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Description: Professional women discuss what drives them to accomplish the feats they have.

women of distinction 2014 I have always loved the quote If you build the temple others will come . In order for others to believe you must first believe in yourself. -Bianca Porrino Connie Brennan PRESIDENT FOUNDER DIRECTOR AESTHETIC NURSE SPECIALIST AND SO MUCH MORE... I am an artist by passion a nurse by profession... There s always another adventure to write or another mountain to climb. Writing is never boring. How many jobs or careers can you say that about - Dicy McCullough NoN-CompressioN proteCtive sleeves http g women of distinction magazine contents... Editorial E d i t o r - i n -C h i E f Marissa Bacchi 8 11 Contributing WritErs Holli M. Narvaez Felix Pons Angie M. Hoffman 14 47 Production featured Helen Kruz ................................................... 17 Karen Carlisle ............................................. 21 Katherine Dickerson ..................................... 23 Kay Lamb Shannon ...................................... 26 Tammy Markle ............................................... 29 Wendy Buckley ............................................... 32 Debrah Vezan ................................................ 52 ProduCtion dirECtor Antonio Meneses Editorial Coodinator Rachael Raffna sElECtion CommittEE Anne Chilar Kimberly Diehl Rebecca Valuch Women of Distinction Published by National Association of Distinguished Professionals 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone 631-465-9024 Fax 631-465-9035 http women of distinction magazine 4 PrEsidEnt foundEr aEsthEtiC EnhanCEmEnt solutions llC dirECtor of mEdiCal aEsthEtiC EduCation CEntEr for advanCEd aEsthEtiCs and lifE timE fitnEss mEdi sPa aEsthEtiC nursE sPECialist mEsna PlastiC surgEry and mmK PlastiC surgEry ConniE brEnnan rn CPsn CPC Cans I enjoy the challenge of helping everyone come together and see the big picture... As a teenager Connie Brennan really took a liking to photography. After graduating high school she started working as a portrait photographer for a local business and quickly discovered her artistic flare for shadowing and casting light on customers faces during portrait sessions. Back then when portrait work was done with film Connie remembers having to do hand retouch or paint the portraits before making the deliveries to clients. This intense training and passion for photography nurtured an appreciation of how lights shadows symmetry harmony and the beauty of retouching ultimately affected the facial appearance in photos. Connie s intrinsic and artistic talents later evolved into a strong desire to retouch many beautiful faces in real life. Finding the perfect outlet for these vastly different yet complimentary disciplines into her profession Connie became an aesthetic nurse specialist. For the past 26 years she has been merging the artistic talents of her soul with the science in her head to produce amazing outcomes for clients. Consulting treating and educating clients about the use of aesthetic products for the facial rejuvenation gives me great joy as I ultimately assist them in looking their best Connie said about her role as an aesthetic nurse. My wide array of artistic and nursing experiences have given me a solid foundation of knowledge in the medical intricacies of the face. Through the combination of art and science I have been able to train with many experts as I continue to learn and pursue excellence in the field of aesthetic medicine. As a young woman Connie worked full-time managing the portrait studio while she worked toward her degree as a medical assistant at a local technical college. Her internship at a plastic surgeon s office was the place where she fell in love with the artistic side of medicine. After graduation she became employed as a medical assistant and clinical photographer for Edina Plastic Surgery Ltd. Connie then started nursing school while continuing full-time work at the clinic earning her degree from the Normandale College of Nursing five years later. In July 1994 she was licensed as a registered nurse by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. AS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL Connie began to blend her love of art and science as she embarked on a career as a nurse with Edina Plastic Surgery Ltd. She worked directly with plastic surgeons mastering the multiple roles associated with being a clinical operating room and recovery room nurse while training to become an aesthetic nurse injector. With a strong desire to focus on the face Connie spent the next two years at Facial Plastic Surgery Ltd. where she functioned as the clinic manager Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officer operating room nurse and nurse injection specialist. After seeking additional 5 National Association of Distinguished Professionals educational opportunities out of state she then joined Adson Twin Cities Plastic Surgery as an entrepreneur where she developed one of the first nurse-led aesthetic injectable programs within a physician-owned clinic in the Minneapolis MN metropolitan area. In 2000 Connie began working at Mesna Plastic Surgery where she initiated developed and oversaw the growth of an aesthetic nurse injector program. As an aesthetic nurse specialist she was able to grow this practice to one of the largest non-physician practices utilizing Restylane and Botox Cosmetic in Minnesota at that time. Fast forward 14 years and now in addition to Dr. Mesna s practice Connie currently works with the plastic surgeons of MMK Plastic Surgery and Life Time s Life Spa Medi Spa providing consultation education and aesthetic treatment to clients for facial rejuvenation. Equipped with a robust knowledge of aesthetic medicine Connie established her own training company Aesthetic Enhancement Solutions LLC in 2009. She assists clinics with the initiation of their aesthetic provider programs training and business development activities. She provides comprehensive customized training for aesthetic medical providers in the techniques and cosmetic applications of dermal fillers and neuromodulators. She conducts individual and group courses roundtable discussions peer-to-peer workshops new account trainings and consults for Allergan Galderma and Progressive Aesthetic Learning Essential to Technical Expertise (P.A.L.E.T.T.E.). Compelled to share the pearls and pitfalls of her 26-yearlong journey in aesthetic medicine Connie recently published a three-part series of articles in the Journal of Plastic Surgical Nursing entitled The Nuts and Bolts of Becoming an Aesthetic Provider . Her articles provide practical advice on where to start how to build an aesthetic practice from a legal business and educational perspective and how to maximize client education and customer loyalty. Helping other aesthetic medical providers progress through the learning curve is Connie s goal as her efforts move her profession forward into broader acceptance. She has authored eight articles published in Plastic Surgical Nursing and Journal of Aesthetic Nursing . Connie s experience and expertise are also captured in two chapters of the Core Curriculum for the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses titled Aesthetic Consultation and Dermal Fillers and Volume Enhancers . She was also highlighted in interviews in several magazines including Nurse Advisor Inspirational Women Shape and Cosmetic Beauty . Involved in several professional organizations Connie serves as an editorial board member and as Co-Chair of the Aesthetic Department for their Journal of Plastic Surgical Nursing. She is also a member of International Association of Nursing International Women s Leadership Association and National Association of Professional Women and has been a faculty speaker for numerous annual aesthetic medical conventions across the country. A proud and loving mother of three amazing children Connie s oldest daughter is 19 years old and is pursuing a degree in Nursing. Following in Connie s footsteps she desires to become an aesthetic nurse. While opportunities for aesthetic training have improved a student of aesthetics must still search for the right training to maximize their knowledge and skills. Because of this Connie has offered to mentor and train her daughter once her nursing degree is complete. Connie has no doubt that her daughter will become a pristine medical professional someday. Connie s middle daughter is 16 year old and has a deep love of the arts. A gifted student she has also been a musician for 12 years and is passionate about acting and theater. She is a true humanitarian at heart much like her mother and will no doubt bring the beauty of music and art to the world as an adult. Connie s youngest is her 13 year old son. Active in baseball he is a fantastic pitcher first baseman and hitter. He plays piano and percussion with his band. A good student with a kind and gentle heart he always prefers to do the right thing and Connie is sure he will become a man of integrity when he grows up. IN ADDITION TO WORKING AS A MEDICAL AESTHETIC PROVIDER and owning her own training company Connie holds the position of director of medical aesthetic education at the Center for Advanced Aesthetics and Life Time Fitness. She is responsible for creating facial aesthetic curriculum for the education center and leading instruction of aesthetic medical providers in the techniques and cosmetic applications of injectables. It takes years of education and practice to develop the necessary skills to become proficient in aesthetics and Connie has traveled internationally to obtain the specialized knowledge to propel her career forward. She attained specialist certifications in aesthetic medicine including Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse (CPSN) through the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) in addition to being a registered nurse in 10 states across the nation. There is a steep learning curve and no formalized institutional training exists to date Connie admits about her very complex profession. Consumers should focus their aesthetic provider decision making process on whether a professional is within their scope of practice per state guidelines if they have comprehensive aesthetic medical training and whether they have experience treating clients on a routine basis while maintaining a reputation of consistently delivering exceptional outcomes. I AM A PERPETUAL LEARNER and have a voracious appetite for knowledge. I consider myself an optimist and have been labeled as a persistent and driven individual who strives for excellence in all that I do Connie explained. I am an artist by passion a nurse by profession and an honored friend of some incredible people I m fortunate to have in my life. women of distinction magazine 6 What does your industry involve Aesthetic medicine more specifically my clinical expertise is in the area of non-surgical aesthetic injectables plastic surgery laser treatments and skin care. What are the key success factors for being a good aesthetic provider Why do you think the aesthetics industry is so popular There are several reasons. Baby boomers a youth beauty culture as an equation that does not add up without expert assistance and knowledge and the fact that many want to look their best without surgery. A keen understanding of facial anatomy the physiology of the skin art of the face proper training licensure within state guidelines so as to be within scope of practice and following ethical practices. What has kept you in the industry for so long My passion for helping others and the love of beauty. How has the aesthetics industry changed over the past 26 years What advice would you offer for someone desiring to get into your industry It is a steep learning curve and can take years to master. Continue to search for the best education possible and strive for excellence. Positive word of mouth referrals and client loyalty is your best marketing. 26 years ago we spent a lot of time cutting and pulling 4550 year patients faces in the operating room. Only a bovine (cow) collagen was available for filling wrinkles and lasers were not available. Look what we have available today Why do you think the industry has gotten a bad rap over the years Aesthetic providers may have not been well trained some entered the industry with unethical values and some had bad outcomes. What are the biggest mistakes people make when seeking aesthetic enhancements Not thoroughly researching the products and the aesthetic providers. Also you get what you pay for (i.e. cheap doesn t necessarily mean better outcomes). What is your philosophy on beauty in general Each client has unique needs and deserves a perfect solution. Cosmetic enhancement is about safety quality and satisfaction. What steps do you take with clients who are considering injectables I first conduct a comprehensive assessment of a client s face symmetry dermal health movement patterns bone loss previous surgeries etc. I then discuss product solutions areas of injection and client expectations. 7 contact Connie Brennan RN CPSN CPC CANS President Founder Aesthetic Enhancement Solutions LLC Director of Medical Aesthetic Education Center for Advanced Aesthetics and Life Time Fitness Medi Spa Aesthetic Nurse Specialist Mesna Plastic Surgery and MMK Plastic Surgery http info National Association of Distinguished Professionals Brenda Beamer Ford Author Promoter 3 Bright Angels FAce4reAl AS A BUSINESS OWNER wilderness trail contractor island developer and co-founder of 3BA a professional three-on-three basketball league Brenda Beamer Ford traveled the world and met many people from a variety of different backgrounds. When faced with difficulties in the league she began researching the number 3 to help promote the league and bring harmony to the leadership. What she discovered prompted her to start writing a book. The knowledge she gained has become her greatest treasure. As an entrepreneur who has always been drawn to athletics nature religion people and science Brenda has found a way to combine all of these interests into a book and a company by forming 3 Bright Angels Face4Real . Looking back my whole life has led me to the research and study for this book Brenda admits. Being deeply grounded in religion from birth to being surrounded by many religions science and living among tribes of people the high mountains among the rich and poor and the broken the healthy all gave me a desire to learn and understand how and why it all ticks. I never knew my research for a number would bring me to so many answers I had been asking all my life. 3 Bright Angels of Time Space and Energy is a book of hard science. It is a walk through time that reveals a beautiful orchestrated harmonious picture of creation that reveals a great hope for the future in peace and love. Comprised of three volumes Tree of Creation Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge Brenda considers the three authors being Father Time Mother Nature and Humanity s Pen Past and Current a compilation of many authors. 3 Bright Angels - Face4Real is a three-day event company that serves as a follow-up to her book. It includes two days that include a cutting-edge showcase of all the great things mankind has done such as new inventions new discovery new understandings of our world electronics media toys health medicine green energy new technology and new discoveries about our bodies earth and universe. The third day will showcase the countries nominated and voted winner of music performance talent show and the main event which is a three-on-three full court professional basketball championship game designed by Kevin LuBahn. Brenda is also writing two other condensed and simplified books for the younger audience. The first Root2Froot The Power of 3 That Make M.E. is geared toward a four year old women of distinction magazine 8 audience. The second is called Time Space and Energy The Power of 3 The Power of M.E. which was written for 10 year olds and older. The book is an in-depth simply told look at the building elements of the universe the earth all life our body and the amazing three pounds of matter we call the human brain. The book reveals mankind s history of awareness learning writing growing fighting struggling questioning understanding and a glimpse of where we are today in that growth. We are born to be compassionate and feel deep contentment when we work for the good of one or the whole by which we are all connected. Brenda said. 3 Bright Angels brings to life the amazing creation that we all are and reveals a solid hope for our future . Brenda was married in 1980 to Warren Marvin Ford and has two sons Warren and Wesley. Brenda is extremely proud of these men and the positive impact they have made in the world. 9 National Association of Distinguished Professionals When you say hard science what exactly does that mean Hard Science are facts that cannot be denied. For example the earth is a sphere and water is a compound element H2O. How did you arrive at the title for this book The only two eternals (never a beginning and never an end) are time and space. These two are unique in themselves but are also ONE. They create another created eternal that had a beginning and we call that energy. Einstein discovered that matter is energy visible and invisible one and the same. We are made of time space and energy. Matter and Energy in the book titles are abbreviated as M.E. When you lived and worked in the high mountains did you have much contact with civilization I missed the 80s and 90s culture music news and fashion. It is interesting to see changes in society from the outside looking in rather than seeing them from the inside. I gained many good perspectives that have helped guide me in the research for the book. Can you describe the work you did in the wilderness mountains Have you always wanted to write a book No it was the furthest thing from my mind. I am not a writer. Many people encouraged me to write a book because I have many stories but the 3BA story has been one that many people have followed and eagerly watched as the story unfolds. What I found in my quest to promote 3BA gave me the energy and the reason to learn so much more that my mission in life now is to share it. I had contracts with the Forest Service. I hired my crew and packed in the supplies tent dynamite and hand tools by horse into the wilderness area. We stayed worked and enjoyed untouched nature and worked until the weather said it was time to quit each winter. We built many many miles of horse packing hiking trails to the most beautiful places in the world. How is the 3BA three-on-three game played It s played with a lot of speed stamina and skills. It s a bit shorter and full court with 18-second shot clocks. The best of the best in basketball will be playing this game. Why is this book your greatest treasure The science and wisdoms that I learned in the six years of research for this book came from the greatest pain and hardships in my life. And with the search to understand I have found my greatest peace. As I understood so much more I realized what gave me the passion to pursue the knowledge I gained and with understanding there is change. When can we expect to see the books published In one sentence what is the basic effort portrayed by the book It is a work in progress. As I get closer to completion a date will be posted on the websites. The websites will be updated from time to time to add new information and share resourced information that is in the book. There is a preorder page on the websites where you can pick how you want the book (hardback audio book or Kindle download). No payments will be taken until the book is ready for release. It is an effort to paint a picture of TIME from what we know as fact that portrays a revelation that humanity is growing up and beginning to learn just who we are how we got here where we are going how to fix it how to heal it and how to make it live. Who were the tribe people that you lived with I partnered on an island called Nukudrau Island Fiji and had the privilege of working and living with the Vianne Village people for three years. They are a beautiful loving people. At the time they had no road to the village no running water and no electricity and lived off of fishing coconuts and nature farming. contact 10 Brenda Beamer Ford Walla Walls WA Author Promoter 3 Bright Angels Face4Real http brenda women of distinction magazine Dicy McCullough educAtor children s And Young Adult Author During the mid-1970s after graduating from Gardner-Webb college with a Bachelors of Arts in Music Education Dicy McCullough was faced with the reality she might not be able to find a job as an elementary music teacher as quickly as she had hoped. Making the decision to go back to school to get certified as