Colon and Rectal Surgeon
Barash-White, MD, PA
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA
Industry: Health Care
Field: Minimally Invasive Surgery
Dr. Christina J. Seo knew from the age of 13 that she would pursue a career in medicine. Her parents, being involved in heath care themselves, encouraged her to follow in their footsteps. “This career was determined for me in utero,” Dr. Seo jokes. After high school, she went on to graduate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. In 2001, she earned an MD from the New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Seo enjoys working with her hands and using new technology, which led her to open her own medical practice, Barash-White, MD, PA, where she serves as a colon and rectal surgeon.
Board-certified in colon and rectal surgery as well as general surgery, Dr. Seo would like to increase colon cancer awareness. “Colon cancer is preventable, and people need to become more aware of this,” she says. She is an expert in minimally invasive surgery, and as a colon and rectal surgeon, she performs surgeries and colonoscopies, handling 500 cases per year. She also oversees office procedures and admits that learning the business side of health care was challenging. “They don’t teach you the business end in medical school,” she says. However, over the past four years, she has become an expert in overseeing her medical practice while maintaining a good rapport with her patients.
To keep fresh on the innovations of the medical field, Dr. Seo maintains affiliations with ASCRS, the Catholic Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. She was named VIP Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, and attributes her success to having good training and enjoying her work. Looking ahead, Dr. Seo hopes to become established as a successful surgeon specializing in minimally invasive and robotic surgery. Continue reading
Gruener Consulting, LLC
Elmhurst, IL, USA
Industry: Health Care
Field: Parenting Education
Hillary Clinton once said, “Home is a child’s first and most important classroom.” Sharing a similar belief, Catherine A.Z. Gruener founded Gruener Consulting, LLC, which offers in-person and online parenting services, including experiential classes, seminars and workshops on parenting and positive discipline. She notes that parents and educators have to first identify a child’s strengths in order to teach the child to use those strengths to tackle future challenges and solve problems.
Ms. Gruener holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from the Adler School of Professional Psychology, where she also became certified in teaching positive discipline. Additionally, she earned a Master of Arts in Neuropsychology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1995. Ms. Gruener has progressed professionally from participating in psychosocial-based scientific research and assessments, to implementing interventions that assist in the health and well-being of children, parents and families.
Aside from her professional endeavors, Ms. Gruener has been an active volunteer with causes related to the population of gifted children since 2009. This group has always been of significant interest to her, and she also conducts research and gives presentations on the social and emotional needs of gifted children. She is affiliated with several organizations, including the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, the National Association for Gifted Children and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She has been an associate member of the American Psychological Association since 1996 and a member of the American Counseling Association since 2009.
Ms. Gruener feels that her success thus far is due to her devotion to learning, listening to her intuition and pursuing her passions. She encourages other women to never give up, learn from their mistakes, and continue to pursue their own dreams and aspirations. Looking ahead, she intends to expand Gruener Consulting to include counseling services, workshops and classes for educational institutions. Continue reading
Vice President, ERISA Compliance Manager
City National Bank
San Diego, CA, USA
Field: Retirement Planning
“To be successful, you have to be a good listener,” says Sharon A. Burt, vice president and ERISA compliance manager for City National Bank. Starting her career in the insurance field, where she handled retirement plans, Ms. Burt was given the opportunity to transfer over to the financial and banking industry. She joined City National Bank in October 1996 and has become an integral part of its success. Her dedication and passion for her position have enabled her to excel and successfully assist her clients in securing their financial futures.
Ms. Burt graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. In her current role, she uses her previous experience and skills in retirement planning and compliance to oversee the ERISA compliance unit, handle the legal plan documents for retirement plans, consult on retirement plans, and report finances to governments on the retirement plans. Ms. Burt remains updated in her field through her affiliations with The Western Pension & Benefits Council, the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, and the National Institute of Pension Administrators.
In 2011, to recognize her dedication to her employer, Ms. Burt was given the Highest Achievement Award from City National Bank. As the years progress, she looks to continue drawing on her experience, strong skill set and diverse knowledge of finance to work with clients around the world. Continue reading
Anita L. Merrill, BS/MT (ASCP) (Retired)
Chief Medical Technologist
The University of Georgia
Tifton, GA, USA
Field: Laboratory Diagnostics
Anita Merrill has 48 years of professional experience, spending more than three decades as Chief Medical Technologist of the University of Georgia. Over the course of her career, she has established herself as an expert in chemistry and laboratory diagnostics. On a daily basis, she is responsible for serving as a technician for clinical pathology, chemistry, hematology, parasitology, endocrinology, urinalysis and cytology for veterinary patients.
Ms. Merrill stands out among her peers due to her strong upbringing. She completed an internship at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, where she met many influential mentors along the way. She takes it as a point of pride that she commits 100 percent of herself into everything that she undertakes. As such, Ms. Merrill considers her greatest career achievement to be her development of the veterinary clinical pathology department for the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory, when she was hired in 1979. She had to start her work manually, beginning with hematology and urinalysis, before adding chemistry and several endocrinology programs.
Looking back, Ms. Merrill attributes her success to dedication and a strong work ethic. She became involved in her profession because she has always been interested in science. When a friend suggested that she go into the medical technology field, she knew that she had found her calling.
Ms. Merrill received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Barry University in 1966, and she became a registered medical technologist and an MTASCP within the following year. She is a member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology. In honor of her achievements, she was presented with a Staff Appreciation Award in 2007, and an Outstanding Research Award from the Tifton Sigma Xi Club in 1997.
Allen E. Brennecke
Attorney at Law (Of Counsel)
Moore, McKibben, Goodman & Lorenz, LLP
Clemons, IA, USA
Field: Business, Tax and Estate Planning
In 1959, Allen E. Brennecke was not only the first of his family to enter the field of law, but was also the first to finish college. Graduating from The University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, he went on to receive a JD from The University of Iowa College of Law in 1961. Throughout the course of his career, he learned that nothing could truly get in his way; he never saw anything as an obstacle. After serving for nearly 40 years as an attorney at law, Mr. Brennecke retired from the Moore Law Firm. While there, many of his days were spent speaking to other lawyers at continuing legal education meetings and at business meetings for farmers and farm owners.
Now retired, he considers being honored as the president of the Iowa State Bar Association and chair of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association to be the highlights of his career. He is currently a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In 1989, he was presented with the Award of Merit by the Iowa State Bar Association.
As a man who considers family top priority, Mr. Brennecke attributes his success to being blessed with a wonderful wife, five children and their spouses, 19 grandchildren, one great-grandchild, as well as good friends, and blessings from the Lord. A religious man, he also joined a men’s ministry called Promise Keepers approximately 15 years ago, which he describes as being “a great positive learning experience.” Looking toward the future, he hopes to continue to dabble in law. Continue reading