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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Demetria Davenport Health and Wellness Owner of Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa 1 Women of Distinction Lenore Anderson Holistic Health and Bodywork Holistic Health Coach Natural Vitality Licensed Massage Therapist Brooks and Butterfield Day Spa 2 Women of Distinction Demetria Davenport Health and Wellness Owner of Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa Southfield MI 3 Women of Distinction D emetria Davenport is the visionary behind the innovative mobile spa Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa. Her mission is to ensure that customers receive professional quality service and the attention they deserve. She uses her business as a platform to help others escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feel relaxed and rejuvenated. By using only superior products and skillful professionals Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa offers an experience like no other. I love what I do and the body is an amazing machine Demetria said. It s fulfilling to help people feel better whether it s for relaxation or temporary pain relief. I truly love hearing my clients express how good they feel afterwards and the look on their faces is priceless. Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa is highly regarded in the Detroit area for bringing the total spa experience to client s doorstep. The company transports everything needed to transform any space into a serene atmosphere -- including massage tables candles and music. Whether clients are looking for a world-class massage body buffing body waxing facial manicure or pedicure they will find Luxurious Essentials a perfect fit at their homes or corporate events. The traveling spa also specializes in helping clients host their own spa parties. As the owner and operator of Luxurious Essentials Travel Day Spa Demetria s work is never done. She responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business which includes making appointments daily cleaning of all rooms laundry payroll networking and human resources. Prior to founding Essentials Day Spa Demetria was a sterile production specialist at Parkedale Pharmaceuticals Company for 13 years. Demetria first stared out as a Licensed Manicurist after graduating from Michigan College of Beauty in 2002. In 2003 a former coworker introduced Demetria to massage therapy. She instantly fell in love with the practice and the health benefits that it offers. From there she started researching and discovered her business model -- a traveling mobile spa. After 13 years of service I had pretty much hit a glass ceiling and my daily routine had become monotonous so I immediately begin looking for my next challenge she said. Little did I know that my next challenge was owning and operating Luxurious Essentials Day Spa. While pursuing my own business was pulling on my heartstrings there was still a bit of skepticism in that my financial security would be no more. I had to accept the fact that once I decided to go into business for myself it was my responsibility to hit the ground running. Pharmaceuticals are definitely important to many people and I m certain they improve the quality of their lives but that pales in comparison to the testimony of clients going on and on about how much better they feel after a one hour session. For me that is priceless. To be honest I never imagined owning or operating a business. It just wasn t a thought so how I ended up here amazes me. After I was introduced to massage therapy I fell in love with it and my only intent was to follow it and see where it took me. I always promised myself that if I were going to work this hard it would be for myself. As I started off my Godmother Virginia Williams expressed how important it was to be honest kind and treat people fair. And that is how I conduct business -- honestly and fairly. In addition to being a licensed Manicurist and Massage Therapist Demetria attended ACE Continuing Education to earn her Eyebrow Threading Certification and DSS Esthetic School Laser Technology Libra for Microdermabrasion. She also holds certifications from Cross Country Education Orthopedic Massage Techniques for Cervical Pain Summit Professional Education for Shoulder Rehabilitation and Vestibular Assessment and Treatment. Her expertise has afforded Demetria the opportunity to speak at several career days at Everest Institute. She uses these engagements to provide graduates a realistic perspective of massage therapy. She encourages aspiring massage therapists to be true to the craft. Many people go through school with preconceived ideas about the money involved with massage therapy so they re focused on the money and not the craft she explained. Massage therapy is an opportunity to drastically improve the quality of someone s life. Since its inception Luxurious Essential Travel Day Spa has won for best Massage Therapy Company in the City of Southfield for two years in a row in 2014 and 2015. Luxurious Essentials was also featured on Groupon as Best of Groupon -- Massage Therapy Company in 2016. Always innovating Demetria is currently developing her own line of products including candles body wash lotion and more. I want people to know that I am a hard worker she said. Nothing has been handed to me because I do not look for handouts I seize opportunities. 4 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What would you like readers to know about you A I lost my mother when I was 20 and since I was the oldest I took upon myself to raise my younger siblings (15 10 3). The entire experience really had a huge impact on my life in that I quickly adopted a no-nonsense attitude so contrary to what most people think I really have a good sense of humor. Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A In a world where people are stressed out and morale is in many work place environments at an all time low our line of work becomes even more meaningful. The nature of a massage is to relax and relieve and we take every step necessary to help our clients enjoy their experience. Not to mention many of our clients are looking for holistic ways of dealing with stress and pain and massage therapy offers a viable solution. Also technology has made life so Impersonal lacking human involvement and that one on one time with your massage therapist helps you reconnect with that human element. Social skills are refined during the session as many clients vent and share their personal experiences with us and we build relationships as they grow to trust us with such delicate information. Q What is the biggest lesson you have you learned that you feel is good advice for others A My husband shared with me that the greatest ideas are unknown because people allow others to talk them out of their dreams. At the end of the day Luxurious Essentials is my vision and since others can t see what I see I have to guard that. Q What are the health benefits of getting a massage A The benefits of massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen. Here are some of the things massage therapy can help with. Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion. Assist with shorter easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays. Ease medication dependence. Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow--the body s natural defense system. Exercise and stretch weak tight or atrophied muscles. Help athletes of any level prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts. Improve the condition of the body s largest organ--the skin. Increase joint flexibility. Lessen depression and anxiety. Promote tissue regeneration reducing scar tissue and stretch marks. Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs improving circulation. Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling. Reduce spasms and cramping. Relax and soften injured tired and overused muscles. Release endorphins--amino acids that work as the body s natural painkiller. Relieve migraine pain. Profound Effects In response to massage specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body with profound effects. Research shows that with massage Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain. Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak airflow. Burn injury patients report reduced pain itching and anxiety. High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure anxiety and stress hormones. Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping. Preterm infants have improved weight gain. 5 Women of Distinction Amanda Gianotti Awards and Recognition Manufacturer President - Allogram Inc. Timonium MD T hrough her work as President of Allogram Inc Amanda Gianotti is dedicated to delivering distinctive and original awards and recognition pieces to her company s clients. I ve remained in this field for so long because recognition is rewarding. This is a fun industry. Working with customers to design products to recognize excellence is not only creative but very enjoyable. Our designs have been presented to many prominent and famous people as well as ordinary folks who have done extraordinary things. Recognition allows the excellence in others to belong to us as well. Amanda entered the awards industry in 1988 after being persuaded to join the family business by her parents. Her father who had previously been in manufacturing wanted to grow the business he purchased for her mother to run. In 1991 Amanda and her father opened up a store in Timonium MD which is now the company s headquarters. Though she has worked in a number of roles throughout the years Amanda is currently President of Allogram. As president her main responsibilities revolve around the company s leadership and marketing. Amanda is also heavily involved in the manufacturing aspect always looking for new equipment and technology to bring new products to market. Amanda believes future growth will be fueled by creativity and is focused on growing sales and leading her staff to produce the highest quality products. In 2000 Allogram set out to create a new award base with LED lights included inside. After successfully inventing the Allolight Amanda s company went on to win the Best New Technology award at their industry s international trade show in 2001. My advice to those starting out in this industry is to join the industry association and attend as many classes as possible. Figuring out what market to serve and what equipment to purchase is key to finding success in this industry. Secure a location that is easy for your customers to find. This is a destination business so there is no need to pay the high rent for retail space. Be honest and hold yourself accountable. Regarding her education Amanda received a BS in Biology from Loyola College in 1987 and became a Certified Recognition Specialist in 1995. In her leisure she enjoys going to the beach golfing traveling throughout the United States watching women s lacrosse and spending time with her four daughters. Amanda is also in the process of setting up a scholarship fund in the name of a dear friend and employee who recently passed away from cancer. I believe we can do anything we put our minds to. We need to set our goals to make the world a better place and then go to work to achieve them. We are only limited by our own beliefs. My legacy is my four daughters whom I have raised to become independent self-sufficient contributing members of society. I look forward to watching them excel and live by the values I have instilled in them. 6 Women of Distinction Angela Marie Tompkins Holistic Health Health Coaching Fitness Consulting Founder Health Coach Fitness Consultant - Quality Life Wellness LLC West Palm Beach FL T hrough her work as Owner Founder and Health Coach with Quality Life Wellness Angela Marie Tompkins is dedicated to helping women in business double their energy through digestion and hormone harmony so that they can continue to build the business and life of their dreams. My passion dedication and belief in people have kept me in this industry. I believe that health equals freedom and that people can take charge of their health to lead abundant meaningful lives. My business also continuously pushes me to personally grow and evolve. In her early 20s Angela began a soul searching journey and spent six months traveling solo throughout Central and South America. During this time she realize that she wanted to work in the holistic health industry and in 2006 moved to Costa Rica where she became a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Eventually she returned home to Florida and earned a Bachelor s Degree in Alternative Medicine leading her to become a Health Coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. At the moment she is studying as a Functional Nutrition Coach at the Institute of Nutritional Endocrinology. The advice I d offer to those starting out in this industry is to identify where you get stuck and get support Sometimes when we try to do it all ourselves we may not even realize where we are getting stuck or the impact of our unresolved challenges. Organization and support are a necessity. As a coach it s also about walking your own talk. As Owner of Quality Life Wellness Angela handles all aspects of running her business. She works with people to help them achieve high energy clear focus and a body they love through digestive and hormone harmony with custom diet and lifestyle design. Angela utilizes technology to work with women from all over the world using video calls to connect with her clients and build a strong relationship with them. I like to keep it real Food is supposed to be enjoyable it s our way of connecting with ourselves and each other and is how we heal and replenish our mind and body. When someone comes to me with low energy or low sex drive or is having trouble losing weight I first lead them through my foundational system of success usually in my Sexy Slim & Energized Program. The foundational system is necessary for lasting sustainable results especially in digestion and hormone balance and disease prevention. Then if needed we journey deeper together in optimizing their health and appropriate systems. 