a classroom teacher Dicy quickly landed her first position teaching kindergarten at Cleveland Elementary School. In 1980 she went on to earn her Master s Degree in Education at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. After 11 years of teaching five year olds she was afforded the opportunity to teach music in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools teaching music until retiring in 2006. Salisbury Post . Now four years later Dicy is still writing for the paper and has a pretty nice following locally and online. Diving deep into her writing Dicy was so enraptured in her hobby she couldn t stop. As passionate as she was about teaching music in her earlier years she became just as passionate about writing. Not only enjoying the process she also enjoys sharing her stories with others even more especially children. To stay creative as a writer Dicy continues to take workshops read and talk with experts in the field and keeps an active membership with the Society of Children s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She maintains a website writes a weekly blog interacts with other writers and does presentations for schools churches and organizations sharing her journey as a writer. By continuously writing reading editing and sharing her work Dicy is able to stay fresh and grow as a children s and young adult writer. Dicy now has five books in her Tired Book series including Tired of My Bath Tired of School Tired of Being Different Tired of Being a Bully and Tired of Being Little . Her sixth book Tired of Being Obedient is due out in late fall of 2014. The storyline follows two dogs Lucky and Rocky in their adventures at obedience school discovering that being obedient is a good thing. The idea for my children s books actually came from children Dicy explained. As a teacher I often heard students complain about being tired of things such as homework or bus rides. In the Tired Book series children read about John Allen his little dog Louie and their friends as they discover new things. Teaching good character traits and habits not only are these books fun but they are written in rhythm and rhyme which help beginning readers with DURING THE SPRING OF 2006 IN HER VERY LAST SEMESTER OF TEACHING Dicy s dad passed away. To deal with her overwhelming grief and despair she began to write. As an only child my mom and dad had always been a part of my life and now Dad was gone Dicy said. Within hours I sat down and penned my first poem about him. Even though it had been 50 years since Dad had been in the Army he never forgot. Thinking of him as a soldier on the battlefield in my grief I wrote the poem Soldier s Cry . After about six months of working through her grief Dicy s poetry began to change. It was then that her writing turned to subjects and interests that engage children like friendship family school and play. She began to think in terms of what crayons do when no one s looking which turned into her first children s poem If Crayons Could Walk and Talk . Fully retired with free time on her hands and a strong interest in writing Dicy began taking workshops to learn more about the process. During that time she also began writing a human interest column for a local newspaper The 11 National Association of Distinguished Professionals literacy. In honor of her father Dicy named the main character John Allen after him since he was her initial inspiration to write from the very beginning. Dicy recently finished writing a middle-grade novel about two junior high girls growing up in the 1960s. All in a Year addresses topics of life lessons every young teen can learn from and follow two girls as they deal with relationships with boyfriends teachers and parents. It also speaks of events surrounding the day President JFK was assassinated as well as the Beatles era and the Cold War. As a professional writer Dicy has come to realize that practice doesn t necessarily make perfect because there will always be another sentence or idea to explore . Yet it s through this process that she has learned how to gracefully take criticism and it is by sharing her work after all that she is able to improve and mature as a writer. Joining Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 2012 Dicy was excited knowing that this organization supports efforts of promoting and helping veterans. Other organizations she is a member of include the Professional Educators of North Carolina National Association of Professional Women and Society of Children s Book Writers and Illustrators. Attending a SCBWI conference in Charlotte in 2013 Dicy had the pleasure of meeting Dan Yuccarino a children s author of national and worldwide acclaim. His workshop on picture books was not only helpful but inspiring especially since she has already published five of her own picture books. One of the highlights of Dicy s career was receiving an Alumni of the Year Award from Gardner-Webb University in 2012. She also earned a Teacher of the Year Award from Mt. Ulla Elementary School for the 2000-01 academic school year. In 2013 she earned a Kart Kids Book List Award for her third book Tired of Being Different . Dicy s husband Michael has been her source of strength through her journey as a writer. He has been patient and kind while she spends hours and hours at the computer writing down her thoughts. Happily enjoying life as grandparents Dicy and Michael have two daughters Kristin Saine and Kelly Key and three grandchildren all under the age of four. Dicy enjoys playing the piano for church on Sunday and spending quality time with her mother who is now 94 years old. Should Dicy be lucky enough to live as long as her mom she can only hope she is able to contribute to society in the most positive of ways being a role model to those following her helping them find purpose and passion in their lives. Available on women of distinction magazine 12 Why do you write I write because I can t stop. That of course is a simplified answer. I write because I want to tell not only my story but also other people s stories. I enjoy finding interesting stories that bring encouragement and inspiration to the reader. As a columnist of human interest stories for The Salisbury Post I find that many times the storyteller needs to hear the story as much as he or she needs to tell it. What is your favorite book My favorite book of all time is Ferdinand the Bull . I ve loved that book since I was a little girl. I think it s because Ferdinand found a place within himself to enjoy life and be who he was meant to be no matter what. We all should learn that lesson. Who s your favorite author What s the hardest thing about writing The hardest thing about writing is putting your bottom in the chair. Once there the thoughts and ideas just seem to flow. What s your advice for aspiring writers My favorite author is Dr. Seuss. I like Dr. Seuss because he never gave up. No matter how many times he was rejected he didn t let that get in the way of his dreams. I also like him because he touches the heart of children through innocence and creativity. Not many authors have that talent. My advice would be to read read read and practice practice practice. If you do these things you will be better prepared as a writer to engage your target audience but that s only scratching the surface. Make sure you have a good grasp of grammar and the tools for writing. If you don t take a class. Writing workshops are always a good investment. Where do you get your ideas What s the best thing about being an author There s always another adventure to write or another mountain to climb. Writing is never boring. How many jobs or careers can you say that about My ideas come from real life. As a teacher I ve been so used to hearing the catch phrase text to world that it s almost become my slogan. Since it s hard for me to make up things out of thin air I think back to an experience I had that would fit whatever story I m working on. That s why I especially enjoy writing other people s stories because all I have to do is write them down. They become the storyteller. I m only the writer. Since you were a teacher what have been the similarities you ve found between teaching and being an author Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans For one thing I loved being a teacher and I love writing. Both professions stimulate the mind and educate. One through mostly personal interaction the other more through the pages of a newspaper book or website. Thank you for believing in me and for your support. I can t wait to see where this journey is going to lead me next. Be sure to check out all of my books on and follow me on Facebook Twitter Pinterest and my blog. I look forward to hearing from you soon What are you working on now Although I m always working on and thinking about the next book in my Tired Book series I m also in the final editing stage of the middle-grade novel All in a Year and looking for a publisher. 13 contact Dicy McCullough Cleveland NC Educator Children s and Young Adult Author http http blog National Association of Distinguished Professionals Evelyn Suzette Scales Johnson owner uPscAles FAshions 43 EVELYN SUZETTE (SCALES) JOHNSON S PASSION STARTED WITH A NEEDLE AND THREAD WHEN SHE WAS 7 YEARS OLD. She learned to use her mother s sewing machine the following year and after high school was hired at Levi Strauss & Co where she learned how to make a professional pair of jeans. Being with the company for 10 years Evelyn gained the knowledge and experience needed to open her own company UpScales Fashions 43 . was burst quickly when the designer ripped up her first sample. That same day she realized she had a lot to learn. After a year and a half Evelyn became very good at making professional looking clothing and today is extremely grateful to Noah and his family for giving her the opportunity to learn the fashion industry. Having three children to raise with no financial help from her ex-husband Evelyn put her love of fashion on hold and in 1993 she started as a probe technician at Cyrix in Dallas. Two years later she transferred to TwinStar Semiconductor and became the lead technician. In 1999 Evelyn was hired at Texas Instruments Incorporated where she is still employed today. Starting in the manpower technical department she moved to SC Reliability Services as a DRTL test technician and today is a member of the disposition team. In 2006 she attended Westwood College in Dallas computer networking engineer program earning an Associate Degree in Computer Networking Engineer. But it wasn t until 2009 when Evelyn was asked to make 11 pairs of jeans for a company called Coffee N Cream (now known as Higher Level Modeling) that she started working in the fashion industry again. With only pictures and the measurements for the models she made each pair of jeans to match the personality she perceived from the photos. During the first fitting Owner Jimmy Vaughn was impressed by the variety and fit of each pair most of which needed very little alterations. Evelyn knew right away that if Jimmy had not asked her to make those jeans she never would have gotten back into sewing at the level she does today. It had been a long time since she had done something she loved and it inspired her to open her own company. Evelyn named it UpScales Fashions 43 because Scales is her maiden name and she There are two things that up until now have prohibited me from running UpScales Fashions 43 on a full-time basis time and money Evenly admitted. The things that I have had to go through in life like people jobs and the roads I have had to travel are the things that had kept me from a fulltime career in fashion. In addition the amount of equipment and materials I needed was extremely costly. Now that the timing is right I am excited to pursue this business. During her time at Levi Strauss Evelyn s marriage was not doing well. After hearing an advertisement on the radio about making more money through a degree in electronics Evelyn viewed it as a way out. Dreaming about a new life making enough money to take care of her children she walked into Midwestern State University to obtain her GED. She left her husband children and Levi Strauss and within a month found housing in Garland Texas for her family. She started night school right away attending National Institute of Technology in Dallas TX where she ultimately earned her Associate s of Science Degree in Electronic Engineering. It only took Evelyn three weeks after moving to Dallas TX to find a job until she was finished night school. She was hired at Noah s Flood ADA Zinn Family Associates making samples of clothing before they were sent for production. Believing she had advanced sewing skills Evelyn s bubble women of distinction magazine 14 was 43 years old when she started this new journey feeling the freedom that came along with it. As the sole owner and operator of UpScales Fashions 43 Evelyn does everything from designing buying scheduling shows embroidery and logos. Since her initial job with Higher Level Modeling Evelyn has had her designs in two shows for Fashion for the Cure which is held for breast cancer awareness two shows for High Level Modeling held in Oklahoma City OK by Jimmy Vaughn and a Strut for Your Cause in Tulsa OK hosted by Tiara Crawford where she had 14 models wearing her designs. She is scheduled for a show in Los Angeles CA for the summer of 2014 as well as the 2014 New York Fashion Week. In addition to the knowledge and inspiration she received in the fashion industry from Levi Strauss Noah Flood and Jimmy Vaughn Evelyn s family has always been supportive and motivating in the startup of her business. Her father has shown her that anything is possible while her mother taught her how to sew. Her sister has also been so supportive and her other siblings have shown Evelyn how to be happy in everything she does. One family member bought her first purchase of denim for her to use and another family member helped her buy her first commercial sewing machine. Evelyn even named her men s collection W.R.S. after her deceased brother Wilbert Ray Scales who was always the best dressed man she knew. Don t wait too long to follow your dreams Evelyn said. Find someone that inspires you and learn everything you can from them. Keep your head up work hard believe in yourself and when the doors of opportunity open know that God has a plan. Having been married for 14 years Evelyn has three children Sherida Christopher and Tommy Jr. She has nine grandchildren and spends a lot of time with her daughter s son London who is a special needs child. What do you like best about designing clothes It is mine no one else has anything like it and I don t have to worry about someone showing up at a function looking like me in the same dress. It fits me and only me. I like having clothing that no one else has. How long does it usually take to construct a piece It doesn t take long to put the design on paper but for me the time comes when I have to take it from the paper to fabric. The construction of the garment and putting it all together is what is time consuming for me. What does fashion mean to you To me fashion is freedom. It gives me that sense of freedom to be me and express who I am. I think it says a lot of who we are by the way we dress and the styles we like. When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer I never thought about being a designer until 2009 when I was asked to cloth 11 models and someone asked who designed the garments. Then I realized I was a designer. How do you select your models Actually they have already been selected for me. I get my models from Higher Level Modeling and John Casablanca s both located in Oklahoma City OK How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show I find out what the shoot is for where we are doing the shoot and what season it will be. I get a photo of all of the models and their sizes figure out their personality and then start designing the garments. Where do you buy your fabric and other sewing material I get most of my fabric from Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas TX JoAnn Fabric and Hancock Fabrics. But the really good fabric stores are located in New York so I will order swatches before I order the final piece so I can see it and feel it. What are your favorite fabrics to work with I love denim but anything cotton works for me any color and texture. Denim is cooler and it holds the shape well. When sewing denim it s not like other fabrics you have to be precise with the seams so the garment looks good. What do you dislike about designing clothes I love designing garments but what I really don t like is that my house has fabric all over the place when I start sewing. I do have a sewing room but somehow I am all over the place. This is why I need a building or store with a room for sewing that is big enough to work in so I can just close the door at the end of the day and not worry about the mess in the back. 15 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Where can readers buy your clothes I would love to have a physical clothing store but right now you can purchase my clothing on my website. I also do large sizes but haven t found a full-figure model. contact 16 Evelyn Suzette (Scales) Johnson Lewisville TX Owner UpScales Fashions 43 http Upscalesfasions_43 469-235-8156 women of distinction magazine Helen L. Kurz owner PinnAcle dog sPorts llc HELEN L. KURZ S DOG TRAINING CAREER BEGAN IN 1999 when training her own dogs Piccolo medal from United States Dressage Federation. Rampal went on to the Grand Prix and was the regional and national champion four years in a row. When Helen retired Rampal she made a seamless transition to the dog world. She became a member of Cleveland All Breed (CABTC) and joined the board and served as its president a few years later. She also competes in the American Kennel Club (AKC) United State Dog Agility Association (USDAA) and the UK Agility International (UKI). Helen has competed in the AKC Nationals USDAA Nationals Cynosport and ended up 12th in the country in the 26 division with her Border Collie Kilo. Kilo is doing extremely well in AKC USDAA and UKI and is really starting to click at the international levels. Helen s 13 years of experience training dogs prior to opening Pinnacle Dog Sports taught her exactly what it would take to make a facility successful. She teaches six classes a week all on a Master Level but Pinnacle Dog Sports also offers Novice Agility Open Agility Fun With Agility Play To Behave Puppy Foundations Puppy Class for the Pet Household Ahh Puppies Play And Learn Weaving 101 A New Twist on Weave Pole Training Weaving 102 Wonderful Weaving Games People Play (Foundation Class) Preparing for Prime Time and Weaves Contacts Jumps. When instructing Helen teaches that it is alright not to and Kilo and other canine students in the Cleveland OH area at several training facilities. In 2013 with 48 students Helen decided to open her own training business called Pinnacle Dog Sports LLC. Within one year her business has become so successful with over 100 students that Helen has since hired five instructors. Together they have helped Helen realize a dream come true. All my students along with Piccolo Kilo and my son have played a large part in why Pinnacle Dog Sports is so successful Helen said. My dogs have taught me patience humbleness happiness and encouragement. My students have shown me how to be a better instructor through their victories and defeats with my wonderful son being the one to motivate me to open my own business. Before training dogs Helen started in the horse world in the discipline of dressage. Dressage or training is a competitive equestrian sport and is considered the highest expression of horse training where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements. With her eighth and final horse Rampal a Swedish Warmblood Helen competed from 3rd Level thru Intermediate I International Level. Together they were regional and national champions for 4th Level dressage in the United States and Helen earned a bronze and silver 17 National Association of Distinguished Professionals qualify. She stresses the importance of focusing on the things the students did right in the course rather than the mistakes. It is also very important for her human students to understand their own dogs. Just because one competitor walks the course one way doesn t mean that it is the best way for every competitor. Training privately with Kilo and Jennifer Crank the owner of IncrediPaws and member of the AKC USDAA and UKI World Teams for USA for over a decade Helen has become a better student and instructor. By believing in her Jennifer has pushed Helen and Kilo to do things she can t believe they have been able to accomplish. Helen believes she would not be the instructor she is today without the encouragement tenacity and confidence that Jennifer has