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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Christina Rene Murata Process Safety and Risk Management Consulting CEO Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge Inc. 1 Women of Distinction Debra A. Freed Veteran Service Organization Executive Director Paralyzed Veterans of America-New England Chapter - PVA-New England Christina Rene Murata Process Safety and Risk Management Consulting CEO Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge Inc. Houston TX E xpert Process Safety and Risk Management Consultant Rene Murata is passionate about creating secure work places that allow employees to thrive. She is achieving her goals as CEO of Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge Inc. (d.b.a. RISK Inc) -- a global safety consulting company offering a full range of technical consulting training and staffing services. Founded in 2011 RISK offers industry-leading experience in risk management and process safety management program development as well as compliance services for a wide variety of clients. As CEO Rene wears many hats. One of those hats is the responsibility for maintaining long lasting client relationships. She works closely with clients to ensure they are receiving the high-quality services that they require. Then in 2006 she moved to California where she started working in a refinery as an office assistant. Within two years she was promoted to Engineering Assistant and then to Assistant Engineer. She encourages those aspiring to enter into the process safety industry to gain experience in the field in order to truly understand the value of a healthy process safety program. Knowing that people are going home to their families every day and we may have had something to do with it keeps me in this career. I especially enjoy when someone on my team has an ah-ha moment and they suddenly understand why I do what I do. I have worked with a variety of personalities -- not all receptive to a woman in my position. I have found that honesty integrity and patience have served me well. However because I am constantly working to increase my knowledge and understanding of this industry this desire to learn has translated to a work product that is held in high regard for quality and consistency. Another hat Rene wears is providing continued education for her team. At RISK this means both professional and technical training for everyone. Training for the team includes attending industry conferences professional development seminars monthly internal training sessions in which team members are encouraged to take a turn training everyone else in their expertise as well as one-on-one mentoring. The insight that a person can receive by simply knowing and understanding the equipment that is being discussed the potential issues and challenges that a corporation faces in developing a healthy program as well as an appreciation of the relationships that develop between the people that work in such intense conditions is indescribable. It cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Family is a constant inspiration for Rene . Shortly after starting as an assistant engineer her husband was involved in a hazardous work-related incident prompting Rene to dedicate her career to improving process safety. During that same timeframe she was inspired by her father to return to school where Rene earned a Master of Business in Global Enterprise Management from Jones International University in 2008. My father was always upbeat and enjoyable to be around no matter what life threw at him and he was always in learning mode. Late in life he went back to school pursuing a lifelong dream. He passed away before he completed his goal of obtaining a PhD. However in his passing he left a legacy of learning and a belief in the adventure that life has to offer. When she is not at the office Rene enjoys a healthy and adventurous lifestyle. She is vegan who is passionate about cooking and baking gluten-free meals with her grandchildren. The family regularly travels to exotic locations to explore swim hike bike and ski. I believe that providing a collaborative environment that encourages sharing of experiences and knowledge in addition to continued education helps create a strong healthy workplace that can then provide quality services to our clients. Rene holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physics and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Southern Oregon University. She started her career in 2005 as an assistant engineer at an electrical firm within the Research and Development department where she developed internal safety and environmental compliance policies and procedures for the firm. I believe in adventure and I live and treat everything in my life accordingly. This I believe has contributed to my overall success. I want to leave a legacy much like my father one that speaks to the joy of learning and living. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A We work with companies that have large quantities of hazardous chemicals that if released could cause damage to personnel the public or the environment. We assist our clients in the development maintenance and improvement of their process safety programs working with them on multiple levels to help identify solutions that are feasible and manageable for them. Q What are some of the challenges you face as the CEO A When I started the company I was (and still am) newer to the industry. I have had to establish myself as someone who is knowledgeable in the industry and establish the company as different from my competitors. I have done this through focusing on the quality and consistency of our product from one facilitator to the next and by focusing on building relationships with our clients making sure to understand their needs from a holistic view. This approach sets us apart from our competitors. Q What is it like working in a traditionally male industry A Having majored in math and physics both traditionally male dominated subjects I am comfortable with male peers. I have earned the respect of the teams I work with by focusing on quality. In addition the industry is slowly shifting as women gain support and mentoring. Last year marked the launch of Pink Petro a social media site dedicated to networking support and mentoring of women in the energy industries. I am proud to be a role model for other women in this field. Q Did you need a special degree or certification to work in your industry A You definitely need a background in chemical engineering or related technical field. However the desire and ability to learn is just as important. You also need strong people skills because your role is to bring together the combined knowledge of a team of specialists at an industrial facility and use that knowledge to assess the risks. Having said that there are companies that require an Engineering degree or 10 years industry experience. Q Are there on-going training requirements A Technically no. However I personally have a strong belief in on-going training. So within our organization yes. We have a QA Training Manager that oversees the training and mentoring of all employees. We have monthly training sessions in which we cover an area where we see opportunities for growth. During these sessions everyone is encouraged to ask questions and share ideas. We also support our employee s growth through attendance at industrial conferences and outside training classes. I believe though that the industry is moving toward requiring some kind of certification in order to do this type of work and I would be supportive of that. Q What is your average day like A Mine can be crazy and depends on whether I am onsite with a client or not. If I am onsite I am leading a multi-disciplinary team through discussions about the potential hazards of their plant and helping to identify safeguards already in place or making a recommendation for additional safeguards. If I am not on site my day consists of a balance between phone calls with my marketing department to discuss business development opportunities and my QA training department on how a particular employee is growing or on what new training modules we want to create for the team. If I am not doing that I am often talking with our clients about challenges that they face and options on how they might address them. Q What is it like being at industrial sites A I find it fascinating. Being a science geek going to some of these industrial sites is like walking into a giant chemistry set. It never gets old for me. The different processes technology and equipment are interesting. Q How do you handle the extensive travel your role demands A We work hard at RISK to have a work life balance. When scheduling we plan home time for prep and reports. However the reality is that there is still a lot of travel about 50-60%. I have a supportive family that travels with me when and where possible. My husband works with me handling payroll and invoicing so his job allows him to travel. Q What is the future of your company A Currently we are expanding into South America. Many of our clients have divisions in South America and they would like to use our services there. However for some sites the expense of flying a consultant from the US can be prohibitive. By opening an office and providing the same level of training mentoring and QA our clients can be assured of receiving the same quality to which they are accustomed. Q In all of your travels where is the most exotic place you have been for work A I have gone and worked in Chengdu China and in Sao Paulo Brazil. I loved them both. Kimi Avary M.A. Relationship Navigation Specialist Relationship Coaching Relationship Navigation Specialist at Conscious Couples Network Berkeley CA K imi Avary has been studying healing spirituality and relationships her entire life. She worked her way through college doing massage therapy but realized that she wanted to do more to help her clients heal. Therefore in 1995 Kimi trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) an approach to communication personal development and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s that helped her start a life-coaching practice. In 2006 Kimi began studying the differences between the way men and women experience the world and communicate with each other. Her own frustrations in trying to make her romantic relationships work compelled her to dive deeply into exploring why men and women have problems communicating and what could be done about it. Growing up I attended a girl s boarding school and a women s college called Mills. I experienced the extremes of feminism and it took a personal toll on my life. On one hand I learned how to be a strong powerful woman and on the other I learned not to need anyone much less a man. Unfortunately this is a recipe for the lone wolf syndrome that women often experience in business that ultimately leads to exhaustion. I literally wore a t-shirt with a quote by Gloria Steinem that said A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Needs a Bicycle . I wanted to be married have a family and have an amazing career (the standard fairytale) but I didn t know how to make it work. I dated a lot of wonderful men had lots of great male friends and found myself in the buddy zone . When I started learning about how men experience the world in a way that is totally different than the way women do and it changed everything for me. It made it possible to meet and marry my husband and create a great partnership with him. This inspired her to focus on relationship dynamics and contributed to her passionate desire for creating a New Paradigm in Partnership through honoring both the feminine and masculine forms of power. I believe that when men and women successfully learn how to navigate their experience together through understanding their differences navigating those differences and appreciating what each one has to offer the other there will be peace on earth. Today she is the owner and visionary for Conscious Couples Network. I see my job as being on the frontline helping to transform the way men and women relate to each other personally and professionally by showing them what s possible with conscious relationships that isn t possible with the way we currently view the opposite sex. I also have a team of amazing people who support my vision and make my business successful. Kimi s passion for helping to heal relationships between men and women has kept her going. I love seeing the faces of men and women who have fallen in love again after learning how to successfully navigate their relationship I also help women open up to what s possible with men when they are clear authentic and know how to successfully navigate relationships with men both personally and professionally. My greatest professional aspiration is to bring a higher level of consciousness into our personal and professional relationships and experience so that we have more creative energy to express our visions. She is also the co-author of Incredible Life (published by PowerDynamics Publishing) and the creator of the 90-Day Relationship Reboot Program The Relationship Navigation System The Relationship Clarity System The REAL Truth about Successful Communication between Men and Women and the Beyond the Glass Ceiling Workplace Navigation System. Kimi and her husband a PADI Course Director who loves teaching scuba instructors have been together for 10 years and got married in 2010. He gave her two stepchildren and a Chihuahua named Mouse. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area and love traveling to warm tropical locations. And in her free time Kimi loves hot yoga Argentine Tango and scuba diving as well as visiting with friends reading books watching movies and walking Mouse. Her ultimate dream is to help end emotional and physical violence between men and women. I see myself helping to heal the wounds and anger of past injuries so that love and honor can flourish. If I could leave the world a safer place for men and women their children and beyond by honoring both the feminine and masculine forms of power I d be deeply gratified. 