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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Linzi Levinson Life Coach Linzi successfully executes an innovative-upside-down coaching model never yet done before Astonishing results culminate in her being awarded DIPLOMATE STATUS recognized by The American Psychotherapy Association. This is the highest level of achievement in her field. O wn e r & Fo u n d er o f Q u a l i t y f o r L i f e C oachi ng Women of Distinction 1 I am so honored and thrilled that Women of Distinction Magazine has chosen to feature me in the Fall Edition. Distinction is such a powerful word. When you do read the article you will understand that I proudly live my life upside down. Living upside down is quite distinct indeed In being honored I feel compelled to name my greatest mentors advisors teachers inspirations motivators (and dare I say groupies ) a Klie Levinson and Trace Levinson my children. I am not sure who I was the day before my children were born but currently sharing the planet with them certainly defines all that I am now. Klie Sam and Traceman a You are the best friends any human could ever be blessed with. Personally though as MY best friends my heart has learned to expand each and every day in an effort to accommodate the blatant reality that I inevitably just keep loving you more and more by the minute. for this mom...gratitude abounds. 3 Women of Distinction T oday s world is in crisis. It is reflected in the economy our relationships education identity and politics. All of this crisis ultimately overlaps in human lives creating the deterioration of general wellness and certainly the challenge to maintain stable mental health. Battling these alarming trends Life Coach Linzi Levinson is transforming mindsets and educating about the power of a shifted perspective. Linzi is a globally syndicated radio host and lifestyle expert that inspires and ignites her listeners and clients to pursue their passions by helping them eliminate depression stress and anxiety. She is convicted that we are all entitled to self-esteem. It is for this reason she is such an advocate for each and every individual to live their truth. She is an evangelist for the LGBTQ community and believes we are not in the world to step into the lifestyle that was waiting for us but rather it is our responsibility to design the authentic lifestyles that fit exactly how we were meant to live. Linzi owns a successful Relationship Counseling Practice as well as a Comprehensive Life Coaching Practice called Quality for Life Coaching. She manages her business in addition to her radio show Illuminating Now Linzi s Life Secrets. The show is broadcast on the number one worldwide internet-radio network show Voiceamerica.com. Linzi has also been named the Relationship Coach on New York s number one Talk Radio AM Station (WOR710). This is an iHeart production with more than 50 million listeners. With her vibrant spirit and innovative expertise it is on WOR710 that Linzi continues to be interviewed regularly by Joan Herrmann on the most popular broadcast CYACYL. com --Change Your Attitude Change Your Life -- an elite team of thought leaders that she is proud and honored to belong to. I never knew it was even possible that I could suffer depression but there I was so depressed with the inability to pull out of it. I was such a positive person. I started to believe with all my heart the light was leaving. I remember passing a mirror and looking at myself and thinking Oh so this is how winners become losers. After a long stretch of depression Linzi did the only thing she knew how to do. She felt all hope was lost but she knew she could still set a goal. She did not necessarily believe for one second she would achieve it but the first part was just to set it and she believed she could do that. So she did. She decided to get her Master s Degree in Counseling Psychology in an effort toward becoming a psychotherapist. The decision changed her life. After learning there was a way out of what appeared to be pure darkness after understanding that one dot of light meant there was still something to focus on after grasping what it took to be found after having been so lost Linzi knew that her life had to be dedicated to ensuring that others could get what they needed to be safe and out of pain she knew that being with truth was the foundation of all healing and she vowed to evangelize authenticity in any way she possibly could. I could never stop doing what I do. I am only paid to be in my skin now. This is who I am and it is anything but a job. It is a mission but also a total blessing honor and privilege. Not only do people choose to let me in to their most personal stories and trust me that I can keep them safe they actually will facilitate some of the actions I advise to get the life they want to have. I could never do anything else. Prior to founding Quality for Life Coaching Linzi was already established as a high level Executive Manager. From the outside looking in it appeared Linzi had achieved her professional aspirations working a high-powered high paying job with many benefits. But not all was as it seemed. Tragedy struck and everything Linzi knew to be her reality was now all an illusion. If one cannot find any form of their identity inside or outside that is the epitome of being lost. Authenticity was the key to my empowerment. I knew that every day I had left on the planet was about me making sure I showed others there is a light switch even if they were positive it was not there it would be my plight to make sure I proved them wrong. If I had to take their hand and find it myself that is what I would do. A decade later it is what I do. Today aspiring to complete her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology Linzi dedicates her career to helping others transform their lives. An integrative coach and an innovative coach she has built her private practice using progressive models unmatched by others in her industry. She is a visionary and has developed the only 2-hour-weekly-session model in the nation. This model has proven astoundingly successful. The momentum and speed with which clients are able to tangibly feel the lessening of their own pain and the increase of their own joy is literally measurable. This has created the stability and sustainability that keep this unique model in such high demand. (925) 918-2547 www.qualityforlifecoaching.com www.facebook.com linziluuu Coaching online phone office My clients come to me for 2-hour sessions and realize what real support and real value is. I think 50-minute sessions are not healthy and often leave the client wounded and raw for the week. My clients and I essentially become a team because we join and collaborate to get a result that we are dynamically designing together. 4 Women of Distinction If you own an upside down perspective your world will finally turn right side up. 5 Women of Distinction Linzi holds a number of industry-related certifications and has a Master s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Transpersonal Psychology. She is a Certified Relationship Specialist (CRS) acknowledged by the American Psychotherapy Association. And is certified through the National Institute of Health (NIH) -- protecting human rights through the process of Psychological Research Testing and Analysis. Additionally she holds a certification in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Pepperdine School of Law with a Specialization in Divorce Court and Family Law. Linzi is popular on 4 different Global Radio Programs. She uses these platforms to advocate for self-esteem sexuality sexual health healthy divorce parenting without power relationship through intimacy genius versus mental illness wellness through authenticity and gender diversity issues. She boldly launched a self-esteem movement dedicating portions of her radio show to discussing critical topics but in ways others had yet to do. She even had a 2-part series with the top Transgender surgeon in the world explaining exactly how and what he does in surgery to transform a gender. This kind of candor and detailed material won t be found anywhere. Linzi has well over one million downloads on the edgy material she presents. She believes that many have a difficult time listening to sexuality topics and issues that are often taboo but Linzi also believes that if we cannot listen we cannot tolerate. Linzi makes the point that a lack of tolerance is leading to an epidemic of suicide and murder this epidemic meets at the same intersection where some are too ashamed to live and others that create that shame may be the ones who murder to clean things up. She has also launched Linzi s Life Radio to continue addressing more of this uncensored material which allow people to feel validated and strive for their unlimited potential. Linzi shares her expertise as a contributing writer for two prestigious digital magazines 24x7 and Digitalromanceinc.com. She has also authored a chapter in the book Keys To A Good Life Wisdom To Unlock Your Power Within which was written by an influential advisory team and is now available on Amazon as well as other popular locations. Linzi is a pioneer in her thinking she is always envisioning ways to address problems that others have yet to create. She architects very customized designs for each client so that their needs get met and her plans are action-oriented integrative and strategic. She writes speaks and coaches on a New Way of Divorce and it is all about staying out of court and proactively managing the family members as a team who must preserve their health when crossing the finish line of the race dissolution. As a Public Speaker Linzi is captivating and compelling. She is persuasive without trying to be. Her credibility matched with her confidence cause those listening to immediately seek more of her wisdom and to be willing to take risks in some of her prophetic inventive and farseeing ideas. Attorneys have even engaged her to help their clients with behavioral strategies in the courtroom during divorce. Linzi is never educating about the obvious she is enlightening about what others are completely missing. A certified Franchise Broker Business Consultant and Executive Coach Linzi has also been a motivational speaker for many years. For her diligent and dedicated efforts and groundbreaking contributions in 2015 Linzi was honored with the award of Diplomate Status (DAPA) which is the highest level of achievement recognized through the American Psychotherapy Association. Linzi is also the recipient of the Covington Who s Who Lifetime Award. In Early 2016 Linzi was one of 30 Experts chosen to speak at The Empowered Divorce Summit The Financial Edition. This opportunity allowed Linzi to share her expertise regarding divorce self-esteem rebuilding identity and creating financial safety. Linzi has been a philanthropist all of her life. For more than 20 years she has been contributing to and associating with Tourette s Syndrome Association and Make-A-Wish Foundation she supports StandUP2CANCER and for over twenty years she has been a monthly supporter to St. Jude s. During that same period she has been supporting three very special impoverished children through Children International (who she has had the privilege of watching them grow up through their letters and photos) -- and many other organizations. One of her favorite experiences was when she traveled with her 19-year-old son to Thailand in 2012 and while they experienced an amazingly lavish vacation they got the opportunity (through Hands Up Holidays) to work at the Home and Life Orphanage in Phuket Thailand during some of the days they traveled. It was magical. 6 Women of Distinction 7 Women of Distinction I love philanthropy and get an adrenaline rush from thinking of what is in need of help and challenging myself to come up with an idea as to how to contribute. Seeking out remarkable individuals that could speak as a guest on my radio show always feels significant. For me at the end of the day there is no better feeling than knowing you ve helped someone feel just a little less pain or maybe passed on some adrenaline to someone who now believes a little bit more in their own dream. A fun loving mother Linzi enjoys traveling and making music videos with her children in her spare time. If I could sum up the way I live the way I parent the way I coach and the way I truly see the world it would be Q&A Q How do you think technology serves your field or your work if it does A I have a beautiful office and still love to be in the room with clients but I am finding that SKYPE and even the telephone are becoming so popular. People are busy they also want to talk late at nights or right when a problem occurs and I can make myself available. I let them text me during the week for small issues so they never feel alone. I am a Life Coach and Life is 7x24. So I need my clients to know that I have their backs 7x24. They can text or call anytime. Interestingly just knowing that helps launch the healing and stability process. My clients literally LOVE that I allow this. Q Is technology harmful to the field of mental health A Technology is blatantly an addiction for the young and the old at this point. It is not selective it is pulsing through all of our veins but it has come at a great cost. Using this technology to constantly communicate has removed our ability to use the parts of our brain that were to learn communication at its best. We literally do not develop those skills. This is causing relationships to be challenged divorce to be at it s all-time high even war and global relations are at their worst. Parents are struggling to even look their children in the eye because someone has their eyes mind or energy captivated by technology of some sort. The other person is feeling cheated in a moment they needed the humanfactor. Neither party may know the human-factor is wanted or needed for someone but it creates a lack of satisfaction. We may not know why we are not satisfied but if technology is involved we rarely come away completely satisfied with another human. Q What is one of the most prevalent problems that you think we are not paying close enough attention to A Sexuality and Sexual identity is in a state of confusion and the ignorance and lack of acceptance has caused a suicide epidemic. Understanding your own sexual identity directly connects to your self-esteem and people do not realize this. We have to learn tolerance and stop judgment. Tolerance is not a gift or a choice it is a responsibility. Judgment is not a right or an opinion it is a punishment and an act of harm. Q Are these the LGBTQ issues that you are referring to A LGBT is certainly a huge part of the population that we need to see as equals in every way but it is also what lifestyle people want to live for example poly. It can also be any couple that can not talk about their fantasies for fear of judgment that situation cannot turn out positive. What about the person who already was brave and did name their fantasy but due to the reaction (judgment) from the partner they will now forever have lower selfesteem If you own an upside down perspective your world will finally turn right side up. I see things upside down and backward and it really works In anger parenting relationships technology conflict and communication I stand alone in the way I do things. It is not a secret that I do things upside down. The interesting thing is that I am somewhat identified notorious and even branded as being the one who s upside-down solutions seem to always work My coaching model is built like none you will ever find and even the 2-hour design was at first condemned by colleagues but it is one of the most successful attributes to the model that allows for such expeditious wellness. 