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WDM Curi Garden Kenmark Science Vice Chancellor at American Sports University December 2015 The Learning Center Overview West Virginia Wesleyan College provides excellent support programs to students with diagnosed learning disabilities attention disorders and other special needs. Centralized and comprehensive programming for students with diagnosed learning disabilities and other special needs Individually structured Foundational Program which provides one-on-one academic and accommodation strategy guidance through professional staff who have graduate degrees in Education Educational Psychology Psychology Special Education Counseling and Reading The Mentor Advantage Program Transition and Persistence Phases (fee-based) Individually structured hours of professional tutoring through the Mentor Advantage Program (fee-based) Day-Time Check-In (fee-based) Lindamood-Bell Approach to Learning (fee-based) Assistive Technology Lab with state-of-the-art software Test and Study Lab Support for the transition to college level academics Exploration of individual factors influencing motivation Assistance with academic goal setting self-monitoring and organization skills Walk-in Peer Tutoring System certified by the College Reading and Learning Association which serves the entire campus Small group study strategy classes which serve the entire campus Graduate school test preparation classes which serve the entire campus (304) 473-8000 coston_p wvwc.edu features WDM 4 Curi Garden Kenmark Science Vice Chancellor at American Sports University San Bernardino CA 22 Irene J. Dumas Author 27 Retired Author Lakeland FL 45 Beauty McBeth Francie 47 Kerrydecorations Lettelleir Event Self-Help Wellness Online Retail Entrepreneur Owner Fibroids Fighter and Select Wear Plus Miami FL Marsha Wood Owner Lady McBeth Boutique National Sales Director Emeritus Mary Kay Cosmetics Wichita KS Owner lead crafter for Crafty Night Owl LLC Crystal MN Curi Garden Kenmark Science Vice Chancellor at American Sports University San Bernardino CA G rowing up in Korea Curi Garden Kenmark s hero and role model was Dr. Marie Curie. A young Curi saw Dr. Curie s struggles and obstacles and only through her pertinacious enthusiasm was she able to prevail. In 1991 Curi earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry which launched her career in science. She worked on science research projects to discover new technologies. She has published book chapters and a particular book chapter entitled Novel Optical Device Materials Molecular-Level Hybridization has achieved impressive readership results. The chapter that she has published with a publisher InTech the main book titled Optical Devices in Communication and Computation has so far been accessed more than a thousand times. Over the course of her outstanding career her employers have recognized her as a valuable asset. Her former employers include National Institute of Standards & Technologies (NIST) in Maryland and AT&T Bell Labs Lucent Technologies in New Jersey. She also worked for Corning Inc. in New York where she was employed as a Senior Research Scientist. Second being a humanitarian is something Curi learned from an early age by watching her parents who helped many poor and impoverished people in need of food jobs and education. Curi s father owned several businesses and established a nonprofit night school. In the 1970s he visited juvenile prisons and bailed out teenagers. He provided cozy places for the teens to stay and also educated them at the night school he established. Curi remembers that her father paid good money to his employees in the family business and took good care of them. For example whenever they caught a cold her father gave them two weeks of paid vacation with a pack of oranges. Over the years Curi s parents took care of hundreds of abandoned children and employees like their own kids and family. Her father was also a member of Lions Club. Through them he donated shoes and bicycles for the poor children in South Asia where families couldn t afford shoes or bicycles and the children walked to school on their bare feet. Curi followed her father s wishes and continued charity work. Since arriving in the United States in 1992 she has donated the vast majority of her earnings over the past 23 years. I enjoyed my job in the discovery of leading technologies. My enthusiastic passion and curiosity of science has kept me going since. Her major area of expertise is Materials Science especially Organic Inorganic Hybrid Glasses and Nanomaterials for Optoelectronic applications. She molecularly designed hybrid glasses transparent polymers by a molecular-level hybridization technique to create desired optoelectronic properties. For example conductive glasses acoustic wave generating glasses high low refractive index glasses high strength glasses and highly nano-porous glasses have been molecularly designed and then produced. Although Curi has achieved great accomplishments they have not come without strife. Having faced a multitude of obstacles and challenges in the male-dominated science field she has come to terms with her identity in terms of roles she has taken on. In my life I have three major roles scientist humanitarian and pertinacious investigator. First as a scientist she received her Ph.D. degree in Korea in 1991 and then came to the United States in 1992. Curi was preparing to come to the United States for her Ph.D. course however her father passed away in 1988. Her mother was sick and her only brother was in college. So she gave up on going to the United States and entered a school in Korea for her Ph.D. degree to help her family business. After her brother graduated from college and took care of her family business Curi came to the United States for her post graduation education. Curi is a highly recognized scientist who has received high praise and accolades throughout her career as a result of her extraordinary achievements in science and her charity works. Curi has authored 80 technical paper publications presented at 150 scientific seminars wrote science book chapters and has earned several patents while working at prestigious research laboratories in the United States. When a homeless person asked me for a dollar I d say Sorry I don t have a dollar but I have 100 for you. Then I d hand them a 100 bill. Lastly Curi believes in justice. Due to my curiosity I enjoy investigations that seek out the truth. Though Curi always works in laboratories she spends her free time on investigations to help people. For example Curi was involved in the capture of a Korean serial rapist who had been running from multiple countries for over 25 years. 5 Women of Distinction The rapist was a pastor who opened a church in Seoul Korea in 1981 the pastor made the claim that he was the second coming of Jesus and used a cult-like mentality to rape countless women. Many victims reported his crimes but the Korean prosecutors covered it up. The pastor had not been caught prosecuted or charged in Korea for 20 years. Around 1999 the pastor escaped from Korea and then disappeared from the Law Enforcement s chase. He became a red-flagged suspect wanted by International Criminal Police Organization but he was smuggled into the United States. In 2006 Curi met a Korean woman during a donation event. When the woman heard about Curi s reputation she approached Curi and confessed that she was a core member of the Korean Church and the pastor raped her in the 1980s. The woman told Curi that she immigrated to the United States a few years later. Around 2006 she was shocked when she saw the pastor in California. She thus reported him to the police but the officers didn t take her report seriously. The woman wanted Curi to help bring the pastor to the justice. After she heard her story Curi became concerned about the public s safety at his churches in the United States. This prompted Curi to launch her own investigation. She immediately took information from the woman and began a massive internet search to collect any supporting information. Curi realized the woman s allegations were right so Curi wrote a document about the pastor s new church activity in the United States and then reported her findings to federal agencies in December 2006. Surprisingly in May 2007 the pastor was finally arrested in China. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in Korea. The woman was very appreciative to Curi because Curi believed her allegations when no one else would. On another occasion in 2002 while Curi was working for Bell Labs Lucent Technologies in New Jersey she worked with another Korean scientist Dr. Lee. He was working for a Korean technology company but visited Bell Labs as a contractor from April 2002 until August 2003. Oddly Curi found Dr. Lee hanging around the facility at night and early in the morning and noticed him taking boxes out of the buildings. Curi reported his suspicious behaviors to company security. In November 2002 Dr. Lee tried to offer her an illegal deal. He told Curi that if she released Bell Labs confidential technology to him his employer in Korea would reward her with millions of dollars and a faculty position at Princeton University. Dr. Lee claimed that his Korean employer was willing to give her a piece of artwork to create a big cash flow for her if she cooperated. Curi didn t understand how the paintings could create the big cash flow. Curi immediately refused his offer and then reported him as a spy to the management at Bell Labs in 2002. Though she felt that she did the right thing Curi was in trouble because someone had already taken Dr. Lee s illegal offer and thus covered up Dr. Lee s spy identity. I knew that Dr. Lee would ask for some more favors later from the U.S. scientists because there is no such thing as a free lunch I was right Management should have removed Dr. Lee at that point by taking my report seriously. Management didn t believe her concern but Curi found out that at least 20 scientists in the United States took Dr. Lee s offer during 2002-2003. Curi was the one who kept her dignity and then rebelled against the vast slush funds from Korea. Scientists believed that Bell Labs collapsed because of economic downsizing however Bell Labs had survived even during World War II. Curi knew that Bell Labs collapsed due to the suspicious Korean activity that she has seen during 2002-2003. After Dr. Lee left the United States in 2003 a Korean businessman became President of Bell Labs in 2005. Furthermore Seoul Bell Labs was newly launched in Seoul Korea in 2009. So to speak Bell Labs became a Korean company due to the activity. Although Curi tried to stop the Korean activity since 2003 no one believed her concerns at the time. Luckily a bribery allegation scandal broke in Korea. The scandal revealed illegal activities of the Korean company where Dr. Lee was working. In November 2007 a former Chief Attorney from the corporate s legal team exposed a vast network of corporate slush funds that were used to bribe officials prosecutors tax collectors journalists and scholars on behalf of the company s Chairman. The Chief Attorney confessed to the Korean media I was an accomplice who joined the Corporate s crimes. I carried out the Chairman s illegal directions to manipulate the World by creating slush funds. During the scandal the Chief Attorney specifically released articles that the Chairman directed him to illegally transfer at least 35 million to the United States from 2002 until 2003 for purchasing about 30 pieces of artwork from New York s art auctions. He even released a list of artwork purchased from New York Art auctions from 2002 until 2003. Undoubtedly the Chairman created the slush funds that were used to bribe those scientists in the United States from 2002 until 2003 while Dr. Lee was working for Bell Labs. The pieces of artwork were worth millions of dollars. Curi read a news article about how the American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein made headlines in Korea when his works of Happy Tears and Crying Girl appeared on a list of artwork that were allegedly bought by the company with money from corporate slush funds. Curi finally understood how Dr. Lee tried to bribe her with millions and a faculty position at Princeton University in 2002. Had she deposited a piece of artwork worth 7 million in a United States bank as collateral she would cash out and gain about 3.5 million. She would then deposit it in a Swiss bank to avoid taxes. 6 Women of Distinction 7 Women of Distinction In January 2008 the Special Counsel was launched in Korea to investigate the slush funds created by the company to bribe officials. The Chairman resigned the following April due to the corruption scandal. In fact the Chairman s father the Corporate Founder had also resigned over a massive smuggling scandal in September 1966. The founder s own son reported to the Korean government to investigate on his father s illegal activity. It was one of the most stunning scenes in the history of Korea especially because the second generation did the same thing. Around 2007-2008 when the activity spread over to Europe by creating additional slush funds from European Art auctions Curi contacted the Korean IRS and the federal agencies regarding their slush funds hidden in Swiss banks. Curi wrote hundreds pages of reports about the Korean slush funds and then handed it over to law enforcement. In February 2009 the FBI visited the Korean IRS. As a result the Korean IRS set up a new policy with the United States FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) which targets tax non-compliance by both U.S. and Korean taxpayers with foreign accounts. Surprisingly the young lady claimed to be an heiress to the Korean company s fortune and that the Chairman directed her to smuggle drugs for the promise of a big payout later. The lady turned out to be the company s founder s great granddaughter though marriage. However the Chairman didn t admit to being the mastermind of the drug selling and denied her allegations. After Curi heard the news she tried to help the lady. Curi contacted a higher authority this time at the DEA Office in Ohio. When Curi called and explained the story to help the lady the DEA Officer was shocked and asked how she knew about that. In the end the lady was sentenced to 6 years in prison. I was happy when she only got the six years of prison time because I believed her claims that the mastermind of the drug dealing operation was the Corporate Chairman. I was against the Korean company even though I was Korean because I wanted Korean scientists to discover technologies in the right way with their own ideas instead of stealing the United States technologies. I was happy with the Chairman s resignation but he didn t stop. Two years later a Korean American lady was arrested at an airport in Ohio for drug dealing in June 2010. She admitted to transporting nearly 7 000 pounds more than 3 tons of marijuana from Los Angeles to Columbus over 14 different trips from 2009 to 2010. She could have faced up to 50 years in prison if she was the main conspirator of the operation. While Curi spent a vast majority of her time in the search of justice she also achieved outstanding science accomplishments during her career. She is truly talented scientist and investigator. Throughout her life Curi has faced and adapted to the adversities that have come her way. Overcoming these obstacles has had a profound affect on Curi and those around her. When asked to sum up her life in one phrase Curi responded Extraordinary Challenges. I want to be a real hero who protects the World s Science Community from the Korean slush funds. I refused the Korean corporation s illegal offers and did the right thing to keep my dignity because I didn t want to be a false hero or a villain. She knew that those scientists who took the slush funds became incredibly successful but selling their dignities created their successes. 8 Women of Distinction Monique Wonders Healthcare Informatics President Chief Executive Officer Executive Informatics Consultant EHR Management LLC Los Angeles CA J ust a few years after attending college and gaining some real work experience Monique Wonders became acquainted with the information technology (IT) field. But it wasn t for another few years after that she her foot in the door in the healthcare information technology aspect of the field as a Technical Trainer. She was interviewed and featured in a Brain Drain article written by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2004 after she accepted a Business Analyst position with a multi-specialty healthcare organization in Las Vegas Nevada and uprooted her family by moving to the west coast for the next level of her profession. Nearly 11 years later Monique is still progressing and evolving in the field of healthcare informatics and she is now serving as the President Chief Executive Officer and Executive Informatics Consultant for EHR Management LLC. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has outlined Meaningful Use criteria for each individual doctor to be compliant with and both outpatient and inpatient medical facilities as a whole have to implement and provide reporting for various measurements that the government has instituted as of October 2009. On February 17 2009 the 787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by the federal government. Included in this law is 22 billion in which 19.2 billion is intended to be used to increase the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by physicians and hospitals this portion of the bill is called the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or HITECH Act. New state and regional interoperability integration (clinical exchange) has been developed and is being enhanced currently and with each new version of software and software functionality Monique and her healthcare IT practice can embrace new concepts in healthcare IT to become that much more knowledgeable enabling her to be of greater service to the physicians clinical staff in outpatient and inpatient healthcare settings who depend on them for patient care. Healthcare informatics is centered on patient care which is what I love about it. It is an ever evolving field to work in Monique said about the complexities of the job It is truly why I have remained in the field for so long. I love caring for people. When Monique first became certified on the Allscripts Touchworks EHR the functionality was very basic. Clients would implement and utilize electronic prescriptions and submit electronic charges on individual client server and hand-held computers in the early 2000 s. Now however EMR systems are completely web based hosted on web server platforms that can be used on iPads iPhones tablets etc. and that have interfaces with pharmacies inpatient hospital systems laboratories radiology imaging systems prenatal transcription companies personal health record applications and more as well as a host of other third-party applications. The solutions that we roll out to our healthcare clients centralize patients medical information reduce medical errors and minimize the number of patient deaths that occur each year from illegible handwriting drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy reactions contraindications illegible handwriting and scattered healthcare records Monique noted. So what does Monique do exactly Her role within the organization is two-fold. As President and Chief Executive Officer Monique is responsible for obtaining new projects and contracts for the company. She also functions as an Executive Consultant for the healthcare clients that she provides software implementation services for. 9 Women of Distinction Sometimes she works as a Project Manager and sometimes as a Senior Analyst on various EHR projects too all depending on the need at any given time. But it is her dedication to the job that has really determined who she is at work and her professionalism and work ethic have contributed greatly to the success she s achieved working in such a dynamic and often times complex role. One of Monique s biggest contributions to her company thus far have been in obtaining subcontracting work with larger companies and the development of a professional network for healthcare and IT professionals. She has provided education about emerging technology and information related to healthcare information technology has hosted meetings and has trained professionals on EHR software functionality and has developed a group website online space at https hitech. groupsite.com for folks to connect with each other and be able to send her his her resumes so that she can match them up with jobs and positions that come to her from clients and or other third-party companies looking to hire for specific roles within their company. As much as Monique has accomplished in her career she has had to overcome quite many obstacles to get there. When she entered into the field in 2001 she faced a lot of racial discrimination and felt as though she was being treated as disposable. Working mostly among white males she rarely saw people in her profession that looked similar to her. Representing both women and minorities especially black women Monique has become stronger because of it. She hasn t let it affect her love of the industry or her desire to work hard to gain success. She s pushed through and has learned a lot about the power of tenacity and determination through many years of hardship betrayal and unfair treatment by both employers and colleagues. Using Oprah s example as well as other successful women as a platform for Monique s career it has served her well many times over. When it s your time to advance God will open the right doors for you Monique added confirming her faith and trust in Him. As passionate as she is about her consulting work Monique is equally enthused about her life in ministry. A licensed and ordained pastor she has been doing God s work since November 2003. Her husband Jerome and she are preparing for their next church plant and launch together. Monique has taken pride in the women s ministry she founded called The Call To Virtue Ministry for Women . She is currently in the process of scheduling women s retreats events and gatherings for Christian women to connect and supportive of one another. Monique hopes that her life s work will live on long after she is gone in both her profession and in her ministry. She would like to duplicate herself in others and be able to give her family and her community a platform on which to continue the work of service both in the marketplace and in the ministry. Meeting her husband while studying at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Jerome is a wonderful intelligent and very supportive man. They have four amazing children together Adrian Angela Mia and Kobe and one granddaughter Gabrielle who is three-years-old. Adrian works in retail and is a clothing model and graphic artist. Angela completed beauty school at Aveda and works in Las Vegas Nevada. Mia finished her undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University in California and now works in Los Angeles. Kobe is still in high school and will be graduating in May 2016. Monique is a member of the Project Management Institute American Health Information Management Association and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Monique is also a certified Gerson Lehrman Council Member and Educator. She has an Allscripts Enterprise EHR certification an Allscripts Professional EHR certification and recently started her Project Management Professional certification training. She also plans on pursuing a CCHIT certified through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. The biggest lesson I ve learned is to never give up on myself Monique said. It may be easier to quit but in the end it s not worth it because we aren t allowing ourselves to grow in specific areas of our development and create a niche for ourselves. I believe that the most difficult situations are presented to us to help us grow and give us strength and wisdom. I ve learned to not be afraid of failure either because failure is also a path to success. One of the people that Monique has looked up to over the years has been Oprah Winfrey. A very successful entrepreneur and most successful black female business mogul she too faced many obstacles in her career and life. Overcoming them during a time when women and minorities were not seen in the public eye or were even given the opportunity to make a name for themselves in business Oprah s courage strength and expertise in her craft enabled her to prove to herself and the world that anyone could accomplish their goals if they were determined enough and had enough faith. 10 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is Healthcare Information Technology A Health Information Technology or Health IT is defined by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage retrieval sharing and use of healthcare information data and knowledge for communication and decision making. Q How relevant is HIT today A HIT has been relevant for many years even dating back prior to the year 2000. However The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made it mandatory for all physicians and physician practices to implement a certified electronic health record system for the purposes of facilitating and documenting healthcare patient visits. This act provided stimulus dollars that pays out bonuses only to the doctors and hospital systems who are compliant and meet certain criteria based on the utilization of HIT technologies. Q What will happen when every physician and physician hospital practice becomes compliant Will there be a need for your profession A The HIT industry is a cutting-edge industry that is always introducing cutting-edge technologies upgrades and enhancements to the software that providers use in clinics and hospitals. There are also still many physicians who are still using paper charts for patient care and others who are partially compliant or need workflow so we aren t there just yet. Secondly even after provider practice and hospital becomes compliant there are certain aspects of the software that will change versions of the software will be upgraded with new features and functionality the current ICD-9 codes for patient diagnoses will be upgraded to the new ICD-10 structure which is a massive roll-out and the reporting that has to be done to ensure the compliance of these organizations will still require experts and professionals like myself to provide leadership guidance and HIT services to our clients. Q Do you personally utilize the healthcare technologies that currently exist today A The answer is yes Not only do I support my clients and their use of these systems but I also personally use the technologies. For example I have a personal (universal) healthcare record that interfaces with my patient records within my doctor s offices. It helps me to track my results to communicate with my doctors electronically when I have questions and to also request an appointment to be seen. There are other little nifty applications that can be used in conjunction with universal health records. I do support them. Q What are your future goals A My future goals are to continue to obtain certifications within the industry and stay abreast of new and emerging healthcare IT technologies so that I can remain an asset in this field. I would also like to expand my consultancy to include several more consultants. Q How does one get into this field of work A In the past you wouldn t have been able to find a degree program in HIT. You were either a healthcare professional or an IT professional. However today colleges and universities offer HIT degree programs and certifications in RHIT and RHIA that will prepare you for a career in Healthcare Informatics. If you already work in the healthcare field and are interested in working as an informatics professional there are certification programs out there. Q Is the work boring A No. Due to the fast-paced nature of this industry it would be very unlikely that you would become bored with the work. In a typical day there are various project tasks configuration and deliverables that need to be completed so because of the myriad and versatility of the work it keeps us quite busy and amused by what we do. There is also a lot of issueresolving and troubleshooting if you like to resolve issues and work elbow to elbow with doctors. Q What is the difference between Informatics and Healthcare IT A There is no difference. The word informatics is used to describe the science of processing data for storage and retrieval information science is basically the same as the definition of HIT. Most physicians and clinicians working in HIT use this title but overall there is no difference. Q What are the typical work hours Do some people work remotely in these jobs A The work hours are the same as clinic hours usually. We typically work from 8 00AM-5 00PM but this can vary depending on how much coverage is needed for the clinics and hospitals we support. Most organizations have employees who also work on-call to handle the afterhours and weekend issues that get reported by physicians who are using the EHR systems. Q What do you least like about your industry A The extreme competitiveness of it. There is definitely a lot of abrasive treatment that occurs in this field and the systematic practice of exclusion based on race and gender. Of course you have to be somewhat tenacious and even somewhat shrewd to work in the field. 11 Women of Distinction Barbara McBride Freight Shipping Owner and Master Broker - Red Rose Freight Devine TX 12 Women of Distinction B arbara McBride is one of the few people who can say that she s been to all 48 contiguous states having spent eight years driving an 18-wheeler across the country. I loved trucking so much but divine providence determined that I become a broker. In October 2012 I fell out of a trailer and broke my ankle. This injury prevented me from driving and forced me to shift focus. So during recovery I attended a load training class and earned my journeyman broker license. And in May 2015 I advanced to the rank of Master Journeyman Broker and am now in the start-up phase of my new business Red Rose Freight. I m very excited to see where God takes me on this new endeavor. As Master Broker Owner of Red Rose Freight Barbara finds herself in many roles. She s worked very hard her entire life and was taught that if you put 110% of yourself into something then you will be rewarded and go far in life. Even though my career path is considered non-traditional I feel that I ve climbed my own corporate ladder if you will. I ve worked hard with respect and diligence to prove that I can complete my job at a top level of performance. I ve always pushed myself to my limit to learn my industry and will continue to do so with my own business. In her free time Barbara attends church activities and volunteers at her local food pantry. I m the CEO janitor bookkeeper secretary human resources officer receptionist and at times a moderator. Each day I push myself to make calls write letters e-mail clients and schedule loads. The best part of my job is knowing that I ve connected people with the appropriate help they need. Brokering has offered Barbara so many great experiences that she never would ve had otherwise. I live in a very small rural town where there s a lot of need but not a lot of opportunity. She also spends as much time as possible with her large family consisting of four children and 15 grandchildren (that include two sets of twins) who keep her very busy. I ve been able to see the open road and appreciate first-hand many of the sights that our great country has to offer. Now that I sit in an office I get to converse with truckers and business owners alike. I have a rare opportunity to see this business from the other side and at the same time be able to identify because I ve already been where they are. I m very proud of all of their achievements in life and am grateful to have set a good example for them in the workplace and at home. Q&A Q Why (as a woman) would I want to work in the trucking industry A This industry has offered me a lot of independence and financial stability. It has also offered me multiple avenues to work within. As a woman you can drive set up and receive shipments set up loads negotiate prices or make payment arrangements. You can work for yourself in your own business or you can work for one of the many local or national companies. There s a lot of opportunity in this field that you may not immediately think of when you think of trucking . Q What does the trucking industry offer a woman A Again it goes back to independence and a high salary. The trucking industry pays better than a lot of traditional jobs for women and is interesting. Q Is the trucking industry hard for a woman to get into A No not anymore. I think it is widely accepted today that women want and need the same jobs as men to care of their families. If you can perform the basic job functions then you ll be accepted. Q Does a woman need special skills to work in this industry A It s just like any other job you have to put in the time and training to learn and put what you ve learned into practice. The only thing different is that this is still largely a nontraditional field for women so you will mainly be working with and talking to guys. I ve found that as a woman some men will look at you with suspicion until you ve proven you can do the work. It s not always fair but it does give me an opportunity to do better and be better for myself. Most often I find that if you can do the job they will treat you fairly. Q Is there a profit in truck brokering A It really depends on how organized you are. There s a lot more to every job than meets the eye. I m responsible for background checks lining up loads setting time and mileage and being the point of contact between the trucker and the company sending receiving the shipment. And that only scratches the surface If you can be organized offer great customer service and are a go-getter by nature then yes you can make a profit. Versatility is also key. In addition to brokering I supplement my business by acting as an agent to independent truckers who need to find loads to run. Q Can you work part-time as well A If you own your own company you can work as little or as much as you desire. Your return is going to be a direct reflection of how much time you put into it. Q Where can this job be done and how does this business fit into your lifestyle A I run my business from home but you can run it from anywhere as long as you have a phone and an internet connection. I take my laptop with me everywhere. Q What equipment is needed A I started with a printer laptop cell phone and an internet connection as well as basic small business accessories. Q What permits and or licenses are required A You need a local business license attend a brokering class in person or online and a federal and state registration such as Motor Carrier US DOT (if you re operating under your own authority). Or you can operate under the authority of another company by contracting with them. (I m not sure what you meant in the last sentence because contracting was empoying before. FP) Q Where does a broker fit in the trucking industry A Brokers are a necessary service for the shipper and carrier. I keep communication between them as a mediator (so to speak) for the two parties. I find out what the shippers needs are what commodity (or commodities) they ll be shipping and connect them with the right truck and or trailer. Q Can you work with a partner A You can have a partner working with you or you can employ other people as the work load increases. 