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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Betty Anderson Art Artist 1 Women of Distinction Cinnamon Northrup Healthcare Sales Direct Trader It Works 2 Women of Distinction Betty Anderson Art Artist Oaklands Park South Australia 3 Women of Distinction B etty Anderson is a self-taught artist from South Australia whose art has been her intuitive means of overcoming trauma throughout the years. Her first painting stemmed from her son s accidental death in the hospital only 24 hours after he was born. Prior to that she had never held a paint brush nor had an art lesson. However following such a traumatic experience in 2008 Betty buried herself in her art for 15 months. It was then that someone saw her work and guided her into the art world where she has since made a career. Here Betty explains the inspiration behind her art Many years ago I saw a TV series on art through the ages from rock art to modern but there was one painting in the series that has stayed with me over the years. It depicted an apple with a worm emerging from a wormhole so finely painted that it looked real. Then the camera panned back to show the full painting. The apple was such a tiny part of the whole painting by Caravaggio. Oh to be able to paint like that Realizing that landscape was not her forte she has concentrated on still life and flora and fauna knowing that portraiture was what she really wanted to do. In 2011 she received some tuition that introduced her to such things as mediums and best canvas and brushes to use which allowed her to hone her technique. She also became a member of the Australian Guild of Realist Artists and the Royal SA Society of Arts. Her work has been acknowledged with numerous Highly Commended and People s Choice Awards as well as receiving first and second prizes. Additionally Betty proudly boasts the following accolades 2012 Betty entered the Archibald Prize for Portraiture for the first time with her painting of Doris Younane (better known as the actress Moira in McLeod s Daughters) and was selected for the Salon des Refuses (the alternate Archibald). 2012 Her painting of Doris Younane was also selected for the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture in Perth Australia. 2013 Her painting of Pas de Deux was selected for The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. Her advice to aspiring artists is to be true to who you are and not emulate other artists. By all means take advice from others but don t try to be like them. I ve seen so many people whose work is confused because they ve been exposed to so many types and styles of art and numerous tutors who ve tried to make them clones of themselves that they haven t found out who they really are. To me one s art should reflect who they are as a person so many people have told me that they can see me in my paintings. Also be realistic about your work and don t think too highly of what you do regardless of what compliments and comments are made by others. Just keep trying to do the best you can with each piece you produce. Through all that has happened to Betty in her life she has been sustained by the knowledge that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and that out of the ashes of her life has come something that can bless people and encourage others who are going through tough times. My art work is my legacy and I m hopeful that many people will be able to enjoy it either in their own homes or in galleries for many years to come. 4 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that art is relevant in today s world A Art has been man s expression of his world since the beginning of time and man has not changed. Man expresses his art in every aspect of his life be it in buildings his workplace his attire and decoration as well as in every aspect of his existence and even in technology. Art takes on many forms music dance architecture gardens flower arranging you name it. People want beauty around them so they decorate their homes and work places with art. Q Do you feel that art has changed with technology A Yes and no Yes in that the way it s done and presented has changed with new techniques and modes of presentation. But no people still love beautiful things (and always will) no matter how they re presented. Q Have you incorporated technology into your art A Yes in some ways the ability to photograph a subject is useful in preparation for what I do but that s about it. The rest is painstakingly slow. Q I notice that you have a section called Personal Work on your website. What is this A I started a painting with a shadow falling across the canvas so I had to ask myself the origin of the shadow and its source of light. And from that small beginning came Judgment Day a 6 x 4 painting. This inspired me to paint a similarly large companion painting named The Sower portraying Jesus with his 12 disciples as he expounds His parable of the sower portrayed in the background. I had the intention to paint a third piece called Broad is the Way but couldn t get it to work until God showed me that it was not one painting but many. So far I ve done some 23 paintings portraying the differing aspects of man both good and bad paintings that are not for sale but will one day be exhibited together. Q Do you paint in all mediums oil water color acrylic etc A I ve always found that oils best suit the way I paint with the slow drying time and its ability to achieve subtle graduations of color. There s so much more to learn with oils that I don t wish to confuse myself by trying any other medium. For example the techniques of water color are the antithesis of oils. Q Do you paint for the market A No if I did I d be painting landscapes as they are by far the most saleable paintings. I paint what I most enjoy flowers still life and portraits because these are more suited to my personality with my attention to detail. Q Would you recommend art as a career A Art is something that is innate in a person and expresses itself in many ways like painting singing dancing photography you name it but it s also a very competitive field and one is only acknowledged if they excel over the rest of the field. So many have had to work in another area to support themselves while aspiring to reach the stage where their art can support them and there s no way that one can say they re going to be an artist without being prepared for the hard grind necessary before recognition. It s been said that a person has achieved overnight success after many years of hard preparation. Q What are your goals with your art A My goals are simply to be as good as I can possibly be and as there s always more to learn I ll continue working toward that. Also I d like my work to bless others. Beyond that anything positive that happens is a bonus. Q What is your philosophy on life A To love God to do the best I can and to do what I can to help others. What else is there 5 Aime Lucia Gutierrez Hospitality Renaissance Recreational Coordinator at Oakdale of La Mesa La Mesa ime Lucia Gutierrez has a personal connection to working in the hospitality and healthcare industry. In 2010 her aunt was diagnosed with dementia. Knowing absolutely nothing about the disease Aime became interested in learning more about the condition. Her curiosity and compassion led to a lifelong career helping others who suffer of this terrible disease. In 2013 she graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and landed an Activities Assistant position in the Memory Care Community. Today Aime is an Activities Coordinator at a Californiabased senior living center. She wakes up everyday with a sense of pride inspired by helping her fascinating residents. Her most meaningful moments on the job are when she gets to spend time learning about the residents lives. Aime is happily charged with finding out what interests her residents what their hobbies were in their younger years and replicating activities that spark their memories and give purpose to their lives. I ve met some amazing individuals whose prime years were during WWII and have had such tough yet beautiful lives she said. I never stop learning when I am with them. Every day is a brand new day when you work in this industry. Residents may or may not remember your name but they remember how you made them feel and that is all that matters. According to Aime patience is key but considers having a heart of gold indispensable for succeeding in her industry. She cares for every resident as if they are her own family. Regardless of the stage of the disease she ensures that every resident is treated with dignity. 6 A I ve had the opportunity to work with professionals that are truly experienced working in this field. I ve been provided with a lot of feedback and I have used this feedback to grow and improve myself as a leader but also to enhance my activities programming. I never knew that I could help someone live a purposeful life in this way. Aime has contributed to developing a calendar of activities that is now the blueprint calendar her company utilizes at its four Memory Care communities. She works closely with the Alzheimer s Association and has assisted her company in organizing their participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer s 5K for the past few years. Her role is to expand awareness of the disease and help fundraise. The money raised benefits the care support and research efforts of the Alzheimer s Association. I want to be remembered as a person who shed light and made a positive impact on the lives of others she said. I want to be kind and loving. I want to inspire people to be kind and loving by example. Women of Distinction Alonna V. Owens Retail Sales Founder Owner Carrie Bee s Fashions Gifts and Accessories Tallahassee FL G rowing up Alonna V. Owens remembers her parents telling her to always follow her dreams. Alonna always kept this close to her heart as she worked through her career in the healthcare field doing medical coding. After starting a family Alonna s husband and children once again inspired her to pursue her passion. Getting people to know Carrie Bee s and what they stand for has served as Alonna s greatest professional challenge at this point in her venture. However Alonna believes that once people know about Carrie Bee s there will be many returning customers. Whenever she gets the time Alonna enjoys spending time with her husband and children and going to church. She also serves as a member of The Ruth Project Mentoring Program a six-month mentoring program that helps women to find their purpose and begin to make positive changes in their lives. Ever since I was a little girl I ve always had a passion for fashion. It was this passion that inspired me to start my own business. So in 2013 Alonna founded Carrie Bee s Fashions Gifts and Accessories and now serves as its owner and CEO. Carrie Bee s Fashions Gifts and Accessories is a Christian based gift accessory store that wants to grow and inspire others to have faith in their dreams. Their accessories include scarves hats designer suits and jewelry. Carrie Bee s also designs their own custom Christian t-shirts which Alonna believes is one of the businesses best products. I m a woman of integrity and character and I make sure my I show my character whenever I can because your character speaks a lot about you. I know that all things are possible to those who believe standing on the word of God will always leave you victorious. In the following interview Alonna discuses her business it s practices and it s future within the retail and fashion industry The best advice I can off is to put God first in everything you do and success will surely follow. I learned to do this early on and it has served me well in all of my endeavors. Just keep striving don t give up. 7 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What inspired you to pursue a business in Fashion A I have always taken pride in my appearance. I have always enjoyed putting outfits and accessories together. Q How did you come up with the name Carrie Bee s for your business A The business is named after my mother. Her first name was Carrie middle name Bell she was a great inspiration to me and a woman of strong character. Q How long has your business been open A It has been a vision of mine for about 10 years. We have been open for about two years. We started out on line then in September of this year God opened up a door for us to move into a retail space. Q What roles do you play in your business A Owner CEO Carrie Bee s Gift and Accessories Carrie Bee s Fashions Q Do you ever wonder or worry about if your business will fail A Failure is not an option for Carrie Bee s. We are Christian Faith business destined to succeed. Q There are a lot of Fashion boutiques and retail stores do you ever feel threatened by other competition A Not at the least I feel that there is enough business for everyone. Q Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years A Our Vision is to have Carrie Bee s Fashion s in every major city across the country. Q What would you say to Women who have goals in owning there own business A I would tell them to Pray hold on never give up on the dream and visions that God has placed in your heart because it takes vision and purpose to reach your destiny. Q What are future goals for Carrie Bee s A Future goals for Carrie Bee s are to become an employer in every major city through out the USA. 8 Women of Distinction Erica Perez CPhT Healthcare Information Services Technology Clinical Documentation Senior Business Systems Analyst Providence Health & Services Portland OR 9 Women of Distinction I n 2005 Erica Perez CPhT was working as Pharmacist Technician. At the time she was also being actively recruited for a contractor position with Providence in an informatics role on their current computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. Erica was exactly what Providence Health and Services was searching for someone with a pharmaceutical background. I was hesitant at first but had always loved working with computers. I interviewed within two days and was hired within hours after my interview. Now Erica is primarily responsible for the building and setup of the charging workflow for clinicians working with inpatients and hospital outpatient departments. She also provides assistance for Production Support Deployment and Optimization work. I love the diversity of the people and caregivers that I get to work with along with knowing the impact we make in the tools we provide for the Clinical Documentation systems and workflows for both clinicians and patients. Erica literally helps her company run smoothly by keeping up with workflow standardization and setup which keeps the system on schedule. In doing so she also updates the system for billing needs and standards. At the end of the day Erica simply wants to know that she s made some sort of an impact on someone else. Whether it was helping others making them laugh looking outside the box or seeing things from a new or different perspective. I want to be known for always putting my best foot forward to make a difference for those I work with. As for outside of work it isn t much different. I m always opening new doors and opportunities for others to look at things a bit differently and not to be intimidated by change or trying something new. Erica resides in Portland OR with her husband Edgar and their children. Together they enjoy working on their classic cars and spending time in the great outdoors. They partake in activities such as hiking camping and taking their 2 Dogo Argentinos with them throughout the Pacific Northwest. Erica is proud and active board member with their car club Corsa Oregon. I work hard so that my family can play hard. I believe in doing good for and towards others assisting and helping as I can. Live for today and make it so beautiful that it s worth remembering. It s human nature to want to be instant. Unfortunately we live in a time where we expect immediate response or gratification however by taking a moment you can typically provide a more well-rounded and balanced response. Never be afraid to take the time to think about your actions. 