8 Women of Distinction Q With technology and issues like LGBTQ are parents handling things well A Parents are overwhelmed. With their jobs they cannot disconnect. They pick up their kids and their first hello often is not a hug or even catching eyes because they are on a call. The child looks up after an amazing sports play and in the bleachers they see their parent texting. We are all spread so thin so we multi-task. This is dangerous. Each moment matters to someone. While a parent may be crossing a task off their list that child just looked up to share their achievement and what just got dropped into that child s subliminal mind is what you just did is nothing compared to what I am doing. What effect might that have on that child s entire life Q Are parent s texting and using the phone wrong A Not all parents but I want to drive home how much this is actually effecting their kids and they just are pulled in by so many things they are missing the fact that their child is missing them. Often because parents are so busy they can get tremendous relief that their kids love the computer and X-box and games like World of Warcraft they often justify that their child is getting socialization being in video communities with all these other people. It is vital that we pay attention to the fact that as we sink deeper and deeper into technology technology is absolutely stealing critical brain cells. We may not know what was stolen having never used those cells. What we can study is that it is very difficult for individuals to find joy in society today and to maintain it is almost impossible. Why is that We no longer learn communication or leadership or philanthropy. Technology has replaced how we communicate lead and have funds to give. We as humans however are no longer equipped to communicate lead or give unconditionally all three of these skills allow for sustainability of a happy life. Q Is there another area that you think is dominating the pain and suffering in the mental health of our society A Divorce is rising beyond 50% for first marriage 60% for 2nd and 70% for third. Divorce causes so much damage and much of it begins the minute the courts are brought in. The chapter that I authored in Keys To A Good Life Wisdom To Unlock Your Power Within was all about A New Way To Approach Divorce. In my practice I am a very loud evangelist and advocate to stay out of court. I also spoke at the Empowered Divorce Summit earlier this year. In fact I have a website and team dedicated to this effort www.divorcealternativecenter.com It is remarkable to witness the conflict resolution and mediation work I do with clients to KEEP cases out of court or literally remove the divorce cases that have been stuck in court we get to a safe place where negotiations can be made health can be preserved and finances can resolve with a far better outcome. Q Is there permanent damage or the inability to get closure for these individuals who choose to divorce and get court rulings handed to them A That is certainly a part of it but the children are the casualties. It is so much worse than the parents will ever know. Divorce is not easy and I have tremendous compassion for the adults but it is was THEIR decision. When they unknowingly start putting many of THEIR BRICKS on the back of their own child they do not know how they are altering that child forever. Q Why are you on the radio if there are so many clients to help in your office and personally as a Coach A I honestly manifested that. I mean I never in a million years thought I would or could be a Radio Host but I was always noting that it felt like MAGIC took place before my eyes time and time again. Whenever I worked with clients who were dealing with sadness shame conflict and estrangement it could seem like I was facing the impossible. That never was the case. Literally there was always a way to where I envisioned we should travel to safety. I could transform dark to light and literally manifest miracles each and every time before my own eyes. I kept saying that if I could witness it with one I felt it was my duty to affect so many more people. I felt I should be of value to so many more. Being on the radio allows me to offer support wisdom and enlightenment to the masses. Having over 1 million downloads doesn t tell anyone that much about me. It does offer insight into areas people need help and maybe places people want enlightenment. If out of all those downloads even one or 2 are doing better than they were before they listened to the show if any of those people are in a little less pain then it is all worthwhile 9 Women of Distinction Angela Brannon Tarleton Arts Education Co-Founder Vice President Artistic Director and Director of Dance of Kearsarge Conservatory of the Performing Arts Warner NH ngela Brannon Tarleton has over 30 years of experience on a college and conservatory level and has worked in every medium of the performing arts. She understands the performance process from stretching to warming up the body to the bows at the end of a performance. As an actress dancer singer choreographer director playwright and musician (also an accomplished flutist) she fits into any role needed. Angela works well with directors musical directors and technical crew. She has designed costume and lighting for dance concerts and is considered a Renaissance Woman . When teaching directing or choreographing she maintains a strong focus on activity creating a sense of unity and purpose that gets the job done . As an original visionary and founder of Christ Arts Institute Inc. Angela kept the vision alive with her innovative ideas and dedication to excellence in training and performance and continues to do the same in New Hampshire with Kearsarge Conservatory of the Performing Arts (KCPA). A She has been married to her Co-Founder (Kevin) for almost 34 years. Kevin has always supported my vision both emotionally and financially. He not only has a master s degree an MFA in Acting and Directing but he is a talent in his own right. He has worked as a self-employed carpenter and remodeler for 34 years so we could maintain our studio. I also have two great kids with him Alyssa and Jonmichael. Angela can say that she loves her life and is very happy. I teach the majority of the classes at KCPA. I have developed the curriculum which includes a graded ballet system. I am in charge of hiring the teachers to maintain the highest standard of teaching and am constantly watching and analyzing the students technique to promote excellence and prevent injury. I set the class schedule and develop the holiday and spring shows. I also write all of our advertising maintain the website choose and cut all of the music choose the costumes organize the Order of Show design the first draft of the programs am prepared to wipe noses and tears of little ones maintain discipline and keep attitudes in check with teenagers and occasionally vacuum the floors and clean and or unclog the toilet. Oh and then there s the making of props painting sets sewing alterations and repairs of costumes. I do pretty much everything except anything having to do with finances which makes me very happy because I know what I m good at and what I m not. What makes Angela different is that she is diverse. Beyond my husband and children I have my wonderful extended family of KCPA all so loving and encouraging. I also have my church First Baptist Church New London where I still play my flute every Sunday And above all I have the unconditional love of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has blessed me with infinite creativity but also an analytical mind so that I can watch and correct my students technique. I can develop beautiful dancers but I can also teach actors how to dance and dancers how to act. I can choreograph in any venue from classical ballet to modern to musical theatre to children s theatre because I m also an actor and a musician. I think it makes me unique. I have had some dreadful choreographers in the past because they could only work in one venue of dance and had no clue how to choreograph musical theatre and work with actors. 11 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel the arts are important and should be maintained and encouraged in our society A Because as Goethe said The functions of the arts are entertainment edification and exaltation of the human spirit . Q Why are the arts being taken out of our public schools A Because people don t understand their importance. For centuries arts were an integral part of education now they are being replaced by sports and that s where all the emphasis and money go. We need to get back to a balance and understand that education without the arts is incomplete. Q What is your favorite quote A The following lines from Mr. Holland s Opus totally sum up how I feel. Because the arts are being cut from public schools exponentially and sports are on the increase that s where all the money and attention goes Vice Principal Wolters I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division I choose long division. Mr. Glenn Holland Well I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want Gene. Sooner or later these kids aren t going to have anything to read or write about. Mr. Glenn Holland The day they cut the football budget in this state that will be the end of western civilization as we know it Q How can the arts help my kid in life A Many of the greatest minds in the world throughout history either were artists themselves or supported the arts. They are too numerous to name but the Egyptians Greeks and Romans and Italian and English Renaissances were fed by art and artists and along with it came advances in science medicine philosophy and technology. Q Dance lasts for nine months which is way longer than any sport. Does it really need to last that long A Dance is not a sport it s an art. Would you expect your child to learn to play an instrument or speak a foreign language in six weeks Dance is a language that the body needs to learn to speak and speak properly so the dancer can have longevity in his or her dancing life even if it doesn t become a career. Q Aren t I setting my kid up for failure (After all most kids don t make it in the arts as a career.) A Music works both the left and right brain. Singing playing the piano and dancing exposes a child to music. Many studies have been done which show that those students do better in school than children who are not exposed to music. Some things should be for passion and pleasure. I have had kids that have become professionals and I ve also had kids that became nurses doctors and the most difficult job of all stay at home wives and or moms They all loved to dance sing and act. Let your child enjoy life and they ll figure it out. Q Why should they take formal lessons when they can get as much by singing and dancing at home A There s a difference between doing something and doing it correctly. Sure they can have fun singing and dancing at home (as they should). But how would you feel if someone gave you a hammer a nail and several boards and told you to build a house You would probably look at them like they had lobsters coming out of their ears Certainly you could build something with the materials you were given but not a house. Your child is given the proper tools in class so they can sing and dance beautifully and it will give them ability to do so without vocal or physical injury. Education is an investment so be sure to invest wisely in excellent programs that will enrich your child s life with the beauty discipline and creativity of the arts. Again education without the arts in incomplete. 12 Women of Distinction Lois M. Bitler Author - Bible Stories for Children Author of Mighty Servants of the Living God Yorktown Heights NY 13 Women of Distinction L ois M. Bitler s career as an author of Bible stories for children started with her father Paul R. Bitler. He was stricken with tuberculosis (TB) at the age of 21 put in a sanatorium and given six months to live. While lying on his deathbed he asked the Lord that if he would be lifted up he would serve Him wherever the Lord wanted him to go. The Lord answered his prayer as Paul made a full recovery. In 1942 at the age of 25 he came to New York City with a suitcase and a few dollars in his pocket. Paul kept his promise to God and became a missionary to the Spanish-speaking people of New York City and the surrounding areas. At a Bible meeting in New York City he met Margaret M. Morgan (Lois mother) and they eventually married. In 1943 Paul started two Spanish-speaking churches one in the South Bronx N.Y. and the other in Spanish Harlem New York City. Both churches are still active to this day. Years later in 1979 Lois (now 21-years-old) followed in her parents footsteps and began teaching Sunday school. I added morals and values to each Bible story to help the children in their personal lives. I also ended each story with a Bible verse and asked questions so that they would remember the story for I knew these stories would carry them through their lifetime. Little did she know that in 1993 Lois would have a book of her Bible stories published in the Hungarian language. Dr. Frank Sreter Founder of The Hungarian Literature Mission in Hungary liked the stories and wanted to publish them for the children of Hungary. Dr. Sreter asked me if I would do the book for free as the citizens didn t have much. I thought about all the children in Hungary who didn t know about God or the Bible and agreed to do it. The beautiful book is called Vedd Es Olvasd (Take It and Read It) and it is still available in Hungary today. Lois continued teaching Sunday school and writing Bible stories for the Spanish-speaking children. However she stopped teaching in 2007 after her mother became bedbound and asked Lois to take care of her. She had also taken care of her father years prior in 1990 when he got sick. And with her mother physically able to care for him while Lois was at church on Sundays she was still able to teach. Paul passed away on January 10 1991. I taught for many years in the South Bronx church. In the beginning it was very difficult to teach because the children had just come from other countries and didn t grasp the English language. I tried two different Sunday school lesson books but they couldn t do the homework assignments due to their lack of understanding. I remember going to my room and closing the door. I asked the Lord What can I do in order for the children to understand the Bible stories How can I communicate to them the love of God My memory went back to all the times I spent reading and studying the Word of God the Bible all the times my parents housed missionaries all the Bible meetings and the Bible camp I attended and all the Bible courses I had taken at Emmaus Bible College. Lois suddenly knew the answer. God wanted her to write the Bible stories in a way that the children could understand them to simplify and paraphrase the stories to the point where they could comprehend their true meaning. To this day I remember my father saying to me One day God is going to bless you for taking care of your daddy. I had a good father who was a godly man and I would have done it a million times over for him. But now in 2007 with her mother being bedbound Lois could no longer teach Sunday school. She needed me 24 7. It was really hard but I wanted to honor her wishes to remain at home. I remember asking God for the strength to see me through this with Mom. He gave me His strength and remained faithful to answering my prayers. Lois spent seven years with her mother in that condition. 