14 Women of Distinction Paula L. DeCrescentis Real Estate Broker Co-Leader The Denverpolitan Team Denver CO Success in the real estate industry means servicing your clients from the Success in the real estate industry means servicing your clients from the moment you meet them as if they were family or friends said DeCrescentis. moment you meet them as if they were family or friends said DeCrescentis. I always aim to establish a lifelong relationship. I always aim to establish W ith its mountain views more than 300 days of sunshine and endless possibilities for outdoor activities it s easy to understand why so many move to Colorado from other states. This thriving community can be a challenge if you re a real estate agent though as the housing market has far more buyers than sellers at the moment. That doesn t deter Paula DeCrescentis one of Denver s top agents who has been helping clients find their dream homes for nearly 20 years. She draws upon her native status as one who has grown up in Denver and lived in a variety of communities throughout the metro area. She has deep roots in the Denver community that gives her an intimate understanding of one of the top 10 states to live in according to CNBC. In addition to CNBC s ranking Denver also boasts of several of the fastest growing communities in the nation specifically LoHi which was ranked No. 1. CNBC notes Colorado s strengths are health inclusiveness and an abundance of natural beauty. With all of these factors in mind it takes more than just a real estate agent to know a city a neighborhood or a community. Paula has always been involved and energetic said Jane Dvorak JKD and Company. I believe that energy has transferred into the person she is today a loyal vibrant driven individual who loves to live every moment for those she loves and appreciates. For DeCrescentis a realtor should be more than a salesperson. She prides herself on the long-lasting relationships she has built with her clients. Her career in real estate began in 1998 but three years later after attending a Brian Buffini seminar DeCrescentis made a career changing decision to only work through referrals. This meant she would have to offer the best service possible to achieve the numbers to reach her career goals. During the economic chaos in 2008 the real estate industry took a big hit. Many consumers lost their homes and realtors lost their businesses and reputation but DeCrescentis carried on because of her ability to connect with her clients on a monthly basis providing them with valuable information and hosting an annual Client Appreciation party. Her efforts haven t gone unnoticed as she is a RE MAX Hall of Fame Realtor. Her success also comes from her willingness persistence and enthusiasm to build a legacy for her family. As a single mother raising three boys she earned her Bachelor of Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver in Business and Marketing while running a business and entering into the real estate profession. Before establishing herself as one of Denver s top sales agents DeCrescentis worked for 20 years in a dermatologist office and as owner of an electrolysis business. These experiences have helped build her current real estate career and provide a skillset that resonates with many of her clients. The support of her children through each of these career moves has helped propel her to the success she enjoys today. In a competitive real estate market like Colorado s it takes ingenuity a quick response professionalism and experience to become a recognized and awarded realtor. For nearly 20 years as a real estate agent DeCrescentis has used her work model to achieve recognition as an advocate and friend to her many clients. She has been recognized as a Hall of Fame agent a Five Star Real Estate Agent by 5280 Magazine and has also been named to the RE MAX 100% Club. For all the hard work there is a playful side to this ambitious lady. Between showings and listing appointments you re likely to find her on a golf course watching a blockbuster film or enjoying time with her grandkids Bryson and Addison. She also loves traveling and enjoys scuba diving. Giving back is an important part of who I am as a person and to my business. I believe giving back is a way to thank the community that supports me and it creates a better future for our neighborhoods said DeCrescentis. DeCrescentis is involved in her community and gives back through volunteering and financial support. She currently volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) which is a voice for neglected and abused children and donates a portion of every closing to the Professioanls at Children s Miracle Foundation. The foundation provides grants to families with children who are terminally and critically ill and helps fund the Beads of Courage program that helps children RECORD TELL and OWN their stories of courage during treatment for cancer and other serious illness. At the moment DeCrescentis plans to continue working as she gains a great deal of satisfaction with each closing. There s real magic when you watch a couple make their first purchase or downsize with retirement she said. I never tire of the excitement of handing over the keys to their new home. She attributes her success to those who have supported her throughout her career and to her family who has never let her down. Observatory Park Treasure Denver CO Call Paula for a tour... 16 Women of Distinction Reaching Throughout the Denver Metro Area Paula DeCrescentis Contact Paula L. DeCrescentis (720) 434-1550 www.pauladecrescentis.com pauladecrescentis remax.net 17 Women of Distinction Annie F. Baker Residential Real Estate Services Senior Market Executive Director Next Chapter Gurus Los Gatos CA S avvy smart articulate and compassionate Real Estate Guru Barbara Corcoran is someone Annie Baker strives to emulate as a Realtor and as a business woman. Getting into real estate full-time in 2003 Annie was fascinated with the industry specifically from the investment perspective. A home is typically the largest single investment anyone will own in their lifetime. In 2013 Annie started her own team of Realtors completely focused on working with the seniors market with her company Next Chapter Gurus. The founding of Next Chapter Gurus in Los Gatos California originated after noticing trends in many of their clients adult children helping their parents sell their home couples retiring and downsizing or moving out of the area and seniors who knew their house was too much for them but weren t sure what their next steps should be. Often many of them were left feeling overwhelmed by the process (or the thought of it). Annie s company provides a number of services besides the buying and selling process to make the transition easier for them. Their services include providing a senior move specialist to help declutter organize pack and move to keep the transition as seamless as possible Estate Planning Attorneys CPA s for tax advice senior placement advisors in-home care providers and handymen specializing in modifying the house for seniors needs among other professionals. They are the one-stop-shop for seniors and their families regardless of what stage of the process they are in. Working with seniors is highly unique with specialized training on-going. We provide so much more than selling a family home Annie explained. Sometimes the family keeps the home but they utilize our services for help finding in-home care setting up a living trust modifying a will seeking tax advice or getting a reverse mortgage. We want to be the quarterback for the senior and their family when they need answers advice referrals or whatever they need in this overwhelming time in their lives. 18 Women of Distinction Annie goes on to say that it s extremely rewarding and meaningful to her and her group. It s not a typical sales role or service company. Whether they work directly with the senior or the adult children they want to take as much stress off of them as possible. Handling all aspects of their transition and being a part of designing their next chapter is truly fulfilling. Annie can also empathize with clients on how challenging and emotional moving and transitioning can be. She has moved extensively in the US Canada and even did a short stint in Helsinki Finland. Also Annie has aging parents and understands the need for planning and designing their future. Her team has personal experience as well with running nursing homes caring for their aging parents through the end of their lives and managing aging parents care. What the client is experiencing is often very intense and her group never loses sight of the emotional rollercoaster they may experience. They have all walked in their shoes in some way or another. Q&A Q Why is your field important A Seniors and their adult children are experiencing something unique and often overwhelming they deserve specialized care and resources. Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011 and are now driving growth at the older ages of the population. By 2029 when all the baby boomers will be 65 years and over more than 20% of the total US population will be over 65. A localized one-stop-shop is needed to simplify the transition as much as possible. Q Technology is a big piece of our society. How does that play into this business A Our business strives to provide customized service for our clients. We are client driven not technology driven. We utilize the most updated types of technology from websites mobile websites mobile apps electronic signatures and more when needed. But the most important aspect of what we do is accommodate our clients needs. Accommodating and adapting to our clients needs is our main goal. Q How are you different from the other Realtors and companies specializing in helping seniors in your local market place A There isn t a one size fits all service mentality within our company. We meet the needs of each client situation uniquely. We offer multiple services and resources to help with every aspect they need help with. If we don t have the answer we find it for our clients. They are never alone in their journey. Other Realtors or companies typically handle one aspect of the transition. We want our clients to feel they don t need to find help on their own. We have their back and do the work for them. Q How much experience do you have A I ve been working full-time in residential real estate since 2003 and have been mentored by some of the best in the business and continue to be. Everyone on the team has experience and we all utilize a business coaches to help us to continue to grow and learn. The team of gurus we put together are all experienced trustworthy and have proven track records based on integrity. We all believe that there is no destination in this business it s all about the journey of providing value to our clients every step of the way and always adapting. Our clients feel and sense that commitment to them. My career isn t a job it s a passion focused on helping people specifically seniors and their families transitioning into the next chapter of their lives Annie said proudly. When people work with our company their life should be a little bit better because of the experience. Originally from Atherton California Annie earned her BA from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York trekked around the world with her ex-husband until officially landing in Los Gatos where she raised her daughters in the Los Gatos California school system. She has held real estate licenses in Arizona Wyoming and since 2006 has actively worked in California specifically the Silicon Valley area. The mother of two daughters attending college Reilly and Bridget Annie shares her home with her partner Todd Cleaver who also has two children Jack 19 and Connor 17. 19 Women of Distinction Dr. Phyllis Kohl Coston Education Founder Director West Virginia Wesleyan Learning Center Emerita Associate Professor of Education and Christian Education West Virginia Wesleyan College Buckhannon WV S pending the first eight years of her teaching career in the public school system in Illinois Dr. Phyllis Kohl Coston used the experience to propel her career forward making for a wonderful future in higher education. Leaving the classroom setting as a 7th and 8th grade teacher and relocating to West Virginia in 1962 she formed the West Virginia Wesleyan Learning Center at West Virginia Wesleyan College a year later. She then began teaching courses at the college retiring as a Full Professor in 1998 but continued teaching part-time in the Christian Education Department until 2009. Phyllis served as the Center s Director from 1963-1998. She taught at Wesleyan from 1963-2009 teaching in several departments including the Education Department beginning in 1970 and the Christian Education Department beginning in 1979. Now fully retired Phyllis still speaks at conferences for The Learning Disability Association Orton Society and International Reading Association as well as at special meetings. She will also be presenting a program at the 2016 Learning Disabilities Association meeting in Orlando Florida in February 2016. Becoming a published author in 2013 Phyllis wrote a book called Celebration of Success which contains stories of 38 students who coped and succeeded in a variety of professions in spite of their learning disability. It serves as a great contribution to the field of learning disabilities and teachers. She is also currently penning her second book The History of Diaconal Ministry in the United Methodist Church in West Virginia which she hopes to have completed in 2016. When I started the Learning Center in 1963 it was just a reading center in the era of speed reading Phyllis said. I was the Evelyn Wood of Buckhannon. The Center developed into a reading and study skills center serving all types of students such as those preparing for graduate school and those wanting to raise their college grades. 20 Women of Distinction I believe that I ve been called by God to teach and write Phyllis noted who is an Ordained Methodist Deacon. I began theological seminary in 1953 during a time when I was told I could not become ordained because I was a woman. It s been a privilege to teach both prospective teachers and ministers and to work with learning disabled college students especially dyslexics. Q&A Q Why did you write the book Celebration of Success A I wrote the book to help young people know they could succeed despite a learning disability. Q Describe the content of the book. Very much involved in her community Phyllis teaches an adult Sunday school class has been on the Board of Ordained Ministry of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is a member who has held several offices in both the United Methodist Women and The American Association of University Women. Phyllis received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from West Virginia Wesleyan College an Exemplary Teaching Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church an Outstanding Teacher Award from the West Virginia Reading Council an Outstanding Alumni Award from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and an Athena Award (Buckhannon Chamber of Commerce Women of the Year Award) for her service to the Buckhannon community. A 1953 graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College with a BA Phyllis later completed her MA a joint degree from Northwestern University and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1958. Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Howard and Mary Kohl Phyllis has been married for 61 years to Dr. Herbert Coston a retired professor of history at West Virginia Wesleyan College for 50 years history department chair for 21 years and ordained elder at their church. They have two children Bob and Susie. A The book contains stories of successful adults with learning disabilities who attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and participated in a special Learning Center program. It also includes tips for teachers and parents. Q How did you choose the 38 students for the book A I sent surveys to students who had been in the program and over a hundred students responded. Those chosen represented a cross section of vocations. Q Where can you purchase Celebration of Success A You can purchase the book at Amazon Author House West Virginia Wesleyan College Tamarack in Beckley West Virginia and at the store Whimsical Treasures on Main Street in Buckhannon West Virginia. Q Tell us about West Virginia Wesleyan College. A It is a small liberal arts college in central West Virginia with a student body of approximately 1 500. Recently it was listed in US News and World Report in the first tier of best colleges in the south. This year Wesleyan was one of only two colleges universities in the US to receive a Title III grant from the US Department of Education the grant was for 10 million spread over five years. 21 Women of Distinction Irene J. Dumas Author Retired Author Lakeland FL I rene J. Dumas has always had a strong interest in history and the military. In 2002 she turned her interest into a career when she decided to begin writing her first book on World War II veterans following an inspiring conversation with a veteran she met at a local skating rink. She published her first book A Salute to Our Veterans Vignettes of Those Who Made the Difference - 1939-2000 in 2005 which was followed up by A Salute to Our Veterans Vignettes of The Can Do Navy Seabees - 1942-2007 in 2007 and finally A Salute to Our Veterans Vignettes of Those Who Served Side-by-Side for Our American Freedom - 19182007 in 2013. Though she was born and raised in Trenton NJ Irene has been living in Florida since 2004. She lost her first husband a Marine who served in the Korean War to cancer in 1992 and had originally insisted she would never remarry though she eventually ended up marrying a former U.S. Navy Seabee in 2012. It s my goal to highlight the ordinary people who are taking the initiative. In her free time Irene enjoys bicycling and roller-skating with her supportive husband Ken exercising crocheting and attending local craft shows. She plans on launching a website to advertise her craft items in the near future as well. Irene is currently writing a fourth book about veterans and is also working on releasing her first novel in the near future. Veterans have always honored our country and now they should be honored as well. Aside from her work as an author Irene also serves as Recording Secretary and Chairperson with the Navy Seabee Veterans of America and has been a guest speaker for a number of veteran organizations throughout the country. 