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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Margery Phelps Writer and Coach 1 Women of Distinction Janet L. Baldwin Retail - Consignment or Resale Education - College Business Owner - Once Again Consignment Instructor - Gallipolis Career College 2 Women of Distinction Margery Phelps Writer and Coach Waleska GA 3 Women of Distinction fter her mother a scientific and medical illustrator for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was killed by proper use of prescription drugs in 1990 her brother wanted to sue the doctor and or drug company but Margery Phelps told him that the Lord always provides an avenue to right a wrong. Since she was a journalism major at Georgia State University and always enjoyed research Margery put her education to use and started to study the healthcare industry researching health and pharmaceutical drugs. A Author Harmony s House A coloring book for children (this book is being distributed free on various non-profit websites as well as Margery s sites above) Margery recently retired from accounting and business consulting to pursue writing coaching and publishing full-time. We didn t have the internet then so I spent a lot of time in libraries. I was appalled at what I learned. I don t want others to suffer the way my mom did and I certainly don t want other families to lose a loved one because of a legal drug used according to a doctor s prescription. Five years later Margery s first health book New-Life... Naturally The Home Guide to Harmonious Health was published. She has since written co-written the following books Co-author A Juicy Joyful Life Inspiration from Women Who ve Found the Sweetness in Everyday Life (Hot 1 Best Seller on Amazon) Author Finding Margaret A case for reincarnation (a true story) Co-Author You don t have to be sick healthy eating is good medicine a collaboration with Janiece C. Andrews MD to update New Life naturally Author Common Sense Medicine A Medical Doctor s Prescription for Health Care (a contract job for Robert A. Nash MD) Author At First Sight The Shirl Jennings Story The story behind the MGM motion picture (contract job for Shirl and Barbara Jennings who were the subjects of the movie) Author Halo s Glow A fun story about food for children Author Mighty-Me and the Rainbow Plate A fun story about food for children My focus is health nutrition and natural therapies. I really enjoy writing for medical doctors and have a passion to inform inspire and entertain. But since I am also an Intuitive and have memories of past lives I can help my clients seek a deeper understanding of their own journey which includes the state of their health. Her extracurricular activities were curtailed by two accidents that left her partially impaired but she enjoys life and is very healthy now. I just have to pace myself and my activities but in the past I was active as a Red Cross volunteer at a local hospital (7 years) was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Associates sang in the church choir was a Sunday school teacher and mentored coached reading for elementary school children. Margery believes that just because someone is gifted with intuition and precognition it does not mean that they are weird or strange. Folks like me are simply in touch with our divine selves from whence all life flows and we tap into that for inspiration and guidance to live loving lives. I would like people to embrace the fact that we re all connected and even the smallest action can make a huge impact. Love is the greatest power in the universe and we can use it to create the peace love and joy we all desire. 4 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What s the most important thing you learned when you started your research A I learned that pharmaceutical drugs are one of the leading causes of death and hospitalizations in the United States each year. Q Do people need drugs to stay healthy A No people need good nutrition and proper activity to stay healthy. There is no such thing as a pharmaceutical drug that will cure a nutritional problem. Q What about people who have high blood pressure or cholesterol A Those are problems that I call organic the body created them in the cells due to stress poor nutrition or in some instances they re inherited. Q Do you ever take pharmaceutical drugs A Yes I take pharmaceutical drugs for an infection or anything that s caused by a problem from outside the body. Q Can you explain what you mean by outside the body A Yes that would be what I call a pathological problem a germ or pathogen that came from outside the body and attacked it such as influenza MRSA measles colds etc. Q What if you are injured in an accident What do you do A I get to the best medical doctor I can. I call this a structural problem a broken bone a laceration or a burn. This is where American medical doctors excel. Q What s the first thing you tell people who want to be coached for health A They have to be willing to take responsibility for their health what they re experiencing now is a sum of everything they ve done in the past whether good or bad. Q If we can get personal do you have any health challenges A Yes two I was poisoned by toxic fumes in 1997 and only have 69% of my normal lung capacity. My pulmonologist says that I have the highest level of function of any of his patients with my impairment and I never take pharmaceutical drugs for it. I also had a broken neck and have implants that limit my range of motion. Q In parting what final advice would you like to give A You re never too old to change when we stop changing we start dying. There is no such word as can t in my dictionary. 5 Women of Distinction Adina F. Garfinkel Caregiver Wellness Coordinator Pride Center of WNY Buffalo NY T hrough her work as a Case Manager with the Erie County Department of Senior Services Adina Garfinkel is dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for seniors within her community by providing them with any assistance they may need. Adina also serves on the Council for Elder Abuse the Erie County Coalition On Hoarding the Erie County Caregiver Coalition and is the Case Manager associated with the collaboration between the Erie County Department of Senior Services and the Pride Center of Western New York. This is a collaboration developed to reach out to the LGBTQ community to encourage access to services and programs to a population that was the target of discrimination abuse and rejection and was also at the forefront of the civil rights movement. I have been a case manager for 17 years working with seniors and caregivers. I wish I could claim altruistic intentions as the reason for working this long in this field. The truth is I get far more from my interactions with clients and their families than they get from me. The history they have experienced the stories they share with me and the wisdom they possess makes every day different and inspiring. For as long as she can remember Adina knew that she was going to study and pursue a career in geriatrics. Being very close with her grandparents she began helping her mother out when they began to need assistance due to medical conditions all while juggling work and school. This experience made her appreciate the challenges faced by families who care for their loved ones while still juggling their other responsibilities in life. In her role of case manager Adina will receive referrals from a source and will then meet with people in their homes to do an evaluation on their situation and what needs to be done. Together with the client and or caregivers Adina develops a care plan to address any unmet needs with the goal being to help the person remain in the community safely and independently. My advice for those starting out in this field study study study Take advantage of all available opportunities to continue your education. Diversify yourself and you will be an asset as well as marketable. I cannot say I have a very thick skin. The people I see are struggling and due to these struggles they are frustrated. It took me a long time to not take it personally when someone lashed out. It is difficult to believe It is not all about me but you must understand it is not about you Regarding her education Adina has a Bachelor s Degree in Psychology and is certified in Trauma Counseling. She is also a certified Dementia Practitioner and is a Class Leader for Powerful Tools for Caregivers. In her leisure Adina enjoys reading gardening and spending time with her family and her two pugs. I would like to be remembered as someone who always had kindness and compassion for others. 6 Women of Distinction Brandi L. Cotton MAEd B Education - Middle School Math Pampering Healthy Living Teacher Perfectly Posh Independent Consultant Plexus Worldwide Ambassador Suffolk VA randi L. Cotton s career is two-fold. She went into teaching straight out of college in 2001 and has since earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. As a teacher Brandi has been responsible for the development and education of 60130 students each year. I teach the math curriculum and have been able to maintain a high 8090% on standardized testing for the state of Virginia. With 34 students in a tiny classroom this is no small feat I m responsible for the students 180 days out of the year in the roles of teacher coach parent referee psychologist game show host nurse friend ruleenforcer and anything else that can be imagined. While it s a tough job it s amazing when I can reach even one student. Teaching is her passion but Brandi admits that the politics are becoming too much. When my classroom door is shut and I m allowed to do my thing my kids flourish. But when I have people outside making decisions that affect what happens it s discouraging. However at the end of the day she genuinely loves what she does. I m responsible for my own business and thoroughly enjoy my side job . I m able to have extra funds to help with bills buy gifts or just have mad money . However I usually end up reinvesting any leftover commission back into my business. I also attend vendor events and conduct the majority of my business on social media. This helps with teaching and at home with my own kids because I m up on the latest lingo floating around the cyber world. She hopes to make a life career with Perfectly Posh because of what the company stands for. Everyone deserves me time. Stresses of everyday life are sometimes too much for some to handle so I would like to help them destress Brandi s professional affiliations include the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA). Her family and Perfectly Posh take up a lot of her free time but Brandi always makes time for her Detroit Tigers. I m an avid sports fan with anything from Michigan but especially the Tigers and the Michigan Wolverines Brandi wants to be remembered as someone who cared and has a soft spot for students from rough backgrounds. I want to teach the kids that no one else wants to teach. I understand that I can t change the world but I can start with one student at a time. I take pride in the fact that I m entrusted by society to teach a subject that means so much. Everyone needs math. It s a necessity and I m able to help students reach their potential. The best moments are when they come back to visit or find me on Facebook and let me know how I made them feel. Everyone deserves to feel wanted and appreciated. Brandi has also found time for a second career pampering the world with Perfectly Posh since 2014 as an independent consultant. 7 Women of Distinction Carolyn Baldwin Tucker Ph.D. Education CEO of Carolyn Baldwin Tucker Consultants Nashville TN s an educator with 47 years of experience in various school settings Carolyn Baldwin Tucker Ph.D. is a life-long educator and an advocate of learning. Through the years she has acquired a breadth of skills and competencies through varied experiences. For 30 years she was an employee of the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County Schools where she served in teaching and administrative positions. Even after retiring Carolyn could not stay away from her profession for long. Subsequent to her retirement for three years she worked as a Tennessee Exemplary Educator for the Tennessee Department of Education and later as the Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Murfreesboro City Schools in Tennessee. Today she is imparting her knowledge as the principal consultant and owner of Carolyn Baldwin Tucker Consultants. In her role she provides educational assistance to schools universities and community organizations. Carolyn the youngest of eight children was encouraged to pursue her education from an early age. Her parents who whole-heartedly supported their children s education both passed away before Carolyn became a teenager. Her older sister Jewell and older siblings kept that passionate alive inspiring Carolyn to attend college and peruse the teaching profession. Prior to the death of my father and mother the older children had been taught that education was the key to success and my parents encouraged learning and studying said Carolyn I have continued in education because it is a part of my being interwoven into the fabric of my person. Working with children and adults to help them improve their quality of life is a passion that ignites within me and has caused me to be a life long educator. Carolyn holds a Bachelor s and Master s degree from Tennessee State University an Ed.S. from the University of Tennessee and a Ph. D. from Peabody-Vanderbilt. She received her undergraduate degree in in 1969 during the midst of the Civil Rights Era. In doing so she obtained her first job in an all-white teaching faculty in a school of 600 students with only approximately seven African American students. A I knew that if I were to succeed I could not waste my time in idleness or complaining because I had to be purpose driven Carolyn said. Knowing that I had to succeed was a driving force for me and hearing the words in my mind that my mother had said many times Be the best that you can be and don t let anybody tell you that you can t make it . I had to be the best that I could be not only for me but also for my mother. So every task that I was assigned in the school I gave it 110 percent of my effort. Knowing that obstacles were in front of me and all eyes were on me - did not make me bitter but made me better. Through this experience Carolyn developed a work ethic that continues today. In addition to overseeing her consulting business she is a member of numerous educational and civic organizations including Legislative Committee for the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International Youth Essay Contest for the Consortium of Doctors Education Committee for the Foundation for Christian Education mentoring chair for the Societas Docta Inc. and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. -- to name a few. Her commitment to fostering education led her into politics. In 1999 she was elected to the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson Council becoming the first African American woman to win a county race in the history of Nashville and Davidson County. In winning the election she also became the first African American woman to be elected to an At-Large seat on the Metro Council. She served on the Council Education Committee for eight years and chaired the committee for two years. Carolyn is married for 46 years to her wonderful husband and college sweetheart Jesse Tucker. In her spare time Carolyn enjoys reading and studying the Bible. The couple has two grown children who share Carolyn s commitment to faith and public service. Jesse and Carolyn have four lovely grandchildren. 