7 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A You can be the most conscious person in the world and still get tripped up by the instinctual differences between men and women. I see amazing intelligent spiritual people who are having trouble in their relationships. Men and women are confused about how to create the partnership they truly want and angry because there have been so many misunderstandings and hurts. It s time for us to create a New Paradigm in Partnership where women and men both feel loved honored respected and cherished. Q I ve heard you talk about the Dark Side of Feminism before. Could you please elaborate on this A Gloria Steinem said Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry. We thought that was a good thing but it has created what I call The Dark Side of Feminism which is that we learned how to be strong powerful women by modeling our perception of masculine power. In the process we lost one of our strongest assets the Feminine Power that is unique to us as women. I m for honoring both the masculine and feminine forms of power because when they are working together in harmony we ll be able to create loving relationships fulfilling partnerships and a world where people want to belong. Q Why are the differences in communication styles so important to understand A Men and women are so different that we d be better off if we actually spoke different languages because then we wouldn t think we were communicating. We typically look at the opposite sex as a misbehaving version of ourselves who is either doing things we would never do or not doing things we would absolutely do. This happens because we are looking at the other person from our viewpoint. I call this Stuck in Your Own Head Syndrome or SIYOHS (see-yohs). The antidote is Perceptual Fluidity which is being curious about how the other person actually experiences the world rather than being furious because they don t fit into our own perspective. When you learn how to communicate with your partner in a way that honors their perspective you can create the partnership companionship and harmony that you desire. Q What s the difference between the relationship programs you offer and couples therapy A The relationship programs I offer are different than couples therapy because they are forward thinking and focus on where you want to go and give you the tools for getting there rather than simply rehashing old problems. Q What makes your coaching approach unique A I infuse my work with a spiritual foundation and believe that every single person has something positive to offer the world. Learning how to successfully navigate relationships with the opposite sex is a skill that can be easily learned. What makes my approach unique is that it combines coaching education and group mentoring. The Relationship Clarity System Home Study series helps you develop the stickability mindset and provides tools for creating a great foundation for your relationship. The Relationship Navigation System Audio and Live Weekly Mentoring series supports you in recognizing and navigating the masculine and feminine dynamic at play within yourself and in your relationship. And the Workplace Navigation System gives you the tools to navigate your work and business experience with both genders. Q Tell us about your 90-Day Relationship Reboot Program. A The 90-Day Relationship Reboot Program is designed to help you heal past challenges get clarity on what you want individually and together and help you envision a future together armed with the skills to effectively navigate your relationship. Q What s the single most important tip for relationship longevity A Learn how to be curious instead of furious Behind every behavior is a positive intention although it might not be positive for you. Assume that there might be a good reason for what happened and start any inquiry with I m curious... You ll get more bang for your buck that way. Q How can a woman get her needs met in her relationship or at work A Women are notoriously unclear about what we need until we are upset without it. Often when we are furious with our partner or work situation it stems from something that we need that is going unmet that we assume the other person knows about and is deliberately not giving us. Then we give up and decide that we can t make our situation work so we check out and we leave. The sad truth is that when we tell our partner what we need from a place of anger they don t even hear it. When you practice being curious about what is making you angry identifying what you need and then clearly expressing what you need and what it will provide for you you have a foundation for making clean deals and creating partnership. Q Who are your clients A I work with women and men who are tired of not having their relationships work out and are committed to having a conscious partnership that honors both the masculine and feminine ways of being. If you ve experienced challenges in your past relationships (or current one) and are open to embracing a new paradigm in partnership you can request a Complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session to speak to me about your challenges and needs here http consciouscouplesnetwork.com promo rbs Q Are you available to speak with groups A Yes I lead workshops webinars and teleclasses internationally and would be happy to speak with you about your needs. Please e-mail Team ConsicousCouplesNetwork.com with your inquiries. 8 Women of Distinction Dr. Anita Kantak Marketing Market Research President of Applied Research-West Inc. Orange CA 9 Women of Distinction D r. Anita Kantak started her career in market research in 1982 after obtaining her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University (Claremont CA). She then worked with several major companies as a market research analyst. Among these companies are The Orange County Transportation Authority Kaiser Permanente Pioneer Electronics and Mitsubishi Electronics. It wasn t difficult getting a job with these large companies as I had the educational background and relevant experience. Her real challenge began in 1994 when she founded her own market research company Applied Research-West Inc. Q&A Q How will you remain viable as a business for many years to come A We will remain viable as a business by being willing to adapt to change adopting new technologies and learning new skills. Q How important is repeat business A Client retention is extremely important. Building strong relationships leads to not only goodwill but referrals to gain new clients. Q Why do you mentor young people to follow you in this career A Because it is a skilled profession much like engineering or medicine. There are a set of tried and true methods and opportunities for improvement and growth. Q Do you enjoy mentoring them A Yes very much as there is great pleasure in seeing how they learn mature and take on important tasks for major companies. Q Is this field recession proof A Yes because the need for information and data never goes out of fashion. If anything the need for information is more immediate and urgent in today s world than ever before. Q Is it really lonely at the top A Not necessarily but employees are your greatest asset so team building is very important. Q How important is keeping in touch with peers in your field A It s extremely important as it sharpens your skills and leads to an exchange of ideas. Q What do you like most about this field A I love working with numbers and analyzing data so I would say the data crunching aspect . Q How do you get new clients A I attract new clients via the usual means advertising in industry publications referrals and responding to requests for proposal (RFP). Q How long are you planning to stay active in this business A I plan on staying active in this business for many many years to come. A lot of industry leaders who I have admired over the years work like there is no end in sight. Not only did I have to demonstrate expertise in the field but I had to ensure that the pipeline and cash flow were intact. I m also a woman and a minority which created additional challenges on the sales front. However these challenges actually made me a better businesswoman. I had to be better than my competitors and be more hands-on in order to be successful. Today as President of Applied Research-West (ARW) Dr. Kantak is responsible for sourcing new business and making sure that her clients needs are met. ARW is a full-service marketing research company with over two decades of experience in the entire gamut of research services. Our personnel excel in marketing research data collection methods and analytics. We pride ourselves in our ability to respond quickly to client needs for information and are fully committed to high quality and innovative research methods and analytic techniques. We have extensive capabilities in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research in-house. She is motivated by a real enjoyment in the research process especially the discovery of opportunities that truly make a difference for her clients. Each day presents a new challenge in terms of projects and client requirements. I care about every project that we undertake. It s important to me that we do everything in our power to help our client be successful. We will go the extra mile to make sure that we deliver accurate and impactful information that helps our clients. We want to offer more than just answers we want to deliver actionable information. Dr. Kantak s love for the field of market research has caused her to mentor several young people entering the field and start them on their journey. She also belongs to the Southern California Supplier Development Council. For many years I belonged to the organization in order to be certified as a Minority Business Enterprise. However I have begun to take a more active role in the organization now and am part of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee. She would like to be remembered as a person who always made an extra effort on every project. It s very important to me that my clients and the people around me think they got value when they dealt with me. 10 Women of Distinction S tarting out as a Graphic Scenic Lighting Designer for television at Eastern Kentucky University in 1967 Cheri Louise Yarborough eventually found herself searching for a career in a field that wasn t so competitive and difficult to make something of herself. Studying massage therapy she opened the very first certified school of massage therapy in Wisconsin in 1985 Lakeside School of Natural Therapeutics. Nine years later she sold the business and went back to college to pursue her MS in Art Therapy and PhD in Organizational Psychology. Volunteering at the Healing Center in Milwaukee Cheri then became certified in Trauma Counseling and a state licensed Psychotherapist. Acquiring a job in town at the Acacia Clinic her career had come to a close just four years later after a debilitating car accident in 2005 left her unable to work at full capacity. She and her husband Don then moved to Arkansas in 2009. I read an article in the newspaper about a young woman Laura Aceves who was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend Cheri recalled. A small group of women including Laura s mother formed a resource center called The Purple Flower in Berryville Arkansas and were looking for volunteers. As a former counselor for victims of abuse for more than 10 years I joined their team in January 2015. Like many of the volunteers Cheri wears many hats each day alongside her colleagues. She does public speaking to develop awareness assists with fundraising coordinates transportation to emergency shelters provides information to victims on safety planning and helps with protective orders. She also goes to court to support victims and works with the prosecutor s office the county clerks and law enforcement to make certain the Order of Protection s (OP s) are served and followed up with. In Cheri s county alone there are approximately four OP s filed weekly in a population of about 27 000 people there is a great need for more volunteers. A current Board Member for the Carroll County Coalition Against Domestic Violence Cheri also published her first novel Jacob s Road and a second book on crocheting called Inspirations for Crochet. She is currently searching for a publisher for her third book Tomorrow River the story of a woman who develops Stockholm syndrome after being held captive for many years and how she survives. At home Cheri unwinds in her 30-foot yurt that she erected on her property which serves as her studio. She sells her artwork at shows across Eureka Springs. Cheri Louise Yarborough PhD Advocacy Domestic Violence Advocate for the Purple Flower Domestic Violence Resource and Support Center of Carroll County Arkansas Berryville AR I would like for all women to realize that they have more strength resources and stamina than they know Cheri added who is happily married to husband Don LeMoine. I ve always stood up for victims of abuse since I was a small child because someone has to. I can. 11 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why is there so much domestic violence A Most people don t want to believe how prevalent domestic violence is. One in three women and one in seven men will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Q What can the average person do to prevent domestic violence A If you see something say something. The abuser thrives in secrecy. It s not about someone being angry it s about someone having to be in control. Victims live in an ever tightening world where the abuser is afraid of losing their power over their victim. Q How can I get involved A Everyone can get involved...volunteer at a domestic violence resource center help with fundraising or help with raising awareness in your community. Find out what the statistics are for your community and help to reduce or eliminate them. Q What kind of education is needed A Social workers nurses lawyers judges and counselors can all help remediate domestic violence but someone with very little training can become an advocate too and you can become certified online through the Office of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. Q How effective is an Order of Protection (OP) A An OP is simply a piece of paper it s how it s used that makes it powerful. Once it s obtained the victim needs to carry it with them at all times. The moment it s violated the police should be called so the abuser can be arrested and charged not only with violating the order but stalking which in most states carries heavier penalties. Q Why don t women just leave their abuser A This is the question that most law enforcement officers and judges don t understand unless they have had specific training in domestic violence. The reasons are wide-ranging including financial cultural religious psychological and emotional. The average victim tries at least eight or nine times before they finally can leave if they aren t killed first. Each time they return the abuse becomes more violent due to the fear of them trying again. The biggest problem is not having support from family and friends to aid in their being able to leave. Q How do I know when a relationship has the potential to turn abusive A If the relationship is co-dependent it is a warning sign. Also if the partner is jealous of the time spent with friends family or co-workers. An abuser is extremely insecure and preys on the insecurity of the victim. Q Can an abusive relationship be changed A The statistics are not good. It means long-term willingness of the abuser to go through extensive counseling and self-evaluation. It s usually best if the victim can cut all ties without expecting them to change on their own. Q How can I protect my children who have been exposed to an abusive relationship A Children often need counseling to help resolve what they ve seen experienced in the home. Without help they may become abusers or victims themselves. With help they recognize the signs and are often the defenders of victims or the crusaders to prevent domestic violence. Q How can I raise emotionally healthy children A Treat both boys and girls equally. Teach them skills that include self-reliance and help them develop good self-esteem. Learning to cook handle money develop talents and how to negotiate relationships are all skills for a successful life. 12 Women of Distinction Debra A. Freed U Veteran Service Organization Executive Director Paralyzed Veterans of America-New England Chapter - PVA-New England Walpole MA nited States Air Force veteran Debra A. Freed s desire to help others led her