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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Norma Harris Retail Wholesale Trade CEO of Harris Industrial Gases 1 Women of Distinction Angela Alsup Buckner Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing Engineering Owner DFH Services PLLC 2 Women of Distinction Norma Harris Retail Wholesale Trade CEO of Harris Industrial Gases Citrus Heights CA C alifornia-based Harris Industrial Gases is a prime example of an enduring business. Distributing industrial medical and specialty gases as well as welding equipment and supplies The Harris corporation has been family-owned since its inception in 1936 when Harold Harris founded Harris Welding Works. Celebrating their 80th anniversary this year the business has remained in the family owned and operated through four generations never moved never sold. Norma Harris now CEO began keeping books for the company back in 1946. After she and her husband Kent incorporated the business in 1970 she took over following his sudden death in 1974 propelling the company through uncertain times to eventually become the largest independent distributer of industrial gases and associated supplies in the Greater Sacramento Area. Their main facility located on Citrus Heights historic Highway 40 Auburn Boulevard sits where the original welding shop stood. A second location in the gold rush town of Auburn boasts a complete steel warehouse and full fabrication repair shop that will make just about anything a customer can design. The original blacksmith forge there has remained operational since 1865. That shop known for over a century as the old Auburn Iron Works has been designated a Point of Historic Interest. A small consignment depot was added in Nevada City and the Harris corporation has now expanded into Nevada with a facility at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Complex next to Tesla Motors new Gigafactory. Norma still oversees many financial aspects of the company. When my husband died unexpectedly we had just two facilities we now have four. I ve seen our company not only succeed but thrive. I ve always loved my work and can t imagine having done anything else all these years Norma maintains. A full-scale industrial gas distributor Harris Industrial Gases serves a very diverse customer base. Not only do they carry top-of-the-line products and state-of-the-art welding equipment they deliver to hundreds of businesses throughout Northern California and western Nevada. Norma attributes this unrivaled success to their tradition of providing excellent and personal customer service. She drives home the point that they are there because of the customer who will always get a friendly real person when calling. Norma s contribution to this traditionally male-dominated field has earned her numerous accolades including Auburn Chamber of Commerce s Business of the Year award Auburn Business & Professional Women s Diamond Award California Business & Professional Women s Hall of Fame Award California 5th Assembly District s Woman of the Year award and the Auburn Journal s prestigious McCann Award. Norma s professional achievements are not her only accomplishments. She is a dedicated community leader having volunteered countless hours toward the advancement of many charitable organizations. She is a longtime supporter of the Auburn Symphony Guild and Soroptimist International of Auburn. Additionally Norma was appointed to the State of California Children s Nutritional Program and the Placer County Charter Commission. Norma graduated from Sacramento s McClatchy High School in 1943. She has four children who all serve as directors on the board. Additionally two grandchildren now serve on the board as well with another three waiting to carry on the family tradition. Norma is past president of the Sierra College Foundation Soroptimist Int l of Auburn Auburn Chamber of Commerce the Italian Catholic Federation and the Sons of Italy. Her proudest moment however was receiving the coveted Pope John 23rd Award for Church & Community Service. 3 Women of Distinction Angela Alsup Buckner Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing Engineering Owner DFH Services PLLC Nashville TN 4 Women of Distinction I f Angela Alsup Buckner owner and senior engineer of DFH Services PLLC has erudite one piece of advice in her 20-plus-year career it is to always take the opportunity to learn. Since earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1995 Angela has held many esteemed positions within her industry. She got her professional start at Nissan Motor Manufacturing in Smyrna Tennessee where she worked in the supplier development group. The position provided Angela with a great exposure to various manufacturing processes and public speaking. Later she transferred to Trim and Chassis engineering and was awarded the prestigious Engineer of the Year title. After having her children and looking to further expand her imprint in the business world Angela made the decision to go into business for herself. In 2010 she founded DFH Services PLLC a Nashville based consulting engineering firm specializing in innovative energy efficient design of HVAC plumbing and electrical systems for schools commercial buildings and healthcare facilities. Fully integrated in her leadership role of the company Angela is responsible for all business aspects including marketing the company meeting with clients and helping her team of highly specialized engineers design systems that meet each customer s needs and expectations. In her challenging role Angela utilizes previous her professional accomplishments to ensure future successes. Whether it is a new or renovated space DFH Services combine in-depth design knowledge and engineering expertise with the philosophy of collaboration accountability and unprecedented responsiveness having designed more than 1 000 projects throughout Tennessee. The company is home to the electrical engineer of record for the Nashville Sounds project and worked with Smith Seckman Reid Engineers who were the mechanical engineers of record. And while other firms might perform similar services DFH s personalized approached makes the company standout from the competition. We work really hard to get in contact with prospective clients keep in contact with them and to do a great job on the project Angela said. I would say one thing that stands out is that because we are a small company the person meeting with the client and the owner is the same person that will be doing the project. We don t have a person that will go to the meeting to relay messages back to the office we can make decisions or suggestions on the spot. We are able to be nimble and react quickly which makes us very effective. Angela is a registered professional engineer in 22 states and DFH Services is a registered small woman owned business with Federal State of Tennessee Metro Nashville and the Metro Nashville Airport Authority. However Engineering is a male dominated field and there is still stigma about a woman working in the industry. Even today there are very few womenowned engineering businesses to use as a role model Angela explained. All of these jobs have made me better at what I do she said. I draw on experience from working in a plant when we design plants. I draw on my experience as a supplier development engineer to help in presentation and marketing skills which is important if you own your own business. The environmental engineering makes me consider all aspects of projects and how things are interconnected. And of course doing HVAC design for 15 years has given me the invaluable experience and flexibility of knowing how to make things work and what options to give a client that will fit into their space and budget. So many times I feel like I am making my own way and there isn t anyone to follow to see how this should or should not be done she said. It has contributed to my success in that I put more thought into my actions and the course of the company and really am able to stay true to myself. We are a very family friendly company. That comes from my desire and deep understanding of having a career and a family and needing to do both. 5 Women of Distinction 6 Women of Distinction Angela draws inspiration from two personal female role models Julie Cocoran and Kathy Mathis. Julie was the assistant plant manager at Nissan when Angela worked for the company. She a well-liked leader who had a track recorded for accomplishing the task at hand. Kathy was Angela s college professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Both women as well as Angela are strong talented highly educated career women that prioritize taking care of their families. Angela leads by example and encourages her children to work hand and follow their dreams. Angela is passionate about furthering her industry as a whole. She is a member of ASHRAE Tennessee Professional Engineers and Society of Women Engineers. She encourages other women to pursue careers in the engineering industry with vigor. Decide what you want to do and go for it She said. Don t listen to anyone about what you should be or what you should or should not do stay on your course and work harder than the next person. Have a clear goal that is ever advancing. Angela currently resides in Lebanon Tennessee and serves on the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens Facility Committee. She has been married to her college sweetheart Chris for 18 years. The couple has three wonderful children ages 16 14 and 10. In her free time Angela enjoys spending time with her kids at their various sports activities and reading. 7 Women of Distinction Dr. Carla Garvin PhD LPC NCC CACII CCS CPCS Mental Health and Addictive Diseases Owner and CEO of Creative Interventions Inc. 8 Kennesaw GA Women of Distinction I believe that everyone is entitled to happiness. fter working with in foster kids that did not get the therapy they needed to get overcome a traumatic event Dr. Carla Garvin decided to go back to school to earn a degree in counseling. That degree turned into two as she earned a Master of Arts in Counseling from Webster University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Capella University in 2007. Carla went on to acquire the following certifications as well Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) National Certified Counselor (NCC) Certified Addictions Counselor II (CACII) Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS) She gained experience working as a Substance Abuse Counselor for Clarendon Behavioral Health providing intense in-home services as well as substance abuse treatment. Carla also worked as a Clinic Director for Clarendon County Mental Health where she was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the clinic implementing clinical programs and providing therapeutic services. These experiences as well as working for other agencies allowed Carla to open her own agency in 2009. Creative Interventions Inc. (CII) was designed to help serve individuals and families struggling with mental health-related issues by offering a variety of services. CII has state-licensed mental health practitioners master-level behavioral clinicians and highly qualified paraprofessionals. Their licensed professionals have a wealth of experience in the fields of child and adult mental health as well as social services. CII offers both in-home and clinic-based services for children in Cobb Cherokee Paulding Bartow Fulton and DeKalb counties. A As Owner and CEO of the agency Carla oversees the dayto-day operations and is responsible for managing care organizations private insurances and all contracts with the State of Georgia. She also ensures that her staff is properly trained to be their best for those they serve. In addition Carla develops partnerships with colleges and universities to provide interns with experience. My love for counseling and helping people improve their quality of life has kept me in this field. Her greatest professional inspiration came from Lori Rowe. As my first supervisor Lori taught me what it really means to love your job and genuinely care about the people you work with and how this leads to success. There s a host of other individuals such as Eleanor Garvin (mother) Thomas Smith Kimberly Livsey Deborah Smith Vickey Brown and my children (Dana Marcus and Patrice) who believed in me when I didn t believe in myself. They believed in my dream until I could believe in it and live it myself. Carla s dissertation What is the mental health professional s experience of managing dual relationships in rural communities has been published as a book. She has also developed many manuals to help those who work in this field. Her professional affiliations include being a member of the Cobb County Therapist Network Licensed Professional Counselor s Association of Georgia (LPCAGA) National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In her free time Carla loves spending time with her family especially her granddaughters Nevaeh (8) Miracle (5) CaliAnn (1) Peyton (1) and Daniyah(April 10 2016). She also loves to travel and listen to jazz or other calm music. Carla has lived a life full joy and happiness serving others to help them improve their quality of life. She would like to be remembered as an outstanding therapist great mother grandmother daughter sister aunt cousin and friend who was always supportive and inspirational. Our goal is to provide services for everyone in need. The convenience of having multiple programs under one umbrella allows us to help our clients their families and referral sources with a full range of resources to choose from. 9 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What services do you offer at Creative Interventions Inc. (CII) A Core Services CII is authorized by the State of Georgia to be a core service provider for children and adolescents who receive Medicaid services. Core services coordinate care and provide essential services to children youth and adults who have a serious mental illness severe emotional disturbance or dependence on alcohol or drugs. For those eligible to receive services CII provides or coordinates traditional counseling services psychiatric services medication management crisis services and comprehensive community support services. All services are geared to support an individual s self-identified recovery goals and other clinical needs. Intensive Family Intervention works with children and families to identify strengths and needs. They are responsible for working in partnership with families to conduct intake assessment triage safety planning care coordination