They are business owners and corporate managers, trusted advisors and change agents. Exceptional women make Madison a better place through their leadership and their contributions to the community. Here are some of their stories.

Stacey Bean, M.D.
Indigo TrailsSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Dr. Stacey Bean has always had a passion for helping others heal and strive for optimum health, but it was tragedy that prompted her to switch her focus from traditional Western medicine to something more holistic and unique.

After the death of her husband, Dr. Darren Bean, in the Medflight crash of 2008, Stacey left Western medicine. Through her own healing journey, she found the healing gifts of horses and their ability to connect with and transform the human soul. Now trained in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, Stacey founded and practices at Indigo Trails Holistic Health and Horse Centered Coaching, where she empowers individuals to experience their health and lives in a transformed way.

“I believe people have their own answers already inside of them, sometimes they are just outside of their awareness. The horses and I help them find them.” Bean said.


Pam Nesbitt, Erica Weaver, Allison Crubaugh and owner Denise Quade
Denise Quade DesignSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

The women of Denise Quade Design collaborate as a team on almost all of their design projects.

With over 39 years of experience in kitchen and bath design, Denise Quade started her own business in 2010. Five years ago, senior design coordinators Erica Weaver and Pam Nesbitt joined Quade to help with the growing business. Allison Crubaugh, who interned for the firm, came on board full-time three years ago.

“We work on almost every project together,” Denise said. “It’s teamwork all the way.” When Denise’s son required major surgery, her team stepped up to help manage the work in her absence.

Working on deadlines can be stressful, so the team tries to keep the atmosphere in the office light. Everyone brings their dogs to work. “We laugh all the time. We try not to take ourselves too seriously,” Pam said.


Jana Gyurina, DDS, LVIF
Oak Park DentalSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

At Dr. Jana Gyurina’s all-female practice, “the most important thing is treating patients with the utmost respect, listening, and building a relationship with them,” she says. Patients also appreciate state-of-the-art care – from 3D imagery and CT-guided implants to CEREC technology for same-day crowns.

“We focus on living in gratitude every day,” she says. “When we’re in a place of positivity, appreciation, and gratitude, it’s easy to have compassion and care for our patients and team members.”

Dr. Jana’s greatest satisfaction comes from being her daughters’ role model. They see their mom working with passion and giving back, as with the mission team she led to Haiti last year. “I want to show them that women can do anything they put their heart and mind into.”


Brooke LaChance
Home Again Assisted LivingSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

It’s the rare assisted living community that has a Nurse Practitioner and Director of Medical Operations, says Brooke LaChance, but Home Again Living’s founders wanted that level of medical expertise for their residents. Working with community medical managers in Cambridge, Columbus, and Waunakee and with residents and families,

LaChance oversees all resident care. The reward? “The satisfaction of helping people maintain as much independence as possible, but in a safe environment.”

Cambridge: 608-423-9333
Columbus: 920-623-9833
Waunakee: 608-850-9684

Julie Umhoefer and Jenny Haley
Dwellings, Inc.SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Sisters Julie Umhoefer and Jenny Haley say first-time customers are pleasantly surprised to discover they can get high-quality furniture and design services without spending a fortune.
Schedule an in-home consultation for just $150, or visit the showroom where, instead of a big box’s one-style, three-color options, you’ll find American-made furniture available in hundreds of fabric choices. “Our job is to make you love your space,” says Julie. “It’s affordable custom.”


Alison Helland
Boardman and ClarkSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Attorney Alison Helland’s practice focuses on tax law, business law and estate planning. She serves as a trusted advisor to businesses and their owners, assisting them in adapting to changes in their businesses and their personal lives.

“Given the widespread use of ‘pass-through entities,’ it is critical to consider the impact structural changes to a business have on the tax liabilities of its owners, as well as the impact an owner’s desired estate plan may have on their business.”