8 Women of Distinction Q&A Q When looking at the field of Education today how has it changed over the last 30 years A The many changes reforms and restructuring mandates that have been instituted over the years in some instances have been positives for Education but in other instances they have been detrimental. Positive in that more funding more equipment and more resources are available to those carrying out the responsibilities of educating children. However those measures have been detrimental in that the students are not receiving the nurturing and assistance in development of the affective domain that are so needed for their growth and development. Q What can be done to improve safety in the schools A Creating a culture of nurturing high expectations high achievement collaboration and professionalism will serve to reduce opportunities for disruption and improve time-on-task for students. Q How can parents be empowered to take active roles in the education of their children A Parents should be encouraged to attend school functions confer with teachers prior to problems participate in parenting classes and ask questions regarding their child s progress. Q Can charter schools and regular public schools co-exist A Charter schools and regular public schools can exist within the same system. Charter schools are not inherently good and public schools are not inherently bad. Identifying the purpose and function of each is crucial and expectations for student growth should be consistent for each type school. Q What are your thoughts on high stakes testing A It is critical for time to be given to instruction in order for testing to adequately measure learning. Testing in and of itself is not a cure-all. There must be time for focused instruction feedback and re-teaching if testing is truly to be reflective of instruction. Q What are your views on computerized testing A When states move to computerized testing it is critical that their systems can take the data entries from the many school systems without crashing as has been the case so often. In like manner students need to be very familiar and comfortable with using the computer so that testing anxiety is not heightened. Q How can the business community become more involved in assisting schools A Through partnerships with business schools can be assisted in various ways. The business could allow employees company time to assist with tutoring reading to classes and attending field trips as chaperones. Participation in career days and providing speakers to come to the school to share information regarding careers and jobs would afford students expanded opportunities for information. 9 Women of Distinction Cheryl S. Jackson Construction Resource Energy and Transportation Certified Lean Office Advisor and Six Sigma Black Belt -Caterpillar Product Development System Caterpillar INC. East Peoria IL 10 Women of Distinction C ertified Lean Office Advisor and Six Sigma Black Belt Cheryl S. Jackson is no stranger to triumphing the face of adversity. Prior to landing her dream job at world-renowned construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar she was unsure about her career path. A dedicated mother Cheryl began focusing on her career later in life. She returned to school and graduated with a B.A. in Business Management and a Master of Education with emphasis in Global Human Resource Development from the University of Illinois. Never give up Cheryl said. If it is your dream then own it do not give up. It took me 20 years of facing adversity to get my first degree but I kept at it. Sometimes I had to shelve it because of circumstances but it was always there reminding me that I needed to complete this goal. Write your goals down and put them away it is fun to go back later and be reminded of what you have accomplished. Passion about helping others achieve their best life outside of the office Cheryl is the President and Area Coordinator for the Dream Factory a volunteer-based not-for-profit organization devoted to granting the dreams of critically and chronically ill children aged 3 through 18. Rich in family Cheryl married the love of her life in 2009. The couple enjoys an active blended family of 5 children their spouses and 13 grandchildren. I was much younger when I set the goal of being the first in my family to get their college degree Cheryl explained. This made reaching my goal a monumental accomplishment. I have accumulated a diverse background working in many fields. This provided me a degree from the School of Hard Knocks ranging from direct sales to management during these years my children were in school. While earning her masters Cheryl worked as a Benefits Representative for Mitsubishi Motors of North America. When the company downsized in 2004 she had the opportunity to join Caterpillar Inc. I love my job and company Cheryl said. They provide me with constant change and challenge me to broaden myself to continuously excel. I get the opportunity to work with diverse cultures and learn something new every day. My team is great to work with and make coming to my job an adventure everyday. In her position Cheryl is responsible for helping the company become more effective through enhancing the roles of fellow employees. She assists divisions within the company by streamlining their processes making them run more efficiently. She accomplishes this through leading workshops by training on different tools and methodologies and building strong and trusting relationships with co-workers. Cheryl tells aspiring businesswomen that it is never too late to achieve their professional and personal dreams. I would like readers to know that working hard to reach your goals is important and attainable she said. Having done so has led my own children and grandchildren to know they to can do what they set their goals to. I want them to know that what I do makes a difference to those I work with and that working with my charity gives back to the community and brightens others people lives. 11 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A We provide a global service to many countries including our own. We build and design machinery that is used in Construction Resource Energy and Transportation. Q Who or what has been your greatest professional inspiration A I would say many people throughout my career. The first one would be my mother she always taught me to be selfsufficient and not to rely on others for my well-being. She felt it important that a woman be independent financially and in every facet of their life. I know she was very proud of me. The second would be a supervisor in healthcare who questioned me as to why I did not go back to school she pushed me to be a better person. The next would be a dear friend who drove me to better myself by tapping into my competitive side and challenged me to build myself and my career in sales. She is still a dear friend and though the miles separate us we visit often. I have admired many others throughout my career but feel these women who influenced me early in my life and career helped form who I am today. Q What is the biggest lesson you have you learned that you feel is good advice for others A Work hard do your job keep your goals in front of you and play hard. Doing them in that order will make you successful in your career. Do not worry about things that are not in your control. Enjoy your family all along the way Q How does The Dream Factory differ from other wishgranting organizations A The Dream Factory differs from other wish-granting organizations in a couple of distinct ways The Dream Factory is the only children s wish-granting organization that grants dreams to children with chronic illness as well as life-threatening illness. We believe that children with a chronic illness should also be given a reprieve from their constant struggle with medical problems. We strive to provide happiness inspiration and hope for children and their families so they may have a little extra strength to face the difficult and emotional times ahead. Our dedicated volunteers raise money in their own communities and then use those funds to grant the dreams of local children. Because of this grassroots approach to fundraising 90% of all funds raised remains in the community of origin to help grant dreams to local children. Q Who can receive a dream A In order for a child to receive a dream he or she must meet the following criteria Be a child between the ages 3 through 18 and live in the Central Illinois area Have a critical or severe chronic illness which must be verified by the child s primary physician Have not received a dream from any other wish-granting organization. The dream must be the child s own and not that of a parent guardian or other concerned party. 12 Women of Distinction Christiane Caparelli Vintage Furniture Rental Co-Owner Creative Director - Bella Vita Vintage Rentals Orange County CA T hrough her work as Co-Owner and Creative Director at Bella Vita Vintage Rentals Christiane Caparelli loves expressing her creativity by bringing her clients dream settings to life with her vintage furniture pieces. Bella Vita Vintage Rentals was born from Christiane Caparelli s love of everything vintage. Christiane s passion for vintage items began many years ago when she acquired a bureau that inspired her to re-furbish it into something beautiful. She scours flea markets antique shops and yard sales looking for unique and one of a kind pieces that she can give her magic touch . Christiane is a great believer in repurposing vintage items and giving them a new life. Christiane can see potential and inspiration in things that others may view as junk . Her love of weathered rustic furniture is an addiction she gladly accepts. If it has chipped paint well let s just say she s in heaven. As Co-Owner and Creative Director Christiane designs styles stages and plans furniture set-ups for events and special occasions. In addition she meets with clients writes contracts and coordinates with vendors and venues to ensure a successful event. If there s work to be done Christiane is involved in it. For those looking to start out in this industry make sure you start with good capital a good inventory and learn to network. The biggest lesson I ve learned is to never be underfunded. In her leisure Christiane loves to read paint catch up on current events spend time with her friends and loved ones and hang out with her two dogs Jackson and Sawyer. Within the next five years she hopes to see Bella Vita Vintage Rentals slowly but surely expand to new locations in different cities. I love helping people make their events match what they have in their imaginations by listening to them and using my creativity to provide them with the right pieces. I have a passion for design. When you love what you do it shows. I have been a psychic professional for 24 years and that has helped me immensely in working with all types of clients and knowing how to deal with people. After a long career as a psychic consultant Christiane discovered that she had a hidden talent for painting furniture. Initially she had decided to open up a vintage consignment store but a bad partnership saw the business disintegrate. In 2013 after taking a new partner Sueann Carrasco Bella Vita Vintage Rentals was born. The company s two biggest supporters are Wedding Wire and the Heritage Museum of Orange County. When I leave this world I hope that people will remember me as someone who helped them learn a little more about themselves and find the magic within. 13 Cindy A. Fitts Community Association Insurance Industry CISA Insurance Account Executive Elgin IL C indy A. Fitts brings more than 15 years experience to her position as Account Executive for CISA Insurance. With a Bachelors Degree of Arts Business Management from Aurora University Cindy entered into the insurance industry in 2000. She got her start working for an aviation insurance agency however following the devastating terror attacks on September 11 2001 Cindy choose to pursue a career in a different insurance sector. A friend told Cindy about an opportunity at CISA a leader in the Community Association Insurance Industry and she jumped at the chance to apply. She was offered the position and has spent the last 13 years enjoying everyday on the job. In her role as Account Executive Cindy writes and renews community association insurance policies--this includes condominiums townhome associations property owner associations and homeowner associations. She is responsible for working closely with clients to help board members and community managers understand what insurance they need according to state laws as well as their association governing documents. I have stayed at CISA to serve people every day as well as for the personal growth I have experienced Cindy said. Insurance is a necessary evil for most of us and the fact that I get to educate and help people protect their communities to the best of my ability is an amazing opportunity for me every day. I love this industry because it educates helps and serves people. The laws and requirements change constantly each community has its own unique requirements that keep me on my toes Every day is new and different Cindy holds an Illinois Insurance License and is a certified Community Insurance & Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) a volunteer organization that helps make a difference in community associations every day. She sits on the CAI of Illinois Board of Directors and is also on the Fundraising Committee. Women in my family have not traditionally worked office jobs she said. My parents telling me that I could do whatever I wanted has been my biggest support. My advice to young women is to keep learning. The more you learn the more you want to learn. And the more you learn the more valuable you are and the more you have to offer the world Cindy and her husband Jim have been happily married for 7 years. Together the couple has four children and two pit bull mixes. I want the world to always think of me as a woman of my word Cindy said. I know there are other people who can do my job but there are not other people who can replace my word and value I am proud to look back and say I did it. I earned my college degree my designations and awards of achievement. I have gotten the pat on the back from my boss my husband parents and people in my industry. My children have thanked me for the life we have. I am not done yet I have more to accomplish and in a few more years I can look back again and say wow what a well-paved road--even with the few potholes that needed to be mended along the way 14 Women of Distinction Connie Rae Gard Mobile Home Park Managing Certified Property Manager Santa Rosa CA T hrough her work as a Certified Property Manager at a mobile home park Connie Rae Gard is dedicated to making sure things within her mobile home park run smoothly and loves helping people. I truly love my job and what I do for a living. I am able to look after seniors and give them the attention they need while managing this mobile home park. I have had to deal with persons that were a threat to themselves as well as to others and I have stepped up in order to protect myself and my residents. Connie had been living in her mobile home park for five years when the previous manager became sick and decided to leave the park in the year 2000. Following the departure of the former park manager Connie received the proper certifications and went on to become the new park manager a position that she has held since 2000. In her current role of mobile home park property manager Connie oversees all daily operations within the park including maintenance. She also does what s necessary to look after all of the residents and make sure that they remain safe. In the past Connie worked as County Middle Manager from 1970 until 1995. Throughout her career as a certified property manager Connie has received much inspiration from the Western Mobile Home Association which has backed park managers and assisted in their operations. Some advice that I would offer to someone who may be looking to start a career in this field is to be able to empathize with people. Also be good at listening to others. Most people will solve their own problems if you will just listen to them and hear them out. Regarding her certifications and training Connie has been a Certified Property Manager for over a decade earning her certification in 2005 and is a Lifetime Certified Computer Teacher. In her free time she enjoys walking her terrier and taking care of her two wonderful cats. She is a member of the Western Mobile Home Association and is the current President of the North Bay Chapter and has been for several years now. I enjoy entertaining people and making them laugh. I may be of older age but I have the spirit of a young person. I would like to be remembered as a woman who cared about others and fought for women s rights. 