given her. Helen also trains with Piccolo her Golden Retriever. Piccolo has achieved the Highest Agility Award the Master Agility Champion (MACH) nine times and is going for his tenth this year. He is in the Agility Dog Hall of Fame has been honored with Top Agility Golden (TAG) and has a bronze silver and soon gold medal with the AKC. To train a champion dog is hard work but it is important to learn how to play too Helen emphasizes. If you are having a bad day I would suggest playing not training. Bad day training leads to a stressed dog and it is hard to get that happy dog back sometimes. Loving the challenge of competition Helen has to remind herself that she is not competing with everyone else but with herself. She has learned to enter the ring with that attitude and comes across as a much kinder and nicer competitor and person to be around. Since 1989 Helen has worked at the Cleveland Clinic as an executive assistant and plans to retire in two years to focus completely on Pinnacle Dog Sports. She enjoys gardening all kinds of yard work and baking. She also loves antiquing and remodeling her house something she has done four times already. Helen got married in 1974 and five years later welcomed her son Bob. In 1985 her husband was tragically killed in an auto accident. She has never remarried. Bob is now 35 years old owns his own plumbing company and lives in Sandusky OH. I love my life. If I died tomorrow I could say I lived my life to the fullest Helen admitted. I love my son my dogs my home my business my students my victories and my defeats. I am truly blessed and am grateful for what I have. Why do you feel that your business will be successful I train with World Team Member Jennifer Crank owner of IncrediPaws. I then teach my instructors what I have learned to keep our students abreast of the latest moves and course designs of the AKC USDAA and UKI. Many of my students have qualified for national events and have received the highest title the MACH. Staying current is very important in agility as it is evolving rapidly. What age group is attracted to your dog business How does this training also keep humans fit At Pinnacle we have students from ages 11to 72 years old. Agility requires a lot of running with your dog. You have to run to get where you need to be to execute the best direction for your dog. Even if you can t beat your dog in a straight line path we teach the person the best place to be for their dog s best line most effective path and direction. As people get older they might have to deal with arthritic knees and hips. We want the competitor to have fun stay healthy think young be athletic and qualify with their dogs. How does training keep one fit mentally Most courses have between 17 and 21 obstacles. Your memory plays a huge role in knowing and memorizing each course. At a trial you get eight minutes to walk figure out how to execute the best line for you and your dog and memorize the course and your moves. As we get older our mind is not as sharp as it was in our teens. This helps to keep your mind young. How is the camaraderie amongst all competitors Dog people are just great people. We all become friends eventually show together meet for dinner at trials discuss our trials and tribulations successes and defeats laugh and forget the everyday ordeals and focus on our friends and beloved canines. What are a competitor s goals For most it is to achieve the highest title in agility the MACH. But the most important thing for all of us is to become one with your dog and to become a team first and foremost. Is agility hard on a canine s body Yes they are athletes just like people. Dogs need to be stretched out before their runs stay physically fit eat the proper nutrition vitamins glucosamine chondroitin and keep their muscles warm before each run. Massaging is also very important and in some cases chiropractic adjustments are needed just like with people. Can all dogs be trained for agility No some are not physically fit or physically capable of jumping and some just don t like it. But most dogs love this sport. Currently I have a dog in my class with only one eye. He is remarkable absolutely loves this sport and excels at it. women of distinction magazine 18 What should students look for in a training facility Do your homework. Look for a facility that has great flooring as in soccer turf and is well padded not just turf on cement. This is very hard on the dog when it is landing off a jump and could cause injury to the shoulders or early arthritis. Make sure all equipment is the latest and not 10-20 years old. Some of the older equipment is very dangerous. What should students look for in an instructor Be sure instructors are up with the latest designs of courses and rules of agility. Be still competing and understand all breeds of one breed. Be sure the instructors look at moves latest sure they are dogs not just both dog and person when teaching to understand both as you are a team which consists of 2 not 1. Also be sure your instructor is honest in what they see even if it means you must redo it four times. This is how we learn. Be sure your instructor is open-minded and listens to you. And be sure your instructor teaches students according to their needs whether canine or human. Not everyone learns the same nor should they. Most importantly be sure to have fun in your class. Do not walk away wondering if you learned anything. If you do keep walking. contact 19 Helen L. Kurz Warrensville Heights OH Owner Pinnacle Dog Sports LLC http Hlkurz1954 216-337-5733 440-361-9966 National Association of Distinguished Professionals women of distinction magazine 20 Karen Deneen Carlisle dentAl hYgienist indiAn heAlth service AgencY oF the united stAtes PuBlic heAlth service AS A DENTAL TECHNICIAN IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY Karen Deneen Carlisle was asked to substitute for sealants to the school Sealant program at the local schools on the reservation. Dental hygiene is more than just a career for Karen it is something she lives eats and breathes. Her passion for oral health and holistic health has fueled her lifelong desire to keep learning and improve her skills. Once she retires as a commissioned corps officer from the Public Health Service she plans to find a university in which to teach dental hygiene so can continue to instill her desire to learn in others. My goal is to share more insight with others on the importance of their oral health and how it can affect your whole body good and bad Karen explained. I want people to know that the more you take care of your body the better it will take care of you. During her career Karen has had to deal with difficult people whether it was a patient colleague or staff member. Instead of viewing those problematic people as something that made her job more challenging Karen learned from every situation. And although the challenges were sometimes almost unbearable they were priceless lessons that have made her a better hygienist supervisor and colleague. Being prepared has played a big part in where Karen is today in her career. She was educationally prepared after obtaining her degree when she got the opportunity to become part of the United States Public Health Service. If she had not been adamant in completing her degree when she did she would not be a commissioned corps officer today. To become even further prepared for future opportunities Karen is now attending New York Medical College online to achieve a Master of Public Health degree. Working as a clinician with patients scheduled on the hour does not give Karen a lot of free time. But when she does have time off from work or studying for her degree she enjoys reading working out running with her dog doing the staff dental hygienist who had called in sick. Karen enjoyed it so much that she decided that very same day to pursue a degree in dental hygiene and began taking the necessary steps to achieve that goal. Dental hygiene fits my personality and who I am as a person of prevention Karen said about her profession. I focus on the prevention of oral diseases and the overall connection of the mouth systemically to the rest of the body. Most diseases manifest in the mouth which gives me insight on ailments and illness that could be affecting a person s overall health. This allows me to give my patients a holistic outlook on their individual care and not just the oral aspect. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Old Dominion University in Norfolk VA in December 2001 Karen stayed with the Naval Dental Clinic for two years as a government contracted dental hygienist. She spent a year as a graduate teaching assistant at Old Dominion until working as a temp clinical children s dentistry or government contracted dental hygienist for the next six years in Virginia. In July 2009 Karen was commissioned active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Public Health Service. As a staff dental hygienist and health service officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons Karen worked in the dental health services unit in a Federal Corrections Complex in Petersburg VA. Two years later Karen transferred to Crownpoint NM where she is today. As a lieutenant commander she works at a public health hospital for Navajo Area Indian Health Services as a community and advanced clinical dental hygienist. As the only hygienist stationed there Karen covers the main hospital as well as the other two satellite clinics on the Indian reservation and provides dental screenings at the diabetes clinic in the hospital every Tuesday. She also provides dental assessments fluoride treatments and 21 National Association of Distinguished Professionals yoga and writing. She is also currently in the process of writing a book about how she overcame some really difficult challenges in her life due heavily to the spiritual foundation her parents instilled in her when she was young. Karen has three children a set of twins who are 26 years old a boy and a girl and a 29 year old daughter. Her oldest daughter has four children of which two are identical twins. Her younger daughter is also a mom and has a 2 year old boy. Karen s son was married in May 2014 and she is eagerly awaiting more grandchildren. What do you see yourself doing in the future I see myself continuing to serve as a public servant in the United States Public Health Service until I retire and then aspiring to teach others the awesome skills of dental hygiene. I do plan to finish my book one day and look forward to sharing my life s journey with all its many challenges. How do you balance military life with your personal life How do you feel that your industry has progressed I feel that my industry has been moving forward in allowing dental hygienists to have more and more autonomy to practice with less direct supervision and by allowing us to make oral health assessments to better serve our patients needs. In most states we are allowed to administer anesthesia so that we can care for our patients in comfort without having to wait for the dentist. Balancing is a challenge however it s a lot easier for me because I don t have small children to take care of or a husband. It s just me and my Yorkie and finding time for him is easy. I spend a lot of time working on my Master s degree too which will help advance my military life with opportunities with different assignments and advancements. Do you see yourself retiring as a public health officer Yes. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve for my entire career. There aren t any other branches of the uniformed services that allow a dental hygienist to proudly serve as a commissioned officer What do you see as challenges for dental hygienists in the United States Public Health Service Is it difficult being stationed so far from your family Dental hygienists in the Public Health Service must obtain a master s degree to be able to move up beyond the rank of 0-4 and most dental hygienists do not come into the Commissioned Corps with a master s degree therefore this degree has to be obtained while still working full-time. More than 50% of our assignments are with the Indian Health Service which means that we are stationed in rural areas that don t have universities to attend so to further our education we must be willing and able to go to school online. A It is difficult but I have learned how to adjust in whatever environment I find myself in from working in a prison environment as well as almost 2 000 miles away on an Indian Reservation in the middle of New Mexico. The adjustment change is a challenge and has its good and bad days but I make it through one day at a time. If it were not for the grace of God I could not have accomplished either of these work environments. How often do you take vacation Do you enjoy your career I really do enjoy my career and it makes me feel good when patients notice how passionate I am about what I do. I believe if you really enjoy what you do for a living it won t feel so much like work but a service you look forward to doing every day with pride. I haven t taken vacations as much as I need to but I have changed that this year. I recently turned 50-years-old and planned my very first cruise during my birthday week with my cousin Jacqueline Ruffin. On previous vacations I only went back home to visit family and I will continue to do that but I would like to see more of the world even if I have to go it alone. How different is working as a public health dental hygienist versus being a dental hygienist in private practice As a Public Health Service officer I am required to maintain other requirements besides continuing education for license renewal. We have to maintain fitness readiness and be trained and ready for deployment as necessary by FEMA if we are called to serve in a national disaster. We are also required to wear our military uniform to and from our work assignments daily. How do you feel about being selected for inclusion in NADP s Women of Distinction magazine will affect your career It has truly been an honor. The Public Health Service enjoys honoring their constituents with awards and honors and it would make our organization even more proud that an organization outside the Service notices our achievements as well. Having awards and honors are what help officers such as myself advance in promotion to the next pay grade which also comes with more responsibility and recognition. contact 22 Karen Deneen Carlisle Crownpoint NM Dental Hygienist Indian Health Service Agency of the United States Public Health Service karen.carlisle women of distinction magazine Katherine Ann Dickerson director oF Business develoPment i-wellness llc HAVING STRUGGLED WITH HER WEIGHT brainstormed on a way to make a difference by using MOST OF HER LIFE Katherine Ann Dickerson decided this technology along with providing people the access to to devote a considerable amount of time and effort to figure out the best way to lose weight get healthy and stay healthy. With her growing passion for health nutrition and fitness Katherine wanted to share her knowledge and experience in hope that others would be able to reach their health and wellness goals gain confidence and ultimately be happy. To accomplish this she and her mother Kristen opened i-Wellness LLC in June 2013 where they provide a safe place that offers intelligent weight loss fat loss and fitness solutions the i stands for intelligent. My desire to help people is what drives me Katherine said about successfully starting her own weight-loss company. I know the heartache and pain of being overweight and the hurt one goes through when your physical appearance doesn t match who you are on the inside. I want to help people work through that pain and balance their primary and secondary food so they can achieve their full potential. The idea to open i-Wellness began in early 2013 when Katherine s father Kenny met with the United Kingdom company Chromogenex the manufacturers of the i-Lipo technology. Together with her father and mother they information about fitness and nutrition in one location. They also wanted to provide support and a safe place for clientele to work through the struggle and intimidation of working out. Katherine s title at i-Wellness is Director of Business Development. She is a managing member with two other partners her mother Kristen and Dr. Bobby Bhasker-Rao located in Indian Wells CA. Katherine is responsible for marketing development and social media management through Facebook Twitter and Instagram. When she is at the i-Wellness Center she works alongside their trained technicians administering the i-Lipo treatments and coaches clients through a personally designed workout that best serves their fitness level and health goals. She also discusses nutrition and dietary habits with their clients. Currently Katherine is studying to become a Certified Health Coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is expected to be finish her certification in September 2014. Her knowledge of thousands of dietary theories primary and secondary foods and the belief in bio-individualism assists i-Wellness clients in gaining the understanding that will help them best fuel their bodies so they eat to live and not live to eat. 23 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Katherine is a firm believer that health and wellness should be accessible to everyone not only to increase confidence but more importantly to get and stay healthy. Eating to live and giving your body every opportunity to heal itself naturally though a healthy diet and daily exercise will prevent illness and create a happier healthier and much more active society. As a young female professional Katherine has struggled with not being taken seriously. But the lack of experience and doubt from others has fueled her desire to succeed and make a name for herself by achieving success for her clients. Graduating from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Katherine earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2013. One of the most defining moments she experienced while attending UCLA was when a professor and mentor asked her what she would want written on her headstone. After much consideration Katherine knew she wanted to change or inspire others in every facet of life. She hopes to start a ripple effect changing one life who will go and change another and another. Katherine hopes her headstone reads Caring inspiring and fearless woman who put others before herself and encouraged greatness in those around her. For two years Katherine was the UCLA Women s Tennis Team Manager and for the past two years has been the UCLA Alumni Group Bruins Professionals Executive Director. She is a member of the Palm Desert Chapter of National Association of Professional Women and volunteers her time with the American Cancer Society. Katherine also donates blood regularly and has proudly reached the five gallon mark. As a fitness fanatic Katherine loves being outdoors. Because nature helps her gain perspective she enjoys and appreciates her surroundings whether running on the beach or hiking in the mountains. She also has an itch for adventure and makes an effort each week to try a new restaurant and explore Los Angeles and all it has to offer. Katherine is a young single professional entrepreneur who loves to laugh and doesn t take life too seriously. My desire to help people is what drives me women of distinction magazine 24 What do you think is more important fitness or nutrition to start a healthy lifestyle I like to say you get fit at the gym but you get skinny in the kitchen. You must fuel your body with the right nutrients so it can function at its peak. But physical exercise is also vital to overall health and is great for increasing functional strength and preventing injury. foods 90% of the time and splurge 10% of the time. A more in-depth health history needs to be evaluated on an individual basis to address specific health and nutritional needs for clients. What are three things someone can start doing to begin their journey to a healthy lifestyle You offer i-Lipo treatments at your health and wellness facility. Do the treatments hurt What are the side effects Customers do i-Lipo treatments before they workout. A low level laser penetrates the fat cells in whatever area you are targeting. It changes the pH of the cells so the energy or adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within the fat cells can escape into the lymphatic system. This releases roughly 360 calories of energy into your lymphatic system which you then burn off in exercise. This merely expedites and targets what your body does naturally when you exercise. The only difference is you are telling your body where you want to take the energy (fat) from. There is no pain no downtime and the common side effects are increased energy and appetite suppression. One