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Giving Back to the Community - March 2019 Business Luncheon

March 27, 2019
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Sheraton Imperial Hotel RDU
4700 Emperor Blvd
Durham, NC 27703

Giving Back to the Community


There’s evidence that even though women tend to have fewer available resources as they age, they are giving larger portions of their wealth to charity than men. Likewise, volunteerism in the United States is substantially more common among women than men. According to one survey, on average, women are nearly 30% more likely to volunteer. At this luncheon, we’ll explore why women business owners are so committed giving back to the community.

What will you hear that you can apply to your business? Hear from a panel of women entrepreneurs about how they've found fulfillment, built networks, and learned leadership skills through volunteerism and charitable giving.

We'll talk about real situations—and real solutions. Through giving back to our communities, we can promote social change and give back to those who are less fortunate, all while building our businesses and honing leadership skills.

This month we are humbled to host a gracious group of women who have given back so much to their communities!

Linda Craft, CEO of Craft Residential and Craft Commercial, and the founder of Linda Craft & Team Realtors; received White House's President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2018.   For over 30 years, she's led a team that has sold over 2 billion dollars in real estate in the Triangle. Her boutique woman-owned business has been recognized by hundreds of industry awards, including Triangle Business Journal "Best Place to Work".  Linda was inducted into the North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018 for her enduring contribution in the real estate industry, her tireless work with charities in the community, and for assisting and coaching young professional women. She truly is a champion for aspiring women entrepreneurs, which is evident through her commitment to bringing Athena International to the Triangle to empower women to be strong business and community leaders 

Linda serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Chairs the Red Cross Ball and is a member of The Tiffany Circle for her continued commitment to the Red Cross. Linda sponsors many other organizations, including Note in the Pocket, Hospice of Wake County, Saving Grace and Second Chance Pet Adoptions.  In addition, Linda’s team has sponsored and supported more than 70 charities. The team is actively engaged in community events, offers free use of their moving truck to her clients and all charities, donates cruise vacations to charity auctions, provides bottled water for walk/run events, as well as holding an annual free shredding event for the community. Service honors include;  President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2018, North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018, and Humanitarian Award 2016.

Elizabeth Nisbet Miller, a Charlotte-area native, has centered her entire career on business to business sales and marketing.  Her work has been the construction of relationships through creative communications, mostly in customer service, telemarketing, direct sales, trade shows, print, and electronic media.  In addition to her corporate work, she has worked on advancement and planning with non-profits, trade and professional associations, civic initiatives, cultural and educational institutions.  Her community activities include participation on the Advisory Board of WDAV, a prominent classical music radio station affiliated with Davidson College from 2003-09.  She has been an active member of the Business Marketing Association Carolinas Chapter, a professional organization which promotes business to business marketing and career advancement.   

In 2008, Elizabeth launched a new initiative when she identified a need for newcomers, those who are hitting their stride in their careers and those in career transition to channel their experience for the benefit of non-profits and civic initiatives. Her clients learn how to navigate the non-profit world and the opportunities that provides to enhance their understanding of community needs and expand their network.   By preparing emerging leaders for community engagement, Elizabeth’s process assures that the next generation of leaders will maximize their contribution for the success of non-profits in their communities and make their limited number of volunteer hours effective and rewarding.


Sara Garces Roselli, co-founder of Packard Place; representative on the City of Charlotte’s Minority and Women Business Owners Council.  Sara has held leadership positions at advertising, consulting, and marketing firms including Mythic, Red F Marketing, Colgate-Palmolive, and Lucent Technologies. She has been responsible for aligning business and people strategies by designing and executing new programs that yield improved employee performance, managing and directing Human Resources, Finance, and Information Technology groups, and instituting operational policies that align with business goals. Sara is also the co-founder and managing partner of Packard Place Properties, LLC where she is instrumental in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within the Charlotte community and offers mentorship, programming, and opportunities to connect business, government, and non-profits. 