15 Women of Distinction D eniece Church cannot remember a time when witches and magick weren t a part of her life. As a kid her dad would tell her funny stories about witches. Once in her 20 s she bought her first book on tarot and spells. She then started studying herbs crystals and ceremonies discovering that there was much more to witchcraft than she imagined. After relocating to Houston Texas with her husband years later she indulged in the many faiths religions and philosophies. Today Deniece is a true practicing Witch who makes handcrafted consecrated items like wand boxes and tarot card boxes. She is also an Alchemist who makes essential oils potions and enchanted candles is a Medium and a Spell Caster. Deniece Church Witchcraft Retail Owner Practitioner of Magick Mooncasters The Woodlands TX The biggest misconception about witches and the craft being evil has always bothered me Deniece admitted. Everything I ve ever read has spoken about healing people s bodies hearts and spirits. Magic is something that came naturally for Deniece. She is what is called a Gray Witch. Our magick is ancient and rare she said. It s neither black nor white it s a reflection of nature. When Deniece decided to open Mooncasters she began guiding other witches to provide them with the right tools for success. Today she offers classes out of her home. Mooncasters is an eclectic shop that sells a host of items including rare exotic herbs and resins from the four corners of the world unique powerful crystals and stones handcrafted oils and incense glass etchings engraved consecrated wood boxes and stools and custom designed jewelry made with natural stones. With Mooncasters I m able to turn something ugly into something good Deniece said. If being a witch can do that than how can it be bad Q&A Q Tell me about spells. A Casting a spell is a very serious ritual. If you try to cast one without the proper training you can unintentionally cause harm either to yourself or someone else. Q Do you believe in ghosts A Yes. I ve lived in two houses that were haunted and I have a ghost who is with me all the time. I don t know who it is but people who see spirits have all told me that there is someone near me. Q What does a pentagram mean Is it evil A No it isn t evil it s quite the opposite and represents life. The points represent the elements without which life could not survive (earth air fire water and spirit). It s the oldest symbol in existence and a symbol of protection. Q Why do you add a k to the end of the word magic A To show the difference between magic and illusion. We are not magicians we are witches. Hoping to bring witchcraft out of the shadows and into the mainstream Deniece added I m part of a natural based faith who only uses things from the earth we only take what we need. Married to a wonderful supportive man Deniece has three daughters and five grandchildren. Her book A Journey of a Witch written by Mark Welch hits stands in August 2016. 16 Women of Distinction Dianna Bowes Events Publishing Founder Creative Director - Fabulous 50 (Creative On The Move) Edmonton Alberta Canada Dianna started Fabulous 50 in 2008 and since then it has evolved from just hosting small events to now hosting large events such as The Fabulous 50 Experience and Martini Party every November and putting out its own e-magazine. The organization has also developed a yearly makeover contest along with a talent show that helps further empower women and build self-confidence. The Fabulous 50 website is currently viewed by women around the world and is building a strong global presence. I have continued growing in this industry because of the people I ve met and the passion I have for connecting women with services benefits and products that they are interested in. My desire to have women across the continent empowering other women is what keeps me going. There are still people to meet. In her role of creative director Dianna has many responsibilities including blogging planning events and designing and marketing the company s Be Fabulous e-magazine. She recently began sharing some responsibilities to a virtual assistant and an event planner though she thoroughly enjoys playing multiple roles within her business. As the company continues to grow Dianna also plans on mentoring fellow entrepreneurs to become Fabulous 50 Directors. She is also beginning a career in public speaking and will be taking her views and experiences to the stage. Two of Dianna s greatest professional inspirations in her career have been Charmaine Hammond (Team Toby) and Jo Dibblee (Frockaliscus) who have both started similar empowering organizations out of their homes and have been making an incredible difference in the world. I would advise people in my industry to build a great team and stay on your path. It is so easy to get side-tracked by shiny opportunities that distract you from your purpose. Also make a plan every day even if that plan is to take an hour and go for lunch stay focused on what you need for your business and for you. Do what feels right for you. If going to networking groups several times a week works for you then go but don t go because you feel obligated or because you feel a need to fit in. I am spending more time meeting people through introductions and taking time to talk to them about what they are doing always building the relationship first. Dianna is involved with multiple organizations that support her cause including 1 000 Women A Million Possibilities with Norquest College where she is helping in the building of a daycare and providing support to the women who attend the college. She is also involved with the YWCA Suit Yourself The Edmonton Dream Centre and the Lois Hole Women s Hospital supporting them in their fundraising endeavors and promoting them to the community through social events and online networking. A s Founder and Creative Director at Fabulous 50 Dianna Bowes is dedicated to empowering women and works to bring them together through her community. Along with the Fabulous 50 community Dianna attends numerous fundraising events. Some of the most popular fundraisers they participate in are gathering Christmas Shoeboxes for inner city children and volunteering with Habitat For Humanity where they aid in the building of homes in the community. Fabulous 50 has been a major sponsor of Team Toby which focuses on kindness acceptance and respect. As a graphic artist and painter Dianna sells her art and donates her proceeds to the Kiva Foundation which she calls the Peace of HeART project. I would like the readers to know that I was the shy girl with very little confidence or self-esteem. Adversity has been my friend - it showed me my gifts and my strengths. As I continued on my path my confidence and self-esteem grew and helped me define myself as I am today. However I still have doubts fears and am a people pleaser at my core. I am still an introvert at heart and love my quiet time with a cup of tea a good book and my cats snuggling with me in front of the fireplace. Before beginning her work with Fabulous 50 Dianna gathered experience in the florist industry as a lead designer and owner of a flower shop while also working as a graphic designer for several companies including several newspapers over the years. Her first fulltime position came as a layout artist for a major department store. In her leisure Dianna enjoys doing outdoor activities such as biking walking and gardening. She also loves attending live music festivals and concerts and spending time with her family and close friends. Dianna has recently published her first book which is called The Fabulous 50 Re-Experience and has designed several gratitude journals with the newest one being a travel guide with photos taken by Fabulous 50 members. I would like to leave the world the legacy of showing women that it is never too late to follow your dream. And that your family your past your size or your education does not determine your self worth. 17 Women of Distinction Donna Jeannie Bowman Hair Salon Day Spa Barber Shop Owner Marketing Manager Quick Stop Barber and Beauty LLC Beverly Hills FL O wner and Marketing Manger of Quick Stop Barber and Beauty Donna Jeannie Bowman got her start in the beauty industry more than 30 years ago. She became a licensed stylist in 1984 and has since gained extensive expertise in all facets of the industry. Donna used her passion and talent to open her own barbershop and salon in Florida. She uses her business as a platform to give back to the community. She organizes the salon s annual fundraisers and is committed to her primary goal -- never have a customer leave unhappy. I love the hair business because I not only get to be creative but I get to make people feel great about the way they look Donna said. I opened Quick Stop Barber and Beauty in early 2008. Since then we have grown from a two chair barber shop into a seven chair family hair salon with both barber and stylist so everyone get s just what they want. Donna holds a B.S. in Business Management specializing in Marketing and an A.S. in Paralegal Sciences from Florida Metropolitan University. She is a Florida State Licensed Barber through Suncoast College of Hair Design holds a U.S.F. Small Business Development Certificate and a Culinary Arts Degree from Pinellas Technical Education Center. For her tireless commitment to excellence Donna is a member of the National Honor Society and earned a S.C.O.R.E. Small Business of the Year Award. Prior to owning Quick Stop Donna was a Multi Unit Manager and Educator for Great Clips Corp. She also served in the United States Navy as a Master at Arms and Hospital Corpsman. She regularly mentors aspiring stylists who have gone on to open their own successful salons. I would tell them to keep learning Donna said. The more you know the better. Clients trust you with the way they look or sometimes even feel so your dedication time and attention should be given on every service. Follow these core values and your booked will always be filled. I really don t look at other salons as competition. I believe that if you offer quality services at a fair price you will have a busy salon. Each salon offers it own unique blend of what makes it tick. Our tick is quality services at fair prices by skilled operators. We offer hair care for the whole family. In her free time Donna enjoys spending time with family. They gather for Monday Night Family Dinner s where Donna watches both her children grow into smart talented and caring young adults. She also has a 4-year-old grandson who is the light of Donna s eye. Success is held in the eye of the beholder Donna said. I believe success is being loved and supported by your family and friends while doing your absolute best even when no one is looking. I would like to leave a legacy that shows kindness strength integrity empathy compassion and an entrepreneurial spirit. 18 Women of Distinction Elyse Marks Retail Consulting Founder President - EMIT Associates New Rochelle NY T hrough her work as a strategist and facilitator and Founder and President of EMIT Associates Elyse Marks is dedicated to helping her clients achieve their business goals by providing them with the proper guidance necessary to see progress. I ve remained in this industry for so long because I like the challenges the puzzle solving -- servicing people whether they be customers staff co-workers etc. The challenge of making things or people reach their potential be it through team building processes or technology is very rewarding. Elyse got started in her career in 1986 as a store manager. Before beginning EMIT Associates she worked as a Vice President of Technology and CIO with SYMS Corp. and Filene s Basement from 2001 until 2012 and as Head of Technology with Trinity Place Holdings Inc. from 2012 until 2014. In her previous positions Elyse provided technical leadership and successfully implemented large scale projects with limited resources budget and time. She also created an IT department automating all processes throughout the supply chain for a major retail chain with over 50 locations and 3 000 employees. The advice I d offer to someone looking to start out in this industry is to leave things better than they were before help others achieve their goals. Find your passion. It might take you a while but keep at it. Always give at least 100% and keep your eyes and ears open for the next opportunity. Be a team player. Find balance and don t forget stop and smell the roses along the way. Always remain true to yourself. Never stop asking questions but always remember to listen. EMIT Associates specializes in integrating the front-end and back-end of small to mid-size businesses using training software collaboration and process transformation in order to provide more profits and growth. As Founder and President of EMIT Associates Elyse oversees all daily operations of her company focusing on networking and attention to detail as she believes those are the most important qualities to have in all aspects of work. I started as a cashier in a retail store and worked my way up through the ranks. I have an innate curiosity that has enabled me to keep learning. I built a career in an area I did not go to school for and had very little formal training in. I worked hard for the most part gave my all and then some and always tried to treat others with fairness respect and consideration regardless of their position. I ve always believed in stepping aside and letting the bench players hone their decision making skills (of course with supervision to start). I ve always tried to be a team player and I think I ve succeeded in it. I think it s important to know that starting in entry level and learning how it all works can open more doors than one can imagine. It s important to keep an open mind. It wasn t always easy but the rewards were well worth it. There were many times that I was faced with the working mother dilemma -- emergency at work and needing to get home to the family. Amazingly the priority would surface. And no it wasn t always the family. But we all survived -- in fact my daughter now works in retail management Regarding her education Elyse has a Bachelor of Music from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and has done post-graduate work in Opera Theater at SUNY College at Fredonia. In her leisure Elyse enjoys volunteering traveling attending theater concert and opera events and spending time with her family. She is a member of Women s Leadership -- CIO Executive Council and the National Association of Professional Women. I m not perfect but I ve always done my best and always figured things out. Hopefully in doing so I will have done my part in making my piece of the world a better place. 