14 Women of Distinction We were able to spend long days nights and years together. Today I cherish the memories and special times I had alone with my mother. My married sister Deborah was a big help and was with me when mom passed on August 16 2014. I had a wonderful godly mother and I have no regrets. The following year brought great things for Lois. On May 5 2015 Tate Publishing Company and Enterprises LLC released Lois first book in the English language. The book is called Mighty Servants of the Living God and contains all the Bible stories she wrote 68 stories with 10 fully illustrated pictures. Q&A Q Why do you feel that writing a book of Bible stories for children is relevant in today s world A In today s world many children do not know much about God the Bible or all the wonderful stories that the Bible contains. With my book Mighty Servants of the Living God many children are reading these stories for the very first time. There is a great need for Bible stories in today s world. Q Was it difficult for you to write these stories for children A No it wasn t difficult because I taught children in Sunday school and knew they needed to be able to understand the stories written in the Bible. I also knew that God loved them so I needed to relay this message of God s love for them in a clear and accurate way that they could understand. Q How hard was it for you to think of a title for the book A It took a while for me to think of the title Mighty Servants of the Living God but I know God is alive. If you have accepted God s son The Lord Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior you are His servant and it s His strength that makes you mighty. Hence Mighty Servants of the Living God was born. Q Was the book being published with pictures worth waiting for A Yes through much perseverance and prayer the right publishing company (Tate Publishing Company and Enterprises LLC) helped me. I have no regrets just sheer joy. It s a beautiful book my best book yet. What joy this book has given me Tate Publishing Company and Enterprises LLC has translated the book into Spanish. The book is now available for purchase in both Engish and Spanish. It will soon be translated into the Filipino language. I am full of joy and excitement It took years to see my dream come true and now it has come to life in four languages It s up to me now to promote and sell Mighty Servants of the Living God . It s hard work but because it s my dream it s exciting. Pray and never give up. Never. Mighty Servants of the Living God can be purchased in both English and Spanish directly from Lois at loisbitler yahoo. com and she is also involved with promotions and events in support of the book. Churches and bookstores all over the U.S. and Canada are purchasing the book. One church Calvary Baptist Church in New York City purchased the books as awards for Vacation Bible School students. Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) and I are sending books to schools in foreign countries that teach English to the children. The book has also gone to a leper orphanage in India through Mr. and Mrs. Rick Hart of Alabama. The book is even being purchased individually by parent(s) who would like to have their children read and learn Bible stories. Mighty Servants of the Living God is available to all people and organizations who would like to read and learn about the Word of God. 15 Women of Distinction Rose Catalano Security Surveillance Chief Executive Officer of Gems Security Systems and Gemstar Security Services Vaughan Ontario Canada I n 1991 after many years of working for others as an office administrator credit and collection officer associate store program manager and assistant controller Rose Catalano thought about venturing out and starting her own business. It wasn t a planned decision to specifically consider the security industry. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the need for security systems was becoming more and more prevalent. After quite a bit of market and product research I concluded that this was an industry ripe for more suppliers (contractors) to meet the growing demands for video surveillance and access control systems and it had the potential of being recession-proof . She founded two companies Gems Security Systems and (later) Gemstar Security Services. Gems Security Systems specializes in providing electronic security equipment and service while Gemstar Security provides security solutions against vandalism theft physical aggression personal safety concerns and parking control issues within commercial industrial and residential markets. Rose wanted to provide her customers with comprehensive security solutions and having both companies allowed her to do just that. I stay involved with all aspects of both companies by keeping abreast of all up and coming projects installation progression vehicle conditions potential HR discrepancies insurance negotiations scheduling practices employee benefit plan renewals banking details and the status of accounts receivable and payable. Additionally I handle all monthly accounting functions and prepare business forecasts and fiscal year-end reports. Her career and how she runs her business was greatly inspired by Margaret Thatcher. I ve always been moved by her performance because she showed consistency and courage. She knew how to keep the momentum going and made tough decisions in the name of betterment for the country even if it meant the public would not judge her kindly. In business making difficult decisions is a daily occurrence and at times your decisions could be perceived as sour or discriminatory and are often taken with harsh expression. In the face of such adversities I believe Mrs. Thatcher showed us how to avoid being shell-shocked and keep an open forum for more dialogue instead. 16 Women of Distinction She has also faced her fair share of gender stereotypes. I started my business with a minimal amount of money. Having insufficient funds made growth and progress difficult. The banks were not ready to extend loans (even at a higher premium) to a female venturing into a male-dominated industry. In those days who ever heard of a female taking an ownership position in a high-tech security company Creditors were not willing to extend credit and those who did only allowed a minimal amount. Many new prospects were afraid to sign a contract when they found out that the company was owned by a female. And of course the landlord was none too kind if the rent was an hour late. He simply did not trust that I would honor my responsibility. This taught me perseverance and being a realist I utilized whatever resources were available to help me find alternatives to get me where I wanted to go. Rose has now been working and contributing to the electronic security industry for almost 25 years and has gained a tremendous amount of industry and product knowledge. She has also learned how to effectively win in difficult or challenging situations that often creep up in this industry. They also contribute to Ronald McDonald House Toronto Sick Children s Hospital Ner Israel Yeshiva College and other research foundations. In July 2015 Rose published a book titled This Head of Security Wears High Heels and dedicated it to all young women (could apply to men also) who aspire to one day have their own security company (or any business for that matter). I strongly believe that there is a slight public misconception about the mode and value of doing business vs. the real business world. In my book I explain the reason why making money in business is hard but losing everything is easy especially if you sponsor yourself with a lack of conviction low morale second-hand type leadership or poor excuses. But all is not bad. If managed properly business can offer you financial stability optimism a base for learned wisdom social recognition and a whole lot of insight into the unwritten programs and unspoken terms of operation. Rose is a person who truly thinks that inaction seldom produces results. I prefer to address my business endeavors with caution regardless of what the questionable truth may be. Throughout the years I ve built up a support team that works with me not just for me. Together we take pride in ensuring proper service ethics roundthe-clock availability and ultimate customer satisfaction the ingredient that encourages us to want to go to work the next day. Both companies support the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement. I believe that we (women and men) need to work as a team toward ending gender stereotyping reducing crime and seriously be the loud voice that speaks with clarity when lawmakers miss the mark as they introduce and enforce new security rules and regulations. The spirit of unity must stand as a populist business message that acts as the enabler of our fundamental goal. She also hopes that more individuals will take a moment to come to terms with the fact that a female who is assertive competitive and active in a leadership role (whether it be in business politics policing medicine athletics etc.) not be looked at as a deviant but rather as a competent contributor of our daily lives. For the last eight years we ve donated scholarships to high school college or university students who obtain and maintain satisfactory grades and show positive contribution to their community. Today I proudly speak from experience when I say that the business institution is making fine progress toward a new category of professionalism. 17 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What knowledge did you have of installations service requirements and product schematics prior to entering the industry A I knew absolutely nothing about the intricacies of this industry but I was willing to learn them (and learn them well) so I did. Q What challenges did you encounter as a female in this industry A When I first opened my security company I was truly an odd item in this very male-dominated field totally unfamiliar with the technical lingo. Until I gained sufficient product knowledge I felt intimidated to even dare answer the phone in fear of alienating any new prospective customers (which were hard to find). Typically new customers would shy away from the unknown or the unproven but perseverance and a lot of hard work were the ingredients that kept me moving forward. With only a small number of employees a lot of determination and some people skills I slowly built a company with a reputation of good service and quality workmanship. I never allowed misplaced uncertainties to dominate the agenda. Q How were you treated by your male counterparts in the security industry A For the most part I was simply ignored. Other times I was the recipient of many sly remarks. The better-mannered ones often preferred to deal with the sales rep (male) only and totally leave me out of the equation. After all what possible input could a female offer in regards to electronic systems service or installation It was made clear that I was the odd kid in their segregated block. Q You recently wrote a book titled This Head of Security Wears High Heels . Can you tell us what inspired you to do so A I wrote this book to encourage other women to hopefully consider joining me in the world of business and entrepreneurship. In the book I talk about my experiences with snubs and insults from my counterparts the litany of poor excuses from employees dealings with incompetent tax auditors weird customer behaviors and how I rose above those barriers. As I see it the odds are there for us to beat. Q We understand that most of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the RINJ Foundation. Why did you choose that particular foundation A The RINJ Foundation is especially dedicated to finding solutions for a safer world by putting a stop to gender-based violence and sex crimes (which also includes buying selling children in the sex trade). They lobby for better criminal justice and more programs to help the victims. I believe it s not only important but it is very noble to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. Q What advice would you give to today s young women A I would promote motivation building self esteem and the drive and commitment to participate in our daily mission to create a world that is based on equality peace and prosperity. I know there is still a lot work to be done to reach our vision of industrial equality but we cannot sit back and simply wait for politicians or system integrators to make it happen. We need to participate instead of ignoring the inevitable. Together our smarts will trump adversity and raise much needed subject awareness. Q Does this message apply to all women around the world A Unfortunately no not today I m well aware that in many parts of the world women and children are not only sadly disadvantaged but they live in constant fear for their safety. To them I say have faith in the agencies and dedicated individuals (who are devoted advocates) tirelessly working on your behalf and eagerly seek to promote and establish better safety programs and social justice for you and your daughters. Hope and action are the vehicles that will take us to a better place tomorrow. 18 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 fundamental as well as fun. Reading can take you any place you want to go. 19 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. 