drink water It is very important to keep your body hydrated. You should consume half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Two eat more vegetables. Fiber is important for overall digestive health and leveling out insulin levels which will keep you fuller longer. Three walk for 20-30 minutes in the evening with your dog significant other or children. Gyms are intimidating. What makes your business facility different We wanted to create a Cheers environment where everyone knows your name and there is always a knowledgeable technician or trainer available to offer advice and help you through your workouts so you work smarter not harder and in a safe manner. What is different within your business model in comparison to the other fat weight loss solutions out there like Cool Sculpting and Liposuction What is it like working with your mom in business It is pretty much the best thing ever My mom is my best friend and I am her mini-me so we work efficiently together and there is never a dull moment or one without some laughs i-Wellness has coined a unique three-way approach to holistic health and wellness. We incorporate intelligent technology to enhance fat loss and weight loss with coached fitness and nutrition seminars. Many of the quick fixes aren t so quick and can harm and shock your body causing it to store fat. Coupling real fat loss with nutrition and fitness information provides our clients with every opportunity to lose weight safely feel great and be healthy. What is your biggest fear as a young entrepreneur I would have to say failure. But instead of letting that fear blind me I use it to fuel my determination to succeed grow and gain knowledge and experience through this venture. Failure is a part of life and I chose job security not monetary security when I decided to jump into this. I believe the payout for changing lives and improving the health status of those around me is more valuable than the almighty dollar. How important is social media to increasing exposure for your business We live in an age where technology rules all. You really need three things to start a successful business. First you need a great website that is interactive informative and easy to navigate. Second Facebook and Twitter accounts allow your clients to generate buzz about your business and build relationships for themselves. Third you need a blog where clients can go to get quick useful information that is not easily accessible on the Internet itself. How do you set yourself apart from other competitors in your field With so many contradicting dietary theories out there what do you teach to your clients I practice and preach the 90 10 rule. Eat healthful natural 25 contact Knowledge is power. I researched the health and wellness field in Indian Wells and found a niche market. You cannot be everything to everyone so finding clientele I could relate to and easily share my knowledge of fitness and nutrition with formed the clientele foundation. We continue to expand and find sub-niches within health and wellness. Katherine Ann Dickerson Indian Wells CA Director of Business Development i-Wellness LLC http http www.katherine-dickerson. Katherine 760-779-0700 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Kay Lamb Shannon owner President strokes oF PerFection KAY LAMB SHANNON BEGAN HER CAREER IN ART EDUCATION after graduating with an art degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville TX in 1962. After graduating Kay taught school at Lake Air Junior High in Waco TX. She married a student in veterinary school at Texas A&M University in 1963 and worked for the Home Demonstration department for a year while her husband finished veterinary school. Veterinarians were drafted in early 1960s so they were sent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton OH. Finding a new position in a new school Kay taught for another two years before her daughter Lisa was born on base in 1966. After serving the two years they moved back to Texas and had a second child Todd in 1969 ending her short career in teaching. Kay began to paint and sew at home to keep busy. By the time her children were 12 and 9 years old her marriage had ended. It was a difficult and sad time in Kay s life but she had to move on. Kay began to earn a living by painting fulltime and participating in art shows. Back then art shows were just becoming popular. She was able to paint at home which allowed her to be there when her children got home from school. It quickly became a very satisfying career for her. People were very excited to get out and go to shows and bought freely Kay remembers. During one particular art show in Dallas TX Kay was approached by a representative from a company called Home Interiors about the possibility of painting for them. Home Interiors sold home accent products through home parties. She began to paint for them providing a steady income for her family. Most artists wanted more freedom at that time and did not want to be told what to paint. Although she had mixed feelings Kay decided it was the best thing for her and her children because it would provide her a regular income. On the down side she had to work 8-10 hours a day to have enough paintings for Home Interiors and the art shows that she continued to do on the side. It was an emotionally trying yet exciting time in her career but she had to make sure her family was cared for. As a single mother I was able to put my two children through college while painting for Home Interiors Kay said. She worked for the company for approximately 20 years. They were able to graduate with no debt. Under the circumstances I felt that was quite an accomplishment. Considered blessed to have a career that she absolutely loves Kay was able to survive the hurt and struggles by putting her life in God s hands and allowing Him to help her through. She is a very loyal dependable person who believes strongly in family and giving to her community. Today Kay is painting for two jigsaw puzzle companies Bits and Pieces and Sunout. Painting for puzzles is definitely a challenge as the work has to be so much more detailed. women of distinction magazine 26 But she loves the guidance and support that her art licenser Elaine Citron of has provided her. One of Kay s greatest professional inspirations stems from Dalhart Windberg an American painter who was born in Texas and is known for his use of light color and shadow in still life and landscape painting. She loves his paintings and was fortunate enough to have attended a few of his art sessions with him to learn his technique. The city of Waco selected Kay to paint two posters a Christmas scene and a Spring scene depicting the historic Waco Suspension Bridge. Kay was proud to be afforded the opportunity. In 2013 one of her paintings was selected by The McStevens Company to be featured on the front of their hot chocolate tins sold in stores. Professor of History Archie P. McDonald from Stephen F. Austin State University and the Director of the East Texas Historical Association also chose one of her paintings for the cover of his book entitled Back Then Simple Pleasures and Everyday Heroes another great honor that was published in 2005. Kay was born in Weatherford TX but grew up in Stephenville TX with her sister and parents. As a young teenager Kay held summer jobs typing records for the Erath Country Court House in Stephenville and wrapping presents at Christmas time for a local retail shop. She developed a strong work ethic early in life. This drive has helped her succeed as an artist mother and grandmother. She feels that her legacy is that her children are both active Christians raising their children as Christians. Kay s parents were very loving and provided her and her sister Paula with a wonderful Christian home. Their dad Tullus lived to be 78 while their mom Pauline lived to be nearly 94. They were a huge part of who Kay is today. Kay s daughter Lisa has been married for 23 years to her high school sweetheart Jeff Fuller. They have two children Kayley and Braeden. Kay s son Todd Lamb has been married to Stacey for the last 17 years and they also have two children Sophie and Savannah. Kay married briefly for a second time gaining a wonderful stepson John. He and his wife Paulie have three children Moses Jed and Corey. Kay has a great relationship with all of her children and grandchildren. How does an artist attract buyers in today s world I did art shows on the weekends. Most of my shows were outside in the spring or fall. They had just begun so people were excited to get out after the cold winter or hot summer. There were not a lot of places to buy artwork at that time so art shows were very profitable. They are not as new and exciting as they once were. The social network is the way today s artists promote their work. How does an artist communicate the importance meaning of original work in a world where digital imagery is everywhere Artwork done by hand is still more appreciated than something done by a computer. It takes hours and hours of research to prepare an art piece that I do because I do different nostalgic eras. I do admit though that the large pieces coming from China and other countries are hard to compete with when it comes to price and size. Digital imagery is a different form of art that (in my opinion) I do not compete with. How does an artist establish a dollar value of original work It is very hard to decide on a price so you need to know your customers and the economy at the time. It should be priced according to the time it takes you to finish a painting and the cost of the materials. An artist needs to have become well known to be able to name his or her price. Rarely does one get as much as he or she thinks the piece is worth. How does an artist stay in contact with existing customers I send cards before each art show to notify my customers that I will be doing a certain show in their area. Now it would be done by a computer. I am no longer involved in the art shows. Customers contact me from my webpage. How does an artist form a community of other artists craftsmen when art shows are less relevant The way I stay relevant is with my webpage. People can order prints or originals from the site. I usually call the customer when they place an order. They are surprised to talk to the artist and appreciate that I have taken the time to call them. I belong to the local art league as well but I don t have time to be very active with it. NOW A FREELANCE ARTIST Kay is a member of As an artist gets to retirement age do they stop a local art league in Waco s Community Artist and Student Association (CASA). She loves to read go to the movies and walk to stay active. She is the social chairman for her Sunday School class and department at her church is on a church team that donates their time for various causes and volunteers by serving lunches to the Christian Women s Job Corps. She has no plans for retirement saying Why should I quit As long as God gives me the ability I will continue painting. painting I have chosen to continue to paint for jigsaw puzzles and commission work. Many of my images are available as puzzles at and Even if I didn t paint for these companies I would love to continue painting but art is an expensive hobby. 27 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Is it wise for an artist to put their work in an art gallery I chose not to do this as some of my artist friends lost all their artwork when the gallery closed without notifying the artists. The galleries also usually want 50% of the profits from your work. I always felt that was too much. What do you think you would have done professionally if it weren t for art I guess I would have taught art in school. I would have also taught private art lessons especially in the summer. Do you only paint in oils What is your favorite Yes I only paint in oils. I started in watercolor but hated what glass did to the artwork when it was framed. Where do you get your inspiration from for your paintings I photograph a lot and reference those when I paint. When I do nostalgic pictures I have to go to the Internet and other sources. My licenser gives me ideas or requests certain scenes that the companies need or want. She makes suggestions after seeing the initial sketch and the work in progress. Why should I quit As long as God gives me the ability I will continue painting. contact 28 Kay Lamb Shannon Waco TX Owner President Strokes of Perfection http kaylambshannon women of distinction magazine Tammye Markle chAirmAn oF the BoArd miss texAs PAgeAnt inc. miss texAs scholArshiP FoundAtion AS A PARENT OF A CONTESTANT IN THE MISS TEXAS ORGANIZATION Tammye Markle realized the tremendous amount of potential that those in the organization had to mold and shape the lives of young women and those they mentor. With the understanding that she had to embrace the opportunity in order to make a difference Tammye began her career as the director of a local pageant for Miss Texas and worked her way up until she reached a place where she could impact lives on a much broader scale. She did this by working with the Miss Texas Pageant and Miss Texas Scholarship Foundation. I have a passion for young people who are motivated and driven to succeed and I want to provide a vehicle for them to be able to perfect their leadership skills and learn to confidently pursue their goals Tammye said about being a part of the Miss America Organization. The mission of the organization is to provide a forum for young women to showcase their talents intelligence and abilities. Helping young women strive to meet their personal educational and professional goals is probably the most rewarding thing I could ever do. The way most people start out in the Miss Texas program is by volunteering as a local executive director the same way Tammye did. She surrounded herself with like-minded people who had the vision to help young women excel in life who have a heart for service and are passionate. Once she got deeply involved Tammye was hooked and the young ladies she directed became like family. Having moved up through the organization Tammye is now serving as chairman of the Board of the Miss Texas Pageant and Miss Texas Scholarship Foundation responsible for managing the financial viability of both organizations. She looks for new and fresh ways to raise funds to meet their operational and scholarship obligations and the overall functioning of both organizations within the parameters of the organizations by-laws and corporate structure. The scholarship foundation a non-profit corporation has a 501c3 pending status. In addition to meeting regularly with a public relations expert who is pivotal in helping cultivate sponsors and increase the visibility of the Miss Texas brand Tammye holds monthly board meetings and researches ways to increase awareness of what Miss Texas and Miss Texas Outstanding Teen do during their year-long reign. The higher awareness helps the public gain a broader knowledge of their personal platforms as well as the Miss Texas speaking platform which is called Texas Cares for Children . The Miss America Organization and all of its state programs focus on education personal and professional leadership development and volunteer service. Focusing and promoting the positive components of the program helps the organization overcome any challenges that may arise. Some of those obstacles include overcoming the challenges of negative stereotypes and media sensationalizing brought on by reality television shows that cast negative images on participants parents and directors. Unfortunately this 29 National Association of Distinguished Professionals trend sends the message that all pageant systems and participants are very superficial and materialistic. Nothing could be further from the truth where the Miss America program is concerned. I believe one of the most important things I can do is to make a difference in the lives of young men and women both inside and outside of the Miss America program by encouraging them to believe in themselves set goals strive for excellence and dream big Tammye explained. Even if the prize remains out of reach it s not as much about reaching the finish line as it is about what they take away from the experience and always giving it their very best shot. Some of the best character building experiences happen along the journey. The Miss America Organization is all about community service so just about everything Tammye does involves volunteering when it comes to her free time. She also loves partaking in fundraising activities for organizations since she s well-educated on the process. Some of those dear to her include the American Cancer Society Mercy Ministries and Christians United for Israel. A woman of humble integrity Tammye encourages others to also be leaders in their communities by putting their best foot forward and having a heart to serve others. She hopes to encourage others to help in their own communities by making a big difference in the lives of others through small seemingly insignificant acts of kindness. She believes it s those little things that have huge impact. Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ministry from American College of Christian Education Tammye continued her education by pursuing her Masters degree in Ministry and Christian Counseling from Barnham Graduate School and Seminary. She continues to provide biblical counseling and motivational speaking in her free time. Since 1992 Tammye and her husband Dave have owned and operated a recreational services company where they provide lifeguard services to neighborhoods country clubs and city swimming pools. They also service and build residential swimming pools. Tammye handles the bookkeeping payroll and sales for the company. Living in Montgomery TX Tammy and Dave have been married for 32 years. They have two daughters Sabrina and Alexandria two sons Lance and Jake and three granddaughters Hallie Landree and Lilly. Tammye enjoys reading gardening horseback riding and spending time with her family. Do you feel that pageants exploit women I can only speak for the Miss America program which does not exploit women at all. To the contrary we empower encourage and equip young women to become visionaries and leaders in their professions and communities. What do you feel is the most challenging issue women face today Today our society is faced with a sharp decline in family values and I believe that is the most important issue women face. We are nurturers and are responsible for cultivating in our children the confidence and security to stand for their beliefs and succeed in these challenging times. God created that inner desire to teach and nurture children in mothers and with the mountain of responsibilities women have today it is a difficult task. Are pageants still relevant Absolutely. Pageants are relevant and will continue to be relevant as long as those responsible encourage young women to be true to who God created them to be. Women of all ages are barraged with images of the perfect woman and those of us in pageantry must remain mindful of not placing unrealistic expectations on the young ladies we mentor. Why do you have such a passion for the Miss America system I watch young women develop interview and leadership skills time management and a heart for service that they likely would not have developed if not for being involved in the Miss America system. What is the most important thing a young woman can learn from her pageant experience Becoming a confident leader is something that is vital to success in every area of life. Effective leaders are never at the back of the pack. They don t watch things happen they make things happen. Why do you think pageantry has gotten a bad rap There are pageant systems that exist only to make money and aren t concerned about the experiences of the participants. Reality TV shows that sensationalize and exaggerate a negative view of the pageant experience can be harmful to the reputation of pageantry in general. What type of young woman do you feel benefits from the pageant experience the most I don t believe that there is anyone who wouldn t benefit from the experience as long as the system she chooses has the overall personal growth of the contestant as the core of its mission. Miss America is about providing contestants with a forum for expressing their views developing positive character and leadership skills showcasing their talents giving back to their community and above all pursuing scholarships that will help them attain their educational goals. Anyone can benefit from that combination. women of distinction magazine 30 Isn t it all about winning Actually it s not all about winning. Of course that is the goal but there are many women across America who inspire people every day as doctors media professionals attorneys politicians ministry leaders and most importantly mothers who never won their pageant but gained experience that shaped their lives encouraging them to pay it forward throughout their lives in a multitude of ways. That is the ultimate win Can you think of any funny pageant stories Once Miss Texas was at an appearance with many children and she excused herself to go to the ladies room. She saw some little feet outside the stall and about that time a precious little girl peeked under the door with a photo of Miss Texas and a sharpie and asked for her autograph. Talk about determination From a business perspective what advice would you give an aspiring CEO Always be willing to do anything you would ask those you lead to do. Surround yourself with like-minded people and encourage shape and guide creativity but never stifle it. Motivate inspire give value to others and above all be kind. 31 contact Tammye Markle Houston TX Chairman of the Board Miss Texas Pageant Inc. Miss Texas Scholarship Foundation http tammyem National Association of Distinguished Professionals President Founder sPeciAltY trAnsPortAtion And regulAtorY services WHILE IN COLLEGE WENDY BUCKLEY VOLUNTEERED AT A LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT a commitment that ended up lasting 10 years. The fire department provided Wendy with an initial glimpse into the world of hazardous materials first as a firefighter and later as a member of the hazardous materials response team. More importantly her experience at the department reinforced her commitment to public service a value she uses today that is essential in the successful operations of her hazardous materials transportation consulting firm Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services . While most see hazardous materials as dangerous or threatening when handled appropriately hazardous materials contribute to our modern society Wendy explained. It is truly rewarding when something that is characterized as dangerous is turned into something that has benefits for all. In addition to volunteering for the fire department in Virginia and Maryland Wendy gained experience working for the Federal Railroad Administration as a trainee hazardous materials safety inspector followed by a stint with the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation as the sole railroad hazardous materials inspector. From there Wendy was invited to work for Amtrak s Inspector General as an inspector then as an instructor for a premier hazardous materials training firm and finally as the sole hazmat specialist for North American Regulatory Affairs at a global laboratory supply distributor. Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Service specializes in hazardous materials transportation and hazardous waste management. The company ensures that hazardous materials make it safely from their origin to their destination without causing harm to people or the surrounding environment and it is Wendy s mission to help companies develop cost-effective ways to comply with federal and state regulations in a safe and efficient manner. As President of her small company Wendy is responsible for all operational aspects that help the company survive and thrive including sales promotions payroll and estimating. But most importantly Wendy acts as the Human Resource Director hiring the very best people committed to providing the highest level of service because after all the employees are the ones who put her good name on the line every day that they represent her. In the hazardous materials field personal safety is the most important aspect of the job. While there will always be risk in every field involving the transportation and use of hazardous material Wendy continually emphasizes that risk can be reduced to zero with effective safety protocols and the use of science and technology. She is passionate about ensuring that her employees and clients go home at the end of the day in the same condition they were in that morning zero injuries to the public the employees and the environment. Wendy Buckley women of distinction magazine 32 She also notes that if you enter this field with the idea of getting a rush by foolishly risking your life and your future then you are in the wrong profession. You accomplish your goals in this industry solely by following safety protocols and using the science and technology necessary to make it safe for everyone. Wendy has been fortunate to have been exposed to some of the very best mentors in her professional career since the very beginning. She still considers some of them to be the very best in the business and some of her greatest resources. The confidence she received from those very same individuals were also the reason she decided to start her own business. Now she is able to confidently offer another way for companies to build robust compliance programs and also save them considerable time and precious resources. While this helped Wendy develop rapidly in her expertise she is still faced with the fact that she is still in her 30s. People do not always believe that she is knowledgeable or educated enough to help their industry grow and survive at such a young age. But once her team is given the opportunity they ensure that each job is completed on time and that they have fully met each client s needs. As a result her clients nearly always integrate Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services into their team in ways neither party would ever imagine and her business becomes indispensable to their operations as a result. now. Never blessed with children of her own she does have a loving dog named Brutus who she takes to agility and rally classes which is a high-level obedience program. She loves to paint ceramics though she won t let anyone see her work. She also loves spending time with her two nieces who she spoils rotten every chance she gets. How did you get started in your field I was planning to join the Marine Corps to be a pilot but after talking to my father a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran I decided that it was not for me. I joined the fire department instead and got involved in hazardous materials response. I fell in love with the field and was able to turn that into the opportunity to join the FRA as a hazardous materials inspector inspecting chemical shippers that ship by rail and railroads that transport hazardous materials. OUR BEST ADVERTISEMENTS COME FROM OUR CUSTOMERS THE PEOPLE WE HAVE LISTED TO THE PEOPLE WHOM WE HAVE SAVED LOTS OF MONEY AND THE PEOPLE WHOM WILL NEVER HAVE THAT ACCIDENT THAT WAS JUST ON THE HORIZON BECAUSE WE INTERVENED . In order to be successful in this business or any other business for that matter it comes down to the fact that you must truly have a solid team. The team starts with good hiring practices and every time you hire you surrender a bit of yourself and your company to your new hire. So trusting an employee Wendy says is paramount and if you don t learn quickly to trust your employees to do the right thing then you will eventually find yourself overwhelmed and your business will fail. Wendy earned a Bachelor of Science in International Business form Strayer University although most of her undergraduate work was done at Randolph-Macon College. She holds a Master Certificate in Project Management from Villanova University and an Master of Science in Environmental Safety and Health Management from the University of Findlay. She is currently working with a publisher to produce a book on hazmat compliance for everyday use. She hopes to have it published in the early part of 2015. Though Wendy is happily divorced she has been dating the most wonderful man on the planet for over three years What has it been like as a woman in a heavily maledominated industry Thankfully I have experienced very little discrimination. I expected my path to be a lot more difficult than it was but the truth is that I have worked hard to become an expert. I have found that if I worked hard was willing to learn and asked thoughtful intelligent questions people were more than willing to train and work with me. What types of courses do you recommend that students take to pursue a career in your industry The obvious choices would involve transportation chemistry or chemical engineering but courses in critical thinking help people make great decisions about how to deal with problems when they arise. How much of your day is spent working in the field as opposed to being in the office As with most small businesses way too much time is spent complying with federal state and local laws aimed at tax collection. And while I have no problem paying my fair share the time and effort spent figuring it out keeps me out of the field and doing what I love. What is one of the most stressful aspects of working with hazardous materials There are lots of times when we are called into a company after an injury has occurred. The stress is not the injury that has happened. The stress is in preventing the next one from happening but this is why I do what I do. 33 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Have you ever had an employee get hurt on the job No and 30 years from now when I retire the answer will still be no. The employees I hire are consummate safety professionals. One of my employees signs his letters the same way every time safety first no excuses. We all believe that but he just beat us to the slogan. What are some of the safety protocols that your employees follow In addition to following the safety protocols in the facilities we work each one of our employees has a safety background and will talk to the facility before entering if they feel there are deficiencies in safety protocols. Though we are hired to do a job there is nothing worth risking your life for. And if our employees believe that their safety has been compromised in any way I will stand behind them if they walk off the job until the deficiencies are corrected. You said that hazardous materials contribute to modern society. How so When handled appropriately hazardous materials increase agricultural output purifying our drinking water and bonding materials like aircraft parts together with herculean strength. How many years of experience did you have before starting your own firm I had about 15 years in varying roles and levels of responsibility. If you could do it all over again would you work in the same field Why or why not Absolutely. I had no idea what I wanted to do in my teens and early 20s but when I ended up here quite by accident I fell in love with the work the constant challenge and I ve never worked a day of my life since. This is like the best hobby in the world only I get paid to do it Wendy Buckley Philadelphia PA President Founder Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services http wendyjbuckley 844-887-8277 contact 34 women of distinction magazine Professionals speaking to and about professionals Executive Broadcasting Channel is the newest way to have your voice heard. You will be able to reach a vast network of executives and professionals spanning all markets and industries. Ever thought about your own Podcast Website or Professional Video Consider your prayers answered For more iNFormatioN Call (855)893-NaDp http 35 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Cynthia Paul chieF oPerAting oFFicer PAlm BeAch vAPors CYNTHIA PAUL WAS UNHAPPY WITH THE LOCAL ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE STORES IN HER AREA. She found that not only was the customer service awful but the stores that sold them did not take the time to educate customers on the proper way to use them. Frustrated Cynthia knew that the business could do much better for its customer. So she and her partners decided to open what would become the first ever electronic cigarette franchise concept. I love what I do the people I work with and most of all I love that have the opportunity to help change someone s life for the better Cynthia said about playing her part in helping people kick the habit. Every day is different some better than others but that keeps it interesting and exciting. Since the first location of Palm Beach Vapors opened in Owasso OK in 2013 Cynthia and her partners have started 14 new stores and expanded into Alabama Texas Missouri Florida Mississippi Indiana California and Colorado. With the business growing more and more each day Cynthia projects to have over 30 locations open by the end of 2014. As a family owned and operated business running day to day operations is always a team effort. Cynthia s husband Chip serves as Chief Executive Officer while her close friend Angie is Chief Brand Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Cynthia oversees artistic and graphic design for bottle labels and marketing material and also handles human resources purchasing from Chinese vendors and receiving and shipping for every franchise store because each store is required to order all products through her directly. The franchise opportunity that Palm Beach Vapors offers takes the guesswork research time and unnecessary expense out of launching a vapor store. The turnkey franchise provides everything necessary to start the business including proprietary trade secrets operating systems and support for the life of the business. They have ironed out all the issues for finding insurance underwriters merchant services and partnering with a sourcing company that travels to China and tours the factories they are interested in doing business with. Committed to helping tobacco users quit smoking with a healthier alternative to traditional smoking Palm Beach Vapors has a 95% success rate. They are also a proud member of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. Before starting Palm Beach Vapors Cynthia did hospice aid work and catering. She put herself through tech school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant and worked for Tranquility Hospice for seven years. From there she took on a catering role at Bailey Ranch Golf Club. women of distinction magazine 36 Cynthia and her husband love playing golf and watching movies in their down time. They have no children together but do enjoy caring for their two black labradors and dachshund dogs. What is the benefit to buying into a Palm Beach Vapors franchise The benefit is owning a great business with relatively low investment and incredible revenue potential. What began as a fad has turned into one of the most effective methods of quitting smoking. What is the total investment for the franchise The total investment is 75 000 which includes a 20 000 franchise fee a 49 500 Make Ready Package and a 5 500 deposit. Why is franchising better than opening an independent location Franchises have a proven business model experienced support business performance intelligence and brand. Is there a potential future change in state or federal laws that may affect your business Why do you feel that your business is significant in today s society We cannot predict what state or national laws may come down the road but we are completely complaint with all federal and FDA regulations. Keep in mind that the net result of the industry is to help people reduce or end their dependency on tobacco use. There are a lot of tobacco users that simply can t quit without help. We offer a 35% discount on their first kit but if they sign our Quit Smoking Pledge we give an additional 25%. Will Palm Beach Vapors manufacture any product of their own We have plans to manufacture mods here in Oklahoma. It s still in the planning phase but it is coming How much does it cost to get started We have a special for those new to vaping and offer our start-up kits starting at 49.95. Where will Palm Beach Vapors be in five years Will someone still crave cigarettes In five years our goal is to have 200 stores and a net-worth of 50 million. Although everyone is a little different vaping is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. Because it is another form of smoking it is easy to replace smoking with vaping and not crave cigarettes. What s in vapor juice Is it safe Our juice is made with 100% US Kosher food products. We use only the highest quality ingredients to make our juice the most flavorful and safer than most other juices on the market. 37 contact Cynthia Paul Owasso OK Chief Operating Officer Palm Beach Vapors http cindy 918-949-6699 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Renee Legas owner President sPArkle couture inc. When Renee Legas started Sparkle Couture Inc. she wanted to ensure that every client had the chance to feel special. Since her daughter was five years old she has been taking her to pageants. It was heartbreaking for Renee to watch some wonderful young ladies not win anything and not have the money to even purchase a small crown pin just for participating. This prompted her to start her own business selling unique affordable jewelry and accessories to the pageant world. for in suppliers to visit their websites and find out how they advertise their products. She has had positive connections ever since. While it is difficult to start a business from the ground up Renee has had amazing support from her family and local businesses including the Gown Co. Cindy Darr Embroidery The Print Shop and Gradlers Studio. Renee has been a long time client of all four businesses and in turn they have helped her make Sparkle Couture shine. To give back to the community Renee volunteers with Big Brother Big Sister Westmoreland Breast Cancer Walks International Coastal Cleanup and Children s Miracle Network. Along with being a member of National Association of Professional Women and the International Women s Leadership Association Renee enjoys landscaping sewing and traveling. Renee retired from modeling when her children were young to be a stay-at-home mom and to help her husband s business. Today Renee and her daughter both participate in pageants both against each other and together. Renee currently holds seven titles. Renee has been married to her husband Roger for 22 years and resides in Mount Pleasant PA. Their daughter is now 22 years old and their son is now 17. I THINK EVERYONE DESERVES THAT SPECIAL PIECE TO MAKE THEM SPARKLE Renee said. Starting Sparkle Couture has allowed me to fulfill both my passion for fashion and pageantry while helping ladies find that accessory that adds a little sparkle to their wardrobe. Sparkle Couture an online based company was launched in October 2013. Along with website sales they are sponsors and vendors with Exquisite Pageants Cinderella Pageants and Broadway Dreams Pageants and travel with them selling crowns and other unique jewelry at affordable prices. As sole proprietor of Sparkle Couture Renee operates and organizes every necessary task in order to maintain the business which includes purchasing inventory scheduling pageants maintaining the website and constantly reaching out to achieve more contracts. Finding trustworthy suppliers has been quite the challenge though. One particular incident where Renee could not get in contact with a supplier that sent her the wrong products quickly taught her what to look women of distinction magazine 38 Considering the economic struggles the United States has faced over the past few years were you worried about starting a new business Was it hard to find suppliers I was worried but we made sure we priced our items fairly and affordably. Even in hard times people need something that will make them feel good even if that is a 5 crown ring. Yes. A lot of the companies we have been dealing with are international so the only means of contact is email. I prefer to speak to people over the phone when I have questions. How do you ensure that the suppliers are trust worthy Is it hard to run your business not having a store front It is easier right now to not have a store front. There are a lot less expenses and we are free to travel with the pageants. One thing I look for is to see if there is a way of communication if I have a problem. Even when you do find a supplier you think you can trust it is best to keep copies of all forms and transactions just in the case something goes wrong. Do you feel it is beneficial to have a website In order to reach more consumers it is beneficial to have a website. On the other hand you have to market and update the website so there are pros and cons. Does working with your daughter ever pose any problems Most of the time we get along very well. There are some instances where we disagree but different opinions helps a business grow. Is it hard to maintain your personal and work schedule It is hard to not spread myself too thin sometimes but like with any jobs you just need to find the balance between work and home. Do you have any regrets involving starting your business I do not have any regrets. This has been a wonderful journey and learning experience and I cannot wait to see where it takes me. What are your goals for Sparkle Couture Inc. I want Sparkle Couture Inc. to grow as a company. I would like to own at least one store fronts but my hope is to continue adding store fronts around the United States. If you could teach people one thing through Sparkle Couture Inc. what would it be I would want people to see that it doesn t matter where you come from or what you have done in the past if you have a career goal and put your heart and soul into it you can succeed 39 contact Renee Legas Mount Pleasant PA Owner President Sparkle Couture Inc. http Customer-service National Association of Distinguished Professionals Sharron Q. Dansby chieF executive oFFicer shArron dAnsBY ministries executive director mAximizing god s womAn inc. SHARRON Q. DANSBY HAS SPENT THE LAST with clients. 