19 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why did you choose technology consulting A In order to thrive in today s shifting market environment organizations need to tightly align their people processes and technology with their strategic vision and goals. Once aligned the focus must be on achieving the vision. Q How do you achieve this A We help clients accomplish this by transforming their business in order to drive innovation increase productivity reduce costs and improve controls. Q What is business transformation A It usually involves a strategic plan along with innovative solutions that help a business transform operations to increase success. Q Why is it necessary A Businesses tend to fall into the but we ve always done it this way trap. The problem is that in this day and age you must strive towards a more agile organization that is able to keep pace with a changing marketplace. Q How does EMIT contribute to this A EMIT contributes to this by suggesting and creating innovative solutions that encourage risk taking by fostering the cultural adoption of change using language and tools to initiate a continuous process improvement environment. Q Do you work only with established businesses A We can partner with established businesses or startups. Often time entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do but often not prepared to manage the varied components that are needed to grow a business and take it to the next level. We work with you to streamline your business so you can spend less time juggling tasks and more time doing what you love. We can also start at the very beginning and turn an entrepreneur s dream into a reality. Q What have you found to be the most important skill a consultant can have A The most important skill a consultant can have is the ability to listen -- if consultants don t listen carefully to what their clients are telling the about their business and current situation they ll have no way of understanding what solution will best give them the result they want to achieve. Q What questions do you avoid asking your clients A Tell me a little about your business -- a professional consultant will have taken the time to research his or her client and the market before meeting with the client. What is your budget for this project -- Firstly it assumes the client has a budget and secondly it positions the consultant s service as a commodity with a high price ticket on it. Q What kind of questions do you ask instead A We try to point out potential issues in the marketplace in general by asking whether the client is experiencing this. Regarding the budget -- ask instead what is the value of a new client to your client -- as this allows you to frame the cost of the project with the value of new customers to your client. Q What is your background Why do you do this A I ve been in retail and retail technology for over 25 years. I enjoy the challenge of solving the puzzle making things more efficient and helping people reach their potential. I like leaving things in a better place than they were before I got involved. 20 Women of Distinction Gina CostaGoldfarb CPC ELI-MP ACC Life and Wellness Coaching New Beginnings Coaching Services LLC Owner Parlin NJ C ompassionate Life Wellness Coach Gina CostaGoldfarb specializes in working with cancer survivors and caregivers. Through her practice New Beginnings Coaching Services LLC Gina helps clients cope with the emotional and physical challenges they experience so that they can once again feel confident and in control of their lives. Coaching survivors is about meeting the client where they are at emotionally. It is also about having them set the agenda based on where they are feeling stuck and what goals they want to achieve. It is about creating awareness first and then uncovering the blocks that are keeping them from moving toward their light. My clients are able to move beyond their cancer experience and into creating well-being in all areas of their lives. Gina stated My coaching services are tailored to the individual client s needs at the time. Gina s passion and personal connection to the cancer continuum sets her apart in her field. By developing a trusting non-judgmental and confidential relationship with her clients Gina helps her clients get to the root of what it is that they really want. She then helps them create a specific plan to facilitate positive change in meeting their goals. Gina wanted to break that silence that many feel locked into due to a cancer experience by raising funds and awareness and helping others find their own voice when they might feel like they are losing control. Gina s familiarity with cancer didn t end with her mother. Gina received her own diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in 2012. Gina is a Certified Professional Coach Energy Leadership Index Master PractitionerTM and a COR.E Wellbeing Dynamics SpecialistTM. She received her training via I-Pec (The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching). She also graduated with honors from the City University of New York with a B.A. Degree in Psychology. Gina is an active member of the International Coach Federation. Dedicated to helping those touched by cancer outside her practice Gina is involved in a number of charitable organizations that support cancer research. Through her tireless efforts Gina has raised in excess of 100 000 for the cause over the last 14 years. Gina is married to a very supportive husband. The couple has two amazing children Samantha 14 and Jayson 11. When I lost my mother to ovarian cancer in 2001 I propelled myself into a new mindset one which included being proactive in my own wellness and becoming an advocate for the cause . I would like my legacy to be having been known as a go to person in terms of coaching my niche --working with survivors and caregivers and helping them create new beginnings after cancer. 21 Women of Distinction Q&A Q. How has coaching benefited you as a breast cancer survivor A When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I felt like I got hit by a bolt of lightning. I had done a lot of inner work but I was still living a life that was overcome with stress and overdoing and over giving. As a result of coaching I did a lot of soul searching and getting core-level honest with myself. I then found a life and career that I am passionate about. I found joy again and most of all I found my authentic self Q. How has coaching benefited some of your individual clients A Not only are my clients able to get back in the driver s seat in terms of their cancer experience I have seen them gain awareness around how they show up in life what their relationships look like what their career path looks like and making changes that are more in alignment with their overall well-being. It is a beautiful thing to witness my clients opening their eyes to choices and resources that they weren t able to see under stress. Many of my clients experience fear of the unknown and after walking through that fear with them they are able to realize that the emotion of fear was bigger than the task itself. Coaching has brought many of my clients a new level of confidence awareness and acceptance thereby moving their lives from functional to optimal. Q. Why should I choose you as my coach A. I have been in the shoes of a caregiver have walked through the cancer journey with friends family members and my clients and have had my own up close and personal experience with cancer. I have been involved in my own personal development for the last 25 years and have a wealth of life experience in overcoming adversity. I have my formal education and coach training together with a myriad of tools to assist you in moving forward. I am authentic raw and real. I will provide you with a compassionate and safe space for exploration. I continue my education to further my expertise in my niche and continue to stretch myself. Q. Why did you choose the name New Beginnings for my business A I have been breaking the rules (old rules that weren t true for me and imposed on me by others) for my entire life. I have experienced many life changing events that have caused me to walk through my biggest fears. After my own cancer experience and when I completed my coach training I came up with the name New Beginnings Coaching Services LLC and the tag line Dedicated to New Beginnings After Cancer . because looking back at my life challenges and my strengths every step that I had walked was all about creating new beginnings in my own life. 22 Women of Distinction Jan Ohm D Mental Health Psychotherapy Co-Director of Somatic Healing Arts Sensorimotor PsychotherapistToronto Ontario CAN rawn to psychotherapy through her fascination with the unconscious Jan Ohm also explored body mind disciplines meditation and ceremonial medicine. While studying and teaching Tai Chi Chuan Jan later dove into a four-year psychotherapy apprenticeship with the intentions of someday opening up her own practice. My own healing journey was motivated by chronic illness that didn t respond to medical treatment Jan said. When I couldn t find relief by medical means I began searching for psychological reasons. Over the years I ve worked with many patients who are desperate to find help for illnesses that modern medicine cannot identify or successfully treat. I ve always had a keen interest in how the body manifests psychological distress as pain discomfort and dysfunction. Jan founded Somatic Healing Arts with her husband business partner in 1995. As a Sensorimotor Psychotherapist and CoDirector she works with adults in one-on-one sessions to help them understand how their trauma and primary attachments influence the way they engage with the world. Over the last two decades she has seen tremendous contributions to the field through advances in Attachment Theory and Neuroscience not to mention technology. Behind the excitement of learning Jan remains fascinated as to how we as humans tick. Q&A Q What is the importance of mindfulness in psychotherapy A Mindfulness equips us with the capacity to witness our own thoughts emotions and sensations. Rather than being overcome by our experience we can choose how we wish to respond. Q Why is sensorimotor and body-based psychotherapy so effective for psychological trauma A Unresolved traumatic memory lives in the body and manifests in the autonomic nervous system. Sensorimotor methods directly address the intrusive sensations and impulses where they live - in the body. Q What is neurofeedback brain training and how is it done A It s a process of measuring the brain s electrical activity and then feeding back that information to the brain about its own function. As the brain optimizes itself it is trained to a state of greater stability flexibility and resiliency and these changes are felt in the central nervous system. When I began studying sensorimotor therapy in 2006 I d already been in the field for over a decade and I d recognized how it tied together all the skills I d been honing for more than 20 years Jan noted. As a Tai Chi teacher and martial artist I had many years of mindfulness and movement so body-oriented ways of working were a delightful discovery. The type of therapy that Jan does addresses the how of living. Explaining that we can certainly know everything there is to know about what happened to us it just may not be enough to change how we do things it s the how that produces different results. Jan also began offering neurofeedback to patients in 2015. She continues to teach at Rising Sun School of Tai Chi Chuan and serves as a Guest Faculty at Living Institute Psychotherapy Training. She s currently on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Humanistic and Transpersonal Association and is a member of the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. 23 Women of Distinction Janet L. Baldwin Retail - Consignment or Resale Education - College Business Owner - Once Again Consignment Instructor - Gallipolis Career College Gallipolis OH W hile she spent several years in elementary and special education as a teacher and later in social work as a case manager behavior management specialist and intake coordinator Janet L. Baldwin has been in the consignment industry since 2001. I needed a change so after exploring many different ideas I decided to open a consignment shop with my (then) 18-year-old daughter Beth. Shortly after opening Once Again Consignment Janet began teaching business at Gallipolis Career College a local business school. This has been a wonderful addition to my life as I get to share my knowledge and business experiences with my students. Since opening the shop Janet and Beth have divided tasks based on interests and abilities. Because she is younger and more hip Beth has always been responsible for determining the inventory we accept. She also handles our display areas and any tricky customer issues. I deal with other areas of managing the business including marketing training supervising employees paying bills and taxes dealing with outside agencies ordering items to re-sell budgeting and scheduling. However looking back Janet admits that there are certain things they would ve done differently. Basically hindsight is always 20-20 and if we knew then what we know now apply here Either way Janet loves knowing that what she is doing has a profound effect on our environment. Protecting the environment has been an interest of mine since my early teaching years. I loved helping young children understand that they could do things to protect our planet. And I love working in an industry now that helps people save money by recycling their clothing for a reasonable price and make money by selling their still usable items for others to reuse. It s a win-win for everyone. She also loves the wonderful customers and consignors who have come in over the years. Many of them have been with us since the early days 14 years ago and have become part of our family. We ve shared in their joys and difficulties. We also now have a lot of customers who came in with their mothers years ago and shop with their own children. What a wonderful thing that is It makes it all worthwhile. Janet would like to be remembered as a good wife mother and grandmother but also as someone who provided a means for consumers to find trendy inexpensive clothing for their families and taught her students to be competent managers and successful business owners. First of all we would ve marketed more extensively when we opened. We did advertise some but not nearly enough so we lost valuable time and money not getting our name out early on. Secondly because consignment was fairly new to this area we would ve worked harder to educate our consignors about the type of clothes we were looking for. Finally I would ve worked with an accountant immediately and hired a bookkeeper as I m terrible with this part of the business and should ve admitted it from day one. 24 Women of Distinction Jo C Herrmann Sonography Diagnostic Medical Sonographer at Via Christi Health System Pittsburg KS J o C Herrmann believes that there are many opportunities for Medical Sonographers once they become certified. Her journey began attending the Radiographer Program at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott Kansas from July 1970 to June 1972. She went on to work at Mt. Carmel Medical Center in Pittsburg Kansas before starting the Sonography program