7 Women of Distinction Barbara Kestner Power Equipment Street Sweeping Service President Owner B&J Sweeping & Sons Inc. Baltimore MD G rowing up with her dad Al who established Al s Sweeping Service in the 1960 s Barbara Kestner was raised in the sweeping business. In 1979 Barbara and her husband Jerry formed a partnership with her brother Ben. They followed in her father s footsteps by establishing B&J Sweeping Service in Baltimore Maryland. Five years later the partnership dissolved and they went their separate ways professionally. That s when Barbara and Jerry formed B&J Sweeping & Sons. In 1998 the business was incorporated. In 2004 Barbara became President and majority owner of B&J Sweeping & Sons Inc. She applied for minority status and became a minority business owner. This business is really all I have ever known Barbara said noting that all five of her children as well as other family members also work for the family business . It has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice to operate this business. Being a business owner can take a toll personally but thanks to B&J s great employees and the wonderful contractors I work with my business has been successful. Even though Barbara is the President she is very much hands-on making sure every aspect of the business runs smoothly from invoicing scheduling and dispatching to all of the administrative duties and even occasionally operating a sweeper truck. B&J Sweeping & Sons Inc. provides street sweeping services to clients in and around the Baltimore area and surrounding counties all hours of the day seven days a week including holidays. Using state-of-the-art equipment to guarantee complete satisfaction for customers jobs include everything from keeping the roads clean to commercial parking lot cleaning and maintenance and clearing areas of debris after the completion of construction projects accidents storms to name a few. Offering free estimates emergency service and service contracts Barbara and her team are dedicated professionals who value the importance of what they do to help keep their communities beautiful. A true woman of integrity Barbara is actively involved in her local church New Life Sanctuary Ministries in Essex Maryland. Serving as the children s Pastor she teaches kids between the ages of 6-12. When she isn t working or volunteering her time she is busy spending time with her five children and their growing families. My greatest inspiration has been my husband my family and God. They have encouraged and supported me all the way Barbara noted. I am who I am because of my firm foundation in Jesus Christ my personal savior. He is the source of my strength both at work and at home. 8 Women of Distinction Bobbie Crittenden Beasley F Non-Profit Founder and Chief Executive Officer Project Reaching Out Charlotte NC she nearly lost an eye was once hung upside down by her feet from the stairwell he even put a gun to her head and played Russian Roulette with her life then beat her in the face with the pistol when it didn t go off. Finally after years of abuse Bobbie found enough courage to take her children and leave home. Bobbie began her career in 1967 after graduating from high school. She moved to New York spent time in retail and after landing a position with Time & Life Magazine as a filing clerk began reading every article she got her hands on. This was when she really became inspired to write more than just poetry. Now as the Author of several non- fiction books and one fiction book Bobbie s most recent which was published in 2015 entitled Flaws is about terrorism violence and murder understanding where we came from and stopping this generation of curse of hate. Involved with several local community events in Charlotte that feed the homeless including one called Operation Hope for the Homeless through UCC Outreach Ministry Bobbie also supports several other organizations including Prevent Obesity and Mercy Ministry. Giving back is what she is all about. Married twice and now widowed Bobbie has seven children 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She loves to sew and write in her free time. or as long as Bobbie Crittenden Beasley can remember she has always had a certain level of compassion for others. As a child she would share whatever she had with those less fortunate she began writing poetry to express herself and in the last 60 s had written her first non-fiction book. In 2002 Bobbie began volunteering and speaking to young girls and women. With the understanding that Hey I ve been there too she finally gave a name to the thoughtful acts she was already doing in 2013. It was called Project Reaching Out. The non-profit organization Bobbie formed was in an effort to not only share her life experiences but to also see positive reaction with those of whom she shared her story with. And while her resources are still very limited her goals remain the same to help as many families as she can. Being a victim of domestic violence myself I thrive in helping those in the same situation as I once was Bobbie said. Getting out there and educating these victims so that they can leave their abusive relationships is what Project Reaching Out is all about. I m no longer living in the past but I feel that by sharing my experiences with others I can help save their lives. It was Bobbie s first husband who left both physical and emotional scars on her life. He played target practice on her leg with a knife which suffered nine stitches in an emergency room he hit her so hard under her chin she still has a scar 9 Women of Distinction Bonnie Stevenson James I Education Personal Development President Advanced Reading Concepts Inc. Columbus OH n 1974 Bonnie Stevenson James found herself a newly divorced single mother. Holding a B.S. in Education from Ohio State University at a time when teaching positions were hard to come by Bonnie jumped at the opportunity to apply for a help wanted ad in a local newspaper that read WANTED--part-time teacher. The job was at the local branch of a speed reading academy. With little experience with the method of speed reading Bonnie accepted the position. Little could she know the decision would have a tremendous impact not only on her life but the lives of others Today Bonnie is the president and co-founder of Advanced Reading Concepts a speed reading-focused educational and personal development company. In her role Bonnie wears many hats. Most importantly she is responsible for teaching and course development. The programs blend the best visual and comprehension building techniques resulting in remarkable reading improvement. She has also received several awards including a Distinguished Graduate and a Career Achievement award from the College of Education and Human Ecology of the Ohio State University the Micro Entrepreneur of the Year in Consumer Services from the Increase Community Development Corporation and recently the Small Business Person of the Year award from the Grandview Chamber of Commerce. Outside of the office Bonnie is a pillar in her community. She has been a deacon at her church and a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. A loving wife to her husband and business partner Bob Bonnie relishes spending time with her family especially reading to her grandchildren when they were younger. In her spare time Bonnie loves sailing on Lake Erie and spending time at the family cottage on Washington Island in Wisconsin. Hoping to positively impact the lives of all she meets Bonnie s mission in life and in business is to change peoples lives for the better -- giving them the skills and confidence to obtain their education and career goals. With more 8 000 students having graduated from her classes throughout the years Bonnie views their successes as an extension of her own. The results we get and the people we have helped inspire my career. We took kids who hated school themselves and everything else and turned them into confident students who could do something no one else could. I have also gotten a great deal of satisfaction teaching those serving our country to absorb more information with higher comprehension both as a patriot and a business owner. Throughout her career Bonnie has helped thousands achieve the potential they did not know they had. In addition to operating Advanced Reading Concepts Bonnie is sought after nationwide as a speaker and trainer for conferences associations schools corporations the government and the military. Well known for her expertise in teaching individuals within the technical field Bonnie was a finalist for a prestigious innovation award from TechColumbus. In early 2016 Bonnie conducted a series of classes in Bangkok Thailand for the USAID. 10 I am passionate about helping people reach their educational and career goals through the work that I do. This is what helps me keep going when things are tough. It s important work. With this passion even staring out with absolutely zero business experience I beat the business start-up odds and guided a company for close to 40 years in business. Women of Distinction W orking for the US Federal Government Celeste Johnson-Matheson served as a Military Personnel Clerk and Military Personnel Specialist and is now serving in the capacity as Executive Liaison Officer. Over the course of her years of service she has learned more than just the value of hard work but even more importantly about life. The attacks of September 11th at the Pentagon taught me not to take life for granted. Life is a gift and we should live life with a purpose. I used it as a motivation technique to get back into writing a passion of mine since I was just a child Celeste said. I ve always enjoyed writing poetry short stories and keeping a journal. It s very therapeutic. Although it wasn t until much later in life that I was finally able to publish I always knew that I d someday becoming an author would be my destiny. Celeste s Christian based novel Keep Me Near The Cross Judgement or Journey has been so successful that she has built an entire business around it. As Founder and CEO of Keep Me Near the Cross (K.M.N.T.C.) LLC Celeste not only sells the paperback and Kindle versions of the book but an entire line of inspirational and motivational designer merchandise with the K.M.N.T.C. logo. The 356-page book which was just released in March 2016 focuses on the everyday struggles Christians face. The book is about surviving life struggles overcoming challenges and keeping the faith until you can persevere through them. The trueto-life novel explores all of this from a pastor s perspective. Although it s a fiction novel everyone can relate and see themselves through a character in book she explained. I want readers to know that that their life challenges are nothing but a platform for opportunities. The challenges are not the issue it s how you respond to those challenges. Celeste also noted that all of her merchandise was designed to remind customers that their lives can be transformed. We all have challenges in life so the purpose of KMNTC merchandise is to empower my customers remind them to be resilient find their inner strength and keep the faith until they get through whatever challenges they re facing she said. Celeste has been a guest motivational speaker at various women s conferences in the Virginia Washington DC and Maryland areas. Having previously worked in both retail and real estate she holds a BSBA from Strayer University and is currently working toward her MS in Business Administration. She is also a member of Women Empowered to Achieve the impossible and We re Empowered to Achieve the impossible (WETATI) and National Association of Professional Women. Married to Richard they enjoy traveling attending sporting events and family time. Celeste JohnsonMatheson Writing Motivational Speaking Chief Executive Officer Keep Me Near the Cross (K.M.N.T.C.) LLC Author Motivational Speaker Executive Liaison Officer Federal US Government Haymarket VA Q&A Q What s your advice for aspiring writers A Never give up. Tell your story. Q What s the best thing about being a writer A Creativity You determine your storyline and it s your world to do whatever you want with it. Q What are you currently working on A My second novel Hold Me Jesus and increasing my product line. 11 Women of Distinction Chantay Golson LPC and Life Transformational Strategist Behavioral Mental Health Education President - Purpose Community Therapeutic Services Purpose Community Therapeutic Services Foundation Chantay Golson LPC Life Transformational Strategist Atlanta GA T hrough her work as President of Purpose Community Therapeutic Services Chantay Golson is dedicated to helping those with mental and behavioral troubles by providing them with a listening ear and valuable advice from an outside perspective. She is also the President of Purpose Community Therapeutic Services Foundation and Chantay Golson LPC and Life Transformational Strategist. Chantay became interested in her field as a teenager when she noticed that adults often came to her to share their problems as she offered a listening ear and good advice. After some time she realized that she had a gift for listening and providing mature guidance which led to her beginning a career in psychology. Before and after completing the necessary education and internships Chantay began officially providing a broad spectrum of services in 2005. I ve remained in this career for so long because I have a heart to see others happy and strive for mental freedom and self-accomplishment. I m inspired by the opportunity be a safe haven for those who are in need. As president of her companies Chantay s role is to facilitate and manage all operational tasks manage staff and provide services to her clients on a daily basis. Her duty as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is to provide a safe and nonbiased place for clients to share their feelings and overcome their problems in order to move forward in life. She specializes in helping those aged 12-41 using an innovative approach called A New Way of Living Thinking and Feeling that allows her to connect with her clients especially teenagers very quickly. Chantay provides individual couples and family counseling services in person as well as through secure web conferencing and social media platforms if necessary. As a Life Transformational Strategist Chantay helps clients transform their lives by teaching individual strategic tools and action steps necessary to over come personal and professional difficulties helping them build a legacy in the process. My advice to those looking to get started in this industry is to be a genuine human. You are received much better rather than if you pose as a fraud therefore be genuine and learn your craft. Be true to who you are and always follow your happiness no matter how great the distraction is. Regarding her education Chantay received an Associates degree in Psychology from Chattanooga State Technical Community College a Bachelor s degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Master s degree in Community Counseling from Mercer University in Atlanta. She is also a certified anger management specialist. In her leisure Chantay enjoys volunteering in her community singing in her church s choir mentoring teenagers and business owners and designing costume jewelry (Elite Jewelry Designs). She is also an active member of New Pivot and the National Association of Professional Women. Faith and actions are what drive me. Dreams are only internal visions until it becomes an external application. Fear is the enemy. 12 Women of Distinction D esign has always been a part of Chrystal Boulanger s life. Artistically inclined she devoted herself as a young woman in middle school and high school to music and designing all of the flyers and posters for the department s events. Her first paid job came in 1998 when Chrystal was hired to illustrate a short story for a local author. Everything just grew from there Chrystal recalled. Today she is the successful CEO brand stylist and digital design specialist of ChrystalFaith Ltd. Through her Colorado Springsbased company Chrystal helps entrepreneurs create visual identities (including logos branding and website design) that stand out from the competition. Chrystal s designs are second to none just like her commitment to customer service. Chrystal Boulanger Design Web Graphic Design Brand Stylist Digital Design Specialist CEO of ChrystalFaith Ltd Colorado Springs CO The one thing that I really try to drive home with my business is that we are each unique and have a message to share or mission to complete that no one else can do the way we can. That is why I do everything I can to create designs that are just as unique as the clients I create them for. I believe in my clients and want them to be successful. Chrystal admits the journey to becoming a sought-after designer was not without hardship. After working as an IT administrator and webmaster for the United States Air Force she found it difficult to return to the civilian job market. When I separated from the military I applied and interviewed for several positions with local companies. Each time I was told that I was their first choice and to expect a call. However when that call came I found I was often passed over for a man who was less qualified but connected. I continued to freelance but the rejection and seeming misogyny that I faced pushed me to keep learning and growing until I decided to open my own design boutique. Reflecting back Chrystal said the biggest lesson she has learned is to stop comparing herself to others in the industry in addition to recognizing her own value and not being afraid to charge for it. Her decision to follow her dreams (and her intuition) to open ChrystalFaith has certainly paid off. Today clients who are quick to value Chrystal s skill and drive are more than happy to refer her services to others. Q&A Q What type of design projects are you most interested in A I love working with passion-driven solopreneurs who aren t afraid to show people who they really are especially when their guiding force is to help others. Q What advice would you give someone on how to pick the right designer A Interview them A little bit of research in the beginning could save you a lot of headache down the road. For example ask about their education and experience find out what rights and files are included in their price and make sure they can actually do what you need them to do. Q What steps do you take to ensure a happy customer A Whenever I start a new project I take the time to understand exactly what my client is trying to achieve as well as the intricacies of their brand. I keep all of that information in mind throughout the design process so that I can measure the efficacy of the final piece. Plus my customers know that they can not only count on me for high-quality design they also get honesty and quick follow-through. I want to leave people knowing who they truly are the value they can add to the world around them and that life is an adventure. I know I wasn t born to live a mundane life full of work and heartache...neither was anyone else in my opinion. When we understand our value and recognize what makes us light up life becomes worth living. 