Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry Announces 2022 Women Influencing Business Winners

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women influencing business
Image via Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry.
From L to R: Sandra L. Knapp, Partner, Gawthrop Greenwood, Attorneys at Law; Daisy Lara, MD, of LCH Health and Community Services & Resilio Mental Health Solutions; Tracy Ashdale, LSW; Executive Director, Chief Energy Officer, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Suburban, Pa.

The Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry (CCCBI) is revealing the two women it will honor as 2022 Female Business Leader of the Year, as well as 2022 Rising Star. Sandra L. Knapp, a partner at the law firm Gawthrop Greenwood, has been named the 2022 Female Business Leader of the Year by CCCBI.  

The award honors the accomplishments of a female executive who has made a positive impact in her business and the region, been a champion for women in business and worked to make her community a better place. Daisy Lara, MD, of LCH Health and Community Services and Resilio Mental Health Solutions, has been named the 2022 Rising Star. Both women will be honored at CCCBI’s Women Influencing Business Dinner to be held June 1, 2022 at White Manor County Club. 

Tickets are available now at chescochamber.org.  

2022 Female Business Leader of the Year: Sandra L. Knapp, Partner, Gawthrop Greenwood, Attorneys at Law. Just two years after joining the West Chester-based law firm Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, Sandra L. Knapp became the first woman in Chester County to be elected to manage a mid- to large-sized law firm, a position to which she was re-elected in Jan. 2018 and completed in Jan. 2021.  

A nationally recognized leader in transportation law, Knapp is also a highly respected practitioner in business law, commercial transactions, finance, banking and real estate law. Under Knapp’s leadership, Gawthrop Greenwood navigated the onset of COVID-19 while maintaining the entirety of its valued workforce. The pandemic began just as Knapp completed management of a complete remodel of the firm’s West Chester headquarters to accommodate the flexible work and meeting spaces required in a modern office environment.  

Knapp was also instrumental in opening the firm’s Wilmington office and was responsible for the relocation of that office to expanded headquarters to accommodate client demand and growth in the region. She has also focused on the firm’s mentorship program for young lawyers, including for young women in the law. At Gawthrop Greenwood, women comprise 40 percent of partners with projected growth. Knapp serves on the Chester County Economic Development Council’s Global Business Advisors group, which helps companies grow internationally and provides assistance to foreign companies looking to locate or expand in Chester County.  

She serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine and is a driving force behind Gawthrop Greenwood’s support of YMCA initiatives. She has also championed Gawthrop Greenwood’s Community Service Leave policy, which provides flexibility in work schedules as well as a single paid workday toward a community service project of an employee’s choice.  

2022 Female Rising Star of the Year: Daisy Lara, MD, of LCH Health and Community Services & Resilio Mental Health Solutions. Dr. Lara is double board-certified by The American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has extensive advanced practice nursing experience in both outpatient and inpatient settings. She has spent years diagnosing, treating, and helping adult, geriatric and adolescent individuals in Chester County to manage their acute and chronic mental health illnesses.  

She attained her doctorate from Wilmington University and focused her DNP project on the integration of a Spanish speaking Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner within a primary care office. She was an adjunct faculty at University of Pennsylvania nursing program and continues to mentor nursing students in collaboration with the Minority Fellowship Program, NAHN Philadelphia and PA-ACCEL Lincoln University Mentorship Program.  

Dr. Lara is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Nurses Association (ANA), Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners ChesMont chapter, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She was appointed Fellow for the Minority Fellowship Program for her leadership in mental health and substance use disorders, prevention, treatment and recovery in nursing. She is a member of the Equity Task Force at Collegium Charter School in Exton, PA. She is also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and is the most recent past President of the Philadelphia Chapter.  

2022 Keynote Speaker: Tracy Ashdale, LSW; Executive Director, Chief Energy Officer, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Suburban, Pa, will serve as keynote speaker at the event. As a lifelong champion of celebrating girls and women’s strengths, Ashdale has always encouraged others to trust themselves and lead with their heart, as well as their head. Ashdale has been on a journey to encourage women and girls to take action and be brave in their lives so they can experience real joy and connection with others.  

The speaker says she appreciates that leadership is a moment to-moment choice and not about the title, tenure or position. She believes leadership is for everyone. Ashdale spent the first part of her professional life training and working with couples, families, and children at The Horsham Clinic, Penn Council for Relationships, and as an Integrative Life Coach with the Ford Institute. In 2002, she founded the local Montgomery and Delaware Counties Council of Girls on the Run International. She coached her first team of 12 girls at Fort Washington Elementary in 2007, and by 2020, she expanded to serve Chester County.  

Thus far, the council has served over 8500 girls locally. They have over 100 schools offering the program, with a couple thousand girls participating each spring. Over 500 coaches are expected to deliver the ten-week curriculum in 2022. Ashdale brings significant expertise to Girls on the Run in leading change, strategic goal setting, and creating a value driven culture.  

Tickets and sponsorships for this event are on sale now! Anyone may attend. Member cost is $125 and non-member cost is $175. To register or for more information on the event, please visit the website. The event is being sponsored by Gawthrop Greenwood, PC Attorneys at Law, Aqua, Home of the Sparrow, Fulton Bank, Keystone Shipping, Genesis, and DFT INC.  

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