at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center which she completed by 1974. Her decision to stay in this field for 41 years is due to the fact that she truly enjoys her profession and has the ability to successfully balance her family life with her professional life. Jo is currently one of four staff sonographers at Via Christi Health System. She sees a variety of patients for a number of illnesses that sonography plays an important role in diagnosing. She admits that the constantly changing technology has been the most difficult part of her career thus far. She has certainly become more comfortable with this aspect of her job throughout the years as all of the sonography machines are presently ran by computers. Jo also explains how much knowledge she has gained about the human body and how it appears much more detailed in images as the years have gone by. When asked what advice she would give to an aspiring Sonographer Jo suggests that it is imperative in this industry to shadow an experienced coworker to really comprehend the ins and outs of the field. Not everyone is comfortable around sick people and some of our patients are very sick. She states. Her job entails dealing with various bodily processes and not everyone is comfortable with such tasks. As previously stated Jo has over 40 years of experience in her chosen career. However this has not stopped her from continuing to learn as much as she can about her area of expertise. She states The more you learn the better you will perform your job. She has grown to develop empathy for her patients and provides as much help and support as possible In her free time Jo is very much involved in her community. She is a member of the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and the Greater Kansas City Ultrasound Society. She is also an active member of the Countryside Christian Church where she participates in their Restore & More program helping addicts overcome obstacles. Lastly she is a guardian for an elderly woman through the Kansas Guardianship Program. As for her personal life Jo is a loving wife and a devoted mother and grandmother. She appreciates the fact that her job has allowed her to be a successful business woman while still maintaining a healthy relationship with her husband and children for so many years. She is completely satisfied with her profession mentally financially physically and spiritually and she plans to continue her journey in the field that she knows and loves. 25 Women of Distinction Judi Thompson Beauty Independent Avon Representative - Avon Products Inc. Sioux Falls SD T hrough her work as an Independent Avon Representative with Avon Products Inc Judi Thompson has a passion for the products she sells and is dedicated to serving her clients to the best of her ability. If you decide you would like to try direct sales choose a company where you will have an upline or mentor. They will help you as much or little as you want. Invest time to research the product and study all direct selling companies finding a product line that the majority of people use and is affordable. Choose a company that has been around for a while as many of these companies come and go. Take advantage of any free training your company offers. Most direct selling companies are flexible as to what you want to get out of the business. If you just want to sign up to get the company discount make a little extra money or make a lot of money it s up to you. It s not cast in stone so if your life changes at some point and you want to go up the scale or down it s up to you. Just let your upline know of your intentions. Judi began her career with Avon in 1965 after answering an ad in her local newspaper. At the time she had been a stay at home mom with two young daughters and was looking for a way to get out of the house and provide extra income without going the traditional 9 to 5 route. After finding much success as an Avon Representative Judi became Avon s District Sales Manager in Sioux Falls SD in 1974 a position that she held for 27 years before retiring in 2000. As District Sales Manager for her city she had accountable for over 400 representatives and a geography area that included five counties and half of Sioux Falls which has a population of 150 000. While she has originally planned to remain retired Judi ended up taking up an Independent Sales Representative position with Avon specializing in their Leadership Multi-level Marketing Program after just a few months off. Her current role as a Gold Leader within the company sees her recruit and train Avon Representatives helping them become as successful as possible. Many of the top performers in Avon s Leadership program have become millionaires with many earning a six-figure income every year. I always tell my downline that they can do it too and I will help them . In her leisure Judi enjoys traveling with her husband reading spending time outdoors and spending time with her family. She has gone on multiple trips sponsored by Avon thanks to her hard work including trips to Hawaii Greece Paris Monte Carlo and Alaska plus several Caribbean Cruises. She and her husband have also visited Thailand Norway and Mexico on their own. I love helping women (and a few good men) become successful financially and also to see them improve their social skills and self-esteem. 26 Women of Distinction Manda Shepherd Music Education Founder CEO Teacher Boston MA I n the year 2008 while Manda Shepherd was still attending High School she began teaching private music lessons in her community. Upon beginning college courses she worked for a local non-profit organization Joyful Noise Neighborhood Music School. Manda then moved to Boston and as she pursued a Master s Degree at Boston University she set up a private studio and in July of 2015 Manda s music career was born. Manda s Music is a one woman show for the most part. Her role as the founder CEO and teacher leaves her with great responsibility. She runs the day to day administration prepares quarterly plans organizes and oversees events and of course teaches the students music something she feels so passionately for. Teaching enables Manda to make a difference in people s lives and with every recital comes a feeling of accomplishment for her knowing that her hard work and compassion made their hopes and dreams become reality. Upon beginning Manda s Music she took a huge risk as she left her nine to five to focus full time on her organization which she never imagined could expand to such great heights. Manda takes pride in her students as well as a personal approach as she attends their school functions gets to know them for who they are beyond the music. She accepts their mistakes and gives her undivided attention to help them master the art that she knows and loves. When asked of her biggest inspiration in her career Manda states I have had the privilege of being inspired by many wonderful people. However she names Mary Payne her childhood music teacher as the reason why she is a musician. She explains She pushed me past my breaking point and commanded nothing but the best I could give. I am grateful for her tough love . Manda describes how she trusted and respected Mrs. Payne and tries to guide her own students in a similar manner. Manda also admits to her profession being the reason why she has become so open minded. For example if she is working with a student for several weeks and does not notice much progress she creates an alternative plan for the student to ensure that they will indeed prosper. Manda Shepherd is a member of the International Clarinet Association and in her free time she enjoys staying healthy by exercising often she cherishes her time spent with her family as well as attending concerts performing and getting lost in a good book. As Manda is still at the beginning of her career she has tremendous hopes dreams and ideas for Manda s Music in the future. Her goal with all of her students is to instill in them a true understanding of music and that they grow to appreciate it throughout their lives. 27 Women of Distinction Marge Fleck Business Consulting Manufacturing President - Marge Fleck Professional Advisors LLC (MFPA) CEO - Infinite Limit LLC MFPA Cornwall NY Infinite Limit New Windsor NY s President of Marge Fleck Professional Advisors LLC Marge Fleck is dedicated to helping her clients find business effective solutions to their business problems. She is also the CEO of Infinite Limit LLC a start up company whose vision is to design and produce innovative products that are made in the USA that solve everyday problems. Infinite Limit s first brand is the Bungee Beast a product that stores bungee cords when they are not in use. I enjoy working with people and solving problems. I have found that performing the role of a consultant can be both financially and intellectually rewarding. Infinite Limit LLC is a new venture and offers me the opportunity to both generate an income and partner with my best friend my husband. We hope that once the company has more success that we will be able to develop additional brands which will allow us to spend more of our time together. Following a career in engineering that lasted from 1986-1999 Marge changed her sights to business consulting and began Marge Fleck Professional Advisors (MFPA). Since that time MFPA has participated as a sub-consultant in a variety of projects delivering program and project management services business analytics IT assessments business process re-engineering and services to high profile clients in the public transportation community as well as small to mid-sized firms. In 2010 Marge and her husband Paul created Infinite Limit LLC and developed the Bungee Beast which is currently patent pending and trademarked. Their company has produced 500 units thus far and is focused on developing the product into a national brand. I am very dedicated to both my career and my family. Creating balance is often difficult and being a woman and mother of three makes it even more so. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 I have changed many aspects of my life. I focus on creating a more balanced life and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. I m much more conscious of eating healthy and exercising regularly. I take one day at a time and really appreciate the little things in life. A In her role of President of MFPA Marge performs all of the revenue generating activities including managing and administering her business meeting with customers assessing their needs and making and implementing solutions that address those needs. She also performs business administration and contract administration services technical support and back office support for small to medium sized firms. As CEO of Infinite Limit Marge meets with vendors to produce the company s product and engages with customers to assist them in improving sales of the product. She also handle s administration develops new ideas and helps assemble and package the product. For those looking to become an effective business consultant it s important to have an excellent education relevant work experience and effective communication skills. While it s true textbook learning does not always apply to the real world for me becoming an engineer taught me how to solve problems while attaining my MBA taught me how to improve and optimize businesses. Take the time to see how real life in your chosen industry actually works. To become a CEO of a start-up company I found that there are many obstacles to overcome. Most of all you have to believe in what you are doing and have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Although things don t always go as planned never give up on your dreams. Don t be too hard on yourself when unexpected things happen. Believing in yourself is one of the most important keys to your success. Regarding her education Marge received her Bachelor of Engineering Engineering Science from SUNY Stony Brook in 1986 and her MBA in Corporate Finance from Pace University in 1991. In her leisure Marge enjoys traveling yoga reading gardening boating hiking and camping with her family. She is also a member of the Orange County NY Chamber of Commerce the Better Business Bureau and APICS. I would like to contribute something meaningful to society. I am very proud of my three children and support them fully and enjoy all of their accomplishments. 28 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How were your career opportunities affected by being a woman A Sometimes I feel that I need to work extra hard to gain the professional respect that seems to be readily afforded to men of equal experience. Q What is your plan for expanding sales for Infinite Limit LLC A We are planning to develop a robust sales and marketing plan to increase market awareness of the Bungee Beast product. Our goal is to use an outside agency to develop the plan. The goal would be to increase sales and workforce. Q What are you most proud of A I am proud of my professional accomplishments and my family. Q You have a broad range of experience. If given the opportunity what area would you be interested to work in next A Now that the long term consulting projects that I have been involved with are coming to a close I would like to expand my consulting business into additional markets and add consultants to my staff. At the same time I want to continue growing Infinite Limit LLC into a national brand. Q What has been the most difficult part of running your own business A It often takes a great deal of effort to both meet the client expectations and administer the business. I found that it requires a great deal of focus dedication and time to accomplish this. Q What has been the best part of running your own business A The satisfaction that comes when a client acknowledges and appreciates the increased business efficiency from a solution that I provided. It is also satisfying when the Bungee Beast product sells to a new customer. Q As a breast cancer survivor what suggestions do you have for women just facing their own diagnosis A When I first was diagnosed with breast cancer I was devastated and very afraid. Have a strong support network to help you understand this illness and the options available to you that offer help. Be very strong and never give up. Q What outside services do you rely on to help you with your business A Accounting legal production and additional professional services assist me in both my businesses. Q Does your family have a role in your businesses A Yes they play a major role in supporting me in both my businesses. Infinite Limit LLC has been a family project from the beginning and continues to be so today. Our children contributed design ideas product names and website development in support of Bungee Beast. 