Women in Charge
from the editor
I’ve spent the greater part of my adult life being in charge of an army of one: Me.
Because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life -- up until fairly recently -- single,
every decision I have ever made was all about moving my little army, small as it was,
forward. This has particularly been the case with my working life. Though I spent
the first 20 years of my career as an employee working for Da Man, at the end of
2002, I left Corporate America to work for myself.
When I made this decision, I didn’t have to answer to a board of directors. I didn’t
have to explain to a spouse any of the details -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- of
what I earned versus what I spent.
I feel very fortunate to have survived the sometimes bumpy road of selfemployment.
As a marketing consultant, I help other businesses. There can be no greater joy, in
my line of work, than creating something that helps another business or organization
move forward. I am a creative person who is able to work in a creative field doing
work that I enjoy.
There can be no greater agony
than waking up at 3 a.m., sorting
through my finances in my head
and worrying about paying the bills
next month or the month after.
Anyone out there who is selfemployed
However, through the ups and
downs of financial worry and gain,
self-employment has been good
for me. I’ve stretched farther than
my fingertips can reach. I’ve been
braver than I thought possible in
my little Patti-Cocooned World.
The longer I work for myself, the
more certain I am that it would be
very difficult for me to return to
work in a corporate job. The only
exception I ever consider would
put me in charge -- of everyone
there. I would get to be Da Man.
That is what this issue of Blue
Water Woman is all about: Women
who lead their organizations. I have
dream it and do it! you, too, can climb a
mountain! editor patti samar hiking in zion
national park, utah, summer of 2013. no
longer an army of one, photo was shot
by her partner in crime, husband dale
so much respect for the wisdom
all three of them have. Some are
outgoing personalities, others are
shy, quiet and reflective. What they
prove to me is that leadership does
not have to come with bravado
and splash. It comes by providing
gentle guidance. It doesn’t come
from huffing and puffing and blowing the house down. It comes from allowing staff
-- no matter how big or small -- to be empowered to make decisions.
Most of all, true leaders know themselves well and understand their strengths and
their weaknesses. They are brave enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable and
strong enough to listen to what others have to say.
So whether you are in charge of your own little army of one or you are Da Man
(or maybe you want to be Da Man), buck up, be strong, stand up and stretch. That
is the only way your fingertips will ever reach the stars.
Thelma Castillo 5
Denise Klieman 6
Susan Bennett 8
in Blue Water Woman!
it works! just ask our advertisers!
The ad deadline for the next issue of Blue Water Woman
is October 1, 2014.
Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!
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For more information, contact Patti Samar at 810-987-1256
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volume 4, number 3 fall 2014
Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,
3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.
Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company
Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:
Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060
News releases can be emailed to email@example.com
Questions or comments?
Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256
Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication
for women living, working and playing
in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.
Its stories and features are written and designed
to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.
© Blue Water Woman is the property
of Patti Samar of The Write Company
The Write Company is a writing, graphic design and marketing
consultation firm. View our online portfolio at:
Editor & Publisher
Blue Water Woman
2 fall 2014 BlueWaterWoman.com
Faces you know.
Physicians you trust.
Primary care, specialty care
and convenient walk-in clinics
where you need them,
when you need.
Lisa Scheel, D.O.
Michele Raymond, D.O.
t Physician HealthCare Network, we know that not all healthcare needs can be scheduled in
That is why we offer the community three walk-in clinics and two offices with extended hours.
Our offices are located in your neighborhood, close to home.
We also offer specialty care physicians who provide a continuum of care for you and your
family. New patients are always welcome. We believe: Healthy living. Happy family.
Children’s Health Care
Walk In Clinic
Walk In Clinic
Walk In Clinic
fall 2014 BlueWaterWoman.com 3
thelma castillo, port huron
When Thelma Castillo moved to the Blue Water Area in the spring
of 2013, she was looking for a lifestyle change. She didn’t know then
that, within a year’s time, she would be responsible for one of the most
visible organizations in the community.
In April, Castillo took the helm as president and CEO of the Blue
Water Area Chamber of Commerce. Castillo, who previously lived in
the metro Detroit area, last year moved to Sanilac County with her
husband to be closer to his family.
“I came up here knowing I didn’t have a job,” she said. “I came here
because we were making a life decision change.”
After years of living in an urban setting, the couple -- he is a Detroit
firefighter -- decided that a slower pace of life in a country setting was
Fast forward to this past spring when Castillo -- who previously spent
18 years working for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
-- took the helm at the Blue Water Area Chamber.
“Chamber work is fun, exciting and passionate work,” she said.
During her tenure at the Detroit chamber, she was exposed to many
facets of the industry. A lawyer, Castillo initially began her career at
the chamber working in human resources and operations. She was also
involved in advancing technology and lobbying.
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by Patti Samar
Since she has taken the helm, Castillo has spent a lot of time
building relationships with individuals and other organizations in the
community that help foster a healthy economic climate in the area.
“People have been very open and wanting to work with the
chamber,” she said of her initiation into the community. “I’ve made
some in-roads that will help move the region forward.”
She has been working closely with the Economic Development
Alliance of St. Clair County to help build a skilled workforce.
“If you don’t really have a good talent skill level within the
community, it is hard to attract businesses to come here,” she said.
“This is a great destination in terms of tourism, but we need to do more
in terms of attracting people who want to move here to work and live
and play here.”
She said that the Blue Water Area Chamber has an excellent
foundation, built on a strong membership that likes to be involved.
“We have great volunteers that really support the chamber,” she said.
“We have a good core membership and I want to work on capturing
more like them.
“And most of all, I really want the state to know what we have to offer
in the Blue Water Area.”
