

from manager of financial services to chief operating officer. She has a<br />

strong work ethic and she leads by example. She believes in rolling up her<br />

sleeves and getting in the trenches with her staff.<br />

“You have to be in the weeds with them,” she said. “You have got to be<br />

in there working with the people who work for you.”<br />

Klieman, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, has always enjoyed<br />

working with numbers.<br />

“I knew I wanted to be an accountant since tenth grade,” she said.<br />

“Accounting was easy for me. I could just do it.”<br />

She moved to the Blue Water Area in 1984 after marrying her husband<br />

who was from the area. She raised three daughters while working and<br />

going to school to finish her degree. Her ability to multi-task and juggle<br />

the various components of her life and her job have served her well since<br />

taking the lead with a large healthcare organization, particularly during<br />

this era of great change in the healthcare industry.<br />

“As a practice manager, you cannot just oversee it all now,” she said.<br />

“You have to learn about every aspect of the business. There’s human<br />

resources, there is accounting…there is so much more to being a practice<br />

manager now. The healthcare industry is constantly changing.”<br />

Klieman is very proud of the fact that PHCN has earned two<br />

prestigious designations from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in<br />

the past several years. Ten of the PHCN practice sites have been named<br />

Patient-Centered Medical Home sites and most recently were awarded<br />

the Organized Systems of Care designation.<br />

Patients should understand that those designations mean the practice<br />

management has proven its ability to manage a patient’s continuum of<br />

care, said Klieman. This is important so that a patient does not get lost in<br />

the shuffle.<br />

“We do very well with Organized Systems of Care,” she said. She<br />

credited the medical staff at PHCN with making that a priority to ensure<br />

the highest level of patient care. “We have very, very good doctors. They<br />

care. They approach their patients by thinking, ‘That’s my family in<br />

there.’”<br />

Though she takes great pride in her organization’s ability to manage<br />

patient care, she noted with the implementation of the Affordable<br />

Care Act, consumers have a responsibility to take charge of their own<br />

healthcare, as well.<br />

Because everyone can now be insured and the Affordable Care Act calls<br />

for coverage of many significant preventative health measures, Klieman<br />

noted that healthcare is shifting from reacting to illness to preventing<br />

illness in the first place or managing it before it becomes significantly<br />

detrimental to a patient’s health.<br />

“Patients have to be responsible for their care and their health,” she said.<br />

“With the new healthcare, you’re paying for your insurance coverage, so<br />

you should get the service you deserve.”<br />

Quiet and reflective, Klieman is passionate about helping others by<br />

providing a health system in the community that will work for them and<br />

provide a strong continuum of care.<br />

“I do believe in the concept of a multi-specialty medical group,” she<br />

said. “Healthcare is not about the paycheck. It’s about helping people.<br />

And we have doctors who believe in that.”

<strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 7

professions<br />

susan bennett, port huron<br />

living history<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

Chat with Susan Bennett for just five minutes and she will gush on<br />

and on about the wide variety of activity taking place at the Port Huron<br />

Museum and its satellite locations at the Huron Lightship, the Fort<br />

Gratiot Light Station and the Thomas Edison Depot Museum.<br />

And in the next five minutes she will heap praise upon the museum’s<br />

board of directors, its volunteers and its staff and keep none of the credit<br />

for herself.<br />

Bennett has been employed with the museum since 2009 and now<br />

serves as its executive director. A key to her success in her leadership role is<br />

that she thrives on the energy and enthusiasm of the museum staff and its<br />

volunteers.<br />

“Our board is incredible and supportive,” she said. “We have only six<br />

full-time staff members, so they are very busy people.”<br />

As the executive director, Bennett is responsible for the museum’s<br />

financial stability, its marketing and fundraising, among many other varied<br />

duties.<br />

“I love the variety in the job,” she said. “Every phone call is a new<br />

project. I’m either finishing up a newsletter or a postcard, or I’m shopping<br />

at Joann’s for items needed for a special event.”<br />

No one is more surprised than Bennett that her career landed her in a<br />

position at a museum. She spent much of her professional career serving as<br />

a manufacturer’s representative in the retail industry. Though she doesn’t<br />

have a professional background in all things historical, her appreciation for<br />

the museum’s mission is obvious.<br />

“The museum is human contact with our past,” she said. “As a society,<br />

we worry about technology taking over. You visit a museum and you’re<br />

looking an expert in the eye and that interaction can be sadly lacking in<br />

other areas of our lives.<br />

“We’re storytellers…we tell stories and sometimes we have great pieces of<br />

old stuff to help tell our story.”<br />

Bennett notes that, in terms of her leadership at the museum, she is most<br />

proud of the fact that, under her guidance, the museum has weathered<br />

-- and survived -- some very difficult financially turbulent times.<br />

“I’m most proud of the fact that we’re solvent and that we accomplished<br />

that without major upheaval,” she said.<br />

She noted that the two events of which she is most proud include the<br />

“Storm of 1913” anniversary that the museum produced on its own in<br />

2013, and Sandfest, which took place at the Fort Gratiot Light Station in<br />

2013 and <strong>2014</strong>.<br />

“The Storm of 1913 was a wonderful collaboration with other<br />

organizations that helped us tell our story,” she said. “It brought more than<br />

10,000 visitors over four months. We had descendants here from as far<br />

away as Tennessee. It was such a great story and it was our story to tell.”<br />

Sandfest, she noted, was produced primarily by the Friends of the Fort<br />

Gratiot Light, as a fundraiser. The event brought visitors from across the<br />

state of Michigan and beyond. “The committee handled all of it,” she said.<br />

“It is something to be really proud of. To build that from nothing is an<br />

indication of their dedication.<br />

“It brought all of these ‘new friends’ here and I’m sure many of them will<br />

be back to visit the Blue Water Area.”<br />

Though “economic development” is not in her formal job description,<br />

Bennett understands the impact the museum has on the local economy<br />

and embraces that part of her job, along with every other facet.<br />

“I’m incredibly lucky,” she said. “I never don’t want to come to work.”<br />

8 <strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

<strong>fall</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 9

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