10 Women of Distinction Jodie Torhjelm Educational Technology Founding Partner Director of Operations - eLearning Squared Vancouver Canada T hrough her work as Founder Partner and Director of Operations at eLearning Squared Jodie Torhjelm is dedicated to providing clients with educational technology to specifically fit their needs. With over a decade of experience in teaching and facilitating Jodie came to realize that there are so many different programs authoring tools and coding languages that it made it hard for teachers to focus on the actual teaching when it came to using educational technology. This problem inspired her to begin eLearning Squared. I love the psychology of learning. Each student is so unique in the way that they process information. I have always worked hard to design the curriculum to speak to each learning style. Gamification and automation brings us to a whole new level of interaction and potential for knowledge retention. As founding partner and director of operations of her company Jodie handles a bit of everything including project management needs analysis curriculum design sales and social marketing. She also typically leads meetings delegates jobs and maintains relationships with clients and the community. Jodie feels her biggest job however is to keep her team motivated which she does successfully with her positive attitude. At the moment Jodie is writing a series of videos on eLearning which will be interactive lessons on how to create eLearning material from inception to execution. She has also designed and delivered the Communication in the Workplace Curriculum to over 200 immigrants and refugees which can be seen on Jodie cofounded and hosts eLearning Vancouver which currently has over 150 members and holds monthly meet-ups at Ashton College and RED Academy to share new ideas and have a sense of community. For the past four years she has also volunteered with refugees teaching them essential skills and helping them improve their English while adjusting to life in Canada. My advice for those looking to get started in this industry or any industry is that if you really put yourself in the shoes of your client and be curious and ask many questions from every person in the business then you will be able to provide an amazing product. User experience is key. Think outside the box. Regarding her education Jodie received a Bachelor s Degree with a double major in Psychology and English from Concordia University in 1999 and received International TEFL and TESOL certification in 2012. She has a certificate in Applied Leadership from the Justice Institution of British Columbia as well. In her leisure Jodie enjoys reading and spending time with her three teenage children and her many animals including her llama cow bunny 4 goats 4 turkeys 2 cats and multiple chickens. She also runs a canvas painting company Gaia Painting which encourages people to try their hand at painting. I never thought that I would be running a technology company. I teach my students that life is more about empathy and less about money. We can change the world one person at a time. Life may not go how you planned but you will make the best of it. 11 Women of Distinction Kathleen (Katie) Scheele Healthcare Senior Project Manager Principal Senior Health Engineer Mayo Clinic (Retired) Scottsdale AZ W hile in college Kathleen (Katie) Scheele knew that she wanted to study some form of science so she researched various careers that required a science background and decided to pursue a career in medical technology. She had the opportunity to work as a laboratory assistant while attending the University of Wisconsin and began working as a medical technologist in 1971 after graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. Katie later earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix (1986) which provided her with options for other career paths in the healthcare field. Before retiring in 2014 Katie spent 17 years working as Senior Project Manager Principal Senior Health Engineer at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona where she coordinated and managed the selection and implementation of strategic and operational information systems to support a multi-specialty clinic and hospital. This included developing and evaluating requests for proposal (RFP) recommending finalist vendors preparing business plans for board approval and coordinating contract negotiations. After the selection process I provided project management oversight to a variety of multi-year multi-million dollar system projects. The projects covered administrative system implementations for patient financial services materials management and accounts payable and human resources and payroll. Clinical system implementations ranged from an electronic medical record conversion surgery and anesthesia laboratory and outpatient ambulatory systems. I also enjoyed performance improvement projects and service initiatives. Such oversight required skills in directing the activities of project teams and vendor resources ensuring deliverables were on time and within budget and reporting to leadership with project updates. Katie has published several articles and made presentations at national conferences. She also volunteers today as a clinical laboratory expert for the Medical Laboratory Observer . Since retiring Katie has had more time to travel. She also loves to read and always has knitting and needlepoint projects underway. Katie would like to be remembered as a good and honest communicator as well as someone who took responsibility for her actions and got the job done. I always looked for opportunities that provided room for me to grow and expand my skills. Going back to school to get my MBA while working and maintaining my home life was very difficult but worth the effort. I was able to take on different roles in the laboratory working on quality assurance activities and managing the lab information system. After earning her MBA Katie left the lab to work in contracting planning and business development and managing information system projects. Though she is very analytical working on weaknesses like public speaking (at Toastmasters) and learning how to work with people provided her with the skills to be a successful project manager. Project management requires not only managing the tasks timeline and costs but also working with people to get the job done. She loved to continuously manage different large and complex projects. The bigger the better Learning new things is fun for me and moving from project to project was always a learning experience. 12 Women of Distinction Maggie Smith Art Artist Tucson AZ I knew I was an artist by the age of seven when I was entering contests and placing consistently in the top 3 as a finalist. My talent was admired and yet I was still being told that You ll never make money doing art unless you become an art teacher. I started down that path and found that being a woman before the hippy revolution I was expected to marry and have children as my main priority. I married at 19 dropped out of college to work so my husband could finish his degree and by the age of 21 I was divorced never having had children. At that point I became an office worker and set my art aside eventually working with attorneys as a paralegal. In my 40 s I married another artist and we divorced in 2009. While living in Oregon and becoming more interested in my husband s art I joined an art group and began drawing and painting again. I produced and framed a number of strong contrasting black and white mixed media work featuring water and waterfalls receiving much inspiration from the Oregon landscape. I entered jury driven exhibits to see if I could be accepted and showed my work in many venues throughout the West. I also began to sell mainly to people who knew me and my husband and I had a few exhibits together as well. Upon moving to Tucson I again did a lot of exhibiting but very little selling. My ultimate goal is to sell online. I still find that people want to know me before they buy my art and that is fine however the artist mentality is not often that of a natural salesperson. Being an outgoing business person who is skilled in many areas including marketing is essential to being a successful artist and having something different. You must be community oriented -- it s more complicated than when I was in college. With that in mind I started to draw on my dating experiences after my divorce and the attitudes towards women in society today and the problems with aging in general. I now have a show that I exhibit from time to time called Sexism Ageism and it contains some of the paintings collages and paper works that I ve done for the past 15 years as I ve devoted more and more time to making art. It also includes drawings and work that is aimed at older women -- the cougar experiences changing modes in behavior -- and some images containing nudity that are suitable for those over 18 who are not offended by such. The women (and a lot of the men who are not intimidated) really enjoy the humor of the show and the female take on the subject matter. I hope to eventually connect with health industry people perhaps doing seminars on sex and aging and the art would be a stepping stone to that purpose. I have another show which is about water Not so taboo unless maybe to someone who controls the water and how one gets it. It is titled Water is Life. A lot of the themes in my work are water-ocean rivers waterfalls where it is where it isn t etc. Water and quality for all people everywhere is more and more of an issue of concern in the western states where I have always lived California Oregon Wyoming Colorado Texas Arizona. The flow of water is sensual and life-giving in its beauty and of course we are water-based creatures. The idea of the artist in society now is the impact of the changing world and relevance not just a pretty picture. When I moved to Arizona I was asked why I was doing so much water-themed work in the desert. The rain comes the water falls down and I relate emotionally to the inner self when I meditate around water. In some places water is a very rare thing. I love being near it especially flowing freely and I sometimes go great distances here to find where it might be. When the monsoons come the wash near me flows from bank to bank and people stand and stare as it rushes to it s lowest level. I do a lot of landscapes in an impressionism realistic manner as well as a great deal of abstracts. Some have asked why I hadn t done more art involving people and when I thought about it I remembered how much I enjoyed figure drawing. The group shows I ve entered have often stated a theme but required no nudity. However that is exactly what artists are trained on. Pornographic images are readily available in this computer age to anyone who wants to find them. My show states what will be shown so don t see it if you are offended. Also all seems to be aimed at men to the objectification of women and I want to turn that around where the man is the subject. Most men are amused many are shaken and the point is that often as women we find we are damned if we do and damned if we don t . Most of what I show is very tame and the subject matter is based on nature and my long love affair with travel and the wild. My art and more of my viewpoints can be seen on Twitter MagtathMaggie. 13 Women of Distinction Melissa Wu Legal Services Elder Law Attorney Attorney - The Law Office of Melissa A. Wu LLC Gaithersburg MD T services. hrough her work as an Attorney at The Law Office of Melissa A. Wu Melissa Wu displays her passion for law and helping others by providing top notch legal I love the law I created this opportunity to fulfill my dream. I started law school a bit later in life so I am committed to this being my final career path. Melissa began her career in law in 1993 after the birth of her first child successfully juggling her time as a full time student and new mother. Melissa worked as a paralegal for many years and then applied to law school. Melissa became barred in 2011 and then pursued her LL.M. degree so that she could specialize in elder law. She has since opened up her own firm and practices in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Melissa makes herself accessible to clients in order to help ease their worries and provide legal help to the best of her ability. If I can accomplish my goals anyone may accomplish theirs. Accomplishing goals is not easy it takes dedication and persistence. Life may take twists and turns but nothing should take you off of your track to greatness. During my tenure at law school and to-date I have dealt with a number of struggles. I m teaching my two children that perseverance through occasional hardship is a natural part of life. In her leisure Melissa loves bike riding and spending time with her family. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys a Board Member of a caregiver organization that is devoted to providing caregiver education and support a volunteer legal planning speaker with the Alzheimer s Association and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Legal Assistant Program at a local community college. Advice listen to your gut. There is nothing in life worth achieving that is easy. Hard work and diligence means that you will achieve positive results. Do not ever let anyone (including yourself) ever tell you that you cannot accomplish something worth accomplishing. Melissa received a J.D. from UDC - David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington DC and a LL.M. in Elder Law from Western New England College of Law. She has also studied Islamic Law and Jewish Law in Cairo Egypt and Tel Aviv Israel. I hope to educate as many people as possible about planning ahead for long term care needs and other elder law issues. I want to give older adults a voice so that they are heard cared for and most importantly respected. I would love to be known as the lawyer with a heart who was there for her clients through thick and thin. 14 Women of Distinction Monica Carson Consulting Child Support Mediation Private Process Owner Carson s Child Support Consultations Austin TX W orking for the Texas Attorney General s Office in their Child Support Division for 20 years Monica Carson decided that she would be able to better serve others by forming her own child support consultation business. Founded on January 13 2012 Carson s Child Support Consultations which is located in Austin Texas has been the best decision she has ever made. When I start talking to people about child support issues you can really hear and see my passion for the topic she said. I m a great listener and really do my very best to help clients understand how the process works and resolve all issues. Attending Career Centers of Texas Inc. Monica received her Paralegal Certificate in 1991. She previously worked as a Court Liaison Financial Specialist and Paternity Child Support Officer prior to forming her consulting business. A member of Austin Texas Association of Mediators and National Association for Private Process Servers she also serves as a Board Member on Texas Process Servers Association. Volunteering her time with the Bastrop County Texas Sheriff s Office Alumni and with her daughter s school Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders an all-girls school in Austin Monica is passionate about her community. Monica maintains a Youth Enhancement System (YES) business on the side another great interest of hers which combines breakthrough sciences in a product system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. By focusing on the health longevity and renewal of cells through these products she helps customers enjoy vibrant youthful results that last. Married for 17 years to Benny Carson they share one daughter Haley who is now 16-years-old. Benny is also selfemployed and is a Professional Household Furniture Mover with 27 years of experience in the industry. I really enjoy helping parents through the child support system. I m a big Dad advocate since they need the most help in understanding the system Monica said noting that the moms usually have the system and state working for them for free. Unfortunately not all mothers end up being the best custodial fit for raising their children. I have seen many fathers become the better parents putting their children first. As Owner of Carson s Child Support Consultations Monica runs the entire business from child support consultation to serving as a Private Process Server Child Support Mediator and Notary. When a client first sits down with her they are usually frustrated and upset about the system but after they are finished talking he she has a much better understanding as to how the system works and feel much more confident about going to court and representing themselves. It s Monica s job as their consultant to put their minds at ease. Monica s business is very unique and one of a kind. Usually acquiring her clients through referrals she explains to each of them that hiring an attorney is often not the answer to their child support issues. Explaining to them that you are your biggest advocate most issues can and will be resolved without an attorney with proper consulting. 