20 Women of Distinction Juanita Mora MD Healthcare Medicine - Allergy Immunology Chief Executive Officer and Physician - Chicago Allergy Center Chicago IL G rowing up Juanita Mora dreamed of becoming a doctor. Her passion for medicine grew as she became more aware for the need of bilingual physicians in the Latino community who could help break down the language barrier and deliver excellent medical care. She realized firsthand from her mother s experience how important this was. I thoroughly enjoy each and every part of my job. I love what I do and feel blessed every day to be able to touch peoples lives in so many ways teaching in the patient setting and empowering my patients. Juanita also loves to go into local primary care physician offices to give talks on diseases that affect their mutual patient populations and is passionate about giving back to the community by actively speaking in school settings and other community organizations. Her greatest professional inspiration stems from her parents. They came to the United States as immigrants from Mexico and instilled in my siblings and I that education is the key that opens the doors to the world. They planted the seed that made each and every one of my siblings strive for a higher degree in education and achieve the American dream as well as our own dreams. The best advice I can give to an aspiring doctor is that this is your chance to make your practice what you want it to be. Let it be nothing less than your dream. She is a physician who is truly passionate about her field and helping others. As a first generation Mexican-American my native tongue is Spanish but I learned English in school. This helped because my mother fell ill with kidney failure and as the eldest of five children I often translated for her in medical settings. Juanita studied hard to become a doctor. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1996 and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 2003. My dream came true the day I was called Doctor for the first time during my medical school graduation. Today Juanita is the CEO and Physician of the Chicago Allergy Center. She prides herself on providing the most up to date and thorough care to every patient that walks through her practice providing a warm environment where patients feel welcomed and attended to and promoting community and physician awareness on topics that affect her patient population such as treatment and management of anaphylaxis in the home and school setting management and treatment of asthma management and treatment of allergic rhinitis and identifying patients at risk for immunodeficiency. I believe in treating each and every one of my patients as family and giving them the best care possible. Humbleness humility and happiness will always be part of my character. Juanita hopes to be an inspiration to children who have big dreams and help them break down the barriers that might be impeding those dreams from coming true. If I could do it so can you 21 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Do allergies run in families A Yes allergies have a genetic predisposition which is the reason we have many families in our practice. We see both adults and children. Q Does asthma have a cure A Although asthma does not have a cure it can be controlled and many children will outgrow their symptoms. Q Why has there been such a rise in food allergies in the last few years A There are many causes such as later introduction of high allergy foods hygiene hypothesis and more processed foods in our diets. It s time to go back to what our ancestors practiced. Q Who qualifies for allergy shots A Anyone over the age of 5 with uncontrolled allergies or who wants to minimize symptoms by the development of tolerance qualifies for allergy shots. Q Does eczema put my child at risk for allergies and asthma A Eczema is often the first sign of the atopic march and may be an indication that your child might be at higher risk for allergic rhinitis food allergy and asthma. Q When can asthma be diagnosed A It can often be diagnosed after the age of 5 when children can fully do a pre post bronchodilator spirometry test. Q Can food allergies be outgrown A Yes 85% kids will outgrow food allergies to egg milk wheat and soy by the age of 5. Allergies to fish shellfish peanuts and other nuts are a little harder to outgrow but 25% of kids will outgrow those allergies as well. Q Is there such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog A No dog protein is found in hair dander urine and saliva. There are less allergenic dogs but not hypoallergenic dogs. Q Will a dog or cat in the home worsen a baby s chance for development of asthma A Dogs pre-existing the birth of a baby in a home protect against asthma while cats increase the risk of asthma. Q Can babies get skin tested and does it hurt A Skin testing involves a small skin prick that feels like a small pinch. The test is easily done after 3 months of age. We have smart TVs to keep kids and adults busy during the 15 minutes the skin test runs. 22 Women of Distinction Kenyuatia L. Gash LCSW MAC ACSW Mental health PTSD Trauma Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist Life Coach & Inspirationalist at Kenyuatia L. Gash LCSW Inc. Hampton VA F or Kenyuatia L. Gash working in the mental health field is more than just a job it is personal. At the tender age of 10 years old Kenyuatia s uncle was deployed to Desert Storm. Upon his return from war she distinctively remembers detecting a difference in him. Watching her uncle struggle with what we now know is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) she immediately knew she wanted to help people dealing with his condition. Although I couldn t help my uncle I wanted to be able to help others like him she said. I initially thought my gifts and skills would be best suited for law however while finishing my first degree in Legal Studies in 2003 I started my social work career working with at-risk youth and knew my life would never be the same. I always tell people I didn t choose social work. Social work chose me. Today Kenyuatia holds two Masters degrees Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and a Masters in Criminal Justice in Administration from Point Park University also in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Kenyuatia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both Pennsylvania and Virginia. She also holds two national certifications ACSW (Academy of Certified Social Workers) and a MAC certification (Master Addiction Counselor ). She is currently pursuing a BCD (Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work). She was named Who s Who Among College Students in 2002 and earned a place on the National Dean s List in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 Kenyuatia was named a National Dwight D. Eisenhower Scholar. With more than 12 years in the mental health and behavioral services industry the accomplished Kenyuatia wears many hats and has three major components of her full-time position. She is federally employed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Supportive Employment Consultant. In her role she provides direct clinical and distinctive services to eligible homeless veterans suffering from a full range of psychiatric substance abuse and medical disorders. She is responsible for developing aspects that are needed to provide effective and efficiently organized services in accordance with problem guidelines. Inasmuch she works collaboratively with community agencies and other government programs to develop and enhance services. She is a Regional Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) Trainer and Consultant providing expert foundational trainings and consultations to mental health clinicians who serve patients diagnosed with PTSD. She also serves as a coach and mentor by assisting her fellow peers with his or her personal and professional growth and fulfillment in the organization. If her resume wasn t impressive enough Kenyuatia is a Clinical Video Tele-health CPT and PTSD Facilitator. In that position she recently established and co-facilitated a Telehealth cognitive processing therapy group that simultaneously broadcasts to three sites to include two cities in Virginia and one in North Carolina. The first of its kind at her employment site. The ambitious Kenyuatia didn t stop there. She has a private practice as well. She specializes in offering outpatient therapeutic counseling services to children (ages 8-12) adolescents adults and families through individual and group therapy who struggle with substance abuse anxiety bipolar disorder borderline personality disorders mood disorders trauma and other emotional disturbances. In her private practice she also offers coaching and mentoring sessions clinical supervision (for those seeking state licensure in social work and professional counseling) as well as local trainings and workshops. In addition she is currently an independent contractor with the University of Southern California as a virtual CPT-C trainer and coach. Currently Kenyuatia is in the process of establishing a non-profit organization entitled Destined Success Inc. This organization is designed to embrace empower and inspire individuals who struggle with low self-esteem abandonment issues domestic violence rejection and emotional abuse and to provide them with the coping skills resources and techniques to restructure themselves for great success. When she is taking a few moments to herself Kenyuatia loves watching the Golden Girls football traveling spending time with friends & family and attending Zumba classes. My passion and desire to see others become successful is one the greatest fulfillments of my career she said. My greatest professional challenges have been related to being a minority woman and having not always been perceived as an equal competitor. However with perseverance dedication and advancing my education I can now choose the job I want instead of having to take a job that is offered. Over the years one of the greatest lessons Kenyuatia learned from her family is at all times put God first in everything you do... and to always trust your instincts . She tells students aspiring to have careers in her industry not to be afraid to try different genres in social work such as child welfare mental health non-profits geriatrics medical etc. to find their niche. She reminds them to embrace what the social work field has to offer and to be careful not to create professional barriers or limitations for themselves. She advises them to seek out people that are willing to mentor and invest in you. Kenyuatia fondly remembers Dr. Hazel M. Hadden who was a mentor educator and motivator to her. Dr. Hadden taught and instilled in Kenyuatia the importance of education family and spiritual growth. She embodied those attributes and set the example for Kenyuatia which were foundational to her success. Even in her spare time Kenyuatia is helping others overcome adversities hardships and misfortunes. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and volunteers for two nonprofit organizations. The first is the Breakthrough Center an organization that assists the less fortunate and homeless in her local community. The second nonprofit organization is Give an Hour where she volunteers as a licensed mental health practitioner providing free mental health counseling to combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their loved ones. My aspiration in everything I do is to inspire empower and encourage someone daily she said. I believe that I was created with a purpose to reach those less fortunate than myself. As I continue in my professional and spiritual journey I can see clearly now why I was chosen to endure many challenges at an early age. These circumstances were not easy however they defined my purpose and inspired my destiny. 24 Women of Distinction Nancy Monson Life Coaching Guidance Soul Purpose Advocate Everyday Spirituality Founder and Chief Executive Officer Leadership Alignment Consulting Group Jackson CA I ve had many careers during my professional life but the one that seems to have stuck is coaching either with senior leaders and entrepreneurs or women in midlife transition. arly in 1992 Nancy Monson was working in the Director s Office at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory helping with strategic planning while attending UC Berkeley s Evening MBA Program. One day she viewed a video presentation by Stephen Covey outlining his course and book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which deeply inspired her. Dr. Covey s presentation struck me so deeply that I knew I needed to attend his three day program. When I returned from the program I was so excited I shared my experience during a team meeting and one of the women on my team said that the Director s Manager of Administration was looking for just such a program. When Nancy was asked to bring the program into her workplace she jumped at the opportunity. After she and a colleague received certification from the Covey Leadership Center they began facilitating the program for Laboratory employees. It was a huge success with a six-month waiting list of people who wanted to attend the life-changing program. Nancy and her colleague went on to certify six new facilitators to help with the demand. That really shifted my career to a focus on leadership and professional development. In 1994 during Nancy s last semester in UC Berkeley s Haas Evening MBA program Anderson Consulting now called Accenture hired her colleague from the graduate program. Because they were looking for people with Nancy s expertise her colleague reached out and asked Nancy to send in her resume. After a series of interviews Nancy left the Laboratory and took a job with the Andersen Consulting Change Management. E 25 Women of Distinction Although I learned how to navigate organization change during my time at Accenture the travel severely burned me out. It was brutal on my body soul and relationship. While at a professional conference Nancy learned about a university in Iowa that focused on the deep timeless principles of meditation enlightenment and Consciousness. Inspired by the idea Nancy left her professional life and relationship and moved to Iowa to complete another masters program at Maharishi University of Management. There she learned the advanced meditation techniques of Transcendental Meditation as well as ancient Vedic knowledge of enlightenment and the nature of the Universe. As the CEO of the parent company Nancy Monson Coaching Inc. Nancy leads both Leadership Alignment Consulting Group which offers leadership coaching and organization consulting services and Everyday Spirituality which offers transformational mentoring programs for those ready to live their full potential. Nancy serves as the content creator rainmaker deliverer of services marketing person and leads a small team. I ve learned a lot as an entrepreneur over the past twelve years and particularly as I m focusing on growing Everyday Spirituality I m learning what it means to create a marketing and sales funnel to help my clients find me and choose how they wish to work with me. As often as she can Nancy spend time outdoors hiking biking swimming backpacking and taking landscape photographs. It s what rejuvenates her grounds her and nourishes her soul. Having kept a journal over the past twenty years Nancy is close to finishing her first book Midlife Rebirth Awakening to the Wise Woman You Were Born to Be. It was restorative rejuvenating and healing to be immersed in that sweet environment of deep self-study for a year. That time in school saved my life and shifted the course of my life forever. After returning to her home state of California in 1999 Nancy learned about life coaching and enrolled in the entire training and certification program offered by The Coaches Training Institute. Through a friend she had met in Iowa she was introduced to Hagberg Consulting Group (HCG) a small boutique executive coaching and culture alignment firm. HCG was looking for someone to help them with culture change and Nancy was looking to learn executive coaching which launched her career in executive coaching. At the same time I also started working with people who sought life coaching. I didn t market my services as a life coach but friends and colleagues started referring people to me. Soon after joining HCG Nancy learned about a two-year training program in spiritual guidance offered in British Columbia and with the support of the CEO she enrolled in the ten workshop two-year program that was held in Vancouver. After Nancy s former employer Accenture purchased HCG she decided to go into business for herself. Fortunately my client base and reputation had grown since 2000 and I had no difficulty establishing and maintaining my own executive coaching practice going forward. Since then Nancy has continued to run her two practices executive coaching organization development consulting and life transformation coaching. I m called to help people heal from their suffering and live a life of self-love and the fullest expression of their soul s potential. I dearly hope that the people I come into contact with feel seen accepted and loved by me for who they truly are. We rarely get that in life and we certainly don t do that for ourselves. I hope through my writings and programs to leave behind a clearer understanding and path for living their soul s full potential. There isn t much easily accessible to people who are called by their soul to guide them through the process of transforming to living a soul-directed life. 26 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. I n 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. 