in-home skills therapeutic activities crisis intervention services and plan of care development implementation and evaluation. Community Support Individual Services are designed to match children and teens with trained adults who provide 1 1 psychoeducational services provided in individual settings designed to enhance client functioning promote strengths and increase life and social skills in their home school and or community. Through these services children and young adults learn a variety of life skills to promote success. Parents are also provided with tools and support for more effective parenting. Individual Group and Family Therapy is provided by licensed professionals trained in a variety of specialties. Psychiatrists are also available for evaluation consultation and medication management as needed. Psychiatric diagnostic and psychotropic medication management services are provided by board certified psychiatrists. Professional Consultation and Trainings Clinical case consultation and supervision are offered through our licensed clinical staff. Presentations and trainings are designed to assist professionals in better meeting the needs of their clients. Q Why participate in counseling A Participating in counseling has proven to be beneficial to many individuals in the past. It serves as an opportunity to speak with a neutral and non-judgmental professional to learn new skills and techniques to address areas of one s life that are negatively impacting them in some way. Clinicians use evidenced-based practices to effectively assist clients with their concerns but treatment is individualized to each person and is guided by the client. Q What should I expect at my first session A The first session is most often used to complete intake documentation and conduct a comprehensive assessment. During this time we will review your rights and receive consent to participate in treatment. A clinician will use this time to ask questions about many areas of your life in order to obtain a holistic view of the presenting problems. After you have spent some time speaking with the clinician you and the clinician will make a decision on what services would be best to meet your needs and set goals and expectations for treatment. This first session is usually a little longer than most other sessions and can be about 1 to 1 hours in length. Q How long do I need counseling A The duration of counseling services depends on the individual client and the goals they set for themselves. Since treatment is centered on the client s needs and desires treatment can be as brief or as long as the client desires. To be effective some problems can be addressed in a very brief time while others may need a longer period of time to show improvement in the desired areas. Q How does psychotherapy or counseling help A Counseling sometimes called talk therapy is a conversation or series of conversations between a counselor and client. Counseling usually focuses on a specific problem and taking the steps to address or solve it. Problems are discussed in the present-tense without too much attention on the role of past experiences. Instead of narrowing in on individual problems psychotherapy considers overall patterns chronic issues and recurrent feelings. This requires openness to exploring the past and its impact on the present. The aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the underlying issues that fuel ongoing complaints. Psychotherapists help to resolve past experiences as part of laying the foundation for a satisfying future. Q How do I choose between counseling and psychotherapy A Choosing between counseling and psychotherapy is not as important as finding a mental health care provider who is a good fit. Research shows that the connection between counselor therapist and client is the most important factor in successful outcomes. However you can narrow your search for a counselor or psychotherapist by considering the following things Do you have a single concern that you would like to get some feedback on If yes consider counseling. Have you noticed a pattern of problems or concerns that seems to keep coming up If yes consider psychotherapy. Are you typically satisfied with your life and relationships but just looking for a sounding board If yes consider counseling. Is it time to address previous trauma or family patterns that are keeping you from feeling good in your own skin If yes consider psychotherapy. Q What hours are available for appointments A CII strives to schedule appointments that are convenient to our clients. We offer early morning evening and Saturday appointments. Our office hours are as follows Monday Wednesday and Friday 8 00 a.m. - 5 00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday 8 00 a.m. - 7 00 p.m. Saturdays of the month 9 00 a.m. - 12 00 p.m. deleted 1and 3 its every saturday Q How do I reach my therapist in an emergency A Our staff is available to clients 24 7. You may contact your therapist during office hours by phone if you feel that you are in danger to yourself or others. If you contact the office after hours and need assistance you will be transferred to our crisis line where a licensed staff member will be able to assist you. 10 Women of Distinction Darlene Ellen Jones-Rollins Health and Wellness Retreat Owner Director Pathwork Helper Forest Therapy Guide Trainer Fredericksburg VA T hrough her work as Owner and Retreat Director at Earthwalk Ways Forest Therapy Institute and Retreat Darlene Rollins is dedicated to helping people live better lives by connecting their souls with nature. This is my calling. I did not take the traditional routes nor did I see a career path reflecting me when I was younger. I made my own trail. I have always enjoyed teaching and helping others connect with nature and spirit to evoke their own inner muse. I like to help others discover this connection within themselves. Darlene opened the Earthwalk Retreat in 1994. She has been hosting various programs events workshops and retreats within the embrace of her enchanted natural sanctuary. In 2015 she founded the Forest Therapy Institute and started training Forest Therapy Guides. She developed her own Forest Therapy program and also offers Forest Therapy luncheon retreats. She has also developed a form of meditation based on the principles and teachings of the Pathwork which she calls Process Meditation. What Darlene has learned from following her own path and establishing this business If you are following your dream do not get discouraged when it doesn t show up in the way you are expecting. It means there is an even better way. Don t hang on to one way but keep seeking the new possibility. Be patient. It takes a long time for good wine to mature. Cultivate your own consciousness. As owner and retreat director Darlene takes clients on guided contemplative experiences through nature in order to help reduce stress and promote health and well-being as well as spiritual awakening. She also takes care of and manages the grounds the advertising all of the programs and retreats and plans on taking more time to teach and write. Darlene currently offers both individual and group sessions via teleconference along with support sessions for retreats. I enjoy supporting people in seeing their lives from the perspective of the soul journey. That was how I found my way out of depression bulimia and self hatred back to joy pleasure and the fullness of life. I made this descent into hell to find the way back so I would know how to uplift and hold others compassionately in the suffering and struggle. I feel grateful for a life I lived the best I knew and for that something that carried me from the darkest times into this wonderful way to spend the last part of my life. In her leisure Darlene enjoys reading writing songs playing music and relaxing outdoors. She teaches is on the Board and Council of the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork and is involved in her church community. Darlene is lobbying her county to become a center piece for the community benefits of Forest Therapy and plans to establish the Forest Therapy Institute as a 501c3. She is looking for her expansion team now after having been a solo driving force in this field. I am hoping through Forest Therapy the Pathwork and my little cocoon of a transformational retreat in the woods to offer individuals a way of living into a deeper more fulfilling life. There is more to our earthwalk than we realize. 11 Women of Distinction D esiree Henry aspired to become a successful female business owner in an industry that focused on women s needs. After much research and countless hours of reading she decided to enter into the world of fashion jewelry sales. In 1998 she founded IDesire Jewelry. The beautiful jewelry is versatile and the collection offers something to accommodate every woman s personal style. The high quality pieces are also reasonably priced. Desiree Henry Jewelry Design Owner l Desire Jewelry New Orleans LA I wanted to do something that was rewarding prosperous yet fun and of value. I love doing what I do Desiree said. I like picking out the jewelry that my customers will get to see. I like to see the expression on the ladies faces when they see the beauty and quality of the jewelry they can t believe the prices. It s just very rewarding. As the owner Desiree conducts extensive research to find and select the best quality of jewelry for the collection. She creates her own business cards postcards brochures catalogs and manages her website. It s a lot of work but I have a lot of fun doing it. It brings me joy to see the finished product she said. In addition to operating her successful business Desiree is a busy single mother of 5 daughters a son and a grandson. She calls her children her greatest inspiration. Iwanted something that I could one day pass down to my girls Desiree said. I m an entrepreneur and that s the future I want for all 6 of my children. I wanted them to see a positive role model and know that you can do anything you desire with hard work and determination. Desiree encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to research their chosen industry and other companies in their desired field. Q&A Q. Where do you get your jewelry A. I buy my jewelry from two companies in the USA. Q. What material is your jewelry made of A. The jewelry that I select are made of Metals Stainless Steel Silver Tone Gold Tone yellow gold plated materials. Q. How do you make jewelry selections A. It s a long process. I have to look at a lot of jewelry before I decided what would make my customers happy. I have to keep up with the latest fashion. Q. How do you sell your jewelry A. I sell my jewelry at home parties office parties online birthday parties and special events. Q. Can anyone sell your jewelry A. Yes it s a lot of work to do alone. I have hostesses that hold parties and earn jewelry and money. I have representatives that have their own business now. We are always looking for team members to join us. See if it s something you want to do and then make it you own she said. Have fun The professional challenge I have faced was to always be positive and informed on business affairs. You have to always be in a position of learning and seeking information to better your business. I want to leave a legacy of success that other women can achieve from being a part of my company. 12 Women of Distinction Elizabeth F. Leeor Art and Education Old Dominion University Professor of Art and Drawing on Life Norfolk VA Understand your own story and be willing to share it mistakes and all. We are the stories we tell but as we understand more the focus in the story can change and it should change. Truth is not fixed in time truth is a metamorphic process. ecause she wants to attend college but her family situation made it impossible Elizabeth F. Leeor enlisted in the US Army from 1976 until 1984. After her tenure in the Army Elizabeth became a graphic designer and went on to obtain her Bachelor s Degree in Fine Arts. The economy at that time the 1980 s was terrible and many companies went bankrupt. So my husband encouraged me to apply for graduate school and I won a considerable scholarship. However upon learning that her scholarship was contingent on an obligation to teach Elizabeth became terrified and didn t think she would enjoy teaching. But Elizabeth fell in love with teaching almost instantaneously and has now been in her career since 1990. I believe that education is a human birthright. Elizabeth is a Graduate Certified Associate Professor of Art at and Old Dominion University. She is also the Owner and Operator of her own business Drawing on it s Own. She runs her business from a studio inside her home and does mostly Medical Illustrations. These illustrations are very precise and technical. They are meant for business promotions including logos marketing brochures and original artwork. She also works with photography graphic design writing and private tutoring. Within the Medical field there is an opportunity for artists to solve very important medical problems and the field id wide open growing and filled with choices form patient education to working with doctors in the operating room in collaboration. It s all very exciting to me and other artists around the world. In her academic career Elizabeth has written several academic papers had numerous exhibitions international and national edited drawing textbooks and received several teaching awards. I am a firm believer that art will always be relevant it is a matter of understanding why and to remember that communication is the basis of its success. Elizabeth serves as a member for both the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) and the Association of European of Scientific Medical Illustrators (AEIMS). She is also a member of the Holocaust Commission and has recently made a statement at Annual Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition in which she discusses art humanity and the pitfalls of human nature Art is a way of life for me so I know that our children need music paint and shoes to dance. They need it because some times human experience falls far outside the scope of words and sadly sometimes grief needs the solace of wordless imagination. The Holocaust is about evil tragedy grief survival and the triumph of human will. Reading writing and arithmetic alone cannot deal with what it means to be completely human. Starting in 1933 the Nazis put Art on trial and by 1937 had purged its culture of Chagall Picasso and Matisse to name just a few. This art was considered degenerate because it questioned the old encouraged new thought