22 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How did you get started in writing and why A I was always passionate about history and more specifically the military. I first became interested in writing in 2002 while having a conversation with the manager of a local skating rink who was a WWII veteran. This conversation turned my interest in the military into a passion and I began to document veterans along with the contributions and sacrifices they gave for our American freedom. Q What age were you when you started interviewing and writing about military veterans A I was 64-years-old and already retired. I had always wanted to write a book and since I had already been retired I had the time to research for my writings. So I took it upon myself to begin writing. Q What made you decide on the titles that you have for your books A At first it wasn t easy to come up with a title to represent all of the veterans in my book but then I thought the best thing would be to salute each and every veteran through my titles to properly respect them. Q How do you obtain the veterans that are featured in your books A It was easy obtaining veterans for my first book. I would look around the skating rink and if they were older I would ask them if they were in the military. During WWII almost all of the men answered their country s call when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Q How long did it take you to write your first book A It took me two years to write my first book. At that time both myself and our computers weren t as smart as they are now. After interviewing each veteran I then did research to verify the where they served and the things they told me about. Q What advice would you give someone that wanted to start writing about veterans military history A I would tell them to have a questionnaire requesting specific information about the veteran and their military history ready to give the veterans once they met them. Then they will need to give the veteran a personal interview in order to ask more details about their service. Remember you should always be patient when asking personal questions. Q Why do you feel it is necessary to tell about a veteran s military history A I feel that every veteran who signs up to defend our country should be given the honor to have their military experience documented for future generations. Q How did you feel after your first book was published A I was very much inspired. I knew that I would have to write more books about veterans because of the reviews and the letters of appreciation that I received from the public and the veterans themselves. Q What was the best compliment that you received from your writings A I was invited to the White House for a Veterans Day ceremony which honored all of the veterans. I also receive many compliments from the families of the veterans that I write about. Q How many more books do you think you will be writing A I will probably keep writing for as long as I m healthy enough to continue. Sometimes it takes longer to write because of my other everyday responsibilities in life but I do plan to keep writing about the veterans for as long as I am able. 23 Women of Distinction Jay Philips Technology IT Consulting and Business Intelligence Chief Executive Officer & President of Project Realms Inc. and TeamQualityPro East Bethel MN J ay Philips originally got into the computer industry when she realized that after eight years of law school you still aren t guaranteed to be a lawyer. I always liked playing with computers. The software made me want to mess with them and see what I could do. When I realized you could have a career in computers within two years I decided to go the computer route. She went on to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Microcomputer Support Network Administration from Northwest Technical College in 2000. I stopped after earning a two-year degree because companies seemed to value experience over education. Starting my internship right away helped because upon completing my degree I already had more than one year of experience under my belt. The great thing about this day and age is that a person can learn so much more (and much faster) via blogs training videos conferences and coaching in order to be productive right away. In 2009 Jay founded Project Realms Inc. a company that specializes in all aspects of a project. Clients are comprised of companies all the way from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies in many different industries including finance education medical and healthcare software insurance banking government and manufacturing. I help other companies create and implement better quality software by helping resolve their resource and or application issues. Our team consists of resources for all areas of a project so it s easy for us to jump in and help companies right away. Jay later founded TeamQualityPro (TQP) in 2013 an executive dashboard solution to help companies see everything that s 24 going on in their organization. Women of Distinction One of the biggest issues with any organization is that individualized manual status reports metrics only show one area division so when stakeholders look at the reports they are not seeing the big picture and or the latest information. A few years ago I had this exact issue and since I wasn t able to find a solution to fit my needs I decided to build something that can be used for not only my company but any company. TQP is tool agnostic so any organization can have it implemented with ease in order to start seeing the big picture and make proactive solutions instead of being reactive. For the last two years she has been on the Software Test Professionals (STP) Community Advisory Board (CAB - http www.stpcon.com). The CAB helps to provide timely feedback on new testing trends concepts tools and techniques to the STP leadership. CAB members also serve as a proxy for the voice of the community curators of the conference programs facilitators of online learning services and generally encourage member communication and collaboration. In the spirit of the promoting women in the industry Jay recently created Women in Testing (http www.womenintesting.com) a free website where women can be listed to promote their talents and areas of specialty. The website also lists testingrelated conferences around the world where they can go to learn present and meet other women in the field. The website helps expand their network. It s a great way for women to expand and share their knowledge. Jay feels that being part of a consulting company is great because you can help other companies be better whether if it s making better software or implementing smoother processes to make jobs better. I continue to do what I do because of the companies that reach out to me months years after our team was there to let me know that they are still using what we implemented taught them. It s a great feeling to know that we helped them not just while we were there but for their future projects as well. As a female and a minority Jay has endured her share of stereotyping and people thinking that she can t do something or even do something better than a male. This drives me to always do the best I can do in whatever I do. Just because someone says that something can t be done (because they couldn t do it) doesn t mean it s true. I believe in the saying failure is not an option . Just because you tried something and it didn t work it doesn t mean you failed it just means to try again learn from your mistakes and keep at it till you find a way. Jay lives in East Bethel MN and been married to Jason Spaeth for over 14 years. He s stuck by me and all my business ideas no matter how small big or crazy they may have sounded to him. Instead of complaining about what other companies were doing (or what she didn t like) Jay went ahead and implemented what she thought would work better. I didn t like how some consulting firms were treating consultants so instead of complaining I started my own firm She advises other women that the only way to make the world a better place for you and others is to get up and start making the changes you want to see. If you don t try to make a change it will always stay the same so get up and start implementing those ideas. 25 Women of Distinction Linda S. Gravett Gravett and Associates Organization Development Consulting Just the Basics Inc. Human Resources Management Consulting Senior Partner - Gravett and Associates President and Chief Executive Officer - Just the Basics Inc. Cincinnati OH I n the 1980s Linda S. Gravett was the Administrator for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and was often approached by the Federal Judicial Center to conduct training or provide coaching for her own circuit as well as other circuits around the U.S. However she found that she enjoyed that work more than her actual job so she decided to quit her position in 1991 to begin consulting. Today Linda is the President and CEO of Just the Basics Inc. and a Senior Partner at Gravett and Associates. She works as the business development leader for both companies and is often the lead consultant on projects. As the manager for both businesses Linda also is responsible for selecting staff overseeing payroll and strategic planning. She considers being an entrepreneur and working at the top level of her organizations to be exciting energizing and challenging. Here is a list of publications that Linda has produced over the years Leadership in Balance New Habits of the Mind (2014) -MacMillan Kucia and Gravett Just a Couple of Women Talkin The Real Story of Being a Woman Entrepreneur (2011) - Business Innovation Press Bonar-Stewart and Gravett Using Your Emotional Intelligence to Develop Others (2009) MacMillan Caldwell and Gravett Bridging the Generation Gap (2007) - Career Press Gravett and Throckmorton HRM Ethics Perspectives for a New Millennium (2002) Atomic Dog Publishing and Gravett Learning Agility The Impact on Recruitment and Retention (scheduled for March 2016 release) - MacMillan Gravett and Caldwell Linda has also received the following honors Pinnacle Award (2013) - Who s Who of Women Executives Mentor of the Year Award (2012) - Greater Cincinnati Chamber Best of Cincinnati Management Consultant Award (2008 2014) - U.S. Local Business Association Executive of the Year (2011 and 2012) National Association of Women Professionals Cincinnati One Hundred Wise Women (Class of 2007 Induction) As someone who grew up in a broken home and was very poor with few prospects for a bright future Linda has proven that hard work pays off. Instead of giving up or giving in I took steps every year following high school to earn a good education and stretch myself in my career. Don t let circumstances like where you grew up or where you find yourself now dictate your future success and happiness. 26 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you believe that your business is relevant in today s world A My work focuses on addressing individual differences in the workplace in order to remove barriers to getting the work done. Since people have and will continue to have different approaches based on factors such as age ethnicity gender and personality I believe this work will always be relevant. Q What challenges do people in your industry face most often A My clients are in leadership roles and are trying to develop the competencies required to guide people who are often different from themselves be successful contributing members of the organization. Q What are you working on now that is cutting edge A My co-author Dr. Sheri Caldwell and I are putting the finishing touches on a book that will be published in March 2016 titled Learning Agility The Impact on Recruitment and Retention . Very little has been published on this topic so we re excited to bring practical application to this industry. Q What topic do you think will continue to be a hot issue over the next few years A Working across generational differences will continue to be a challenge in the workplace. The issues will revolve around communication work ethic and handling conflict. Q What are the competencies required to be a successful industrial psychologist A Communication skills are crucial especially active listening. Problem solving with others is also highly critical as well as having and demonstrating empathy. Q What are the different areas that one can pursue as an industrial psychologist A My focus is on people and organizational development within an industry. Some people in my field focus on developing validating and administering assessments such as job competency assessments while others teach in graduate programs and do research and publishing. Q What are you proudest of in your body of work A I m most proud of my first book HRM Ethics Perspectives for a New Millennium . I had no experience writing anything other than journal articles. I took a leap of faith and wrote a book that was important to me hoping that a publisher would actually like it and want to publish it. Q If you could have a do-over in your career what would that be A In my first year of consulting I accepted a project in an area where I was proficient yet it was work I didn t enjoy. It was the most difficult project I ve ever done. Now I only accept projects that energize me. Q What s the most challenging aspect of being a CEO for a small company A I find it difficult to spend sufficient time to get to know my staff their interests their dreams and their aspirations. I have to find ways to balance running the business and supporting the people who ensure that we re successful. Q When should a CEO begin succession planning A Succession planning should begin immediately upon a person taking on the role of CEO. This will allow for time to build bench strength with several people who can potentially fill the position. 27 Women of Distinction Marsha Wood M Self-Help Wellness Online Retail Entrepreneur Owner Fibroids Fighter and Select Wear Plus Miami FL Now the tumors are visibly shrinking and thanks to the marketing she s doing her business is growing. Once she s able to fully heal herself she ll continue to build Fibroid Fighters by offering natural holistic treatment programs that work to the public. She also plans to self-publish a book to document her success and make it available for free just like the information is on her website. anaging two homebased businesses as Sole-Proprietor Marsha Wood always had a strong desire to be able to provide for herself independently. Beginning two separate ventures she launched Fibroids Fighter in 2012 followed by SelectWearPlus.com an Amazon aStore in 2015. Working from home is a peaceful environment one in which allows Marsha to work at her own pace and on her own schedule and makes her feel a sense of accomplishment doing things for herself while also helping clients. My role is to market and promote my websites. I self-test natural and holistic approaches to treat fibroids (benign tumors) and then introduced them to the world through FibroidsFighter.com Marsha explained. It also serves as a hub for me to distribute my prescription discount card to those of us who must take medicine. I also oversee my online clothing site SelectWearPlus.com wearing all the hats. The power I have to heal myself is no greater than anyone else s Marsha added about her volunteer work with Fibroid Fighters. We have to learn about our body and give it what it needs it s essential to living a happier healthier longer life. Moreover I believe humankind will have a greater sense of peace. Marsha previously worked in healthcare insurance and garment manufacturing. She also spent four years as an aftercare counselor then as an assistant teacher and aftercare supervisor at a Montessori school. She s authored several books including most recently Mood-Trotters the first in a series of ebooks from A Celebration of Life which are all sold on Amazon. Her second book Torment was just recently released. Marsha holds an AS in Human Resource Management an AA in Teaching and recently completed her BA in Supervision and Management in 2014. She looks forward completing her MA in Education and Human Development in the near future. Fibroids Fighter was a result of Marsha s personal experience. After she started taking levonorgestrel ethinyl birth control pills the tumors began to grow faster reaching her rib cage. Becoming severely anemic as a result of the tumors Marsha planned to have them surgically removed but changed her mind again continue her natural and holistic approaches. 28 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why did you choose to work in this industry A Because I get to work from the comfort of my home doing the things that I love. Q What is an advantage or disadvantage of working from home (or anywhere) A If you do not have a private office which is my situation it is very easy to get distracted. Spaces like mine where I could view the dining room the living room and the kitchen force me to see things I was not necessarily looking for. Consequently I might disrupt my work to move a cup off the table dust the chair or cook a meal I might have been daydreaming about. Q How does a home office impact your personal life A Although I have to handle day-to-day distractions I would not exchange it for the world. I absolutely adore that I can take frequent breaks and use them to my advantage. If I had children or my husband at home I probably would have been dancing to a different drum. Q Do you believe that the Internet will be around long enough for you to see a positive return considering that technology is always changing A The Internet is a hub for business and social exchanges. Instead of crashing and disappearing I strongly believe it will force more storefronts to close. Thus there should be many technological improvements so I am not worried about any changes. Q Do you plan to continue to work alone A As much as I love working like a hermit I predict that once the money starts to roll in I will hire individuals to work with me. Besides I like to share my wealth. Q Do you foresee yourself adding to or taking away any aspect of your ventures A In life there s always room for growth business is no different. If one component is holding me back or another component could be beneficial I will most certainly address the concerns. Q Will Select Wear Plus be more than an Amazon aStore A The initial idea for SelectWearPlus.com was for it to sell selected clothing and gifts then I heard about Amazon aStore. I decided that whether or not the program works I will make it an integral part of my website along with one or two appropriate drop shipping companies. Furthermore I do not suspect that it will ever become an actual storefront because it will take away from my goal of working from home unless somehow it becomes a franchise. Q How can people learn more about the prescription discount card A I am an independent prescription discount card distributor for In Care Rx LLC. To learn more and start using this card right now go to FibroidsFighter.com discount-card. We are HIPPA compliant so we do not collect personal information (registration is not required). Just print the card or write down the information on it to give to the pharmacist. It s that simple. Q What is most important to you as an entrepreneur A Creating obtaining or enhancing products or services that are useful to people. If Fibroids Fighter does not work the card distribution system will always be in place to afford discounts to people who regularly use prescription medications. And as long as the world operates the way it does Select Wear Plus will be there to provide clothing to cover our bodies. Q What would you like to say to people who have been diagnosed with fibroids A To date the truth is I am not cured. However the reality is that natural and holistic treatments do work and this is what they should focus on to avoid unnecessarily surgically removing an extremely significant part of their anatomy. 