27 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. 28 Women of Distinction Althea E. Maynard Civil Service Healthcare Fmr. Chair of the Savoy Council on Aging Savoy MA E nsuring the elderly and her community are properly cared for are both a career and a way of life for Althea E. Maynard. The former Chair of the Savoy Council on Aging (COA) in Massachusetts Althea first became passionate about providing services for the elderly in the 1970s after taking on the role of caregiver for her mother and mother-in-law. On September 5 1978 she was elected Secretary and Treasurer of the Savoy COA becoming their youngest member. At 94 years young Althea is retired but still remains an inactive member o f the Savoy COA. In her life Althea has long and decorated history of serving her community. In February 1953 she was voted in as Savoy Hollow Librarian remaining there until 1986. She transported one of the three bussing routes for her local school from August 1953 until June 1959. She served as Superintendent of Bible Classes at the Savoy First Baptist Church for 35 years. She was Vice President of the Savoy Parent Teacher Association. In 1959 Althea was named Acting Postmaster of Savoy before becoming the fulltime Postmaster a position she held until 1986. Her tireless efforts to Savoy did not go unnoticed. In June 2000 Emmett Schmarsow of the Boston Elder Services presented Althea with the State of Massachusetts Lifetime Achievement Award. She earned the honor for establishing the COA newsletter securing a handicapped nine-passenger van for the town and a building for the Council to hold meetings functions and potluck suppers. She accomplished these three goals less than two years after she set them for herself. Althea is also a published writer with two books to her credit The Tomb a short spiritual story available through Kindle and Amazon and Looking Forward ......as I Look Back her memoirs available through Shutterfly. Through it all Althea always put family first. She was married to her husband Harold for 57 years. He died January 19 1999. The couple has two daughters and two sons five granddaughters two great granddaughters and two great grandsons. It gave me satisfaction knowing I could help wherever and whenever I could she said. Being a caregiver is one thing set apart from serving as COA. I found that people feel the need for a caregiver too early sometimes. With having an active Senior Center joining and mingling with others a person can maintain independence much longer with emotional and social stability. When Althea was elected COA Chair in 1996 she was responsible for all aspects and functions of the Council. She conducted monthly board meetings wrote an eight-page newsletter and arranged the calendar of activities. One of her greatest accomplishments was overseeing State Formula Grant and expenditures and for the Savoy Annual Report of COA. When I became Chair I sought advice from the Dalton COA Chair concerning my Formula Grant Althea recalled. She was so helpful and efficient I vowed to be just like her. I feel that I did succeed and I assisted anyone who sought help from me. I became a SHINE Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everybody in order to give free unbiased advice and counseling on the ever-changing health insurance. 29 Women of Distinction Dr. Maureen M. GouveiaWhitehead Education Founder Executive Director MMGW Christian Academy Inc. Orlando FL ttending college in the UK Dr. Maureen M. Gouveia-Whitehead always played a significant role in education. Accepted to Bedford College of Higher Education in England she graduated with her teaching certificate in 1979 and was offered a full-time position soon thereafter. Earning her tenure at Homerton House Secondary School as a Lead Teacher Maureen remained for eight years before becoming the Head of the Business Studies Department for Pimlico High School and later as a Lecturer II and Program Supervisor at Croydon College. A Courses include Ministry Gift Assessment Five Fold Ministry courses and arts courses such as Music Voice Training Dance and Poetry Writing. Skill Development Courses are also offered in English Practical Math Finance Banking ESL and Technology. Overseeing daily operations of her school Maureen chairs board meetings prepares curricula and assists with student recruitment and fundraising events. She is presently hiring volunteer instructors as well as other staff members for teaching courses. With over 30 years of experience in education and administration Maureen wanted to create a school that would proactively instill the importance of living in communities that boasts ethics integrity and most importantly God s will. Honored to serve as an ambassador for Capella University Maureen is involved in empowering and referring prospective students. She s also a member of convocation for the University of London. In 2008 she authored a book entitled Morvet s Memoirs God s Divine Intervention and Protection and in 2013 she authored The Investigation of Faculty Training Needs for Instructing Adult Nonstandard English Speakers. Maureen has her teaching certification from Bedford College of Higher Education a BA in Sociology with honors from North London University an MA in Educational Administration from the University of London and a PhD with distinction in Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University. Married for 15 years to a wonderful man Maureen has two adult step-children and grandchildren. I ve always wanted to see others succeed and I ve enjoyed doing my part in making it happen. As a leader and lifelong learner I m always excited about the changes education brings Maureen said. Moving back to the US Maureen became an Adjunct Instructor for Florida Metropolitan University in 1997 before taking a position as a General Education Professor with ITT Technical Institute. She then became Director of Education for Galiano Career Academy Director of Education for Centura Institute and finally Faculty Member for Southern Technical College. During her time with ITT Maureen also founded MMGW Inc. (as President and Owner) a publishing services company that specializes in typing and formatting services for original books cards verses for all occasions flyers and educational learning materials. Still in business today she s since founded her own school for adult learners MMGW Christian Academy Inc. MMGW Christian Academy is a non-profit corporation that provides both ministry and community education services. Located in Orlando Florida their mission is to assist students in developing ministry gifts refreshing and enhancing their various skills through programs that will produce confidence knowledge understanding and encouragement for work in the community. 30 Women of Distinction Cheryle Denise Vining Self Spiritual Advisor Owner Eco Orgonite Energy Jewelry Augusta Georgia C heryle Denise Vining has never worked a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. She answers to a higher calling. In 1980 Cheryle had an out of body experience and became aware of another part of life. The powerful occurrence prompted her to start her own business Eco Orgonite Energy Jewelry in 2011. My finances are my professional challenge she said. When your funds are limited it s hard to stay motivated. A gift like mine is something you deal with everyday. I make a piece of jewelry per day. I invest in myself whenever my lifestyle allows me. For those who ask my advice is free. Sometimes I give away my jewelry away for free for the ones who really need it and have no money to buy. Self taught Cheryle puts all her energy into the jewelry she makes and has little down time. For me and how I live there is no free time for me she said. It s moment to moment. Cheryle who has nine children and seven grandchildren encourages others to never give up on find their inner calling. I started advising people based on their experiences when I realized that I was helping people and I decided to create my business she said. It lead to making jewelry on a metaphysic level by educating myself about energies and how they work. This not just a business it s my personal journey. Cheryle crafts her pieces using the best of natural elements. She uses the best quality gemstones crystal quartz recycled jewelry pieces and Orgone energy pieces for her collection. All are one of a kind and made to order. She also makes cultural jewelry and creates her own T-shirts and herbal soaps. The people she makes jewelry for are drawn to Cheryle s energy and the care she puts into her designs. Cheryle who has limitations due to living with narcolepsy never let her disability or difficult life circumstances stand in her way. All things are possible she said. Put in the work in and watch it come back. You are someone special look inside yourself think use your mind and educate yourself. Raise your consciousness above the world s views and people s opinions. Do what you want. Create. 31 Women of Distinction Elizabeth Beth Hope Braden Author and Publishing Author Illustrator Publisher at Terra s Children s Books Oxford AL F inding your true calling in life is something that doesn t come easy for most young men and women. But Elizabeth Beth Hope Braden is not your typical teenager. Using her artistic and literary talents she launched her publishing company Terra s Children s Books in June 2014 at the tender age of 16 years old. Less than two years later Beth has authored illustrated and published two books that are touted as wonderful tools to help little ones learn and venture into the beautiful world of literature. Growing up in Oxford Alabama Beth has always enjoyed reading writing and illustrating. By 2014 Beth had written and illustrated her first book Terra s Four Special Friends for the 2014 ACTE Regional Tech Fair at Jacksonville State University. Being so young in the publishing industry has thrown many challenges in Beth s direction. At first she tried asking various publishers to publish her children s books. Although her work was complete and thorough Beth was not accomplished enough or old enough in their eyes. In this I decided I did not need someone else to tell me how to format my books or what words I could or could not use thus making my work unique and my strive to be strongly independent she said. I am 17 years old but with an old soul and a strong work ethic I have moved the mountains of adversity. Coming from a lower middle class family and working to my best abilities to make the things everyone else call impossible to things that tell me I m-possible. From that point on both Beth and her business have both grown tremendously. As the sole proprietor of her company Beth has found herself managing everything imaginable from marketing to production from demand to supply ratios. All before graduating high school. Although I have only been in my career for little over a year I plan to stay in my career for many years to come because I have a strong passion for what I do Beth said. I love writing and bringing joy to other people through my work. The smile on the faces of the readers is truly what brings me the most joy. To date the company has grossed thousands of dollars with books sold across the United States as well as internationally in South Africa Germany and Iraq. But Beth is not keeping her success or profits to herself. Beth is head of Team Miley a cancer support group for 7-year-old Miley Eady who is suffering from Leukemia. Ten percent of all of Terra s Children s Books sales go to support Miley s treatment. Beth is also blood drive coordinator through Leaders Save Lives in coordination with the American Red Cross. I would like to leave the legacy that makes others want to do good in the world Beth said. My favorite saying and my soon to be senior quote is Most people strive to be famous for what can make them rich I strive to be remembered for making a difference. 