15 Women of Distinction Nadine Grigsby Education Owner Program Director - Great Start Early Learning Program St. Albans NY T hrough her work as Owner and Program Director at Great Start Early Learning Program Nadine Grigsby is dedicated to providing top level daycare and education services to all children who need it regardless of their family s financial situation. I have a passion for helping young children and their parents and I enjoy helping parents support their families by making more child care available. Also my small business supports the local economy by making purchases buying services paying taxes and paying salaries. Nadine began her organization which is a home-based daycare that offers much more than a basic babysitting service in March 2010. Great Start Early Learning Program is an extended family support system that nurtures and caters to the emotional and developmental needs of all children especially those who are homeless and or impoverished. As the Program Director Nadine develops educational programs that adhere to child care standards plans lessons for children and schedules activities that coordinate with lesson plans. She ensures compliance with New York State s stipulated regulations including licensing renewal and continued education and manages the facility s income and expenses while establishing all fees and charges associated with the program. In her leisure Nadine enjoys singing choreographing Christian dance spending time with her husband and three children and occasionally modeling for upcoming designers. She is the Founder of the South-East Queens Daycare Association which was established in January 2014 in order to build a local network of daycare providers who can work together and support each other in the childcare industry. At the moment Nadine is also working on earning her Bachelors in Education from City University of New York. I am a God fearing woman born to live a purpose driven life and to help others do the same. I live my life on purpose and I dare to be different. I make myself useful and helpful to both adults and children. I have to leave my footprints in the sands of time for the greater good of humanity and though I may not be able to help everybody it s well worth it to help those that I do. I would advise those starting out in this industry to make sure childcare is their passion and to be sure they are doing it for the greater good of others. Be diligent in your business. Even when there are challenges like low client volume keep at it put your best foot forward and it will get better. The harder you 16 work the luckier you get. Women of Distinction Pamela DuncanLathan MBA Cosmetology HR Cosmetology Graduate from Hair Design Institute Brooklyn NY P amela Duncan-Lathan began her career as an Executive Assistant with a well-known soft drink company in 1993. Throughout her twenty-one year tenure with the company Pamela moved up the ranks in the Human Resources department from Human Resource Assistant to Associate HR Manager. She has a strong background in Human Resource Management including but not limited to Payroll Recruitment Benefits Compensation Employee Relations Labor Relations HRIS and Employment Law. I love working with good people and helping those that need assistance. My parents taught my brothers and I how to have a genuine concern for people and willingness to help those that are less fortunate than us. In my position of HR I ve met all types of people from all types of backgrounds and never let our differences interfere with my judgment of them. I welcome anyone from any walk of life and each one will be treated equally. In 2014 Pamela had to take a leave of absence to have knee replacement surgery. And while away her employer eliminated her position due to an organizational change. After twenty-one years of service I was forced to decide what direction my career would move forward in once I overcame my disability and was able to return to full duty work. Pamela always had a passion for beauty and a dream of operating her own full service salon. She felt that this was a perfect time to follow her dream and enroll in cosmetology school and utilize her previously learned skills to create and operate a successful business. Although confident that she can operate a successful salon business Pamela realizes that things happen in life and contingency plans must always be prepared. But I have a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management more than thirty-five years of office experience excellent computer and people skills. I m a team player and communicate effectively with others. I believe I will find something to do. When she begins operation of her own business Pamela intends to have a full service salon and offer hair care consultations and maintenance haircuts color weaves and extensions updo s braids flat twists dreadlocks for men women boys and girls. She also wants to offer skin care services and products. I m glad my career path started the way it did as Human Resource is a part of any business. I know I ll have to utilize my Human Resource knowledge to run my own business and manage my employees. I will need to recruit personnel hire terminate lawfully compensate competitively offer some sort of benefits package create processes and procedures that comply with regulations and so on. However I m excited to start in this new endeavor and combine what I know with what I m learning to help people in a new way. I like being able to offer services to my clients that enhances their lives and makes them feel good about themselves. That s what this field is all about and why I ve always wanted to be a part of cosmetology.Performing services that clients are satisfied with. You know they re really satisfied if they come back. 17 Women of Distinction Rose Eileen Valdes R PhD Student - Nonprofit Management and Leadership President Founder Women s Advocacy Team Inc. Bogota NJ ose Eileen Valdes grew up in New York City and attended a Catholic elementary school where she always felt as though she did not quite belong. Her parents separated when she was 13 and the years following were very tumultuous. She married at the young age of 15 having only completed part of 7th grade. By the age of 17 she had two daughters and was on her own. Rose was passionate about law and even more passionate about helping others. In addition Rose was very aware that only two things could help secure future successes education and hard work. With no adult support she prepared for the GED exam took the test and passed it on the first try. Immediately following this milestone she registered in the College of Allied Health at Mandl School. Prior to graduation she was hired by a physician teaching at the school to work in his private practice. The medical industry provided many opportunities for employment which is exactly what Rose needed in order to ensure a good home and education for her children. It also allowed Rose to help others in need. After 18 years in the field her husband s passing and her children having graduated and making plans of their own Rose decided it was time for a change. The passion for law and advocacy had not waned so she returned to school to further her education. Between her husband s passing and feeling isolated and alone after her children were grown and on their own Rose became aware that she was suffering from and unbelievable and unbearable sadness. She went through a period of what felt like insurmountable sorrow and pain and a feeling that it would never end. This period of difficulty and confusion eventually fueled her determination to pursue her dreams and to help others who also suffer and have no voice. In 2012 she graduated from Kaplan University with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies immediately following her graduation Rose enrolled at Walden University and in 2014 graduated with a Master of Science in Public Administration Public Policy. Presently she is completing her first year in Walden University s doctoral program in Philosophy Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Rose was recently employed with Arthur C. Hopkins Esq. as a real estate paralegal assisting clients in understanding the complexity of contract law as it relates to real estate. She thoroughly enjoyed helping clients through the process of home ownership by providing an anxiety-free experience. I am passionate about advocating mediating and helping people understand the intricacies and complex nature of our legal system in relation to their rights under the law and how they can pursue these rights through the proper channels she said. Rose is the President and Founder of The Women s Advocacy Team where she now devotes a great deal of time to its growth. WAT Inc. is a New Jersey nonprofit organization that helps women struggling with issues of abuse poverty lack of education and substance abuse. They also assist women who come home from prison helping them to overcome the barriers to a successful reentry into society. The organization is currently creating its board and establishing a network of collaborators in the private public and legislative sectors that can help women achieve success and feel good about who they are and who they can become. Rose has two lovely daughters and two wonderful grandsons whom she hopes to influence and perhaps pass on the torch for serving others. Reflecting on her past successes and future endeavors Rose encourages others to never give up on their dreams. Stay the course stay the course and STAY THE COURSE is Rose s motto. For most of my life whenever I have set my sights on a specific course of action if anything could go wrong it did. Nevertheless it is critical to maintain a tenacious mindset and when forced to stop step back analyze re-strategize and proceed to execute. 18 Women of Distinction Shallan Ramsey Consumer Products Feminine Hygiene Founder CEO of MaskIT LLC Ashland OR I I really believe in what I m doing I believe women should have the ability to sanitarily and discreetly dispose of their used feminine products. I m thrilled that we can make a difference on earth by providing this responsible solution. n 2012 Shallan Ramsey conceived the idea for MaskIT because she was genuinely passionate about creating a solution for women to deal with their used feminine hygiene items that actually made sense. Q&A Q What inspired you to create the MaskIT pouch A I have teenage daughters and we live in a house with a septic tank which means you can t flush anything We were going through so much tissue it was ridiculous. I realized there was nothing I could really say because we were just doing the same thing most women have always done the good old toilet paper wrap. The trouble is that toilet paper is just not a practical disguise for saturated items and leaves a perplexing situation in the trashcan. Anyway I decided to take it upon myself to create a better way. Q What makes MaskIT so unique A MaskIT is the only solution on the market for the disposal of feminine products that is easy to use blocks odor won t leak is discreet and is earth friendly. It s unique design even keeps your hands and bathroom clean. We make the MaskIT pouch from certified compostable biofilm. The film we use is essentially derived from the starches of plants and vegetables (mostly thistle weed) and compostable polymers. It can be consumed by microorganisms that naturally live in our soil. Q Where can women buy MaskIT A MaskIT is available at many retail locations across the country as well as on drugstore. com and To find a location near you visit www. I confidently made the decision to bring my idea to life no matter what challenges I may encounter along the way. As the CEO and Founder of MaskIT Shallan has found that the unique experience of inventing a product and running a company has afforded her the opportunity to operate at all of her business s positions. Shallan knows that leadership role that she has taken has allowed her to grow professionally but help her business grow as well. By inspiring those she works with Shallan believes she has motivated her team which has translated into a positive passionate and productive environment for everyone. I believe the MaskIT solution will help build confidence in young girls empower women and help reduce the vast waste of trees for the sole purpose of covering feminine items. 