29 Women of Distinction Mary Vigeant Textile Color Services President Founder Precision Textile Color Inc. Brockton MA T en years ago Mary Vigeant founded Precision Textile Color Inc. (PTC) in Brockton Massachusetts. Working with a shoestring budget she used all of her retirement fund every ounce of equity she had in her home and several large business loans to get started. Risky as it was it taught Mary to keep her eye on the goal. A decade later her business is thriving. The goal focused philosophy she had so long ago completely changed her life and she doesn t allow herself to worry anymore. I truly believe that when you give in to fear it starts limiting everything in your life Mary said from experience. I was a perfect example of perfectionist thinking when I was young. If I couldn t do something perfectly I didn t bother doing it for fear of failure. Now I know that failure is part of success. Mary began working in textile color 30 years ago in the 1980 s. Falling into the niche market it was a good fit for her she has a perfect eye for color. Today as CEO of PTC she primarily focuses on steering new products and services which are generally centered on their premiere product category Sophicolor Collections Hoping to take Sophicolor to take to the international market soon it was the first company to provide truly accurate color viewing of their trend palettes. Mary is also focusing on the growth of PTC. Her biggest challenge today is in accumulating the right knowledge and skill set to bring the business into the next stage of development. PTC is a textile color standard and service provider that specializes in working with designers and colorists to get the right color for seasonal palettes or stories. They offer a range of color services for the designer and reach production with their online vendor color standard ordering service. 30 Women of Distinction As part-owner of a second business ChromaShare Ltd a UK based business since 2009 Mary serves as their International Development Director where she offers the latest technology for clients. She also serves on their board of directors. Participating in the 10 000 Small Business Program through Babson College in January 2014 an intensive 13-week course designed to teach business owners how to grow their business Mary was honored to get to work alongside such esteemed business owners. She learned from some of the most talented and motivated educators and was able to create a comprehensive growth plan for each of her businesses as a result one of which she is proud to say has already been met. Mary earned her BS in Geography Summa Cum Laude with a concentration in Environmental from Bridgewater State College. Prior to opening the doors to Precision Mary was the Director of Color Services for Bureau Veritas Consumer Product Services Inc. for nearly a decade. She also worked for ColorMat Division as a Co-Manager and Manager. In 2009 she was also recognized in the February issue of Women to Watch by the Women s Boston Business Journal. A single mom for many years Mary s sons were four and eight when she divorced. That experience taught her how to be tough and to never give up. Both of her sons are working for Precision something Mary says is the ultimate compliment. She is the only mother she knows that gets to see both of their adult children every day. How lucky is she Q&A Q What do you see as the most significant change in the color industry Why A Digital color is the most important aspect of color as technology changes. Accurate digital color is even more important. My vision is work towards making truly accurate color available in all new technologies. This color viewing accuracy will be based on actual colors measurements and accurate color physics shared seamlessly. Q Where do you see Sophicolor products in the next five years A Sophicolor Collection products (both design products and production products) will be available worldwide within five years. We plan on expanding into Europe then South America. Q What is the biggest challenge with spreading the word about digital color A We have started in the textile industry and apparel designers have a passion for the touch and feel of textiles. It s created a need to see a sample in the exact fabric of every color. This is slowly changing as technology gets better with sharing accurate images and accurate color. This is the reason I work with ChromaShare technology. Q Are there any road blocks to what you are trying to achieve A Most companies have several software systems they use and their employees are often using three or more separate software systems each day. There has been research done regarding how many systems employees will use before one or more stops being used. It is a challenge to sell people on a new way of doing anything as a result. It is very important for software systems to work together somehow so that software systems are used for their intended purposes. I am a huge fan of software that shares data without jumping from system to system. Q How does Sophicolor Collections provide digital data A Sophicolor Collections started digitally by reading thousands of colors into our CS system. We organized analyzed and compared those thousands of colors to our competitor s colors to ensure we had unique and relevant fashion colors. Then we physically place the colors into the plan and created our products. Every purchase of any color includes the digital data of the color in any form the customer might need. Success is not a destination it s the process of day to day walking the walk believing in your dreams and most of all believing in yourself Mary added about the highs and lows of business ownership. It s doesn t mean you ll never have doubts you just have to choose to ignore them. 31 Women of Distinction Rev. Dr. Maria Jones Franklin Ministry Education Co-Pastor of Trinity Connections International Fellowship Director of Staying Connected School of Ministry Columbia SC 32 Women of Distinction R ev. Dr. Maria Jones Franklin was no stranger to crowds by the time she got involved with ministry work in 1983. My parents had me speaking before audiences at a young age so I ve never had problems standing before a crowd. With strong patience and great compassion for people she has never looked back. Over the years Dr. Franklin has earned many certifications and degrees to support her work the ultimate being a Doctorate of Ministry from the Minnesota Graduate School of Theology in 2000. She has also volunteered with several ministries in Europe Alaska and other areas in the United States helping the elderly the homeless prison inmates and more. As a Co-Pastor Dr. Franklin preaches and teaches the Doctrine of Christ oversees the youth and outreach ministries facilitates leader trainings provides pre-marital and marital counseling develops and maintains the church website edits video and audio for the website takes photos at events and speaks to classes and groups on various topics. Being able to help and enlighten others is a great reward for me. Sharing loving teaching and empowering others to go to the next level in their lives is the reason I keep doing what I do. In 2014 Dr. Franklin founded Staying Connected School of Ministry (www.staying-connected.net) a school without walls with students in North Carolina South Carolina and Georgia. As its Director she develops the curriculum represents the school and recruits students at various locations approves student admission teaches and facilitates classes on various topics provides student counseling maintains student files develops and maintains the school s website and enjoys tutoring when needed. Dr. Franklin is also the Director of the women s ministry at church Women of the Word (W.O.W.). W.O.W. hosts annual women s conferences all night prayers women fellowships and collects and distributes items for those in need. Dr. Franklin is currently working with a committee to start a food and clothes bank. Last year W.O.W. along with the youth made pillow case dresses to send to Africa. We enjoyed making them and are planning to make more soon. She recently got involved with SC Thrive as a Benefits Resource Counselor to inform people of resources available to them in South Carolina. Her goal is to connect those in need to the benefits that are available. As someone involved is so many things Dr. Franklin believes the one who says it can t be done should not get in the way of the person trying to doing it. With God nothing is impossible. I can do nothing by myself but I can do all things with God. Just knowing that God is able to do anything gives you strength to keep living keep moving forward and reach any goal. The advice I would offer to someone starting out in my industry is to trust God. Regardless of what happens God always has your back and looks out for your good. Dr. Franklin would like to be remembered as an overcomer. She believes that you can conquer anything you put your mind to and that knowledge is power. If you can believe (know) it you can achieve (receive) it. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A There is so much going on in this world of ours and everyone should feel supported. Everyone should have somebody and know that someone somewhere actually cares. There would probably be less suicide shooting and killing if people learned to care. Q How do you know this is what you should be doing A I enjoy what I do. Even when it gets tough I know this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing. You will find your purpose where you find your passion. Q What is the focus of your school A The focus of Staying Connected School of Ministry is to have biblical knowledge available to everyone. It is a school without walls one can study in the comfort of their home at their own pace. Our low donations and giving plans allow everyone the opportunity to pursue a biblical degree. Q What differentiates what you re doing from other ministries A My focus is on building the person not just giving them food to eat but also giving them a fishing rod and teaching them how to fish. An empowered individual makes an empowered marriage that makes empowered children that makes empowered families. I m here to encourage and assist individuals in doing what is needed to walk out their destiny. Q What do you like best about your work A What I enjoy the most is the number of people I ve had the opportunity to meet and get to know. I ve always encouraged and motivated people but wanted to do more. I now embrace every opportunity available to let others know that they can do whatever they put their heart and mind to doing with God nothing is impossible. I must be doing something right to have been a part of ministry motivating and teaching for more than 30 years. Q How do you give back to the community A The Ministry and School are both here for the community the community is not here for us. We recently joined with SC Thrive s Benefit Bank (https www.scthrive.org) as a free Benefits Resource Center to connect individuals to benefits that are available to them in the state of South Carolina. Q How has your life experience aided you in working with diverse people A Working in ministry teaching and encouraging individuals for more than 30 years in Alaska Germany and the United States has helped to develop my sensitivity patience and taught me how to effectively deal with diverse people. In 2000 I earned my Doctorate in Ministry that definitely helped my biblical knowledge and increased my faith to where I could step out into my destiny. I am a teacher so I teach and empower others (spiritually and physically). Q What is something people would be surprised to learn about your ministry A We don t judge anyone no one is perfect. Everyone has a story to tell and we encourage them to share it. What we go through is not for ourselves but to help someone (other than ourselves) come out on top. God gave us all gifts and we encourage others to use what they have been given. (www. TrinityConnections.org) 34 Women of Distinction Silver A. Lee S Writing Songwriting Certified Writer and Author Student of Alternative Medicine San Bernardino CA ilver A. Lee has big dreams. She hopes to someday get into the spotlight for her work as an Author maybe even have some of her books turned into a movie. She wants to be able to share with the world her life s lessons and share secrets that all women should know like what it s like to be in love why it s worth it (even if it hurts) what heartbreak is all about and how to deal with it. Getting her voice heard is her life s mission and she s not going to stop until she succeeds. Born and raised in southern California Silver earned her high school diploma as a teen mother. Jotting down her experiences for the past 10 and what it was like raising a child as a child she finally became published in 2009. There is so much that I want to tell young women Silver said with high hopes. My role is to get my voice heard to help give life advice to the girls who need it most. It s all about the message to teach them right from wrong and about life in general. Silver would like to reach out to girls in the foster system in particular and to orphans. She feels they could greatly benefit from an experienced woman who has been through so much to keep them from making poor decisions. And while she has no regrets (she loves all of her children dearly) she hopes to inspire future generations. I was a teen mother since I was 14-years-old she noted but I made it to where I am today by willpower by loving myself and the family that I had made for myself. You can make your dreams come true but it is up to you. You live you learn you keep on living. It is good to care about others but when it comes to putting yourself to the side for others it is not a good idea. Life is like a collage so learn quickly. Women of Distinction The author of five books to date Breathe is based on a true story and includes some amazing bedtime stories. The Lost Little Boy Starring Josiah Lee is her children s book series 1-6. Then there is The Love I Once Knew A College Musical. Finally Animal Alphabets is her most recent. Silver is a loving caring unselfish woman who is always willing to put herself out there to help others make a better life for themselves. Seeing herself as a mentor she believes that young women need to know just how important they are not only as an individual but as an important member of society. Young women she says should all be entitled to having the best role model possible and should never have to witness negativity. So being a positive person mentor and role model is very important to Silver. Previously serving as a 62nd District Assembly Member Legislature for Rialto California Silver is also a Certified United Nations Peacekeeper. She worked as a Teacher s Aide for one year in the San Bernardino Adult School and as a Nurse for two years. She attended Stratford Career Institute for four years became a Certified Nurse Assistant through American Red Cross in just two months and is now enrolled at Ashworth College to work toward her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Healthcare Management. She is in their fast track program designed for her to earn her PhD after completion. The mother of four Roxanne her eldest daughter is married with twins of her own and is also in college. Son Christopher is a Fourth Degree Black Belt and a wonderful young man. Son Josiah is the inspiration and star of Silver s children s stories. Finally Silver s youngest daughter Brooklyn is her baby. She loves to draw and is full of life. In Silver s down time she loves to take strolls on the beautiful beaches of California when she isn t busy writing or tending to her family. Q&A Q Did you self-publish your books What were some of the struggle in publishing A Yes. Being able to keep up with my own deadlines was the most difficult task. Q Where can your books be purchased A Where ever books are sold. Q What is your favorite genre to write Why A I love to write romance and children s stories most. Q Has writing served as an outlet for you personally based on your childhood How A Yes because since I really have no one to talk to my writing serves as therapy. And when I get responses it s just like being able to get to talk to someone. Q Do you plan to write more If so what are some of your ideas A Being an author is like another part of me no matter what people say to me I will always write and my goal is to publish 15 books. I have 10 more to go. To give you a peak I am working on a couple dictionaries. Not the kind that is common but the type that children and young adults do not get to see every day or in the zoo. The book that is currently be published is the alphabet of animals but the type of animals that some children may have never seen before. 