Outside the office, she teaches Spanish-language courses for participants in the Latino Chamber of Commerce’s “Tu Empresa” program. Why did she choose Boardman and Clark? “Boardman and Clark’s commitment to its clients and our community aligns well with my personal values.”


Margo Francisco
SSM HealthSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Margo Francisco wasn’t looking for a new job last year when she learned of a position at SSM Health. “When I looked into the history of the organization – which was founded by five sisters who persevered to provide care – I found it to be impressive and was drawn to its mission,” she says.

It was also an opportunity to move home to Wisconsin, a state with some of the highest quality healthcare in the country. Now System Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, Francisco is a “thought partner” with leaders of SSM Health, an Integrated Delivery Network health care system. Her role is to evaluate new services from which patients might benefit and to “help identify strategies to make us the best possible provider for the community.”


Megan Herrick, Rukmini Banerjee and Tammie Harvey
CUNA Mutual GroupSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Three remarkable women at CUNA Mutual Group are helping transform the 83-year-old company into a faster, more nimble organization while serving as mentors to colleagues looking to advance their professional careers. Rukmini Banerjee, Tammie Harvey, and Megan Herrick believe their purpose is not to make people change, but to enable and support change while keeping CUNA Mutual Group’s customers at the core of everything they do.

“We’re demonstrating change to the customer and asking, ‘Is this what’s important to you?’ If not, we’re pivoting,” says Banerjee. “Speed becomes critical; we’re delivering value faster.”

The efforts led by the trio’s project management office are improving the way employees think as an organization while maximizing business value. “The goal is to embed this transformation in the organization so it really becomes part of our culture,” Harvey says.

While these women are helping shift the culture at CUNA Mutual Group, they also take pride in working for an organization that fosters mentor/mentee relationships, and is family and community oriented.

“Sometimes the world of work can be intimidating,” Herrick says. “In looking back, I am so appreciative of having mentors; it makes me happy to play that role and offer guidance and a listening ear to others.”

“It’s an exciting time to be at CUNA Mutual Group,” Banerjee says. “We’re seeing results, and we’re privileged to be here at this time.”


Emilie Knutson
Oakwood Village Prairie RidgeSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Human Resources Manager Emilie Knutson had always seen Oakwood as the “cream of the crop” among Madison area retirement communities. Working here, she soon discovered the reason. It’s the people – both residents and employees – that make Oakwood a Madison treasure. Emilie helps foster many careers at Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge, and will remain busy as the campus expansion brings more residents and employees to the community. “I constantly hear from new staff that they feel they’re a part of something. They are playing a role in making our community successful. The people we employ value being a part of residents’ daily lives, which is extraordinarily rewarding. Helping someone begin a fulfilling career, which in turn improves residents’ lives, is extremely satisfying.”


Nancy Carpenter
Attic Angel AssociationSPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Nancy (Stroud) Carpenter grew up in a family of angels. By that, we mean Attic Angels–the philanthropic women who have been anchors for Madison’s welfare since 1889. Nancy’s grandmother joined Attic Angel Association in 1933 and volunteered for 30 years. Nancy’s mother joined the ranks in 1952 and later received a Halo Award for 50 years of service.

With volunteerism in her blood and on her schedule since age 13, it was natural for Nancy to become an Angel too. With that, she became a difference-maker. She was instrumental in starting Attic Angel’s annual autumn Classic Clothing Sale–a high-end resale of donated fashion items that now nets about $25,000 annually to benefit children and seniors in Dane County.


Lora Brown
Brown & Beam SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Exceptional Women

Bringing a different sense of style and inspiration to the Madison area was Lora Brown’s vision when she first opened Brown & Beam in the fall of 2016. Brown focuses on finding high quality, unique pieces that are current and on trend.

“I want to inspire people to not be afraid to mix and match different styles, materials and products, to go outside of the lines and embrace their uniqueness no matter what their style is,” Brown said.

This April, the furniture store is adding new services including an e-commerce website and staging services.