Tracee Lydia Garner

Tracee Lydia Garner

2017 Winner

Tracee Lydia Garner is Virginia native and long-time resident of Loudoun County and a graduate of Old Dominion University with a BS in Communication. She is also a best-selling and award winning author for fiction and has been writing for many, many years.

Moving to Loudoun back in 1997 she quickly got to work finding her voice and advocating for people with disabilities. Tracee has been dedicated to removing barriers people with disabilities and a community organizer for over twenty years and has served on numerous local, state and national organizations including the Loudoun County Disability Services Board, the Board of Directors for Coalition for Housing Opportunities In the Community for Everyone (CHOICE), a non-profit organization focusing on advancing affordable, accessible housing options for people with disabilities throughout Northern Virginia and she is past Leadership Loudoun alumni and board president.

Tracee also serves on the Board of Directors at the Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, VA under Senior Servant Leader Rev. Dustin Sullivan.

Since her move to Loudoun, Tracee has increased the accessible transit for special needs populations, helped to remove architechtural barriers at popular shopping venues and as case manager and outreach coordinator at Loudoun ENDependence (LEND) for almost ten years, she manages a caseload and works with residents with disabilities. She continually battles attitudes and barriers as she seeks to gain access for all to the services those without disabilities are entitled to and enjoy daily. Tracee has tackled numerous hurdles and continues to be a demonstrated leader, advocate and committed to organizing grass-roots change in her community.

Tracee is a member of several writing organizations, women’s business organizations and maintains a consistent blog and monthly newsletter documenting her life pursuits, her life with a disability and her writing journey. Tracee’s ninth book debuts in November 2018 and she hosts her own annual writer’s conference held each year in Leesburg, VA for both aspiring and newly published authors.


Susan McCormick

2015 Winner

Some say that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention,” and Susan McCormick’s story is certainly an example. After a successful career in business, Susan was a new mother in 2002 and given the devastating news that her husband was killed in a car accident. Dealing with profound grief, she learned how vital therapy was to her healing. So much so, she quit her job and threw herself into a Masters program in Marriage & Family Therapy.

Years later, her son was diagnosed with ADHD and sensory processing disorder. As she learned to care for him, she realized that his many care -givers were often providing conflicting advice, which interfered with his overall development. To help her son thrive, she educated herself on techniques that integrated the mind and body, and her son started to show tremendous progress. This sparked Susan’s dream to create a “one-stop-shop” that would bring clients together with their providers in a collaborative partnership to optimize overall health and well-being.

Susan founded The Wellness Connection in 2013 in order to share her knowledge with others and support individuals and families dealing with life’s struggles. The Wellness Connection is committed to confronting the issue of mental health. It requires a system of healthcare professionals, collaborating on the overall care of the patient to initiate permanent positive change. The Wellness Connection treats the “whole” person by delivering cost-effective services that help client’s feel better sooner, and stay better longer. They spend time with their clients to understand their concerns, they activate a system of support, and they follow up to ensure progress can be sustained over time. This collaborative team offers mental health services/counseling, psychological testing, psychiatric care & medication management, occupational & speech therapies, nutrition counseling, chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy, support groups & educational workshops, fitness, and a weekly farmers market sourced by local farmers.

Susan McCormick’s business acumen, personal tragedy, perseverance and creativity have all contributed to an effectively designed wellness center that will serve as a model for healing centers of the future.


Brenda Blisk

2014 Winner

Brenda Blisk is President, and owner of Blisk Financial Group. Brenda’s built a solid record of accomplishments and a reputation for excellence among the Blisk Financial Group clients and colleagues.

An investment professional since 1986, Brenda is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. She employs a comprehensive, client-focused approach to financial planning. Such discipline ensures the recommend programs embrace your goals, time frames and tolerance for market risk.

In recognition of her outstanding efforts, Brenda was named by Barron’s Magazine February 2014 as one of the Top 1200 Financial Advisors nationwide and #27 in the State of Virginia. One of the Top 1000 Financial Advisors in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors by Barron’s in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Named to the 2009 Annual Women Worth Watching in Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2009 named as one of only 28 women selected by Virginia Lawyers Weekly as “Most Influential Women of Virginia”, 2008 one of the 20 women recognized by Washington Business Journals Women Who Mean Business award, 2007 BRAVA AWARD by SMART CEO magazine honoring top 20 women CEO’s.

Brenda is actively involved in her church and community serving in a variety of leadership roles with The Capital Speakers Club of Washington, D.C., Women in Technology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and a Tiffany Circle member of the American Red Cross. In 2010, she founded and is the chairwoman of the now infamous “In The Bag” luncheon and silent auction of ladies handbags where all the proceeds go to benefit the work of the local American Red Cross. Over the past years, this event netted over $300,000 for the Red Cross. Brenda and her husband live in Tysons Corner and relishes time with family and friends.

Linda Crill

Linda Crill

2013 Winner

Linda Crill is a veteran reinvention expert with 25+ years in facilitating business executives in how to thrive in our chaotic but also opportunity-rich world.
Her impressive background as a former Fortune 100 business executive and serial entrepreneur demonstrates her continual self and business reinventions and includes:

  • Author of Blind Curves: illustrates how choosing the life’s blind curves expands horizons and our opportunities to re-create life. Linda memoir begins with her rebellious decision to ignore advice for a widow and sign up for a 2,500-mile road trip down America’s Pacific Northwest coast riding her own motorcycle. The problem: she didn’t know ride and had 30 days to learn.
  • Fortune 100 Executive: VP with Citigroup in New York City.
  • President of Opus Development: a consulting firm that facilitates leadership development and change management.
  • Her client list: in addition to small businesses includes Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits, and small businesses including: Marriott Corp., Goldman Sachs & Co., Siemens AG, AFL-CIO, Honeywell, and, U.S. Department of State.
  • International Speaker and Trainer: Linda has delivered speeches and facilitated training programs to executive audiences around the world, including: Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, and New York City.
  • Award-wining TV Training Programs: Designed, delivered, and hosted Distance Learning Seminars produced in the U.S. Postal Service’s TV studio. Voted best training of the year by employees.
  • Learned to Ride a Harley and took 2,500 Mile Road Trip: After a particularly challenging year, Linda put excitement back into her life by riding a Harley on a 2,500-mile road trip, as well as learning downhill skiing, trapeze flying, scuba diving, and ballroom dancing.

Dr. Keenan

Dr. Grace Keenan

2012 Winner

Dr. Keenan is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, Inc. and the Garden of Eatin’, LLC Grab & Go Café. A native of Canada, Dr. Keenan received her medical degree from Memorial University School of Medicine in 1985. Upon successful completion of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Thomas Hospital Center in Akron, OH, Dr. Keenan relocated to Loudoun County and began private practice in 1988.
The previous sole proprietorship became Nova Medical Group in 1991; today it is the largest integrative primary care practice in Northern Virginia with locations in Ashburn, Sterling, Leesburg and Gainesville.