to find her true calling. She credits Paralyzed Veterans of America with saving her life. Paralyzed Veterans of America New England Chapter saved me from severe depression and gave me a way to begin to give back all that I had been given she said. Never ever think that because your life changed in a blink of an eye that you may have gone from able-bodied to an amputee paraplegic or even a quadriplegic that your life is over. It may just be beginning Debra holds a degree in Library Science from Southern Connecticut University and a Masters degree in Administration with a concentration in Health from the Central Michigan Extended Learning Program. She is married to her partner Joy Lawrence. The couple is celebrating 19 years since their commitment ceremony and 12 years of legal marriage in June 2016. Joy is a PhD in Environmental Chemistry and works as a Research Associate for the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. They have two cats JazzPurr Mazda and Bellatrix Lastrrange referred to lovingly as Jazz and Bella. In her spare time Debra enjoys traveling and photography. She is also an active member of the PVA Association of Executive Directors (ACED) Association of Chapter Gov t Relations Directors (ACGRD) Massachusetts Veterans Affairs Committee and the Massachusetts Women Veterans Steering Committee. In 1981 Debra wanted more out of life than working in a factory and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After undergoing training to become a jet engine mechanic Debra served in Loring Maine then headed to a 30-month assignment in Okinawa Japan. It was there in November 1982 that she suffered a spinal fracture from an accidental fall. Just nine months later in 1983 she suffered a second fall that required surgery. In 1985 following two back surgeries Debra left the Air Force with an Honorable discharge to return to factory work. Following a third back surgery she found physical labor too demanding for her back. In 2001 she found herself unemployed. Depression became a major problem. But her life changed in 2004 when she came across a poster for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. With her back injury requiring her to be in a wheelchair for distances and sports Debra applied for membership with Paralyzed Veterans of America in hopes of attending the Games. The choice took her down a career path she never knew she wanted. Through hard work and determination Debra moved up the ranks. She started as a volunteer in 2004 before being named the Chapter s Government Relations Director in April 2005. She also filled in as the Executive Director since 2008 and officially took over the position in 2012. Though she is not the first female veteran to be Executive Director of a Chapter she is the first for the New England Chapter. In her role Debra oversees day-to-day operations as well as promotes the Chapter s programs and services. In 2010 she helped develop a transportation program from the ground up and has provided over 1600 rides for veterans in need. Debra has achieved her original goal as well. She attended the National Veterans Wheelchair Games ten times in the past 12 years having competed in events including archery air guns bowling field events and hand cycling. The legacy I would like to leave to the world is that it is the little things that truly make a difference in someone s life Debra said. Be patient listen learn and never be too quick to judge others. 13 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A It was created by WWII SCI D veterans who didn t want to wait around to die. The Chapter has been around for 68 years. Until science has a cure for spinal cord injuries or diseases such as MS or ALS we will be relevant. Q Why do you say PVA-New England saved your life in 2004 A Because it did. I was unemployed and depression was becoming a serious problem. Joining the organization led to where I am today a returning contributing member of society. Q What made you join the military A Trying to run away from problems in my personal life but I learned to face them and become a better person. I joined later than most 23 best decision I ever made Q How hard has it been to fit into a male dominated society A Women have been fighting alongside men since time began. Women make up 15 percent of today s military. It is no longer a male dominated society. Q Because you suffer a spinal cord injury what gets you out of bed in the morning A The fact that I am assisting my fellow veterans in maintaining their healthcare and fighting for what was promised when we all signed on the dotted line. Q Is it true the military has camaraderie not found elsewhere A Yes I was so glad to have discovered PVA New England and remain very proud of both PVA-New England and PVA National. Q Why does your organization have an Advocacy and Legislative Program A There is a quote from Martin Niemoller First they came for the Socialists . . . then they came for me but there was no one left to speak for me. We cannot leave our advocacy for others. We must advocate for our fellow veterans. Q As a 501(c) 3 how are you funded A We rely mainly on donations from the general public but it is difficult with six states and more than 100 000 other nonprofits competing for the same dollar. Ninety-five percent of direct donations will go to programs and services Q How many programs does your Chapter operate A Our national PVA requires 8 mandatory programs however our best program transportation had to end in 2015 because of a lack of money. 14 Women of Distinction Denise Long Wells Real Estate and Healthcare Owner and Broker in Charge - First Carolina Real Estate Group LLC Co-Founder and Vice President - Fairway Home Care of South Carolina Sumter SC I n 2004 Denise Long Wells and her husband Derrick Wells were inspired by a close friend to start a home care business after they saw how successful it could be. What finally made them serious about it was when Derrick s uncle and father were in need of home health care services. This was the catalyst for the birth of Fairway Home Care of South Carolina in 2006. Fairway Home Care provides personal care and companion services to clients in the comfort of their home. We like to think of it as an alternative to being in a nursing home. Denise and Derrick have also been real estate investors since 1997. After successfully starting their home care business and having additional time on their hands Denise decided to take the necessary real estate courses and exams to become a licensed broker. This along with her passion for real estate investing allowed her to open First Carolina Real Estate and help others buy and sell real estate for investment and home ownership. I enjoy meeting new people viewing homes and helping others make their first (or tenth) investment. For both companies Denise designates all day-to-day tasks to very smart and capable individuals which allows her to focus on strategic planning and future growth. Though I m looking toward the next steps for our businesses I make myself easily accessible to my staff and clients. It s important that I stay in tune with their needs. I have a passion for what I do treating others the way I want to be treated and being flexible enough to change and grow with demands. 15 Women of Distinction Derrick inspires Denise in everything she does. He is one of my biggest supporters and is usually the source of many great ideas we ve pursued. Derrick is a great thinker and his wheels are always turning. He can come up with an idea or thought for something and I am the executor . We make a great team Denise is very involved in her community as a member of the Sumter Board of Realtors Sumter YMCA Board of Directors and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. (a public service organization). She also holds a 4th degree black belt in Japanese and Korean karate. Reaching that level takes both outer and inner strength. Q&A Q What is your favorite quote A I actually have a few favorite quotes Progress always involves risks. You can t steal second base and keep your foot on first. Frederick B. Wilcox Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe. Unknown Why should men have all of the fun Denise L. Wells Q What is your favorite book A The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes is my go to book. I often refer to it for great reminders and as a refresher. Q How did you become successful A I believe that it s important to be humble. I give God all of the glory for my success. I acknowledge Him daily and know that everything I have is because He allowed me to have it. I like to believe that each decision I make is guided with His blessing. With that belief I can make decisions with confidence. Q What is your biggest fear A Facing the loss of my parents is my biggest fear. I m blessed to still have them both in my life and pray that they have many many more years with us. Q Did you know what you wanted to be early in life A I thought I did. In high school I thought I wanted to be a certified public accountant (CPA). In college I thought I wanted to be a pharmaceutical marketing representative. Fortunately for me what I want to be changes depending on where I am in life and I go for it Q What do you enjoy about owning your own businesses A I enjoy the financial freedom and flexibility it has afforded my family. Q Does being a business owner make juggling work and family difficult A It can be challenging but the key is having a great partner spouse. When the two of you are on the same path workrelated conversations can be enjoyable when you re setting new goals and aspirations. It s also important to devote time for just family. Our two young daughters Nicole (10) and Simone (7) are gymnasts. Their training schedules and competitions throw more into the mix but I wouldn t have it any other way. I honestly believe that being business owners allows us to easily support them in this sport financially and travel with them to competitions and camps. Q If you could do something differently what would it be A If I could do anything differently I believe I would ve taken steps to become an entrepreneur a lot sooner. I believe that having the desire and will to reach inside for that second wind has helped me in being a successful business owner. Denise makes it a personal goal to be a positive person. I am a happy go lucky person who loves to laugh. I believe that being a positive person is important in the business world as it is much easier accomplishing things that involve the help of others when they like you. Always try to treat people right If you follow this way of life you ll be at peace. As an entrepreneur you re involved with making decisions daily. Some affect your employees some may affect your family and friends and some affect other members of your community. People may not always like or agree with decisions you make but it certainly feels better when they can at least say it was fair. Her ultimate goal is to create a lasting brand that is associated with quality and wholesomeness in order to create generational wealth for her family and other families within her organizations. 16 Women of Distinction Desiree Rios I Fashion Jewelry Design Owner of Gracie Heart Collection LLC Bronx NY n 2012 Desiree Rios started crafting jewelry as a hobby. She gave her designs to her friends and family who were delighted and impressed with her work. With their encouragement less than a year later Desiree started her home-based business The Gracie Heart Collection after obtaining her Bachelor s degree in Business Management from Phoenix University. Because I had a business degree I decided to create an LLC and website to showcase my jewelry rather than the other formats used by many to sell similar products she said. I love accessories and believe they brighten a person s wardrobe. As this passion has grown I added a men s collection to our brand. I continue to add new products frequently such as sunglasses and scarves. Today Desiree manages all functions of her company including marketing accounting product creations purchasing and budgeting. She credits her superior organizational skills for allowing her to multitask between all these roles. It is a tremendous amount of work however I am working for myself rather than someone else which makes it much more enjoyable she said. Like all business owners Desiree ran into challenges. Her first obstacle when starting her company was choosing the name of the business. Though Desiree had a name in mind the county clerk originally denied it. But that didn t stop Desiree. 17 Women of Distinction I could have changed the name to something the county clerk would have agreed to however I chose to become an LLC with the name I desired and chose she said. Another major challenge for Desiree has been balancing her time between her regular career school personal life and her business. Through self-discipline she managed to obtain her MBA from Phoenix University while working full-time and running the Gracie Heart Collection. Despite the struggles Desiree has no regrets. Q&A Q Where do you see yourself in the 5 years Ten A I want to continue to add new products to the GHC line of products. I have already looked at customized products such as a make-up and perfume line. Particularly since I enjoy raising the bar I am certain within the next few years our products lines will increase. At some point I plan on handing down the business to one of my daughters in order to pursue other business opportunities. Q Do you believe you will have the same motivation in the future A I am constantly learning something new because I have motivation to continue to grow professionally and personally. It feels great when I reach another goal or accomplishment. Each accomplishment gives me the desire to reach higher levels of achievements. Many will make excuses and create roadblock to their own achievements I see them as walls I must prevail over. Q What are some of the areas a person must consider when starting their business A Prior to starting my business I set a business plan for myself to follow and prepare myself for various aspect of the business. I prepared a backup plan for how I would handle things such as who could handle the business when I was having hectic time with work or school. A timeframe for when to add new products in addition to the financial consideration one must consider beforehand. Q What would you tell someone who is considering starting a jewelry accessory business A You need to have a passion for the products you are creating and seller. As a woman I purchased many different pieces of jewelry and enjoy having a huge selection of jewelry to choose for work or leisure. I would also suggest asking him or herself several questions why a person is considering starting a business such as what is the reason for starting a business Are they doing it just for money Do they enjoy this type of business Other factors a person should consider if they believe they could offer something other business do not offer. Starting a business from the ground up can be very intimidating however I would still do it again she said. Being a business owner gives me a great deal of pride in my hard work and using the knowledge I gain from my educational accomplishments. Desiree an avid reader is currently penning several self-help and fiction books. She hopes to publish two books per year. In her spare time Desiree enjoys spending time with her friends and family especially her two daughters. I would like my daughters to be proud of me and accomplishments and never fear raising the bar a little higher Desiree said. My hope is women will learn to live fearlessly and empower each other. If my example empowers my daughters and other women then I will have achieved what I set out to accomplish. 