and above all did not support fascism. When the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas I knew what kind of trouble threatened our global culture. When society collapses art is first thing that dies because the soul of anything anyone or anyplace is its power to create. So we have art because people need spiritual lives apart from religion politics and government. Imagination is no escape it is God s gift to make the act of self-examination bearable. When people are free to do this it is not necessary to destroy our shared planet. A life long learner Elizabeth still loves learning about science physics biology and anything else she can. She wants to help show others how everything is related and that these relationships can solve real issues. B 13 Women of Distinction C ommissioner Gail A. Willis began her journey teaching for Los Angeles Unified School District as an educator in 1996. Her passion for enlightening students and providing them with the necessary tools academically to excel in society has been her motivation to remain in the field of education. Gail teaches multiple subjects to fifth grade GATE (Gifted and Talented) students. She has served as a Master Teacher providing instructional guidance to new educators as well as earning the title of a community leader educating the public about political issues and business development. She is completely driven and her go getter mentality has brought her to be the current President of the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. She is focusing on the redevelopment in South Los Angeles with emphasis on municipal land environmental conditions and zoning alongside the prestigious Mayor of Los Angeles and other community leaders naming this task as one of her greatest accomplishments. Following in her late mother s footsteps Gail has served as both an Educator and Community Activist for approximately 20 years. The greatest lesson she has learned thus far and her advice to those who aspire to take her chosen career path is to put God first in every aspect of life and to always have faith despite obstacles and challenges that one might encounter. As an alternate member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Gail was elected as Democrat of the Year in November of 2015 and was honored at the Annual Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt dinner where 1 000 people attended. She received special recognition from the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti at the awards dinner. She is an active member of the 54th Assembly District Democratic Club received the Susan B. Lockyer Volunteer Award in June 2015 and serves as an Executive Board Member of the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee (LAAAWPAC). Gail is affiliated with the New Frontier Democratic Club founded by President John F. Kennedy and the 10th Council District Women s Steering Committee. Furthermore she has served as a fundraising chair and campaign advisor for many statewide and local elected officials. She obtained countless commendations for her outstanding hard work devotion and dedication to her community service. Presently Commissioner Gail A. Willis hold the position of Executive Board Member of Transitional Services Coalition (TSC) a nonprofit corporation provides affordable housing for Veterans and homeless people in Los Angeles County. She states The largest lesson that I have learned while traveling on my journey is that other people who do not necessarily see your vision may become negative and attempt to interfere with your goals and aspirations. She believes that it is vitally important to always remain focused and positive regardless of the negativity that others might throw her way. With all of her heart and soul using her God given talents in working diligently within her community Gail has helped others achieve their aspirations and she is truly making a difference in society. Commissioner Gail A. Willis Education and Business Development Educator Community Activist for Los Angeles Unified School District Los Angeles CA 14 Women of Distinction Gloria J. Besley Tax Real Estate Accounting IRS Enrolled Agent Tax Accountant Licensed Public Accountant Real Estate Broker (Georgia & Pennsylvania) Owner Regency Crest Realty Inc Pittsburgh PA T hrough her work as an IRS Enrolled Agent Licensed Public Accountant and Real Estate Broker Gloria J. Besley is committed to providing professional expert services to her clients. In 1970 I was married with (2) small children and working full time as a medical technician. I could not envision a bright future for me or my family. I was unhappy in the medical field and desperately wanted to make a career change to business. To replace the income from my full-time job I enrolled in a real estate course passed the state exam and began working evenings and weekends as a real estate agent. I quickly found my niche in the real estate market. Real estate gave me the opportunity to go back to school and pursue a career in business. I loved business management accounting and taxes. Most importantly I liked helping people reach their goals. As CEO trainer and marketing consultant for her company Gloria personally provides one-on-one consulting with each client and personally performs all engagements for IRS audit representation. As an Enrolled Agent she holds the highest level of representation before the Internal Revenue Service. Gloria is a Licensed Public Accountant in the State of Pennsylvania a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania and Georgia and a Licensed IRS Enrolled Agent with unlimited practice in all 50 states. She has held the position of Executive Director for the Florida Coalition for Housing & Economic Development National Secretary for the National Association of Real Estate Brokers Instructor for Real Estate Pre-license Course at Community College of Allegheny County Realty World franchise owner and an Affordable Housing Consultant working with developers McCormack Barron and Telesis. For those interested in beginning a career in accounting and taxes it is a continuous learning process. It s exciting. Choosing a career in accounting and taxes is challenging and requires constant education and research. It is a field that requires focus and attention. For those interested in real estate it requires the ability to communicate listen and learn what the client is seeking. Successful real estate brokers provide access sell benefits of ownership and find investment opportunities. Gloria also provides free workshops to churches and nonprofit organizations. She teaches credit management credit repair homeownership planning budgeting mortgage foreclosure prevention and provides short sale assistance. In her leisure Gloria enjoys exercising attending community events and spending time with her family. She is an active member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and SBA Community outreach forums. I m 71 years old and I like the person I see in the mirror every day. I work full-time and have no plans to retire because I love what I do. I m enjoying life to the fullest doing great things at work and in my community. I love helping others and sharing my knowledge has been my pursuit of purpose. In return I have been truly blessed. 15 Women of Distinction Jennifer Sara Andrews NBCT M.Ed. T students. Education Elementary Music Educator - Grafton Elementary School Woodview Elementary School Grafton WI hrough her work as an Elementary Music Educator Jennifer Andrews is dedicated to sharing her love for music and its importance in the world with her Jennifer has been passionate about music since childhood. It was during her high school years that she decided she wanted to become a music teacher and became on in 1997 following her graduation from college. I m just an average hard working woman and mom like so many women I know who want to lead by example to my children and students. I believe that music connects with everything. It connects to our past it connects with physics and science math and literacy. It is vital that music be part of a child s development if not for the aforementioned reasons then just because it has always been a part of humanity and the human experience. Regarding her education Jennifer received a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 1997 and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University - Portland in 2014. She also has Certification in Elementary Music EC-12 and Certification in Instrumental Music K-12. In 2009 she received a Master Educator s License from the National Board Certification in the State of Wisconsin. In her leisure Jennifer enjoys taking Taekwondo classes and spending time with her family helping in her children s school activities as well. She is also a Norwex Independent Consultant an Itworks Distributor and a certified Yoga Instructor. I m hopeful that the world and the people I ve encountered will be better off for having known me. That my music teaching has taught my students to have a better understanding of the art of music and impact on humanity. I would also hope that I have been a blessing in my legacy in whatever role I serve from mom wife friend teacher and colleague. My students have kept me in this career for so long hands down. The joy wonder love and curiosity they have is priceless. It s a wonderful thing to be a part of every day. Having the opportunity to facilitate educate and create love understanding and appreciation for the art of music is an added bonus. A new teacher needs to keep their focus of why they sought out this industry to help them succeed. Never give up. As a music teacher Jennifer teaches Kindergarten through 5th grade classes at Grafton Elementary and second grade classes at Woodview Elementary. In addition to this role she is a Teacher Leader which entails being part of her building s leadership team and the Grafton School District s Teaching and Learning Council. These roles allow her to use her leadership skills and support the district goals as well as her fellow teachers in preparing and facilitating quality professional development. Jennifer also includes some of her lesson resources on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers and is involved with the Grafton Music Parents which is a volunteer booster group that works solely on the behalf of music students in Grafton. In 2010 she received a Certificate of Excellence in General Music Instruction from the Milwaukee Civic Association. 16 Women of Distinction Leslie Anne Turner LCSW CCDP-D Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Therapist and Co-Owner of Impact Counseling Services LLC Hollidaysburg PA L eslie Anne Turner knew from a very young age that she wanted to help people. I may not have known the direction of that help initially but it became clear over time that I wanted to work with adolescents and those suffering with drug and alcohol addiction. I ve directly experienced the impact of drug and alcohol addiction with many of my loved ones. I grew up seeing those I love struggling with addiction and the consequences of their use. Their addiction and actions greatly impacted my life and functioning. This helped me find my love for helping others build a life of recovery and sobriety. After years of working for various companies Leslie and one of her co-workers (Gina) decided to open their own business in 2013. Today Impact Counseling Services provides outpatient drug and alcohol treatment to adolescents (including students in over eight school districts) and adults in Blair County and Cambria County (Pennsylvania) with one office in Hollidaysburg and another in Ebensburg. We ve both been impacted at varying levels with drug and alcohol addiction and wanted to build a business that took a more family approach in dealing with addiction. Our passion lies in not only helping the addict but assisting the loved ones through the process of recovery as well. We also take great pride in developing new programs to assist specific populations that struggle with addiction including but not limited to the LBGTQI Community and the military. Leslie is very strong loyal and dedicated woman who takes great pride in her career and role as a wife and mother. When I set my mind on something I give it my absolute best. I ve been called many things for my strong views vocalizations and overall determination (as most career women are) but regardless I stand by my convictions and what I believe in. She would like to be remembered for dedicating her life to trying to help others that she always sought to see the good in others and bring happiness to those around her. So Leslie eventually enrolled at Penn State University (1989) and began working toward her undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation Services Education with a concentration in Chemical Dependency. During this time (1991) she was able to train to become a part-time crisis counselor at a crisis center in State College. Upon graduation from Penn State (1993) Leslie began working in Altoona PA as an adolescent drug and alcohol counselor. She was encouraged to continue her studies and decided to obtain her Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University in 1997. After getting married in 1998 she and her husband relocated back to her home town of Altoona where she began working as a mobile therapist and behavioral specialist consultant. Leslie eventually earned her LSW and LCSW in the State of Pennsylvania (where she has worked for most of her professional career) and later her certification as a Certified Co-Occurring Disordered Professional Diplomat. There s nothing like helping others see their own strengths and talents. My ultimate goal is to leave a positive impact on those who have come into my life on a personal and professional level. 