13 Women of Distinction W ith more than 18 years of experience working in the community health field Cora Cole founded her business consulting firm Move the Median to help clients answer tough questions by providing expert Research Evaluation Accreditation and Dissemination services. As a Public Health Epidemiologist Cora draws upon her extensive background to provide complete evaluation services including report and grant writing professional editing policy and procedure writing and presentation preparation. A believer of objective program and policy evaluation Cora offers sound advice regarding programs and polices in order to help clients make the right decision for their businesses staff and clients patients. Additionally Cora is a very passionate adult educator. Cora MSc. C.M.C. C.H.P. is a Certified Master Coach Trainer who has many years of practical experience in supporting health care professionals as they improve their work and client outcomes. Cora J. Cole Community Health Investigator Move The Median Business Consulting Halifax Nova Scotia Canada I would like to leave a legacy of knowledge. I hope that at some point someone will say She taught me something or I learned that from Cora. Whether she is training or operating her business Cora believes it is crucial to able to interpret and anticipant client s needs. Q&A Q What is the most challenging aspect of working as a consultant within the health care industry A Working in health care means our commodity is people we don t deal with widgets and you can t buy our service in bulk. So the wheeling and dealing business side of Healthcare needs to be reminded that at the end of the service line is a sick human being. So when governments change or new policies are rolled out that change the way we have to do business that potentially stop a program or create a new one we need to remember we could one day be affected by these same decisions. This makes my work as an evaluation specialist so much more critical. I help decision makers do a gut check before making decisions. Q What skills or talents do you think would make you even more successful A If I could pick from the skill and talent tree I d love to have a greater handle on marketing. I am a nerd at heart and so finding ways to present myself and my services that sounds like I solve a problem that someone would want to pay for is hard for me. Q What are your goals you re yourself and the company over the next 3-5 years A Over the next 3-5 years I would like to see my software application have a global reach. I would also like to complete more project evaluations with NGOs and not-for profits perhaps in developing markets that will give them bragging rights to help them negotiate for additional funding and resources. Listening and interpreting need is critical in the consulting business especially in health care where more often than not there is a sick patient at the other end of the project or program. You need to ask the right questions so you can provide the right answers sick people depend on it. Cora is the visionary behind a patented medical device and is currently focused on developing a software application that will revolutionize the academic peer review process and provide information to help people make better decisions. When she is not at the office Cora is penning a fictional novel about 7 sisters. A loving wife and mother in her spare time Cora enjoys volunteering for the Rotary Club on various community boards and for her son s school. 14 Women of Distinction Deb Baschke Insurance President - Baschke Health and Financial Services Inc. Clive IA T hrough her work as President of Baschke Health and Financial Services Inc. Deb Baschke is dedicated to providing her clients with help in securing proper insurance plans. Her organization deals in the sales of health and life insurance as well as annuities and identity theft coverage. The best advice I can give to someone starting out in my industry is to go back to the basics. Return phone calls and treat people as you want to be treated. These two things seem so simple but they are they two things that have made my career what it is today. Also never assume. In her leisure Deb enjoys traveling biking and spending time with her friends and family. She is a member of the Iowa Health Underwriters the National Association of Women Business Owners and Metro Networking group. I absolutely love what I do. There is nothing else that I would rather do at this point in my life. It s so rewarding to have clients tell me how I ve made their decisions easier because of the educational process we go through with them. Deb started her career in the insurance industry as an office manager for a multi-line insurance office in 1981. After working there for several months the company discovered her talent for sales and marketing which led to her duties being expanded to include insurance sales. In 2007 Deb put her knowledge of the industry to more use by starting Baschke Health and Financial Services. As President of Baschke Health and Financial Services Deb is in charge of all sales and marketing for the organization. Her main duty is working with clients to educate them on their insurance options. Deb is both a certified CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) and a ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant). Throughout her life and career Deb has been greatly inspired by her parents who taught her to learn to do things for herself rather than wait around for others to jump in and do things for her. From them she also learned to avoid thinking negatively as positive outcomes do not come from a negative mindset. I have found that meditation can lead to balanced living as it has helped me release stress and overcome obstacles. Meditation has helped me let go of struggle and achieve more with less effort. There are no limits to what my organization can accomplish. The only limits are the ones that I create. Each day is an opportunity to improve upon what we did the day before. Don t look back and rehash all the problems and troubles you run into -- it is wasted time that could be spent moving forward. 15 Women of Distinction Debbie & Bear Founder-President CEO Lucy & Bandit Exec Board Member Sue Tiki & GeeGee Exec Board Member 16 Tina & Latto Exec Board Member Women of Distinction O n March 4 2016 JustFURFunFitness (JFFF) was awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO determined our JFFF business project offers a unique new concept by promoting health wellness fitness and rehabilitation using an indoor walking exercise facility President and CEO Debbie Fehr said. According to Debbie in September 2015 the US Surgeon General challenged city government across our nation to create safe walking exercise environments for the general public directly due to the positive public health benefit. While cities struggle with this challenge the JFFF business project offers an obvious solution Our JFFF project gets the public off city streets to walk indoors for safety Debbie said. We would like to work with city governments and design our business model for their use . It s been Debbie s responsibility to create a business model that is adaptable and promotes humanitarian service. Q&A Q What are the employment opportunities at JFFF A Each JFFF facility size is between 10 000-25 000 square feet open from 6am until 9pm with management onsite and 4-8 additional staff each shift. We hire from the community and from our volunteer programs. Q How are your volunteer programs structured A We have a Junior President to schedule junior high and high school students as Junior Patrol members who meet members and socialize offering members assistance through the facility. Q Do you have any other volunteers A Volunteers work with our Executive Board to schedule our facilities for Saturday charity walk-a-thon events from 6am until noon. JFFF is active in communities allowing anyone to walk laps and raise money for charity and non-profit community services. Q What about children in the facility A JFFF is very friendly toward families. Children under the age of 12 years must exercise with an adult. Younger kids typically enjoy visiting our Kids Zone with certified childcare games and toys. Students age 12-17 can provide a parent signed permission slip to walk independently for exercise and sports training. Q Ok let s talk about adult exercise. A Adult members like having a safe place to socialize. We have designated track lanes for physically challenged needs (wheelchairs walkers canes carts and strollers). Q Is there a method to facility walking exercise A Yes Our 1 8 mile arena has four-eight individual lanes indoors. Each lane has a designated purpose by color. You arrive choose the lane that best fits your need and you walk. If you bring your dog you choose a lane designated for walking with a small or large dog. Q What if I physically can t walk for an hour A Many individuals cannot begin a walking routine by walking for an hour at one time. Walking offers you the ability to gradually build up your endurance toward walking one hour 3-4 days each week. Remember everyone just needs to START walking to build their exercise routine. Q Are other services offered in the facility A Yes our facilities include a K-9 Shoppe Kids Zone Puppy Pit an onsite dog groomer restrooms pit-stop facilities healthy concessions and we host the ultimate in puppy parties. Q What are the fees to join A Access is based upon a monthly membership for students adults families seniors and the military. Our fees are typically less than 1 day and discounts are offered. The JFFF project does not foster common investment short-term financial gain Debbie noted. This business project returns reasonable profits while furthering public health consciousness and advocating routine exercise as a healthy lifestyle choice to the general public. Debbie and her Executive Board members M. Sue Wilson Lucy Mallatt and Tina DeFer share a common educational goal with most physicians walking is the low-Impact exercise that will better personal health wellness and fitness while also helping to minimize the more than 296 billion healthcare dollars spent annually related to diabetes heart disease and obesity in the USA. Due to her long hours of stationary computer work and previous sports injuries Debbie understands the health value of walking. She is also a dog lover so the idea of walking with her pup in a casual social indoor park environment is what she wants to share with the general public. Our new concept walking exercise facilities produce both positive physical and mental health results Debbie added. Making exercise fun is the key and having fun exercising is contagious. To learn more about Debbie s JustFURFunFitness facility project she encourages people to contact their toll free number for more information. 17 Women of Distinction Deni Abbie Counseling and Coaching Industry Deni Abbie Life Coach and Hypnotherapist Grapevine TX 18 Women of Distinction E xpert Life Coach and Hypnotherapist Deni Abbie knows first hand that it is never too late to make a positive change in your life. Married for 26 years Deni who holds a BS in Communication and Public Relations enjoyed a successful career in Corporate America. Taking a step back to become a stay at home mother raising her two young children when it was time to re-enter the job force after divorcing at age 48 Deni found the corporate world was less than welcoming to women returning to the job market. I love my new career path and know that it may have been a late start in life but it is the most rewarding career I have experienced yet The quote the things that you are passionate about are not random they are your calling. I believe this completely. I draw inspiration from my incredible clients that have determination to make a change and ability to accomplish their dreams. I hand them the tools but they are responsible for the incredible outcome. I really believe that we learn valuable lessons when we take time to listen to others. For her expertise Deni is an Expert for YourTango.com CureJoy.com and MindBodyNetwork.com. Passionate about advancing her industry and professional skills Deni is also a member of International Life Coach Association which offers ongoing education and support for coaches. I was treated as a dull witted individual and my credentials meant nothing. I was amazed that corporations truly felt this way so I decided to start my own business in which I could help other women that were in transition and other blocks in life. Deni earned a Life Coach Certification from the Life Purpose Institute and became a Certified Hypnotist through the American Alliance Of Hypnotists Organization. And in 2011 she launched her successful Texas-based counseling and coaching business. A naturally talented coach Deni s leadership experience professional background personal hardships and training contribute to her ability to guide others. Using a Positive Suggestion Technique that combines coaching hypnotherapy and NLP in a very effective and fast rate Deni helps her clients achieve the results they desire. I am in this business to make a difference in peoples lives. I want to help others live a healthier and happier life. Many times people do not have a good support team to help them through a difficult situation and that can make all of the difference in becoming a successful and fulfilled human being I know because I have been there. I am a support system mentor and guide to achieving the goals my client is striving. I would love to leave a trail of happy healthy people in my wake that are truly enjoying their lives and feel good about themselves. 19 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do people hire a Life Coach A A Life Coach has the ability to look at the whole picture as it relates to setting goals and help you form a strategy that fits your situation the best. They are able to look at the entire picture and help you create solutions provide support and direction. It is a very positive team based and allows you a perspective you would not observe on your own. There is also a therapeutic element for anyone that requires healing or overcoming a block that has kept him or her from success in the past. Coaches are a great confident that are non judgmental when you are trying to make decisions. The real benefit in coaching is people are held accountable and there is follow-up. To persons goals and growth which helps them stay on task. Q what kind of client person hires you A I have a wide variety of clientele which include CEO s from major corporations looking for work life balance Entrepreneurs that need someone to bounce ideas off of housewives that are in transition or need to increase self esteem students with test anxiety athletes for sports performance people just experiencing a divorce and requiring healing Someone new to the dating world after divorce or a young adult looking for advice corporate stress reduction weight loss sleep issues stop smoking or other Hypnosis clientele. Q How do you know if going to a life coach is right for you A Are you ready to focus on yourself and your personal development Are you willing to work towards goals and be held accountable Are you open to suggestions for improvement Are you open to trying new concepts to gain self-confidence and learn to love yourself Most common areas more detailed for coaching Health and Lifestyle Coaching While most coaches are not medical doctors they provide a number of tools and techniques that you can readily and immediately benefit from Do you feel emotionally healthy or are there things you know you d like to improve on These could be exercising more controlling your diet or managing stress. Do you want to change a habit but find it very difficult to make that change Spiritual Coaching Without a strong sense of purpose and self we can feel lost depressed and unfulfilled Are you content and at peace with yourself Or do you find yourself frustrated and irritable with people around you Are you clear about the core values that drive you Are you aware of your fears and do you understand their impact on your life More importantly do you know how to overcome your blocks Q Can hypnosis really help me What are the benefits of going to a hypnotherapist A These are the most common questions asked when people consider going to see a hypnotherapist. Some people are understandably a little apprehensive about considering