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denise klieman, fort gratiot
by Patti Samar
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It was inevitable that Denise Klieman would end up working in a field
that specializes in helping people.
The daughter of a Detroit firefighter and a nurse, Klieman didn’t
choose a direct path into healthcare as her mother did, but she grew up
to become the chief operating officer for Physician HealthCare Network,
the largest independent physician practice in the Blue Water Area.
Klieman took the helm at PHCN in 2012 when she was promoted
from manager of financial services to chief operating officer. She has a
strong work ethic and she leads by example. She believes in rolling up her
sleeves and getting in the trenches with her staff.
“You have to be in the weeds with them,” she said. “You have got to be
in there working with the people who work for you.”
Klieman, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, has always enjoyed
working with numbers.
“I knew I wanted to be an accountant since tenth grade,” she said.
“Accounting was easy for me. I could just do it.”
She moved to the Blue Water Area in 1984 after marrying her husband
who was from the area. She raised three daughters while working and
going to school to finish her degree. Her ability to multi-task and juggle
the various components of her life and her job have served her well since
taking the lead with a large healthcare organization, particularly during
this era of great change in the healthcare industry.
“As a practice manager, you cannot just oversee it all now,” she said.
“You have to learn about every aspect of the business. There’s human
resources, there is accounting…there is so much more to being a practice
manager now. The healthcare industry is constantly changing.”
Klieman is very proud of the fact that PHCN has earned two
prestigious designations from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in
the past several years. Ten of the PHCN practice sites have been named
Patient-Centered Medical Home sites and most recently were awarded
the Organized Systems of Care designation.
Patients should understand that those designations mean the practice
management has proven its ability to manage a patient’s continuum of
care, said Klieman. This is important so that a patient does not get lost in
“We do very well with Organized Systems of Care,” she said. She
credited the medical staff at PHCN with making that a priority to ensure
the highest level of patient care. “We have very, very good doctors. They
care. They approach their patients by thinking, ‘That’s my family in
Though she takes great pride in her organization’s ability to manage
patient care, she noted with the implementation of the Affordable
Care Act, consumers have a responsibility to take charge of their own
healthcare, as well.
Because everyone can now be insured and the Affordable Care Act calls
for coverage of many significant preventative health measures, Klieman
noted that healthcare is shifting from reacting to illness to preventing
illness in the first place or managing it before it becomes significantly
detrimental to a patient’s health.
“Patients have to be responsible for their care and their health,” she said.
“With the new healthcare, you’re paying for your insurance coverage, so
you should get the service you deserve.”
Quiet and reflective, Klieman is passionate about helping others by
providing a health system in the community that will work for them and
provide a strong continuum of care.
“I do believe in the concept of a multi-specialty medical group,” she
said. “Healthcare is not about the paycheck. It’s about helping people.
And we have doctors who believe in that.”
fall 2014 BlueWaterWoman.com 7
susan bennett, port huron
by Patti Samar
Chat with Susan Bennett for just five minutes and she will gush on
and on about the wide variety of activity taking place at the Port Huron
Museum and its satellite locations at the Huron Lightship, the Fort
Gratiot Light Station and the Thomas Edison Depot Museum.
And in the next five minutes she will heap praise upon the museum’s
board of directors, its volunteers and its staff and keep none of the credit
Bennett has been employed with the museum since 2009 and now
serves as its executive director. A key to her success in her leadership role is
that she thrives on the energy and enthusiasm of the museum staff and its
“Our board is incredible and supportive,” she said. “We have only six
full-time staff members, so they are very busy people.”
As the executive director, Bennett is responsible for the museum’s
financial stability, its marketing and fundraising, among many other varied
“I love the variety in the job,” she said. “Every phone call is a new
project. I’m either finishing up a newsletter or a postcard, or I’m shopping
at Joann’s for items needed for a special event.”
No one is more surprised than Bennett that her career landed her in a
position at a museum. She spent much of her professional career serving as
a manufacturer’s representative in the retail industry. Though she doesn’t
have a professional background in all things historical, her appreciation for
the museum’s mission is obvious.
“The museum is human contact with our past,” she said. “As a society,
we worry about technology taking over. You visit a museum and you’re
looking an expert in the eye and that interaction can be sadly lacking in
other areas of our lives.
“We’re storytellers…we tell stories and sometimes we have great pieces of
old stuff to help tell our story.”
Bennett notes that, in terms of her leadership at the museum, she is most
proud of the fact that, under her guidance, the museum has weathered
-- and survived -- some very difficult financially turbulent times.
“I’m most proud of the fact that we’re solvent and that we accomplished
that without major upheaval,” she said.
She noted that the two events of which she is most proud include the
“Storm of 1913” anniversary that the museum produced on its own in
2013, and Sandfest, which took place at the Fort Gratiot Light Station in
2013 and 2014.
“The Storm of 1913 was a wonderful collaboration with other
organizations that helped us tell our story,” she said. “It brought more than
10,000 visitors over four months. We had descendants here from as far
away as Tennessee. It was such a great story and it was our story to tell.”
Sandfest, she noted, was produced primarily by the Friends of the Fort
Gratiot Light, as a fundraiser. The event brought visitors from across the
state of Michigan and beyond. “The committee handled all of it,” she said.
“It is something to be really proud of. To build that from nothing is an
indication of their dedication.
“It brought all of these ‘new friends’ here and I’m sure many of them will
be back to visit the Blue Water Area.”
Though “economic development” is not in her formal job description,
Bennett understands the impact the museum has on the local economy
and embraces that part of her job, along with every other facet.
“I’m incredibly lucky,” she said. “I never don’t want to come to work.”
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