19 Women of Distinction Shelley D. Richards P.E. Consulting Civil (Infrastructure Water Oil and Gas Waste Federal Power Industrial Mining Architectural Construction) Associate and Senior Project Manager HDR Salem OR Women of Distinction 20 B eing a woman at the top of a male-dominated industry can be a challenge but civil engineer Shelley D. Richards P.E. has never let that derail her ambitions. In fact she prefers to think the obstacle as an opportunity that contributed to her professional achievements. As a senior project manager for HDR Shelley is responsible for overseeing projects -- ensuring that they are on schedule and within scope and budget. She uses her expertise to mentor fellow team members helping them grow into their careers. During her tenure with HDR Shelley has worked on several major development projects. In early 2004 HDR won a large project overseeing the repair and replacement of approximately 300 bridges across the state in 10 years. Shelley had the opportunity to work as their environmental manager. Though the job was outside her comfort zone she drew on her experience to achieve more than she thought was possible. Being a female engineer definitely helps to bring diversity as well as a different perspective to a company and a project she said. I learned early on to take that diversity and embrace it. I am just as strong intelligent and powerful as the men at the table. I also learned years ago not to perceive people s ability on gender. I don t see my counterparts as male or female. I see them as fellow engineers and managers and peers. Shelley has contributed significantly to her field. She has written approximately a dozen articles and provided around 30 presentations during the last 10 years. Shelley has been a member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) since college and has served on many boards and committees during her time with the organization. She is also a member of Women s Transportation Seminar (WTS International) and serves on their Knowledge Lab Committee. For her professional accomplishments Shelley was named to the Who s Who Registry of Executive and Professionals and received the Future Leader of the Year Award from National Association of Women in Construction Region 9 in 2004. It was so incredible but nerve wracking to think that if the environmental program failed the whole program could be late But the programmatic process was incredibly successful and we won numerous awards for our environmental and sustainable programs she said. It was one of the biggest challenges and opportunities of my career. Throughout her career Shelley has played a prominent role in a variety of transportation projects including highways local roads bridges railroads and all types of environmental projects including solid waste soil and groundwater remediation hazardous waste sustainability permitting -- to name a few. She also worked with stakeholders and clients such federal and state regulatory agencies tribes state agencies and private customers. From major programs to smaller projects I learn something new every time and love what each one brings Shelley said. I also continually look at how I can improve myself and make each project better. Everything I do I look at as a learning experience That helps me improve for myself and my company. Shelley holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Washington State University a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) from Portland State University a Master of Business Administration concentrating in International Studies from Benedictine University and several additional industry-related certifications. She encourages aspiring female engineers to not let anything or one get in the way of pursuing their interests. I want to leave a legacy where I have helped young girls strive for a career in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering or Math) fields. A legacy where they know it isn t always easy but is so worth it Shelley said. I want to leave a history of amazing projects and to know that what I left was done well. I want other women in this industry to know they are not alone. We have all dealt with many struggles and issues throughout our Engineering career but we learn from those struggles and come out better and stronger. I ve had an amazing career and am just getting started I want to help others achieve the same and more 21 Women of Distinction 22 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Engineering will always be relevant as long as we keep up with the current needs and technologies. The world needs improved infrastructure and better engineering solutions as we continue to use the world s resources. Q How important is effective communication in your field A Extremely. A lot of people think that engineers work alone but we work as part of a much larger team. We need to have excellent communication skills to discuss items with our coworkers and more importantly our clients. Keeping everyone up to date on projects can save significant amounts of time money and frustrations. Make sure you work on improving your communication skills throughout your education and careers. And please remember nothing beats face-to-face conversations Q How important is technology in your field A Technology helps in all our projects and we need to keep up to date on the current technology finds. Every day it seems we are using something new to improve how we work and help us become more efficient. Continuing education in all areas is very important for engineering. Q What made you choose your profession including the construction side A I really enjoyed science and math. Even more I like problem solving. Engineering is a perfect field for problem solving. I also had a boss early in my career who understood that to be a truly great engineer you need to see how things are done in the field and in construction. You can design things all day long but if you don t truly know how those designs are implemented you are missing something. We used to have to spend one year in the field with our field technicians. I remember many calls where they asked me to come out on site to put something together. Which meant what I designed wasn t really buildable. I learned so much during that period of my career. Q You discussed mentors but how do you find them A You need to have knowledge of your vision and then ask So many times I have talked to people who don t ask others to be mentors. You are your best advocate. If you wan to be in leadership or project management or an amazing designer or all the above find mentors that will help you get there. And have more than one mentor. One mentor cannot help you in all areas. Branch out. But you need to ask Reach out to your technical societies or your coworkers or bosses to ask for mentor suggestions. Q What is the key to your success A Continue to grow and learn. I understand that I do not know everything no matter how successful I become I always step up to learn or try something new. Take challenges. I stretch my comfort zone as much as possible. Q What is the biggest challenge faced by your industry today A Funding. I work in an industry where we are attempting to fix infrastructure but we are always running into funding challenges. Learning ways to work through those challenges and try to new processes (like public private partnerships) has been a huge success for the industry but isn t done a lot yet. Q What is the best advice you would give to young engineers A Do not settle and set a game plan. You need to have an idea of where you want to go in order to get there. That doesn t mean it won t change but start with a vision and revisit that vision as you learn and grow. Be willing to travel or try something new Q Do you need to be flexible in your job setting when you are an engineer A Most definitely. A majority of my weeks are typical 40-hour workweeks but I do put in more hours if we are meeting a client deadline or I have construction going on. I also travel quite a bit which can lead to some crazy days. You can decide not to but I have obtained many amazing opportunities from opening myself up to traveling to other locations or even relocating that I would not have had by staying close to where I grew up. I ve loved the opportunities that I have obtained through staying flexible. Q As an engineering consultant how do you market for new work and what marketing tools do you use A Performing good work is your best tool Engineering really is a small world. Word gets around. So you need to be at your best and be professional. We get work opportunities through word of mouth so make sure what people are saying about you is great. Always do your best. Some projects may fail but how you handle it is what clients will remember and pass on And projects that you perform fabulously on (the majority) will always be your best marketing 23 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What keeps you in this industry A Aside from my desire to help people I want to learn all that I can as the healthcare medical industry changes daily. Q What makes medical assisting different than being a licensed practical nurse (LPN) A As a medical assistant you must learn the front and back office. LPNs generally focus more on the clinical side but CMAs must also learn areas that include medical coding and billing office management scheduling insurance etc. Q Do you think that the quality of care in nursing homes assisted living facilities etc. has improved A I believe that the facilities I ve worked in have improved. I ve worked with many great and compassionate nurses CNAs doctors etc. I realize that there s still a stereotype associated with nursing homes however I feel that the quality of care has improved due to stricter laws regarding the different types of patient abuse more attention and education of patient resident rights and the position of advocates for the patient resident. Q What motivated you to work so hard and keep going when things got difficult in your life A I remember promising my big brother that I would finish school after I had my daughter. I also promised myself that I would prove those who thought I wouldn t finish school or go to college wrong. But mostly I keep going and working so hard for my children I want to set a positive example for them. Q What would your dream job or position be A I would love to work in an administration position at a long term care facility being an advocate and a voice for those who need a voice. My second choice would be to work at the children s hospital as part of the team that took care of my son. The nurses were very skilled the doctors were amazing and the whole team was so professional. And my third choice would be to work in labor and delivery. My problem is that so many different areas of healthcare interest me and my heart wants to do it all. Stacey L. Bykerk Healthcare Certified Nursing Assistant Certified Medical Assistant David City NE fter becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) Stacey L. Bykerk has worked as a nurse since 1997 mainly in the area of long term care such as in Alzheimer s care facilities assisted living hospice care hospital care etc. Over the years Stacey has worked hard to earn various degrees and certifications and is currently working on her Master in Health Care Administration. While in school she is also working as a CNA in a hospital. As a CNA you must learn different areas of the hospital as well as different roles like admissions and assisting in the ER and with labor delivery rehab etc. A I have a passion for helping people and being an advocate for those who can t be one for themselves. If you re only in this business for the money then you re in the wrong business. 24 Women of Distinction Susan Sue B. Belicka Retail Dog Grooming Job Title & Organization Owner Freckle Face Dog Grooming Greenwich CT K nown by the locals as the mobile groomer with the gentle touch Susan Sue B. Belicka has been in the industry of professional dog grooming for more than 24 years. Becoming licensed in 1992 she immediately began working as a groomer before ultimately opening up her own business in 1997 as the Owner of Freckle Face Dog Grooming in Greenwich Connecticut. Freckle Face Dog Grooming is unique in that it is a mobile groomer. The difference however is that Sue doesn t use a van like her competitors. Instead she works inside her clients homes a wonderful experience for both dog and owner. There is a certain peace of mind in knowing that your furry friend is just steps away comfortable in their own setting and enjoying every minute of that pampered experience. Q&A Q How do you work in clients homes A I set up wherever the client wants me to the kitchen garage basement etc. I keep in mind the furniture placement if I have to move it and clean up afterwards as if I were never there. Q How do you keep up with industry news A I attend local seminars grooming shows and subscribe to grooming magazines. Q Where do you buy your equipment A The grooming shows have all the latest equipment and usually sell at discount prices to groomers. Q What would you recommend to someone interested in grooming A Find the nearest grooming school and get your education and license there. Begin working at a local vet as their groomer. You ll learn invaluable information from the techs. After you re comfortable with what you re doing go out on your own. Q Do you have insurance A Yes It s expensive but you have to have it especially because I m going into other peoples homes. I got into this type of business to help those dogs who were uncomfortable or nervous getting groomed at salons or were previously hurt Sue explained. Most dogs immediately feel comfortable with me it s a gift and I use it on each of them. Bathing and brushing dogs stylishly trimming their hair cleaning their ears and teeth and cutting their nails Sue uses the latest in products and equipment so that each pup gets the best results. Gentle and sweet Sue makes sure each of her canine friends feel at ease when she is working on them. Working with dogs brings such joy and laughter to my life she said. Sure I get tired and overworked but when I travel to the next house and see the excitement on that dog when I walk in the door makes it all worthwhile. Sue is a member of North Shore Animal League American and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She holds BS from Endicott College earned her grooming license through New York School of Dog Grooming and has a certificate in PT for Dogs. Sue previously worked in direct mail marketing for more than two decades. 25 Sydney Ann Schiller Nicholson B Corporate Sales Manager - MotorCity Casino Hotel Detroit MI efore joining the hospitality industry Sydney Ann Schiller Nicholson was studying to be a history and economics teacher. However that changed when she met David Montrose the man who convinced her that she had what it took to succeed in the area of corporate sales for the hospitality industry something that Sydney considers to be the greatest and most rewarding risk that she has ever taken. Early on in my career David saw something in me that I never knew was there. I will forever be in debt for his encouragement support and leadership as my mentor. Today Sydney is the Corporate Sales Manager for the MotorCity Casino Hotel Detroit s only locally-owned and operated casino. Her role is multifaceted and integral to its overall success as it relates to profitability. I truly love my job and the many facets of working in a comeback city. Sydney is a single mother of two young daughters Avery (8) and Harper (6). I m constantly in awe of how my career is impacting them. They understand the definition of hard work and perseverance and know that anything is possible if you have goals. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with Avery and Harper at local shelters that serve impoverished families and teaching them that we can always help others before helping ourselves. The girls also participate in loving support with Sydney a type 1 diabetic each year in the Walk to Stop Diabetes as her faithful ambassadors. We were named Champions last year for our fundraising efforts and they proudly wore their medals. A year ago Harper was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder and was immediately admitted to Children s Hospital of Michigan to begin treatment. The pride I have as a mother cannot be measured after seeing my 6-year-old courageously endure a year of treatment and infusions without losing her trademark smile. We all have the power to overcome adversity no matter our age or obstacle. No matter how tough things get Sydney refuses to give up. Simply put I negotiate the rates and contracts for corporations that stay at our hotel and host events in our convention space. I also manage our online presence with third parties that include online travel agencies like Expedia Egencia and as well as maintain relationships with globally known travel agencies like American Express Carlson Wagonlit BCD and others. Representing an independent hotel has allowed me the opportunity to think outside of the box more than you can imagine. I have the full support of our senior management who I see daily and the backing of our ownership who are from Detroit and have invested more in the city than any other indivual. The philanthropic nature of our ownership is unmatched and absolutely refreshing to be a part of. In July of 2016 Sydney was chairperson for the Relay for Life of MotorCity Casino Hotel. Leading the fundraising efforts promoting cancer awareness and honoring survivors and cancer fighters was truly an emotional journey. We set our fundraising goal of 25 000 during the planning stages of our event. Characteristically an event of this size and nature takes a year to plan and ramp up to hit that kind of goal. We started in March and our 3 000 associates rallied to surpass that goal and ended up raising 50 000 for the American Cancer Society It was the support of my President the determination of my team the associates we see daily that are currently battling cancer and the countless people that we lost and were determined to honor that fueled this fire in me. Cancer effects everyone and I was determined to make my mark. I have never felt the power of Relay for Life until that day and I will always do my part until the words you have cancer never have to be heard again. As a mother of two young daughters I m a walking example of how to carry yourself as a professional woman a friend a mother and a daughter. And while I am a career-driven woman in my discipline raising daughters with integrity becoming bold courageous and determined is truly my greatest accomplishment one which I take tremendous pride in. I would love to hear them say that they want to be just like me when they grow up 26 Women of Distinction Traci Strobel Healthcare Medical Billing and Consulting Owner President - Strobel Billing and Consulting Inc. Mount Prospect IL T hrough her work as Owner and President of Strobel Billing and Consulting Traci Strobel demonstrates her passion for helping and working with people by providing medical billing and consulting services to her clients. I love to be challenged and this field does not disappoint in that area. I love teaching and working with people. In 2000 after falling on some hard times Traci and her family were forced to start over. Though her husband had lost his job and she had been diagnosed with breast cancer Traci still pushed forward and began working in healthcare. After spending six years working various jobs within the healthcare industry she decided to begin her own company in 2007. As a survivor of breast cancer Traci became motivated to create a life of purpose and show that one can succeed by working hard despite any obstacles. I didn t grow up with the best of childhoods. My mother was a single mother with 4 children and there were many adjustments and economic struggles to endure. I worked to provide for myself since age 13 and moved out when I was 17. I m thankful for friends who helped me along the way. I feel that it s very important for every woman to have a college education. One never knows what will happen in life. I was the only one in my family to finish college. I m proud to say that is not the case with the family I created. My three oldest children have graduated college and have good jobs while my youngest is beginning college. I feel that they are prepared with the tools to survive in life. Regarding her education Traci earned her Bachelor s degree in Community Health with honors from Bemidji State University in 1986. She obtained CCS-P certification in coding from AHIMA in 2009 and became an AHIMA approved ICD-10 trainer in 2013. Recently she became a certified Healthcare Auditor (CHA) as well. In her leisure Traci enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband and spending time with her family. She is a member of AHIMA and the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance (AIHC). For those starting out in this industry be flexible and don t be afraid to start at the bottom and work up. Trust others but be cautious. It s all a learning process. Don t give up. Be open to new ideas and help from friends. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Learn that fear is only an emotion and if you can control it you can go far. Work on one day and one problem at a time and before you know it you will have achieved your goals. My children who are good kind educated people are my legacy. I feel blessed with my family. I tell my kids to never let anyone else tell them what they can or can t do. Only God knows that. I try every day in business to follow my motto of high ethics and honesty. As President of her company Traci does all of the overall organizing of assignments and forecasting of future growth consulting and marketing. She is involved in every account and visits her clients in their offices as much as possible. In addition to running her company Traci also teaches classes at 27 Oakton Community College. Women of Distinction s an author minister nurse and motivational speaker Valerie Proffitt finds joy in helping others through difficult situations. She draws from her own challenging experiences to help her readers patients and her congregation find peace and hope through life s most arduous tests. At 15-years-old Valerie was a newlywed with no job no money or even a place to live. Pregnant she left high school to have her first-born son Lee and then went on to sadly suffer a miscarriage and then a stillbirth. Eventually she became pregnant again. Valerie was overcome with joy when her second son David was born. At 10-years-old he was diagnosis with cancer and shortly after her husband was severely injured in a coal mining accident. Challenges were abundant and there appeared to be no end to life s difficulties. A Valerie Proffitt Writer Healthcare and Ministry Author and Minister Lindside WV Our world fell apart at that moment Valerie recalled. As the days and nights grew longer my faith was growing stronger. God was helping me find my path to all he had to offer for my future. While she didn t see it all those years ago these trials would become the inspiration for Valerie s first book The Miracle Of David and later her second novel The Joy Of Dying. In addition to her successful writing career Valerie also earned her nursing degree as an LPN. In 1998 she was called by God into the ministry to teach God s Miracles all across the United States. She hosts a Facebook page called I Am A Child Of The King where she answers prayer requests. She regularly speaks at Women s Conferences about the love of God. Q&A Q Why are your books important in today s world A I feel my books gives hope to those that have lost all hope. Q What difference can I make in this world A I feel like you can make a difference by sharing God s love and compassion to others. Q What are your plans for the future A I will continue to provide the world with Gods love and forgiveness and show others there is hope. Q What is my goal in life A To be able to be there for anyone that needs prayer and understanding. I have always enjoyed taking care of my patients as well being there for them she said. I love to write because it s great therapy for my life and it keeps me humble to realize that life is wonderful even through the troubles and trials that we have to face. The biggest lesson learned in life is that we are not in control of anything without God. I have seen my share of lessons and I have weathered a many a storms but I know if I stay positive and continue to have faith I will be an over comer. Never give up on your dreams and always stay positive for yourself and for others around you. Valerie calls her husband Granville Proffitt her greatest inspiration. The couple has been married for 35 years. They have two sons wonderful daughter in law named Rhiannon and six wonderful grandchildren. In the future Valerie plans to write another book. 28 Women of Distinction Victoria Lorenzo Almosara Faith-based Nonprofit Corporation for Community Services and Education Founding Director President CEO of Springs of Living Water Faith Hope & Love Child Care & Learning Center Waipahu HI ictoria Lorenzo Almosara and her family came to Hawaii as immigrants of the Philippines in 1993. Shortly later in August of that year having been hired as a Bilingual Case Manager for newly arrived immigrants at Susannah Community Center she received troubling news. Government officials told Victoria that impending reforms would disallow immigrants and those receiving Welfare from participating in the Welfare program after August 1996. This awareness ignited Victoria s vision. She intuitively turned to the Women s Ministry in her family church the Brethren of Christ International to form the Ministry on Missions and Social Concerns. They began by providing services through their Food Panty Project distributing canned goods and used clothes to the needy and homeless in the Leeward Neighborhood of Oahu in 1995. The women s group remobilized to address the needs of newly arrived immigrants and single mothers on Welfare. Members pooled resources membership fees and donations for computers sewing machines and office supplies. By 1996 the group had started to conduct community trainings such has computer and sewing lessons financial management and budgeting classes and English as a second language courses to help immigrants and disadvantaged single mothers earn jobs and become self-sufficient. Having felt the need to sustain these services Victoria began researching and writing grants for additional funding. Her efforts were rewarded when a Neighborhood Grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation for 2 500 was awarded to the group. The initial grant funding was the seed that would one day blossom into Springs of Living Water Faith Hope & Love Child Care & Learning Center where Victoria serves as Founding Director President CEO. With this money the Job Enhancement and Employment Skills Training Program formally started Victoria recalled. It was then that I decided to initiate a separate non-profit organization to make our trainings more formal. V While continuing to operate its food pantry today the mission has expanded greatly to include a Commercial Kitchen Facility allowing them to participate in the Hawaii Child Nutrition Program that provides free nutritious breakfast lunch and snacks to preschool children. In fact Springs of Living Water now offers its own daycare and childhood education program The Preschool The Faith Hope & Love Child Care & Learning Center. The school provides a safe and nurturing place for children of mothers who have been trained under their Job Enhancement Training Programs and parents especially under Welfare who are ready to go out and be assimilated to the workplace. My gratefulness of God for having brought my family to the United States and having blessed us so much inspired me to give back to the community especially when I saw and realized that there are hundreds out there who are hopeless and need help to survive Victoria said. My husband Rev. Rodrigo O. Almosara the President Senior Pastor of the Brethren of Christ International Church has always been my team partner and professional inspiration in envisioning and carrying our mission for both our church and the foundation in reaching out to the less fortunate. Limited resources and financial constrains have been challenging obstacles along the way. Learning to nurture connections and relationships with government agencies charitable organizations and citizens has helped Victoria grow the foundation. She has established credibility by consistently displaying the profound impact these programs have on the community. Her achievements earned her recognition in Hawaii s leading Filipino Publication. The kind of industry I am involved in would not last long if you do not have a sincere and compassionate heart for helping people Victoria said. It is that kind of heart that enabled us to survive all odds through all those years especially during the economic downturn or the time of the worst recession in the history of the United States. People sharing the same heart have kept us going by supporting us financially as well as rending their volunteer services and labor of love. In 1999 Springs of Living Water was born. Based in Waipahu Hawaii Springs of Living Water is a faith-based non-profit social service agency that provides services trainings and programs to enhance and sustainability of individuals and families so that they may attain self-sufficiency as well as contribute to the economic development of the community. What began as a group of 13 women volunteers with the purpose of addressing the problems and concerns confronting their neighborhood have become a multifaceted organization which serves hundreds. 29 Women of Distinction Yolonda Troupe Smith I Financial Education Audio Print Advertising Graphic Design Business Branding Marketing Creative Director Smith-II-Smith Enterprises LLC Atlanta GA n 2013 after entering her fifties Yolonda Troupe Smith and her husband Donell Smith drew on their past experiences and principals to form Smith-II-Smith Enterprises LLC a full service financial education company that helps families and small businesses with debt reduction investment education branding marketing audio advertising and graphic designs. At the time the couple was newly wed sharing the pain of previous divorces and delayed dreams. They believed God s promise that their union was designed to impart their combine gifts onto the world. Although their business is still in the beginning phase it is soaring at a great speed. Yolonda is a God-gifted singer lyricist and songwriter -- talents she never believed could be parlayed into business. However these skills have proven to be a great asset to the company. As the Creative Director Yolonda is responsible for overseeing all tasks in the jingle creative process. She collaborates with the music and graphic directors to share ideas and ensure that the business clients receive the highest quality of work. At Changing a Generation FGBC in Atlanta Yolonda is a member of the College of Elders member of the choir and Director of LEAD-Leadership Empowerment & Development training the future leaders of ministry. Community volunteerism is close to Yolonda s heart. She has assisted schools with special events as well as other charitable organizations including the Boy Scouts of America Community (Troop 2020). She experienced several opportunities that taught her how to listen to God and allowed him to create new things for his people. One of the best use of her gifts was with the YMCA where she developed the Y-teen Department in her community. This trail-blazing program set the foundation for teen growth and development in the surrounding area. These opportunities empowered and prepared Yolonda for her present journey. She has written her first book The Holy Spirit The Person The Works - Don t Live Without Him The book is a power-packed story that concentrates on the central features of the Holy Sprit s person and work. It also chronicles Yolonda s intimate experiences encounters and relationship with the Holy Spirit. As you read this book you will picture her growth through her journey as she gave her life to Christ (the mourner s bench experience). You will experience highs (miracles) and lows (devil worship) twists (divorce) and turns (deliverance). You will witness her becoming filled with the Holy Spirit (explosive tongue experience) and walking in power (taking dominion). Books can be ordered online at Amazon Barnes & Noble and Books A Million. It is our hope that all families within our communities gain financial freedom through debtfree living and proper financial planning Yolonda said. We work with clients for as long as it takes. Sometimes it takes months but some clients we will have for a lifetime. As people grow and mature so do their financial needs. My husband and I have reached a wonderful place in our lives where our passion has become our purpose. Yolonda s faith shines through all her endeavors. Smith-II-Smith s logo is a perfect example as it reflects the cross and the dollar sign coming together full circle to minister to the people and change their lives. God called upon Yolonda in 2005 to become a licensed minister of the gospel and in 2010 as a licensed elder of the church. In 2015 she became an Ordained International Clergy Elder and in 2014 her husband also became a licensed minister of the gospel. I am a woman of God that lives in the real world with a family that has real problems. I know all blessings come from God and my desire is to walk in his purpose day by day trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead me to victory. Y. T. Smith 30 Women of Distinction Famika Edmond Health and Wellness Owner Founder Skiny Mika Healthy Eating and Health Coaching Services Southgate MI S truggling with her weight for many years Famika Edmond admits that she that she has been on more fad diets that she can remember. But after finally having the sleeve surgery to help her get on track and stay there she knew that she would still have to watch what she was eating and exercise regularly and she would have to do it the right way. The only option for Famika was to begin eating clean. Meals can also be shipped outside of these areas. Coaching services are offered to help clients in a variety of ways cooking demos and lessons grocery store tours and walkthroughs a 24-hour support service hotline meal prep services nutrition and health eating for kids as well as an online blog group support service for those who have already joined their 60 Day Clean Eating and Fitnes Challenge. Famika s next venture includes authorship. She is working on her first book Skiny Mika s Healthy Eating 60 Day Clean Eating and Fitness Challenge which she hopes to complete soon. In June 2016 she will also be sitting for her National Health Coach Certificate through American Council on Exercise. She currently has an AA in Liberal Arts from Washtenaw Community College a BS in Health Administration from Eastern Michigan University and a Master s in Health Administration from Walden University and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and is a Community Advisory Council Member for Healthy Teens in Detroit. The proud mother of four and soon to be grandmother has always been a very ambitious and caring person and she hopes to continue building up her business for all the right reasons. She also wants to leave a positive imprint on her family through her hard work that anything in life is possible. As a business woman everything can t always be about the dollar and how much you make she said. Being able to care about an individual s overall wellbeing is much more significant. Famika s background includes having worked as a Wellness Navigator Case Manager for Ruth Ellis Center as a Complex Care Assistant Manager for the University of Michigan Medical School as a Patient Care Assistant for the University of Michigan Health System and as a Compliance Assistant Manager for AHRC of New York City. I found that clean eating has been a very essential tool in my weight loss process Famika explained. I also found that meal preparation has helped me keep on target with my goals. Many of my friends however have complained that they just don t have time to do meal prep or cook. With increasing pressures for people to maintain longer work schedules I wanted to make it easy for people to still be healthy when on the go. So in 2015 I created Skiny Mika Healthy Eating and Health Coach Services. Skiny Mika Healthy Eating and Health Coach Services offers just that meal preparation services and healthy coaching services. Meal preparation includes breakfast lunch and dinner and smoothies that are pre-prepared in Mason jars or in blender kits and Mason jar salads. Making meals to order which are taken up until 5pm each day they can either be picked up or delivered straight to customers homes or places of business the next business day with minimum delivery orders of 25. Orders can be placed by phone website or email. They currently serve the Metro Detroit Downriver area Westland Canton Belleville Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor Michigan area. 31 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What has been the biggest barrier that you have faced with your business A Living in the middle of nowhere it s hard at times trying to capture our target audience. Q What have you done to try and turn that barrier around for your business A I try to get the word out there however I can. For example I use social media our company website and I hit the pavement passing out fliers. I also attend numerous events for networking which has afforded me the opportunity to connect with others who may have gone through the same thing and can give me advice. Q What concerns do have about your company A My concerns for the company are the present size and location. I would like for us to be in a financial position to be able to obtain a bigger space as our orders increase. Q What makes your business stand out from others A We are local company that uses local farmer s markets and the highest quality products for our meal prep services. We provide the meal prep service in conjunction with the health coaching services so they go hand in hand with our clients weight loss efforts. Our approach with our health coaching services are to aid individuals in adjusting their behaviors to have better outcomes with health and life issues. Q What is the toughest feedback you ve ever received and how did you learn from it A In the beginning of starting my business the toughest feedback I received was when I received none. You don t know whether or not you re reaching your target audience the way you want to and that can be very nerve racking. Q When have you been most satisfied in your career A I feel that I m the most satisfied at this present time in my life. I m actually doing what I like to do. I have loved helping people. But now I m doing it in ways that assist individuals with permanent lifestyle changes. That is huge for me. Q Where would you like to see your business in the next three years A I would like to see my business continue to grow and finally have a bigger location to house our entire operation. Q What are some the risks you feel your business faces A Having to stay relevant to the needs of the consumer and staying abreast of the climate change of my target audience. If you are not aware of this as a business owner you can end up having to close you doors for good. I would like my business to be a legacy to my children. 32 Women of Distinction Carrie J. Meyer MA CCHT ERYT Holistic Health & Wellness Energetic Healing Hypnotherapy Counseling Owner Practitioner Holoflective Healing Yoga Instructor Fusion Yoga and It s All Yoga Sacramento CA s a youth Carrie J. Meyer MA CCHT ERYT did not anticipate that her path of learning in adult life would include residing working and traveling in multiple foreign countries for several years or that she would ultimately shape her own professional course through the integration of so many different strands of education and life experience. She considers that the sudden death of her father when she was barely 14 was likely a significant early impetus to her subsequent drive to deeply investigate the nature of existence and suffering and integral to her professional evolution. A After years of teaching English at a university and a language institute in Japan as well as writing text books for the language institute Carrie had saved enough yen to set out on an indefinite journey with her backpack. She roamed or lingered in countries in Asia and on other continents for a few more years. Weaving together my formal education with different kinds of life learning has been and continues to be an ongoing biographical response to this investigation Carrie said. Carrie s educational path initially seemed fairly conventional after high school. She attended a California State University and graduated with a double bachelor s degree in psychology and social work. She then made a tangential move for life experience by heading to London England where she worked temp jobs for seven months before backpacking through Europe. Returning to California she ended up working in mental health starting a master s program in psychology and interning for experience in group counseling. Then halfway through her graduate studies Carrie took leave from school and her job for the sake of a training immersion in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). This training followed by an ESL teaching stint in San Francisco turned out to be a stepping stone to her moving abroad again. This time Carrie went for a greater cultural stretch by seeking employment in Japan. Although I traveled in many countries and regions geographically I was continuously on an inward journey Carrie reflects. I did extended stints in several meditation centers sitting in prolonged silence and increasingly perceiving the inseparability of my body consciousness from my head consciousness. By the late 1990 s she had returned to California where she resumed her formal education. Completing her first yoga teacher trainings in 1999 Carrie started a new master s program in psychology at a California State University in 2000. This graduate program which she had a large degree of independence in molding emphasized somatic and Eastern psychology since these fields reflected holistic principles she had found lacking in much of traditional Western psychology. Her mind was enriched through absorbing information from ranging fields such as biopsychology quantum physics Yoga and Buddhist psychology and more and distilling through a combination of intellectual processing and subtle awareness how these fields integrated with each other through the vehicle of mind-body consciousness. She found experientially relevant learning through a variety of somatically oriented trainings that supported conscious embodiment as well as through her forays into a unique form of improvisational theater based on the authentic enactment of personal stories. 33 Women of Distinction She completed training as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist in 2001 and completed her Master s in Psychology in 2003. In 2001 Carrie also began teaching yoga at her first yoga studio in Sacramento and is now in her fifteenth year as a Yoga Instructor presently teaching six weekly classes at two Sacramento studios. She began offering holistic hypnotherapy sessions in 2004 and says her comprehensive approach integrates therapeutic elements beyond her hypnotherapy training and is process-oriented meaning she tracks and guides a client s inner process with a keenly attentive focus. By 2005 her private practice had evolved to include energy work and integrative counseling. Carrie increasingly combined her left brain knowledge banks with her right brain subtle perceptiveness and her intrinsic energetic sensitivity by offering her own form of energy work which she considers holographic in the quantum physical sense of the part containing the whole . She learned through practice to decode general psycho-energetic patterns or tendencies (some of which may be inherited or unconscious) that she could perceive through reading her clients energy fields. Her energy work has been recognized by many recipients as uniquely potent which Carrie would translate as high frequency . She realized that she could also clearly attune to clients at a distance and has done energy sessions with clients as far as Australia. Carrie considers her work a hybridization of holistic healing principles and psychologies. She believes that the emotional conflicts for which many people seek resolution are often not effectively addressed at just a cognitive talking level since they stem from a much deeper conditioning concealed within the body s physical organization and the energy field s subtle configuration about which the disconnected intellect can only speculate. She sees counseling verbal processing as part of a more holistic approach that actually brings an individual into greater self-awareness. She suggests that her energy work extends into levels of consciousness that may not all be cognitively accessed because some of these layers are in the lower vibrating range of unconscious-instinctual and some are in the higher vibrating range of unconscious-mystical. Most clients opt to include debriefing or integrative counseling with an energy session so Carrie can share her perceptions of the client s energy field and discuss what might be helpful for the client in self-care or reflection after the session. Regarding the treatment of a particular physical condition Carrie clarifies The holographic energy work I do is based on the premise that one s body and physiology are part of a greater consciousness spectrum of which one s psychology and the energetic matrix that connects everything are not separate. Therefore rather than target one isolated condition or set of symptoms this energy work reaches past the physical symptoms to address the patterns in one s consciousness and energy field that could eventually manifest as a physical condition or set of symptoms. For several years after starting her private practice Carrie offered lectures at holistic healing expos and led workshops on a range of topics aiming to extend and bridge our conventional limited perspectives on consciousness and mental physical health and she still teaches workshops on the psychology and energetics of the subtle body. Additionally since 2011 she has been leading an annual sightseeing tour of Kyoto Japan which includes a daily yoga practice. Carrie relishes exposing her participants to Kyoto s exquisite cultural nuances through her aesthetically oriented itinerary. The tour perhaps well represents her propensity for synthesizing different threads of her life and skills into something new. 34 Cecilia R. Echols-Cudjoe C Federal Government Environmental Protection Public Affairs Specialist Community Involvement Coordinator US Environmental Protection Agency New York NY ecilia Echols-Cudjoe has worked for the federal government her entire career. While pursuing her BA in Mass Media Communications at Hunter College in New York she worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers as a Stay-in-School Student as a Clerk Typist. Remaining in position until graduation she then transferred government agencies to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 as a Public Affairs Specialist. Taking on several tasks for the Superfund Program which is typically overseen by the Community Involvement Coordinator (CIC) Cecilia was hired for that role several months later. She has been serving as a CIC for more than 25 years. As an EPA employee for 32 years I ve had the pleasure of meeting many people from all ethical and financial backgrounds Cecilia said. I ve travelled regionally and abroad taught public speaking courses in Santiago Chile and hosted Chinese and Vietnamese delegations at site tours in New York and New Jersey imparting how the EPA assists in keeping our air and water clean. Cecilia oversees 70 remedial and removal hazardous waste sites with multimillion dollar budgets. She provides community consultation between the EPA and impacted communities communicates with team members advises press officers and briefs upper management often about possible photo ops op-eds blogs and social media and engages with nongovernmental organizations local and state legislatures and elected representatives. No matter what a person s economic spiritual cultural ethical or religious background everyone has the right to have a say in how they d like their backyard cleaned up. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air and drink clean water. It s my duty as a public servant Cecilia said about the importance of her role. Cecilia served as Chairperson for the first New York Superfund Symposium and as Community Involvement Coordinator for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy to name a few. She s collaborated on several video projects including co-editing and assisting with production and serving as a spotlight speaker for a Green Remediation Project. She also received numerous awards including Agency Bronze Medals for her community service during her tenure with the EPA. In 2015 she was nominated for the Regional Administrators Award the highest agency award given by the Regional Administrator. A devoted Christian Cecilia has a supportive husband and two amazing children. A Speech Lecturer at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn Cecilia earned certificates in fundraising through New York University and an EPA Leadership Development Program. Q&A Q What is the Superfund Program A The Superfund Program is a federal program that reaches out to communities to clean up hazardous wastes sites. Q What sort of jobs can one apply for at the EPA A They can apply for engineering geology toxicology accounting clerical public affairs senior executive service and speech writer s positions. Q How often do you travel for work as a CIC A When I first joined the EPA there was more money allocated to the programs where travel was essential. With social media and webinars traveling only takes place when necessary. 