The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration New Hampshire District Office present the inaugural 2023 Women’s Empowerment Summit!


Who Should Attend: Current or future small business owners looking to start, grow or take your business to the next level.

Power up your morning with real-world stories from successful local women entrepreneurs about what it takes to establish a recognizable brand, how to evolve, when to pivot, and above all, how to empower yourself and others through entrepreneurship. Then engage with business couselors and advisors who work with small businesses owners every day to learn the steps to take to build your pillars for success. Ask a question or simply make a connection and expand your network.

Get inspired, connect, and build powerful connections at the Women’s Empowerment Summit!

$15 per ticket, FREE for WREN members. If you are a WREN member, contact Scarlett at for the promo code.

Women’s Empowerment Summit
Tuesday, September 26

8:30 AM-12:30 PM

at the AMC Highland Center
Crawford Notch, NH

Purchase tickets



8:30-9:00 AM – Arrive at the AMC Highland Center

Enjoy a continental breakfast and meet other attendees.

9:15 AM – Keynote Address

Featuring Eliza Grant and Kit Hickey of the Bluebird Project, a community-focused business creating affordable long-term housing in the Mount Washington Valley

10-11 AM – Level Up Your Small Business Panel Discussion

Featuring Ann Nygard of Hauskaa, Susan Lanphear of Beeline Skincare, and artist Rebecca M. Fullerton, as they discuss their unique journeys to building successful small businesses and recognizable brands. Moderated by Scarlett Moberly, Assistant Director of WREN.

11:15 AM-12:15 PM – Building Your Pillars for Success Panel Discussion

Featuring Chad Stearns of Mascoma Bank with advice on access to capital for very small businesses, Sharon Washwick of The Washwick Agency discussing which insurance to consider for small business liability, Maria Spiotti and Terry Zysk from NH SCORE with guidance on using marketing and social media to promote your brand, NH Small Business Development Center North Country Business Advisor Kyla Brustin on business planning and bookkeeping fundamentals, and the Center for Women & Enterprise Director Chandra Reber on building your network and leveraging connections. Moderated by Rachael Roderick, Deputy District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration New Hampshire District Office.

12:15 – Summit adjourns

Feel free to enjoy lunch in the Crawford Dining Room. Representatives from WREN and the NH SBA will be on hand to answer questions and direct you to further resources.


Funded in part by the Granite United Way.

Meet Our Panelists

Ann Nygard is the founder of Hauskaa Design, LTD. Co. (dba Hauskaa), a Vermont-based, decorative accessory company re-inventing the traditional holiday village. She uses classic architectural shapes to house hip and fun design in upcycled materials. She takes a sustainably based approach to design, best illustrated in the old Vermont saying: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” 

“I look to utilize what is already there and have fun exploring how to repurpose materials. Matching wood scraps from local furniture makers with the art of lines and shape has helped me create lasting, meaningful objects of quality that combat ‘disposible-ism.’”  An early exposure to Nordic design as an exchange student in Finland and Sweden influenced her minimalist aesthetic. “My collection of little wooden houses and accessories are a unity of fun, form, and function. The best part is that by giving new life to materials through fresh, Nordic-inspired design, I am able to give others the chance to spread joy, commemorate meaningful events, and evoke happy memories by giving Hauskaa products as gifts.” 

Ann’s commitment to sustainability is rooted in her background. She worked in the sustainable tourism industry for years, first at the local level and then with National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations where she developed corporate responsibility strategies for small businesses and multinationals alike. She evolved into this field after her business travels with Tiffany & Co. as an international marketing analyst. Working in their fragrance division, she was part of a product development team working with global brands. Ann earned a MBA from Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and a BS in Textile and Apparel Management from the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University.  Currently, she is the Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Vermont State University.

Susan Lanphear, founder of Beeline Skin Care, created her line of hypoallergenic skin care products after working as a chemist in research and development. She had developed sensitivities from the chemicals she was using and was unable to find body care products that didn’t irritate her skin. So she began making creams and soaps using ingredients found mostly in nature. Honey and beeswax quickly became her materials of choice. Inspired by the honeybee, Susan is in awe of the fact that, as small as the bee is, it has a tremendously positive influence on the lives of so many. “We love our bees and we are passionate about protecting them. It is fascinating to watch how the honeybees work together. This inspires our own work ethics here at Beeline!”

