Women at the Center - Thought Leadership 

The Power of Women Entrepreneurs

(March 2022)

Women entrepreneurs not only financially empower themselves, but they improve the lives and strengthen the economy for the people and communities around them. At CWE we call this impact "The Multiplier Effect." Yet, the story that is most often told in the news and as part of conferences and learning events is focused on what women entrepreneurs lack: access to capital (banks, VC, PE), childcare, support systems, etc. 

CWE's First Women at the Center Event shines a spotlight on what women business owners already have and already do for all of us. Women entrepreneurs financially empower themselves and their families, they are actively engaged in their local community through civic and philanthropic leadership, and they put dollars into the economy through taxes, job creation, vendors, real estate, benefits, consumer spending and more. Hear from an amazing panel of women entrepreneurs from across New England who share their experience as business, community, and economic builders. 

Moderator: Desiree Allen, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 


Akshata Nayak, Little Patakha, VT 
Dr. Candida Castillo, Aesthetic Dental Studio of RI 
Katrina Conrad, Conrad & Associates Boston, MA


Akshata NayakAkshata Nayak

Little Patakha, VT

Little Patakha is a children’s brand that introduces kids to people, sounds and ideas they normally wouldn’t come across. So, they learn from differences and see how they make us vibrant and innovative. Where other brands offer only books or only toys, Little Patakha offers different media for different stages of development all centered on promoting diversity and shattering stereotypes.


Dr. Candida CastilloDr. Candida Castillo

Aesthetic Dental Studio of RI

The Aesthetic Dental Studio of RI is a dental practice, located in North Providence. They provide holistic/ biological dental services/treatment for adults and children. Services range from simple oral health maintenance to oral surgery to replace missing teeth with implants or prosthetics. Candida sets her business apart by providing certified biological/holistic dental services to the community, where body-mouth-relationship is an integral part of every individual treatment plan. We provide certified SMART protocol for mercury removal, metal free prosthetics, biocompatible dental material, ozone treatment, as well as the highest safe technology for treatment plan and diagnostic.


Katrina ConradKatrina Conrad

Conrad & Associates Boston, MA

With over twenty years of administration experience and a decade in recruiting and workforce development, Katrina has dedicated her career to fostering and uplifting the untapped potential of low-income and minority workers in Boston’s diverse communities of color. For the last decade, it’s been her personal mission to serve as a matchmaker in connecting contractors and employees in the area with lucrative opportunities in the city.

As the leader of WORC², underwritten by NEI General Contracting, Katrina is committed to building a pool of qualified contractors and residents to fill the need for the trades and continue to promote diversity and inclusion in all construction projects in all Boston neighborhoods. Katrina is a people person and has worked in many different fields throughout her life. This has allowed her to understand and connect with the people she serves and fuels her to help them succeed and make an impact on the community. Ms. Conrad is also President of Conrad & Associates LLC, a diversity consulting firm specializing in Workforce Development programming and training as well as Section 3, Davis Bacon Labor requirements.



Desiree AllenDesiree Allen

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Des Allen is an Assistant Vice President in the Regional and Community Outreach department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which works to advance economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities by addressing the root causes of inequity. She is responsible for managing a portfolio of strategic engagement efforts to transform the economic systems that impact LMI families and communities. This work includes supporting local municipalities in advancing racial equity in their policies and processes, working with employers to ensure job quality for LMI workers, and advancing efforts to improve early child care systems to ensure that they meet the needs of working parents. Des also sits on the Alumnae Board of The Winsor School. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.