18 Women of Distinction Dr. Jo Anne White I Business and Life and Spiritual Coaching Dr Jo Anne White Consulting Services LLC Chief Executivee Officer and Founder Power Your Life Network Executive Producer Host of Power Your Life TV and Radio Shows Haddonfield NJ nternational bestselling and award winning author and speaker Dr. Jo Anne White has 20 plus years of experience helping others reach their full potential. Eventually her career shifted and she was certified as a professional coach trainer and image and branding specialist. Jo Anne also became a Therapeutic Energy Healer and studied alternative modalities to enhance her skills and what she could offer to her clients. A dancing injury promoted me to seek out alternative modalities for my personal healing and led me on a path of exploration to find answers to help me she said. I then trained in several alternative eastern and western medicine techniques and incorporated them into my spiritual and life coaching practice to effectively help others. My coaching expanded into business coaching working with business owners and entrepreneurs. As if running multiple companies wasn t enough Jo Anne has authored and co-authored many books for women men and businesses as resources for personal professional and spiritual growth leadership success and empowerment. They include Amazon Bestseller Bully Free Mastering the Art of Success JOY The Self Architect and more. Keys to Conscious Business Growth and More Heaven Because Every Child Is Special will be published in 2016. There were challenges on Jo Anne s path to success but through it all perseverance resilience and optimism have kept her moving forward. She began her career teaching special education. Throughout the years she allowed life experiences to guide her into developing her other passions writing organizing speaking coaching and helping people find their path in life and business. Today Jo Anne is the CEO and Founder of the Power Your Life Network a broadcasting network and the Power U Online University both aimed at helping individuals families businesses and professionals. She s also the Executive Director and Host of the popular Power Your Life TV & Radio Shows and CEO President of Dr. Jo Anne White Consulting Services. We have the capacity to manifest the inner gifts and talents within us to fulfill our own desires and pressing goals and also help others and make a difference in their lives Jo Anne said. On my Power Your Life TV and Radio Shows I love to present and showcase people and organizations that are changing lives making a real difference in the world honoring lives and offering solutions innovation education and novelty. Her businesses have expanded in concert with Jo Anne s personal evolution. Jo Anne dreamed of dedicating her life to service since she was a young woman. She was just 17 years old when she first became inspired to pursue a career in education when she met a young girl with special needs while working at a camp program. She went on to receive a Bachelors of Science degree in Education and Special Education from Buffalo State University in New York. Jo Anne continued her education earning a Masters and Doctorate from Temple University in Pennsylvania where she later taught as an adjunct professor for over 10 years. Initially when launching my coaching and training company I didn t plan as thoroughly as necessary she said. It made the first six months in my own business more challenging. It was a great lesson. Not everything will go according to plan I had to learn accept that and be open to it. For me it s always keeping my mind and heart on the goal. 19 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is one function of your work with entrepreneurs A I m a strong proponent of finding and helping entrepreneurs leaders and businesses uncover and highlight their uniqueness. In a world where there are so many people in each field and profession as well as savvy consumers and prospective clients it s imperative to know and broadcast what make you unique and special. Not only must you convey the message(s) in many different formats you have to live it. Q Why do you utilize eastern and western techniques in your Coaching A I believe that whether it is work or life or relationship matters a holistic approach with sound effective strategies and techniques is important. We function on all levels simultaneously and consciously or unconsciously and they come into play in all that we do. An entrepreneur that understands her strengths and limitations can connect and align with others with complimentary attributes for more success. Q What do you think is an important business requirement for CEO s and Leaders A They have to understand the emotional and mental mindset of their clients and customers. This isn t fixed and can constantly change based on many factors. It s really important to have the current pulse on this and make adjustments to outreach strategies when necessary. Q Why do you think self-awareness is an important tool for leaders and entrepreneurs and everyone to practice A Knowing your communication style is paramount in how you relate to others. Recognizing the impact you have on employees or the public is truly beneficial. I believe that s all part of self-awareness or self-knowledge that we can capitalize on learn from and grow our businesses our teams and ourselves. Q You speak a lot about energy and intentionality in moving ahead in life career and business can you elaborate A I am an Energy Master Teacher so I understand and teach about the power that energy and vibration wield and how it operates in our lives. Often we unknowingly sabotage ourselves by the messages we send out to others and what we communicate to our inner minds. It s important to be aware of our thoughts and feelings so they don t override what we truly desire by their frequency and insistence. Q What is a key philosophy that you live by that helps you in all areas of your life A I believe we re here to serve one another our world our community and each one of us attends to that differently. It s important not to judge another s calling if not harmful and to value and respect differences. We re also here to grow and stretch ourselves beyond what we think possible. My passion is helping individuals families and businesses move past any limitations often self-imposed to succeed and feel accomplished and at ease in their lives choices careers businesses and their relationships. 20 Women of Distinction La Donna McWhorter Beauty Industry Esthetics Owner of SPA LaDonna a Medical Day Spa and Owner and Esthetics Instructor for LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics Decatur AL N ot everyone is so lucky to wake up everyday and enjoy going to work. La Donna McWhorter knows first hand. Prior to launching her successful esthetics career La Donna was unfulfilled in her job. She worked in sales and marketing for more than 20 years having majored in Management and Marketing at University of North Alabama. In 2003 La Donna decided it was time to makeover her career. She always had an interest in the beauty and skin care industry and went back to school to receive a degree in Esthetics from Heidi Phillips School of Esthetics in Huntsville Alabama. She enjoyed her schooling so much that La Donna continued on to earn a Masters and Esthetics Instructors degree. Today La Donna is the owner of SPA LaDonna and the owner and esthetics instructor at LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics. She is recognized as an experienced and knowledgeable skin care specialist actively practicing and teaching clinical skin care. She is dedicated to providing her clients and students with education innovation and result oriented treatments. Certified in microdermabrasion chemical peels bridal fashion and camouflage makeup her education encompasses thousands of hours of training. Having found my true love in a career I am extremely happy in my business and my career she said. Even my husband said I wish you had done this years before. because he could see my happiness. I now tell all my students find a career you love. Life is truly too short to have to get up and force yourself to go and stay at a job where you are miserable. La Donna is constantly giving back to the community. Her contributions include speaking engagements to women s groups such as The Complete Woman at Parkway Medical Center located in Decatur Alabama. She regularly donate services for fundraisers to help schools and local organizations including Decatur Animal Services and the Morgan County Animal Shelter the Carnegie Visual Art Center Decatur General Hospital Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Alabama. I love to educate people and encourage them she said. I love to teach love to help people get started with their careers love business but also believe you need a balance of work and play. All work and no play make you a dull girl. In her spare time La Donna enjoys horseback riding and gardening. She is a compassionate animal lover. She owns five dogs a cat and a huge koi fishpond. La Donna is also a dedicated wife mother and grandmother to three beloved children. I hope my legacy will be that I encouraged others she said. No man is an island. I do believe if we have gifts and talents we should use them to help others. Welcome learning every day. Knowledge is power to do what you want to do. Dream the dream make it happen. 21 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is Esthetics A Esthetics is the application of various treatments to the skin to maintain its health and vitality. Estheticians are trained in skin wellness helping their clients balance oil and moisture content and achieve a healthy youthful complexion. Facial treatments are provided for all skin types and conditions to include anti-aging oily and dry skin acne sensitive and rosacea. Q What s the difference between dermatology cosmetology and esthetics A Dermatology is a branch of the medical profession practiced by licensed physicians who specialize in disorders of the skin. Esthetic practice specifically excludes diagnosis prescription or any other service procedure or therapy that requires a medical license. Cosmetology is the study of beauty treatments including nail care hair care and styling makeup application skin care and more. Q What careers are available to Estheticians A Careers for Estheticians include Salon or Day Spa Esthetician Medical Aesthetician Makeup Artistry and Camouflage Therapy Manufacturer s Representative Salesperson or Sales Manager Cosmetic Buyer Esthetics Writer or Beauty Editor Travel Industry Educator Skin Care Company Owner Product Development Mobile Esthetician State Licensing Inspector or Examiner or State Board Member. Q What techniques and products are used in Esthetics A Techniques used by estheticians include facial steaming wrapping exfoliation waxing pore cleansing extraction and chemical peels. Creams lotions wraps clay or gel masks and salt scrubs are used. Machines may also be used to help deliver high-tech services. Q What do you learn in LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics School A LEARN features three areas of instruction Theory Practical and Clinical work including basic advanced and medical esthetics training. Q What is the curriculum for LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics School A LEARN provides the fundamentals of esthetics education needed to pass your Alabama State Board Exams and obtain your license. Q How many hours are required to graduate and complete the course offered by LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics School A The curriculum for students enrolled in LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics course is 1000 hours. Q What are the qualifications required for a student to attend LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics A Student must be at least eighteen years old as documented by birth certificate school records drivers license or insurance policy at least five years old to qualify for LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics. Q How do you reserve your space in LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics A An application must be on file and a 50 application fee is required by LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics to enroll. Q Is there any Tuition Financing or government funding available for LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics A Currently LEARN School of Esthetics and Medical Esthetics is accepting VA applications and funding plus we offer Tuition Financing. 22 Women of Distinction Lori Odegard Energy Oil & Gas Senior Business Advisor Integrated Informatics Inc. Calgary Alberta Canada L ori Odegard never shied away from a challenge. With more than 30 years experience working in the oil energy and gas industry she learned early on that the key to success was to deliver on her responsibilities and work as part of a team. I feel there are always opportunities to improve the way I perform my job and how I deliver what is expected she said. If you don t know ask. It s ok not to know everything and if you don t ask you won t learn. In 1981 Lori got her start in the oil and gas industry. During high school she dreamed of attending college to study Fashion and Design but the design courses she took in high school were not accepted as equivalent at the college she wanted to attend. I was disappointed and upset so I decided I would work for a bit and then make a decision on what I wanted to take at college said Lori. I started working with a company in downtown Calgary in their geology department as a clerk. A career in Geology was not something that I had considered but during this role a new interest and challenge was ignited. Today Lori is a Senior Business Advisor at Integrated Informatics Inc. in Calgary Alberta Canada. The position is a new challenge for Lori. She previously worked for a large oil and gas company for more than two decades. Integrated Informatics is a smaller vibrant dynamic company where Lori can see the impacts of what I do each day. I take pleasure in mentoring and helping people make a difference said Lori who holds a Geological Certification from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. My new role is managing the Western Operations and growing our client base. Managing people has always been rewarding to me. I love to see people excel move forward make an impact. Their success means that I am succeeding. Growing a new client base is a new challenge for me however I am a people person so I enjoy talking and meeting people and creating new networks within the industry. Throughout her career Lori has drawn inspiration from within then nurtured and grown from people that she surround herself with family colleagues friends and mentors. She credits combined team effort for the company s successes and finds fulfillment working with her co-workers to achieve common goals. For Lori it is all about having a work-life balance. 