17 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why did you start your own company A My co-owner and I no longer wanted to battle bureaucratic roadblocks to ideas and programs we wanted to build in order to help others. We want to be able to think outside of the box and develop new ways of helping those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. We no longer wanted to hear reasons why we couldn t do something. We wanted to do what we feel would be most helpful. We are two very strong women who ve experienced professional struggles and wanted to remove any roadblocks to our creativity. Q Why does Impact Counseling Services LLC focus treatment on drug and alcohol addiction A Drug and alcohol addiction affects almost every family in this country and worldwide in one form or another. We re losing gifted talented and amazing individuals every day to addiction. We have to build programs to better serve these individuals and their families and assist them in reaching their potential in life. Q Why focus on the family of the addicts A Family members are often the forgotten victims of drug and alcohol addiction. Every addict has someone who loves them and wants them to get well. The family members need support education compassion and understanding of their struggle and pain as well. The family can also be the greatest and most valuable support to the recovering addict. Q Why do you have such interest in helping the LGBTQI community A Aside from the societal judgment that this population receives daily they re at greater risk of developing addiction and or committing suicide. They re a population in need of greater understanding love and support. This population receives the least support from our communities when they re often the ones who need it the most. We ve lost too many from this population to ignore the issue. Q How did you come up with the name of Impact Counseling Services LLC A One of my favorite sayings is make an impact . Make an impact in every way possible on a daily basis. Make a positive impact in the lives of others. Gina and I decided on this name due to our desire to make an impact on the community we serve. Q What other programs would you like to add to your agency A Adolescent drug and alcohol case management services are something we would like to explore and build within our agency. It s something that s lacking in our area but is definitely needed for the best interest of adolescents and young adults trying to navigate through all the community services available to assist them. 18 Women of Distinction Linda G. Erickson Tourism Vice President of Sales - Conventions & Meetings Division for Events DC Washington DC L inda G. Erickson has always had a spirit of adventure with a love for travel so along with being a people person the hospitality industry was the perfect career for her. She began her path in 1982 by opening a retail travel agency in Southern California called Erickson Travel International. Over the years she worked in the area of sales and marketing for the Smithsonian Institution and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau. For her hard work Linda can boast the following awards and accolades 2007 Star of the Month - Potomac Meetings Professional International (PMPI) 2011 Shawn Corbin Award for Industry Excellence & Professionalism - Convention Sales Professionals International (CSPI) 2015 Awards for Best Speaker Best Table Topics and Best Evaluator - Toastmasters International Old Town Chapter In addition Linda won an award for Best Talk Show in the Sacramento cable market in 1992. One of the projects I created in 1990 was a cable television show entitled Empowering Women with the mission statement of A place for women to design a life they would love to live. In conjunction with the show I developed an eight-week course entitled Possibility Power Centers to provide one-to-one support from the engaging topics and messages found in the television show. This was extremely valuable in my life. It began with an idea then a strategized concept and with commitment perseverance and dedication my dream became a reality. Ultimately Linda would like to be remembered as a woman of possibility contribution empowerment and inspiration. Each position has given me a new area of expertise in this versatile industry. I love the diversity and creativity that s available. Today Linda is the Vice President of Sales for the Conventions & Meetings Division at Events DC where she is responsible for expert oversight to the sales team and revenue of two high profile pristine facilities the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square. In 2015 we achieved the highest revenue in the history of the organization. The key to functioning at this level of accomplishment has everything to do with a strong and effective sales team. The true measure of success is when my team is at their peak performance and they are empowered effective and accomplished. 19 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Will face-to-face meetings continue to be successful even though the sophistication of technology (i.e. GoToMeetings live streaming of conventions etc.) can replace it A Theoretically it seems like technology will take the lead but realistically never. Just look at our own business environments today. We can communicate and complete many transactions between e-mails texts and Skype. Yet when face-to-face occurs it creates deeper stronger relationships that technology can never replace. Stronger business relationships lead to commitment and loyalty which lead to profitability. No matter what industry anyone is in we do business with people we know and feel confident working with. Q What are your key leadership principles A This question could take three pages alone However here are the key categories that have the most influence on my leadership philosophy Have a Vision ( Where there is no vision people perish... Proverbs 29 18) Communication Skills (clear concise correct and direct) People Skills (visible and available listen ask questions and care) Character Counts (honesty integrity hard work and perseverance) Competence (solving problems team building and delegation) Boldness (decisiveness and confidence) Serving Heart (no explanation needed here) Q Does your company have any operating principles for excellence A Yes in 2012 Events DC created a campaign called Strive for Five . After each one of our conventions our clients complete a survey where they score each department between one and five. Obviously we want all fives These five principles also stand for teamwork accountability respect professionalism and communication. Q What is your management style A First of all I m never a micromanager. I hire mature experienced and talented professionals with expertise in their field and who align with our job descriptions. Empowerment is another fundamental of my management style. My door is always open for conversation and questions while allowing my team to make sound decisions and judgments on their own. Q Could the hospitality industry be considered a fluff industry and not taken seriously for economic impact A Quite the contrary in 2015 direct spending by resident and international travelers in the United States averaged 2.5 billion a day 105.8 million an hour 1.8 million a minute and 29 398 a second Each U.S. household would pay 1 147 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by travel and tourism. Q What impact does your organization have in Washington D.C. A Events DC is the top organization in Washington D.C. in the arena of convention and sports management. We manage seven venues from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (a 2.3 million square foot facility) and RFK Stadium (a 47 000 seat arena that was the original football stadium for the Washington Redskins). In 2015 we produced 232 events at the convention center and over 1.2 million attendees walked through our doors. Q What are five key values you live by A I believe in integrity honesty faith loyalty and optimism. Q If I asked your friends and colleagues about you give me three words for how they would describe you. A I d like to think they would describe me as dynamic thoughtful and inspiring. Q If you could do anything else than what you are doing now what would that be A I would be a professional speaker traveling globally speaking and empowering women in their lives careers and families. Q As a Woman of Distinction what advice would you leave our readers with A One of my favorite quotes is by Emily Dickinson Dwell in possibility. Possibility is defined as unspecified qualities of a promising nature or potential. Always look for potential that which others may not see. And be open and available for the unexpected. 20 Women of Distinction Loren Gelber Ph.D. Pharmaceuticals and Related Medical Devices Consultant Loren Gelber Consulting Charlotte NC Q&A Q What is regulatory affairs And what s in it for a chemist A Regulatory affairs deals with government regulations. In my case US pharmaceutical regulatory affairs means dealing with the FDA. At times in my career I have also been responsible for safety and environmental issues. Regulatory affairs often involves complex scientific issues and risk versus benefit decisions. Unless you have a scientific background you will not be able to distinguish facts from preferences. Q Why should a woman become a chemist A When I was starting out in the late 1960 s and 1970 s women chemists were quite rare. Today close to half of younger chemists are women. Many of them realize that women always did chemistry they just called it cooking. Q Are pharmaceuticals safe A All pharmaceuticals have side effects in some people. Every decision to use a pharmaceutical is a risk versus benefit decision. In many cases such as antibiotics and most vaccines the benefit is clear and the risk relatively small. Q Do you think things have changed for women in scientific fields A Definitely. While I still have occasions where I am the only woman in the room this is much more rare than it once was. There are a lot of women in the entry levels today and I expect the best to rise to the top. E Q What are some examples of consumer protection A Avoiding radiation and microbial contamination in food ensuring that drugs and medical devices are manufactured according to current good manufacturing practices and testing televisions and microwave ovens to ensure they don t emit too much radiation. ven with a master s degree in chemistry Loren Gelber has a difficult time finding a job in 1973. Somewhere through her fruitless job search her husband suggested to Loren that she apply for a civil service position and finally the Food and Drug Administration hired her as a lab chemist. Loren spent eight years on the bench and earned her Ph.D. which was mostly financed by FDA and USP. She finally landed a promotion to chemist reviewer in FDA headquarters in Maryland. From there in 1985 she left the FDA due to the severe budget cuts and resulting hiring freezes that shrank the agency below the number of people needed to complete the tasks at hand and went to four different firms in regulatory affairs and compliance. For the past 10 years she has been a consultant. At my age I no longer have the stamina and dexterity to do chemistry. However I still think about chemistry and other sciences. By being a consultant I can share my years of experience with others. 21 Women of Distinction Lynette R. Murry Writing Publishing Full Time Student - Southern New Hampshire University HIV AIDS Activist Author Jefferson City MI s an Author Activist and full time Student at Southern New Hampshire University Lynette Murry loves to share her passion for writing while making a positive impact on the world through her activism. A I ve continued to do this for so long because I love the emotional reaction that is displayed by individuals who have read my poetry. I have a dream of being published all over the world. Lynette is currently attending online courses through Southern New Hampshire University and is expected to earn her BA Degree in Creative Writing with a concentration on Poetry in December 2016. Though her career as a writer hasn t fully taken off yet she has already had seven of her poetry works published. Her first poem was published in 2011 after winning a poetry contest. At the moment she is in talks with a publishing company to have an entire book of her poems published in the near future. She is a member of both Poetry Nation and Poemhunter which are poetry critique groups and has taken advantage of entering Poetry Jam Sessions at her local library. When asked about her greatest inspiration Lynette gives credit to the late Nik McCarson who always displayed faith in her abilities and taught her to always believe in herself and her poetry and never give up on her dreams. She is also inspired by her cousin Nick Pipes and his husband Trenton along with friends Jason Fox Tracy Cameron-Decker Andrea McCarson Kevin Fox and Jacob Fox whom she holds very close to her heart and considers family. Lynette is also very thankful for her late aunt Sylvia who practically raised her throughout life and stuck by her side no matter what. I am extremely passionate about finding a cure for HIV AIDS Lung Cancer Diabetes and Fibromyalgia because they all affected my life in some way. I returned to college to make a difference in my life I wanted something more and was tired of the dead-end path I was taking. I m extremely loyal and protective of those close to me. They are loyal and protective of me as well. They re all I have in life. In her leisure Lynette enjoys reading and working at an animal shelter for dogs and cats where she helps the animals find permanent homes. She also participates in AIDS walks such as the AIDS Walk in Kansas City and helps raise funds to find a cure for the disease. The advice I would offer to someone is to always believe in yourself regardless of the obstacles that may be thrown in their way. Fight for what you want and never give up on what you desire out of life or the dreams you have. Also accept criticism gracefully because it s only given to help you improve. I would like the world to remember me as an individual who stood up for what I believed in fought for what I wanted and set out to achieve all of my goals or died trying. 