30 YEARS HELPING WOMEN to reach their full potential and get the most out of life. Through her horrific life experiences Sharron realized later in life that her story could benefit other women in overcoming their own personal struggles. To do this Sharron became a relationship life coach helping women transition from being stuck to maximizing their limitless potential and experiencing healthy relationships. Documenting her life s story Sharron authored and published Journey Through the Furnace...God is There through YNOT Publishing in 2012. Sharron found it challenging to not only write about the events that happened in her life but to also address the emotional struggles and what inspired her to live victoriously for the future rather than remain under the victimization of the past. She is also a well-sought after speaker who believes that a willingness to change is essential for personal growth. To help prevent families from going through what her family experienced Sharron formed a non-profit organization Maximizing God s Woman Inc. to raise awareness and teach prevention of child sexual abuse and to help adult survivors overcome the long-term effects of abuse such as unforgiveness distrust anger shame and lack of selfworth. My compassion for others compels me to be the best life coach for my clients Sharron added. Once a person truly believes they can do something nothing will stop them. As a member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden Sharron serves as an encouragement coach and facilitator. She is also an active member of American Association of Christian Counselors International Christian Coaching Association People for Change Coalition Star 12 and National Association of Professional Women. I have survived being a victim of child sexual abuse the mother of a sexually abused child the wife of a perpetrator as well as divorce and breast cancer Sharron admits. Overcoming these traumatic situations has inspired me to help people do more than just survive but to change their mindset and use life altering experiences to their advantage. Sharron spent 33 years in federal service with over 10 years as a senior financial manager in Virginia Japan and Washington DC all the while mentoring women in their professional careers and personal lives. In 2012 Sharron started her business as a motivational speaker and life coach managing day to day operations marketing networking and performing strategic planning to move her business ahead while looking at the environmental changes and how they impact people s lives. Life coaching requires listening and involvement to help clients stay focused on their goals. To do this effectively Sharron stays grounded mentally emotionally and spiritually as she works women of distinction magazine 40 Sharron earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Saint Leo University in 2000 a Master Bachelor Administration from Troy University in 2003 and Certificates of Professional Life Coaching and Relationship Life Coaching from Light University in 2012 she has been married to Charles Dansby a senior program analyst for the federal government for 10 years has four adult children and 10 grandchildren. effective in helping the client achieve their results. Is group coaching effective Coaching a small group is effective when the coach utilizes coaching principles and processes with the intention of maximizing the experiences and energy of individuals in the group. Why is coaching important As businesses and individuals look to achieve success and balance they are seeking coaches to help them use their strengths and strategize to reach their future goals. What is coaching A trained or certified coach partners with a client in thought provoking and creative processes to maximize their full potential and achieve individual goals. Coaches encourage clients in self-discovery and generating strategies and solutions. What is the difference between life coaching and counseling Counseling is looking back to explore problems of the past and helping people deal with their pain. Life coaching is guiding a person from where they are to their greater competency. What can I expect from a life coach A life coach is a trained professional who listens to you in order to help you with your own action plan. A coach will believe in you in order to empower you to change. Are there different types of coaching Yes. Depending on the client s needs there are coaches for various areas of personal development interpersonal relationships and professional development. Why did you specialize in relationship coaching I wanted to help people develop healthy relationships and experience personal growth. Every relationship has an emotional component and becoming emotionally intelligent is necessary. Where are coaching sessions conducted With the use of technology coaching sessions can be held in person or via virtual technology. Are there occasions when a client needs counseling but desires coaching Does everyone need a life coach Most people consider themselves to be above average but many lack skill of fully utilizing their strengths. A life coach is 41 contact If a trained life coach recognizes their client is in need of counseling the life coach will refer the client to a licensed counselor and then return to coaching when it is appropriate. Sharron Q. Dansby Upper Marlboro MD Chief Executive Officer Sharron Dansby Ministries Executive Director Maximizing God s Woman Inc. http http ed4mgw 202-684-1243 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Alexis Shippen M.Ed. owner mirAcle vending After working for 40 years as an educator in the school district of Philadelphia PA Alexis Shippen was ready for change. She began participating in many business workshops and was soon asked to accept a private interview after attending a particular workshop that featured vending machines. Alexis was then chosen to be one of the ten distributors to help establish the business on the east coast. As the only woman in that group Alexis was extremely proud of herself. In 2010 Alexis took it a step further and started her own business Miracle Vending . With two locations one in Horizon Behavioral Health Center in Southampton PA and one in Willingboro Municipal Building in Willingboro NJ the vending machines provide a better workflow for both companies. Workers can get a full lunch or snack with less time spent going to buy items at a store or restaurant. parents were both hard workers and instilled a great work ethic in her. She has never been afraid to fail and stays persistent when it comes to every goal and task. Prior to retiring from her teaching career Alexis taught Family and Consumer Science Math and Robotics. She participated in many programs within her district including The Right to Read Curriculum Writing Team I Can Problem Solve Training Program Adventures in Harmony human relations training and diversity workshops. Holding a foundational certificate and an advanced certificate in ministry Alexis is an ordained Deaconess and Sunday school teacher at her church. She is the director of their outreach program which provides clothes for needy families feeds the homeless provides spiritual information for the community and corresponds with ministers who have volunteered their time in speaking to the church family. She has also been involved with the African American Chamber of Commerce National Association of Professional Women and African American Business and Professional Network. Residing in Mount Laurel NJ with her husband and two sons Alexis enjoys spending time with dear family and friends. Her hobbies include sewing designing crafts reading and traveling and prides herself on leading a wellrounded lifestyle. DON T BE AFRAID TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND START SOMETHING NEW Alexis said. She took her own advice by eventually opening her own vending machine company. If you never try to do anything new how will you ever accomplish anything different Initially Alexis hired people to deliver and set up the vending machines but now completes all aspects of working with the machines herself. This can be challenging at times but her background in robotics helps her troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Alexis has also trained her son to program and load the vending machines with the intention of turning the business over to him one day. Noting that nothing good in life always comes easy Alexis has held multiple jobs at times to reach her goals. Her women of distinction magazine 42 Ann Graham chieF inFormAtion oFFicer B&B home imProvement While in college Ann Graham was unsure which direction she wanted to pursue professionally. After consulting with her father who deeply believed that computers were the future and something she could make a lucrative living at Ann declared her major in Computer Science with a minor in Psychology. Information Technology (IT) is intriguing and challenging. Technology changes regularly and there is always something new to hold your attention Ann said. Her first year out of college Ann worked for Tip Top Corporation as a developer moving up to acting Data Processing Manager. The following two years she worked for Wisconsin Physician Services being promoted from Developer to Project Lead. For 20 years Ann worked as a contractor at 11 different companies for Compuware Corporation. Eighteen of those years were consulting with American Family Insurance. In 2010 American Family Insurance hired her as an employee and brought her on as a project manager. When Ann made the move from developer to a project manager it opened a whole new world for her. It allowed her to be involved in all aspects of the field and work with some very fun interesting people. Ann found that in IT she was assigned to a project that has the scope defined the requirements finished and ready to go. She rarely started projects from scratch and missed out on the creation of the early artifacts like writing the business case and cost benefit analysis. Because of this Ann switched over to the business side in effort to experience the full gambit of project management. I WANTED TO EXPERIENCE RUNNING A PROJECT FROM CONCEPTION THROUGH CLOSING. IT HAS BEEN AN ENLIGHTENING EXPERIENCE AND I HAVE LEARNED MORE THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED . A highly valued employee Ann was asked to take on the Portfolio Manager position for the Life Company Maintenance Portfolio. In this role Ann would strengthen the company s leadership organization internal communication and other areas that needed revamping. After just eight months the portfolio was structured organized and running efficiently so she returned to her previous position managing projects. Along with the standard tasks associated with leading projects it was up to Ann to gain buy in from all stakeholders. Interviewing the leadership team provided insight from every facet of a project providing the team with an accurate scope. It also provided the communication timing and mechanisms the leadership team desires regarding project status. In addition to leading the project Ann promoted it and ensured a smooth transition from initiation to implementation. Communication with the project team allowed Ann to convey how the project fit strategically in the corporate mission and vision as well as how it would benefit each team member. In July 2014 Ann left American Family Insurance and accepted a contract computerizing B&B Home Improvement. Her goal is to get the company online and organize 40 years of data. Ann is a member of Project Management Institute National Association of Professional Women and the Big Brother Big Sister organization. She was also the first female member accepted into the Deerfield Lions Club. 43 National Association of Distinguished Professionals retired school nurse rn stAFFord middle school STEPPING OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE to eighth graders totaling 400 students in all. explore the many avenues in nursing Barbara L. Davis has worked in several medical settings learning the many similarities and differences in the field. After changing her major four times before obtaining her Registered Nurse (RN) degree in 1976 in Minneapolis MN Barbara knew she made the right decision. Nearly40 years later she s still in nursing and couldn t imagine doing anything else. There are so many different types of work for nurses so when I felt I needed a new challenge I changed jobs Barbara said about her career moves. After finishing school Barbara worked in the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Minneapolis. She then worked in Plattsburgh NY where she continued to work with patients in a hospital setting. A few years later she accepted a nursing position that she found extremely challenging. She went to work in a male maximum security prison in their new mental hygiene unit in Dannemora NY. It involved a seven-bed dorm and included a unit with seven single cells as well as a high security group of five units. Working in the Unit she also had to deliver medications throughout the entire prison. One of her patients was David Berkowitz better known as Son of Sam . Although working in the prison was somewhat exhilarating for Barbara it wasn t something she wanted to do long-term. Applying for the role of School Nurse for Stafford Middle School in Plattsburgh Barbara has since been tending to the needs of a much less rowdy bunch of sixth seventh and Barbara has been a school nurse now for 23 years. Each year is unique and rewarding. Just this year she was faced with six diabetic students five of which had insulin pumps. She is always learning new ways of working with her students. Currently involved with the American Red Cross Barbara volunteered for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and for Hurricane Ike in Galveston TX. Her latest deployment was for the Oso WA mudslide. As a Registered Nurse I am blessed to have so many opportunities. Branching out and serving the many causes and organizations is a wonderful thing Barbara said about being able to give back. Barbara loves to play bridge golf and go biking. Recently divorced after 38 years of marriage Barbara has learned the importance of family. Blessed to have three children she loves them all very much. Her eldest daughter is married and she and her husband both have very successful careers. Her second daughter whom became paralyzed is a very positive person who biked in the Boston Marathon. She is married to a state trooper and they have a son Connor. Her youngest son is happily married to wife Gina and works in the golf industry in Myrtle Beach SC. Barbara L. Davis women of distinction magazine 44 Bianca Silvia Porrino W. Founder owner And wedding coordinAtor BiAncAweddings BiAncAwithlove Born and raised in Italy Bianca spent much of the 1980s modeling in Milan giving her a real taste of the fashion industry. Learning fabrics dresses design and colors Bianca later implemented what she had learned into her business when she became a wedding coordinator and owner of BiancaWeddings and BiancaWithLove in San Diego CA. Bianca has lived in London Italy San Francisco and now resides in San Diego CA. Since 2000 she s been coordinating weddings and events of all sizes around the country including Hawaii Las Vegas New York Miami Beverly Hills and Los Angeles as well as internationally. Initially she relied solely on client referrals but she has since built up her clientele and now has a flourishing career. She s had the honor of catering some of the most magnificent and memorable events for clients making their every wish come true on their special day. I LOVE WHAT I DO AND BIANCAWEDDINGS ISN T JUST A BUSINESS FOR ME IT S MY LIFE S LOVE Bianca said whose greatest influence has been her mother an entrepreneur since 1965. My mother hands down has been my greatest professional inspiration. Bianca is an amazing leader who sets a great example to her fabulous loyal team. She sets goals for each day week and month and for the year ahead. Bianca absolutely loves what she does for a living so for her it really isn t work at all. Some of the most imperative qualities one must exude working in a business like this comes down to personality. Being extremely extroverted and a real people person is essential. It s also important that Bianca continues to market herself rather than relying on others to do it for her. Having to constantly reinvent her style to stay relevant Bianca s number one goal is to continuously grow bigger and better than her competition. I have always loved the quote If you build the temple others will come . In order for others to believe you must first believe in yourself Bianca added. A single mother to her beautiful 9 year old daughter Bianca believes that it was during her travels experiencing different cultures and customs that made her the creative artistic professional she is today. Exploring and being a little bit of a pioneer is what has made her successful for more than 14 years. Her work is a combination of Italian taste style and culture combined with what the California lifestyle has to offer. Bianca earned her Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and Hotel Business Management from the University of California-San Diego in 2003 and a second degree in event and meeting planning through San Francisco State University in 2009. She is involved with Wish Upon a Wedding and Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants and is a supporting member of the Human Rights Campaign and National Association of Professional Women and Bridal Consultants. She is also the 2013 recipient of the annual G.O.D. Award for Woman of the Year-Europe through the Academy of Television Arts and Science. 