24 Women of Distinction Hard work doesn t mean working long hours she said. Prioritize and stick to a schedule. When my oldest daughter was young I was working in a role where I thought I had to literally do everything. When I moved on from that role no one person wanted to take on the same responsibilities that I was delivering so the role was divided between 3 people. It was a wake-up call to me. You need to ensure that you deliver your responsibilities what is expected of you but must also make time for yourself and your family. Outside of the office Lori enjoys spending time with her husband of 33 years and two daughters ages 18 and 21. She also makes time to give back to her community. Lori was the president of the Sarnia Riding Club a family recreational facility located on the shores of Lake Huron in Sarnia Ontario. Lori volunteers when time permits by cooking and serving meals at her local food bank. Q&A Q. What is your greatest professional strength A Maximizing performance and transforming processes to achieve superior productivity and business results. Q. Who is Integrated Informatics Inc. A. Integrated Informatics Inc. is a leading consultancy for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) implementation and development. The firm offers innovative solutions to resolve issues in the realms of spatial data management workflow automation and decision support within the oil and gas sector utilities and municipalities. The team at Integrated holds in-depth experience in multiple technologies and strong passion for GIS. The firm works with clients to choose design develop and implement the most effective technology stack for automated analyses data management and decision support. Q. Change management how is this relevant in today s technological world A. Bridging the gap between business needs and technology solutions is one area that Integrated Informatics Inc. shines. We transfer knowledge to allow our clients to become selfsufficient. It s when companies realize that data management isn t clerical it s critical that the benefits of what we deliver are achieved. Q. What sets Integrated Informatics Inc. apart from its competitors A. We are objective in our approach and we concentrate on meeting and exceeding expectations for quality usability and maintainability in all of our products and solutions. Our work environment promotes ideas and innovation through professional development continued training industry involvement and research and development. We take the time to understand the needs of our clients by providing unique and scalable solutions to become more effective and efficient. Q. Does Integrated Informatics Inc. only provide products and services in Canada A. Besides Calgary Alberta Canada we also have offices in St. John s Newfoundland Canada and Houston Texas. We have international clients and our products and solutions are used around the globe. We are a small company making a big impact I am a just an ordinary woman Lori said humbly. I work hard love hard and try to be a good person. If I treat people with respect and dignity then I hope to be treated the same. If I love then I will be loved. What more can you ask for in life responsibilities what is expected of you but must also make time for yourself and your family. 25 Women of Distinction NeYane S. Daniel I don t recall a time when I didn t think about it. By the time she was 12-years-old NeYane knew that design was the direction she wanted to go in so she enrolled in Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids MI after high school. She initially studied interior design before transitioning into industrial design. In her second to last year of design school (December 2014) NeYane obtained her first design internship which was quickly followed by three more design internships opportunities. She is now poised to graduate on May 7 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design. I am absolutely elated Around this time many college students find themselves looking for work in their field of study but NeYane is already working as a Digital Product Designer for Spectrum Health s Digital User Experience (DUX) team with other designers on graphic user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designs. She also works closely with a lot of analysts information architects and developers to create and maintain products that assist people in taking control of their own health. This team and design is quite new to the company so it s a very exciting time and opportunity to help lay the groundwork. And from the perspective of an industrial designer I also find it quite interesting. Delving this deep into technology or healthcare wasn t really something on my radar when I began studying industrial design but a broad variety of work is most stimulating to me and provides a great opportunity to explore. However NeYane admits that while a career in industrial design can be amazing it can also be challenging and competitive. A Industrial Design - Digital Healthcare Innovation and Products Digital Product Designer - Spectrum Health Grand Rapids MI s a child NeYane S. Daniel constantly thought about what she wanted to be when she grew up. That doesn t mean you can t do it. Let the challenge and competition excite you and see them as an opportunity. Regardless of the challenges that will arise take chances and try. See those who some would consider competition as fellow designers with the mission to improve things. Let them inspire you and also be inspired by you and your work. If this is something that you truly want to do and you re passionate about learning working really hard and improving the world around us I promise you that this industry is so very rewarding and exciting. Her mother has been her greatest professional inspiration and is the reason why NeYane started considering her career path at a young age and has such a strong work ethic and passion for what she does. I remember being absolutely fascinated by her work ethic and her ability to flawlessly raise me on her own while having a career. The woman is basically a super human I always admired her not just for having multiple degrees but more so that she really dedicated herself to fully understanding what it was that she wanted to do and how to utilize the skills she gained while earning those degrees. No matter how many degrees you earn that s what s most important. On top of that she always told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do and be whoever I wanted to be. She truly believed that so I believed it for myself as well. I am who I am as a woman and a designer because of her. NeYane believes that her purpose is to make some kind of really powerful change and leave the world better for others than it was when she was in it. Even if those changes are subtle I want to be known for working hard to make positive and powerful changes through design or anything else I do. I encourage you to figure out what becoming whatever you want to become can do for you and what kind of impact you can and want to have on that industry as well. 26 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What exactly is industrial design A I view design (as a whole) as critical thinking and problem solving while industrial design is the art of applying that process to various industries. The output solution to whatever the problem is to begin with may be a physical product digital product system or new process. The opportunity to invent something new may arise or be necessary or the need to design an improvement to something that already exists to solve a problem may be the answer. Industrial designers focus heavily on usability functionality and effective aesthetics. We blend engineering manufacturing material knowledge and smart processes to design cohesive solutions to both everyday and larger problems. Q Why do you believe that a career in industrial design is right for you A I recognized a long time ago that I look at things a bit differently breaking them down and trying to figure out how to improve upon and change them for the better. Critical thinking and problem solving comes natural to me. Blending creativity with technicality and logic is really amazing to work toward and see. I also have a natural and strong desire to be able to explore a broad range of projects. I could not have been more excited to learn that there was a degree for all of that and then some Q What are you working on currently that most excites you A I m extremely excited about my thesis project at school. I started on it in August 2015 and will wrap it up at the end of April 2016. I chose to focus on redesigning airport security to make it a more enjoyable and efficient experience for travelers. It has been a really fascinating challenge. I ve had the opportunity to work closely with a local airport (Gerald R. Ford) and the TSA. This is by far my most challenging project but that s what makes it so exciting I m really eager to move forward and design a really unique solution. Q Did you consider designing in the healthcare industry prior to starting your current job What is it like A Honestly I did not but it wasn t something that I had specifically ruled out either. Products and the need for industrial design are all around us so I was more than happy to accept the opportunity to design in the healthcare industry. I m a very empathetic person and this is an industry that most definitely requires empathy. I m enjoying it. Q What other industries would you like to design for next and what changes would you like to see in the design industry A All of them I would honestly love to design in various areas and the sky is the limit. My thesis project (Redesigning Airport Security) has really influenced what I would like to do next as well. It s inspired me to continue to take on bigger issues that need problem solving and design but are kind of left untouched. People either don t want to tackle them or figure someone else of higher power will just take care of it. I think that we (humans in general) are capable of more than we think we are sometimes and design thinkers hold the keys to understanding how to solve giant problems. So I want to do more of that approaching social issues with design thinking. As far as changes I would like to see in the design industry go I would love to see more diversity in design and technology. I believe that it is very necessary and (unfortunately) greatly lacking at this point. I m more than happy to advocate for it and very hopeful that this will change for the better. When I was younger I read a magazine article about Crystal Windham the first black Director of Design for General Motors. Not only was I fascinated about what she was doing as a designer but I remember being very inspired by seeing a black woman doing such wonderful things in the design world. I remember thinking I can do that too. I really hope that I can do the same for an aspiring designer or anyone aspiring to be something great. 27 Women of Distinction Paula Maier Healthcare Cooking Fitness and Health Tips Founder and Blogger Writer - PaulasHealthyLiving.com Cincinnati OH P It s not a job when it s your passion. aula Maier loves helping people find a healthier way to cook to live a healthier life. Being a 47-year-old mother of three I understand that it can be difficult to make healthy meals exercise and carve out time for yourself while constantly doing this juggling act called life. She wants to be a role model to her children friends and strangers. Cooking fitness and healthy living are doable for everyone if you remain open to the opportunity. It s all about MODERATION in our food choices exercise and life in general. Coming from a restaurant family her parents inspired Paula s lifestyle and career. Food was community to us. As a family we all cooked and ate together. My parents loved each other and all of my siblings and were amazing role models with their love and sense of responsibility to their employees and the community. Paula would like for people to be empowered by knowing that healthy living can be attained by anyone no matter their age weight or perceived ability. I really enjoy writing and helping people feel their best as they age. When Paula graduated from college she worked in management for her family s business Frisch s Big Boy Restaurant. Soon after that she got married and began fundraising for some of the nonprofit organizations in her community. Over those five years I met some dynamic volunteers and felt I was doing a real service to my community. After the birth of her first child Paula reduced her volunteering to focus on raising her daughter. Being a parent is the most important job I have. I now have three very smart and incredible children. They challenge me and teach me things about myself every day. Blogging about healthy living is her passion but as Paula learned from her mother parenting is her job. As it turns out my middle child is walking in my footsteps on making healthy cooking eating and exercise a priority. I hope to have him blogging alongside me very soon. Paula started Paula s Healthy Living (PaulasHealthyLiving. com) to share her passion for staying fit eating healthy and scheduling rest and relaxation time. It s not black and white. Oftentimes baby steps can change a long-standing unhealthy habit such as drinking soda or inconsistent exercise in a short period of time. Make the effort and reap the rewards of more energy preventive health benefits and better focus. As a blogger Paula hopes to empower people to change negative habits with healthier ones and stick with them. And as a mother she would like for her children to make a positive impact on the community and world. 