Sara holds an MA in Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University.  As a seasoned Board Member, Sara has held board positions including: Board Chair at Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont, Board Development Chair at Girl Scouts Hornets Nest Council and has held several other committee chair roles at the Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation Board, NAWBO Charlotte, the Mint Museum, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.  She is a Co-Chair for the Grameen America – Charlotte Advisory Board and is a founding member of the Business Innovation and Growth Council (BIG).  Sara is a past recipient of NAWBO Charlotte Chapter Woman Business Owner of the Year and the NAWBO Charlotte “Rising Star” Awards.   She has also been named among Charlotte’s  “40 Under 40” and was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as a Women in Business Achievement Award winner.  In addition, Sara is bi-lingual, bi-cultural and of Colombian descent.  She is passionate about economic mobility and women and children’s initiatives.  Sara is also the proud mother of two sets of twins.


Susan Gravely is a Founder and the Creative Director of VIETRI, Inc., a lifestyle brand of Italian artisan-crafted dinnerware and home and garden accessories. VIETRI was founded in 1983 by Lee Gravely and her daughters, Susan and Frances, after a family trip to Italy where they fell in love with the colorful handpainted Italian dinnerware of the Amalfi Coast. VIETRI is now America’s largest Italian ceramics importing company, partnering with numerous Italian manufacturers in various regions throughout Italy. With approximately 40 employees, VIETRI serves a customer base of over 2,000 specialty retailers and department stores in all 50 states and internationally.  VIETRI has been active with many local non-profit organizations including North Carolina  Hospice, American Heart Association, Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, and gives countless gifts for auctions for various causes. In 2013, VIETRI paid for and built a Habitat for Humanity home in Orange County, NC.

In 2002, Susan became an Honorary Citizen of the town of Nove, Italy. In 2013, VIETRI and Susan were honored in Gubbio, Italy. In 2003, Susan was the recipient of the Salem College Distinguished Alumni Award and was named the Entrebizneur of the Year by North Carolina Business Leader Magazine in 2004. In 2008, Susan was a finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. She sits on the Rocky
Mount Cord Company Board of Directors, the Advisory Board for VISION, and the Beyond Expectations Board of Directors.In 2014, Susan was named the Legacy Award winner by WithIt,
the women’s leadership development network serving the home furnishings industry. In November 2015, Susan, Frances, and the late Lee Gravely were inducted into the Twin County Hall of Fame, which honors distinguished citizens of Nash and Edgecombe counties in North Carolina. The Gravely ladies were honored for their many accomplishments and contributions to the community. Susan and Frances were born in Rocky Mount, NC. Susan now oversees product design and the creative direction of VIETRI. She is married to Bill Ross and has two stepdaughters. Her favorite things in life are her family and friends, her home, her dog Franco – and VIETRI!

Moderator: Virginia Gentry Parker
A forty-year resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, Virginia has shared her skills, knowledge, and leadership in all areas of our community– as a business professional, as a life-long volunteer, and as a community advocate. Virginia is currently the Senior Vice President/Market Manager for Bank of America in the Triangle Market. She’s responsible for all community relations activities for Wake, Durham, and Orange counties as well as internal employee engagement for the more than 550 Bank of America employees in the area. Giving back to her community is one of Virginia’s priorities. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Raleigh Chamber as the Vice Chair of its Foundation. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Girl Scouts of the Coastal Pines, the Junior League of Raleigh, the Holt Brothers Foundation and the Board of Visitors for Appalachian State University. More important, she is collaborating with the Archway Foundation to end homelessness for youth in our community. Throughout her tenure in the Triangle, Virginia has been recognized as a TBJ Women in Business recipient, a TBJ Finance Impact Leader, a Woman of Excellence by the Women's Club, the Vernon Malone Friend of Education recipient and a Woman of the Year by the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Virginia is married to Monty and has two children, Hannah (26) and Evan (24). Her personal interests include travel, exercise, and being a part of the Triangle community.


$35.00 Member Registration

$365.00 Table Sponsor- Includes 8 tickets and Signage (Members only)

$50.00 Guest Registration