32 Women of Distinction Felicia Carole Wilt Healthcare Pathology Technical Supervisor Vanderbilt Medical Center Nashville TN F elicia Carole Wilt s grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia when she was in the fourth grade. She recalls him telling the powerful story of a medical lab conducting the blood test that led to his diagnosis. From then on Felicia knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. Through hard work and unwavering determination Felicia started college at the age of 16. Four years later she graduated Medical Technology School and set out to fulfill her passion. Felicia has had the opportunity to work as a generalist in both small and large facilities allowing her to explore different aspects of her field. When she graduated school Felicia became Blood Bank Supervisor Microbiology Assistant Supervisor and Supervisor at Helen Keller Hospital HLA Lab where she assisted with infertility treatments. I felt as though I was helping people she said. Working in infertility it was exciting to see life begin the joy on those ladies faces when they became pregnant. My biggest challenge was working with HLA typing because it was new and I hadn t learned much about it in school. But the thrill of knowing we were testing for donors that could save lives across the country was always exciting. Today Felicia is the Technical Supervisor at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee. She supervises technologists writes procedures assists with grants and performs lab tests. The Vanderbilt Medical lab plays a huge part in properly diagnosing and treating patients. Being accurate in a timely manner is invaluable. However the position doesn t offer a lot of praise. Felicia has been fortunate to work with wonderful doctors and nurses that give her a sense of value on a daily basis. One person in particular played a huge role in influencing Felicia a former supervisor Jackie Walker. She had a great management and work ethic Felicia said. She was a very fair and honest person. That can make a huge significance in the first few years of your career. Felicia urges young women looking to enter the healthcare industry to find an area of the field they are passionate about. For example if they prefer a specific concentration she suggests choosing to work in a larger facility. However if they prefer being a generalist and like feeling a sense of importance she recommends working for a smaller community hospital. Helping others is something Felicia practices outside the office as well. She is a member of the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory Association and assists with organizing Women s Health Fair events and cancer walks. She is an active volunteer with the VA and belongs to several patriotic groups. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her partner of 20 years Eddie. It s easy to succeed at something you are passionate about she said. God home work and community I hope to be an inspiration in all four. I want to be the best that I can be for each of these. 33 Women of Distinction Janice F. Chlebus Firearms Training Co-Owner - Make Your Shot Count Firearms Training Fayetteville NC s Co-Owner of Make Your Shot Count Firearms Training Janice Chlebus takes pride in teaching others how to properly use firearms in a safe and knowledgeable manner. Though Janice initially only helped her husband Geary a certified firearms instructor handle administrative work within his firearms training business she eventually took an interest in instructing as well. After helping several women properly handle their firearms on the shooting range one day she began assisting Geary in classes and teaching her own basic level courses. A For someone starting out in this industry be customer-centered. Remember the class is about the student not about you. Students perform at the level of knowledge they possess. My purpose is to raise that knowledge level and instill a feeling of confidence. Watch how you say certain things. Words are one thing but the way and tone of voice determines how you are perceived. Always be firm but polite. Janice s biggest professional inspiration has been her husband Geary who makes instruction both entertaining and educational at the same time. His ability to avoid talking down to any students while building their confidence has helped Janice become a better instructor herself. I did not let my age sex or the fact that I m surrounded by men on the firing range stop me from taking the initiative to become a firearms instructor. Determination and willingness to take risks is necessary to succeed. I m passionate about my skills and abilities and will strive to do better. In her leisure Janice enjoys spending time with her husband volunteering in various church projects and baking for her fellow church members. Janice is a strong advocate of teaching firearms safety to children of all ages. I love what I do because it s great seeing the positive improvements in the students skills. It s also nice to hear comments that express their satisfaction in my presentation and my ability to speak in a simplified manner. In her role of co-owner Janice handles the daily responsibilities of the business including class scheduling recruiting and instructing. She constructs realistic scenarios for training. She has witnessed instructors teaching fantasy shooting drills on the range that would only work in a fantasy gunfight. It s important to know the difference between practicing target accuracy and combat accuracy they are not the same. Janice also advises women to realistically evaluate themselves during instruction. If your personal morals conflict with taking someone s life even in self-defense then carrying a handgun may not be for you. It s also important that all students understand the effects of adrenaline when scared and the consequences of fight-flight-or freeze reactions to deadly force encounters. Doubt and hesitancy during your response could result in your death. Most importantly Janice teaches her students how to avoid a gun fight entirely. God created everyone equal in his eyes and I will not let any person of any position talk to me in a way that suggests otherwise. I will take challenges head on and accept the consequences of my words and actions. 34 Women of Distinction Jennifer Pillars Human Resources HR Generalist at ESI North America Inc. Farmington Hills MI F aced with mounting bills temporary employment and the sudden death of her beloved husband of 19 years Jennifer Jenne Pillars found herself at the lowest point in her life. Her story is one of determination and success. In the first 9 months of 2014 Jenne and her late husband Steve suffered two unexpected and unprecedented job losses were forced to withdraw their entire savings and retirement to pay bills could not afford healthcare for their family and lost the contents of their basement in a flood. The hits came in rapid succession Steve started a new job in October that would offer their family benefits by February. On December 1st Jenne was hired back into the law firm where she worked for 13 years. Her former position as senior immigration paralegal was no longer available but she was grateful to fill in for a immigration secretary on leave. Jenne and Steve believed the worst was behind them and they could begin to rebuild however the final blow to Jenne s horrific year came on December 7th when Steve passed suddenly. Driven by the love for her 15-year old Erik and will to survive Jenne moved her life in a positive direction. Steve s life insurance lapsed with previous employment. I was scrambling to find ways to make ends meet. Returning to work one week after the funeral was out of necessity I really just wanted time to absorb the shock. In the following months I worked full-time while applying and interviewing for permanent jobs. My specialty in immigration desire to change careers and law firm contacts opened the door for me at ESI and my current position. Jenne credits her family friends and community with providing the support that helped propel her forward. As HR Generalist at ESI Jenne uses her strong background in immigration to assist foreign employees while acquiring the HR knowledge required to benefit the entire U.S. workforce. I joined ESI confident in my immigration skills which has helped in learning the HR function she said. I have a wonderful mentor attend HR conferences and am working toward HR certification. She s found her new niche. Jenne holds a bachelor s degree in Political Science from Michigan State University as well as paralegal certification. She worked as a paralegal for 21 years before her career change and plans to publish a book about the storm that ravaged her life. She encourages those struggling through personal and professional challenges to keep moving forward. As horrible things in life happen learn and find meaning from them. They are an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and grow she said. After Steve died I could ve easily given up. It was such a devastating year with an unbelievable ending. I live with the pain of my loss every day but it does not define me rather it is the rebuilding I started in 2014 and unwavering perseverance since. The heart can be broken and still keep beating. Steve died too soon at age 45. Jenne lives life now to honor his memory and their love. 35 Women of Distinction Linda J. Gomez Education Coaching Men s Volleyball Assistant Coach Warner University Sitting All Star Associate Head Coach Florida Region of USA Volleyball Sitting Volleyball Liaison IMPACT Instructor USA Volleyball Local Official USA Beach Volleyball Lake Wale and Eustis FL B orn in Miami Florida to a Cuban immigrant who served in the US Navy during WWII Linda J. Gomez has spent her entire career trying to emulate her father. His spirit hardworking attitude and love of serving others spills over into Linda s life every day teaching students as a Volleyball Coach and teacher for nearly 28 years. She s also currently serving as the Florida Region USA Volleyball Sitting Liaison as both teacher and a coach for the organization is an IMPACT Instructor teaching entry level coaching classes for USA Volleyball and has been a club coach for boys and girls. Linda recently worked alongside the Florida region to bring the Paralympic sport of Sitting Volleyball to the region. Officially adopted in the fall of 2014 it s the first USAV region to do so and with the help of several Paralympians living in Florida they were able to bring Sitting Volleyball clinics all throughout the state. In May 2015 the first All Star team competed in the USA Adult Opens Tournament in Detroit Michigan and won the Gold Medal. Linda has valued education throughout her career and is a lifelong learner earning her Master s in Educational Leadership in 2009 from Nova Southeastern University. Serving in so many capacities over the past couple of decades including as a camp counselor director for a summer camps developer of the Space Coast Christian Athletic Association s Middle School Division and currently as the Head Sitting Volleyball Coach for the Army for the Warrior Games the list goes on and on. Linda is constantly on the go choosing joy and praising someone up every day in her journey through life. I ve enjoyed much success in career although it was sometimes difficult raising three children at the same time Linda admitted. But my passion to serve others motivated me to continue on. I ve always been an athlete and it was natural to gravitate towards this field. I love being active playing sports and kids. Graduating with a Bachelor s in Physical Education from Florida State University with a Minor in Coaching Linda began her career as a City of Miami Firefighter in 1988 and simultaneously began teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 1989 as a part-time physical education teacher and volleyball coach. Accepting her first coaching position at the college level in 1995 at Broward Community College she continued to gain hands-on experience in coaching while teaching K-12 Physical Education and serving as an athletic director for several different schools over the next 20 years. Taking a step back in 2007 Linda resigned from Eastern Florida State University after adopting her 7-year-old Russia born daughter to help her transition to her new family. Eight years later she accepted a position with Warner University as their Men s Assistant Volleyball Coach in 2015 bringing a plethora of experience with her assisting the head coach in various tasks like recruiting athletes mentoring and assisting with development of student athlete s success. 36 Women of Distinction Lori Jayne Wells CPSS Mental Health Field Activity Director Recovery Cooperative President of the Make A Little Change Picnic Committee Board Member HealthWest Muskegon MI D I have schizoaffective disorder and I ve been in treatment for my mental illness for the past twentyfive years. uring the time she spent seeking treatment Lori Jayne Wells watched the mental health system make changes for the better including the addition of the Certified Peer Support Specialists. Certified Peer Support Specialist are people who also suffer from mental illness but are in recovery and are trained to help others reach recovery by listening offering support sharing their recovery stories and other talents. As I improved I was told by many people that I d make a great Peer Support Specialist. So ten years ago I started down the road to become one. Lori started her journey as a Consumers Advisory Committee (CAC) member. After five years of serving on the committee the CAC decided to start putting on a picnic event to raise awareness to break the stigma surrounding people with mental and developmental disabilities. The second year of the event Lori took over as president of the committee. Our first picnic of sixty-five people has now grown to more than four hundred and thirty this past year. This year we hope to make it a statewide affair. Whenever she can Lori spends time conducting Bible study door-to-door work and meetings as a Jehovah s Witness and 37 talking to her son Matthew. I really hate it when people use mental illness as a copout for doing something like we see in the news so often. There are so many of us that are working so hard to prove that the mentally ill are not a danger to others and are good productive people. We do not deserve the labels of bi-polar schizo crazy or nut case or the stigma that comes along with it. Lori wants to leave the world with the realization that the mentally ill are just people not the stereotyped stigmatized demographic one might see on television or in the movies. Lori knows that people with mental disabilities are fighting diseases and they deserve to be treated with respect for the hard work they do to live day-to-day to be a responsible part of society and not to be labeled or marginalized. I hope that I will be know as one of many people that helped not only set an example but change the mindsets of the general population to treat people with mental illness and mental disabilities with the respect and dignity they deserve. Women of Distinction Meghan Daly Meghan Daly Meghan Daly Rosselli Rosselli Rosselli Graphic Design Graphic Arts There was around the house from Playboy to National Geographic. The creation of those magazines is what led me to study graphic design in college. Graphic Design Graphic Arts Graphic Designer Sole-Proprietor Arts Graphic Design GraphicSenior Sole-Proprietor Senior Graphic Designer Silver Lace Graphics LLC Owner Operator Graphic Designer Silver Lace Graphics LLC Buena Vista VA Silver Lace Graphics LLC Buena Vista VA Buena Vista VA There was always a collection of magazines lying around the house from Playboy to National Geographic. The creation of those magazines is always a collection of magazines lying what led me to study graphic design in college. M M Contact Meghan also substitute for the Buena Vista City School during her of magazines lying There was always a collectionfirst year of attending college. Having School Corporation in