hypnotherapy as a treatment usually because of misconceptions by what they have seen on the television or in films. But when you think about the benefits that can come from Hypnosis you ll see it s really worth it Hypnosis can help with weight loss Hypnotherapy can help people lose weight and completely change behaviors. It helps change cravings and increase desire to exercise. Hypnotherapy is proven to be more effective than just dieting alone when it comes to weight loss. Hypnosis reduces stress Stress can cause serious illness in people like heart disease high blood pressure obesity diabetes and sleep disorders. Hypnotherapy would be learning some simple relaxation hypnosis and meditation techniques that can change your life. Hypnosis can help people deal with childhood issues Hypnosis is a great way to work through childhood issues and replace those negative messages about yourself with positive ones. Hypnosis can help sleep disorders People suffer from sleep disorders that range from full insomnia to night terrors wakeful sleep sleepwalking and the inability to fall into the REM sleep which your body and mind needs. Hypnosis can help people relax and sleep. Hypnosis can help modify behavior Do you get irritated and angry often Do you have trouble managing your anger Hypnosis can help you change your behavior patterns so that you can be healthier and happier. Hypnosis can help treat Anxiety and Depression Hypnotherapy is a very effective way to calm anxiety and to treat symptoms of depression. By using hypnotic suggestions to eliminate the triggers of anxiety and removing blocks of depression people that suffer from depression and anxiety can sometimes find 100% relief from these conditions. Career Coaching Most people spend roughly a third of their lives at work that fact alone should stress the importance of being happy with what you do. Below are some questions to reflect on Are you satisfied with your current role and career progression Do you enjoy your work environment and your colleagues Is your full potential being realized with your current job Are you happy with your current work-life balance Relationship Coaching You have two areas of relationships professional and personal both are important to keep you in a healthy happy state. Are you fulfilled with your social life and professional life Are you surrounded by people that care about you and that keep you enthusiastic to do the things that are important to you If you re with a partner is your relationship a healthy one What could you do to make your relationship even stronger Family Coaching You re immediate and extended family can have a significant influence on your life your decisions and your overall happiness Would you like to improve your family relationships How content are you with your spouse siblings children or even your extended family Is there a conflict with a family member you d like to resolve 20 Women of Distinction Judy Lynne Energy Healing in Life & Business Transformation Coaching Founder of Harmonic Living Now Energy Healer & Life Business Coach Boulder Creek CA E nergy Healing Transformation Coach and Founder of Harmonic Living Now Judy Lynne has been helping people heal naturally for the past 15 years. After witnessing first hand the power of transformative healing practices she founded her company in 2010 to help others liberate old patterns rediscover their passion and align with their purpose. As the founder and face of Harmonic Living Now Judy carefully designs and creates life changing transformation programs. Judy works with clients one-on-one and in groups. Additionally she cultivated a strong online community and publishes free weekly tapping videos. Judy draws on her rich experiential and educational background to bring a down to earth practical balance to her teachings. The transformation inspired Judy to earn her EFT Certification in 2010. Judy then went on to become LOA Certified through the Global Sciences Foundation and became certified to teach Margaret Lynches Tapping into Wealth program which Judy continues to incorporate into her practice. Sharing her expertise Judy co-authored a book called Braveheart Women Purpose and Prosperity Revealed Volume 2. Judy is also a member of several industry-related organizations including the Holistic Chamber of Commerce the ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Psychology) and the Global Sciences Foundation. In both her career and her personal life Judy s ultimate goal is end each day knowing that she has touched a life and made a difference. I absolutely love watching the life changing transformation take place in my clients. Starting with someone who is feeling worthless or believes they are stuck and can t move forward and watching as an empowered happy and centered being emerges ready to take on the world It s exciting and I love being a part of their incredible journey EFT or Tapping is an energy healing process that combines modern psychology and gentle tapping on the meridian points to shift negative emotions and beliefs. Judy first discovered the practice while trying to quit smoking and the results were nothing short of miraculous. That success in Tapping inspired her to heal other areas of her life particularly old traumas and deep emotional pain from the past. I am heart centered and sincerely care about the well being of others. I am as committed to the success of my clients as they are because I have been in the same disempowering place. I have found a powerful way to rise above trauma of the past current adversity and tap into affluence. I am passionate about helping others do the same and to those who are committed to positive change because I know what a difference it has made in my own life. 21 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Because there is more and more being discovered everyday that supports mind body science and how we can take responsibility for healing ourselves and creating all the love joy and abundance we truly want to bring into our lives. Q When someone signs up for coaching with you what can they expect A They will discover what their family paradigm is and how it affects everything in their life today if they have any hidden agendas and what beliefs and patterns have been holding them back. They complete the program with a powerful awareness of who they really are harnessing the power within and the ability to access it in an effective way with life-long tools to keep them centered grounded happy and on track for life. Q What do you feel is most misunderstood about energy healing A First of all I think a lot of people think energy healing is woo-woo and not science based. But if you take a peek at quantum physics you ll gain a better understanding of just how universal laws work and how we are a part of the natural ebb and flow of the universal energies. Q Is it important to understand how energy works in our lives A Yes. Our emotions create a certain vibration within us which then creates certain energies that emit out into the matrix. Emitting a particular vibration will result in like energy being returned to us. For instance a vibration of gratitude will bring to us more circumstances people or things to be grateful for. The same is true for the vibration of anger sadness or jealousy. Understanding this gives us the power and a better sense of how we can be conscious creators in our life. We are not victims being knocked around in what ever way the wind blows. Q How does Tapping (EFT) help someone heal trauma stop unhealthy patterns and create new empowering beliefs A EFT (Tapping) combines modern psychology with acupuncture points. We focus on the bothersome issue while gently tapping through the meridian points. What would normally be a flight or fight response in the brain is received as it s now safe and a calming signal is sent out through the body instead. It speaks directly to the body rewiring the neural pathways in our brain. Changing our programmed emotional and physical responses to that same bothersome issue. Q In Your experience what is the most significant and life changing tool you offer your clients A Although tapping is an extremely powerful and healing tool in my experience helping someone raise their awareness to the truth of who they really are is life altering. When you separate from the lies you ve adopted about yourself and your possibilities in the world and truly embody your highest self that part of you where your intuition comes from you realize how powerful you are to change the things that aren t working for you and create what you really want. That s a miraculously powerful and life changing discovery. Q Is having an energy healing coach that beneficial A Since we are made up of energy it stands to reason that learning ways to heal and enhance your personal energy system would be beneficial. I still have a coach and will always seek out ways to expand into the best version of me yet. Most of us need guidance when the direction we are headed becomes too painful or we can t seem to move past our current status or the old pain-body. Energy healing is the quickest way to achieve that in my opinion. Q What advice would you give someone looking for a Transformation Coach who does energy healing A Look for someone who has sufficient experience in energy healing and transformational work. Check out their references and testimonies. Ask if you could speak to one or more of their past clients if possible. Speak to your potential coach on the phone first and find out how they work to see if the two of you are a fit. A good coach will want to do the same to ensure effective change for you. 22 Women of Distinction Karen Bairley Kruger Business Money Women s Financial Empowerment Co-Founder Wingpact LLC San Francisco CA E ven in this day and age the investment industry remains very much a male-dominated profession. Karen Bairley Kruger co-founder of Wingpact is working tirelessly to change that notion. Having struggled for many years with discomfort around the topic of money Karen set out to overcome this challenge. Once she discovered the power of owning one s financial resources she became passionate about empowering other women to take charge of their finances and futures. With very little gender diversity among venture capitalists and startup investors it is often difficult for women to get ahead Karen said. Since investors typically fund entrepreneurs with whom they most relate women entrepreneurs are often left pitching their products and services to the wrong audience -- men. Women also still face sexism on an all-too- frequent basis which presents additional hurdles they must face when they re ready to seek funding. In 2014 Karen helped combat this problem by co-founding Wingpact with five female colleagues. The California-based collaborative has grown into a global community of investors and entrepreneurs whose vision is to create a more genderinclusive world. These innovative women have joined together to encourage other women to identify their passion determine their purpose and unleash their fullest potential. I have been motivated by the opportunity to hear powerful business pitches from female entrepreneurs and by the knowledge that funding women helps to amplify women s voices. Women are underrepresented in all sectors of business from CEOs to board chairs to investors and entrepreneurs. With more women becoming angel investors we will see more women in leadership positions and more women s talents brought forward in innovation. Karen holds a B.A. in Psychology from the College of William and Mary as well as M.S. in School Counseling from San Francisco State University. Sharing her expertise Karen and her colleagues recently published a book entitled Impact with Wings Stories to Inspire and Mobilize Women Angel Investors and Entrepreneurs. The book is an anthology of personal stories and research that serves as a powerful vehicle to emphasize the importance of investing in women. Women hold vast amounts of untapped resources and talent and if accessed and utilized the world would be a more equal place. It is upon each of us to be aware of gender imbalances and understand the importance of using our resources mindfully - and one powerful way to do this is to invest in women. A single mom of four kids Karen has learned to be resilient. She knows first-hand the challenges that women and mothers face professionally especially after having taken years off for child rearing and has embarked on a mission to help mobilize other women. Karen believes listening to one s authentic voice will lead to success and greater opportunities. I d like to be an example of authenticity the more aligned our hearts and minds are with who we want to be the more we can do to make the world a better place. 23 Women of Distinction G etting into real estate in 2015 thanks to the encouragement of a few longtime friends Karen Gerberick passed the Florida Real Estate License exam interviewed and acquired a position with Century 21 Aztec and Associates in Charlotte Harbor Florida. Over the past year she s spent a lot of time to learning about the market in her new role as Sales Associate and it s been a truly exhilarating experience. Karen Gerberick Helping clients find homes in Southwest Florida is incredible Karen said. This area offers some of the best outdoor activities wildlife and fishing. It s beautiful here. It s a great sense of accomplishment to work with clients from all over and making lasting friendships is a bonus for me. The most important aspect of working with a client Karen stresses is the interviewing process. Asking pertinent questions to help her narrow down the search like the size and type of home location and school district are all common questions that can either make or break a deal. While some clients may be in search of their forever home others might be looking for a vacation home so their wish list can vary greatly. Working closely with the other agent lender and title agency Karen works diligently make sure each deal goes smoothly to take the pressure off her clients. People skills and the ability to earn a client s trust are essential in being an excellent realtor Karen added. Although it was a huge learning curve for her in the beginning Karen s never been afraid to ask questions or do research to find solutions to issues she might stumble upon in the field. Earning her BS in Risk Management and Insurance from Florida State University in 1981 Karen spent the next three decades in insurance first as a commercial lines underwriting where she achieved account executive status for several major property casualty insurance companies like USF&G Aetna and Travelers and later as a production underwriter for a global insurance brokerage firm. A member of Port Charlotte Punta Gorda North Port Florida Board of Realtors and National Board of Realtors Karen is working toward her Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) which includes the completion of seven courses to earn a graduate level distinction in real estate. Real Estate Residential Sales Sales Associate Century 21 and Associates Charlotte Harbor FL Q&A Q What steps do you take to help clients find that perfect home A I listen closely ask for feedback and become very familiar with inventory in the area. Q Who do you rely on at work as a resource A The broker who s a wonderful source of knowledge for people in the southwest Florida region as well as fellow sales associates to exchange ideas and experiences. Q What other people are necessary to achieve the status of satisfied clients A Trades people city county employees mortgage lenders and closing agents. It literally takes a village. Q Does demeanor reflect your confidence and satisfaction of your job A Absolutely By anticipating questions and always being a few steps ahead I can make certain my clients are comfortable with me in the process of buying or selling a home. 24 Women of Distinction Kristina Rugh Bookkeeping QuickBooks ProAdvisor Marketing Specialist HLC Bookkeeping & Office Services Vice-President Householder Lifestyle Consulting LLC Greensburg PA W hile completing her Bachelor s Degree in Elementary Education Kristina Rugh enrolled in education courses in Accounting I Accounting II and Microcomputer Concepts to expand her career goals and fell in love with the accounting field. She spent 13 years working for both corporate and private business until she helped form Householder Lifestyle Consulting (HLC) LLC in 2005. She became a partner in 2007 and in 2009 rebranded the bookkeeping side of the business to HLC Bookkeeping & Office Services working as an Intuit QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Marketing Specialist. An Intuit Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2008 Kristina is a member of Women s Business Network where she was named Service Woman of the Year in 2012. She s also on the organization s Executive Strategic Implementation Team and Strategic Planning Committee and holds a contracted position as a bookkeeper. In 2013 she was named to LinkedIn s Top 1% of Recommended Bookkeepers. In addition to her work with QuickBooks Kristina provides office consulting and support services for businesses and non-profits in areas like database management letters flyers and fundraising events. She provides affordable marketing solutions for clients by creating and maintaining websites through Homestead.com and a well-known online card service. Since 2009 Kristina has served as Vice-President of Householder Lifestyle Consulting LLC where she coordinates the marketing strategy focusing the company s efforts on using the principles of hospitality organization and professionalism as a framework for bringing success to small businesses personal households and non-profit organizations. Toward that end she creates and publishes material that supports both business and personal success. HLC Bookkeeping & Office Services identifies the needs of businesses and then designs plans of action to bring success to any business office Kristina Rugh said about her tenured business. We offer free onehour consultations to prospective clients to discuss how we can help their business. We also provide QuickBooks classes and setup services payroll set-up or administration QuickBooks online bookkeeping accounts payable accounts receivable reconciliation reporting temporary management solutions and interview services. HLC can partner with businesses on-site or interact remotely. 