12/03/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/03/2021 15:43
Her Traditions strives to be a resource for women's financial health and to celebrate and support women as we make our dreams a reality. As we focus on the vital role strong women play in our community, we encourage you to nominate women who inspire you.
Whether she is crushing it as a business owner, lifting others as a community builder, or inspiring women through leadership - we want to hear about it! Help us shine a light on strong women by sharing their stories.
Please email stories and nominations to Nicole Shaffer, Director of Her Traditions.
Nineteen years ago, Vanessa Berger and her husband were looking for just the right place to raise their son. They wanted a place where schools had strong community involvement, and they felt like they could thrive. "Hanover was the best fit for us," Vanessa shares, "I was blown away by the high level of involvement by the team at South Western, and I couldn't wait to be a parent in the district."
Wasting no time diving into things, Vanessa ran to be a Board member for South Western school district. She has continued to serve the community in this role for sixteen years, eventually becoming the President of the Board. Reflecting on her time, Vanessa notes, "There was no better female mentor for me than Dr. Barbara Rupp, who led the district for eighteen years."
Vanessa recently described how surreal it was to walk in Barb's footsteps by receiving the Her Traditions Women's Enrichment Award through the Hanover Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Rupp was the inaugural recipient of the award, which was proudly presented to Vanessa this year.
Her Traditions and the Chamber partnered to create the award to recognize Hanover women who serve in various philanthropic, entrepreneurial, and leadership roles and acknowledge the unique challenges women face in everyday life, both in the workplace and in the community.
Noting Vanessa's accomplishments both professionally and through her community service, Director of Her Traditions, Nicole Shaffer, states, "When you talk to Vanessa, you can't help but feel her passion for helping others. She has taken on challenging roles during unprecedented times through her work in the healthcare field and her service in the school district and as a Board member for YWCA Hanover."
Having spent most of her professional career in higher education as a fundraiser, Vanessa changed paths in 2007 when she became the Vice President of Advancement at Cross Keys Village, the largest single-site nonprofit retirement community in Pennsylvania.
"In the beginning, it was a big shift to learn all the medical terminology," Vanessa shared. "Of course, nothing was as challenging as what we experienced as a team over the past few years!"
The team at Cross Keys worked collaboratively to keep residents safe during a pandemic as they constantly navigated changing regulations and new protocols. "We worked as a united team committed to our mission and every person that we serve."
That focus on united teamwork, which first attracted her to the greater Hanover community, is still driving Vanessa's focus today. "I'm honored to be part of the team at YWCA Hanover that does so much to empower women and ensure they have access to the resources they need for their safety. The organization has grown so much under the leadership of Executive Director Jody Shaffer, and I'm excited about their future projects."
Community commitment, leadership with grace, and a focus on relationships are what make Vanessa the ideal recipient of the 2021 Her Traditions Enrichment Award.