teachestime. She loves hanging out with her free Corporation. She loves hanging let with inner child. Meghan loved magazines her whole life she knew design was her the students as it allows her to outout herthe students because it around from Playboy to National Geographic. The allows her to let out her inner child. Meghan also enjoys photography perfect fit. During her college years Meghan did freelance creation of those earning practical experience confidence and a Bachelor also enjoys photography warm weather and takes advantage magazines is what led me to study work warmof weather tennis shoes as often possible. eghan Daly Rosselli began her career in design Meghanwearing and tennis shoes. asfor the Buena Vista City also substitute teaches graphic design in college. of her first year of attending college. Having duringFine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design Degree and a School Corporation inobsession withShe loves hanging out with Minor in Art History. Currently she is pursuing a dual Masters I have a love her free time. running shoes. Am I loved magazinesofher whole life she knew design was Management students as it allows her to let out her inner child. Meghan her the Business Administration Masters of Science an avid runner Heck no but someday I will put eghandegree to gain better her career in on freelance perfect fit. During Daly Rosselliabegan understandingdid how to successfully I have a love obsession with running shoes.advantage her college years Meghan design during also enjoys photography warm weather and takes Am I an those shoes avid runner Heck no but to work. her first year. business. work earning practical experience confidence her entire life she of wearing tennis shoes as often maybe someday I will put run her Having loved magazines and a Bachelor as work. those shoes topossible. As a mother wife sister aunt teacher and crazy business of Fine Arts knewan emphasis in GraphicDuring her collegeand a with design was her perfect fit. Design Degree years Meghan did freelance love how each day is never the same and doesn t work earning practical experience confidence I owner Meghan realizes that she is far from perfect. However Minor in Art History. Currently she is pursuing a dualinMasters a love obsession with to be perfect. and a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts with a tendency to get bored and I havealso knows that she doesn t wantrunning shoes. Am I Graphic become stale. I have an emphasis she of Business Minorhave been accused of she is pursuing a occasion that an mother wife sister aunt no but and crazy businessput Administration Masters on Science Management Design and a in Art History. Currently more than one Masters As a avid runner Heck teacher someday I will owner What fun would it be far from everything all figured also knows degree to gain a better understandingthanhow to successfully TheMeghan realizes that she isif we hadperfect. However she out I of Business Administration Masters of Science Management to gain a I have more energy on I know what to with. those shoes to work. began this want to be perfect. better understanding on how to run her business. run her business. ability to live in color work in color and providethat she doesn tbusiness becuase of my husbands career path with CSX Transportation (railroad). He has been steadily promoted As a mother railroadsister aunt teacher and the family and wife promotions come packing up crazy business inspiration is mind blowing to me. and with I love how each day is never the same and doesn t owner Meghan new city and state with little from perfect.wanted moving to a realizes that she is far to no notice. I However Silver Lace Graphics LLC has now two I love how have Meghan is heading get been and the same in business for solo to What to contribute it be ifwanthad everything all become stale. Ieach day is neverto toward her third year as a she alsobe able fun would to my family into be perfect. one. I bored and knows that she doesn t we more ways then years and a tendency figured out I started this business because to see don t want to solely be known as MOM . I want my son of my doesn t become on with have one occasion that have been accused stale. Iher trustyaside kick Chloe to get the owner entrpreneur more than tendency Petra. As husbands career if and that have a passion figured do What that I am a hard workerwe had I everything allforhas been I fun would it be within CSX Railroad. He what I out bored andand proprietor of I know whatmore than have than Silver Lace on to LLC Meghan I have more energybeen accusedGraphics with. The does just and a thirst promoted and with to be a stay at home mom began steadily for knowledge. I wanted husbandspromotions with this business becuase of my railroad career path about that I have the moment from than I everything at more energy the actual designing one occasion ability to live in color towork in color and provide again but change the traditional and moving to a new city right down cleaning the toilets. She also manages CSX Transportation (railroad). the come packing up the family definition. promoted know whatbusiness finances ability to to me. color and graphic and state with little to noHe has been steadilybe able to with. The taxes marketing advertising inspiration is mind blowing live in notice. I wanted to and with railroad promotions come packing up the family and work in color and provide inspiration her sanity. production all while trying to maintain is mind to contribute to my family in more ways then one. Silver Lace Graphics blowing now been in business for two moving to a new city and state with little to no notice. I wanted LLC has to me. Iable towant to be to my family in as mom. I want my I don t contribute solely known more ways then one. One heading toward her professional inspirations has years and Meghan is of Meghan s greatest third year as a solo to be worker want my have been her eleven-year-old- son Grayson who has Asperger s son to see that I am a hard MOM . Iand that Ison to a entrpreneur with her trusty (high functioning Autism). As the owner don t want to solely be known as a thirst for knowledge. Isee side kick Chloe Petra. Syndrome passion for what and that I have a passion for what I do I do and I am a hard worker and proprietor of Silver Lace Graphics operation for more than a that wanted to be a stay at home mom again but change Silver Lace Graphics LLC has been in LLC Meghan does just is amazing and designing year and Meghan is Being different from the actualempowering and a thirst for knowledge. I wanted to be a stay at home mom now heading toward her second year as a solo and about everything at the moment the definition from the norm. entrepreneur. As theshould andtoilets. She Silver Lace Graphics again but change the traditional definition. owner be proprietor of feared becase the right down to cleaning the embraced notalso manages of public To always Meghan Daly Rosselli LLC Meghan doesopinion.marketing live life on your own terms not just about everything at the moment from the business finances societal terms. I hope to be ableandteach my son taxes advertising to graphic www.silverlacegraphics.net actual designing right down to cleaning the toilet. She also manages production all while trying to maintain her sanity. www.behance.net SilverLaceGraphics that normal marketing advertising graphics the business finances taxes is over rated. He has taught me about M eghan Daly Rosselli began her career in design Meghan also substitute teaches for the Buena Vista City One of Meghan s greatest professional inspirations has meant to be. been of Meghan s greatest professional inspirations has been her One her eleven-year-old- son Grayson who has Asperger s Syndrome (high functioning Autism).Asperger s syndrome. eleven-year-old son Grayson who has production and tries to maintain her sanity on most days. who you are thinking outside the box and being 48 info silverlacegraphics.net meghanrosselli silverlacegraphics.net Being different is amazing and empowering and should be embraced not feared becase of public opinion. To always live life on your own terms not Being different is amazing and empowering and should be embraced to feared because of public societal terms. I hopenot be able to teach my son opinion. To is over rated. on has own terms not that normal always live life He your taught me about societal outside the boxI and being who to instill thinking terms. Although hope to be able you are these lessons in him I know that he is the one who meant to to me. taught them be. Contact 48 38 Meghan Daly Rosselli www.silverlacegraphics.net www.behance.net SilverLaceGraphics info silverlacegraphics.net meghanrosselli silverlacegraphics.net Women of Distinction Patricia Vergano Real Estate Sales Seller s Listing Services and Buyer s Purchasing Services Broker Owner County Cottage Realty St. Louis Mo E ver since she was a little girl Patricia Vergano has had an entrepreneurial spirit. Even then she would daydream about owning her own company one day. By the time she was in high school Patricia developed an interest in real estate when her father would take her to visit new home developments and they would walk through display homes. It was then she knew that she wanted a career in real estate. In 1987 she received her Brokers License from the Independent Career Institute and began her successful career in the real estate industry. She worked in her field for 15 years before fulfilling her childhood dream of opening a business County Cottage Realty in 2002. Patricia is a full service broker in charge of marketing plans staging suggestions photos advertising contract negotiations closing procedures and a myriad of additional details involved in the sale and purchase of real estate in the state of Missouri. In short she handles everything from start to sold including scheduling building inspection appointments and ordering title work and appraisals. Many things have changed in the real estate industry namely advances in computers and technology. Through it all Patricia has learned to grow and adapt. She never lost sight of her clients and making people happy. It is a quality and talent Patricia s father Thomas Gately instilled in her from a young age. He is one of her greatest inspirations. He was a true people person and salesman and I marveled at how he interacted with people she said. He was a problem solver and I later realized that I inherited that talent either through DNA or countless hours listening to his conversations tucking his techniques away in the back of my mind. Perhaps the only thing Patricia is more dedicated to than her business is her family. She has been married to her business partner Daniel Vergano for 26 years. The couple has three beautiful daughters that Patricia simply loves spending time with. I love looking at houses with a buyer Patricia said. I love photographing a new listing and working with the photos in my editing program. And maybe my most favorite part is negotiating the contract. Negotiating is an art. It requires reading people and their motivations. It s a thrill every time Being the mother of three children was always my priority she said. There was no better combination to motherhood than a career in real estate where I was able to make my own schedule and still be the kind of mom that I wanted to be to my kids. It worked out perfectly and now my oldest daughter has chosen a career in real estate as well. Read more about Patty at Better Business Bureau s website https stlouisbbb.wordpress.com 2014 10 24 bbb-customerreviews-build-consumer-trust 39 Women of Distinction Rita A. Becerra Slavens Healthcare Massage Therapist Owner if Sweet Dreams Custom Massage Kansas City MO t age 59 Rita A Becerra Slavens reinvented her career. A certified hairdresser and dental assistant as well as a dedicated volunteer at the Student Therapist Program Good Shepard Hospice in Kansas City Missouri Rita wanted to apply all her schooling and talents to her next venture. The choice led Rita to enroll in massage school in 2009. Today her business Sweet Dreams Customer Massage is booming. Rita quickly developed a reputation as a first class massage therapist and businesswoman. She manages all aspects of her business from caring for clients to marketing. Her hard work and healing touch have not gone unnoticed. In 2015 Rita received a Kansas City Award which honors and generates public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of businesses and organizations in and around Kansas City. I have always been a giver and love to do that to help and be their for people to make them happen you see their face and to know some one cares she said. I have helped a lot of people with sciatica pain I never new about before. For those just starting out in the industry Rita suggests exploring all options before jumping in. The nature of the job allows people to work in any city or country they choose. Massage therapists can hold positions in hospitals cruise ships spas and doctors offices. Above all Rita encourages anyone aspiring to make a career change to follow his or her heart. A Some times I did not know if I would or would not make it Rita recalled. No matter what happens remember you can do it never give up. Add all the jobs and all the things you have done have done in your lifetime and put them together and you have created a person of perseverance. Life is short and at the end you can use it all just go for it. When Rita is not working she is giving back to her community. She works with children at her church on Sundays teaching the younger generation to praise the Lord and about the Bible. Rita commits as much time to as many children s summer programs as possible including Kingdom Kids. Additionally Rita helps with special events as a Marketing Director at the area mall. She even donates chair massages to the local North Kansas City football team. She has just recieved 2016 Best two years now and also was exceped in the BBB. 40 Women of Distinction Dr. Sandra Jean Singleton Religious Education Director - House of God s Dwelling Place Inc. Radcliff KY T hrough her work as Director of the House of God s Dwelling Place Dr. Sandra Singleton offers help to those in need through the power of ministry. Sandra first began her career in ministry in 1984. In her current role of Director of the House of God s Dwelling Place she oversees all outreach functions whether it be through television broadcasting or community outreach programs. Regarding her education Sandra received a Doctorate in Religious Studies from Grace Bible College Institute in 2000 a Doctorate in Humanities from Grace Bible College Institute in 2006 a BS in Pastoral Ministries from Campbellsville University in 2013 and a Master of Theology from Campbellsville University in 2015. She also received certification as a Nurse s Assistant from Jefferson Community College in 2010. I was a high school dropout but I never gave up on getting my high school diploma. I re-entered school and achieved my goal. I now hold a doctorate degree in religious studies an honorary doctorate in humanities a master s degree in theology and I am presently working on my master s degree in management and leadership. My desire is to obtain my Ph.D. in Management and Leadership. The reason for all of this learning is because I would like to teach in the larger universities. The reason why I want my readers to know this is because some of my degrees were not regionally accredited and were only accredited in their respective states but I went back to school to get regionally accredited degrees. If you want to accomplish something bad enough you can. In her free time Sandra enjoys reading watching TV bowling playing dominos volunteering her services to other ministry teams and spending time with her family. She is also involved with the Church of God in Christ. God has inspired me to remain in this career for so long. I ve also remained motivated due to my God-given charisma and the visions in which I have. Sandra s greatest professional inspirations have been Dr. William Perry Foree and Dr. Jackie Foree who set positive examples for her to follow. Before taking on her current position Sandra was the coordinator dean and instructor for a satellite bible college based in Indianapolis Indiana for the church she attends (Greater Bethel Temple Apostolic Church). She then incorporated her ministry herself in the state of Kentucky and formulated her own business plan. The advice I would offer to someone starting out in this industry is to educate themselves in all areas of the business and to have the stamina to withstand any opposition. If it at first you do not succeed -- try and try again. The ability to not give up on your dreams and visions is essential. The legacy I would like to leave the world is showing and knowing that my life made an impact on others by assisting them through life s journey. 