29 Women of Distinction Maria LittleArnold W Human Services Mentoring Retail Management Chief Executive Officer C.U.P.I.D. Solution LLC Acronym Village Breaking Your Circle of Life Minneapolis MN orking from home as the Owner of three new businesses Maria Little-Arnold is working to provide a family atmosphere of trust to clients through a mentoring program housing educational services workshops and focus groups in one central location to the Queens (women) and Princesses (girls) in the community. Dedicated to breaking the circle of life and not be stuck at the bottom in society Maria s new businesses are making great progress. Currently relying on volunteers to get everything up and running efficiently Maria hopes to eventually be able to hire a staff of individuals to support her non-profit organizations. After volunteering myself at my church in the girls ministry I noticed that my daughter and her peers were experiencing a lot of issues. I began to mentor my daughter sister and their friends between the ages of 7-12 and later realized that I could use my skills and education to mentor in a different capacity Maria said about how the decision to establish her own organizations initially came about. In addition to turning to volunteers for support Maria is also getting the help of investors and other businesses that believe in her cause. Q&A Q Why will your company will be an asset to African-American women and girls in your community A The understanding of where I come from along with finding who I am in this world will show other women and girls that we can make it in this world with a full-time job as a full-time student wife mother sister aunt and entrepreneur business women. Q Who is C.U.P.I.D. Solutions A Cupid Solution is Covering Up People In Distress with Solutions in mind for all African American women and girls. We want to change girls into princesses and women into queens in our community specifically African American female. Q What will Break Your Circle of Life provide to young princess A We ll provide mentoring for princesses in grades 6-8 as well as self-esteem workshops and provide a following of the girls for three years and six months within the first year of high school. The girls are always welcome to come for any assistance or resource as needed to provide for their future. Q Who is Acronym Village A The company will list different acronyms to be strong encouraging and stand up for beautifulness in our community of women targeting all ages. I ve learned that I cannot save the entire world and all those in it but I can do my part she added. Thankfully I ve found a lot of support from people in the community and they are coming to me with information and resources all the time. A Youth Leader at New Beginnings Baptist Tabernacle Maria previously volunteered with Urban Youth Conservation and spent years as a Parent Liaison for Bethune. She is also a full-time Store Manager for Rainbow s women s clothing store. She holds an AAS in Business Administration Certificate in Parenting and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Maria will also be completing her BS in Business Administration in June 2016. 30 Women of Distinction Marie Flore LindorLatortue Ph.D. (Dr. Flore) T Public Health Social Services Higher Education Marketing Advertising Public Speaking Professor Professional Business Consultant Radio TV Personality Miami FL hrough her work as a Professional Business Consultant Marie Flore Lindor-Latortue or Dr. Flore as she likes to be called is dedicated to helping others advance in their respective careers within the healthcare industry. I believe that my Ph.D. means Pushing Humans Forward . My ability to create has contributed to my overall success in my chosen fields. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince Haiti Dr. Flore left her home country to pursue her undergrad in Education and Psychology at the age of 18. Dr. Flore began her professional career as an Interpreter at Jackson Memorial Hospital where she also went on to work as a Social Worker in the division of Special Immunology and evolved in many different areas including patient education case management and maternity parenting classes over a period of about 20 years. Also having a passion for Higher Education she has over 18 years of experience teaching in the fields of sociology psychology leadership and health services administration. As a coach and professional business consultant Dr. Flore offers her services in the healthcare industry. She meets with health care providers and offers a series of training to their staff in the area of professional development. Regarding her education Dr. Flore received two Bachelors in Psychology and Education from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in 1992 a Masters in Health Services Administration from Barry University in Miami FL in 1995 and a Doctorate in Higher Education and Leadership in 2010. Regardless of how educated a woman can be unless she is able to distinguish herself by one action by one genuine gesture that makes her unique the education and career alone can be meaningless. I hope others are inspired by my story and can use any aspect of their life to help transform another s life. In her leisure Dr. Flore loves to dance spend time with her family and is also a Radio and TV personality. Dr. Flore is the Co-Founder of the Association of Exchange and Development of Activities and Partnerships (AEDAP) which is a nonprofit organization that was originally created by her father with the mission to empower small organizations by providing them technical support in many areas including leadership and health. AEDAP does much of its work in the mountains of Haiti assisting those who are less fortunate and in need of help. I have a theory of Gade Tet Ou which is a theory that we should check ourselves out. We must check ourselves out and assess our inner selves before we can expect anything from others. The area of consulting can be broad so the best advice for someone starting out in my industry is to know exactly the service that you offer. Keep your services simple and to the point. Stick to your choices and set clear goals. Work hard but also work smart. 31 Women of Distinction Megan Crumpton Real Estate Sales. Specializing in residential sales in the tri-county areas of Payne Creek & Lincoln. Realtor. Tommye Waltman & Associates LLC Cushing OK W hen Megan Crumpton entered into the real estate industry in 2009 she did not expect it to become her dream career. Inspired by her mother who opened an agency in their hometown of Cushing Oklahoma Megan earned her license. She started working for her mother s firm Tommye Waltman & Associates LLC and quickly became very successful. Within her first three years she earned the title of second top producing agent in the Cushing Oklahoma area second only to her mother. My passion for real estate has kept me in the business for 7 years and I cannot ever see myself doing anything but real estate Megan said. My mother and broker extraordinaire Tommye Waltman has been my biggest inspiration and my mentor. By allowing me to be a part of her success she groomed a prot g that has in return helped us both remain top producers and made our agency 1 for three consecutive years. We share the same work ethic and drive to produce the best results possible and never take our success for granted. Megan s role within the company is vast. Being a realtor is a fluid job Megan said it has many moving parts and the duties can change often depending on client s needs and constantly changing guidelines. Scheduling appointments showing and listing houses market analysis coordinating closings and assisting buyers with the loan process only scratches the surface of Megan s responsibilities. Marketing and negotiation she said are her primary job functions. I started in real estate just as the housing market was crashing Megan explained. As a result lending regulations changed dramatically and those whom used to be considered qualified buyers were no longer able to obtain loans. Then shortly after the economy crashed. As a result of that interest rates dropped. I quickly begun learning the loan process very thoroughly which gave me an edge. Mixing my knowledge of the difficult loan process with my ability to encourage Buyers to move forward with the enticement of loan interest rates along with the tenacity and hunger of someone new to the industry worked for me. Megan is a dedicated community member and is currently serving as the Immediate Past President of the Cushing Chamber of Commerce. She served as President in 2014 & 2015 making her the first consecutive two-term female President in the chamber s history. Megan has been on the Board of Directors for the Cushing Chamber of Commerce since 2013 and will remain throughout 2018. She currently is the Chairperson for the Cushing Chamber Foundation for Progress INC. Megan also served as Secretary for the Cushing Association of Realtors 2014-2015 and currently serves as President Elect 2016. I work really hard in my profession and making my community better Megan said. It is very important for me to balance my professional life and my family life which I do with great support from my husband family and friends. I want my daughters to see that you can do what you love while making a difference. I want them to see that I am fair honest gracious and grateful. I want them to know they can be independent and achieve all they want in life from my example. Most of all I want them to know how much their mommy loves them and that everything she does is for them. 32 Women of Distinction Moana Roberts Fire service Captain Paramedic with Truckee Fire Protection District in Northern California Truckee CA H elping her community is Moana Roberts greatest professional passion. She joined the Truckee Fire Protection District in Northern California as a volunteer in 1991. In 1997 she became the fire district s first full time female firefighter and now serves as a Captain Paramedic in their busiest fire station. Moana received an AA from College of the Desert in Palm Desert California in 1982 before attending Law Enforcement academy in Santa Rosa California in 1983. Throughout her career she has completed many specialized fire rescue and prevention classes and received her Fire Officer Certification in 2003. Prior to working fulltime year around for Truckee Fire Moana held a number of fascinating seasonal jobs for 13 years that were both fun and rewarding. She worked in the summers as a horse guide in Colorado and Wyoming a ranger for the National Park Service in three National Parks and the U.S. Forest Service in fire and recreation patrolling the trails. For 14 winters she worked as a ski patroller in Tahoe and Australia and ultimately became the Professional Ski Patrol Director at Northstar at Tahoe. I am a person that loves a challenge Moana said. It pushes me to be a better person and not be stagnant in life. I feel challenges are nothing more than an opportunity to develop our own strengths. This past year I received my black belt in karate when I was 53 years old. Never take anything for granted and appreciate everyone in your life as everyday is a gift. Why In my current profession I can see people s worst days. If I can make a difference to help hold care save someone or something I feel it was a day worth living. Moana is planning on retiring from Truckee fire department in the next couple years. She looks forward to pursuing her passion for photography exciting adventures and mentoring others. I wanted to contribute to my community respond to emergencies and challenge myself Moana said. I also heard there has never been a women on the department so I wanted to try and see if I could change that. It is challenging exciting rewarding and keeps me in shape. I work with a great group of people. I can t believe how fast 19 years has gone by. As a Captain Paramedic Moana supervises a crew of four firefighters. In addition to responding to emergency calls she is responsible for overseeing the station training paperwork and coordinating the schedule for the department s part time firefighters. My main challenge is working in a male dominated industry for 48 hours straight she said. I feel I have always had to prove myself everyday of my career. I strive to learn something new everyday and come to work with a great attitude that I feel encourages and empowers my crew. As women we have attributes that can help balance the team. You need to be strong and do the job but realize you don t need to be like one of the guys. 33 Women of Distinction Patricia L. Pickles Ph.D. Education Founder A Standards of Excellence and Equity Pflugerville TX S I always knew that my mission in life was to serve others and to give back to the community. This belief is a family core value that was instilled in me from a very early age. hortly after beginning her career as a schoolteacher Patricia L. Pickles Ph.D. became a principal and then superintendent of public-school districts. Under her leadership some of the most challenging students schools and districts were turned around. In 2000 Patricia began to transition her passion and leadership skills into the field of mental health. Making a difference in the lives of others has kept me in positions of power and passion throughout my career. As someone who identified a gap in resources and opportunities in our country Patricia saw the need to empower vulnerable families and communities. Now she serves as the founder of A Standards of Excellence and Equity where she is able to provide support and leadership to principals schools districts families and communities. Along with her eclectic experience knowledge and education Patricia has also been in the trenches and has a post-doctoral degree from the School of Hard Knocks. Turning vision into reality is a heartfelt moment where communities come together to celebrate their success. We all have a purpose in life and I believe my purpose is to extend a lifeline to those in at-risk situations During high school Patricia remembers her counselor telling her that she was not college material. After going to college obtaining her Ph.D. and hitting the glass ceiling Patricia s challenges in the workplace escalated. For instance for at least seven years after she resigned while still a taxpayer school board members from one district continued to try to harass and bully her through phone calls and posting defamatory blogs. At the age of seventeen her son was diagnosed with a chronic mental illness. I want others to know that they too can overcome life s challenges adversity pitfalls stereotypes low expectations and naysayers. It only takes one person to believe in you and sometimes that one person has to be you. As the first college graduate from her immediate family Patricia has made great strides including obtaining her Ph.D. and publishing two books Are You In A Pickle Lessons Learned Along the Way Students Performance and Achievement Gaps and Chronic Mental Illness A Living Nightmare. In February of 2016 Dr. Pickles received the Richard E. Hopkins Torch Award at the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference. She serves on the board of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Austin) and further serves the community through volunteer efforts with Americorps Interfaith Action of Central Texas (IACT) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA). Yet I remain humble because I have learned that the true reward in life is when you can serve others and dare to make a difference. In whatever position I ve had the opportunity to serve I did it well. I got results and I was a leader with a heart. I am a leader with vision empathy compassion and core values. 