Influential Women Continue to Inspire, Amaze

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by Rebecca Barnes

As we enter Women’s History Month, it is again time to announce the results of our annual Prince William Living Influential Women Awards. What a humbling experience learning about the amazing ways that women in our community are breaking barriers and changing lives.

From an impressive group of nominees, our judges (former IWA winners themselves) selected five visionary leaders, whom Marianne Weaver profiles in our feature story on page 4. Be prepared to be inspired as you read about these exceptional women who are making a positive difference in the community.

You’ll remain inspired as you “hop” on over to page 10, where “On a High Note” by Emma Young features local author, illustrator and conservationist Julia Heckathorn. She is also probably Prince William’s only kangaroo owner. Heckathorn’s Nokesville home is shared with several other exotic animals, which she features in her “Search for the Hidden Clover” children’s book series, promoting the protection of endangered animals and their habitats. Through her art, she hopes to share her love of nature with a whole new generation.

We also talk to Sarah Pitkin in “Taking Care of Business” (page 18), about how she and sister Amy Pitkin are carrying on the family legacy, as they run the three ACE Hardware stores started by their father and uncle. Tracy Shevlin finds out how this family-run company competes with the big-box stores, gives back to the community and continues to earn the loyalty of customers.

In “Local Flavor” on page 26, Michelle Goldchain introduces us to another female powerhouse, Laura Brletic, owner of the award-winning Confections. Her store may be one of the most-awarded dessert options in Northern Virginia, and is located right here in Prince William.

After a visit to Brletic’s sweet tooth-heaven, walk off the sugary goodness with a visit to Cockpit Point Battery on the Potomac River. In this month’s “Destinations” (page 12), by Carla Christiano, you’ll discover how Prince William County Historic Preservation plans for the public to rediscover this piece of Civil War history that’s long been buried by trees and barricaded by railroad tracks.

This Women’s History Month, I encourage you to join us in celebrating the successes of our Influential Women Award
nominees and winners. As always, there is a lot to be grateful for here in Greater Prince William.

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