45 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Bonnie K. Bourret notArY PuBlic notArY signing Agent Pro signAture notArY llc Working in a local front office Bonnie K. Bourret found herself turning away a lot of potential clients looking for notary services because no one in the office was commissioned. The lack of available services however gave Bonnie a great idea. After researching the Secretary of State s website on how to get commissioned she decided to take one of their online courses so she could finally say yes to clients. Bonnie became a licensed notary in 2008. Soon after she opened her own business Pro Signature Notary LLC while juggling her new full-time career as an office manager and instructor for Reliable Tax and Business Services H&R Block in Saint Robert MO As the sole proprietor of her notary business Bonnie enjoys meeting new people and having the ability to travel anywhere in the state providing assistance to those in need of notary services. Constantly advertising her services to be sure area residents know that she is available whenever she is needed Bonnie is there for her clients day and night. Earning her Notary Certificate of Completion through the Secretary of State six years ago Bonnie later became a certified notary signing agent in 2013 through the National Notary Association. In this capacity she can also facilitate mortgage signings. be sure to research their state s regulations. You must be bonded and insured so this career is not for everyone. You also have to know what you can and cannot notarize. One of the biggest issues she s faced time and time again is having to turn people away saying no to the notarization of requested documents. Having to explain to someone that a particular document cannot be notarized because she cannot by law is sometimes difficult to hear. For that reason Bonnie is constantly keeping up to date with the state-specific regulations in Missouri. Nevertheless Bonnie believes in chasing your dreams believing in yourself and never giving up on something that is important to you. Being in business for herself was her dream and she s now living it. Bonnie recently remarried in 2012 to Nathaniel a retired US Army veteran of 20 years. Nathaniel has one son of his own Steven a student at Missouri State University. Bonnie has two children. Her son Jordan is an emergency medical technician for Cox Hospitals in Springfield MO and her daughter Nicci is a student at Ozarks Technical Community College in Lebanon MO. Addicted to crossword puzzles Bonnie admits that they keep her on her toes because she learns so much from them. She loves learning something new every day. OWNING MY OWN BUSINESS HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY GREATEST PROFESSIONAL INSPIRATION Bonnie said. I have learned many aspects of ownership and management to make sure that I am always professional and courteous to clients. At first I was very unsure if I wanted to take my career a step further by becoming a notary signing agent but it has been very rewarding. Bonnie said that in order to become a notary one must women of distinction magazine 46 Cassandra Fear owNer Fear s CoNFeCtioNs After layoffs at her engineering job in 2009 Cassandra Fear spent over a year searching for employment. The boredom and frustration of this search led her to invoke her creative skills that resulted in the formation of Fear s Confections a chocolate and sweet company. Many people tried to force their opinions on me but in the long run I had to do what was right for me and my family Cassandra said about venturing off on her own. Being a business owner is not easy but with perseverance and belief in myself I have turned my company into a successful venture. Fear s Confections started at home in Cassandra s kitchen where she sold her delicious treats online while continuing to work full-time as a quality manager for a medical device company. She eventually outgrew her kitchen space and took the leap into a full-time storefront in Cleveland OH in August of 2013. In a society where everything is mass-produced Cassandra does the opposite by making a variety of high quality sweets from scratch in small batches. She buys local ingredients when possible and her treats are unlike anything you can find in most local outlets. Using a play on words with her last name Cassandra s sweets really are to die for . She offers a chocolate coffin with an edible skeleton year round as well as a fun Geek Line of chocolates. In addition to these signature items her brownies and candies are just as delicious. In addition to online and storefront sales Fear s Confections has a Dessert of the Month Club where desserts are shipped to customers on a monthly basis. The company also makes sweets for corporate gifts and special events in the local Cleveland area and sells t-shirts with the Fear s Confections logo for her biggest fans to sport. Cassandra admits that not everything has been sweet sailing since forming the business in 2010. In December 2013 her business partner dissolved her partnership suddenly and without notice. With dozens of Christmas orders to complete family friends and local business owners came together to support Cassandra in fulfilling the orders. Not only did they make it out on time but customers were happy and Fear s Confections was able to bounce back better than ever. Fear s Confections is now in the process of relocating to Lakewood OH with a grand opening event on October 4 2014. As the company s owner and sole employee Cassandra single-handedly runs the store as baker candy maker dishwasher janitor and handles all marketing and public relations aspects. Fear s Confections was featured on the television shows Good Company and on the local WKYC Channel 3 news and was interviewed by Q104 s Fee s Kompany . They ve also sponsored several local charity events including the final Krusty Kamp a long running event that benefits the Malachi House for the terminally ill. Cassandra married Jeremy Fear an engineer in 2009. They reside in Cleveland with their 2 year old daughter Evelyn and have another baby on the way due in March 2015. 47 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Celine Uttaro owner the emBroiderY comPAnY inc. COMMERCIAL EMBROIDERY HAS BEEN IN compromising quality is what sets apart Celine s company CELINE UTTARO S FAMILY SINCE THE 1950s. from her competition. Her mother learned embroidery as a young adult and in 1980 Celine s parents opened their own embroidery company in Kitchener Ontario. Celine helped by getting to know the industry and clients who were primarily promotional product companies and sporting good retailers. In 1995 after doing some market research Celine and her husband decided to start The Embroidery Company Inc. in Edmonton Alberta. With the expertise and ability to produce high quality products The Embroidery Company primarily serves the wholesale promotional products industry. Embroidery is in our blood Celine admits. Through hard work and dedication we ve become professionals in our industry striving to be the best in our field. We ve built a reputation for high quality embroidery and it s very rewarding to be able to create a product that our clients will be proud to wear. Aside from the day-to-day operations of the business Celine s role is to oversee and offer guidance in order to achieve the high standards of quality she has set forth. She also participates in the creative process gives quotes handles special projects and maintains contact with clients regularly. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist Celine reviews and approves samples prior to sending proofs to clients. If a sample isn t as perfect as it can be if letters are not quite straight Celine returns it to the art department for improvement before sending it to the client for approval. Knowing that you cannot rush through a process without Celine is completely dedicated to learning and becoming an expert in the embroidery field. The Embroidery Company keeps up with new technologies state-of-the-art software embroidery equipment and techniques and has a large database of designs consisting of all types and sizes. Some of her best clients include local businesses as well as colleges and universities. They come to The Embroidery Company for special projects because they know how fantastic the end result will look. The Embroidery Company is even asked to produce patches as concert merchandise for high profile artists on occasion which is quite a compliment. The Embroidery Company makes annual submissions in the Promotional Products Professionals of Canada Image Awards competition and has been the recipient of multiple awards in the category for Best Embroidery. They were also awarded an embroidery contract for the 8th IAAF World Championships in Athletics which took place in Edmonton in 2001. The company has produced framed embroidery pieces for Her Majesty the Queen during a royal visit to commemorate the province of Alberta s centennial in 2005 and for their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their first royal visit to Canada in 2011. The gifts were accepted and sent to Clarence House. Embroidery is an art Celine said. To be able to create consistent high quality embroidery takes time. Dedication and perseverance is required and a creative process must be followed. I push my limits challenge myself and have honed my skills to make my work the best. women of distinction magazine 48 Cheryl J. Stewart owner trAvel For You llc Cheryl J. Stewart was in search of an enjoyable career that would allow her to work from home set her own hours and be able to tend to her children s every day needs at the same time. Having previous work experience in sales she thought working as a travel agent might be the perfect solution. Vacations that bring families closer and providing memorable wedding honeymoons for clients is why Cheryl is still doing what she s doing today. She always treats her clients as her number one priority. In turn they have been most thankful. You have to put a lot of hard work and time into starting a new business and sometimes don t always see the rewards right away Cheryl explained about remaining loyal to her profession. It takes time to build your clientele but if you give your clients more than they expect you will be rewarded with referrals. Cheryl is a member of her local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. She is a VIP member of the National Association of Professional Women American Society of Travel Agents and Cruise Lines International Association. She s also a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Sandals Wedding Moons Specialist. A graduate of Franklin University in Columbus Ohio Cheryl earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Finance in 1992. Residing in a suburb of Columbus Cheryl has been married for 21 years to her husband Bob. Bob currently works as the assistant safety director for the City of Columbus after retiring from a 37 year career as a police sergeant. They have two children a 15 year old daughter Amber and 10 year old son Bobby. They also have a 4 year old Shih Tzu named Laila. Not surprisingly her family loves to travel together and they do so at least two times a year. TO BREAK INTO THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY Cheryl initially worked for two host travel agencies. In 2013 she went into business for herself by forming Travel For You LLC specializing in destination wedding planning honeymoons romantic getaways and family vacations. After just one year she now has several independent contractors working beneath her. Cheryl mentors and guides them in the industry while instilling work ethic that puts smiles on all of her client s faces. I enjoy helping brides create the weddings and honeymoons they have dreamed about since they were little girls Cheryl said about the joy she gets from working in the hospitality field. I love helping couples that seek much needed romantic getaways where they can reconnect de-stress and fall in love again and being able to send families on magical vacations where they can create life-long memories. The founder of Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs Meredith Hill has been influential in the success of Cheryl s business. She was fortunate to attend one of Meredith s seminars while on a trip last year. Listening to her speak Cheryl felt like Meredith was telling her story of being a fairly new owner of a travel business and as soon as Cheryl returned home she purchased Meredith s program implemented her ideas and her business has picked up significantly since then. 49 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Dawn A. Bluemke executive director BlAck diAmond chArities DAWN A. BLUEMKE S CAREER IN NONPROFIT began after simply making a donation at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago IL in 1989. She felt so good about being able to help others that she wanted to take it to another level. With compassion patience and selflessness by her side Dawn has made a career out of helping others for the past two decades. I ve always loved to work with schools non-profit organizations and other teams Dawn said about volunteering. I enjoy knowing that somewhere somehow I am helping someone. I don t consider it giving back I do it just because I want to help others. Dawn s current organization Black Diamond Charities was founded on the principles of helping school children and veterans of the Armed Services. The organization provides backpacks and school supplies to children in need particularly to homeless children and children of military families based on the Great Lakes Naval Base. Black Diamond also offers a Project Management course for veterans to give them an extra edge when searching for employment. As Executive Director Dawn runs the entire show. The organization has a board of directors but Dawn is responsible for the daily operations. She s committed to supporting and providing those in need with the tools services and knowledge to further advance themselves through their acceptance of the many challenges and hard work ahead of them. Understanding the importance of networking for the greater good of Black Diamond Dawn must increase awareness of the programs and raise funds to keep the programs growing. When fundraising she asks relentlessly for donations until she is told no because she is advocating for a great cause the children. Unfortunately most individuals that don t contribute do not realize just how much each child is being affected due to their parents circumstances. A graduate from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Dawn is involved with Freedom One Networking Rally Together Ram Racing Giving DuPage Kohl s Associates in Action VolunteerMatch and GLMV Chamber of Commerce to help support Black Diamond. For 12 years she was also part of Reading Intervention for grades K-5 helping them get back on track with their grade reading level. A Wish Grantor for Make-A-Wish Chicago Dawn is on the board for Pink Heals Joliet. She s also been involved with fundraising for various sports teams as well as the Mom s Club at the Tri Delta Sorority at Purdue University. She s headed many fundraisers to help defray the cost of medical bills due to cancer and has made meals for those who have undergone surgery. She and her husband David received the Ann Eppen Award for Volunteerism and she was awarded VIP Woman of the Year by National Association of Professional Women. Living in Hinsdale IL Dawn and David have been married for 32 years and have two daughters Jenny and Sally. Jenny is a graduate of the University of Missouri lives in Austin TX and is married with a son. Sally graduated from Purdue University in industrial design and lives in the Chicago IL area. women of distinction magazine 50 Deborah Emmons owner deB s FAmilY vAcAtions FAMILY VACATIONS WERE AN IMPORTANT professionals. Their mission is to revolutionize the way PART of Deborah Emmons s childhood. She has many travel advisors market and grow their businesses to reach a fond memories of her entire family packing up and finding adventures in their motor home. Because Deborah believes that every family should be making memories by vacationing together she started her own travel agency Debke Travel in 2004 on a part-time basis. My interest in the travel booking industry began about 10 years ago Deborah remembers. I traveled often so people were constantly asking my opinion regarding where to travel and what to do once they arrived at their destination. I transitioned into a travel professional as I felt more comfortable performing my unofficial role. Deborah s current venture is Deb s Family Vacations an offshoot of Debke Travel that specializes in family-oriented vacations. Deborah s goal is to take the hassle and worry off of parents regarding the comfort and safety of their trip. Because of all the leg work she does Deborah believes that hiring a travel professional is a valuable asset in booking any vacation. Deborah has knowledge of sales and accommodations and can save clients time money and peace of mind. Having visited most of the resorts and having tried many of the amenities herself she can make recommendations with confidence and take the anxiety out of the many choices for her clients. To enhance her business Deborah is a member of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs an organization founded to provide resources support and tools for travel whole new level of success in travel. To carry her passion for travel into her marriage and her family Deborah purchased a camper when her children were young. As a family they have also enjoyed going on cruises and Disney vacations. Living in Pennsylvania it is important for Deborah and her family to go on winter vacations due to the climate conditions so cruising someplace warm to rid the winter blues is a necessity for them. Having already visited a third of the national parks in the United States she hopes to visit all of them eventually. She also plans to continue traveling with family and friends each year making new memories and gaining experience that will help her with her travel booking. When new generations join her family she intends to pass her love of travel to them because as Deborah would say Family adventures never end 51 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Deborah Vezan President owner limBkeePers APPAREL EXECUTIVE DEBORAH VEZAN was inherently have wicking features for quick dry and easy care. Thirty-five years in the apparel industry gave Deborah an extensive network of resources to work with and the professional and personal skills needed to start this venture. She found a New York designer to put her idea in a format for factory implementation before taking her design to a sock factory in North Carolina. The prototype was a success. Deborah s mother did not try to take them off like she did so many other products and they protected her legs from injury. A year after the prototype and the passing of her parents Deborah officially launched Limbkeepers to the public. Deborah manages both the online and direct sales as well as the website. And her husband Skip Hine a professional photographer assists her with the creative and marketing aspects of the business. The opportunity to help make a difference in the quality of lives for the aging population is immensely rewarding as well as personal. Since Deborah has started Limbkeepers she has sponsored several Walk-to-End Alzheimer s events for an organization close to her heart. Starting her own business has been very time consuming but when Deborah gets a break she spends it outdoors. She enjoys bicycling hiking kayaking paddle boarding alpine skiing snowshoeing and gardening in her Connecticut home. Deborah feels that being outdoors is therapeutic and it provides her an atmosphere conducive to creative thinking. enjoying a successful career in New York City when both of her parents became ill. After juggling her full-time position and taking care of her parents Deborah needed to leave her livelihood behind and become their full-time caregiver. Deborah s mother who was suffering from Alzheimer s was a high risk for skin tears due to her fragile thinning skin. When she bumped her shin on a round table leg the resulting four inch lesion exposed Deborah to the serious problem of fragile skin so common in our aging population. Deborah searched for a solution to protect her mother s delicate skin but when it became apparent that there was nothing out there on the market she saw a huge opportunity. Out of necessity Deborah created Limbkeepers a noncompression sleeve to protect her mother s compromised skin in 2012. The creation of Limbkeepers is my proudest contribution to the senior community and to the United States workforce Deborah said proudly. To see that Limbkeepers provide a quality of life independence and dignity to those in need of skin protection gives me a great sense of satisfaction. While researching options for her mother Deborah found most of the arm and leg sleeve products on the market were compression designed for specific medical purposes thin and difficult to put on and very expensive. Deborah designed Limbkeepers to be non-compression but form fitting so they stay up without fasteners and are easy to put on. Because they are seamless they don t cause skin chafing they have an anti-microbial treatment and the yarns women of distinction magazine 52 Debrah J. Hussey co-owner mogoBox llc HOLDING MULTIPLE POSITIONS IN SEVERAL DIVERSE INDUSTRIES Debrah J. Hussey was never activities customer service supply chain management data migration and social media. Debrah s goal is for MogoBox to become a household name renowned for its quality products and excellent customer service and become a benchmark for other companies to follow. To help achieve this MogoBox is a member of the Better Business Bureau and Debrah is also a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Writing is Debrah s second love. Her dream of writing a book came to fruition in 2012 when she completed Realm of Deceit a fictional mystery thriller. The story incorporates real settings and a few events that are Debrah s interpretation of reality utilized to emphasize the real feel concept. Centered on two globetrotting seasoned journalists often going undercover and finding themselves in life-threatening situations to get the story Realm of Deceit is steeped in political intrigue and suspense. As a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where Debrah received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Realm of Deceit was featured in the Alumni Magazine Talon Fall 2012 issue. Debrah has several upcoming book signings scheduled in the Mississippi area. She is working on the sequel and hopes to have it finished before 2014 comes to a close. Residing in Diamondhead MS Debrah and her husband Max a Strategic Account Manager at Total Safety have two sons Mark a Sales Engineer for Coastal Process in Holden LA and Scott co-owner of MogoBox. one to be afraid of change. Coupled with her ambition discipline persistence reliability and hard work Debrah has been successful in every field she has ever worked. The desire to own her own company was a natural progression