34 Women of Distinction Dr. Sandra Cecilia Miano Consultant in Site Characterization Environmental Impact Assessment and Site Remediation Environmental and Nuclear Analyst Pittsburgh PA 35 Women of Distinction D escribing past facts in our intellectual and academic life represents a return to feelings and emotions which led to an unusual trajectory in my case. My interest in natural sciences began when I was 15 years old while watching the Carl Sagan Cosmos Series which awakened my curiosity in chemistry and physics. I graduated in physics with an interest in Nuclear and Medical Physics and a concentration in Radiation Dosimetry. I spent years dedicated to learning the application of physics in order to discover my interest in Geology. Working and studying all the time I have obtained my Masters degree in Geophysics and my Ph.D in Environmental Geochemistry. It took some time for my work knowledge and skill to be recognized until finally in 2001 I was contracted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Brazil to work for clients. Working for the government is not an easy task because you are responsible for a multi-disciplinary team working in the technical analysis of Environmental Impact Assessment and making decisions on conclusive opinions that granted environmental permits for all of the nuclear industry under Brazilian Regulatory Agency. Brazil has developed all of the nuclear cycles since the exploration of uranium mines for fuel in nuclear power generation and the production of radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear research centers for the use in nuclear medicine and the control of nuclear waste. Considering that it is not easy to work for private enterprises and government I believe that it is difficult to get the consensus for achieving less impact on the environment with a limited economy and a limited financial budget. This includes the task of research and development required to proceed in different markets and branches. While I have spent time studying and working since my daughter was born I m a single mother today and she brings joy into my life. I have never left my job and I was contracted to be a nanny for care in order to share my duties as a mom. My professional career requires traveling to multiple states and overseas where I ve worked in Spain France and Austria. I have the privilege of having my daughter follow me in my work and travel in defending my research thesis and in libraries at every university that I visited and spent time in. In 2013 I moved to the US with my daughter to perform my postdoctoral study at Penn State University in Nuclear Engineering completing 28 years of experience and gaining hard working knowledge in several projects at Rizzo Associates Inc. since I left in 2015. Currently I am taking on the position of Assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in the Swanson School of Engineering. My concern is with future generations and environmental safety which has given me opportunities to work in several companies and the opportunity to keep in touch with students at the university. I become strongly motivated when I see students and colleagues realizing how important it is for an instructor to have experience inside of the industry because that person brings insight that someone in academia does not possess. I love Nuclear Physics with my expertise in Nuclear Fuel Cycle Uranium Mines Tailing Remediation Rare Earth Element (REE) exploration and process Spent Nuclear Fuel and Power Generation projects. I also worked in the licensing of Thermoand Hydro-electric power plants. I managed the gathering of information and diagnostic elements of the operational status of the wastewater treatment effluent sewage and solid waste management around all types of power plants (nuclear natural gas coal) and other facilities (landfill textiles chemical mining companies). I am Professional Affiliated at the American Nuclear Society Geological Society of America American National Standard Institute and Association for Impact Assessment. I have had more than 45 scientific articles published and I have been a speaker and participated in technical and scientific events meetings and symposiums. My life doesn t just consist of just working. I love to drive and I have visited different national parks and historic sites with my daughter such as Yellowstone Grand Canyon Mount Rushmore Lake Superior Washington D.C. and the Cherry Blossom Festival. This last holiday we spent time in the Freeport Bahamas. It was an awesome adventure as we went parasailing snorkeling in the Rainbow Reef and swimming with dolphins. I enjoyed camping kayaking zip lining and bonfires with friends and just joining friends for cooking smiles laughter and conversation about everything. It was really nice. Today after trailing in different pathways I see myself as a confident person prompt for compliment in my life with a big love and being beloved. I keep my mind and my heart open for someone kindness and willingness to share his life with me. I must admit that this is yet to happen but I am constantly looking for the right person and I believe that he will arrive in the near future. I will sincerely wait for this person to appear so that I will know that we have found each other for us to combine and add positive things to our lives among true love. This is the history of my life but I believe all women have the same opportunity. I hope these words can inspire and encourage other women because we are strong enough with power to do more for this beautiful world. 36 Women of Distinction Terri Test Health & Wellness Coaching Certified Holistic Health Coach (& Author) at Balance Achieved Sacramento CA T erri s journey and career as a healthcare professional began over 25 years ago when she had a unique opportunity to work in the operating room of a hospital as an Anesthesia Technician. Over many years the job evolved into a position with more responsibility and an opportunity for her to fine tune her skills. She loved the job and the doctors and nurses she worked with but was feeling a little burned out after 17 years. Having completed her Bachelor s degree in Business by this point in her life she felt it might be time to pursue a new career path. There was no doubt in her mind that she should pursue another position in healthcare. She felt she possessed everything necessary to be successful in this field of work-- compassion skills and a strong desire to help others. After a year of searching she transitioned into a new healthcare role working as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. She held this position for over 10 years working with seven different companies promoting over 23 products to Primary Care and Specialty physicians. She enjoyed learning new therapies and took pride in her ability to continue to help others through her role as a medical resource to the doctors. Although she was satisfied with the job she still felt as though something was missing . Western medicine had always been the main focus of her career path but along the way she began developing an interest in alternative therapies as well. One day she discovered information about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition School in New York. She read through several pages of their website having in mind that it was time to take her career to new heights. Soon after her discovery she began her training and launched her Health Coaching practice in 2012. She strives daily in her coaching business to learn new tools and techniques related to wellness in order to strengthen her ability to support and guide her clients. The approach that she takes with her clients is food and lifestyle based and focuses on helping individuals learn how to evaluate clues that their bodies give to show signs of imbalance. She emphasizes Relationships career exercise self-care and spirituality are equally as important as food is to someone s overall health and wellness. Because each person is unique in their wellness needs and goals she creates personalized programs to support each individual client. Terri names her mother as her greatest inspiration throughout her life. She led by example and taught her children how to be strong independent and compassionate human beings. Terri recently released her first book Up Your Energy (Create Your Path to Habit Harmony). The book offers tips on how to uncover which of your habits might be sabotaging your energy levels keeping you from finding your life and energy balance. She hopes to inspire others to further educate themselves to be their own best health advocates. She states Life is a balancing act and it isn t always necessary to make huge sacrifices to gain significant improvements. 37 Women of Distinction Wanda C Martin RN MPH Public Health Community Health Nursing Congregational Nurse Cone Health System of Greensboro NC Adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor North Carolina A&T State University School of Nursing Greensboro NC Greensboro NC C ongregation Nurse and educator Wanda C Martin s greatest passion is helping others thrive under difficult circumstances. For more than 40 years she has been dedicated to the public health and community nursing fields tirelessly advocating for underserved residents and patients. I love being a nurse Wanda said. Nursing is one of the most trusted and respected professions and it s a special calling. As a nurse you have the opportunity to look at the mind body and spirit of the person you are helping. Nurses are gifted with a healing touch and are able to give back to the community. Wanda is a Congregational Nurse at the Cone Health System of Greensboro North Carolina and an Adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor at North Carolina A&T State University School of Nursing also in Greensboro. In both positions Wanda is a role model and warrior advocating for the less fortunate. Working with future nursing students and uninsured underserved populations of homeless individuals Wanda provides hope and assistance to others letting them know that their life matters. Wanda graduated from North Carolina A&T State University School of Nursing in 1975. She was offered a staff nurse position at Baptist Hospital and six months later began working as a staff nurse at the Guilford County Department of Public Health. She went on to earn a Master s of Public Health Nursing Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Faith Community Nursing Certificate from Duke University. She previously worked as a generalized Public Health Nurse a clinical supervisor in pediatrics and as an Adult Health Program Manager Nursing Director. Wanda is deeply committed to helping others outside of work as well. She is involved in monthly community events that promote health awareness and is a sitting board member for a number of organizations including -- the Alight Foundation Evans-Blount Community Health Center and Congregational Nurse Advisory Board. Additionally she is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Mu Tau Chapter National Nursing Honor Society Treasurer for the North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University School of Nursing Affinity Group and serves on the Usher Board of Ebenezer Baptist Church. For her tireless efforts Wanda received the Bridge Builders Award for Leadership Integrity and Community Involvement and in October 2015 she was honored as one of the Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina . I genuinely love people nursing family and my community she said. I have met and overcome many challenges in my life. I have always been challenged but by refusing to never give up I would change my perspective and use each challenge as an opportunity. I have achieved many goals in my life through hard work dedication and God s guidance. I deal with people each day that have complex mental health issues and chronic health diseases she said. Many of the clients I work with daily are unemployed have no family support and have lost all hope. I am their advocate and their voice. Weekly I teach students to listen to their clients screen for chronic diseases such as diabetes high blood pressure and seek out community resources to prevent emergency room visits and hospitalizations. 38 Women of Distinction Hana K. Redding Author Writer Cheltenham PA naturally talented wordsmith Hana K. Redding launched her professional writing career in early 2007. At the time she had not yet realized her potential but as she sat down to reflect about a bad break up her short writing on the subject developed into a poem. Now an accomplished author her poem To Be Great was published in Stars in our Hearts and her piece entitled Change was published in International Who s Who in Poetry in 2012. There few writers that truly care about people in the manner Hana does. She uses her writing business not only to make a living but also to inspire others through her relatable works. She treats her supporters like family. A Success is not happen over night she said. You have to take baby steps be yourself and also be true to what you know is right and everything else will come. A graduate of Edison Fariea High School Hana went on to attend Star Tech s medical assistant program and worked as a residential counselor for more than ten years. Additionally she attended Floyd Evangelist School and the University of Phoenix studying early childhood education. Her efforts earned her the Phenomenal Woman Award in May 2013 from the Kroc Salvation Army Church. Hana was married from 1997 to 2004 when her late husband passed away from a serve type of lupus. She has two children. In spare time Hana enjoys spending time with her family traveling dancing attending concerts working out at her gym and of course writing. I m very passionate about writing and love to use this special gift that god have giving me to share with others Hana said. I m a woman of strength and determination. I get more out of sharing and building people up with positivity. When she started her career Hana was fearful. She drew on the strength and encouragement that her children provided to accomplish what she was born to do -- write. 39 Women of Distinction Nance L. Schick Esq. Law Attorney Arbitrator Mediator Conflict Resolution Coach at The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick New York NY D on t be fooled by the business suit or her international corporate clients. New York-based attorney Nance L. Schick is not your traditional lawyer. The founder of The Law Studio that bears her name Nance wants you to know from your first interaction that you can create your own resolutions. She knows because she has been creating her own through a diverse professional background. Among other things she has been a litigant entrepreneur human resources supervisor and minor league hockey agent before attaining her Juris Doctorate from the State University of New York University at Buffalo in 2001 and establishing her private practice in 2003. Committed to resolving the very human elements of conflict she gained trial experience and completed the 40-hour mediation training at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nance continues to expand her team to serve the emerging demand for holistic and integrative legal services which affords clients a more personalized and interactive experience. Drawing from personal experience Nance wrote and selfpublished her first book DIY Conflict Resolution Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master after being assaulted on her way home from a course she attended to improve her communication and leadership skills. The attack has positioned Nance to speak compassionately about restorative justice mediation and private conflict resolution services. She is now planning the next books in the series which are poised to be published by the American Bar Association for the general public. Nance is Member and Social Media Chair of the Dispute Resolution Section s Women in Dispute Resolution Committee with the American Bar Association. Additionally she is a CoLeader with the Integrative Lawyers Mentoring Circle Board Member of The Knowledge Project Member of the New York City Bar Association and Advisory Committee Member of Unlocking Futures. She was also recently appointed to the arbitrator panel for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). A self-described nerdy athlete with diverse interests Nance enjoys biking hiking running swimming weight training and yoga. When she is not outdoors you can often find Nance visiting a museum watching an online video course or writing. In the end Nance L. Schick encourages everyone to continue to reach for their dreams no matter what life throws their way. I love being able to provide options for quicker cheaper and more complete dispute resolution than the courts can often provide. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than seeing people experience themselves powerfully and the courts don t always leave them with that experience. A mediator Nance seeks win-win solutions whether she is arbitrating coaching litigating mediating or teaching. She is the visionary and creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution Program (TM). Through the program Nance reminds her clients that there will always be conflicts that cannot be avoided. However that does not mean these disagreements can t be resolved skillfully or powerfully. Nance uses the Third Ear process and other mediation techniques to develop an action plan that moves clients toward resolution. Ideally this process is completed privately before having to resort to a costly court procedure. Please stop telling yourself you need to be or have something more than you are and have now. There is an abundance of resources and opportunities for each of us to have success. We can all succeed on our own terms because each of us defines success a bit differently. I don t have to lose because you re winning. I invite you to win. My vision is to empower unity of one worldwide human race through conflict resolution mastery and entrepreneurship. I want my Third Ear Conflict Resolution program to continue teaching people to forgive themselves for having conflicts and to powerfully resolve them. I want to see people reconnect with their personal gifts and create self-sufficiency from them. I want each of us to be free to experience all of the joys in life and to allow love to flow like air. Does that seem crazy coming from a lawyer 41 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How is Integrative Holistic Law different from other legal services A Integrative Holistic Law is values-based and multidisciplinary. It is customized to meet your unique needs. It s not an automated standardized process that spits out a result based on what other people want or what someone thinks should make you feel whole again. You won t file a form and wait years to get a response. You ll be invited to create your own resolution with the assistance of an attorney-coach or attorneymediator. Q What is the difference between arbitration and mediation A Arbitration is like a private trial. Instead of a judge deciding your case a specially-trained attorney or a panel of two or three attorney-arbitrators will review the evidence and render a decision. You ll still be deferring to someone else to resolve your dispute. Conversely in mediation you will co-create the resolution with the help of the neutral or mediator. Q What are the differences between a coach a consultant and a mentor A A coach helps you discover what you need to create the resolution you want and will empower you to take the actions necessary. A consultant will give you an opinion on what he or she thinks you should do. A mentor will tell you what he or she did or would do. Q How will a conflict resolution coach benefit me A There are a number of reasons clients come to me for coaching. Some are colleagues who have gotten stuck and see that I have overcome some of the obstacles they are facing in their businesses. We work on reconnecting their processes and goals to their values and we clarify their vision so that it is easier for them to see a path to it. Have you ever tried going somewhere you ve never been without a map signs landmarks or photographs to let you know when you ve gotten there You end up being Christopher Columbus thinking he s in India not realizing he s halfway across the world from where he intended to go. Sometimes that works out but you re more likely to get what you want when you can clearly define it envision it and reverse-engineer a process for getting it. That s what I help people do whether they re in existing litigation internal conflict or conflicts with people they don t want to sue. Q What is Restorative Justice A Restorative Justice is a mediation process used in criminal and school discipline cases. The focus is on rehabilitation more than punishment recognizing that our punishment-based system is not producing the results that we want. There are certainly cases in which the offender needs to be removed from society for a time to protect potential victims but Restorative Justice practitioners see that a majority of offenders have the potential for rehabilitation. They seek to give those offenders that opportunity--with input from their victims families and communities. In the case against my young assailant I requested a Restorative Justice plea conference for these same reasons. He was 14 when he grabbed me on the street violently threw me to the ground and fought me for nearly 17 minutes. I couldn t help but wonder what had such a young man on the city streets and across the river from home at 10 PM on a Sunday night. I remembered where I would have been at that age at home with a loving mother either doing my homework or sleeping. Perhaps he didn t have that and needed me his family and his community to create it for him. Last year I spoke to Julia Maddox of You. Better. TV and read the poem I wrote for my offender. See https youbettertv. com 2015 05 26 talking-with-nance-schick-3 . The ADA ended up reading it to the defendant for me as I lost the courage to face him by the time his sentencing hearing had been completed more than two years after the assault. The ADA advised me that the defendant and his family were quite angry that he wouldn t be going home from the proceedings and his violent nature had escalated. So it was probably in my best interest not to subject myself to the potential upset especially while I am still healing. Nevertheless he has been given a foundation on which to rebuild his life and I will continue to stand for his rehabilitation. I will not give up faith in him even if he has given up on himself. Q What s next for you A I am continuing to stand for my assailant who is 16 now and still in jail awaiting his final sentence. I am focusing on my healing my work my loved ones my present and my future. It is not always easy but I have plenty of tools and resources I can use. I feel a deep responsibility to keep growing learning achieving and living in ways that show him and others that we are the ones who create our lives. We are not victims of them unless we choose to be victims. Was I a victim that night and several other times in my life Yes. Was I given challenges that others don t have from the time I was born Yes. Was I also given opportunities and advantages Yes. Each of us was and it s up to us to choose what to do with them. I am choosing to use my life to empower peace and unity. 42 Women of Distinction Alejandra C. Moate Parking Lot Construction Owner Office Administrator - AC Moate Industries Inc. Auburn WA business. A s an Owner and Office Administrator at AC Moate Industries Alejandra Moate takes pride in providing top of the line parking lot construction through her Alejandra entered the parking lot construction industry in 1997. At first she worked alongside her husband cutting asphalt for asphalt contractors as a part-time side job to supplement their income. Following a change in ownership at her husband s previous job the couple decided to build their business fulltime. Since the start of AC Moate Industries the company has added 10 divisions and now offers the most complete parking lot construction in their area. My determination not to quit has kept me in this career. We went through some rough times but we knew God would get us through them and he did in a big way. We have been as low as having our water and power shut off and everyone telling us to quit but we just hung on and turned it around. In her current role at AC Moate Industries Alejandra handles the bookkeeping auditing and balancing. As a couple Alejandra and her husband handle strategic planning spending time each year to set goals and figure out the proper plans to reach them. After this the company s leadership team is brought in to understand the plan and get started on achieving the company s goals. Alejandra and her husband have written a book on asphalt maintenance for property managers as well as a book for property managers regarding winter services. She has also developed a software program that is specific to her industry for estimating and operations which is patent pending. Alejandra and her husband have also spoken at BOMA and Wumfa for property manager training. I believe anything is possible when you have an engine in your heart. My engine is God along with some special people who have helped me to reach my goals. In her free time Alejandra likes to exercise and does missionary work with her husband which has seen them travel to missions in Nicaragua Malawi and China. She also volunteered at an elementary school for several years. In the future Alejandra and her husband plan on teaching people in impoverished nations about how to run a small business. I want to be a great representative of Jesus Christ. I want to leave this world a little better by living well and giving back. The advice I d offer to someone starting out in this industry is to count the cost have a game plan don t compromise your integrity and stick to the plan. Don t get over extended watch your overhead make a budget plan and stick to it. 43 Women of Distinction Sonia Lopez I Financial Consulting and Financial Services President of VIZ consulting corporation Chicago IL ntroduced to the financial industry in 2004 Sonia Lopez was set on learning how to manage her own finances and soon after she began the process to do so. She earned her Bachelor s of Science Degree from DePaul University and after years of obtaining the necessary certifications to develop a career in the financial consulting field Sonia emerged in July of 2015 as the President of VIZ Consulting Corporation in Chicago Illinois. Sonia has since collaborated with various organizations to provide her expertise in areas including identity theft and health insurance. She has also hosted events with daycare providers offering safety kits for children. Sonia takes pride in her profession knowing just how important the need for insurance is. It truly protects families from financial hardships bankruptcies and other catastrophic events it s the philanthropic side of me. She says. As a young adult Sonia felt she was ready to purchase property and she was extremely eager to gain knowledge on how to properly manage and invest her finances for a prosperous future. Her own experiences are what have led her to so graciously enable others to feel secure and confident on their personal road to financial success. Sonia s holistic approach with her clients is sincere and kindhearted as she truly has their best interest in mind. Activity equals results. Plan course of actions that will take you to the level you need to be. Breaking down a large goal into small attainable goals will provide the results you want. She explains. She takes her time and simplifies the vast goals of each client to make it less complex for them to understand and more realistic for them to attain. Sonia has developed strong business relationships with her clientele as she aids them in choosing suitable plans that ultimately lead them to the fulfillment of their aspirations. As previously stated this conscientious woman certainly has a philanthropic side. Sonia actively gives back to her community by participating in fashion shows and fundraisers typically for causes such as suicide prevention and premature birth. Aside from all of her hard work and dedication Mrs. Sonia Lopez is a loving wife attentive mother and enjoys exercising and cooking in her spare time. Sonia mentions the women in her family as her biggest inspiration to succeed. Her mother who unfortunately passed when Sonia was just a young child was an admirable entrepreneur. Sonia remains close with her aunt another role model very dear to her who raised her while having 7 children of her own and working full time. The women of Sonia s family never gave up and neither will she. Her mission is to make a difference in people s lives which is something that Sonia Lopez has already accomplished in countless ways. 44 Women of Distinction Tara J. Weston Management Writing Author & Business Entrepreneur & Consultant Halifax Nova Scotia Canada I love helping people and I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss the financial stability and ability to be available for my son who spends an enormous amount of time in the hospital. fter spending more than twenty years as a management professional Tara J. Weston decided to embrace her love for writing. Upon realizing that parents of special needs children such as herself needed information about the journey Tara knew she could reach out and provide other families with lessons she had to learn. In 2013 Tara wrote her first book in three weeks and it was published in October of 2014. Writing gives me an outlet to release pent up thoughts and emotions and use them to fuel my passion to touch the hearts and minds of others around the world who could use some words of hope inspiration comfort and advice. Along with writing her first book A New Normal Raising Special Needs Children & Keeping Your Sanity Tara is the owner of a couple of businesses. She owns a health and wellness business with Arbonne International where she serves as a District Manager and Independent Consultant. Tara is also a certified financial counselor and has her MBA HCM in business administration and health care management so she can consult for personal and business clients. The most important job I have is being a mother to my amazing sixteen-year-old son Noah. Although he has special needs he has taught me the most and is the love of my life. Tara is in the process of publishing four more books two of which will be focused on special needs and published in 2016 and two more books coming in 2017. A I always want my readers to feel like they can relate to me. My goal is to always be authentic in my writing so that I can be a support guide and source of humor inspiration hope and love for others. I want to get into the minds and hearts of others through my writings so that I can change the world one person at a time. At the end of the day Tara wants to create a paradigm shift in how society thinks and functions as a whole by celebrating our differences. She firmly believes that if society truly accepts the uniqueness of each person and appreciates what each person contributes to the world then society at large will become whole. The human body is a perfect example of this concept. It takes many different and unique parts to make a complete and functioning body. Tara is in the process of establishing a local Legacy Fund in Noah s name and is also in the early stages of creating a National Foundation focused on helping special needs persons on a larger scale. I m happy when I know that I ve touched someone s heart and have effectively moved them to a new understanding acceptance or effected change in some way. Although it s nice to have a goal of being recognized as a Best Seller in the writing field it doesn t mean much if people aren t moved by what I ve written. 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 Moana Roberts Fire service Captain Paramedic with Truckee Fire Protection District in Northern California 47 Women of Distinction Elyse Marks Retail Consulting Founder President - EMIT Associates 48 Women of Distinction