WEI Co-Founder, Facilitators and Mentors

Susan Vance was the Co-Founder of the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI). WEI provides assistance to local women who want to start or grow their small business and internally provides entrepreneurship opportunities for women students. Susan created the vision for WEI and is responsible for all student related WEI activities including teaching the New Venture and Small Business Consulting classes as well as overseeing the executive in residence program and serving as the faculty advisor to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization club on campus.

Susan is a licensed attorney and a certified public accountant (inactive). As a professor at Saint Mary’s College, she has taught a number of courses including Strategies for Financial Success, Small Business Consulting, New Venture I and New Venture II, Business Law I and Business Law II, International Business Law, Survey of International Business, Personal Tax, Cost Accounting and Principles of Managerial Accounting. She is the former chair of the Department of Business Administration and Economics.

Professionally, she is a former member of the nine-member Board of Examiners of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). She was recently invited to serve on Key Bank's Key4Women National Advisory Board. Susan received the Charles E. Hewitt Excellence in Teaching Award from the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB). In addition, Susan was selected by the students at Saint Mary’s College to receive the first annual “Woman of the Year” award in 1997. That same year, she was honored as a “distinguished alumna” of Thomas Cooley Law School. Susan has visited women with recent breast cancer surgeries as a Reach to Recovery volunteer for over twelve years. A retired lieutenant commander in the US Coast Guard Reserves, Susan is married to John Vance, a retired engineer with Honeywell, and has four adult children. She enjoys sailing, reading, skiing, kayaking and travelling, that is, when she isn't playing with her three grandsons!

Instructors for External Client Events

Faculty for external client focused events come from a number of professional sources including Key Bank, Krugel and Lawton, State Farm Insurance, 1st Source Bank among others. Often, these same professionals share their expertise with students in a classroom setting. We recognize that this support is critical to the success of WEI and WEI's outreach to both SMC students and WEI clients. All such efforts are greatly appreciated! Martha Smith coordinates these events and is a key reason for the success of this programming.

SPARK Facilitators and Mentors


  • Cheryl Ashe, African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Myndi Aven, Northwest Mutual
  • Karen Bachert, Your Business Needs Fans
  • Karen Barnett, Valley Screen Process Company
  • Deb Childs, State Farm Insurance
  • Cindy Cohen, C2 Your Health
  • Daniel Conroy, 1st Source Bank
  • Sharlene Cummings, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
  • Kevin Davis, Attorney
  • Tracie L. Davis, SPARK PR/Marketing Advisor
  • Amy Dowd, Northwestern Mutual
  • Patricia Doyle, Saint Mary's College
  • Kim Geiger, PNC Bank
  • Doug Germann, Elder Attorney
  • Andrea Halpin, Attorney
  • Milene Jeffirs, Psychologist
  • Elaine Kendell, Raymond James & Associates
  • Jillian Koeneman, Fresh Lime Communications
  • Carrie Kosac, 1st Source Bank
  • Sheryl Kosovski, Artful Work
  • Ed Lockman, Detex Corporation
  • Carrie Lytle, SPARK Class Coordinator
  • Greg McCoy, KeyBank
  • Charrise McCrorey, Arms Wide Open
  • Karen Nevorski, Lake City Bank
  • Barney Packard, Raymond James & Associates
  • Santiago Rodriguez, PNC Bank
  • Mark Schirripa, Mark Schirripa Media Communications
  • Debra Sheehan, BodyMatters, Inc.
  • Paula Sours, SPARK Class Coordinator
  • Carol Thompson, Healthy Trex
  • Dana Trowbridge, First State Bank
  • Betsy Williams, Sunrise Bookkeeping, Inc.
  • Diana Winn, Through Eagles Eyes
  • Kelly J. Wright, Saint Mary's College student
  • Luis Zapata, 1st Source Bank