22 Women of Distinction Maggie Razdar Publication Education Non-Profit Founder and President of Kids Standard Publication Clarkston MI I The mother of two boys I hoped to inspire and showcase student s creativity and writing talents. With the increasing presence of digital technology in the lives of our children I felt that kids were losing touch with activities like reading writing and research. Seven years ago I was at a crossroad. I watched my own children being inundated with video games social media and digital technology. t was then that Maggie Radzar found her call to action and formed Kids Standard magazine a publication that is the first of its kind. It s a magazine catered for children and written by children whose mission is to create an integrated community--of children parents educators and other professionals--to promote creativity and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge in all children. I yearned for my own children to spend more time fostering creativity through the traditional arts like drawing painting reading and writing. I soon realized I was not alone. There were countless others family friends and educators who had a similar desire for our children to become less saturated in the digital world. I knew I could make a difference. Since the organization s inception Maggie has been an incredibly inspirational journey. She and her peers have successfully formed a magazine that serves as a platform for children to become published writers and they regularly collaborate with school districts and encourage children to create artwork and writings for submission to the magazine. Kids Standard has even started a comprehensive training program for high school students to mentor younger students which has led to an after school writing club in several elementary schools in the Clarkson school district. Kids Standard is inspiring children of all ages to involve themselves in the writing process. We have expanded to young author tutoring program. Several board members and I tutor high school students in researching writing and creative problem solving. Furthermore Maggie and her team teach and train their high school mentors the Four Cs of 21st century collaboration communication critical thinking and creativity. These high school students can then mentor elementary students in reading and writing. As a publisher Maggie puts all of the articles together to make one file to send it for printing every month. She also oversees and handles advertising since Kids Standard prints 10 000 copies monthly and distributes them for free. Currently the magazine is supported through local advertisers and loans but the publication is seeking sponsorship to assist with the costs associated with both the magazine and mentoring programs in order to expand into other communities. I m passionate about two things one is education and the other is helping children succeed. I believe most of the world problems stems down from education. Kids Standard Publication encourages children to grow as learners and thinkers by featuring material created with a human touch. We are giving kids a platform to be a published writer and we are hopeful that parents teachers mentors and other professionals will be integral part of this mission. We want this sharing to be both fun and helpful in your education. Because we want them to be seen heard and recognized for their hard work and contribution. 23 Women of Distinction Natalie Fritz Water Softening Owner of Water Softener Services LLC Temple TX Q&A Q What can a water softener do for me A It will protect everything water touches in your home. It protects pipes washing machines sinks showers faucets and bathrooms from the buildup of calcium and magnesium. Q Will a water softener help with scum in my bathroom shower A Yes it reduces soap scum and residue in showers tubs and sinks. Q Will a water softener help my hair and skin Does it help with eczema A Yes your hair and skin will feel smoother and softer after you shower or shave. Your hair will be more manageable. It ll save on shampoo because you won t need as much to get a lather going. Q How would a water softener help with washing clothes A Clothes will be cleaner softer and last longer. The water requires 50% less detergent saving money. Your clothes will feel better and last longer with soft water. I Clean water is a way of life. n 2009 Natalie Fritz started working in the water filtration business alongside her husband and son. I wanted to help people learn about clean water in their homes. Q I m tired of buying bottled water but it tastes better than the sink water can you help me get bottled water taste from my home A A reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system can be installed right at your kitchen sink providing nice clean water better tasting water without the waste of bottles. It can also help improve the taste of your ice coffee and tea. Q Is hard water bad for me A No some minerals such as calcium and magnesium which hardens the water But does not pose any harm when consumed but they often leave spots on dishes a filmy build up in your bathtub and shower and can even have you feeling less clean. Q We have a well system the water smells can you help with that A Absolutely we can help you with that rotten egg smell which is produced by hydrogen sulfide. Each home will have their own specific needs. We would then set up a time to discuss your personal needs for your home. I love having clean water. Now I want to reach as many families as possible. It has now become Natalie s goal to educate and help any who would want to know how they could have clean soft water in their homes. Within Water Softener Services LLC Natalie serves as the owner and is tasked with taking care of all advertising office management employees payroll finances and all administrative duties. However Natalie loves the fact that she gets to work with family. I m most happy surrounded by family and friends. They are the key to life Family and friends stick with you through all the ups and downs of working for yourself. Without them I wouldn t be where I am today At the end of the day Natalie wants to be remembered for sharing her love of God helping others in need working hard for her family passing on her strengths and failures and letting others learn by them. 24 Women of Distinction Nolana Eastwood Customer Service Customer Service Representative Concentrix O I love interacting with different people. In this career I get to talk to people from just about anywhere and I have learned all type of things by just building rapport with my customers from all over the world. ver the past ten years Nolana Eastwood has worked as a customer service representative. Originally she worked for a brick and mortar company however five years ago Nolana made the switch to Concentrix where she s able to work from home and grow within the company. Now in her position as a customer service representative Nolana serves at the frontline of the company and is responsible for talking to different customers and resolving their issues personally in a friendly yet professional manner. Although Nolana feels she has not broken past the ground floor of her career she knows that it s coming. Q&A Q Where does your determination come from A Myself. With some of the things that I have endured in the past at one point in my life I thought I wasn t meant for anything and I can remember I used to pray to not wake up the next day. I was in a dark place in my life and I never want to do that again. I m now determined that I m destined for something great that I have a purpose and I won t let anything stop me anymore. Q What do you feel is your purpose A My purpose is to deliver my message to anybody who will listen and hopefully help at least one person who is struggling. My message is don t let your past keep you from what is meant for your future. I want people to know I have been where they are and I made and so can you. Q How has your job helped contribute to where you are today A As long as I am working I m continuing to push forward. Even though I am still not where I want to be I m working towards it and not giving up. I feel as long as I m not giving up I can inspire others not to give up as well. I will keep going until I have reached the top. I honestly haven t even decided where the top is yet. I know that I can be as successful as I want to be and that I won t let anything stop me. The top to me as where I will finally be satisfied. Where I can sit back and say to myself I did it. Throughout her life and career Nolana s biggest influence has been her family. I want to make it for my kids. I want to be a role model to them. I don t want my kids to see me as a mother who gave up. I want to show them that no matter what you can never give up or give in. 25 Women of Distinction Suzi M. Nowak Clergy Music Co-Pastor & Director of Music & Fine Arts at Edgemere Church of God Baltimore MD S uzi M. Nowak is a wife & mother who has a passion for the things of God enjoys music fashion photography and fun Although all of these avenues describe her it has often been said that she was born specifically for ministry partly due to the rich heritage from her parents whom she assisted and learned from because they served as pastors her entire life and also because of the way her life is portrayed to others on a daily basis. As a child I loved to sing and had a heart towards ministry. It was not until after college however did I assume the actual position of serving in leadership position. Over the years Suzi has served in various positions as an administrator with various companies held a Makeup Artist license and tried many other avenues but realized she was created and trained to be a minister. The first step in Suzi s career was working for a Youth Outreach program. She later married and assumed an Associate Minister Position next to her husband and together they currently serve as the Lead Pastors at the Edgemere Church of God in Baltimore Maryland. I enjoy helping people reach their potential and strive to inform others that there is a life waiting for them that can be full of joy and love and hope. I love to sing and once the opportunity came my way to produce a CD of my music it was another avenue to reach out to people who were hurt or to let them know to enjoy every moment of life because it s short. Suzi also assists in the planning and execution of humanitarian and mission trips to Peru Panama Mexico Indian Reservations the inner cities of Downtown Baltimore and various other areas to bring hope and assistance to those so desperately in need through school assemblies home improvement projects providing clothing and food or teaching children. Suzi is heavily involved with senior citizen care and activities along with prison ministry and addictions. My biggest love is that of music and the arts. I lead the worship at our church and often am privileged to serve in larger arenas such as conferences and outreach events. Recently Suzi was able to record a solo project in Nashville with some of the best known local musicians and a percentage of profits from that project are reserved to assisting organizations in the fight against Human Trafficking. As Co-Pastor for the Edgemere Church of God Suzi gets to serve alongside a fantastic husband and pastor who truly loves and inspires others. Suzi s role combines both administration and outreach. She works with youth programs at local high schools heads up a young adult ministry team and works with women s groups hosts retreats and weekly gatherings and plans trips in order to inspire and encourage others in being all they were created to be and recognize the potential given us through Christ. 26 It took me awhile to realize that I was meant to serve others in the music industry and pastoral field. I fought it on the outside for so many years and became the most fulfilled when I finally surrendered to the call on my life. Do what your heart knows and be the best you can be because your desire is already part of the confirmation cast fear aside and go for it Women of Distinction Tanika S. Harper Elite Facility Maintenance Business Partner Harper s Naturals OwnerKnoxville TN F orming a business together with her sisters April Jackson and Deidra Harper in 2011 Tanika S. Harper was excited about the idea of entrepreneurship. Their residential janitorial company Elite Facility Maintenance in Knoxville Tennessee had a goal of putting jobs back into the community while also building a legacy for their children and family and they ve been doing so ever since. Using their strong faith in God to guide them Tanika and her sisters love working with each other and wouldn t dream of venturing into business any other way. As their love for each other continues to grow so does their brand which proudly represents who they are as businesswomen. Harper s Naturals is still in its infancy stage but it s already grown beyond belief Tanika said smiling. Natural is better and more and more people are realizing that. One in five cosmetics may have cancer causing agents in them. My products however lessen the risk of cancer and other illnesses that are caused by many of those cosmetics. Tanika is proud to say that Harper s Naturals now offers a complete line of body care products online that are all natural and safe. Harper s Naturals products are also safe for babies. A Young Lives Mentor for inner city teen moms in her down time which is a subsidiary of the national Young Life Ministry Tanika helps to teach mothers life skills how to better care for their babies and how to financially survive. She also volunteers each week at her five-year-old daughter s school in the cafeteria and encourages her in all of her gymnastics and basketball extracurricular activities. Her daughter means the world to her. I work hard to build strong relationships with customers Tanika said. I familiarize myself with every contract scope of work and check on job sites regularly. The customer is the first priority. It s important to stay on top of everything as a business owner representing my company. Thankful to have a mentor to help Tanika and her sisters build up their business he taught them most importantly how to price and bid jobs and how not to lose money. Believing in the philosophy that no money is better than losing money Tanika and her sisters pay close attention to detail. Between the three of them they have over 20 years of higher education and leadership experience. In 2014 Tanika formed a second business Harper s Naturals. After being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Sjogrens she realized there was a greater need for non-toxic cosmetics. I m just a small city girl with big dreams Tanika said. It s important to know that where you live the color of your skin and your gender should never get in the way of your goals. With God on your side anything is possible. 