25 Women of Distinction A published author Kristina has written four children s books Welcome to the Pond An Introduction to Hospitality Everything in Place An Introduction to Organization More than How You Act An Introduction to Professionalism and My Pet is Sick which focuses on helping children deal with emotions associated with grieving. She has also written presented various seminars books and plays. Over the years Kristina has also tutored students in grades K-7 and created the Homework Log Checklist Organizing System geared toward students in grades 6-12 who need to overcome organization problems and homework hassles. Q&A Q How long should bookkeeping take for my new business A It varies as your business grows adds income streams etc. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least four hours per week devoted to bookkeeping for your new business. You will have a lot to do in the beginning setting up bank accounts payroll customer and vendor accounts. Q What s the difference and benefits between an employee and a subcontractor A First you have to evaluate what you d want that person to do for you as the IRS has very specific regulations regarding the employee vs. subcontractor relationship. We have a video on our website that can help with this question and describe some of the pros and cons. Q How do I decide which software to choose There are so many A It s my job to listen to what your needs are and then recommend the best product for you. As an Intuit Authorized Reseller I can then offer you great discounts and pricing on Intuit products like QuickBooks Software Payments Merchant Processing and payroll options. Q My paperwork is a mess I don t even know where to start How can you help me A We know you re busy running your business and are happy to help you. We come to your place of business or you send us your mess and we organize the paperwork for you. We can even set up new procedures for your office work that will help you with your future paperwork. Q How can you help us with advertising A We offer various cost effective solutions for small businesses like website creation and maintenance database creation and maintenance and an easy solution to increase your relationship building through an online card program. We also offer webinars blogs posts on sales social media tips customer creation and retention etc. Let us help you prosper At this time in their lives students are becoming more independent. They rely more on themselves to bring the correct information home to complete for the next day and must know when their tests are to study appropriately she explained. My system helps students become independent accountable learners. Kristina is also the creator of My Business in a Binder Administrative Organizing System for homebased and small businesses that are not ready for a computerized system. It s an administrative tool that helps organize the bookkeeping and basic office paperwork for any business that wants a paperbased system. I thank God my family and my country for the opportunities to use the gifts I ve been given Kristina said lastly. My family and friends are my support system they keep me grounded and aren t afraid to tell me when I m going off course or getting too big for my britches. I believe however that with hard work and determination every woman can find success. The key is to not let someone else s version of success define yours. 26 Women of Distinction I n need of a career change LaSandra McKeever interviewed for a new Walmart store that was being built in New Albany Indiana. Hired as a Department Manager in April 2002 she spent the next two years learning all about merchandising operations and many other aspects of the very successful retail chain. Her now tenured career with the organization has included everything from merchandising US Port and Dray Operations Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Operations Store Operations Logistics and Supply Chain and she s now serving as a Senior Planner Import Demand for their US stores. LaSandra has come a very long way but the sacrifice and hard work she has demonstrated to get there is nothing less than amazing. La Sandra McKeever Retail Senior Planner Imported Demand Walmart Stores Inc. Bentonville AR My family and the opportunity for growth have made it all worthwhile LaSandra said noting that she puts in 85-hour work weeks. My family is 100% supportive of my career and plays a critical role in my success. I also love the company s culture and the hundreds of career field opportunities. LaSandra s leadership role requires that she perform import inventory analysis and forecast corporate sales demand to maintain healthy inventory sales in warehouses and stores and to ensure that the products customers want are available. Serving 260 million customers weekly around the world that s a tall order so maintaining product flow and availability is a very important aspect. A passionate person with a high level of integrity LaSandra is an equally generous and kind leader making her a perfect fit for her role. In addition to managing her full-time career LaSandra is the Director of Public Relations for the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club since 2007 a motorcycle club for approximately 1 800 members and a Discussion Board Moderator for Wildguzzi.com due to her love for the brand. Active with many professional organizations she participates in volunteer and fundraising efforts and has earned numerous accolades throughout her career. LaSandra and her family reside in Southwest Missouri. They enjoy outdoor activities and spending time together as a family. Q&A Q What do you like most about your profession A I love that our company provides flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home. My job is very analytical. I get more work done at home in my own quiet office. Q What does a typical day look like A I spend Mondays and Tuesdays mostly in meetings and my real work gets done Wednesday through Friday. I work late twice a week with 8pm conference calls with our overseas team. I work 15 hour days during the week and average 10 hours on weekends. Q What qualifications do you have that competitors do not A I ve held many positions within one company mostly in merchandising and supply chain which has allowed me to add invaluable experience to my tool bag. My husband Luap is the one who taught me patience discipline trust integrity the willingness to accept myself and to find something I love to do so I ll never have to work again LaSandra added. I love him so much 27 for that. Women of Distinction L enore Anderson has always had a fascination for edible plants and wild flowers. So much so that she studied Clinical Herbalism at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies graduating in 1996. She went on to study Chinese Medicine and massage therapy and began her integration of natural healing therapies. Today as a Holistic Health Coach and Owner of Natural Vitality and a Licensed Massage Therapist at Brooks and Butterfield Day Spa Lenore is living her dream. Lenore Anderson I have a passion for understanding the human connection to nature Lenore said. There are so many natural solutions to better health but most people don t know what to do when it comes to the stress that is inflicted on the body and mind. Establishing her business in 2004 Lenore offers supportive natural healing therapies for the body and mind to promote optimal health and healing. During her holistic health consultations she ll first review health history diet and nutrition and do muscle and pH testing. Then she ll explore with clients their 5 Element Chinese make-up to determine constitutional health needs and suggests beneficial herbal remedies and supplements. When it comes to balancing the physical body she specializes in Five Element Acupressure and Meridian Massage Shiatsu and Deep Tissue Massage. Lenore also offers Live Food Preparation Classes a Natural Vitality Cleanse and Detox Program Herb Walks and Medicine Making Classes and Women s Vitality Retreats. Lenore thoroughly enjoys the supportive process of working with clients. It s especially rewarding when they ask questions like how come no one ever told me that before and she has the answer. Holistic Health and Bodywork Holistic Health Coach Natural Vitality Licensed Massage Therapist Brooks and Butterfield Day Spa Northampton MA Q&A Q What s included in your integrative bodywork sessions A Guided breath work to establish a relaxing rhythm and activating the acupressure points along the meridian pathways that pertain to the clients needs. I also do deep tissue mayo fascia release work and craniosacral therapy. Q Why should people experience Spirit-body Journey-work A It accesses deep levels of consciousness to heal from past traumas injuries emotional stress health issues and spiritual guidance. Q Why do a cleanse A My seasonal cleanses all represent a different element in Chinese Medicine. Cleansing and detoxifying the body creates ease and healing so the body can return to balance. Q Why do you have a love for plant medicine A To support digestion improve mental clarity and balance the immune system and tonification of the body for health and vitality. My clients become empowered when they learn how to look at their body as an ecosystem and energetic system where one affects the other she noted. Self-care and empowerment are two essential ingredients in becoming whole. The body will only regenerate itself when we nourish it and take the stress loads off. Holding a BA in Environmental Education and Human Development MA in Multi-Cultural Foundations of Education certifications in Clinical Herbalism Acupressure and Raw Food Preparation and a license in Massage Therapy Lenore is using her expertise to heal clients naturally for greater quality of life health and vitality. 28 Women of Distinction Linda Carr Alternative Health Care Founder Mind Body Health Care Specialist Alternative Health Care Practitioner - Mind Body Pain Relief Therapies Taos NM L inda Carr is the Founder of Mind Body Pain Relief Therapies. Linda provides Emotional Freedom Technique and Optimal-EFT Therapies on Skype and Zoom globally and locally. She also meets with clients in person and on the phone locally. She is a level 3 Certified Emotional Freedom Technique Therapist. Emotional Freedom Technique and Optimal EFT used properly and consistently will bring peace to your system. They are dependable solutions that will provide healing and optimal wellness physically emotionally and spiritually. Five years ago Linda Carr had a traumatic experience that led her to seek a solution that at the time was outside her box of tools. This is her story and it is a beautiful testimonial to the healing power of Emotional Freedom Technique and Optimal EFT. August 2009 was the beginning of an emotionally and spiritually debilitating period of time for me. I had a traumatic experience that absolutely crushed me. In my field we call this bouncing off other traumatic events. Over the course of our lives symptoms of trauma accumulate in our beings. If we do not heal the symptoms of trauma a new traumatic experience can bounce off the earlier unhealed trauma. The impact can be magnified. This was my experience. Many of us have these stories. Many of us live in pain and feel there is no hope. We live with painful addictions because it numbs the pain temporarily. We live with secrets and resentments that are killing us. One year ago I was introduced to a new level of EFT. It is called Optimal-EFT and it sits on top original Emotional Freedom Technique. It greatly elevates the healing capacity of original Emotional Freedom Technique. Optimal EFT acknowledges and works with the spiritual dimension and the healing power of love. This past year I have been a practicing student of OptimalEFT with founder Gary Craig. The peace of this practice has truly brought me out of the dark tunnel and into the light. Optimal-EFT is now a therapy I share with clients as well as Emotional Freedom Technique. After this experience I felt my heart and spirit die. I lost my immense joy. I felt cut off from God from my beautiful life and from myself. For a long time I lived in a very dark place. I felt powerless to tackle anything. I felt alone afraid and frozen. The traumatic experience itself is a personal story I will not share. I want to share the solution that provided the healing I needed. An associate introduced me to Emotional Freedom Technique. I began to use it everyday. I could feel it was softening my pain. I began working with a professional EFT therapist. I felt hopeful that I could rise from the darkness. I knew it was going to allow me to heal and slowly it did. Many insights came as I healed. Growing up I experienced painful and difficult events I had no control over. I came to understand that my traumatic experience of 2009 was greatly enhanced due to the unhealed pain of my childhood. I found a solution that allowed me to heal on a deep level. The healing covered all traumas over the course of my life not just the August 2009 event. Many times I felt I was experiencing a miracle. I am deeply grateful to Gary Craig the Founder of Emotional Freedom Technique and Optimal-EFT. I am deeply grateful to myself for having the strength and courage to complete this journey. 