28 Women of Distinction Q&A Q I don t have the time to eat healthy and exercise. A You won t have the time to be sick due to inactivity or obesity either Q I ate well all week don t I deserve a weekend off to eat what I want A Eating whole flavorful foods herbs and spices isn t a penalty it s a lifestyle change. Learn how to enjoy flavor without enormous amounts of salt and fat. Q If I work out I ll look like a man A Your female hormones won t support you looking like a man. Working out will give you tone strength and confidence. Q I m intimidated by cooking what if my food tastes horrible A Cooking is a process and a learning experience. Follow the directions in a recipe. Over time you can experiment with spices and ingredients that you most enjoy and make your cooking reflect your personality more and more. Q My family has a history of heart disease is there any way to avoid the fate of those who came before me A Working in conjunction with your doctor you can utilize a nutritionist and trainer to help prevent your risks. Eating whole unprocessed foods is a good start. It reduces salt and fat and allows nutrients and flavor to be the star vs. sugar and calories. Q My kids hate vegetables it s just not worth the fight. A It can be exasperating but your family looks to you for guidance as a role model. Cook and eat vegetables and healthy foods. Get them involved in the shopping and cooking of new foods. Make it fun for everyone Q Does it matter if I eat in front of the TV A Mindful eating creating a moment involving your meals (setting a table turning off the computer and TV eating with silverware and plates vs. plasticware ) leaves you feeling more satisfied and satiated after eating. These changes can help you stay true to your weight and health goals. Q Aren t I too old to start weight lifting Others would laugh at me. A Engaging in weight-bearing exercises helps your balance flexibility and functionality as you age. It s never too late. Q I love salt and French fries. Life is meant to be lived isn t it A PaulasHealthyLiving.com encourages MODERATION As you reduce your salt intake you will lose the taste for salt at the levels that you find in processed and restaurant foods. In essence you ll get your taste buds back Q I don t feel motivated to work out. Maybe it s just not for me. A There are many different types of classes. Maybe something outside of your comfort zone will be engaging to you. Try working out with friends or hire a trainer to give you a sense of accountability about showing up literally and figuratively 29 Women of Distinction W hat Andrea Harker has learned most about working in the car business over the past 20 years whether it was selling them repairing them or repossessing them is that you have to be honest with clients and with yourself. If a client doesn t respect or trust her than she really has nothing to stand on especially in her line of work. Founding AB Harker & Associates in January 2014 as Owner and Operator Andrea hopes that her business is seen differently from all the other skip tracing and repossession agencies out there. Andrea Harker Automotive Skip Tracing Recovery Owner Operator AB Harker & Associates Orlando FL I want people to say that A B Harker & Associates will work an account until there is nothing else to work it on she said. I am honest sometimes to a fault and I love the work. A B Harker & Associates is a collection agency that locates debtors and obtains payments or collateral for their clients. Located in Orlando Florida Andrea learned much of what she knows about the repossession business by her best friend her husband. It can be a tricky and sometimes dangerous business but Andrea gets a great amount of support both at work and at home. Getting into the automotive business part-time in 1996 after a used car dealership opened up across the street from her house Andrea was also raising four children at home. The new owners of the dealership were new to the business and didn t know the first thing about the car buying or selling process. Needless to say Andrea had her work cut out for her. But together they learned how to run a very lucrative business. It was there that she discovered the repossession aspect side of the business as well. By 2005 Andrea moved on to another company Mid Florida State Investigations where she earned the opportunity to work on delinquent accounts moving from a front desk clerk position to manager within just a few months. She was immediately hooked. This company taught me how to use skip tracing tools and very creative techniques to better myself in the search for people Andrea explained. The owner is one of most talented people I ve ever met when it comes to locating people. I owe him for teaching me a lot of what I know today. Married since 2006 Andrea her husband Bill have a combined total of five children Christina Eugene Bobby (now deceased) Tiffany and Joseph and seven grandchildren. Christina works with Andrea at A B Harker & Associates and is every bit as devoted as her mom is to the business. Joseph will be joining the family business once his US Army contract is complete in 2017. Andrea likes to spend down time fishing camping boating or swimming usually with most of her family in toe. She also participates in charity work helping victims of a homicide organization. 30 Women of Distinction Ashli Gibson Restaurant Hospitality Culinary Arts Sous Chef at P.J. Clarke s New York NY I f Chef Ashli Gibson s parents never bought a set it and forget it rotisserie appliance she may not be a Sous Chef at a top New York City restaurant today. It all began with a frightening culinary experience in 2002 that inspired her to prepare homemade meals for her family. I was quite skeptical and rather nervous that something would go wrong with the rotisserie but my mom assured me nothing would she recalled. After about 20 minutes of the rotisserie being on the smoke alarm started going off I ran into the kitchen to find the entire thing up in flames. It was at that moment that I decided there had to be a better way to get a home cooked meal without my very hardworking parents having to come home and cook for us. The experience sparked a lifelong dedication to her craft. Ashli began watching her parents as they cooked the Food Network became her everything. As a young woman you could often find her in the library reading cookbooks or any book about cooking. After high school Ashli went on to earn her Bachelor s degree in Culinary Arts from New England Culinary Institute in 2011. Today Ashli is one of the Sous Chefs at P.J. Clarke s in New York City. Her role is to help manage the back of the house staff that includes prep cooks line cooks dishwashers and porters. She helps create the daily specials as well as oversees inventory of products and the creation of prep lists. Another important part of the position Ashli is charged with expediting service which means that she is in control of the tickets and the flow of service making sure everything goes out plated properly on a clean plate to the correct tables and in a timely fashion. I would say the most crucial detail to learn and accept early on is that this is your life she said. We are in one of the most over glamorized and underappreciated industries. However with that being said it is also probably one of the most rewarding things when the server comes back and gives you an amazing comment from one of your guest. As a woman in the industry Ashli faced discrimination and has even had people go as far as sabotaging her work. She never gave up on herself. Taking her career a step further she recently started her own catering company Edible Alchemy Catering. For women just starting in the restaurant industry Ashli wants them to know that truly anything is possible. She urges women to overcome their self-doubt and negativity from others to achieve their goals. Throughout everything faith is always the key factor according to Ashli. I d like to make a difference and help get more city restaurants doing what more country restaurants do like composting and having your own garden she said I want to help people to see food as more than just something they have to consume to survive. I want them to see food as fun a little educational but mostly as a form of edible art. 31 Women of Distinction Bernadine Otto T Health and Wellness Founder Chief Executive Officer Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach Certified EFT Practitioner - Bernadine s The Body Shrink The Tapping Method For Weight Loss and Cravings Cincinnati OH hrough her work as Founder and CEO of Bernadine s The Body Shrink Bernadine Otto is dedicated to helping women reach their weight and health goals with her innovative methods. Following her family s sudden move to the United States from South Africa several years ago Bernadine fell upon some tough times in her personal life. She put on a considerable amount of weight while dealing with depression and the passing of her father from cancer until an episode of Dr. Phil and a cancer scare of her own inspired her to turn her life around. After graduating from The Institute of Transformational Nutrition as a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach in January 2014 Bernadine started her own business Bernadine s The Body Shrink and has been aiding women in the transformation of their own lives ever since. Bernadine created two programs called The 6 Week Summer Shrink Program which she will be publishing in a book and The 3 Week Flat Tummy Method. She has also created a tapping for weight loss and cravings method and participates in an online Transformational Health and Wellness Summit where 18 health coaches reveal tips and exclusive tools to help create lasting change to health. I have a passion for helping women. I like to see them become confident in themselves again so that they can be seen heard and matter. In 2015 Bernadine graduated from The International Metaphysical University as an Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner Level 1 and 2. As founder and CEO of her business Bernadine basically oversees all aspects of her business including the creation of content blog posts and social media. She is also responsible for marketing and does one on one coaching sessions with clients as a wellness coach. I am a fellow woman who faces the same challenges that many go through daily. I m not set apart and I am also faced with food cravings and the daily challenges of making healthy choices. I never suggest a quick fix to anything. I love and believe in the phrase Eat better not less. I believe that when we heal our inner selves we will start healing our outer selves. In her free time Bernadine enjoys spending time with her family reading drawing and painting. She also volunteers at Matthew 25 Ministries which is an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization headquartered in Cincinnati OH and participates in an annual Christmas Walk in her community where she guides others to make healthy choices. Weight loss is not about a diet it s a lifestyle. I want my legacy to show that women were inspired to push forward and not give up. Tell your story as we all have stories to share and people out there want to hear your story. Believe in yourself and your product and be passionate in what you do. Also most importantly never give up. You are worth it. 32 Women of Distinction Beverly A. Drinkard Healthcare Marriage and Family Therapist Orange County Health Care Agency Anaheim CA B everly A. Drinkard helps others change their life. Her passion for seeing others find their own way in life led to pursue a career in the mental health industry. She has worked in Human Services since 1998. She got her start in 2003 working as a Social Worker at Orange County Social Services in California. Today Beverly holds a Master s degree In Marriage and Family Therapist and Child Play and is a Marriage and Family Therapist at the Orange County Health Care Agency. In her role Beverly helps clients meet their therapeutic goals through psychosocial assessment and individual and group therapy. She also links them to community resources and assists clients with being stable on their medications. I am so grateful that I was able to meet these challenges with the grace of God she said. The best advice I can give anyone is not to give up on yourself because others will however stay focus on your goals and each day have a moment of quite time at least 30 minutes with your higher power whatever that maybe. Beverly herself has lost 125 pound and has maintained her weight loss for the past three years. I have supported others with their weight lost journey. When she does find time to take a moment to herself Beverly enjoys riding her bike working out and spending time with her three sons and four beautiful grandchildren. What has kept me in this career is my love for wanting to see others change their life and be all that God has made them to be she said. I love when they embrace all of their fears and mistrust in the world around them. On a personal note I have family members who suffer from mental illness While working 17 years in Human Services in Orange County Beverly has faced many challenges along the way especially with juggling work life with her other responsibilities. For nine years Beverly worked the graveyard shift while attending school and taking care her family. I would like the reader to know that I am a very loving person who is willing to let go and services others to the best of my ability she said. The legacy that I would like to leave this world is the gift of love for others and service which money cannot buy. 33 Women of Distinction Christine Stoves Vape Shop Owner of Cloud Valley Vapor 2 Tamaqua PA C hristine Stoves is in the business of helping people quit smoking and start vaping. Vaping is inhaling and exhaling of the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or an e-cigarette. Since its invention e-cigarettes have assisted hundreds of thousands of people kick their smoking addiction. Christine was one of those people. In 2014 Christine a longtime smoker went into a vape shop and purchased her first vaping starter kit. Not long after she gave up cigarettes for good and developed a passion for helping others do the same. In 2015 she opened her own vape shop Cloud Valley Vapor 2 in Tamaqua Pennsylvania. Two years ago Christine never dreamed of being a successful business owner. She started out at the bottom a dishwasher at a restaurant. Following high school she was a stay at home mom after working in a deli and movie theatre. When her children started school she took a job as a receptionist at a car dealership when she started vaping instead of smoking. The biggest challenges have been quitting my job as a receptionist to open the shop and finding the right place to put it she said. Motivation and determination is key. Find what motivates you and keep it in front of you at all times. That alone will help keep pushing you to accomplish your goals. When Christine is not working at her shop you can find her with her children. As a family they enjoy geocaching hunting going to the shooting range playing board games and watching movies together. The impact on the wellbeing of others made me want to pursue this venture she said. I ve helped so many of my own friends to quit smoking cigarettes because they can still get the amount of nicotine their body requires without all of the poison that comes with a cigarette. As the owner manager and primary person in the store at all times Christine is responsible for all aspects of her business. Everyday she makes sure that the stock is full the store is clean and the customers are being provided with only the best service. The store sells everything from starter kits up to batteries boxes tanks rdas and chargers. Christine also started her own line of juice the liquid found in the e-cigarette. She blends the juice in house. Her lab features a window allowing customers to view the process. She currently offers more than 200 flavors. I m just your average woman she said. When I retire or leave this world I d like to have big tobacco out of the picture all together. Every smoker everywhere to have either quit completely or moved to vaping because of how much safer it is than smoking. 