There's something about Mary. Actually, there are several impressive somethings about Mary Bigham, who was recently awarded the 2008 Business Woman of the Year by the Women's Referral Network (WRN) of Chester County.
Bigham is founder of WCDish.com, a successful food and restaurant Web site and blog covering the West Chester area. She was scheduled to receive the award Thursday at WRN's first annual Premier Awards Dinner at the Chester Valley Golf Club in Malvern.
Two other WRN recipients were present as well: Sandra S. Carr from Susquehanna Bank (Corporate Citizen Award) and Teresa DeVries of Swarthmore Financial Services (Advocate for Women in Business Award).
Along with Bigham, these honorees were recognized for being outstanding local business women who have created networking opportunities throughout the county.
The Women's Referral Network of Chester County is a group of professionals who strive to foster business connections.
The three women were celebrated for their various accomplishments. Carr's Corporate Citizen Award is for the enrichment she has provided to many others via her tireless work with the local Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and the WRN. DeVries earned her Advocate for Women in Business Award with the mentoring she has taken on, providing free teaching seminars at Chester County Hospital while earning New Agent of the Year accolades at her workplace.
Denise Werkley, president of the WRN, cited several of the many positive attributes that helped Bigham, 27, to become the WRN's first Business Woman of the Year honoree.
"Mary's accomplishments have been through the roof. We were looking for someone with enthusiasm, someone who embodies originality. With her high energy and infectious attitude, plus all her accomplishments in the past year, we knew that woman was Mary."
WCDish.com was founded by Bigham in early 2007 and since then, it has become a highly viewed Web site for those interested in food and restaurants throughout the region, receiving upward of 1,000 hits a week.
There's something else about Mary: For five years she has been a full-time marketing and events coordinator for ACAC Fitness & Wellness Center in East Goshen, and she hosts a radio show on Fridays from 7 a.m. to9 a.m. on WCOJ (1420AM) centered on food and called "Eat, Drink and Meet Mary" that highlights the greater Chester County area.
Plus, there is the occasional free-lance food column she writes for the Daily Local News. She also is the president of Rotaract, a young professionals' branch of the West Chester Rotary Club. The organization provides community service and civic outreach throughout the borough.
"I feel extremely fortunate to have the support system I do from everyone who helps with the Web site, at ACAC, and in my other endeavors," Bigham said.
"It's exciting to be recognized for trying to do something that benefits the community, while being able to do something I love."
Denise Werkley said she and her WRN board of directors appreciate this passion toward relationship-building.
"Mary gets it done. For someone so young, she's constantly pulled in all different directions, but manages to maintain strong ties to so many parts of the working community."
"It's true," Bigham conceded. "I usually bite off more than I can chew, a definite sign of my inexperience. But I've learned that I'm always initially interested in the person as a person, way before I find out what she or he does professionally. This has helped me to create strong, lasting relationships with so many wonderful people."
"I don't know where I'm going," she concluded. " I just hope it involves food!"