27 Women of Distinction Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon MSW Ed.D T Education Social Worker with the Atlanta Public School System (2) the founder and CEO of K.A.T.I.E. (Karing Actions Towards Inspiring Eagles) LLC Atlanta GA erriyln C. Rivers-Cannon began her journey with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) in 2004 as a contract School Social Worker. She left to pursue an opportunity within a neighboring school district but returned in 2009 after being offered a full time position. She has been working in the field of Social Work for over 20 years and enjoys each and every moment of it as it always enables new as well as exciting challenges for her to discover. As a School Social Worker with APS it is Terriyln s responsibility to provide services that promote educational success. Her primary role is to serve as a liaison child advocate while collaborating and consulting with not only students but parents school administrators faculty and her community. Her main concern is the best interest of the families and or student(s). She ensures that the appropriate interventions as well as services are provided in order to guide those at risk for educational failure. Additionally Terriyln works as a change agent . By developing relationships with her students she encourages the necessity for change while recognizing and embracing the fact that each child transcends from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Therefore it is vitally important that all stakeholders inside as well as outside of the walls of education work together to ensure students understand reaching for the sky is great but reaching for the stars is even better as it truly has no limits. Terriyln maximizes educational opportunities for her students by establishing new and innovative programs which help to improve their interpersonal relationships and introduces them to different problem solving approaches. In addition she teaches successful coping mechanisms for crisis situations in the development of self-discipline valuable problem- solving decision-making skills and encourages ways to resolve conflicts without violence. When asked about her greatest inspiration Terriyln humbly credits her late Aunt and mentor Ms. Katie Mae Tindal. As the founder Owner and CEO of K.A.T.I.E. (Karing Actions Towards Inspiring Eagles) a dedication to Ms. Tindal Terriyln reflects on her past as a child when she would often listen to her Aunt s interactions with students families and colleagues. She states I would watch as she inspired and encouraged all of them to understand that their beginning did not have to determine where they may end up in life. Terriyln quotes her Aunt and strongly believes that it is one s determination and steadfast resiliency that allows them to progress on to the next level and accomplish future goals. Needless to say she instilled in Terriyln the importance of inspiring families to soar to new heights something that she affirms she will never lose sight of as she continuously lives by her Aunt s example each day. Terriyln Rivers-Cannon is an innovative outside the box thinker who always keeps an individual s best interest at heart. She has tremendous faith in God and understands that life is not a one size fits all model on purpose there is always a solution for one to identify their true fit and when it is found she believes they need to wear it with pride Terriyln has embraced many challenges as they have enabled her to excel as a professional not only inside the educational setting but outside as well. Her greatest goal is to work collaboratively with her community by making sure that even the voices of its most vulnerable populations are heard. She follows the legacy of activist Dorothy I. Height stating ALL voices matter. 28 Women of Distinction Wendollyn Wendy Loayza Education & Enlightenment of Love for The Self CEO of Self-Awareness Practitioners and Finding Your Voice NY & CT W endollyn Wendy Love Loayza s mission in life is to help people find their voice and to listen to it. For the past three years Wendy has been giving clients a new perspective on life as the CEO of Self-Awareness Practitioners and Finding Your Voice. Wendy has been a leading edge example of learning to love yourself. Wendy s practice has helped many people cope with various life challenges such as divorce marriage parenthood addiction self-esteem sexual trauma and abuse. Wendy has been on Spanish Radio looking to entice people to find their voice and the strength to look within. She is currently writing her life books and will soon be published. When we asked Wendy how and why she got started she said I got started in my career of self-transformation because I wanted so badly to find my own voice and understand myself more fully I wanted to find my purpose in life and to ultimately learn to love myself and just be happy she said. My ultimate role within the company is to be a visionary and allow the creative self to take over allowing me to serve as many people as possible. It wasn t a career path Wendy envisioned growing up in Queens New York. She attended high school at St. John s Preparatory then went on to Queens College studying Liberal Arts and Psychology. She later went on to continue her education in Katharine Gibbs in New York City where she graduated Valedictorian in 2003. She then graduated from Paul Mitchell the School in Connecticut as a hairdresser and cosmetologist. Her love of finance led her to earn her financial planning and life insurance licenses. She didn t stop there. She became a certified life and health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and then continued on to become an international health and life coach so that she could help people on a global level. Wendy is also a drugless practitioner essential oils educator wellness advocate certified aromatherapy touch therapist and she just could not leave behind the love for helping people understand their finances and studied to become a financial credit and debt consolidation specialist. I have equipped myself with all the tools that I or one of my clients may need for their journey to peaceful living she said. There is more to come. I am so excited for the rest of my life. In her free time Wendy enjoys time with her loving husband and her two beautiful children. Her hobbies include traveling being with friends laughing dancing meditation and yoga. Over the years Wendy worked at several banks and owned multiple businesses franchises including Mary Kay Herbalife Doterra and FES to name a few trying to find herself. Three years ago Wendy decided to become a fulltime life coach and launched her coaching business Finding Your Voice . The greatest gift of all is watching someone come to you in a state of uncertainty and depression and be blessed by watching them transform right before your eyes into independent strong happy healthy beings Wendy said. I am truly grateful for all those that come before me and those that will. My journey has just begun 29 Women of Distinction Alley Bell Health & Wellness Fitness Co-Owner of Align Body.Mind Oxford MS lley Bell Co-Owner of Align Body.Mind was born into the Health and Wellness industry. Her mother a fitness instructor and gym owner instilled in Alley at an early age the value of working out and eating right. Alley became a fitness instructor as a young woman regularly teaching group exercises classes. During college she continued teaching and gained experience in the fitness world. After graduation she took a job for a local Cycling and Pilate s studio in town where she was able to put her experience into real world practice. After a few transitions the opportunity was presented to open her very own Fitness Studio. After meeting with three friends for breakfast they had a plan for opening a studio together and Align Body.Mind was born. After working as a marketing director for a food chain I quickly realized my calling was in fitness. My job changes lives. As a trainer and group exercise instructor I become a friend a listener an encourager an accountability partner and a book of knowledge to my clients. With my career I am able to not only see women transform their physical bodies but also transform their marriages relationships overcome eating disorders insecurities prevent diseases and the list goes on. I take pride in investing in my client s lives. Alley holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Marketing from The University of Mississippi and is a Certified Group Fitness Instructor Certified Personal Trainer Certified Zumba Instructor and Certified in CPR AED First Aid through the American Red Cross. In addition to being a successful business owner Alley also cohosts a popular podcast called Living Out Loud with Alley & Amanda. A The duo records a new podcast every other Thursday which can be found on the podcast app as well by searching Living out Loud with Alley & Amanda or on their website -- wwww. livingoutloud.today Alley encourages aspiring professionals to never give up on their true passions. Do what you love and don t look back. If I told you I had a plan I would be lying. I was certain that this was the right thing and knew God would come through for me and that He did. I started growing my business through Facebook. I posted recipes exercises and motivation daily. As my page grew I started training more clients and finding odd jobs as I developed my brand and reputation. Though it was slow moving it was preparing me to open my own studio. Today Alley is continuing to grow her business. She and her partners are working on bringing a new concept to Oxford called Aerial Fitness which is a modern style of exercise that incorporates a low-hanging soft fabric hammock to explore alignment and release chronic tension. It s appropriate for anyone including beginners. Every class includes decompression supported inversions core and upper body strengthening deep relaxation and tons fun Alley is married and has a young daughter. In her free time Alley enjoys relaxing with a cup of tea and spending time with friends and family. Our mission is to encourage women to find freedom in living their lives out loud. We invite women to be transparent share difficulties joys sorrows and excitement We love to interview women and be a platform for them to share their story with the world. When I am gone I want others to say that my transparency and ability to be real with others encouraged them to be themselves and grow closer to Jesus. 30 Women of Distinction Marene J. Austin-Joyner Entrepreneur Publishing Motivational Speaking Life Coaching Published Author Jewelry Artist Entrepreneur Business Owner 31 Inspirational Motivational Speaker Consultant and Life Coach Women of Distinction M arene J. Austin-Joyner is an inspirational businesswoman of many talents. She is a Published Author Jewelry Artist Entrepreneur Business Owner Inspirational Motivational Speaker Consultant and Life Coach. Further she is a devoted wife mother and a grandmother. In all areas of her life Marene chooses to Celebrate. Having endured no shortage of difficult situations Marene adopted a positive outlook that she is passionate about sharing with others. Marene s career started in 1981 when she decided to enroll in college as a married woman in an effort to build a better life for her family. Her husband who was the household s sole breadwinner at the time became very ill thrusting Marene into the challenging and rewarding role of supporting their five daughters. After graduated college in 1985 she landed her first corporate job at a Fortune 500 Company with few skills. Nonetheless Marene consistently took advantage of continuing education classes while working her way up the corporate ladder. In less than six years after she started as a Switchboard Operator she was promoted to Operations Manager. After enduring repeated rough patches to earn a degree and later landing a job Marene decided that success was lonely if she didn t share it with other financially challenged individuals. Thus within a few years of many achievements she was compelled to go back into the community and help others to find their own calling and become successful like she had done. In 1996 she founded the non-profit Choice Inc. Thousands of individuals benefitted from receiving the training that Choice Inc. provided in order for them to obtain the skills needed to become self-sufficient and self-actualized. Marene continued to operate Choice Inc. amidst many personal challenges such as working full time continuing her education taking care of her sick husband and her family. My work at Choice Inc. also served as a buffer that helped me to better deal with the many dares that I confronted daily. It was a very positive distraction After her husband passed away in 2000 Marene continued to operate as CEO at Choice Inc. until 2010. She went on to teach Professional Development at a local career college in 2007 and remained in that position for three years until finding her true calling as an author jewelry designer and motivational speaker. She published her first book in 2011 entitled Celebrate Life s Lessons. The compelling book is filled with inspirational messages and stories of Marene s life s experiences. Today Marene uses her company MA Enterprises as a platform to share her powerful book and a new line of jewelry that she fashions by hand called CELEBRATE All of her products can be used as a point of motivation and memorabilia for everyone. My book and jewelry go hand-in-hand to offer celebratory inspiration and motivation My book and jewelry are very unique products that give people reasons to celebrate. My book is an inspiration that encourages one to celebrate as I plant seeds of motivation and my jewelry is an outward show of celebration as I string pearls of wisdom. Additionally in 2013 Marene established a new non-profit called My Choice. Through the organization Marene has created online classrooms to help restore others to their proper state of mindset and recovery. My passion to heal has kept me grounded faithfully in community service. People generally endure many tribulations and I am gifted as a catalyst to define pain and to offer solutions in a more efficient manner. This way we are afforded the opportunity to reach and affect change across cultures and ethnicities on a broader scale. My new and improved company My Choice is more about passing the torch and ensuring this work continues with time. While growing her businesses Marene always put family first. She has spent the last two years caring for her elderly mother who sadly passed away earlier this year in Marene s home. A newly wed Marene is currently CELEBRATING her recent marriage which took place in December 2015. This is another indication that I am living celebrating and enjoying my life Hoping to leave a legacy through her book motivation materials (such as tapes CDs and DVDs) and her jewelry line Marene is passionate about passing her talents onto the next generation. She is currently training her grandchildren in her craft in hopes of keeping the brand on the market forever. I have chosen to Celebrate some of the occurrences from my life. It s all about how I turned my own life into a walk of faith as I listened to and blindly followed my inner voice to my destiny and success. Ultimately my book is a celebration on how I transformed many negative episodes in my life into positive lessons. Then I decided to use my own motivation to create celebrations for others. 