36 Women of Distinction Tammy N. Tedder Baking Pastry Custom Cake Decorator Delicious Desserts By Tammy Sound Bound Brook NJ C ake decorating takes a certain kind of skill and patience that not everyone is cut out for. Since 2011 Tammy N. Tedder has been baking and designing custom cakes for all occasions as the Owner of Delicious Desserts By Tammy in South Bound Brook New Jersey. When she first got started it was her drawing talent that really propelled her forward in the field she never realized that she could actually use her gift of drawing on cakes and make a business out of it. A great tasting cake is just as important as learning new trends when it comes to design. Never rushed Tammy s hard work always shows. A Certified Wilton Instructor she also teaches Wilton Cake Decorating classes at a local Michael s Craft Store. Tammy is also a proud member of Icing Smiles an organization that makes families of ill children cake wishes come true. The first cake she made for a family in need was a Minion cake it was pretty amazing. Tammy holds a Bachelor s in Management Science from Kean University an Early Childhood Education P-3 Certification (she taught elementary school for 12 years) has a Baking and Pastry Certificate through Elijah s Promise and is a Certified Wilton Instructor. Known by many as a very strong-willed woman Tammy went through a very difficult time over the past three years. After discovering three lumps in her left breast in late 2013 she was later diagnosed with breast cancer. Undergoing five surgeries in all including a mastectomy and the removal of her ovaries due to added risk she is happy to report that she is happy and healthy once again. My very first cake was a Betty Boop cake for a co-worker s mother for her birthday Tammy remembers. I love the challenge that my clients give me with their custom orders. It inspires me to become better than I was the year before and it gives me a sense of great accomplishment when I create a complex cake. In the beginning it was a lot of trial and error but I used my mistakes as a stepping stone to become a better baker and cake decorator. Custom cakes are all the rage right now. Now more than ever cake designers are using fondant to turn their cakes into artistic masterpieces and Tammy is no stranger to it. As Head Baker Decorator Tammy is also in charge of placing all orders and meeting with each client to create their unique design. I have over 20 scars on my upper body all reminders of how I fought and stayed strong the proud wife and mother of two said. Now I m able to get back to doing what I love most and that s making custom cakes. 37 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What separates Delicious Desserts By Tammy from other bakeries A Delicious Desserts By Tammy bakes only when the customer orders. All cakes and desserts are baked fresh and have no shelf life. All products are also made from scratch. I offer dietary desserts for people who have dietary restrictions as well including gluten free sugar free and vegan. Q Do you use real flowers on your cakes A No I like to make my own flowers for my cakes. I make them using buttercream royal icing or fondant and gumpaste. It allows me to be creative with the colors and the layout and I do not have to worry about the flowers wilting. Q Where would you like to be in your career five years from now A I would like to grow and hopefully be in my own bakery. I would like to do more upscale parties and functions. Q What are the benefits of purchasing a cake from Delicious Desserts By Tammy vs. other bakeries A My products are made from natural ingredients and are not filled with added chemicals and dyes that you will find in other cakes. So my cakes are actually healthier for you. Q On average how long does it take you to make and decorate a custom cake A It can take me as little as five hours to as long as 10 hours. This includes baking cooling and decorating. Q If you can and were offered the opportunity to do a television show would you do it A Yes I would do it. It would be a great experience and step for me. It would expose me to a bigger audience and not just the people from my area. Q Who drives you to be the best in your field A My husband and children are my greatest motivators. They support me in all my endeavors and are curious when watching me draw and come up with the ideas for a cake. Q Do you use a 3D printer to print pictures for your cakes A No. I make all pictures for my cakes using a fondant gumpaste mix. I draw all pictures first and use the picture to make the final picture for the cake. Q Do you use plastic figurines on your cake A I do not usually use plastic figurines on my cakes. Only at the request of the client do I use plastic figurines. It is usually brought in by the client. I make all figures using a fondant gumpaste mix. Q I see that you were a teacher. What did you teach and why did you give it up A I taught pre-school for 12 years. I taught children with special needs ranging from Down syndrome autism speech impediments children born on drugs children who came from a domestic violence home children with muscular dystrophy as well as children who are mainstream learners. I decided that after 12 years that I wanted to follow my passion of cake decorating and learn all I could in my new field. 38 Women of Distinction Annie Jones Holmes Arts and Entertainment Owner Joy Revue Author Actress Orator Vocalist Artistic Director Helena AL B Available at Barnes and Noble Books A Million and Amazon. Ebook 3.99 Hard Copy 29.99 Paperback 19.99 orn in Marion Alabama Annie Jones Holmes entered the workforce after finishing high school. Spending eleven years as an Executive Administrative Assistant to the Midwest Territorial Manager of Chicago Illinois for Sears Roebuck Annie simultaneously took up courses in business office administration to sharpen her skills. Later studying with Key Training Institute in Albany New York for a year she returned to her hometown in Alabama where she went to work for Perry County Board of Education part-time. From there she found employment with the Perry County Tax Assessor s Office as their Chief Clerk a position she upheld for five years until another position became available in the same office. Interviewing and accepting the title Judicial Assistant Juvenile Intake Officer in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Annie remained there until retirement in 2007 after 27 years of service. Upon retirement Annie received awards from The Perry County Human Resources Perry County Commission and the Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit for her 27-year-long tenure in the Tax Assessor s Office. Ready to close that chapter in her life Annie wanted to pursue something new and exciting. Forming her business Joy Revue in 2002 Annie s home business allows her to explore a passion of hers that has been brewing since she was just eight-years-old the arts. Escalating over the years Annie is finally able to live out her dream. No longer a government employee Annie is living the life as a business woman author actress orator vocalist and artistic director. Coordinating stage productions dinner theaters and a vintage fashion and entertainment production her goals today include making every attempt to provide enjoyable evenings for guests attending her special and memorable venues. Nothing beats a failure but a try Annie said about her desire to do something different with her career. Setting goals from a vision is now a priority in my creative life. You begin with plan A and then move to plan B if necessary. I am not implicating that it is easy there is no easy button. But you must press Start first if you have a dream. You must encourage yourself into believing that you can do it. Although Annie admits to having many downfalls in life she is still known to be a very optimistic person. Her adrenaline for success has led the way and she continues to move forward in a new direction. While wowing audiences theatrically one of the many plays written and directed by Annie The Old Country Store was later turned into a book. A compilation of short stories Beneath the Willow was self-published by Annie in June 2015 and is available on Amazon.com and on the Kindle app. It is well sought after by those that have been a part of her artistic presentations. Now living in Helena with her husband Willie Annie spends her leisure time doing volunteer work through her church with a wonderful group of ladies. Service to God is a main focus for her in all that she does. 39 Women of Distinction Annie Smith Hess Insurance and Writer Senior Claims Representative with Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company Bartlett TN nnie Smith Hess has worked for the Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (TFMIC) for 20 years as a Field Claims Representative. After taking an assignment through Kelley Temporary Service to TFMIC to work as a receptionist Annie was able to secure a job and was promoted to a Field Claims Representative. A After losing her son in March 2007 Annie wrote her first book God s Grace Is Sufficient A Life After Homicide under the pen name Jean Jackson . She is now writing her second book under the God s Grace Is Sufficient series. My oldest son Christopher was murdered after he tried to protect his younger brother Jonathan from two gang members who later ambushed Christopher and shot him in the lower back. They left him for dead near a pond where he took his last breath. My youngest son blamed himself for the murder but he s now doing much better. He knows he did nothing wrong and is a great father to his son. I look at our lives now since the murder and see just how different we are. We re no longer normal but now there are hills and valleys we go through which is now our new normal . Some days are easier than other but through God s grace we can accomplish anything. In her free time Annie is the College and Career Coordinator and works in the Media Department at her church Christ Fellowship Church. Annie also loves to write spend time with my family and volunteer at church. TFMIC is a Christian company and the people I work with and for are like family. We spend a lot of time with each other and work very well together. As a Senior Claims Representative Annie s duties consist of evaluating and estimating damage to both insured and 3rd party vehicles. She also evaluates and estimates bodily injury claims as they relate to automotive accidents. Annie works closely with other insurance companies body shops rental companies and attorneys while she deals with the handling of property damage and bodily injury claims. I remember the first time I had to handle a fatality claim. Having to evaluate the damage to the vehicle and settling the claim with the deceased family was a challenge for me because I had never handled a death claim before. For anybody starting off in the industry Annie s advice is to simply hang in there. She knows it s not always easy and that some days you just want to quit. Through all the trial and tribulations I have gone through I have kept my faith I never give up and I continue to depend on God. His Grace is truly sufficient. I have fought against all kinds of violence especially gun violence and domestic violence both of which have affected my life. Keep moving forward believe in yourself and don t let anyone keep you down. The reward will be great. Whatever you do in this life never let anyone tell you that you can t do it. 40 Women of Distinction Carmen Melendez Healthcare Patient Service Representative - ROSH Maternal Fetal Medicine New York NY T hrough her work as a Patient Service Representative at ROSH Maternal Fetal Medicine Carmen Melendez is dedicated to keeping her patients happy and healthy. Aside from working in healthcare Carmen is also an aspiring entrepreneur who s looking to start her own nonprofit food truck which she plans on calling Sunshine s Meals for H.O.P.E. (Help Our People Eat) in order to feed those in need. Carmen who has been in the medical industry for five years now holds many responsibilities in her position at ROSH Maternal Fetal Medicine where she works with high risk OB GYN patients including making sure each patient is comfortable and treated as an individual triaging each situation efficiently and sending information to hospitals prior to a patient s delivery. Carmen has also used her past experiences to work as a youth advisor assisting young people with both academic and personal support. Out of all of her inspirations throughout her life Carmen s biggest role model is her father a cancer survivor who has always held his family together even in their darkest times. She has also learned how not to become a product of her environment from her mother who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and is inspired by each of her five siblings with her youngest brother being the backbone and her eldest being the glue that keeps everyone together. Having a passion for giving back is a key to success in this field though trying to save the world can be difficult. Those who have been broken and are now whole again are the ones most likely to inspire change. Currently Carmen is attending Kaplan University where she is working on earning an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services degree with her expected graduation date set for March 14 2017. In her leisure she loves to cook and feed the less fortunate by volunteering at local shelters. Carmen also volunteers with City Harvest a nonprofit food rescue organization that delivers food to the less fortunate at places including family shelters hospitals schools and churches. I want to encourage others to fully execute their goals. It s not easy but it s not impossible. Without any struggle there shall be no progress - I live by this quote. No matter how big I become or how broken I have been I remember to stay humble and open-minded. It s crucial to hold on to these characteristics in this world for numerous reasons. Carmen would like to be remembered as someone who was able to make a positive difference in people s lives. If it were up to her everyone would be healthy and no one would go hungry and through Sunshine s Meals for H.O.P.E. she plans on taking part in the battle to make this a reality. It s important to remain optimistic when there are setbacks. I remember how much I ve managed to overcome and how far it s gotten me. I always find ways to overcome obstacles and make the best of it. 41 Women of Distinction Darlene Morrison Community College and St. Peter s University. Education Teacher of Business Technology Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools Adjunct Professor CTE Alternate Route Program Brookdale Community College Adjunct Professor Computer Science Department St. Peter s University Piscataway and Lincroft NJ B ecoming a teacher and professor was something that Darlene Morrison didn t plan on. Initially she worked as a secretary for Dun & Bradstreet International for the VP of Finance. After several years she began working for Goldman Sachs & Company in their legal department as an executive secretary. Becoming fascinated with training she applied for a corporate trainer position that became available within the company and was rewarded the position. Leaving Goldman Sachs after five years she went to work for Hudson County Community College as a Career Teacher of Office Administrative Skills and later worked for a training company in New York and New Jersey in corporate business on major software applications and customized programs. Darlene then spent time as a Help Desk Analyst for American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and worked with human resources training teams in project development before becoming a Project Manager for the Certified Information Technology Professional Initiative (CITP). Still teaching at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools and Brookdale today Darlene is not only a teacher of office technology skills and education but also serves her students as a mentor to help create a positive environment that is professional and future focused. Relying on her own mentors for continued support Darlene says they have impacted her life with tools and advice that she uses daily. Also by continuing in her own education she is able to constantly reinvent herself building a career where her skills development and expertise continue to serve as a resource for others. Darlene earned her MBA MIS in Management Information Systems and her MA in Administration and Supervision at St. Peter s College her EdS in Educational Leadership at Walden University and is currently pursuing her EdD in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning (ABD) at Walden University. A member of American Corporate Partners Goldman Sachs Alumni Association New Jersey Education Association National Business Education Association and St. Peter s University Alumni Darlene continues to build a legacy built on following her dreams and staying focused. It s important to give back and help learners gain knowledge to perform at a high level Darlene said with enthusiasm. It s also equally important that I stay abreast of the skills needed to maintain my professional goals as an educational leader. Staring a new venture in 2004 Darlene moved out of her comfort zone a bit acquiring a teaching position at Snyder High School her alma mater as a Business Education Teacher. Relocated to South Jersey she became employed with Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools as a Teacher of Business Technology. Her refreshing new title soon led to other teaching positions and she went on to teach as an Adjunct Professor at Burlington County Community College Brookdale Community College Middlesex County I am a strong woman of faith and I believe in the power of God Darlene added who is a single parent to a now beautiful 32-yearold daughter. I ve lived through some major setbacks in life but those obstacles have assisted me as I continue to strive for knowledge and future opportunities. 