29 Women of Distinction Linda Pinson Publishing Industry Publisher of Business Books and Business Plan Software Owner Publisher of Out of Your Mind... and Into the Marketplace Tustin CA T hey say necessity is the mother of all invention. In Linda Pinson s case it sparked her innovative career as the owner and publisher of Out of Your Mind...and Into the Marketplace. A veteran business owner nearly 30 years ago Linda sought to expand her horizons by attending small-business seminars. The only problem They were awful she recalled. Armed with real world experience and a teaching certificate in Business and Industrial Management Linda knew she could do a better job of educating entrepreneurs. Not long after she started teaching courses for colleges and organizations. The students were happy but wanted the classes written down to take home. Voila Linda started writing entrepreneurial books and became an author and publisher in 1986. Q&A Q What is the difference between and author and a publisher A. An author writes a book. A publisher takes on all the other responsibilities (production marketing selling and everything else) that it takes to make a physical or ebook take it to the marketplace and get it in front of readers. Q Where do you sell your books and software A We have a distributor in Chicago (IPG) that sells to the trade (bookstores libraries Amazon Apple etc. and we also sell directly via our website (www.business-plan.com). Our main customers today are universities colleges and technical schools who buy our books for classroom textbooks. However we still love our individual customers. Q Do you also provide services for your customers A Absolutely. We write business plans provide business consulting and offer professional development training throughout the U.S. The combination provides great cross credibility. I worked for GAO writing a business plan for the National Safety Training Board and traveled with Visa as their financial expert on their Business Breakthrough video series. My co-publisher Ndaba Mdhlongwa and I developed customized versions of our business plan software for Dale Carnegie Training Centers Worldwide and the American Bar Association. Q What final advice would you give to other women business owners A It is a common assumption that it is harder for women to succeed in business. It is true that women are frequently trying to juggle family and work responsibilities. It is also true that women are often seen as less capable than men in certain industries. However I have found that highly credible work ethics and high quality results soon cause these perceptions to disappear. I have worked with many men in the publishing industry and have almost always found them respectful and wonderful to work with accepting me for who I am and what I add to our industry. You know who you are and that is who the world will see you as. Follow your dreams and let them lead you to places where (as Teddy Roosevelt said) ...more timid souls will know neither victory nor defeat. My students enthusiasm for their own ventures was my first and enduring inspiration. As time went by and the books and software were successful on the market (libraries bookstores associations) there was no way to go but upward and onward. Eventually universities colleges and technical schools were adopting the books and software as course material. What could be better From that point forward I could teach an unlimited number of students without actually being in a classroom--a most enviable position. Linda has written nine entrepreneurial books and she has developed standalone business planning software. Three books are now in their 8th editions. Anatomy of a Business Plan has been localized for Australia and UK and translated into several languages including Chinese Spanish and Italian. In addition to physical books and software CDs all of her products are also available in electronic format that are available for download online. Businesswise my greatest legacy would be to know that small businesses have been more successful because of the books and software that I have written and developed. Personally I would only hope that those who remember me think of me with smiles on their faces. 30 Women of Distinction Lynne Wilson Professional Services Management and Information Technology Consulting Founder Chief Executive Officer TriPointe Consulting Shawnee KS 31 Women of Distinction T aking the plunge three years ago in 2013 Lynne Wilson finally invested in herself when she founded TriPointe Consulting in her hometown of Shawnee Kansas a suburb of Kansas City Missouri. Working in the consulting industry for 27 previous years including 20 years with Big Four and international consulting firms and seven years as a corporate executive with Fortune 500 companies as a Divisional Officer VicePresident of Information Technology and Vice-President of Cloud Computing her expertise is a breath of fresh air and those around her are taking it all in. TriPointe Consulting is a management and information technology firm that brings customized Big Four methodologies and practices into play to assist clients in meeting business objectives in an ever changing landscape and delivering solutions that last Lynne said who is responsible for all aspects of the business including marketing business development sales contract negotiations engagement delivery client satisfaction and day-to-day operations as Founder and Chief Executive Officer. By using surveys interviews and observation to conduct comprehensive assessments for clients TriPointe Consulting will then formulate a comprehensive roadmap to deliver expected results. Lynne s team of consultants bring years of experience in a number of backgrounds including former Big Four international consulting partners and management professionals Fortune 500 executives and management specialists and consultants that are experienced in building consulting business and technology business units and companies. Services include business and information technology strategy and planning portfolio program and project management contract review and negotiation start-up entrepreneurial consulting business process evaluation and improvement technology consulting and organizational change management. Currently Lynne is working with a firm to identify advisory board and board of director roles. From a community perspective she is also getting more involved with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals through her local branch Great Plains SPCA. To date her involvement has been primarily through donations events and the adoption of a beautiful Siberian Husky German Shepherd Niko who has joined her other pup 10-year-old Kobi a Shiba Inu. She hopes to become an active volunteer with Great Plains SPCA later in 2016. Throughout Lynne s career she has proved over and over again the power of perseverance. When she first started out in 1989 she was an auditor for then Arthur Anderson & Company while fulfilling the requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She was then offered the opportunity to oversee a consulting project with Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) and once completed requested to move into consulting because she enjoyed it so much. The partners agreed and Lynne found herself on a fast track to becoming partner an opportunity that really set the bar for her future. During Lynne s 20 years spent in executive leadership roles with Big Four and international consulting firms she developed strategic and tactical plans built motivated and coached winning teams created innovative solutions to address various business challenges and implemented world class processes and automated solutions for global Fortune 500 clients. Becoming partner at a Big Four when she was still in her 30 s Lynne helped lead the largest enterprise resource planning technology and business process practice in the organization s Kansas City office. I am a person who enjoys continually learning and solving the many problems businesses experience Lynne noted. Business and IT consulting provides a means for me to do just that. Now that TriPointe Consulting exists I have the opportunity to collaborate ideas with everything from start-up businesses to entrepreneurs and Fortune 100 companies. Working with many professional organizations throughout her career Lynne served as Chairperson for Anderson s Growth and Retention of Women has spent time on the CIO Advisory Board and CIO Magazine s CIO Executive Council and is a former member and Kansas City Metro Chapter President of National Association of Professional Women The Central Exchange and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She is currently active with The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity Alumni Chapter. She has also worked with more than a dozen charitable organizations over the years in various capacities. When Lynne began preparing to get TriPointe Consulting off the ground she started to remove herself from most of these organizations of which she was affiliated as they no longer related to the direction she was headed. She also knew that she would have to free up more of her time for business development in the preliminary stages of starting her firm. Three years into the business and she is again reconnecting with organizations specifically targeting those that can provide business and networking prospects as well as other opportunities. I ve truly enjoyed the journey Lynne said reflecting back. I ve enjoyed a prosperous and happy professional life where I ve been able to help others achieve success and I ve been afforded the opportunity to give back to the communities in which I ve worked and lived. To me that spells success. Lynne s career has been so rewarding that she never worried too much about the personal side of her life. Spending the first 18 years in business traveling approximately 95% of the time it was challenging to have normal dating relationships. Her focus was completely on making something of herself. She also realized that unfortunately many men were not comfortable with having a girlfriend who would be on the road so much having lunch dates with clients. Assuming however that one day she would eventually marry and have a family of her own she says it hasn t been ruled out just yet. Lynne holds a BS in Accounting with Honors from the University of Central Missouri. She is SHRM certified holds her Mortgage Broker s License Series 6 and 63 and her Life and Health Insurance License and is a Certified Facilitator and former accountant. 32 Women of Distinction F or the past 20 years Marisol Ballaro has focused her career in the restaurant industry. Yet as much as she loves the food and the atmosphere she equally loves health and fitness. She s run half-marathons experimented with dietary theories and has found support through weight loss groups. But over the past two years much has changed in career. Marisol Ballaro I began to see my two worlds collide when patrons coworkers and vendors began asking me for advice about healthy eating Marisol said. I felt a call to action to help them identify their dieting myths and learn to eat clean and lose weight. Pursuing a new career as a Health Coach Marisol enrolled at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition s Health Coach Certification Program graduating in 2016. She s since formed Marisol Ballaro Health Coaching in West Los Angeles California. Today her mission is to help clients prioritize selfcare to improve their health and well-being as well as their loved ones. Built solely through word of mouth Marisol specializes in several programs designed to improve clients physical and emotional health mainly through diet movement self-care and education. Her 50-minute sessions can sometimes be entirely therapeutic to discuss clients needs to release and or gain clarity or they can be more hands-on teaching them how to shop for and prepare healthy meals or meeting for outdoor workouts. These sessions always however include discussions about progress and a review of weekly assignments and goals. Motivated for having struggled with weight and body issues herself Marisol hopes to help others overcome their own issues with weight so that they too can live their best lives. Even more so she is determined to contribute to her husband s ability to heal holistically as he currently battles cancer. Health and Wellness Health Coach Marisol Ballaro Health Coaching West Los Angeles CA Q&A Q What s the hardest part about being a health coach A Holding silence a very effective way to provide clients the space they need to be thoughtful and come to make important realizations. Sometimes the client just needs to be put in a position where they re forced to listen to what they ve said think on it and create their own solutions. Q What role does supplementation play in nutrition and weight loss A Due to the role that government plays in agriculture and the hybridization and genetic modification of our food supply quality nutrition is impossible to achieve without the aid of clean supplements. Introduced to USANA I found these to be the best supplements to improve health at the cellular level. Q What do you love most about your work A Results I love seeing clients take control of their lives and transform into new and improved versions of themselves. Today more than ever Americans need the guidance and support of a health coach Marisol said. Chronic and lifestyle diseases are rampant and we re constantly bombarded with conflicting health information from the media. The average person doesn t have the time or resources to research dietary theory levels of toxicity in our food and products how to cook or relieve stress or how to implement movement in an overscheduled life. That s where I come in. 33 Women of Distinction Marla J. Williams Coaching and Training & Development Professional and Personal Development Motivation Owner TruthSpeaksGroup LLC Jacksonville FL t TruthSpeaksGroup LLC the motto is Teach Train and Educate. As the owner Marla J. Williams delivers all three pillars in addition to coaching clients developing individual learning plans for local organizations and dispensing her knowledge as a motivational speaker and trainer. A The development of people is what keeps me in the business. I know someone needs the information I have to share. I will not stop until I can help all those I can. The process of witnessing someone come to you lost about their future and in the end see them gain the career or a life they want and knowing I had something to do with that is a wonderful thing and a blessing. Marla holds a Masters Degree in Adult Education a Bachelors of Applied Science in Supervision and Management and an Associates of Applied Science in Financial Services. Additionally she is a Certified Career and Life Coach through the World Coach Institute as well as a Certified Life Coach through the American Union of Neurolinguistic Programming. Marla is a Tutor at the Women s Center of Jacksonville and the Professional Life and Career Coach for the Northeast Healthy Start Coalition. Marla previously held an AVP position for JPMorgan Chase Bank. She also has spoken for Society of Human Resources Student Conference and her Alma Mater Strayer University. Her journey into the field of Coaching and Training began in 2003. While earning her Associates Degree Marla had the opportunity intern in a Recruiting Department where she developed a passion for career development. There she immediately recognized her natural ability to help people cultivate their careers. As time passed her passion grew into training and development. As a result TruthSpeaksGroup LLC was born in 2013. While rewarding Marla shares that her journey to success was not without hardship. As a coach you have to narrow down your niche. I have gone back and forth with this at times in the past. You have to know your value and know what you bring to the table. You cannot do it all. You cannot be a coach to everyone in all areas of their lives. Have patience. Success is a journey not a destination. Today Marla is using her expertise and God given skills to expand the field of Coaching and Training. She is the visionary behind the eBook 51 Career Tips and Questions You Need Right Now (which is on Amazon) and The TruthSpeaksGroup LLC Blog. She is also the creator of the motivational push -- K.I.M. Keep It Moving the Founder of the I.M.A.G.IN.E. -- a Women s Empowerment Conference as well as a Career Blog author for NOOMII.com. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur author speaker and business owner Marla is also a member of the Junior League of Jacksonville and a Board Member of the Association of Talent Development. Hoping to improve the lives of all she meets Marla hopes to inspire others to pursue their passions with vigor as she does. I am persistent and I go after what I believe is for me. I will do all I can to help you do the same. I believe people should help each other and not be intimidated by each other. I love to have great conversations nothing happens outside of a conversation. 