34 Women of Distinction Darlene J. Harris Abuse Prevention Founder of Speaking From The Heart Ministry Author Editor of And He Restoreth My Soul Rising Sun IN D After completing some professional counseling for myself I asked my therapist if I was well enough to help others. As part of my own therapy she suggested that volunteering with a Sexual Assault Prevention Center would be good. arlene J. Harris s therapist suggested Project S.I.S.T.E.R. (Sisters in Service To End Rape). So for two years Darlene volunteered with Project S.I.S.T.E.R. and as a member of the Center s Speaker s Bureau she began speaking with teen girls at the local YWCA. Darlene serves as the Founder of Speaking From The Heart. She is also the author and editor of And He Restoreth My Soul resource anthology book. She coordinates consulting projects researches topic data and information accuracy and upon an Organization s request a keynote speaker. In addition Darlene manages the website for the And He Restoreth My Soul Project at www.andherestorethmysoulproject.org. More and more women young and old have disclosed their silence to me their pain to me. Thus I have an obligation to continue to share my testimony and develop programs that will help others. Darlene knows that there have been many individuals who and have made an investment in her be it time encouragement monetary or guidance and she wants to make sure that they get a reasonable return on their investment. The only way she knows how to make this happen is to invest herself into the lives and experiences and promotes the well being of other women young and old. I never liked to read and I never thought of myself as leader said Darlene. And so finding herself in the intellectual world researching topics and in the world of leadership is beyond her expectations of her life thus far. She had trouble embracing this aspect of her life but after some reflection and pondering in her heart she said I realized I stepped into my calling. I have been allowed to accomplish so much in these areas of my life and I m always amazed at the opportunities God brings into my life moving me forward. We are always evolving. My last class with the girls was heartwrenching because some of the girls began to disclose their stories of sexual violence. Something in me said it is the parents and women that need support and help. Little did I know this was the beginning of what would be a new found ministry which I still conduct for us to help one another. So in 1995 Speaking From The Heart began to take shape and would eventually become a ministry designed to help women with abuse in their lives and to help them find direction and to move forward in life. The components of the ministry include speaking engagements to groups of varying sizes developing workshops and hosting retreats for women to help understand the after-effects of abuse and to identify the over-whelming effects which have many stuck in their lives. Speaking From The Heart is a ministry dedicated to helping those caught in the crossfire of abuse. The ministry takes every opportunity to educate and encourage healing while fostering growth. 35 Women of Distinction Dr. Pastor Marsha De Borah Tunstall T Motivational Public Speaker Motivational Pastoral Speaker Pastoral Counselor Pastoral Teacher Columbus OH area hrough her work as a Pastoral Motivational Speaker Dr. Pastor De Borah Tunstall has given herself the mission of inspiring others and helping them change their lives for the better. Starting her career as a Pastor Minister in 2001 Pastor De Borah is the Founder and CEO of a 501c3 Care for a Child Mentoring and Family Ministry as well as the CEO and Founder of a separate organization called Women Who Are Empowered and We Empower Other Women which is an online women s empowerment group. In her role as Creator Administrator and CEO of all organizations she creates community and national partnerships public speaking events in various institutions and organizations. Since creating Women Who Are Empowered and We Empower Other Women which has focused on building self-confidence and teaching women self-empowerment to women since 2015 the program has grown from 80 members to over 1 700 members online. She has been teaching women empowerment since 2001. Also Pastor De Borah works in the legal department at the Ohio Crime Victims Justice Center. I love what I do because I m determined to motivate and inspire others. Being able to create positive self images in women in order to help them love themselves will always be enough for me. As a pastor and motivational speaker Pastor De Borah motivates others and facilitates and counsels them as they follow God s path for them in life. Pastor De Borah has also created the prison ministry Changing Hearts Changing Lives Reentry Program and has taught weekly classes within Ohio Correctional Institutions since 2002. She also has taught and facilitated family classes for women children families married couples and individuals. Throughout her career Pastor De Borah s biggest inspiration has been her husband of 32 years James M. Tunstall who has continuously motivated and supported her in all of her endeavors without hesitation or limits for 35 years. She strongly believes that we should never be afraid to tell your truth for it is your truth to tell. Always give without expectations for when we do it comes from our heart. She further believes that to give up is never an option As a public speaker I will always encourage you so that you may be inspired I will always inspire you so that you may be motivated and I will always motivate you so that you may seek and find God s best for your life Regarding her education Pastor De Borah has received a BA in Business and Ethics in 1997 and a PhD in Theology in 2001 both from the American College of Theology. She is currently attending Ohio University obtaining another degree with a major in Sociology and she attends Law school. In her leisure Pastor De Borah enjoys spending time with her husband and family traveling kickboxing reading law books and listening to gospel music and contemporary jazz. She is also a member of the Federal Bar Association California Bar Association Cum Christo of Ohio The National Society of Leadership and Success in Hoboken NJ Sigma Alpha Pi and The National Association of Christian Ministers. I will always be devoted to helping the less fortunate with love empathy and compassion because I too have been less fortunate. 36 Women of Distinction Evelyne Hanein D.D.S. Dentistry Owner Dentist - College Hill Dental Group Easton PA T hrough her work as a Dentist with College Hill Dental Group Evelyne Hanein cares for her patients to the best of her ability by providing them with top quality dental services and a comfortable environment. Evelyne who grew up in England and had originally planned on becoming an artist made her way to the United States in 1990 to attend dental school after receiving advice from a college advisor. After earning the proper credentials and working as an associate for 12 years Evelyne finally became the Owner of College Hill Dental Group in 2007. I enjoy the one on one interactions I get to have with my patients. Seeing the joy and satisfaction that my patients experience is very fulfilling. Many of my patients make me feel as if I m part of their family. In her role of dentist and owner Evelyne provides a full range of general family and cosmetic services. She oversees all of her establishment s daily operations and counts on her long-time staff to do their individual duties in order to keep the business running smoothly while she s engaged with her patients. Regarding her education Evelyne attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry becoming a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1995 and then went on to complete her General Dentistry Residency at Castlepoint VAMC in 1996. In 2015 she received certification in Botox Dermal Fillers. In this field when the going gets tough hang in there and persevere. Have fun and know that you re there for the patients. Also if you don t have anything nice to say then don t say it. Kill them with kindness. Remember we all have our fears and anxieties so be empathetic. Evelyne s greatest professional inspiration has been Dr. Walter Flynn who served as her program director and mentor during her time at Castlepoint VAMC. His continued encouragement and faith in Evelyne served as a confidence builder and inspired her to become the dentist she is today. She also admired his ability to make the work fun. My love and passion of art and creativity I think cross over into my dentistry and define who I am as a dentist. I also feel that treating my patients with gentle compassionate and quality dentistry has been the cornerstone of my practice. In her leisure Evelyne enjoys spending time with her husband traveling and further expressing her creativity through cooking and arts and crafts. She is an active member of the American Dental Association and the Pennsylvania Dental Association and participates in Donated Dental Services. Evelyne is also a board member with The Children s Home of Easton. I want my legacy to show that I was kind caring and always had my patients best interest at heart. 37 Women of Distinction Lorena Rosa CPOA Healthcare Hospice Volunteer Certified Paraoptometric Assistant Office Manager Clinical Investigation Coordinator - Lifetime Eye Care Independence OH T hrough her work as an Office Manager at Lifetime Eye Care Lorena Rosa loves to help patients in any way possible while making sure the business runs smoothly on a daily basis. She is also a Certified Paraoptometric Assistant and a Clinical Investigation Coordinator. After taking an Ophthalmic Technician course in college Lorena developed a passion for the industry. She has been working at Lifetime Eye Care since 1991 beginning as a Optician until taking up the position of Office Manager in 1994. I ve remained in this career because there s so much to learn in this field. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds and I love being able to impact someone s life with it. Helping a child see clearly for the first time or making a woman feel attractive in her glasses -- these things are what make my job so enjoyable. In her role of office manager Lorena has a number of responsibilities including managing the budget and inventory sales and staffing. She picks various pieces of the organization including personnel products and marketing while making sure everyone is working together harmoniously. Also serving as a Clinical Investigation Coordinator for the past few years Lorena does clinical research for a number of companies that are looking to investigate new products or reach new audiences. The opportunity has allowed her to stay on the cutting edge of the industry s technology. Don t be afraid to ask questions if you want to work in this field. As long as you re willing to learn challenge yourself and work hard you will find yourself moving up in any industry quickly. Also always keep an open mind and never judge a book by its cover. Lorena s biggest professional inspiration throughout her life has been her aunt Edna who is her definition of a power woman. Despite finding success working at various government offices throughout her professional career she always made herself available to her family and friends which is something Lorena admires. She is still a pillar in her community to this day. I believe that my purpose in life is to help others which is why I work volunteer and sacrifice. It s so fulfilling for me when I can end each day knowing that I helped someone. In her leisure Lorena enjoys volunteering and spending time with her two grown sons when possible. She has most recently become a certified volunteer at Hospice of the Western Reserve where she works in the Navigation program assisting patients as they transition into full-time care. She is also an Allied Eye Professional and a member of the American Optometric Association. I want to leave a legacy of selflessness. When people remember me I want them to be encouraged to give more of themselves and to know that impacting the world starts with impacting one person. 38 Women of Distinction Michelle Howell Human Services Human Service Advocate and Chief Executive Officer of Even Chance LLC. Detroit MI H uman Service Advocate and CEO of Even Chance LLC Michelle Howell dedicates her professional and personal life to helping those in need. Her faith and compassion have guided her into a life of service. In 2000 Michelle received a spiritual calling to support the needs of others while representing the love of Christ. After that experience she was no longer a loner lacking genuine support. As her faith grew God revealed there are many people who would benefit if someone cared enough to walk alongside them. In her role as an advocate Michelle supports human stability providing self-empowerment initiatives resources guidance motivational speaking and evangelism to all those in need. My greatest professional challenge was being counted out she said. Like so many I was scared which held me in bondage. However I never gave up I persevered. Today Michelle holds a number of esteemed degrees and certifications including a Bachelors degree in Theology from Destiny Christian University. She is currently working toward her Masters in Human Service from the University of Phoenix and is a licensed minister spiritual life coach and ordained chaplain. Her service to the less fortunate does not end with her job. She is active in several local community organizations such as the Wayne County CASA and the Salvation Army. Michelle is also an aspiring author and is currently penning her first book. Michelle has been married for 10 years to her supportive husband Dwayne E. Howell Sr. The couple has five beautiful children four grandchildren and three dogs. The love of Christ draws people to me and because of my love for Christ I am drawn to them Michelle said. My life source is connected to serving others providing support in time of need being a confidant listener. I am compelled to walk alongside people through life s tragedies struggles and issues. It s God who places me in strategic places which fuels my life source and gives longevity. When she first started out Michelle was often looked at as an uneducated woman who lacked understanding. She recalls being told she talked too much and when she did speak that it wasn t worth listening to. She endured these senseless comments while working for one of the top healthcare facilities in Michigan. At the time Michelle who hadn t completed school found it hard to cope with the negativity. She was ashamed and downplayed her talents until she developed a personal relationship with Christ. I believe as a Christian woman God should always be first he grounds and fuels your being family is a primary source for love and your career motivates dreams while your social life helps you unwind and rejuvenate Michelle said. Order is key. 39 Women of Distinction Phyllis Rosenthal Author Las Vegas NV F rom an early age Phyllis Rosenthal loved to read. From then on her passion for the written word and her Jewish faith only continued to blossom as did a career she could only dream of as a child. Today Phyllis is an accomplished author who has penned two novels. Her most recent book Journey A life History of a Righteous Path was a lifetime in the making. The believing in my life of my journey down life s highway much happened to me specially from my religious faith which I wrote in my book and about being Jewish and looking for a job and turned down because of my religion she said. I am writing and still writing because that is and was my calling in my life. Today Phyllis is remarried. She credits her husband a veteran of three wars for getting her involved with the ladies retired Axillary. Of course she is still writing and encourages other women to chase their dreams. This book has my journey of my 80 years of my life she said. My life different countries where my families came from my 1st husband my 2nd husband s military career WWII Korea and Vietnam where he was a short version of the German Holocaust my transformation from religions. Phyllis wasn t always a fulltime author. In fact she wanted to pursue a military career as a young woman but her parents quickly dashed the