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Our Core Focus

The foundation of our organization is in the following.


Educating women and girls of all backgrounds is one of the most profitable investments that our society can make.


Mentorship and advocacy expands access to coaching, training and opportunities that are not available otherwise.


Networking is key for building professional capital by creating mutually beneficial connections, internally and externally.

Community Service

Volunteering benefits the community while developing transferrable skills and creating career exploration opportunities.


Scholarship and financial support assists women and girls to access education which enables them to continuously advance.


We cannot do it alone. Partnering with businesses, schools and organizations allow us all to better serve women and girls.

The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc. (Xcel, Inc.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of women and girls of all backgrounds through mentoring, education, networking, scholarship and community service.

Founded as a student organization at Northeastern University by Tricia Brunton in 2002, The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership prepared female college students for the ‘real world’. As a student organization Xcel provided developmental programs and events, such as the On The Road to Xcellence Women’s Conference, which supported Xcel members and the Northeastern University community.

In December 2005, Tricia Brunton and then co-Directors, Makeda Keegan, Neakai Lewis, Olympia Valentine and Allison Appel incorporated The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership in Massachusetts. In 2007, Xcel, Inc. received tax exempt 501 (c) (3) status.

Since its incorporation, Xcel, Inc. has offered programs and services, including myRetreat™, LinkHer™, The Women’s Networking Event, and myWorld™, that support the personal, educational and professional development of women and girls.

We are proud to offer our program at no cost to the women and girls that we serve. This is made possible by donations from individuals and sponsorships from corporations listed below. Additionally, we have partnered with groups and organizations including the Women In Insurance to raise funds for our programming.

  • General Electric
  • United Technologies
  • Mass Mutual
  • CNA Financial Corporation
  • Allied World Assurance Company
  • Robinson + Cole
  • Morrison Mahoney LLP
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson
  • Wilson Elser
“Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey.” – Charles S. Lauer


That we’re proud of


We are a 100% volunteer based organization. All of our programs are led by volunteers from the community.


Our organization has offered programs and services to over 500 women and girls throughout Connecticut and Western MA.


With over 200 individual and corporate donors, we have been able to offer free programs to the community.


Over 15 years of experience offering programs and services that promote the advancement of women and girls.

Our Team

Tricia Brunton
Tricia Brunton

Tricia Brunton founded “The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership” (Xcel) as a student-focused organization at Northeastern University, Boston, MA, in 2002. Tricia served, as President and member of NU Xcel’s Executive Board until 2005.

In 2005, Tricia and then co-Directors, Neakai Lewis, Olympia Valentine, Makeda Keegan and Allison Appel incorporated The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership in Massachusetts. Tricia continues to lead organizational efforts to provide value added programs and services to its members and the community, while expanding its outreach through resource development and establishing long-term relationships with businesses, community organizations and educational institutions.

Tricia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Marketing from Northeastern University as well as an MBA and a Master of Science in Finance degree from Indiana University. She is also the Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace.

Simone Reuther
Simone Reuther
Training Manager

Simone is an enthusiastic, cross-trained professional with several years of experience in consulting and training. During the past years she has led and supported various change and development projects for different organizations. She has also developed, designed and facilitated a variety of target-group specific workshops, trainings and lectures for audiences including all levels of an organization.

She is passionate about Organization Development and Training. Her special interests lie in the human side of change as well as in organizational culture and the way it influences learning and development in organizations.

Simone holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Hartford and a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management from the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg (Germany).

Open Positions
Board of Directors

An Xcel, Inc. Director is a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting The Females’ Center of Excellence and Leadership, Inc.

LinkHer™ Manager

The LinkHer™ Manager leads and oversees the development, implementation and expansion of the LinkHer™ Program, which unites female students (High School Juniors and up) and professionals based on ANY career and educational path.