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Member Spotlights

W.O.W Member Spotlights features new members,  highlighting how our  members’ work in their businesses or occupations and are making a difference both in the community and in their fields. The spotlight offers an opportunity for members to share their initiatives with our network, inspire other women  to consider membership, and strengthen awareness of our mission and our association. W.O.W is not just a networking group of women.  It is a solution to a problem:  to help women advance their business and income by spotlighting them through a variety of means.  W.O.W wants businesswomen to not just thrive or survive.  W.O.W wants women to advance toward prosperity and financial WOWNESS!  Discover how our different members answered our WOW Spotlight Questions.

Shana Bender

Shana Bender is a Mortgage Loan Originator at Cazle Mortgage in Middle River, MD and has worked in the industry for 7 years. Cazle Mortgage is a small mortgage company that is easy to work with, very creative at getting deals done (we save deals!) and can close quickly.  

We believe your home is your Castle (Cazle!)

I love helping 1st time homebuyers! I can also assist buyers who are looking to either upsize or downsize their primary residence or looking for a vacation home or investment property.

In Maryland, we can use Maryland Mortgage Program or Chenoa for Down Payment Assistance and other programs.  

We can do lower credit down to 580 for regular VA and FHA, and 500-579 would be 10% down for VA and FHA.

The company is licensed in 21 states: CA, CT, CO, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, MD, MA, MI, MN, NC, NJ, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA.  

We can do Refinance and Purchase in these states.

I truly believe in homeownership to feel like you are part of your community and an excellent way to build wealth.

Your home is your Castle (Cazle!)

I take the time to explain options clearly and make sure the borrower understands the process. I know this takes more of my time, but it is the right thing to do. 

I frequently hear terrible stories of borrowers’ previous experiences and create a new experience with honesty, expertise, and excellent communication.  

I love when someone knows they are ready to purchase a home.  There is a sense of more stability in terms of job experience and savings combined with the clarity of wanting a real home for their family. I hear stories of issues with renting and wanting something better.  I am inspired by hard work towards the goal of homeownership.

I will be taping videos to use on social media, and I’m excited about it. We have a studio at the new office in Middle River that I can use.  I can also have a customer about to do a testimonial (great story of saving a deal!).  Realtors who want to work with me can also do videos here.

Stacy Gillis

Stacy (Chait) Gillis is a Baltimore, MD native who moved to rural Carroll County, MD in the 80’s. With a combination of a Business degree and a Film/Video degree, Stacy is a formidable entrepreneur and expert in the video medium arena.
In 1983, Stacy along with her husband Larry, launched Advanced Video Systems, Inc. a full service video, video equipment rental and production company.
With over three decades of media, with a high concentration in video expertise, Stacy has developed an innovative revenue model involving successful marketing of 200 video clubs that began in the ’80’s.
Stacy, always a thought leader – was the first business owner to have a website included in the “Yellow Pages”. As social media’s reach evolved, and the need for video increased, Advanced Video Systems, under Stacy’s leadership, rose to the occasion to allow customers a wide range of products and services to meet today’s technology needs. Her company’s forward thinking approach was featured in Smart Woman magazine, leading her to be chosen for the magazine’s cover. She also produced and funded “Just Be TV” a television initiative that featured local business adding fun and flair hosted by 98 Rock, Kirk McEwen and Ravens Player, Anthony Weaver which aired weekly in 2004. Fast forward, 2015 she was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Peter Franchot, Comptroller of Maryland at her studio with Baltimore County Councilwoman, Vickie Almond.
In 2020, Stacy sold her house and moved AVS to Clearwater Florida during a Pandemic. She joined the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce as an Ambassador and The Bluff’s Business Association. Stacy is an animal lover and surrogate human Mom to a short haired Dachshund named Rosie.

My Why is a Journey of learning and growing to be the Best Person Possible. 

I pay it forward

My 3 kids inspire me. They teach me to shut up and stay in my lane!

Physically I am attending Crossfit. I started 2 years ago at the ripe age of 58. I am getting stronger everyday. I also started drinking an all natural tea called SipBlu. It has improved my energy, aches and pains, morning fog went away and blood flow is better!

Tricia Soderstrom
As a Virtual Assistant I use my love for technology and administration to support small business owners in optimizing their workflow. My goal is to streamline processes, enabling clients to focus on what they love most.
My passion for organization and efficiency serves as the cornerstone of my role as a virtual Assistant. I thrive on streamlining processes, managing tasks seamlessly, and creating order out of chaos. I have the privilege of working closely with individuals and businesses, understanding their unique needs, and contributing to their success. The relationships formed in this collaborative journey add a profound sense of purpose to my work.

For eight years, I’ve built an online platform for Lyme disease education, supporting and coaching moms and children affected by the illness. Having transitioned from my role as a homeschooling mom, I continue to give back by mentoring homeschooling parents and offer discounted services to nonprofit homeschool businesses. In addition to my work in the health and education spheres, my husband and I support Christian missions through Christian Aid Missions, aligning our efforts with spreading Christian values and providing aid to those who need it.

My three adult daughters inspire me! Each one has overcome significant health challenges associated with chronic Lyme disease. Presently, they are not just thriving; they are embracing life to the fullest. Each one has followed their unique path whether traveling, learning new skills, caring for their families, or engaging in creative pursuits. I have enjoyed watching them successfully achieve their goals and create lives where they are flourishing.

I have always been committed to ongoing growth. I actively pursue new skills to better serve my clients. I strive to stay informed about the latest technologies and efficient task management methods. I enjoy networking within my industry which allows me to learn from successful peers. Additionally, I am always learning new things in personal areas of interest such as natural medicine, gardening and furniture restoration. 

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