idea. They would not sign the papers she said. I wanted to become a newspaper reporter but my councilors in high school said no they told me it was best as I took up learning bookkeeping to become an accountant because I was a Jew and Jewish people were known how to handle money. Instead she began working at 18 years old. Before taking a job at any specific company Phyllis and her late husband sold different kinds of merchandise at several different swap meets before having her first child. Later she worked as a Corporate Secretary and at the State of Nevada Welfare office as an Administrative Assistant until retiring in 2004. No matter what she did writing was a very important part of Phyllis job and personal life. Phyllis a diabetic belonged to a Diabetic organization and received magazines with articles about the disease. She frequently wrote to others all across the world with the condition encouraging them and sharing her story. I want to encourage all woman regardless of age or the color of skin we all bleed RED so pursue their goals and do not be afraid of dreaming your dreams she said. You can accomplish what you want to do in your life and do not let anyone or thing stop you. My inspiration about dream your dream is in my book. And you ladies can accomplish anything you want to do not ever forget that all our lives are planned out for us ever before we were birthed. I am blessed. You can purchase her book at Barnes & Nobles and Amazon 40 Women of Distinction Suzanne Zuzette Ferrari Health and Beauty President Chief Executive Officer of Rose Passion 100% Natural Skin Care Beauty Products Newport Beach CA M aking people smile is Susanne Zuzette Ferrari s passion. An educated world traveler Lady Zuzette is popular public figure and successful entrepreneur. Her favorite quote is when one door closes another one will open. She has held on to that belief her entire life and has now achieved worldwide recognition as the founder of Rose Passion Skin Care Products. Zuzette who has a background in marketing advertising and design became involed in developing a 100% organic skin care beauty product in 2012 to help her family friends young adults and babies with skin problems build their confidence and vitality. She began this journey by traveling to Japan and learning the manufacturing end of producing her incredible skin care line. Having worked for nearly three years in research and development of her product line she has come to accomplish what she set out to do. Her tierless efforts resulted in Zuzette founding her acclaimed company Rose Passion Skin Care. Her line includes body oils soaps facemasks and facial mists and there is more to come. Worldwide Branding recognized Zuzette s achievements as a new entrepreneur. She qualified for inclusion in the 2015-2016 Edition of the Worldwide Who s Who registry of executives professionals and entrepreneurs. Born in Los Angeles California she currently resides in Newport Beach California. She holds several degrees from Cypress College and Goldenwest College in Orange County. Additionally she is certified in medical billing and worked as a Christian teacher at Maywood Baptist Church in Maywood California for more than two years after college. Before launching her company Zuzette worked for Catalina Swim Wear as an assistant and occasionally modeled their line during special events. Her long and impressive work history also includes positions as a customer service representative marketing and advertising representative processing insurance and payment specialist and internal auditor. In her free time Zuzette loves fashion cooking and traveling to expand her knowledge. She is a dedicated volunteer for the Knights of Columbus Council during their charity functions. I was inspired by giving oneself confidence as my cousins had skin problems and my friend s son committed suicide she said. I love our delicate world and the people. The biggest lesson I have learned is that if you have a dream follow it she said. I love the feeling of helping people with their vitality and confidence. Their smile is worth it. As founder and president of Rose Passion 100% Natural Skin Care Beauty Products she stays very muc h involved with creating products designing packaging and shipping. 41 Women of Distinction Stacy Lynn Roccaforte Non-Profit Organization Field Trip Program Coordinator Act One Phoenix AZ S tacy Lynn Roccaforte dedicates her life to helping others. As an active member of The American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders she had the opportunity to meet many wonderful and successful women with the mutual interest of helping others in need. Over time these connections introduced her to a number of other charities but one in particular truly hit home for Stacy. The name of the organization is Act One. The non-profit s mission is to provide meaningful arts experiences that enhance the academic and creative potential of children and families in Arizona. I could not pass up the opportunity to get involved Stacy said. It was apparent to me that working with charities especially those that involve children was where I wanted to be. Act One provides educational field trips to the visual and performing arts in Arizona. As the Field Trip Coordinator Stacy facilitates the school field trips. She is responsible for communication with the schools bus companies and arts and cultural partners to coordinate field trips for approximately 25 000 children throughout the school year. As many of us witness the demise of many worthwhile and in my opinion essential arts and cultural programs that we as children had the chance to experience she said. I believe these programs are necessary in the development and learning process of all children. Working in the non-profit industry was not something Stacy expected when she graduated from Curry College in Boston in 1993. She made the decision to stay home with her children and did not look to pursue any personal interests until they were older. Inspired by her husband Stacy embarked on a new journey in 2012. My husband had been volunteering for the American Red Cross for about a year before my involvement and the more I learned the more I wanted to roll up my sleeves and help further the mission she said. I quickly immersed myself into the world of charity and helping others in need. Today Stacy is a single mom of two wonderful children. With one child still at home and active in sports spare time is hard to come by. If she is able to carve out a few hours to herself Stacy enjoys hiking crafts reading and writing. She aspires to author a book within the next 5 years that will be an uplifting and encouraging study of an ever-shifting society. One thing that I have discovered over the years is that many women that choose to stay at home with their children lose confidence along the way that they can make a difference she said. As the wife of a successful business owner I had nearly given up on having my own identity. The best thing I could have ever done for my own happiness and fulfillment was find a way and a means to focus my energy and skill in helping others. It is amazing the transformation that is possible with allowing yourself to follow your passion. 42 Women of Distinction Toni Standmire Dog Daycare and Boarding Owner Barking Lot Doggy Daycare and Resort LLC Carrollton TX W hen Toni Standmire s husband expectedly passed away in February 2010 she was at a crossroads in her life. The future was uncertain. One of the only things Toni knew for sure was the love she had for her newly adopted dog Curly. Two weeks prior to her husband s passing the couple adopted Curly from a non-profit organization K9Kat2. Little did she know Curly would come to play a major role in her future. Toni s husband was a successful business owner. After his passing Toni simply could not image working for someone else. She decided then to open her own business she just did not know what type of industry would suit her. She considered opening a bakery or a flower shop however the passion was not there. She asked for guidance and shortly after she received it. The K9Kat2 Animal Coordinator Robbie Thomason was over to pick up Mr. Curly for a sleepover and I told her of my business ventures Toni recalled. Out of the blue she said why don t you open up a doggy daycare The rest is history. Toni attended a doggy daycare and boarding expo in Baltimore Maryland where she received certification from the Red Cross for Doggy CPR. When she returned Toni located an abandoned child daycare center and opened Barking Lot Doggy Daycare and Resort in May 2013. Curly naturally became the face of the business. Had Curly not come into my life I would not be where I am today Toni said. During my darkest hours after my husband passed away this dog would bring a smile to my face or make me laugh when I didn t think it was possible to laugh. In nearly three years Toni has created a fun loving and safe place for not only the dogs that visit her facility daily but for her employees as well. She has built a solid rapport with her clients and even offers pick up and delivery services. The company also provides discounted daycare and boarding for foster dogs. Toni s career has transformed greatly since her days working in the corporate world. Previously Toni was in management at Telecommunication companies as well as a business manager at her husband s company. Five years ago I would have never dreamed I would have a business and for it to involve dogs Toni said. I believe we manifest our own joy and happiness. Think it feel it believe it and it will manifest. In her spare time Toni is still helping animals. She often works with non-profit organizations to find forever homes for the dogs in shelters. Her ultimate dream is to have a larger facility with enough space to dedicate have of the building to house dogs waiting for a forever home and the other half for Barking Lot. Now that Toni has found her passion she encourages others to pursue their dreams unabashedly. Go within find your joy and live it she said. I was not able to have children therefore all of my unused maternal instincts go out to all of these little guys and girls who visit me daily. 43 Women of Distinction S tephanie Symes has always had a passion and determination for helping people. She has pursued a career in health care since she was a teenager. Today Stephanie has more than 30 years of experience in her field holds a masters of Public Administration from Ashford University and is the Staff Compliance Auditor within Baptist Health South Florida. Stephanie Symes Health Care Staff Compliance Auditor Baptist Health South Florida Coral Gables FL I always had a love for helping people working in the health care field in any aspect allows me to do this and have a meaningful career Stephanie said. My job function contributes to the values and mission of the organization allowing us to promote a high standard of ethics and making our organization one of the world s most ethical company to work for. For Stephanie success did not come without its challenges. She began her career in 1982 during freshman year at Far Rockaway High School in New York when she was accepted into the prestigious Health Careers program. Right after giving birth to her first child at 17 years old Stephanie graduated as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 1986. Despite an unplanned teen pregnancy I still keep striving for good better best she said. Amidst all the other challenges of life marriage divorce single parenting of four children working two and three jobs (sometimes) while going to school as an adult learner I never gave up on myself. Along the way Stephanie faced unfairness and injustice. However these obstacles made her bold and taught her the proper avenues to create positive change. I had to accept who I am she said. I am a change agent. Today Stephanie encourages others to never give up on their dreams either. There is magic in thinking BIG she said. The advice that I would offer to anyone starting out in my industry is this the health care industry has a career path that has many meaning full avenues that can lead you to a full-filling and rewarding career. You will find something that you love doing with in the health care field if you have a love for helping people. When Stephanie is not working she enjoys traveling and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She also has been a member of the Health Care Compliance Association since 2013. Photo By Dan Rakofsky of Dan Rakofsky Photography LLC 44 Women of Distinction Teresa McKee Landscape & Gardening design Owner Operator of Earthly Creations Gardening & Landscape Boise ID T eresa McKee always loved having her hands in the dirt as a child. Enamored with the beauty of flowers planting and watching seeds grow and mature remained a hobby of Teresa s into adulthood. The opportunity to turn her passion into a career came in 1977 when she moved to Boise Idaho from California. She secured a job at Garden & Landscape Nursery and knew instantly that it was the beginning of a beautiful lifelong career in the industry. Early on in her career Teresa worked for Boise City Parks at the Julia Davis Rose Garden pruning and maintaining more than a thousand of rose bushes. She also worked for Franz Witte Nursery supervising gardening and maintenance of a number of large commercial properties in the downtown Boise area. Today Teresa a Certified Landscape Technician is the owner and operator of Earthly Creations Gardening & Landscape in Boise. I always knew I could get out there and do as well if not better than most of the men she said. Being passionate about my work helps drive me and pushes me to do my best no matter how physically demanding. Never give up Work hard Do what you say say what you do People will respect you when you give it your all. Teresa s grandmother has been her greatest professional inspiration. She always had beautiful gardens which produced plentiful and delicious vegetables and colorful flowers she said. She taught me the joy of gardening Teresa lives in Boise with her life partner and has a daughter and two grandchildren. In her free time she enjoys attending concerts mountain biking hiking nature walks reading to and visiting with residents in care facilities feeding the homeless painting with Paint The Town Boise and of course working in her garden. I love meeting new people and building relationships she said. I m a simple woman and don t put much credence in materialism. Spending time with family and serving others brings me joy and happiness. As owner operator I meet with clients to visualize and discuss their landscape and gardening needs from current garden and landscape maintenance to new design and installation Teresa said. I control all aspects of each project performing much of the labor myself and ensuring client satisfaction. The landscape and gardening industry has always been a male-dominated profession largely due to the physical demands of the job. But Teresa never shied away from the hard work that comes with doing what she loves. 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 Diane Barry Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 www.womenofdistinction.net Stephanie Symes Health Care Staff Compliance Auditor Baptist Health South Florida NeYane S. Daniel Industrial Design - Digital Healthcare Innovation and Products Digital Product Designer - Spectrum Health