Inspiring Women of Prince William County

Ladies, this is your page. Let us celebrate those women in our community who inspire us, from your next-door neighbor, to the regional Teacher of the Year, to the local CEO. These are the women who are always there to help when help is needed; the women who march forward in the face of obstruction; the women who pave the way for others; and the unsung heroes working behind the scenes to keep operations going. We have only a few rules for submission: 1). Write a short paragraph about why this woman inspires you. 2). Include a photo, either a head short or a picture of her on the job. (Do NOT include an image embedded in a document; send it separately to retain quality) and 3). Get her permission. Without all three, the entry will not be posted. Submit all items to the web manager at rosefitz.portraitwriter@gmail.com.

This page will not expire, but grow over time. Most recent additions on top.


Ruth Gordon: Beauty and Brain

Submitted by Lee Vannett

In 2011 I had back surgery, after which I was referred to physical therapy. However, despite my full “compliance” with the therapist, I “flunked” and was subsequently referred to Ruth.

Just the fact that Ruth is the sole owner, a woman owner of a popular fitness studio is in and of itself an inspiration. As Ruth tells it, as a child she was not very athletic, but while in college she fell in love with aerobics (can you say Jane Fonda?) and eventually become an instructor and Certified Personal Trainer. She earned her B.S. from George Mason University in Exercise Science and Wellness and has earned certifications from the American Council on Exercise (Gold), the American Fitness and Aerobics Association; she is a certified Golf Fitness Specialist and is a Cancer Exercise Specialist, having been certified through the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. Since earning her certifications, she has helped many individuals like me regain the ability to move without pain and to have better functionality. In January 2010 she opened C.O.R.E. (creating optimal results every day) Personal Training and Pilates studio, fulfilling her dream of offering a wellness based, fitness studio.  Furthermore, she has mentored and trained the many new instructors just coming into the fitness industry while at the same time continuing private training for individuals and group fitness classes.  Since the studio opened, she, as a personal fitness trainer, and the studio, have been recognized by Prince William County as the best Pilates Studio, the best Pilates Instructor and the best Personal Trainer.

Her passion for giving back to her community led her in 2011, to create a fundraising team for the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life;” a team which is still going strong today.  Under her leadership and guidance her team has raised over $60,000.00 for local cancer programs. 

I think it should be obvious why I consider Ruth an inspiration. Had I not been to Ruth those many years ago, what would my physical abilities be now? I know I would never have discovered the “joy of movement” let alone sit on the stability ball without falling face forward.  For people like me who live with chronic pain Ruth has been an inspiration, but beyond that she has punched a hole in that “glass ceiling” dispelling the myth that women cannot be successful business leaders.

Jessica Dunn, Dedicated to Helping Others

Jessica Dunn is the co-founder and Executive Director of Change in Action, a local 501c3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping individuals and families lead safer and better lives. Change in Action is located in Woodbridge and serves PWC and some of the surrounding areas. Change in Action approaches change through education, teaching specific skills, and modeling accountability. Dunn has worked in the field of social work and human services for over 16 years. Dunn saw a need to change the approach of dealing with domestic abuse, anger management, and violence outside of the home. As a result, Change in Action was created.
While working with victims of domestic abuse, Dunn realized that the main focus should be on the perpetrator of the violence within the home. An entire household can be positively altered by working directly with the family member who is the root cause of the violence in the home. Jessica manages the day-to-day operation of Change in Action and is a co-leader of multiple groups which meet each week.
Dunn leads groups such as the Batterer’s Intervention/Alternatives to Violence Program, Anger and Stress Management programs for adults, and special programs for children and teens, living in homes where violence is taking place. Dunn is certified in Anger Resolution and has extensive experience in counseling, crisis management and dealing with mental health issues. She believes that every person is capable of making positive changes in their lives. Dunn is dedicated to helping those individuals who are committed to doing the hard work of turning their lives around.


Kathy McNeely: an Example of Humble Generosity

Our Woodbridge Women’s Club member Kathy McNeely is truly an inspiration to anyone who knows her. Kathy constantly encourages us all to do everything we can to help others. Kathy donates hours to help friends in need delivering food, shopping or just visiting friends and neighbors. She is always doing something for others including her furry friends that she rescues and provides a forever home. She gives freely of her time and energy in support of the Club as secretary for over 8 years. At the same time, she devotes much of her time in service as a Church Deacon to help many church members as well as tackling multiple church committees, projects and programs through Zoom meetings. Kathy never says no to anyone who asks for help and is always thankful, helpful and kind to anyone she contacts or those who connect with her. I am grateful she is a Club member and a friend.

Joyce Entremont, a Friend Indeed

My PWC Woman of Inspiration is Joyce Entremont, whose heart for the homeless is a mile wide. Seven years ago, she started taking food and blankets to homeless veterans in her area, just wanting to help. Since then, she has developed real, personal relationships with an entire network of people in Prince William County who are down on their luck, and she has become a friend and advocate for many. While she’s learned that not all can (or even want to) be helped, there are many who need help but don’t know where to turn. Joyce visits the camps and areas where the homeless tend to gather and listens to their stories. She has learned hundreds of their names, and they know her, because she has invested time to understand the vast, mysterious system of benefits available to them. She rarely gives money, and then only if certain it won’t be use for drugs or alcohol, but she does collect grocery gift cards and clothing to dole out where she sees it will help, such as when she meets a single mother and her children sleeping in a car. Also, in the past few years, I’ve been able to coax 45-50 folks out of the woods, and into detox and long-term rehab. Many of them have gone on to live very productive lives. Primarily, she connects people with doctors and dentists; she helps people find jobs, counsellors, and rehab centers; and she makes sure they all know they have at least one good friend. We could all use a friend like Joyce in our corner.