42 Women of Distinction Dr. Betty M. Lovelace-Ross Higher Education Consulting Managing Principal Consultant - The EnVision Consulting Group LLC Durham NC s Founder and President of The EnVision Consulting Group Dr. Betty M. Lovelace-Ross has a passion for helping people develop into leaders. Her role as Managing Principal Consultant of her business is to seek out consulting opportunities and procure them. Dr. Lovelace Ross consulting practice began in 1994 under the name of L&L Consulting Services and later became The EnVision Consulting Group. She began her educational and professional background with a degree in Social Work and continued by earning Masters degrees in Counseling and Theological Studies and an Ed.D. in Student Personnel Services. A Her experience in the education and consulting industries have led to several published works including The Invisible Work of African American Women in Higher Education These Sisters Can Say It Volume 2 and Living Under an Imposed Sentence Imprints From the Preaching Life of Dr. Charles E. Booth. I have a love and passion for service. At the end of the day the most important things to me are my service to God and the work for which I am called -- to help someone else achieve a goal. There s a song that captures the essence of what I m trying to say called If I Can Help Somebody As I Pass Along Then My Living Will Not Be In Vain. Betty is a dynamic speaker preacher workshop facilitator and coach to corporate and not-for-profit entities. In her leisure time she enjoys volunteering as a speaker lecturer or workshop facilitator at various churches agencies and educational institutions. She also likes to travel exercise and visit nursing homes to sing and spend time with the residents. Be an initiator. Once you develop a vision be unrelenting in your efforts to cast that vision. With the right mindset and sense of purpose one can truly accomplish much more than one can imagine. Aside from her decorated college background Betty is also an ordained minister and has certifications as a life coach human behavior consultant diversity trainer and conflict management trainer. She is a certified trainer and authorized partner with Everything DiSC as well. You must always be your authentic self because at the end of the day you must always look at yourself in the mirror and respect yourself. Regardless of what s going on around me giving up is not an option. No matter what experience I may find myself in I must always be persistent resilient and tenacious. Life is one big lesson - you must learn and then apply. I want my legacy to reflect that I ve always tried to make full use of all the gifts that God has given to me in life. I ve lived a life of strength and I ve always tried to live my life to its fullest. Living involves having big dreams and a strong stance you can find success no matter what or where you came from. 43 Women of Distinction Dr. Denise Murchison Payton Higher Education - Choir Voice Vocal Literature Opera Workshop African American Music Vocal Chamber Ensembles Director of the University Choirs Opera Workshop and Applied Voice Instructor - Department of Performing and Fine Arts - Fayetteville State University Founder Director - The Heritage Restoration Chorale IMA Choral Coordinator Fayetteville NC D r. Denise Murchison Payton is a native of Spring Lake North Carolina and is known for her beautiful soprano voice as well as a spell-binding presence when ministering in song. Through her work as Director of the University Choirs at Fayetteville State University Denise shares her passion for music with her students and does her best to help them reach their maximum potential. After receiving her B.A. Degree in Vocal Performance from North Carolina A&T State University in 1979 Denise went on to become a music instructor at several elementary schools from 1980-90. From 1990 until 2008 she was a General Music Teacher and Choral Director at Spring Lake Middle School where she was named teacher of the year three times. In 2008 she moved to her current position as Choir Director at Fayetteville State University. Denise has continued her own studies throughout her teaching career earning an M.A. Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Fayetteville State University in 1999 and an Ed.D. in Higher Education and Adult Learning in 2015. Music is my passion therefore I don t consider is work. During my career I have taught a number of students and have worked tirelessly to ensure their success in school and life in general. I m proud to say that one of my former students is now the mayor of the town in which I reside. Students excel in the arts and I thrive on making it a necessary part of the lives of those I touch as a teacher mentor and guide. Classically trained Denise has studied with Judith Pinnix Howell (NC) Sheila Carver (TX) Leroy Roberson Dr. Samuel Barber Phyllis Tektonidis (NC) and Christine Weidinger formerly of the Metropolitan Opera Company. Her talents have also seen her become a featured soloist with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in British Columbia Canada. More recently Dr. Payton was nominated for a Grammy Award in Music Education in 2014. Often sought after as a vocal coach and lecturer on the subject of music her versatility as a singer has been shown through the recent release of Songs in D Inspirational Songs of Faith. She has also been featured on an album titled What a Mighty God We Serve which was recorded in Belgium. Begin your career preparing for all types of learners. Make your lessons engaging and interactive. Please understand the way of the world and the neighborhoods and problems some of your children may experience and be patient with them. Establish your rules and don t veer from them. Be an example to your students don t try to be their friend. Aside from her role at Fayetteville State University Denise has been the Founder and Director of The Heritage Restoration Chorale since 1995. She is also the Minister of Music and Worship Leader at Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church. Write down your goals and brainstorm what you need to do to get to that place. If you fail to plan plan to fail. 44 Women of Distinction Francie McBeth Beauty Owner Lady McBeth Boutique National Sales Director Emeritus Mary Kay Cosmetics Wichita KS B ack in October 1979 Francie McBeth who was a stay-at-home-mom at the time attended a Mary Kay skincare class. Soon after she was offered an opportunity to work for the company but was immediately skeptical because the idea of working in sales was frightening to her. At the time her husband was traveling a lot as a professional rodeo cowboy and owner of a business manufacturing saddles and western leather equipment. Encouraging her to give it a try Francie agreed. It was something she needed to do for herself. She had no idea how successful she d become. Beginning as a Consultant within 14 months Francie was in the top two percent of the company. Over the course of her career with Mary Kay Cosmetics she had won 16 pink Cadillacs and drove one their signature cars for 29 of the 30 years she worked for them. Retiring as a National Sales Director in 2010 Francie used her business principles to form her own business with the same concept in mind of helping others feel good about themselves. Forming Lady McBeth Boutique a clothing business with a storefront located in North Woodlawn in Wichita Kansas Francie sells clothing that makes women feel good about themselves with pieces that fit their body type and personality and include some of the most original pieces that you cannot find anywhere else. Self-esteem and self-confidence are two things Francie knows a lot about. Working in an industry that was centered on the two she used her decades of skills and experience in beauty and sales to form an amazing business for herself. She loves working with people she is a true people person. Sales retail and customer service are all areas she excels in so it is no wonder her business is thriving. I genuinely love people she admitted. It s especially important that women feel good about themselves and know that they are extraordinary. I love serving others and making people smile. What you see is what you get with me. I m a very transparent person. Still married to her Hall of Fame Rodeo Cowboy John Francie and he wed 53 years ago. They have two sons Bart who lives in South Central Kansas with his wife Eunice and Blake who lives in south Texas with his wife Shellie. They have five children of their own between them Brandon Mackenzie Baylie Breton and Blaire. The result I look for is dressing that special lady Francie explained. They are all special in the right apparel bringing out their very best in themselves. When a woman feels good about herself she is a better wife mother and friend. That s a fact The beauty of a woman comes from within but she sees the outside first. 45 Women of Distinction Grace E. Tripp Financial Industry Mortgage Loan Officer MC Home Loans New York NY I I was always interested in Real Estate and my mother s friend who is also a mortgage banker asked me to be her assistant. I had to Google the word mortgage before my interview. n 2012 Grace E. Tripp began in her career as a Loan Officer Assistant. She soon found that she loved helping people through the process. Once I developed confidence in myself age wasn t a problem at all. Confidence is key to any success. In her free time Grace volunteers for local events and is a member of The Ridgefield Rotary Club where she is on the Youth Committee and participates in all of the coordinated events that raise money for local charities. Grace enjoys spending time in New York City at museums and art functions and also enjoys yoga and tennis as well. Grace wants to be known for being kind and making others feel good about themselves. She feels as though her work is just another way she is able to help people. People always remember how you made them feel. Many of her successes and achievements are attributed to Grace s late grandparents. Her grandfather was a self-made real estate investor and Grace has always accredited her business savvy to him. Grace s mother has also been there through the highs and lows of her career this far. It s such a rewarding feeling to have a closing after a job well done. When all parties can leave the closing table feeling good then I know I did my job right. Grace s current role as Director focuses focus on sales and bringing in clients. Mortgage bankers she believes are the meat and potatoes of a real estate company. We bring in the business in order for our company to grow and succeed. For those starting out in the real estate industry Grace advises people to get out of their comfort zone. She also believes in the importance of going out and meeting new people. You will never succeed as a sales person if you don t create a large network around you. It has been my greatest challenge and also brought me the most joy. I ve made many amazing connections and also friends by getting over my fear of social anxiety. Being a young professional in the industry has been Grace s main challenge. She knows that being trusted with someone s home and financials is a big deal and she used to worry they 46 wouldn t take her seriously due to her age. There have been times I wanted to quit and have had many hardships in my life but every stepping stone just made me stronger. If you have a clear goal in mind make sure to never lose that vision and do whatever it takes to achieve it. Women of Distinction Kerry Lettelleir Event decorations Owner lead crafter for Crafty Night Owl LLC Crystal MN K I worked in the party industry for over seven years and regularly helped people with decoration ideas and noticed that there was a demand for unique one of a kind and custom decorations. erry Lettelleir has a fairly crafty and handy background so she would often gave out idea suggestions and building tips for do it yourself projects. When evaluating what materials to use don t always take them at face value. It s not always what it is it s what it can be. She believes that it s important to have contingency plans when it comes to ensuring a finished product for clients. I have always had entrepreneurial ambitions so with a gift my grandmother gave me in 2011 I started Crafty Night Owl LLC as a hobby business. As the owner and lead crafter of Crafty Night Owl LLC Kerry designs and builds each order after working with her clients to determine what it is they would like for their events. Each order is unique and you never really know what you may be asked to build next. It keeps me on my toes and offers intriguing challenges that regularly motivate me to expand my creative knowledge base. I m always trying and learning something new. For someone who wants to start their own crafts business Kerry offers some advice listen to the client and don t be afraid to try something even if it falls just outside of your realm of expertise. It never hurts to acquire new skills. Make sure you are aware of decoration restrictions when designing something for a specific location. Glitter and confetti can be fun but is not always appreciated or allowed in the venues. Although most of her free time is spent working on projects for Crafty Night Owl Kerry is an avid reader plays the occasional online game and enjoys spending time with family. Crafty Night Owl is a hobby job that keeps me busy and out of trouble in my down time. Or gets me in trouble depending on how you look at it. When the right side of the brain takes over and I m on a roll you never know what I might come up with. The craftiness runs in the family so I grew up surrounded by a variety of hand made things. I ve been making things since I was a little kid and this was something I had hoped to do for quite a while so when the opportunity came I jumped at it. 47 Women of Distinction Laura Ann Cherry Beauty Industry Owner and Operator at Main Street Barber Shop Bellwood PA 48 Women of Distinction Wandering around the house I d find myself painting bright watercolor pictures. Then I would run off and force my dad to let me play with his hair. Picking and pulling with hair clips and combs I d transform his hair into my vision. s a child whenever Laura Ann Cherry what do you want to be when you grow up she was able to answer the question with ease. She knew that she was an artist and that hair was going to be her canvas. A In her aspirations to become a face in the beauty industry that people look up to trust and feel inspired by Laura attempts to leave her mark on one person at a time. She wants her barbershop to be known as a warm-welcomed place filled with memories laughter stories and good times. My shop is a place where you leave feeling refreshed beautiful and ready to take on the rest of your day. Although Laura has been working in salons beauty parlors and barbershops since she was in high school many of her methods and techniques were learned from attending Barber Styling Institute in Camp Hill Pennsylvania. In April 2015 I decided it was time to take the plunge and establish my own business Main Street Barber Shop in my wonderful hometown of Bellwood Pennsylvania In her free time Laura can be found outdoors She enjoys riding and competing in horse shows fishing hiking taking her dog on long walks riding snowmobiles in the winter and playing pick up basketball in the summer. However when her creative side takes hold Laura can be found painting making crafts or cooking big meals for her friends and family. Everyday I wake up with a desire to inspire. Making someone feel beautiful inside and out is something I strive to do. Laura s hope is to give someone their best barbershop experience. As the owner and operator of Main Street Barbershop Laura provides the services and her daily duties include cleaning setting up appointments advertising the finical responsibilities and most importantly putting a smile on my clients face when they walk through my door. While my ambitions are to make my clients feel so special and welcomed I have found myself feeling just that. Remarkable people have come my way leaving some unforgettable memories and teaching me a lot. People who have taught me that everyone has a different path in life with there own story. This has opened my eyes to how all us human beings have a different purpose and meaning in this crazy big world that we share. 49 Women of Distinction Mary Jane Griffiths Apparel Technology Owner Founder Creator of The HIPRAP Annapolis MD I n 2012 Mary Jane Griffiths had an idea. The idea involved a fashionable and functional something with which she could hold her phone. Something versatile that could be worn with regular outfits not just for working out. I ve always been creative and I wanted an experience that would help me to express my creativity. But my ambition comes from my family I work hard in order to give them a good life. Since Mary Jane is a nurse by trade starting a business on her own was a huge challenge. All of the adversities that go with starting and maintaining a business frustrated Mary Jane at first. However believing in her idea and venture kept her trudging through the obstacles. I was always placing my phone in the waistband of whatever I was wearing. So Mary Jane created something new and different The HIPRAP. As a mother of three and a registered nurse keeping her ever-ringing phone in her purse wasn t an option and the bulky unaesthetic look of keeping it in the pocket wasn t working for her either. I have heard many stories of entrepreneurs and many stories of people believing in a dream. I am inspired by so many people that have had challenges and adversities only to rise to the occasion and make their dreams come true. As the owner and designer of the HIPRAP Mary Jane has worked alone since the conception of the company. She handles the orders marketing finances and the everyday administrative duties that keep a business moving. Nursing had always been Mary Jane s passion and profession. After receiving her degree in nursing from Columbia University Mary Jane has worked for multiple organizations with different jobs and loved all of them. When she decided to take her idea to a business level she felt ready for the change. If you have an idea for a product or a business try to find a partner or investor from the beginning. It can get costly starting your own business so find an investor that believes in you your product and your business. A partner is a good idea because you have someone to talk to and get feedback from. It is difficult and time consuming doing everything yourself. Mary Jane spends the vast majority of her spare time with her family. Married with three children Mary Jane s family resides in Annapolis MD. Working as a registered nurse and running HIPRAP takes up most of my time but any free time is spent with my family. 