Beeline Skin Care founded in 2012 is a small, privately-owned company located in New Hampshire. Manufacturing natural skin care products using local beeswax and honey – naturally hypoallergenic with marvelous healing and moisturizing properties that appeals to both women and men. Being conscientious about preserving the earth and its bounty, all Beeline products are made using only the highest quality natural ingredients, free from harmful chemicals. 

Rebecca M. Fullerton is a White Mountains landscape painter who lives in Bethlehem. She seeks to capture the unique atmosphere and ruggedness of our region’s wild places in her oil and watercolor paintings. Her work has been in group and solo shows around New England and she is currently represented by The Gallery at WREN and Jackson Art Studio & Gallery. She has been a working artist for over twenty-five years, but has a dual career, serving as Archivist for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Rebecca has a B.A. in studio art and art history from Hartwick College and an MA in Museum Studies from the Harvard Extension School. She is part of WREN’s Board of Directors, volunteers for the Mt. Washington Valley Arts Association, and occasionally teaches classes in artist marketing and painting.

Sharon L. Washwick-Francis is a Bethlehem, NH resident who has a passion to see women succeed wherever their passions lie. Sharon has worked in the insurance business for over 17 years, which has in the past been dominated by men. Women were found in supporting roles but aren’t found usually at the helm. Sharon feels that you will succeed no matter who you are, your background, or even the obstacles if you stick it out and don’t quit.

In 2023 Sharon opened her own agency on Main Street in Bethlehem, NH. Sharon believes that to succeed as a small business owner, one must also take the time to listen to the needs and challenges of clients. She looks forward to helping others achieve and be appropriately covered so as never to have a loss that negatively impacts the goals of her small business clients. Sharon has held roles and volunteered in multiple non-profit organizations and committees. Sharon and her husband, a pastor a local church, believe in helping the community in impactful ways. A member of WREN’s board of directors, Sharon enjoys being a part of a community of women who succeed, grow, and achieve their dreams. Sharon is married with three children and enjoys spending time with family and in the beautiful nature the North Country provides.

Chad Stearns is a Small Business & Municipal Lender for Mascoma Bank based in their Littleton office. He works with small businesses looking for financing to grow and sustain their operations. Prior to becoming a commercial lender, he worked as a branch manager and then in the area of business development, where he focused on the entire business banking experience for customers. Chad volunteers in a variety of ways in his hometown of Littleton including as Town & School Moderator, President of the Littleton Industrial Development Corporation, Past Selectmen, Founding Riverwalk Commissioner, past Littleton Area Rotary Club President, and many other boards and committees. He lives in Littleton with his wife Casey and their two young children, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and fishing.

Maria Spiotti is co-owner and founder at Bethlehem Trading Post in Bethlehem, NH offering 17th and 18th century clothing and equipment for history museums and historical reenactors. Previously she has worked as a tax advisor at H&R Block and a merchandiser at Procter & Gamble. She has collaborated with stores to ensure proper execution of plans; maintained inventory of products; and gathered information on customer reactions to products. Maria is originally from Romania and was a bank officer in Bucharest processing Letters of Credits for import and export trade contracts.

Terry Zysk has over 30 years of experience in information technology businesses, ranging from pre-revenue startups to mid-sized (over $100M) growth phase businesses. As a CEO, Terry was focused on differentiated value, competitive positioning and strategic vision with ongoing management of P&L, partnerships, strategic customers, board of directors and private investors. In operations roles at senior and vice president level, she has built and led professional service delivery, customer service and IT operations.

Kyla Brustin serves as a business advisor for clients in Carroll and Coos Counties. She is proud to play a role in helping the economy of the White Mountains by strengthening the local business community. Kyla has spent her entire career growing small businesses. Starting in the real estate industry as a salesperson, Kyla worked her way up to partner and remains an owner of her real estate firm. In addition to real estate sales, Kyla launched her own vacation rental management company, which she grew over several years and recently sold to a large national brand. Kyla received her MBA from Endicott College.

Outside the office, you can find Kyla hiking, skiing or running in the White Mountain National Forest or working in her garden.

Chandra Reber has spent the past decade serving in the mental health field as an expressive arts counselor with a focus on serving women and other underserved groups. She is passionate about social justice and sustainability, and the empowerment of women. While Chandra works to develop her own entrepreneurial ideas, she applies her skills at the Center for Women & Enterprise, making clients feel welcome and helping to identify and fulfill their business/entrepreneurial needs.