34 Women of Distinction Melissa Brown St. John U Corporate Moving and Furniture Management President Owner of Relocation Strategies Indianapolis IN pon graduating college in 1992 Melissa Brown St. John landed her first job working within the largest Architecture and Interior Design firm in the state of Indiana. While on the team assisting a large corporate client who kept acquiring other companies Melissa was helping to design new buildings for the corporate campus. The client eventually asked if she would sit on-site and orchestrate all of the Moves Adds and Changes for the thousands of staff that needed to move. From that point on Melissa never went back to Interior Design. Being able to read blue prints is key. There is a lot of information that clients do not understand we are there to serve as their advocates. On a daily basis Melissa s intensive networking constantly expands the presence of her company in the Indianapolis and Indiana business communities. Relocation Strategies provides an urgently-needed service that sells itself when a company is faced with the complexity of relocation. As such Melissa literally sits at the helm of all the strategic planning directing the company to pursue the most promising path and spearheading all business development. I fell in love with the logistics and the complexity of all the moving parts of a large commercial relocation. I experience a lot of satisfaction successfully managing a project. Now Melissa serves as the Owner President and Business Developer of Relocation Strategies. The vision that she has for her company empowers it to seek ever-increasing levels of success. Relocation Strategies specializes in Corporate Renovations and Relocations coordinating all the details of furniture the move phones data cabling and more. Melissa and her team lead clients to obtain the best prices and solutions for their business. Relocation Strategies also specializes in Commercial Furniture by designing specifying and bidding over five million dollars a year on average. My entire team is made up of interior designers with a high attention to detail. I also stress my company s core values Family Comes First Respect Service Passion and Innovation. I try to carry these values with me every day in my personal and professional lives. On both a personal and professional level Melissa has faced a plethora of adversities. With her positive hardworking attitude Melissa has endured losing a child a divorce losing business during the recession and a multitude of other challenges. I enjoy life to the fullest. I accepted the challenge to succeed I worked hard at it and it s all blossoming. In fact Melissa knows that having a team composed of Interior Designers with four-year degrees sets Relocation Strategies apart. Her team understands the comprehensive picture of what needs to be done for relocation or rolling renovation. They oversee the laborers and ensure quality and price while bearing in mind the construction and budgeting process. 35 Women of Distinction Michelle DeFronzo 3rd Party Logistics Cargo Transportation Provider President IMEX Cargo East Boston MA business savvy people person Michelle DeFronzo is the President of leading transportation company IMEX Cargo. With an extensive background as a 3rd Party Logistics Manager Michelle is a visionary trailblazer in the traditionally male-dominated field. She oversees all operations and guides her expert staff in providing customers and partners with the tools and support they need to maximize their success in the New England cargo industry and ship products and materials locally nationally and internationally. IMEX Cargo is a highly regarded General Sales and Services Agent (GSSA) located near one of the world s busiest airports Logan International. Serving a diverse customer base for more than 25 years IMEX Cargo is an independent business considered by colleagues and competitors alike to be an expert of the New England cargo industry. Through Michelle s leadership IMEX Cargo has earned a reputation for trust integrity and expertise which is critical in building sales and developing long-term relationships. As one of the only womanowned local independent GSSA s IMEX can also provide benefits from state and federal agencies for contracting to woman-owned businesses that few other GSSA s can offer. A Dedicated to the advancement of her industry Michelle has served as President of the Air Cargo Club of New England (ACCNE) since 2011. ACCNE is a non-profit organization committed to serving the air cargo logistics community and includes members in airlines aviation freight forwarders truckers customs brokers warehouse operators and ground handlers. Established in 1965 ACCNE was previously known as an old school boys club. Michelle is 4th female President of the ACCNE and has contributed significantly to the organization. During her tenure she initiated a scholarship program which is now in its 6th six anniversary. Michelle encourages fellow women not to be intimidated by entering into a traditionally male-dominated industry. Women shouldn t be afraid to step outside the normal career choices because they think they may not be accepted or they think it s not a job for a women. I think that women go unrecognized and under appreciated for their role in the work place and in business. I would like other women to know that they are much stronger than sometimes we get credit for and understand the value we bring to business. Born and raised in East Boston Michelle is proud of her heritage. She is first generation born in the U.S. to a hard working family which migrated from Sicily 53 years ago. Raised by a single mom Michelle is the eldest of 4 siblings and was the first to attend college. True to her roots Michelle is an avid supporter the local East Boston community where she grew up. She is involved with the local Chamber of Commerce as well as several ethnic organizations including the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) and the Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston (CACAB). I love what I do. There isn t a day that goes by where my day-to-day tasks feel the same. I love the challenge and thinking about logistic solutions to help my clients compete globally and get their goods into and out of the country. I enjoy thinking outside the box to make projects something happen seamlessly and I really like to meet new people. 36 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A I can t think of a more relevant business in today s world as we become increasingly dependent on global trade. You always have to be thinking about how to get product to its user quicker faster greener more efficiently all while keeping ever-changing industry regulations in mind. The rules are constantly changing due to heightened security measures and continuous threats of terror attack. You have to keep your finger on the pulse. We have many outside elements to consider such as Domestic and Foreign currency foreign trade and trade relations the price of gas and oil war and terrorism Every aspect of a global economy affects our business. We have some of the most relevant experience in today s world. People often see trucks on the road and believe them to be a nuisance. I see the truck on the road and wonder what it s carrying where is it from where is the cargo going. I often tell people we are the folks that good food to your table furniture in your homes and clothes on your back. The global trade business is 24 7 365 and it does not sleep. Our economies from around the world rely on professionals in the logistics transportation business to help them not just compete globally and remain sustainable but it s all about consumption. Q What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers A At the end of the day it s a small world and by doing a good job and being trustworthy and transparent. People in my industry always say that my reputation globally speaks volume about me. Q What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs A Love what you do. There are a lot of sacrifices to be made when you run your own business. You have to work many hours and wear many hats but if you love what you do it never feels like work. Also surround yourself with like-minded professionals who can provide support and a good networking system. Build your team and empower them And remain diligent and positive. Q What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business A Being a woman in a global business you face many challenges and outside influences that impact your business. Not everyone is open to doing business with a woman in some international markets. They are not seen as a relevant partner. Not only do women have to work harder to prove themselves and most often they are also paid less money. Some of the biggest challenges are all the global challenges that come with this business like Currency Dollar value Terrorism Security Sanctions Trade Agreements the price of gas and oil Access to capital can be challenging but there are some new current programs that are helping to change that where government banks and industry are making a more concerted effort to lend to women as we are beginning to get recognized as helping our local community businesses and are employing more people at a faster rate than some big corporations. It s taking time to get recognized as our roles in society are continuing to change. Sometimes woman are not afforded the same opportunities as men in this business as the industry has been dominated by males for so very long that I often times think that were are not looked at as just as capable and we tend to get paid less almost every time and often times not being invited to the table for meetings you clearly have had an impact on the subject development. Q How did you overcome these challenges A I push forward with my goals in mind. I try to think of the opportunities that are available in every challenging situation even if it is a lesson learned. Once I put my mind to something there s nothing that can stop me from achieving the results I want. 37 Women of Distinction P illar V. Morgan embodies the American dream. She immigrated from Mexico to the United States to achieve success--and that she did. With no formal education Pillar relied on her family and perseverance to become the thriving business owner of Elevator Building Maintenance in El Paso Texas. Pillar launched her career in 2000 as an assistant to her husband. Determined to learn as much as possible about the field she quickly found her knack in life. After working for another elevator repair company she founded her own business to create a better opportunity for her family and for fellow women in need so that they too could care of their families. As the owner of Elevator Building Maintenance Pillar wears many hats. She is a hands-on leader who can be found working along side her husband and other employees repairing and installing elevators and equipment. She also oversees sales and enjoys meeting with clients. Additionally Pillar shares her expertise by teaching elevator safety classes to fire departments all over Mexico and uses her position to help the less fortunate find jobs. I am not a perfect person but I would like the world to know I am an honest person with values. I would like to leave this world knowing that I will help the world be a better place one job at a time for men and women like me. Pillar admits that being a woman in a male dominant industry has not been an easy task. At first I found it difficult but as time past I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. In the elevator trade being a woman is very difficult for people to trust me as a mechanic I am faced on a daily basis with clients always asking to speak with the head mechanic but after a short period of time they find that not only do I know my profession I am one that the can trust. Even though I found it difficult at times I have always been very strong and never gave up. Pillar learned her tireless work ethic from her grandmother Pillar Zubia who taught her that with dedication and strength she could accomplish anything. I owe all to this great woman and hope to be able to pass this incredible love she showed to me to everyone. Don t give up sometimes you feel it is too hard but it is worth it the end result will be much greater that the obstacles that you had to maneuver around. Life is the greatest school a person can have you don t need a title you need to do what you want and enjoy life to the fullest. When Pillar is not working she is spending time with family her parents Eulalio Dela Cruz and Inez Marquez Dela Cruz grandfather Eduwiges Ibarra brothers Felipe de Jesus de la Cruz and Mario de la Cruz husband Cromwell Morgan children Alina Liermann and Cromwell Jr. and her grandchildren Melina Duvall Liermann and Delilah Morgan. Pilar V. Morgan Elevator Building Maintenance Owner Elevator Building Maintenance El Paso TX Q&A Q What is the best part of owning your own business A This day and time major companies lose track of whom we work for it is all about the mighty dollar. They forget about the number one the customers. I am blessed with the opportunity to change this with integrity honesty and hard work. I opened my business to prove to all that a small business can make a huge impact in the way business should be always for the customers. Q How do you balance work life and family life A Work and family are very important to me and I try my best to be there for both. I have raised my kids strong so I don t have to worry about them while I try to grow a better future for my family friends and most of all the families of those who work with me. Q Where do you see yourself in 5 years A I would like to have more offices in Texas. I enjoy helping my customers achieve an extreme vertical transportation experience with safety as our first goal. They gave me strength to continue in this land of opportunities. My family always believed in me not only as a mother but also as a great woman that knew what she wanted to help her kids and people that needed help. I always remember my husband s favorite advice Good things come to those who wait. 38 Women of Distinction R uth J. Bichsel s goal has always been to obtain an education so that she could be an asset to her community. Going to college she pursued her BS in Psychology MS in Counseling and PhD in Counseling Psychology all at the University of Oregon. It s been 40 years already and her career has been so gratifying. Ruth J. Bichsel PhD Education Clinical Private Practice Program Director Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) College of Education University of Oregon Licensed Psychologist Private Practice Eugene OR I found that through psychology research and therapy I could help people who need services Ruth said. I began by working with those that society often rejected and oppressed. Not only did those individuals do well but it helped me grow as a person. As Director of the Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) at the University of Oregon s College of Education Ruth makes sure students are taught evidence-based and culturally appropriate treatment. Ruth s also designed prevention and treatment courses that help students researchers and clinicians improve their knowledge and skills in the addiction studies mental health understanding and treatment. The goal is to help all practitioners become the best clinicians physicians and substance treatment specialists possible. Ruth is a Licensed Psychologist who has also been serving her community through her private practice since June 1999. Providing individual and group therapy to clients she treats adults and children both male and female in areas like sexual trauma post-traumatic stress disorder anger management antisocial personal disorder and more. Working primarily with mandated adjudicated offenders and their families she conducts psychological profiles and forensic evaluations on alleged offenders and provides crime scene analysis as well. Working together in a healthy way is far better and more productive than trying to do anything alone Ruth noted. Together we can literally move mountains. Knowing all too well the power of prejudice Ruth grew up forced to hide her beliefs and Native American heritage. The experience however is what drove her to do whatever she could to make the world a better place in her adult life. Today Ruth volunteers by rescuing relocating and rehabilitating wildlife. She also works with pets such as dogs and cats in both rescue and rehabilitation. Currently single she has adopted 32 children over the course of her adult life all with special needs. At the most she s had six children in her home at one time. She also has nine grandchildren. My children and grandchildren have taught me more about myself and life than any other experience I ve ever had Ruth said smiling. Q&A Q Why is psychology important A It s important that healing can make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and their families. Psychologists must integrate medical care psychological and mental healthcare and substance use treatment so that the holistic approach can be used to help people deal with not only trauma and stress but living in a very complicated world. Q Why must we offer affordable mental healthcare A Mental health issues shouldn t be stigmatized. They re no different than any other medical problem. People don t choose bipolar disorder any more than people choose cancer or diabetes. Individuals with psychological and mental health issues can lead productive lives if given the support they need. 39 Women of Distinction Sharon McClung Arts Media Photography Owner Sharon McClung Photography Spring TX enturing into photography after spending more than 15 years as a successful Paralegal took a lot a lot of drive motivation and passion for Sharon McClung to juggle two very different yet very rewarding careers. Earning her dba in 2004 she slowly progressed her business as the Owner of Sharon McClung Photography and she couldn t be more proud of all the hard work and sacrifice she has had to make to be successful at both. All these years later Sharon s part-time photography business continues to do well and she s now looking to retire from her 27-plus year paralegal career in the not-so-distant future so she can focus all of her energy on photography. V When I was just getting Sharon McClung Photography off the ground pursuing it on a part-time basis was my biggest hurdle she said. I was faced with working full-time as a paralegal which I also loved and didn t want to give up putting in 12-18 hour days during the early years of my business. But I had found my purpose which was most important so building it up slowly has been well worth the effort. Luckily I ve been working for an international company for the past seven years and the hours are more conducive to growing my business. Sharon specializes in families babies children seniors and pets as well as special events and corporate work. Sharon also provides stock photography when needed and has been published. Needless to say she has a lot of patience but she enjoys every moment of her time spent with clients. She ll take on any challenge and for that reason her talents continue to grow and evolve. I ve always loved photography Sharon said. When my grandson was born in 2001 I got caught up in the scrapbooking craze and started scrapbooking pictures of him along with his older siblings. After that my interest in photography began to take a serious turn and my business just evolved from there. Born and raised in Pennsylvania Sharon moved to Texas in the spring of 1981 with her family. Eight years later she had earned her Paralegal Certificate and began working in the field. 