51 Women of Distinction Michelle Diana Busby Education Administrative and Budget Coordinator for the University of Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence Charlottesville VA I I had a passion for teaching and I learned that it embodied every aspect of my life. Whether it was being a parent a supervisor a team leader at every juncture I was an educator. n 1996 Michelle Diana Busby started her new career while at the same time continuing her education by attending law school. Michelle s advice for those starting an administrative career Learn your resources and use them. She believes that a supervisor should not be a person s only resource they should be a source for confirmation. In addition to her full time job Michelle has owned a consulting business for nine years. As a single mother of three the realization that one job was not enough became evident when her middle child went to college. Over the years Michelle has had consultations with other entrepreneurs those wanting to start medical practices and just recently she has started a new venture with food consultations YourfoodBuddy a food awareness program that changes the way one looks at food rather than focusing on weight loss and dieting. Michelle wants to leave a legacy of unselfishness. She believes it is better to give than to receive and that giving back to the community is more than a hobby or pastime it s a responsibility. With her full time position at the University of Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence Michelle is the fiscal and human resources administrator. She ensures that the awards or funding are spent appropriately by the definition of the source whether it is a private donor state funds or a gift it s Michelle s duty to ensure that the expenditures are in compliance and spending is done within University guidelines. Michelle also assists with timekeeping and HR functions within her department. For many years my education was not appreciated very much. The more people knew about my law degree the more hurdles that came. It put me in a predicament where I began to wonder if I should leave it off my resume and not mention it. The rejections Michelle faced surrounded the fact that she had such a high education. Prospective employers believed that Michelle was overqualified for the work they had for her and that she may realize that and quit. What I have learned is that everything happens for a reason and my mentor s viewpoint on patience was correct. I was able to land with a department that appreciates academic excellence as a matter of fact they celebrate it. I believe in doing what it takes to make things happen no excuses. In her spare time Michelle dances plays the game Settlers of Catan and volunteers for organizations such as Make-a-Wish of Greater Virginia and the Ronald McDonald House. She also enjoys just spending time with her three children Vincent Briana and Tyla. 52 Women of Distinction Raksha D. Bertsch Insurance Executive Assistant with Farmers Insurance Alpharetta GA R aksha D. Bertsch was born in Lamu an island off the coast of Kenya to a lower middle class family which in the U.S. would be identified as poor. Her family consisted of her parents and three other siblings. My father was a government official during the British colonial rule. He made many contributions to the freedom of Kenyans from the oppressive conditions of the colonial rule. I was twelve when he passed away leaving us in destitute conditions. My mother was an uneducated homemaker and my sister was not allowed further education beyond elementary school because of cultural restraints. The struggles Raksha and her family faced were unimaginable. Both her brothers were away in school and Raksha had to grow up quickly to help support her family in their time of need. By the time she was in her early twenties Raksha was careered in the banking business handling foreign trade and international business as well as working in liaison with the U.S. Consulate for the development of African women in Kenya. Raksha s position started out as a department assistant and there were many challenges that kept her work very interesting and challenging. Working at Farmers has given Raksha many opportunities to grow and develop several skills including project management that normally do not come with the title of a department assistant or an executive assistant. As an executive assistant Raksha is tasked with managing and coordinating all of the facility operations including several relocations and remodeling projects. She also manages expense reporting and budget controls to sustain annual budget allowances oversees the company fleet operations and assignments onboarding and orientation of all new hires streamlining processes event planning administrative office operations and managing information technology coordination. I faced many professional challenges when I came to the United States from Kenya in late 1980s. I had to work very hard at learning different jobs and adapting to new cultures in the U.S. employment systems. Overcoming cultural differences and adapting to the new environment and trying harder to overcome barriers are some of Raksha s proudest professional achievements. She knew she had to practice higher and stronger values and conduct to achieve social and professional success. Despite the challenges of establishing herself in a fulfilling career that is most suited to her academic achievements she nonetheless manages to inspire others to follow their dreams. Dreams and achievements are possible when one persists regardless of obstacles life throws out. Good family values and support help however even without family support will come along when one strives to do better in life. Marriage took Raksha from Kenya to Iceland and to other places around the world until she arrived in Florida. Since coming to the United States she has worked as a legal secretary legal assistant and as a paralegal as well as earning her real estate sales person license in Florida. After relocating to Georgia from Florida in 2008 Raksha completed her undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and graduated summa cum laude in 2012 but could not find any job opportunity in the field.. So when Farmers offered me an opportunity I began my career in the insurance industry in 2012. In 2015 to achieve my dreams of a higher education and to honor the memories of my parents I graduated with a Masters of Science degree in Leadership and Change Management with a GPA of 4.0. I am neither rich nor famous but I strive to inspire people to live better lives get an education and set goals for achievement. Good leadership comes from self-awareness and emotional intelligence to provide guidance and inspiration to others around you. 53 Women of Distinction Roselean Young Green Food Ministry Pastoral Counselor Founder - Women of Prayer Baker Co-Owner - Uncle David s Sweet Potato Pies & More Chauvin LA s a Pastoral Counselor for her local church and Founder of Women of Prayer ministry Roselean Young Green strongly believes in the power of prayer and has given herself the mission of helping those in need through the word of God. Along with her work in ministry Roselean also helps her husband David run their family business Uncle David s Sweet Potato Pies & More. Roselean first received her calling into ministry in 1982 under the leadership of her father who was the senior pastor at her church. In 1989 her faith was tested as she encountered some difficulties after losing her sight. However she continued to pray and eventually regained vision after receiving successful cornea transplants in both of her eyes. A Roselean also plays an important role in her family s business Uncle David s Sweet Potato Pies & More by working alongside her husband and daughter as a baker and administrator. Aside from baking some of her responsibilities within the company include marketing and any office business. Be real with yourself and remember that the truth will set you free. Let as many skeletons out of your closet as possible. Always pray and ignore the negative opinions of others. In her leisure Roselean enjoys baking cooking and spending time with her friends and family. Roselean and her husband David who have been married for 48 years have four successful children 11 grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren. She has also received a Ph.D. in Divinity and is an anointed woman of God. I want to be known as a woman who can help others find their purpose. I m an anointed counselor and I want to aide hurting women through the teachings of God. No matter what you re going through God can help you get on the right path in life. I love to help others and see people change for the better as they turn to a new way of thinking. While I help others I also work on building my own relationship with God. In her role as founder of Women of Prayer Roselean counsels women who are in need of help or guidance. She holds meetings at her local church once a month as well as a community event twice a year to show appreciation to women and single mothers in her area. To be a minister or a counselor you must be real and truthful. Before you try to advise others on how to build a relationship with Jesus you must be sure that your own personal relationship with Him is strong. The combination of experience and knowledge will make the biggest impact. 54 Women of Distinction Shari Head Caramel Maker Bev Head of Administration Driver Cindy Goat Keeper Pat Housekeeper Food Farming - The Four Country Gals DHA Family Farms LLC Beryl UT fter growing up in a family of talented cooks with a farming background it s no surprise that Shari Thomas is now the Head Caramel Maker for DHA Family Farms LLC. Bev Adair Cindy Dages and Pat Hosko who had already established a farm (DHA Family Farms) after arriving in Utah from Ohio in 2005 invited Shari to join them in 2006. Shari had already met Cindy via the internet in 2003 and soon after she joined the group of women the name Four Country Gals was created. Four Country Gals is a company that specializes in making traditional Cajeta from goat s milk. A She also owned a rabbit processing facility and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Pacific University in Forest Grove Oregon. Before moving to Utah Cindy worked as a pilot for The Island Airlines as well as a police officer and dock master for the village of Put-in-Bay Ohio. Bev was also a police officer serving as the head of seasonal police department in Put-inBay and has a background in architecture while Pat owned a bait and tackle shop. Find out what interests you. If you don t have a farm then find a way to apprentice at one or take part in a program that would allow you to help out at one in exchange for a share of the product. Don t be afraid to ask for advice from other people. Besides being head caramel maker Shari also works on the company s marketing. As administrator of Four Country Gals Bev enjoys the role of owner meaning she keeps the greenhouses in order pays the bills and helps with the selling of the sauce. She also has employment as a bus driver for the local school district. Cindy s main role in the company is to herd and care for the goats though she is also a beekeeper while Pat who is Cindy s mother acts as a taster and chief cook. Pat also helps in making sure that the house and facilities are clean. All four women have gathered a number of skills while working many different jobs throughout their lives. In her past Shari spent three years in the United States Marine Corps where she served as a 1st Lt. in food service. Most folks thought we d never last. Not only have we lasted but we ve managed to thrive. We ve also learned that it s better to work together rather than trying to do things alone. Shari reveals that the women s biggest professional inspirations have been their neighbors and mentors Jill Simpkins and Dixie Eves who are responsible with helping Four Country Gals get off to a positive start by providing them with their first sheep and goats. Four Country Gals makes three different flavors of caramel at the moment which are Original Jacked Up (containing Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey and cayenne pepper) and Spiced Up (containing Outlaw Distillery Spiced Rum). You can purchase their caramel sauce nationwide at https www.opensky.com fourcountrygals and http cajetaloversusa. com. 55 Women of Distinction Shonique V. Richardson Culinary Second Cook Sushi Chef - Universal Orlando Resort Orlando FL C urrently working as Second Cook and Sushi Chef at Universal Orlando Resort Shonique Richardson loves to express her passion for food by always delivering the highest quality dishes to her customers. She gained her first experience in the food industry while working at her cousin s fruit basket shop until 2010 and eventually moved on to become a Prep Cook and Food Service Assistant at a children s summer camp in Northern California. Despite facing some challenges as a woman cook Shonique has been able to advance through the ranks due to her quick thinking and talent when it comes to working in a professional kitchen. She has also learned to remain tough but classy while competing with some of the men she s encountered throughout her career. Be careful about who you let close to you. This business is stressful enough as it is every day. Some people can t stand to see you handle the stress differently than them. Just because I seem to be ready well-rested and focused for the day doesn t mean I m not as stressed as everyone else. I just handle it differently than others. She attended both Cerritos College and Long Beach City College in California but was unable to complete her studies after moving five times in the past five years. Once she finds a place to settle down Shonique plans on going back to school to work on earning her degree. Don t take everything personally but take it personally. If that makes sense at all. Know the difference between an insult and constructive criticism. Also always let your food do the talking not your mouth. Nothing you say matters if you can t cook honey. Before beginning her job at Universal Orlando Resort she also worked as an Assistant Cook on Norwegian Cruise Line s Pride of America Hawaii ship. Shonique s main inspirations throughout her career have been her supportive parents and all of the chefs she s been able to work under as their constructive criticism has always pushed her to become better at her craft. She is also thankful for the support she received during her time with the Girl Scouts of Northern California as a young woman. I m a hard worker. I try to work smart especially when looking for new work. The main things that set you apart from others are your education and your experience. The type of experience you have also stands out to employers in this industry. I try my best to stand out as myself and be unique. In her free time Shonique enjoys writing about her daily experiences in the kitchen and also has an interest in acting. She plans on eventually combining her passions for writing and acting by developing a screenplay. Women are more than people who just give birth and care for children and men. We are smart unique and talented. We are just as brave and strong as anyone else. Do not take women for granted We will make you regret it without trying. 56 Women of Distinction Tammy Marie Ruiz Nurse Education Adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor with both George Mason University (GMU) andMarymount University (MU) Fairfax & Arlington VA I I was not one of those children who always knew she wanted to become a nurse. n 1993 Tammy Marie Ruiz was in a devastating automobile accident where she fractured her left elbow shoulder femur ribs and pelvic bone punctured a lung and lost a kidney. Tammy was hospitalized for an entire month and underwent extensive rehabilitation following recovery in order to learn to walk and use her left arm. Her current goal is to be the best educator she can by mentoring nurturing motivating and teaching students to be lifelong learners in their chosen profession. I aim to help students gain the knowledge and skills they require to take them from novice to expert nurses. Eventually I want to solely teach online so I can travel the world however it is an ongoing joke of mine that I truly do not know what I want to be when I grow up As a life-long learner herself Tammy is always excited about educating individuals entering the nursing profession. In her free time she enjoys painting making stained glass and fused-glass along with reading gardening and camping. Tammy lives with her husband Eric and her two children Haley and Mason. They share their home with two dogs and a cat. My choice to become a nurse was a direct result of the accident as I was so thankful to be alive and felt that I owed it to society to help others having been helped so much myself. For the past 16 years Tammy has been a Registered Nurse because of the gratification it gives her to help others. One of her favorite things about being a nurse is the plethora of different roles they can serve. However Tammy knows that many nurses suffer from workplace burnout because of the long hard hours. Tammy s worked in Medical-Surgical Nursing OB Psych Home Health and Rehab. After years of working as a nurse she went back to school to earn her Bachelor s Degree and then kept going to achieve a Master s. As an Adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor Tammy teaches students about the Nurses role in the clinical setting. In this business its necessary to be a loyal compassionate caring and dedicated professional who provides excellent care to patients while striving to assist them in achieving their maximum quality of life. 57 Women of Distinction ISSUE 22 Women of Distinction Team WDM Marissa Bacchi EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR HEAD WRITER LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Felix Pons Jill Mongonia EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Rachael Aspen Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Kimberly Diehl SELECTION COMMITTEE Rebecca Valuch Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 www.womenofdistinction.net VESTI INTELLEGENCE CORP. MISSION MORE information in LESS time Our mission is to accelerate decision-making processes boost innovation and productivity in drug development clinical trials and therapies selection by offering a resourceful high-tech IT platform with first-rate biomedical intelligence and information management tools. VISION To become the first choice of information technology platform for investigators clinical trials specialists patients and physicians that features the drug-centric online research (personal search guru) & report generation modules (library). VESTI technology platform uses both desktop and mobile devices to present public information from thousands of clinical trials worldwide as well as from multi national publications patents and related conference abstracts. The initial coverage of therapeutic areas is oncology followed by other well-characterized and rare diseases. We are committed to providing service excellence and intellectual value to our customers and partners. Irina I. Agoulnik PhD Biomedical Research Management Co-Founder Chief Executive Officer Vesti Intelligence Corp. www.vesticorp.com www.captome.com www.irisponddesign.com (781) 272-0541 Burlington MA i.agoulnik vesticorp.com59irina.agoulnik gmail.comWomen of Distinction Carmen Melendez Healthcare Patient Service Representative - ROSH Maternal Fetal Medicine