• Women’s Business Development Council Announces 5 New Hires, Including Three Child Care Business Advisors

    STATEWIDE, CT — The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is pleased to announce the hiring of five new staffers, including three new business advisors specifically committed to supporting home- and center-based child care businesses in Connecticut.

    The child care industry has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many providers closing their doors due to factors such as severe revenue losses, increased health compliance costs, and staffing shortages. This situation has wider ramifications for the economy as a whole, as a lack of available child care has forced millions of parents — primarily working women — to pause or stop their careers to care for young children.

    Through a partnership with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC), WBDC is working to improve the child care situation in Connecticut. WBDC Child Care Business Support Program — a comprehensive suite of no-cost services to help child care providers start, grow, and sustain their business — includes training and technical assistance as well as grants of up to $25,000 offered through the Child Care Business Opportunity Fund.

    The following is a brief biography of each new advisor, with their full profile included in the accompanying link.

    Linda Fecteau: Linda, the founder and former owner of a multi-site early childhood education operation, now concentrates on assisting child care providers with developing and implementing fiscal policies that can save them time and money. She is the lead instructor for Administration and Supervision of Early Childhood Programs for Charter Oak State College, and previously held administrative and advisory positions at the CT Afterschool Network, LEARN, and two non-profit youth organizations. Linda resides in Niantic, CT and is Chairman of the East Lyme Youth Services Commission.

    Tanya KelleyAfter 20 years as a corporate fiscal controller, Tanya pivoted her career and began assisting individuals, startups, and small business owners to improve their financial literacy. At WBDC, she works closely with family home child care providers to strengthen their finances, set up their QuickBooks accounts, and address pain points in their business. Tanya lives in New Haven, CT.

    Zayed RodriguezA former financial advisor on Wall Street, Zayed ran his own company for seven years and has worked with small business owners to start and grow their companies. At WBDC, Zayed focuses on assisting child care providers and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with advancing their goals. Originally from Mexico, Zayed currently lives in Stamford, CT.

    In addition to these advisors, WBDC is proud to announce the hiring of Erin Mercede and Grace Almeida. Erin joins the team as Program Manager for WBDC’s West Region, and Grace as a Marketing Assistant.

    Erin, a Connecticut native who currently lives in Stamford, formerly worked as the Director of Leadership Programs at the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, with previous roles at Santa Energy in Bridgeport and Ellington Management Group in Old Greenwich. She also ran several professional development groups, including Leadership Greater Bridgeport, Thrive: Emerging Leaders, and the Women’s Leadership Network, and in 2019 was recognized in the Fairfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 honors. She has an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a BS in Finance from the University of New Hampshire.

    Grace, a Stratford, CT resident, recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from Temple University. She has previously interned with the French American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia and Vital Voices Global Partnership working in marketing, communications, and social media.

    “We are thrilled to bring these wonderfully talented and experienced individuals into the WBDC family, ” said WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore. “Our growing team is indicative of the expanded services we are providing to women owned businesses throughout Connecticut. Linda’s background in early childhood education, along with Tanya’s and Zayed’s  small business advising experience, will allow us to support a greater number of Connecticut’s child care providers. Erin’s experience and connections within Connecticut’s small business community will bolster our programs and services in the western region of the state and Grace’s unique talents will be critical to support our efforts to share information about the work WBDC is so proud to be doing.”

    For more information on WBDC’s Child Care Business Support services, or to schedule an interview with any of our newly hired professionals, please contact JoAnn Gulbin at or 203-353-1750.

    Photos of the new hires can be found here.

    About the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC)
    The Women’s Business Development Council’s mission is to support economic prosperity for women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut. Since 1997, WBDC has educated and trained more than 14,000 clients—helping women to launch and scale over 6,000 businesses, create and maintain over 8,100 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $18.6 in capital. WBDC is the only agency in CT reflective of the statewide demographic makeup offering comprehensive micro-enterprise training, with services ranging from financial education, entrepreneurial development and access to capital programs. Visit for more information.