SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) What makes up a Remarkable Women? Strength, courage, community outreach, love, and respect are all words that can come to mind. NewsChannel 9 is sharing the stories of eight local women who exemplify these qualities, including our Remarkable Women Winner, Maureen Casey.

OUR WINNER: MAUREEN CASEY

In our 2022 Remarkable Women, Maureen Casey was at the forefront of technology. She changed the way crimes are solved nationwide and has helped pave the path to give some sense of peace to families of 9/11 victims. Now she is helping veterans figure out how to thrive after service to our country.

“I turned around and saw the gaping hole in the North Tower, immediately everyone is trying to figure out what’s going on, we’re trying to sort out what’s happening, and I see the second plane hit the South Tower,” Casey said when describing the scene of that tragic day more than two decades ago.

Serving as a Deputy Commissioner for the NYPD, Casey headed toward the towers as others tried to escape. Her team shook off the shock to mobilize and set up a command post.

Within two days, came new orders to set up a system to identify the remains of thousands of victims who lost their lives. While at the NYPD, Casey discovered a way to clear the backlog of nearly 17,000 rape kits, bringing long-awaited justice to sexual assault survivors.

“It changed the way this entire country looked at the backlog of crime evidence. There were rape kits that weren’t just sitting in freezers in New York City, they were sitting in freezers across the county,” Casey said.

Meeting monumental challenges, and witnessing heartache, Casey quickly credits the family farm for her resilient framework. The days were long, the work, hard, on the Hudson falls Dairy Farm. “It was a hard life. but I learned so much from that, in terms of work ethic, you can’t leave until the job is done.”

A work ethic she carried while managing JP Morgan Chase’s office of military and veterans’ affairs. “Very quickly I met and got to help veterans who enlisted in the military because of what happened on 9/11, so the opportunity to give back to volunteer to protect and defend was an incredible opportunity for me”.

She has been able to help veterans and families on an even wider scale, as the Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families on the Syracuse University Campus, where she helps them thrive post-service.

While working in male-dominated environments, Casey remains authentic while always finding a way to get the job done, in Remarkable ways.

MEET THE FINALISTS:

It’s difficult to narrow down to one winner since there were more than 60 women entered for consideration. Here are our finalists…

ARDENAY GARNER:

As a Personal Development Coach, ArDenay Garner works with people to help them achieve their goals. She’s intentional about what they see in her office. She’s a licensed Master Social Worker, but serving as a coach is what she is passionate about. “A lot of people come to me because they’re stuck. They want to either launch a new career, maybe they’re stuck in a relationship,” Garner said.

It’s not just through her work as a coach, but as an author. Her second book, ‘Stand up! Resilient Black Women Who Are Shaping The World With Their Faith’ is a collaboration. As a coach, Garner helps her clients problem-solve by writing their own personal stories down and then getting them published.

“They come to me with a story,” Garner added. “They participate in an anthology project and by the end of the, let’s say four months, they are published authors. It’s the personal development piece where I’m helping them grow through their doubts and grow through their insecurities so that they can actually become the best version of themselves.”

If you feel stuck in an area of your life, Garner has some advice.

“You have to be willing to do the work. Even when it gets ugly, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you have those quote-unquote bad days, feel your feelings in the moment. Go through the bad day, but get up and be willing to do the work or ask for help,” Garner said.

SHAWNA GOULD:

Shawn’s known for being the Founder of MOMS With Heart, a group for stay-at-home moms started by a stay-at-home mom, but her story is so much more Remarkable than that. Shortly after having their second child, Josie, Shawna realized she needed to find women who knew and felt exactly what she was going through.

Gould wanted to create this group to allow women from all walks of life to not only help each other feel more confident and complete but to help the community around them. Together they collect canned goods, toiletries, gifts, and more to give to families in need, especially during the holiday seasons.

Her group doesn’t come with an income. So, MOMS with Heart is working towards becoming a non-profit.
Right now they’re raising money and awareness by selling ‘mom merch’.

JENNIFER HOYT:

Growing up in a small rural town just south of Rochester, Jennifer’s love for horses developed at an early age. With her husband, she started up a business at their home in Manlius, training everyone how to ride.

As a visionary and advocate, Hoyt has made tremendous strides to help the sport become more inclusive. While on the Executive Committee of the National Reining Horse Association, she paved the way for people with physical impairments.

“One of the things that I really do well is to read people and read horses. So, I can read a person if they’re nervous if they’re scared. I can help them build their confidence, find their way out of that package that they’re in,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt works with riders of all experiences, coaching private lessons and at Syracuse University. She says so many students have come through her barn who have never sat on a horse before, and they’ve grown to love the sport.

REMARKABLE MENTIONS:

There are so many trailblazers, and community leaders in our area, NewsChannel 9 included a few more…

JODI MULLEN: Mullen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Oswego, who uses her passion for therapy to help children who have faced trauma. “When they play it out, they get to play it out in a space that they feel safe in a place that they feel listened to and for many many children believed,” Mullen said.

Mullens’ impact goes beyond helping children heal. Outside of her business in the Port City, she teaches graduate students at Suny Oswego, has authored and edited seven books in her field, and advises other play therapists around the world. Her own strength especially shines through in her personal life as a mother, wife, and community volunteer.

“I set a high bar for the people that I’m connected to but I do that for myself as well so I still know that there’s a lot to learn I can be a better professor, I could be a better mom for sure I could be a better counselor and I really hold myself to how can I do that,” Mullen explains.

MARIE CULLEN: For 37 years, Cullen has been making sure all the food and necessities that come into St. Charles St. Ann’s food pantry, getting into the homes of those in need.

“I’ve seen a little girl when I went into a house one day, hug a box of pancake mix, and yell to her mother, mom we got pancakes,” Cullen said.

During her long hours packing the essentials, she says it’s worth every minute.

“Make somebody smile today. but if we can help someone why not? Because we’re so blessed, I’m very blessed, I’ve had a very blessed life,” Cullen said.

KATY MCBRIDE: As Syracuse City Clerk, Patricia, ‘Katy’ Mcbride is a history maker times two. She is the first African American and First Woman to hold the position. She’s worked for years with the Syracuse Housing Authority to put others back on their feet.

“It just was really surreal to really see and to work in that environment where I can be some type of contribution to those families that are vulnerable in that situation,” Mcbride said.

Mcbride said it’s something she understands. She was a teen mom and is a breast cancer and heart disease survivor. How does she get through it all? She said it’s her inner circle that helps move her forward.

“I have a very supportive family who always have been there for me. And you know, and cheering me on along the way. When I go low, they go high,” Mcbride said.

JESSA GOSS: For nearly 49 years, Jessa Goss has helped people across Central New York living with a debilitating disease that impacts their central nervous system; Multiple Sclerosis. She started working at the National MS Society when she was in her junior year of college. She has held multiple positions there, and after 25 years, she began a new chapter as Executive Director at MS resources of Central New York.

Meeting people of all ages with MS, Goss said this made her want to help as many as she can to fight this disease. “It’s a challenge, it’s not an easy task, and it’s not a 40 an hour a week job.” Challenges asides, Goss said she can’t imagine doing anything else.

A special thank you to all of the Remarkable Women of NewsChannel 9, the first show directed, produced, written, and promoted entirely by women.