35 Women of Distinction Carli K. Fried Government Department of Defense Secretary for Marine Management Section and Special Emphasis Manager for Disability Awareness Resource Team U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District New Orleans LA C I love life and I start every morning with gratitude. I have been through so many challenges both physically and emotionally yet I find strength through my family and through my faith in God. arli K. Fried landed her first federal job on Groundhog s Day 1985 as a clerk-typist for the Military Entrance Processing Station. After a few years she became their liaison to the EEO office at the Corps of Engineers before transferring to the Corps as an Office Assistant in 1993 and joining the EEO s special emphasis committee for people with disabilities. Since then Carli has served as a member and is now the manager of the special emphasis program called DART or the Disability Awareness and Resource Team. It is Carli s duty to perform administrative functions such as timekeeping assisting the Chief of Marine Management and coordinating training. She s also the primary credit card holder for her section with fiduciary responsibility for over 250 000 of purchases per year. These purchases are for services parts and supplies to maintain the WHEELER and keep it operational. Without the WHEELER there would be major issues both in the south and nationally. As a person with a disability it has always been difficult to get supervisors and coworkers to recognize my skills rather than focusing on my limitations. Carli compensates by going above and beyond taking on more difficult tasks and offering assistance where needed. She knows that others notice her attitude and often enlist Carli s help because they know that she s dependable and determined. I find that when you earn someone s trust and respect you cultivate a positive reputation that others will hear about. I serve I share and I succeed. In fact Carli wishes to share the philosophy of I serve I share I succeed with the world along with authoring a series of selfdevelopment and inspirational books. My original placement was as a clerk-typist because there were limited jobs available for people with disabilities despite having a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Currently Carli functions as the primary administrative support for the Marine Management Section where they maintain the hopper dredge called WHEELER the largest hopper dredge in the Corps of Engineers. The WHEELER keeps waterway channels clear from Key I know that we are all connected and when we help lift others West Florida to Brownsville Texas spending most of its we are also lifted. time operating in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River dealing with shoaling problems that occur during high and low water. Without the WHEELER the Mississippi River and other waterways would become impassable for the marine industry. This would be devastating to agriculture petroleum and other industries that depend on the river to transport over 240 million Women of Distinction 36 tons of cargo per year. Christina Sutton Smallwood Q&A Q Define what success as a writer means to you. A Success is when you don t lose sleep over the thoughts of critics. If you re constantly worried about what people have to say you ll never be able to openly express yourself because you ll always be trying to please everyone but yourself. Q What are some of the best books you ve read A Where the Red Fern Grows The Catcher In The Rye Red Dragon Wuthering Heights Pride and Prejudice and The Picture of Dorian Gray are among the best. Q Which authors have inspired you A Shakespeare Blake Emily Dickinson Oscar Wilde Albert Camus Hawthorne Jane Austen and Goethe have all inspired me. Q What makes a book so special to read A I believe that it s the ability to keep the audience glued. Author Poet of Romance Author Administrator of Poets in Growth Ellenwood GA C hristina Sutton Smallwood fell in love with writing as a teenager expressing her thoughts in a diary. This grew into an admiration for creative writing and poetry. Q How do you create a storyline that the audience will love A I do this by creating a world that can exist within the reader s mind and heart to get caught up in the moments of each chapter. Q When is your favorite time to write and why A For me it s in the early morning or late at night. There are hardly any distractions and you can lose yourself easy in your own world at those times. Q Is it important to connect with your readers A Yes it s imperative that you do because you not only owe them a thank you but you also write for them and having an audience as a writer is a reward in itself. Q In your opinion what is the hardest part of being a writer A The hardest part is keeping the dialogue in order and allowing it all to flow together in your story. It s such a beautiful thing that can make you feel a whole range of emotions happy sad in love or anything else. Christina authored Life is Poetry A Collection of the Heart Volumes 1-3 and A Circle Of Poetry - Under the Dreaming Tree. Her first full-length book The Gardens Of Chastely Castle was released on March 13 2016. The intriguing Juvenile-Fiction Love and Romance novel is now available on Amazon. In order to share her work and inspire others Christina is the administrator of the Facebook page Poets in Growth. I hope to make a positive difference in someone s life. She also participates each year in Nanowrimo s National Novel Writer s Month which is solely dedicated to creating a novel using at least 50 000 words or more. This nonprofit organization has been a great asset to inspire new and experienced writers globally. The success from their most recent challenge in November 2015 impacted many with 1 296 310.73 in donations that will be used to help support young authors. Christina believes that we all have a purpose in our lives and writing is hers. I will never give on up my dreams and would love to make a difference with the work I ve shared from my heart. 37 Women of Distinction Cinnamon Northrup Healthcare Sales Direct Trader It Works Henryville IN U sing her 40 years of experience in long-term healthcare and fitness to her advantage Cinnamon Northrup has been making great strides while simultaneously working as a Direct Trader for It Works. Always striving for a better quality of life for herself and others working in sales has given her a new perspective on life and what it means to live well. Q&A Q How do you know the products work A I use them myself. They always do what they claim to do. Q Do these wraps work A Yes Once you apply the wrap wrap yourself in saran wrap and sleep in it overnight. When you get up in the morning apply the cream and leave it on for about two days. Q The body doesn t shrink all at once so so when I lose the fat what will happen to my skin A If you have a lot of weight to lose and you lose it quickly you ll have saggy skin. The body can t just evaporate excess skin at least not on its own. Q What can I use if I have the problem of saggy skin A There s the crazy wrap thing . Q My hair and nails are brittle do you have anything that can help A We have a hair skin and nails product. It takes about a month to see the complete results. Q What do you have to combat my ugly age defining wrinkles A It Works has an awesome facial mask that softens lines and wrinkles. It also works to make wrinkles and lines finer and tighter. It Works also has the wow cream which is applied to wrinkles and makes them go away. Q Does It Works have antioxidants A Yes. You ll find antioxidants in the Greens products. Q How can I get started with the company A Feel free to email me or contact me at cinnamonbodyshop. It s my job to make people aware of my products and show them that they really do work Cinnamon said. I m also a walking testimony I ve used these products mainly because I won t endorse anything I wouldn t use myself or products that don t work. Stressing the importance of exploring organic options in a world filled with chemically altered products Cinnamon is proud to say most of her products are all natural. Products include body wraps lotions and creams toners cleanse and shakes and more. With It Works I get to work from home set my own hours manage my business and essentially get to be my own boss Cinnamon also noted about the many perks. I have a chance to work on whatever schedule I want while also completing my Doctorate in Health Education this year. My only regret is not starting sooner. Married many moons ago Cinnamon is happily living single. She raised her children on her own and is proud to have fostered a few as well. Working two full-time jobs for much of her life she s now enjoying life all over again through her granddaughter s eyes. 38 Women of Distinction Darlene Hull Social Media Strategy and Support Owner Founder HotSpot Social Media Calgary Alberta Canada H elping your children with school projects is par for the course for most parents. Transforming these projects into successful businesses ventures however is much more extraordinary. That was the case for Social Media Strategist Darlene Hull. Her company HotSpot Social Media began as a homeschooling project in 2012. At the time her son was experimenting with website development while her daughter was pursuing graphic design as a hobby. Darlene who had been researching social media marketing seized the opportunity. With her children s talents and the family s combined interest in the industry their business model was hatched. Thank goodness I didn t opt for the baking soda volcano project Darlene said humorously. After graduating her children still remain active in the company. Her daughter manages graphic design and her son has become known as the go-to guy for all things technical. As Owner and Founder of HotSpot Social Media Darlene is the heart and soul of the operation overseeing all aspects of her business. Keeping true to HotSpot s motto Painless and Profitable Social Media for Small Businesses Darlene s primary goal is to communicate her client s message effectively and efficiently. She is responsible for day-to-day posting creating social media strategies and administrative duties. The family-business s rise to the top was not without challenge Darlene recalled. Once I decided to go for it I soon discovered a bazillion social media managers in Calgary she said. With so much competition the kids and I had to be creative to make HotSpot stand out. Tackling the little guy the solopreneur was a smart idea because everyone else was tackling the big fish. Making the shift from hobby to business was difficult bumpy and worth it. Now we re gaining a solid reputation in our industry. We ve almost tripled our income in the past two years. Darlene encourages aspiring business owners especially social media strategists to recognize their strengths and weaknesses early on delegate responsibilities accordingly and most of all do not expect overnight success. The odds aren t in your favor in this industry she said. Good social media management is a ton of work. Open up to others in places where it s safe. Don t try to do this all by yourself. Get the help you need by any means possible. Darlene shares her secrets to success in her book books 31 Days to Twitter Mastery and The Nectar Effect. Additionally she volunteers for a local organization Momentum that helps people get their businesses up and running. She also donates her talents to a women s networking group called Connected Business Women s Network. I want to leave behind a legacy of hope she said. I believe we all have dreams and vision that we want to implement. I believe in the potential of others and I ve spent my life helping people (and myself ) discover what that is and how to turn it into something amazing. 39 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Do people really need social media today A The truth is there are dozens of ways to market your business effectively. However these days most people will ask their friends for recommendations when they re looking for products and services and its best if those recommendations can be shared with a link. Social media pages (done well) are usually much more informative and easier to access than websites. Q What s the best way to promote my business on Social Media A The biggest mistake people make on social media is they treat it like an advertising platform. Their whole stream is about themselves and their product or service. Here s how you need to think of it instead What other things is my target market interested in Are they family oriented golf players Foodies Etc. Then plan your content around those big main interests that your target market has in common so that they d follow you even if they re not interested in your product or service at this time. That way when they ARE interested you already have a relationship with them. For example a Real Estate agent whose main target market is the retirees looking to downsize would create a page that s all about seniors retirement and 50 lifestyles and then post her real estate information into that topic in a way that makes sense. Only 10-15% of your posts should be about your actual product or service. The rest should be about building community and serving your target market s needs. Q How do I get more fans and followers on my social media A The first thing you need to do is make sure your posts are interesting to the target market you re trying to reach. With every post you need to ask yourself why anyone would want to share like or comment on it. Secondly you need to make sure you have a wide variety of posts not just ads or quotes for example. Things to consider are articles from other industry leaders your own blog posts questions that pertain to your industry and fun questions to just get conversation going. You should have some tips in there possibly some trivia. Are there great resources your clients might find useful Post things that are encouraging inspirational fun. And you need to post often. Very few people are going to see everything you post so you need to show up often and every time you show up it should be a high quality post. Q What do I do if people post negative comments to my social media A There are two kinds of negative comments people who ve had a legitimately bad experience with your business through oversight negligence a technical glitch or the art of being human and people who are trolls. They re just there to create a stir they want attention and they want you to look bad. The first is left on your page and you comment to them something along the lines of I m so very sorry this happened Please contact our customer service at customerservice and we will do everything in our power to make this right . Then make sure everyone s ready in customer service to do just that. If it s a troll delete their comment and block them from your page. 40 Women of Distinction Rose Smith Film & TV Food & Beverage Mobile & Water Filtration Media President & CEO RCS Productions Inc. New York NY t a young age a fearless Rose Smith arrived in New York City by way of Miami. With a mere 200 to her name she set out to achieve the American dream. Before long she had landed a coveted job on Wall Street. During the early days of the women s equal rights movement Rose silenced the notion that a female could not succeed in the high-powered male-dominated world of New York finance. Through grit and grace Rose caught the eye of the boss at first for her professional tenancy and overtime for her warm compassionate nature. Years later Rose went on to marry that man who to this day still pens her detailed letters describing their endless love. The couple had a son together who grew up to be happily married and successful. But this is far from the end of Rose s astonishing life story. A It is about what type of person you are not your name or your title Rose said. It is about being a good person and if they are not I will try to make them better. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn t. But all should strive to make the world a better place. Rose became sought after and globally recognized for serving as Editor-in-Chief for Worldstyle Magazine and as a freelance European correspondent for Newsweek International in Europe. She was approached to join the White House Press Corp for President Bill Clinton s Summit of the Americas held in Miami in 1994. The opportunity led to a chance encounter with Mr. Jack Nohren Founder and Chairman of Innova Pure Water Inc. a public company. The meeting launched Rose into her next business venture -- the water filtration industry. Rose was later named President and CEO of Innova Pure Water Inc. where she completed an infomercial with Richard Simmons and negotiated strategic alliances with Rubbermaid Culligan and CamelBak as well as a licensing agreement with Brita Clorox. She sat on the Industry Forum for NSF the trade organization that sets environmental standards for air and water filtration systems. For two years Rose also served as Chair of the Consumer Products Committee for the Water Quality Association. She went on to become President of International Military and Food Service for the Healthy Beverage Company (Steaz) where she was the first angel investor. My husband taught me two interesting things at an early age that I will never forget ask for the order if they say no you have not lost anything you did not have it in the first place and learn to listen Rose said. From Wall Street Rose began her rise in the television and film industry. She worked as a film stylist and producer on movies and major advertising campaigns launching her into high society working with famous actors actresses politicians athletes and performing artists such as Bob Hope Raquel Welsh Kim Bassinger Lauren Hutton Renee Russo Whitney Houston Frank Sinatra Meryl Streep Brooke Shields Jennifer Connelly and Joe DiMaggio -- to name a few. Not one to be shy or get star struck Rose easily built relationships with dignitaries and everyday people no matter what situation she found herself in along the way. 41 Women of Distinction Throughout her career Rose was responsible for developing strategic partnerships for sales raising capital for several companies and launching new companies both domestically and internationally. Today Rose is the President and CEO of RCS Productions Inc. She is currently working with a Los Angeles based production company that specializes in film and television projects. She is a major contributor to the company CINEMA HOUSE in all facets of its endeavors most recently a motion picture called Cuba Libre and a slate of television shows. For her tireless professional efforts Rose has been recognized in the Millennium Edition of the National Register s of Who s Who in Executive and Professionals and is a member of the prestigious CEO Clubs of America which is a premier global club for CEOs Entrepreneurs and C-Level suite executives. Together CEO Clubs assimilates a vast amount of experience expertise knowledge contacts and resources-all of which are readily available to its members in monthly peer advisory groups. CEO Clubs led by CEO Kevin Dunn has also hosted many guest speakers including Ben Carson Ken Fisher Eliot Spitzer Donald Trump Michael Bloomberg and Pete Peterson -- to name a few. Above business Rose values kindness. Hoping to leave a legacy of goodness and light to the world Rose is charitable with her time knowledge and resources. Drawing from her own humble beginnings Rose is deeply compassionate toward the homeless. She has been known to befriend those living on the streets and provide them with access to food even giving away her husband s designer suits a time or two. Rose is also Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of IHOOT (In Honor Of Our Troops) a military foundation founded by Phil Strambler who she worked with at the Walter Reed Medical Center. She was on the Advisory Board of Bideawee New York and Long Island s leading pet rescue agency. She has contributed a significant amount of time and effort to the Alzheimer s Notables of Douglas Gardens The Foundation for Developmentally Disabled Children in Israel the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and was a dedicated board member of the Community Alliance Against Aids alongside fellow member Sophia Loren and honoree Chairman Julio Iglesias. Additionally she served as Chair for three years of the Parent s Council at Skidmore College where she raised more than 1 million. She was personally honored by the Alzheimer s Notables of Douglas Gardens The Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled Children in Israel The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and The Crohn s & Colitis Foundation of America. She recently was named an Associate member of the National Police Defense Foundation a congressionally recognized and IRS designated 501c3 non-profit organization founded by executive director Joe Occhipinti. The organization has more than 205 000 members and supporters nationwide and in 12 foreign countries. The NPDF is well know for its Operation Kids program that is credited for saving the lives of numerous critically ill babies worldwide and the Safe Cop program that posts a 10 000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person who shoots a law enforcement officer. My legacy would be to have helped as many people as possible in all walks of life Rose said. Whether it be the homeless or the veterans who have served our country and I consider my angels. To have helped children and anyone that would need my assistance in any form that I may provide to make them happy in their lives. To be a role model to young children. I try to teach young children to do whatever they can to provide help love or happiness to anyone in need. I would want to know that I had helped convey a lesson to all that had crossed my path. Any age any race any color to never pick your friends for what they have but rather for whom they are and for their values. What kind of a person are they To sum it up I want my legacy to be I had been responsible for making a difference in this somewhat troubled world in a positive way. 42 Women of Distinction YOURS and (10) your business is a reflection representation of you. Anika M. Brewster T Community Health Services Owner Entrepreneur CEO - FabUless Boutique On With Life Health & Wellness Advisor Owner - Total Life Changes Co-Owner CMO - Sophisticated Chi-Town Licensed Real Estate Broker - Real People Realty Chicago IL hrough her work as an owner and entrepreneur with several business Anika Brewster expresses her passion for business and helping others by providing clients with a number of services. At the moment Anika is the Founder and CEO of On With Life the Co-Owner and CMO of Sophisticated Chi-Town the Owner of FabUless Boutique and is a Health & Wellness Adviser and Owner of Total Life Changes. She is also a Licensed Real Estate Broker with Real People Realty. Regarding her education Anika received a double B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from St. Xavier University in 1997 and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from University of Phoenix in 2010. She also earned a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Roosevelt University in 2004 a Certificate At Home With Diversity from Mainstreet Organization of Realtors in 2008 and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Level 1 & 2 from NXLevel. I m a realist. I enjoy everything I do. I don t put anything above God & family. I feel a sense of duty to share the information I receive because if it s relevant to me it may also be to someone else. I m open minded and accept critique suggestions etc. I m a listener and observer and I m very tolerant. In her leisure Anika enjoys reading traveling cooking volunteering at children s schools and spending time with her family and friends. She is a member of the National Association of Realtors the Illinois Association of Realtors and the National Association of Professional Women. I would like to leave a legacy of realness and resilience. Realness because I stay true to myself and my vision in all I do. I don t concern myself with how others do things. I appreciate that there are so many ways to do everything and I ll always choose what s best for me. Resilience because regardless of my personal situations and my business obstacles I face daily I keep it moving . I don t sweat the small stuff and I always keep my vision in mind. I m a product of an entrepreneurial household. I ve always wanted to own my own business. It s all I know. My parents and cousin are my greatest professional inspirations. Their keen knowledge persistence dedication and pursuit of business continue to motivate and inspire me. Anika s main role within all of her work is to interact with people on a daily basis. Whether they are in search of a new home looking for a unique outfit or pair of shows need a listening ear networking or need a consultation on bettering their health and wellness Anika s primary responsibility is to focus on them and fulfill their needs. The advice I d give to anyone starting out is (1) BE PATIENT (2) WRITE everything down on paper (3) be open to suggestions (4) take others opinions criticism rejection as learning tools not personal attacks (5) observe with your eyes and ears (6) don t be afraid of change (7) be prepared to feel overwhelmed BUT don t turn it into fear and NEVER GIVE UP (8) keep in mind no two people do anything the same. Find your comfort zone and find your niche (9) ALWAYS remember NO ONE will see your vision the same as you do because IT S 43 Women of Distinction Alejandra C. Moate Parking Lot Construction Owner Office Administrator - AC Moate Industries Inc. Auburn WA ed watch your overhead make a budget plan and stick to it. business. A s an Owner and Office Administrator at AC Moate Industries Alejandra Moate takes pride in providing top of the line parking lot construction through her Alejandra entered the parking lot construction industry in 1997. At first she worked alongside her husband cutting asphalt for asphalt contractors as a part-time side job to supplement their income. Following a change in ownership at her husband s previous job the couple decided to build their business fulltime. Since the start of AC Moate Industries the company has added 10 divisions and now offers the most complete parking lot construction in their area. My determination not to quit has kept me in this career. We went through some rough times but we knew God would get us through them and he did in a big way. We have been as low as having our water and power shut off and everyone telling us to quit but we just hung on and turned it around. In her current role at AC Moate Industries Alejandra handles the bookkeeping auditing and balancing. As a couple Alejandra and her husband handle strategic planning spending time each year to set goals and figure out the proper plans to reach them. After this the company s leadership team is brought in to understand the plan and get started on achieving the company s goals. Alejandra and her husband have written a book on asphalt maintenance for property managers as well as a book for property managers regarding winter services. She has also developed a software program that is specific to her industry for estimating and operations which is patent pending. Alejandra and her husband have also spoken at BOMA and Wumfa for property manager training. I believe anything is possible when you have an engine in your heart. My engine is God along with some special people who have helped me to reach my goals. In her free time Alejandra likes to exercise and does missionary work with her husband which has seen them travel to missions in Nicaragua Malawi and China. She also volunteered at an elementary school for several years. In the future Alejandra and her husband plan on teaching people in impoverished nations about how to run a small business. I want to be a great representative of Jesus Christ. I want to leave this world a little better by living well and giving back. The advice I d offer to someone starting out in this industry is to count the cost have a game plan don t compromise your integrity and stick to the plan. Don t get over extend- 44 Women of Distinction Annabella Wood A Service Building Professions Contractor Professional Handywoman and Owner of Belle s Buildings Handywoman Service LLC. fter her home was hit by a tornado in 1991 Annabella Wood had to hire a contractor to come in and repair the various damages to her house. Within her trade Annabella can do it all from plumbing to carpentry to tiling to wiring. However Annabella also performs a plethora of other roles. She writes and performs serves as the choir director and guitar teacher for delinquent boys and the music minister at her church. Annabella also has a successful music video on YouTube called Truck Driving Mama. She s also an ordained New Thought Minister and truly believes in the value of volunteering. Volunteering is one way to help enrich the world and your life at the same time and I simply love to do it. I recently drove an 82-year-old woman on a 7 000-mile cross-country trip in a semi for a charitable organization to help her realize a life long dream. Give generously to good causes give your time to the ones that really matter. In terms of a professional goal Annabella wants to find someone to run the business once she retires specifically a young woman looking to get into the handywoman industry. It seems that people entering the workforce are not very interested in the trades. If I found a woman with similar goals and abilities I would like to teach her everything she needs to know and give her the company in a few years. Each night after work I d come home and fix all the mistakes the contractor had made. It finally occurred to me to fire the contractor and fix my own house. Annabella loved fixing houses so much that she started her own company Belle s Buildings Handywoman Service LLC where she is the only employee. On a daily basis her duties include answering the phone scheduling service calls planning projects and of course the actual handiwork. Although she has a few trusted specialists that she must call from time to time Annabella essentially carries out all of the work within her company. I love being of service to people. My primary customers turn out to be single mothers and the elderly. They need their houses fixed like everyone else but aren t necessarily comfortable with most handymen. They feel at ease when I am there. 45 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Helene Kaye Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 For Women Not Afraid ... To Be The Change Innovative Blocks Odor Permanent Seal Prevents Leaks Protects Hand Saves Trees Will You Make The Change Made With Certified Compostable Biofilm Sanitary & Discreet Disposal For Feminine Hygiene Items Now available on 47 Come see what we are all about at Women of Distinction Darlene Hull Social Media Strategy and Support Owner Founder HotSpot Social Media 48 Women of Distinction