32 Had I not adopted a positive thought process early on in my own life I believe that some of my life s experiences would ve devastated me Nonetheless many of those professional challenges actually catapulted me to dream bigger try harder and to soar higher My goal is to grow with growth. Just like in life growth requires us to wear larger sizes thus I ve learned to embrace every new market. My success or failure depends on ME Women of Distinction Janet Ballone P Writing Publishing Retired Graphic Designer. Published Author of Poems of the Soul and The Woodman Stan Hope NJ ublished author of Poems of the Soul and The Woodman Janet Ballone uses her talents to uplift and encourage her readers. Following a long and successful career as a graphic designer after retiring Janet turned her attention to her lifelong passion for writing. Inspired by fellow writers via a major poetry website www.allpoetry. com Janet began entering her poems into literary contests. Her works were immediately well received. Authors active on the website from all walks of life helped Janet continue to grow her writing skills and encouraged her to take the next step -- publishing a book. Her first book Poems of the Soul is a collection of Janet s finest award-winning poems. Her newly released children s book entitled The Woodsman tackles the significant issue of bullying. The fantasy tale teaches both children and adults the importance of respecting one another. Q&A Q What made you decide to publish your first poetry book A Being a member of a major poetry site which is based on contests I realized if I simply wrote from my heart and experiences the trophies were delivered easily. Other published writers on the site encouraged me to get my poems out to the world so I took their advice and it s proving to be quite lucrative. Q Why did you start writing later in life A I wrote a few poems while in my 20 s but my work life was very time consuming along with my personal life. Now 30 years later and going through many trials and tribulations I have an array of experience in life s ups and downs and having more time on my hands allows me to explore the corners of my mind and write about them. Q What advice would I give to someone who wants to publish a book A Make sure you investigate and learn your subject very well. Learn writing techniques from online sources or through videos books or published writers. Don t give up and most of all don t be afraid to contact a publisher. They will guide you through the whole process. My legacy will be my published books my heartfelt poetry and my anti-bullying book which hopefully will be able to save children and or adults from depression and possible suicide. In addition to her published books Janet also operates two community pages on Facebook. One is named Poems of the Soul where she shares her poetry with more than 6 000 fans. Her second page Quiet Expressions is platform for Janet to post uplifting quotes which she shares with more than 5 000 people. With no plans on slowing down Janet is now planning to author a third book continuing the adventures of The Woodman and eventually a fourth book that speaks to her personal experiences of struggle and triumph. A survivor of severe pancreatitis the disease left Janet a Type I Diabetic and eventually with an addiction to fentanyl an opioid drug medically induced while hospitalized. Finding inner strength Janet was able to conquer the addiction with the help of God and a rehabilitation center. Moreover she was able to quit smoking after 23 years through Smoke-enders. She quit in 1991 and has never had another cigarette since. My message to people who are going through trials and tribulations is simply You Can Do It no matter what anyone says I also plan to write this book to help people feel they re not alone and CAN heal and live a long healthy life 33 Women of Distinction M aster Skincare Therapist Pamela D. Liberto is passionate about helping others through her business at SPAtacular Skincare Health & Wellness Center providing you with imcparable client service and results with highest priority. We are always trying to serve our valued clients better. A graduate of PJC in the Hospitality Tourism Property Management field Pamela is Master NCEA Certified in both Alabama and Florida as Skincare Specialist. Being resourceful leader Pamela inspires others to inspire themselves from the inside & out with revitalizing treatments at her service-driven results-oriented salon. Based in Gulf Shores Alabama SPAtacular Skincare & Wellness Center offers a wide range of high quality treatments including ear candling body wraps foot detox and aromatherapy systematic approach to any type of massage Customized Facials (Best experience we have is Customized Facials) and NuFace technology for instant face lift tanning waxing airbrush makeup Zyto Compass scan for keeping up with your body s growing needs of aromatheryapy as well as teeth whitening and vitality foot detox. The Zyto Compass is a way to discover information specifi to each person. The scan utilizes propietary software and galvanic skin response GSR technology to provide helpful information when making wellness secisions Pam did a Great job on my facial said one client. My face was glowing and felt so fresh and alive again. She took her time going over the issues I have with my face and used products to help enhance rejuvenate and calm my face. Pamela encourages aspiring business owners especially those in the Skincare & health and wellness industry to weight their decision carefully before opening a shop or spa. It is so much more than just a bottle of lotion and a table beyond Popular belief. The amount of education and continuing education that is required to keep up with the lastest technology and products that are really good for use and proven results. Your Passion should be all about your business because if not and you do not have a reliable support system you will burn out fast This is a challenging decision to make and one that you should give a lot of thought to Pamela advised. First of all you have to make sure that you are opening up a business for the right reasons and this is not just for your love and passion for helping people improve their skin. You have to be someone who does not mind working seven days a week because especially for the first three years it is going to be needed. Giving skin treatments is the easy and fun part getting a business up and running is the hard part. Aside from being a service provider you also have to continually wear your business hat & Be theBrand of your company Pamela is a dedicated community member and is a longtime supporter of organizations such as Women s Republican Community Women s Business Alliance Miram s Mardi Gras Crew which aids various local charities such as Mary s Shelter and The Light House as well as cancer victims. Pamela D. Liberto Skincare & Health Wellness Owner & Master Full Skincare Therapist at SPAtacular Skincare There are only 3 Master Skincare Specialist in Alabama & Health Wellness Center Associated Nail Professional Associate Gulf Shores AL Q&A Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learned that you feel is good advise for others A. Not to be too trusting Q. What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your industry A. Stay calm and be yourself. Q. What skincare products do you recommend I use in my skincare practice A. My best recommendation is to attend a tradeshow and look at all the lines available. The products that exhibit at esthetics tradeshows cater to estheticians and have a true understanding of what it takes for you to have a successful career. Choose a line that is extensive and has something for everyone. Once you choose a product line (or lines) look for the ones that have a lot of training and support. It is essential to your success that you have a company behind you that really wants to see you succeed. 34 Women of Distinction Stephanie SmithHoward RHU LTC ACA Insurance Medicare Senior Products Health Life Disability Long-Term Care President Owner Design Insurance Brokers & Consulting Mundelein IL S tephanie Smith-Howard is an outstanding Insurance Account Broker with more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry providing Medicare Senior Products Health dental life disability and long-term care plans to clients of every age. Stephanie is the President and Owner of Design Insurance Brokers & Consulting in Mundelein Illinois. A true professional who has been effectively assisting clients through the maze of insurance plans throughout a stellar career Stephanie is able to provide exceptional advice to individuals and businesses based on an in depth knowledge of products available from the ever changing insurance industry. She is an experienced Insurance Broker with a proven track record who consistently reviews trends laws and regulations within the insurance industry in order to provide clients with up-to-date information. Stephanie is a solutions expert who shares her expertise as a public speaker and writer. She has given comprehensive lectures to Chambers of Commerce Business Groups the University Center of CLC and Work Ministries as well as contributed to Medical Newsletters. Well spoken Stephanie has appeared on WKRS Radio Station to discuss topics such as Health Care Reform Medicare and Social Security Long-term Care Prudent Health Care Consumerism and Transitioning from COBRA to Private Insurance -- to name a few. Stephanie holds an Associates of Arts Degree from Triton College and a Registered Health Underwriters Designation from American College in addition to being Accident Health Life Property and Casualty Licensed. She is a member of several organizations including GLMV Chamber of Commerce Mundelein Community Connections Mundelein Business Alliance Small Business Advocacy Council National Association of Health Underwriters American Association for Long Term Care and Medicare Insurance and others. Additionally Stephanie is a member and past president of the Chicago Northeastern Illinois Association of Health Underwriters as well as current Membership Chair and past vice president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters. Stephanie is a dedicated community member. She is a Community Emergency Response Team Member for the Mundelein Fire Department Member of the Civil Air Patrol and previously was a volunteer EMT Firefighter. For her tireless professional efforts and volunteerism Stephanie has received many awards throughout her career. The GLMV Chamber of Commerce named her Member of the Year. She is also a Lake County Women s Coalition Award Recipient a Lake County Women of Distinction Award Recipient an Insurance Industry Award Recipient and National State Local National Health Underwriter s Awards Recipient. 35 Women of Distinction Tammy Atchison CPO Professional Organizing Owner of The Busy Corner LLC Houston TX ccording to The National Association of Professional Organizers Professional Organizing is more than just a knack for managing time or an eye for detail. It requires knowledge of organizing theory an understanding of small-business concepts and the ability to establish strong working relationships with clients. As owner of The Busy Corner LLC professional organizer Tammy Atchison specializes in residential organizing and has a unique talent for assessing situations to help clients turn the chaos of clutter into elegant efficiency. Tammy uses her expertise to help clients downsize relocate reorganization and redesign their homes. A client-orientated people person Tammy walks her customers through every step of the process from start to finish. A My favorite uncle was losing his battle with cancer. Together we went through every room organizing his belongings so that everything would be easier for him now and for his family later. It was during this time I realized that I enjoyed organizing. I was thrilled by the discovery knowing that helping people organize their space would be a rewarding new career. Tammy became a Certified Professional Organizer CPO in 2009. She is an active member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and has been serving on numerous committees for the organization since 2007. She is currently a Member and Liaison for NAPO s Golden Circle which recognizes members who have attained an elevated level of experience. For her expertise Tammy s has worked on popular shows such as Hoarders and Hoarders Buried Alive. When she is not helping others through her profession Tammy enjoys spending time with family and close friends as well as enjoying all that the Houston area has to offer especially attending concerts. Being able to help clients work on projects that they find insurmountable. It brings me great satisfaction knowing I have helped them bring order to daily routines spaces or any other area of disorganization that otherwise were so overwhelming for them. Seeing the sense of relief and gratitude is what inspires me to continue doing what I do. Prior to founding The Busy Corner in 2007 Tammy spent more than 20 years in the retail management industry as a high profile executive where she applied sincere customer service and unique merchandising skills. Seeking a new challenge a personal experience allowed Tammy to realize her dream profession. Compassion fills my heart. It is the foundation for all of my relationships whether family friends pets clients and colleagues. It creates a sense of balance peace and beauty in most situations. 36 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How do you want the world to be different A I envision a world where order and elegance prevail and nothing stands in the way of people experiencing their lives with enthusiasm and joy. Q What part of that vision are you going to offer everyday A The Busy Corner brings skill and enthusiasm to the task of creating order and elegance in homes and offices. Q What has created the current need demand to hire Professional Organizers Why can t I do it myself A Our lives have become so fast paced and specialized we don t have time to do it all. Work and family life have become so full the last thing that you want to do when you get home is organize. Hiring a professional organizer that specializes in exactly what your home needs provides the quickest and most efficient way to get the job done. They can help you create an organized peaceful home leaving you more quality time to spend on the things that are important to you. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses but don t be afraid to ask for help from a specialist in areas where you struggle. Q What should I look for when hiring a Professional Organizer A Look for an organizer who is certified and affiliated with local and national organizations. Longevity equals experience. Ask for client references and verify the Organizer is insured. Also look for a connection. Do you connect on the phone or at your first meeting Do you feel comfortable with this person You could be working closely for a length of time. Q Do you work alone or with a team A I enjoy working with a team but work independently with the majority of my clients. Depending on the size of the job I have a qualified team that accompanies me to fulfill the specific requirements of the project. This decision will be made during the initial consultation. Q Initially what should I expect from my organizing session(s) A The first meeting we spend time on fact finding. I want to know who you are how you live now and what your goals and expectations are. You may not see immediate physical changes right away it will depend on the project. It is best if you leave the home as is so I can better assess how to put systems in place that will work for you. A typical appointment is 3-4 hours with the exception of moves and large projects. Most projects require multiple appointments which we will assess during our initial goal setting. Q I m so overwhelmed where do I start A Now that we have determined your goals and expectations together we will create a plan to identify your needs and decide how to achieve them. We will work side by side to implement systems that you understand and will be able to maintain on your own. Distinguishing trash from treasure will help to make decisions on the items you keep. From there we will categorize like items and organize them in a predetermined area in the home. Q How do you deal with family memorabilia My house is full of family heirlooms that I don t really want but can t get rid of. A Keeping up with the past can often result in a crowded home. Don t get me wrong I am very sentimental (an unusual trait for a professional organizer). Letting go is hard especially when it includes memories from generations past or just your favorite pair of skinny jeans. If you can t use it love it and honor it I strongly believe you should let it go. If you are faced with the decision to deal with a loved ones estate be careful not to accumulate their memories as your own. Q What makes you and your company unique A The Busy Corner offers many services and provides customized solutions to meet each client s individual needs. Attention to detail and my innate ability to see the end result are talents that have allowed me to stand out from other organizers and provide our clients with a unique level of service. 37 Women of Distinction Charlene Peterson T Children s Books - Pre-K to 4th Grade Children s Book Author President - DCAPT Enterprises LLC Fredericksburg VA hrough her work as a Children s Book Author Charlene Peterson loves to express her passion for writing while providing children with an entertaining way to learn special life lessons. She is also the President of DCAPT Enterprises. I have a strong passion for writing. If you love what you do then you will thrive at it. One should never give up on writing if it s their passion. Keep pushing yourself and don t let anyone derail you from what you re trying to do. Do your research and do not rush the process things will happen. Seek advice from others who have taken the same journey. Having developed a love for writing in high school Charlene has been able to realize a dream of hers after having her first children s book titled Cowhead s Big Move published recent years. Along with her series The Misadventures of Cowhead she is planning on starting her own product line revolving around her main character. No matter who or what you are you should always live your dreams. If I didn t have the tenacity to move forward with my writing then my book would have never come to life. Without risk or hard work there is no reward and if you believe in it see it through. I give this same advice to my children. Regarding her education Charlene has a Masters Degree in Organizational Management and is currently working on earning her PhD in Organizational Development with an Emphasis in Leadership and Communication. Aside from writing Charlene loves to spend time with her husband and three children and enjoys cooking for them. I want my books to inspire children to continue reading and learning. Reading is 38 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why did you choose to write a children s book A I decided to write a children s book because my daughter was four years old at the time and I wanted to read her something that she could relate to. The stories I write about are based on her antics growing up -- things she did tried tested and spoke about. The book is relatable to all kids and their parents as well as teachers. Q Why is your book worth reading A Every kids loves to read or to be read to. My book has a gentle message for all kids and their parents to help explain things such as why some children are different from others. The messages I put forward in these stories are meant to help children grow and to help parents teach their children to cope with different things that happen in life. Although there are gentle messages my stories are cute fun and enjoyable to read. The illustrations capture the attention of the kids. Q What s something interesting about you What s something weird about you A Something interesting -- when it comes to crunch time I sit in my recliner put my feet up and close my eyes. This allows me to close out the world around me. I am alone and my thoughts come together and I m able to create magic. Something weird -- I like to pretend that I m a famous singer and that I m giving a concert in my car on my way to work. (No I cannot sing but in my mind I am the next Whitney Houston.) Q Besides writing and being with your family what else do you enjoy doing A I enjoy shopping and cooking. I love watching the Food Network as it gives me great ideas that I can turn into my own ideas. Q Is writing your full time job A No writing is not my full time job. I have a paying job working in support of the Department of Defense as well as in support of the Department of Homeland Security. I am hoping that one day soon writing will become my full time job. Q You say your book is part of a series. When will the next book be released A This book was just released. Once I get a little more recognition on the first book I will release the second book. It is already written but needs illustrations. Q Are you interested in doing anything else with your book series A Yes I m hoping to launch a product line with plush dolls rain boots DVDs birthday party themed items and so much more. Hopefully a cartoon will come out of this. That would definitely be a blessing. I think the kids would love to see this book as well as the others I m working on in live animation form. I think a cartoon would be great (So if there are any investors reading this article let s talk. I promise you will not be disappointed.) Q How would you define success A Success is a mindset. A person s idea of success is based on the goals they put for themselves and those goals can change depending on the direction a person wishes to go in. Q Have you reached success as of today A No I have not. In my mind I will never reach success because I will always be reaching for my next goal. Now if you ask my nine year old daughter she will say success is when I reach 100k in sales so I can take her and the family to Paris. I may not be successful in other people s eyes but my book is out so I will not discount that as part of my success. This is a very nice start to my future. Q Where do you see yourself in 10 years A I see my book and main character as a household name. I see myself book on the 1 best sellers list. Also in 10 years I see myself sitting in a cabin in the snowcapped mountains writing more books expanding my series and working on other books. I also see a full line of products flowing off the store shelves and my main character Cowhead on the silver screen bringing smiles to kids faces everywhere. 39 Women of Distinction Wanda Bass Greeting Card Vice President - Public Relations of Xcards Newark NJ As Vice President of Xcards Wanda is responsible for the company s public relations so she wears many hats in order to develop and promote the product. Her tasks include designs writing content promotions sales marketing and building the brand. But first and foremost we are a true example of what we re selling. However their biggest challenge has been getting into major retail stores because greeting card giants like Hallmark and American Greeting have contracts with them to only carry their product line. Although pursuing a market untouched by the greeting card industry has allowed us to break through into some of these stores without any conflict from major manufacturers. Therefore we re currently in our first major retail store Shoprite. Hallelujah Wanda s purpose in life is to continue to perfect this product and believes that it will bring about a breakthrough or be the stepping stone to creating effective communication to restore and maintain healthy relationships that last for a lifetime. In 2008 Wanda Bass and her ex-husband discovered a void in the greeting card industry for people who are divorced or separated yet may still have ties through children or unresolved issues. They wanted to provide a tool that has never existed before for people who find themselves in this unfortunate situation to communicate a sentiment or emotion they otherwise could not do through a card. We know in our hearts that there s a need for this product in today s society. 40 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Xcards believes that within a society where the divorce rate is 50% and out of wedlock births are nearly 40% there s a need for cards that express the thoughts and point of views of people who find themselves in unfortunate but sometimes necessary circumstances. One of the main objectives of Xcards is to promote a healthy parenting environment for the children involved in these separations. We believe that a stable relationship between parents is the foundation for raising confident and socially healthy children. Q How did you come up with the concept of Xcards A There was a time when Father s Day or my ex-husband s birthday came around. I would go to the stores and noticed that there was not a category for our particular circumstances. There were only cards for husband lover friend etc. However there weren t any cards for the father of my children that express the words I wanted to convey for our current situation. I would then buy a general card and write something inside that expressed what I really wanted to say. Q What demographic (audience) do you see Xcards serving the most A The truth of the matter is that this is a universal social issue that affects all cultures and communities. Q Is it challenging working with your ex-spouse A The most difficult challenges are to learn how to forgive and how to receive forgiveness. Once you ve accomplished this you can move on and not be subjected to the issues of the past. We feel it is very important to remain focused on the business and not drift back to the issues of the past. Remember whether working together in business or raising your children together (which are very similar) you have to focus on a common goal the success of your business or the success of your children. Q How has your current working relationship benefited the children born to the marriage A Through open communication positive attitudes mutual respect with plenty of love and patience these all have a place in creating a healthy environment for our children to make a successful transition. Q What would you tell divorced couples with children who have less than a loving friendship A Choose to forgive. When people hurt or offend you you can choose to respond either with anger that will harm you and your children or choose to walk through the forgiveness that God calls us all to pursue. Work to separate your emotional response to your ex s reactions and seek solutions not retaliations. Accept the challenge to be the voice of reason rather than of reaction so you can move forward in providing a healthy environment for your children. Q How can a negative relationship affect your children and their future relationships A This is a complicated issue and the cause and effect can be multiple. Children do not have prior knowledge or skills so they eagerly look for someone to imitate. That someone is usually one or both parents. Parents are the first role models and teachers and children are affected more by what their parents do and say. The example of what a child has before them (whether good or bad) may become the standard that a child uses for the rest of their life. Q Do you enjoy your work A Yes I enjoy my work and feel so very passionate with what we re doing in our company as a team. Xcards is A Need For The Now. Q What is the ultimate goal of your company A To be a brand sold nationally and possibly internationally in many major retail stores and pharmacies. Therefore to expedite the achievement of this goal we re willing to partner with a corporation or individual that sees the vision and potential of the company. This entity must not only have the financial backing to build the brand and product but also have the influence and connections to open the doors for Xcards to gain access to more major retail outlets. Q What would you say to people who object to the concept of Xcards A Xcards is visionary. We expect it s going to be confronted by doubters skeptics and those threatened by its realization. As a result there will always be walls put up on the way to achieving the objective but we will continue to walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore we will go over and around or through the walls by virtue of God s resourcefulness. Xcards comes with a new perspective daring you to break the traditional mindset by tearing down the walls of defense. It s a stepping stone to forgiveness healing and restoration so we re extending an invitation to all who have gone through divorce separation to purchase our greeting card and seize your breakthrough as we did. 41 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 Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon MSW Ed.D Education Social Worker with the Atlanta Public School System (2) the founder and CEO of K.A.T.I.E. (Karing Actions Towards Inspiring43 Eagles) LLC Women of Distinction 44 Women of Distinction