41 Women of Distinction Shirley Sanders Arts and Entertainment Writing Publishing Author Publisher Bookspurdee Publisher Henderson NV t the age of 84 Shirley Sanders has seen and (almost) done it all. After spending more than 56 years in the health and beauty business she retired and was given the task of raising 11 of her 13 grandchildren due to neglect. A mother of seven children herself she raised six of them on her own. Yet through it all she has persevered and she has proven to the world just how deep her love truly runs. A Keeping a notepad in just about every room in the house and even one in her car Shirley jots down little tidbits whenever one comes to mind. When she hears or comes up with a clever idea she jots it down to remember them for future inspiration. As a writer you never truly stop working your mind is always thinking about that next sentence that next paragraph that next chapter. Born on a farm in 1931 in Cheraw Mississippi to an African American father and African American Choctaw Indian Mother Shirley was lucky enough to get a good start in life. Her parents insisted that their children get an education and stressed the importance of what it takes to make it in this world. They also instilled the power and grace of God. Going on to earn lifetime teaching credentials in cosmetology and barbering Shirley attended classes at Merritt College Laney College of Oakland San Francisco State University and University of California at Berkeley. Enjoying time well spent reading Shirley reads everything and anything she can get her hands on. She does word puzzles every morning to keep her mind sharp and takes naps every afternoon to rejuvenate her body for the rest of the day. Her biggest and most admirable companion is her Yorkie Louie who probably knows her better than her own children do most days. I retired relocated to another state and the courts gave me custody as a mother all over again to my grandchildren for more than 12 years Shirley said very matter of fact. I did what I had to do. When Shirley finally had time to get back to living for herself she had made the decision at the age of 80 to go back to school to study publishing and writing. At age 83 she had published her first novel Sessy s Journey a memoir and it has been doing very well ever since. One year later The Kenards and The Lockwoods was launched. It is the first book of three which can be found on Amazon.com. She is currently working on the next two books in its series. Writing is my passion now. I am in another world when I tap the keyboard and try to write lines that I feel will inspire entertain teach and give freedom to anyone that will accept and use it as a learning tool Shirley said admitting that she no longer relies on her memory but instead on her records. I was blessed to have had good parents who taught me how to be a productive individual in life. 42 Women of Distinction TeriLynn CanSee Psychic Tarot Reader Astrologer Life Coach Metaphysical Holistic Healing Owner - TLC & Associates Enterprises Long Beach CA T hrough her work as Owner and Principal Psychic at TLC & Associates Enterprises TeriLynn CanSee is dedicated to helping her customers make positive life choices by giving them extra insight to their possible options. While she was always aware of her foresight TeriLynn first pursued a corporate career as a technical recruiter for multiple large aerospace and private firms holding a position at Boeing until being laid off following the tragic events on 9 11. After this she decided to put herself to the test by becoming a psychic tarot card reader and astrologer and was able to find much success. TeriLynn created her own business TLC & Associates Enterprises in June 2012. I thoroughly enjoy helping my clients find their own self-empowerment and guide them to their truer self by being able to view opportunities and options that were available to them. I ve been able to help my clients explore options by reading happenings from their past present and their future. In her role of principal psychic TeriLynn gives helpful readings to her clients that reflect on the positivity in their lives. She also utilizes resources such as holistic fairs schools networks and groups that are likeminded in the metaphysical arena. She does daily tarot card readings and offers online beginner intermediate and advanced paid courses on how to read and understand your own tarot using your cards. TeriLynn works and reads at several holistic fairs including the School of Multidimensional Healing Arts and Sciences in Irvine CA participating in their monthly holistic fair on the last Saturday of every month and gives readings on the first Saturday of every month with the Temple of Light where their fairs are held in Orange County CA. You can find her participation in events on Facebook.com TeriLynnCanSee. She also participates in the Long Beach Woman s Spirt twice a year and attends Pagan Pride fairs several times a year. I m a straightforward psychic and I do not will not participate in negative energy readings or spells or anything that puts a person in a dark place. I only look to bring a person and their soul into the light of their own best being. My readings are to be supportive and provide options for consideration while making life decisions. In her free time TeriLynn enjoys swimming reading and walking her dogs. She is also currently writing a book about self-discovery which is set to be published in 2016-2017 and volunteers with the American Red Cross donating both blood and money to the organization. For those starting out in this industry be true to yourself and heal yourself after each reading. Many psychics do not clear their minds energy nor do inner healing after a reading and the vibes pile up clogging up your mind energy and providing personal physical discomfort. I strongly suggest that all my clients heal themselves as well. I would like to be remembered as someone who was truly about helping people by using my born talent and initials (TLC) Tender Loving Care aka TeriLynn CanSee on our great ME (Mother Earth) of which I am so grateful to share and be a part of in my life as having been in the corporate world a Sr. Technical Recruiter in Information Systems and now a proven and world-renowned Psychic Master Tarot Card Reader Astrologer and intuitive 43 Women of Distinction Tracey Clark Author Author Finder s Keepers Series Ashland KY B oredom is not typically synonymous with the mysterious methods great authors draw on to write their works. Many envision stories created by a masterful wordsmith plagued by dreams that demand to be written down at four in the morning. But Tracey Clark s journey to becoming an author truly began because of good old cabin fever. In 2005 Tracey was in the process of earning her degree in Mathematics when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She became childlike losing most of her abilities. She temporarily lost her eyesight and walked like a toddler. Speaking and writing were suddenly difficult if not impossible at times. It took eight years to get to the point where she d started to feel whole again. Sometime in the middle of the fight to become myself again I started to occupy my mind with dreams and stories Tracey recalled. Then I began to jot down childlike sentences to help me as I allowed my story to grow. Now I can build worlds. Worlds that I wish to share with others. Today Tracey is an accomplished published author. Her debut novel Shocking Finds A Finder s Keepers Novel came out October 26 2015. It was a very exciting time for me but work doesn t stop just because one of my babies was published she said. Tracey currently has several other rough drafts in the works along with a dozen short stories sitting in rough draft form. She has also participated as a judge in writing contests. The world of an author is both extremely isolated and demandingly social. Tracey is a researcher when she needs to develop a deeper view of her book s surroundings and characters. She is an editor with a red pen of pain. And lastly she is a public relations queen. She advises aspiring authors to embrace the Internet. If you want others to take a look at what you have to say you have to do the same she said. Like Tweets that catch your eye comment on blogs and Facebook etc. And give back. There will come a time when you will need Beta Readers those willing to look over your book before you do final edits or try to publish. Read the work of others comment and give you opinions. On her road to becoming a successful author Tracey never forgot about her deep roots as a good old Kentucky gal. In the back of her mind Tracey always keeps her mother s mantra You can have anything you want just be patient and be willing to work for it A hit to my sense of worth. Is this really something I can do This is what I felt and thought as I fought to deal with my MS Tracey said. But Multiple Sclerosis also left me with little else I could do but work on my writing. Walking talking watching television ... many of the things I took for granted were gone. But my ability to think and dream was still there. I jotted down what eventually became my passion my reason for living. 44 Women of Distinction Valencia T. Utley W Human Resources Administrative Specialist Department of the Army (Civilian) Human Resource Specialist Department of the Army (Military) Woodbridge VA hen Valencia T. Utley graduated high school she had mediocre expectations concerning her future career possibilities. But her story clearly shows God had a greater plan. Encouraged by her parents Valencia enlisted in the United States Army. Unsure about this major life choice the decision proved to change her life and led her to become the successful businesswoman she is today. I remember my mother telling me that she wanted a better life for me. She knew the Army could provide that better life said Valencia. As a little kid I always wanted to work in the administrative field. I enjoyed watching television shows with people dressed up working behind a desk taking care of other employee s paperwork. I never imagined my dream would one day be a reality Today Valencia holds dual positions of high esteem. She serves as the principal administrative support specialist for two Divisions (G37 Force Management and G-34 Force Protection) and also as the Health Care Operations Divisions alternate administrative support specialist. In her roles she provides management budget and administrative support of all military and civilian staff and monitors integration of staff actions for each division which includes effective coordination integration and synchronization of actions events follow-ups and activities affecting the Division Chief and staff officers. Valencia s life journey from youth to success is a path she could only dream of. The ability to help others and solve their administrative and personnel problems is self-gratifying and deeply fulfilling. Accomplishing her career goals Valencia set her sights to education. She pursued her undergraduate degree and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia. Unable to stop there she is currently pursuing her Masters of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Trident University in Cypress CA. Valencia outrightly declares God as her greatest professional inspiration. Avid in her religion she is an active and dedicated member of The Life Church in Woodbridge VA where she serves on the Greeter and Security Ministries. Without God none of this would be possible she said. God has directed my career path from the day I walked into the recruiting station. Along my path he has provided many people who have or has taken a part in my professional development. What an awesome God I serve Q&A Q How does your organization contribute to the society A My organization provide a high quality safe and consistent patience experience influencing a healthier lifestyle and behaviors focusing on health readiness injury and illness prevention saving lives and enabling optimal health outcomes in support of the total Army. Q What special training if any did you take that qualified you for this profession A I received training for my profession when I enlisted in the US Army. Training was conducted in Ft Jackson SC. I continue to take courses online or resident courses to keep my skills up. Q Why is your job important A Human Resource Specialist or Personnel Specialist has an essential part in developing an organization s strategies and also helping organizations navigate through this ever-changing society keeping an updated vision for continuous growth. Q What has been your greatest achievement A When I received my Bachelor s Degree. This achievement was so great that I am going back to school to obtain my Master s Degree. With an already full load this will be an added obstacle that I will conquer. 45 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Diane Barry Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 www.womenofdistinction.net Felicia Carole Wilt Healthcare Pathology Technical Supervisor Vanderbilt Medical Center 47 Women of Distinction Life Coaching Owner & Founder of Quality for Life Coaching (925) 918-2547 www.qualityforlifecoaching.com www.facebook.com linziluuu Coaching online phone office Linzi Levinson