40 Women of Distinction Photography has always been in my life she noted. I remember as a kid my mom had decades of family photos displayed in those old black-page photo albums and each of them were labeled. I loved looking at them. But in 1972 a flood wiped out everything. Next to losing my parents losing those family photos has been my biggest loss because it took away so much of our family s history. That is why I stress to clients and potential clients the importance of preserving family memories. Outsourcing some of her tasks like printing and ad design Sharon is able to focus more on photo sessions customer relations and the business side of things. She considers herself a Jack of all trades . Limiting the outsourcing allows her to keep quality and integrity at the core of her business. Finding balance is something that Sharon has continuously worked on year after year. Finding time for her careers her family and herself is a constant balancing act. Above all she makes time for praising God and giving him thanks because if it weren t for Him she wouldn t be blessed with all the gifts she s been given. Q&A Q Why should you hire a professional photographer A A professional photographer is trained not only in how to use a camera but also in lighting and posing techniques as well as post-capture options. Please don t discount the importance of having professional portraits for your family now and for future generations. Q With the advent of digital cameras and their access to all people across the board what is the future of professional photographers A There will always be a need for professional photographers. Q Why are professional photographers so expensive A This is a business and there are costs to run a business. If you re looking to hire a photographer solely on cost please be careful who you entrust your special occasions to. Granted these folks may be really good photographers who just don t want to do it as a business but I have heard horror stories also. The old clich works here too buyer beware. Q Where can I find a professional photographer either locally or out of town A Check the Professional Photographers of America website at www.ppa.com findaphotographer. Q Do you sell digital files Why or why not A Digital files are my copyrighted work. I take pride in the quality of my work and I ve seen how know images look when they re printed at a non-professional lab. I don t want that for my clients. I only use labs that I ve used in the past that ll deliver the quality of work I want for my clients. There were times when I felt like throwing in the towel especially three years ago when I fell ill but each time I realized that photography was a crucial part of my life and I did not want to give it up she said. An active member of Professional Photographers of America and Texas Professional Photographers Association Sharon is also the Photography Chairperson for two women s networking groups. Formerly a volunteer photographer for an animal rescue group in Houston she plans to get involved with another rescue group in the near future because animal rescue is near and dear to her heart. In addition to her Paralegal Certificate Sharon earned a BA in English from Misericordia University and completed graduate studies at the University of Scranton both in Pennsylvania and has since taken many photography courses at Texas School of Professional Photography and other venues. She currently lives with four canines and one feline all rescues. 41 Women of Distinction Therese Price Textile Owner RagLady.com Stevensville MD I n the mid 1980 s Therese Price s mother had started her own rag business out of her garage. At just 14-yearsold Therese would often help out by cutting and boxing rags and by 16 she was cold calling to acquire new business. Adamant that she did not want her daughter to ever get into the business herself Therese would up following in mom s footsteps anyway and within two years after moving the company to Baltimore from Stevensville Maryland Therese had fully taken over. My mom was sick and I had to keep a roof over our heads Therese said. Growing the business year over year I never looked back. I always wanted to work for myself and not have someone else telling me what to do. I guess I have a pretty strong independent streak. Treating RagLady.com as if it were her first born child Therese eventually bought the space she had previously rented while living in Baltimore. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she d ever made. It had become a major stepping stone investing in the real estate and creating a future for herself and it s definitely paid off. Today RagLady sells every type of cloth from surgical and shop towels to restaurant bar and microfiber towels and everything in between. Offering free shipping within the continental US Therese sells every type of rag in the business at very competitive prices and offers wholesale accounts for repeat customers who buy in bulk. Q&A Q Does it help to have a good sense of humor when you are the Rag Lady A Yes which is one of the biggest perks of the job. I took my love of funny things and put it into the raglady.com website. Instead of a boring site about boring old rags we turned it into a funny place that my customers love. Q Who uses the rags you sell A It s an extremely diversified market. Everyone uses towels and rags in every business and every home. Q Won t any old piece of cloth do A Not for all applications. That s why we carry a variety of rags to choose from. We are like a rag candy shop we have the perfect match for your application. Q What do you tell young women who are thinking of starting their own business A Life is not easy we are all here to learn and grow. Typically the hardest lessons are the ones you will never forget and learn the most from. Taking people s money is a huge responsibility so never let those people that trust in you down. As the owner it s my responsibility to make sure that my company thrives my employees share in the success and my customers are overjoyed with the products we sell Therese added. It can be a tall order but all three elements are crucial to the success of my business. 42 Women of Distinction Victoria Ann Devine Education elementary teacher of students with disabilities Author Teacher Owner Private Tutoring Business NJ C ritically acclaimed author and educator Victoria Ann Devine believes all students have the ability to succeed academically. After studying to become an Elementary School Teacher and Teacher of Students with Disabilities at Rutgers University Victoria immediately knew her calling was to educate students on a one-on-one level. Her creative teaching style helps students overcome learning difficulties and empowers them to continue on a path to higher education. As a business owner of a private tutoring company Victoria strives to provide enrichment that extended beyond the typical day in school. Outside of the classroom Victoria is a naturally gifted author who uses her writing talents to help end bullying by encouraging students teachers and adults to embrace diversity through her fun and educational children book. Victoria recognizes that bullying has become a devastating global issue which often can affect children s ability to learn in the classroom leading to lingering impacts later on in life. Hoping to actively address this concern when students are young Victoria authored Santa s Bully Elf a heartwarming story about bullying and the spirit of Christmas. By combining her love of Christmas elves and dogs Victoria created an engaging tale with a powerful lesson. Teaching is a dream job. The greatest thrill is molding young children and inspiring them to reach their fullest potential. Regardless of their abilities I love watching my students succeed academically. Every day my brain is ticking on how I can provide my students with a different strategy in learning. As far as I m concerned a step forward in learning is always an achievement. 43 Women of Distinction The most important message is to treat others kindly regardless of their appearance abilities or socio-economic background. We need to appreciate and embrace diversity. When a child is mistreated their world falls apart. More importantly they cannot focus on their academics because they have no self-esteem. This book is truly meant for parents and teachers with little ones. I strongly believe that we can truly influence a child s behavior when they are taught at an early age. They are so impressionable and easy to mold. If we teach those good morals values non-bullying behavior and kindness -- we can create a world that is bully free. The beloved book quickly gained critical acclaimed. Readers Favorite recently gave the Santa s Bully Elf a five star review. Additionally South Jersey Magazine will recognize Victoria for her work in its October issue for Leading Ladies. Victoria is a member of South Jersey Women Business Owners Stomp Out Bullying and The Bullying Project. Fans will be happy to learn her next book MacCarrig will be hitting the press in the summer of 2016. This is a special book which was co-authored with one of Victoria s students. The book centers on birds beaches boats and a hurricane. More importantly the themes are directly tied to cooperation responsibility perseverance and friendship. Q&A Q What inspired you to write a children s book A There are three factors that I will need to confess to you that inspired me to write my book Santa s Bully Elf. I love collecting elves I absolutely love Christmas and everyone loves a Golden Retriever. After putting all three of these ideas into play I came up with this insane idea of having a k-9 bully elf. It was important to me that Sparky was clever and smart. At this time I am on my third Golden Retriever. The other two were wonderful and so trainable. The one I have now is absolutely insane. His behavior is truly sparky hence the name of my k-9 bully elf. Q Have you considered another Sparky book A Yes I most definitely have considered it. I don t want to give away any secrets but Sparky spends a lot of time at Lookout Tower peering through his magical telescope. He spies something else that doesn t look appealing to the puppy s eyes Q How long did it take you to write this book A It took me almost three years. I will admit that I struggled with finding the right artist. When I found Laura Doll she was amazing. She was patient and calm and was literally in my head. She had the same passion and ideas for this book that I had. Q What does your family think of the book A They love it They are so proud of me and supported me the entire time. There was a time when we started the final edits. Maybe just maybe I started to become a pest. I was so nervous that a comma would be out of place. Once I hired an editor she helped me with the finishing touches. Q Have you received any negative comments or reviews A At this time I have Amazon coming in with five star reviews. Whenever I check the website my stomach gets a bit jittery. In fact I even close my eyes when after I type in the title of my book and hit the button. So far it has been all great comments and reviews. Q What was something that surprised you when you finished the book A Actually many of my dearest friends supported me and bought numerous copies of my book. In fact I had some of my high school friends across the country buy my book and post it on Facebook. By teaching trustworthiness respect honesty perseverance cooperation responsibility and compassion we can create an environment where learning becomes effective. Someone once stated There are no shortcuts to life s greatest achievements. A person who achieves greatness generally has all of these character traits within them. 44 Women of Distinction A. K. Driggs Marketing Publishing Writing Author and President CEO of Avatar Marketing Inc. Kailua-Kona HI W hen author A.K. Driggs sat down to write her memoir Abandoned in Search of Rainbows she did not yet realize the profound impact her story would have on readers. The book speaks about the adoption process in the 1950s specifically about Ms. Driggs personal experience -- discovered as a newborn inside a brown paper bag left on a toilet seat in a bar and grill in Rochester New York in 1954. Deemed unadoptable due to an unsightly rash that covered her body she was finally adopted by a loving family at two and a half years old. Her trial tribulations and ultimate success teaches readers that they too can find happiness in a fractured world. Ms. Driggs has made waves throughout her extraordinary life journey as an animal communicator musical prodigy bisexual lover phone-sex superstar recording artist and CEO of Avatar Marketing Inc. With a passion for the organic and natural products industry Ms. Driggs founded Avatar Marketing more than 30 years ago. Acting as an out-sourced National Sales Manager the firm helps save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in standard employee costs. Ms. Driggs uses her platform to give back. Her original music from the 1970 s 1980 s 1990 s and 2014 is now available on the album titled JOURNEY THROUGH THE YEARS as a digital download from Amazon CDbaby.com and iTunes. A portion of proceeds from both Abandoned in Search of Rainbows and JOURNEY THROUGH THE YEARS goes towards ocean marine animal and land conservation causes in the U.S. and globally. Additionally Ms. Driggs is a volunteer at the Hawaii Island Human Society and the Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital. She has been married to the same woman for 22 years. Rich in family Ms. Driggs cherishes her extended family of friends in Hawaii known as her Hanai Ohana or adopted family. Within her Ohana Ms. Driggs has a five-year-old child who is the light of her life. Abandoned in Search of Rainbows touches on life s real time experiences that everyone goes through but may not want to deal with Ms. Driggs explained. Topics in the book cover life death love loss abandonment in one way or the other betrayal cancer care giver relationship between child and parent sibling issues spirituality questions like why am I here and what am I supposed to do and more. The story is passionate provocative and sizzles with excitement. You will laugh cry and smile. The memoir is helping people with their daily life challenges and issues. 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 Marla J. Williams Coaching and Training & Development Professional and Personal Development Motivation Owner TruthSpeaksCoaching LLC 47 Women of Distinction Marisol Ballaro Health and Wellness Health Coach Marisol Ballaro Health Coaching 48 Women of Distinction