The mothers, the millennials, and the mavens. Changing our communities.
This is our seventh annual unveiling of 50 amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. Meet this West Virginia Wonder Woman, Amy Panzarella, and many more that are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.
A Volunteer Heart
An Air Force kid who grew up all over, Amy Panzarella finished high school in Ohio. Without the means to go straight to college, she went straight to work, at a credit union in Dayton. She saw how much the people who hired and trained her enjoyed their work, so she set her sights on human resources, working toward it at the credit union and earning a challenging HR certification—and along the way developing a passion for the profession. When her husband, also in the Air Force, was assigned to the Pentagon in 2002, they and their two young sons moved near Panzarella’s father in Charles Town. She took a position at American Public University System and took advantage of the paid tuition benefit to finally earn the college degrees she’d always wanted.
One might think everyone who goes into HR is a “people person.” Panzarella, now senior vice president of Human Resources at APUS parent company APEI, says that is surprisingly not the case—but it seems she’s the genuine article. “I have a natural curiosity about what makes people tick.” Exercising that same curiosity in her extensive volunteer efforts—including longtime service with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and Jefferson County Schools—has made her a go-to networking resource.
Panzarella describes herself as having a volunteer heart and encourages everyone to be more involved. “If you’re going to live in a community, you have to have an active role,” she says. “Get in there and understand how you can support things and make them better.”