and in 2011 she and her son started MogoBox LLC . MogoBox was the brainchild of my son Scott and was a natural fit to combine our skill sets Debrah said about the start of their eCommerce website. We both love gadgets and gizmos so it seemed natural to start a consumer electronics website which will eventually lead to wholesale distribution. MogoBox is not your typical online retail store but is a MogoExperience consisting of three parts MogoBox MogoBlog and MogoSocial. MogoBox showcases the everbroadening product line of gadgets and electronics retailing portable speakers mobile accessories office tech gadgets toys and novelty gift items including bar accessories and morphing mugs. Product history trivia jokes and stories can be discovered throughout the website product pages. MogoBlog allows people to learn about the newest gadgets and tech entering or already on the market. In MogoSocial followers can submit ideas or requests online then MogoNation (the MogoBox community) will vote and comment on them. And when the products have a large enough following they will be posted to MogoBox. As co-owner Debrah s primary task is business development and product procurement while Scott handles the technical side of the website. They share responsibilities when it comes to financials product mix marketing and promotional 53 National Association of Distinguished Professionals senior mAnAger clinicAl Project leAd gloBAl clinicAl oPerAtions gloBAl registrY oPerAtions Alexion PhArmAceuticAls inc. After losing her job selling forklifts in 1995 Donna Ames was hired as a temporary administrative assistant for the oncology department of a major pharmaceutical company. Fourteen years later Donna had worked her way into a fulltime position as a clinical research associate. She has loved every minute of it. and key opinion leaders the team learns how to best manage the signs and symptoms of particular diseases and how to sustain healthier lives for those suffering with the disease. I hope my work can someday be associated with a cure or control of a horrific disease. I don t need to be mentioned in the literature I just want to know that my contributions have made a difference Donna said. So much time money and energy are spent trying to find the answers that I am confident we are going to get there. I just hope to be a part of that team. Dealing with life threatening diseases and fatalities every day on the job Donna feels it s important to also enjoy life. She works hard and plays harder. Donna ran the Warrior Dash to raise money for St. Jude Children s Research Hospital has been zip-lining has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and even learned how to ride a motorcycle. When she s in the comfort of her own home she s usually reading or doing crossword puzzles. Donna attended Western Connecticut State University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorder and Speech Pathology with a minor in Psychology. She is also a Certified Clinical Research Professional through the Society of Clinical Research Associates. Now divorced Donna is in a relationship with a man she has known since high school. He is retired from the US Air Force and works in quality assurance and shipping logistics for ITD Corporation. Donna has one daughter two stepchildren and three step-grandsons. Donna Ames CLINICAL RESEARCH IS ON THE CUTTING EDGE AND IS ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD. There is always more to learn due to the advancements in technology. It is an ever-growing ever-changing field and I absolutely love it Donna admitted. And the bonus is the knowledge we gain every day improving or saving lives through the work we do. When Donna arrived in the pharmaceutical industry she had limited knowledge of the field and clinical trials. She came into the field with a willingness to learn everything she could from whomever was willing to teach her. Donna found that people enjoy sharing what they know and are happy to assist. At Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Donna works as a project leader with a clinical research team that collects natural history data on patients with two ultra-rare diseases. The information collected allows her team to learn how patients are being treated what happens to them when they are receiving the medication and how that may differ from other medications or therapies. The team looks at the emotional social and financial burdens of disease and how they impact patients not to mention the physical health of each patient. By working with medical institutions medical professionals women of distinction magazine 54 Geri Stephens-Love indePendent consultAnt Avon AFTER RETIRING FROM THE WORKFORCE and helping others see the great business potential. As a Geri Stephens-Love took a year to do all the things she wanted to do that she couldn t when she was working her 9-5 job like going to the beach shopping traveling and taking in a good movie. Though she very much enjoyed the time spent on all these activities Geri eventually felt very isolated and desired to find something more significant to make her feel more productive in life. Not to mention Geri was no longer earning an income and needed some sort of money coming in to support her new lifestyle. Becoming an Independent AVON Sales Leadership Representative was the answer to her prayers. Having never used AVON products before Geri made her very first purchase through an AVON representative. Loving the products and the price point she was intrigued when the representative presented her with an opportunity to become an AVON representative herself and start her own business. Geri researched the company and was pleased with what she learned about their mission to empower women. While I really love and believe in the AVON products I especially love helping people get their own business started and on a path to financial independence Geri admitted as being one of the biggest perks of being an AVON rep. I have started a team with the model of duplication and now have a really great group of people who have become both friends and colleagues. This business has given me the opportunity to support myself help others and make great friends. For the last nine years Geri has been selling AVON products resource for makeup and skincare needs Executive Unit Leader Geri earns income by training and supporting her large team of representatives. She also earns commissions when people buy AVON moisturizers skin care treatments jewelry clothes fashion accessories and many other products. Realizing that it was increasingly difficult to get out into the world to really promote her business Geri had to rethink her approach. She has since taken her business to the Internet and has learned all she could about social media messaging and marketing. The online advantage that her AVON business has experienced since that time is amazing. By taking my business to the Internet I have learned things that every small business owner needs to know about social media messaging and marketing she said. Geri is now helping other small businesses by coaching them on how to grow their business by way of the Internet. She is inspired everyday by people she comes in contact with that recognize their passion and follow it without wavering. She is also an active community leader where she supports many women s charities. 55 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Janet Green Reasons Peer suPPort sPeciAlist communitY FriendshiP inc. FOR JANET GREEN REASONS BATTLING Having a case load of 12 individuals Janet charts weekly MENTAL ILLNESS has been the best and worst struggle notes on members progress based on their respective she has had to face. As a member in the Clerical Unit at Community Friendship Inc. in 1998 Janet felt as if she had lost her dignity respect family children and finances. But it was through the support of both staff and members that Janet started to find hope again and was able to turn her life around. I had been given a lot of encouragement from the staff at Community Friendship Janet said about her recovery. This instilled in me the desire to do the same for others who had lost their hope so I accepted a position working part-time. Janet volunteered her time in the Social Club teaching watercolor and art to the other members. After four months she was asked to submit an application for Assistant Activity Coordinator. So she did and landed the position. Her responsibilities included interacting with the members and attendees of the Social Club and assisting and encouraging them to participate in scheduled activities. She worked in this capacity for three years. In 2001 Janet attended the Certified Peer Specialist training which she completed in three months. By 2007 she had accepted her current position as Peer Support Specialist with Community Friendship Inc. a non-profit psychiatric rehabilitation facility. She s helped create their Peer Center as well as their mission statement vision statement and core values. She interacts with members through learned skills assistance and teaching applications to encourage motivate and guide others using role-play to aid in making better life-changing decisions. goals and compiles a monthly calendar of specific events. She facilitates classes on various topics like anger and stress management budgeting self-esteem fear and forgiveness. These classes help teach methods that show how an individual can best problem solve and cope with the symptoms that can come from mental illness. A true honor her organization was awarded Peer Program of the Year by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network in August 2013. Janet has previously served as a board member and is currently the Vice President. At 63 years old Janet has struggled with depression for 30 years. Although it is becoming easier for her to handle she still feels the pressure of daily life. Having written her first book Not Mental Illness Spiritual Warfare she talks about her experience with mental illness and hopes to have it published soon. Janet loves listening to Christian music and spending time hugging and kissing her granddaughters. She volunteers by feeding the homeless at a shelter once a month and also drives several people each year to the Milledgeville Central State Hospital Cemetery Celebration. I realized there was a reason for my trials and tribulations Janet said. God in his infinite wisdom has turned around what tried to destroy me into something that has worked in my favor and now I am able to help others with their recovery. women of distinction magazine 56 Johnna Stevens rAdiAtion sAFetY mAnAger A lArge worldwide ndt comPAnY AFTER DEVELOPING A CONDITION that left her Johnna s success. The technicians that have to listen to the with sensitivity Johnna Stevens found it necessary to leave the chemistry industry after a 16 year career. As one of the most valued and respected professionals in non-destructive testing (NDT) her brother was the one that first introduced her to the industry. His influence helped her gain employment. And although she had no experience in radiation safety Johnna had the education certifications technical writing skills and experience working in predominately male environments. I ve made it my mission to transform my local division into an exemplary safety model for the rest of the divisions to aspire to become Johnna said about her new role in radiation safety. Through diligent research guidance cooperation and trial and error I am honored to say I have achieved that goal. As Radiation Safety Manager Johnna must train all individuals in specialty procedures for possession use and security of dangerous materials. She is trained and well-versed in hazmat and radiation safety procedures and responsibilities for providing this training to all who are deemed trustworthy and reliable. Johnna also repairs inspects rebuilds and calibrates specialty equipment. Faced with scheduled regulation updates and mandates for additional training Johnna continually seeks out information from state regulatory bodies and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website to stay apprised of changes in committee and probable in being enforced within the next two years. Keeping the flow of information new and presenting regulatory information in new ways has been a large part of training on a regular basis must be challenged to keep their focus and be well-informed to reinforce the importance of safety while she motivates them to use safe work practices. Along with the task of continual training Johnna has the sole responsibility in her division of conducting background checks and submitting fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for criminal history and determining if a candidate is trustworthy and reliable to perform duties that include their possession and use of radioactive materials. Johnna is also required to maintain all sensitive information and personnel records and is the designated person to remain certified in shipping and hazardous materials by air along with International Air Transport Association International Civil Aviation Organization Radioactive certification. As security plans are necessary to secure information and materials Johnna regularly communicates with local law enforcement fire and rescue teams to keep the plans up to date to ensure immediate and proper response. Audits by the Corporate Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) North and South Carolina State Radiation Protection Divisions and the Department of Transportation at regular intervals are performed to ensure compliance in all areas. Johnna works diligently to maintain her programs avoiding noncompliance. Even with tight time constraints budgeting and scheduling issues and interpretation conflicts Johnna upholds the regulations under pressure and loves the challenge her new career presents. She has set the bar high within the Radiation Safety department and expects compliance. The support of her mentor friends and family has kept her strong and diligent. 57 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Julie Treger President chieF executive oFFicer northern rose cAregivers AFTER FINDING OUT THAT HER FATHER HAD Making a good match with client and caregiver is extremely CANCER Julie Treger left her job and relocated to Florida important. They both need to have a connection. Julie to take care of him. As she interviewed hired and fired home caregivers Julie began to realize that there was no training or structure for the caregiving industry. With all that Julie had learned tending to her father s every need she and her sister Kathleen decided to start their own private duty caregiving business after their dad passed away. In 2011 Julie and Kathleen started Northern Rose Caregivers and Julie serves as their President and Chief Executive Officer. Up until recently Julie did all of the daily duties hiring and training of new employees. Now Julie s daughter Christine runs the office while another very trusted employee Kiya and certified nursing assistant does all the hiring and training. But Julie still oversees most aspects especially the networking to get their name exposure in the local community. There is nothing more satisfying than having a client call and tell you how wonderful it is to have a specific caregiver taking care of them Julie said about the perks of running her private duty company. I just want to put a smile on someone s face who thinks there is nothing left for them. Northern Rose Caregivers offer caregivers who are welltrained and carefully screened so clients can trust that they are getting the best possible assistance. Their caregivers provide many services including supervision with bathing dressing medication reminders social interaction meal preparation and light housekeeping. In addition to these services the caregivers are also available to transport the client to activities such as doctor visits or other necessary appointments. instills patience and determination in her employees when caring for and helping clients and works hard to make sure they are a good match for one another. While Julie s father Lawrence Semmerling was the motivation behind starting the company her mother Rose was the inspiration behind the name. Both are now deceased her father in January 2011 and her mother in February 2012. Everything Julie has learned has been instilled by her parents as they were the two most important and influential people in her life. To help her networking efforts Julie is a member of Companion Connections Libertyville Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Professional Women where she received a Woman of the Year Award in 2013. Julie also volunteers with the North Shore Chamber Orchestra five times a year and participates in Alzheimer s and breast cancer walks. She enjoys golf boating bowling and traveling. She and Kathleen take family trips every year most recently vacationing in Jamaica. Married for 15 years to Brad Treger a retired truck driver Julie has one daughter from a former marriage and four grandchildren Keegan Brayden Tessa and Taya. Julie and Brad recently moved to McHenry IL to be closer to her grandchildren who reside in Island Lake IL. women of distinction magazine 58 Dr. Kathryn B. Kemp Author joYFul noise Press DR. KATHRYN B. KEMP BEGAN WRITING AS music deviated from standard hymnal practice by referring A YOUNG GIRL. Her fifth grade poem was published explicitly to the self and one s personal relationship to God in a national poetry anthology and then she began writing and submitting poetry to magazines as a young adult. After retirement Kathryn took to writing again when she was inspired to share the power of gospel music and its message to the world. I knew I had a message to share and I knew the importance of maintaining my personal integrity and purpose while writing Kathryn said. My cancer diagnosis also made me realize that God had a specific timeline for the completion of my work. Feeling the importance of documenting the key figures in the history of gospel music Kathryn s first book Make a Joyful Noise A Brief History of Gospel Music Ministry in America shares the heritage and legacy of Dr. Thomas A. Dorsey and Reverend Dr. James Cleveland. The book also includes interviews with top gospel singers composers and evangelists who have labored in this field of ministry for many years. Reverend Cleveland was a gospel singer musician and composer known all over as the King of Gospel Music and was the driving force behind the creation of the modern gospel sound by incorporating traditional black gospel modern soul pop and jazz in arrangements for mass choirs. Throughout his career Reverend Cleveland won four Grammy Awards and received a star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dr. Dorsey also known as The Father of Black Gospel Music took gospel music and combined Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and blues. His through faith. In order to be true to herself and her writing Kathryn made the decision to have her work self-published. Not only is it difficult to break into the publishing arena without an agent but getting your work into bookstores without being part of a publishing and marketing distribution chain is even tougher. As an author Kathryn wanted to maintain the integrity of her message which took courage determination and selfbelief. Kathryn is also currently teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Chicago Baptist Institute and as a faculty instructor with the Gospel Music Workshop of America Inc. She is a retired educator of 34 years for the Chicago public school system where she worked as a teacher counselor dean and administrator in grades pre-K through 12th. Kathryn is also completing her second book on African American sacred music. When she isn t teaching or writing she is praising God Associate Minister at the Memorial M.B. hurch. 59 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Kimberly Dunn Carolan certiFied christiAn liFe coAch metAmorPhosis kdc llc As a stay-at-home mom wife and community volunteer for many years Kimberly Dunn Carolan made a natural transition by becoming a Christian Life Coach two years ago. After starting classes at the American Association of Christian Counseling and Light University Kimberly discovered a passion of wanting to help women who were going through transitions. My personal experience of living in many parts of the United States having a special needs child being married for 18 years and then going through a divorce had forced me to go through life transitions frequently Kimberly recalls. Although my life has taken many twists and turns I have an underlying theme that drives my existence I have a strong desire to encourage help inspire and build up others. As a life coach Kimberly helps her clients discover their personal best. She helps women discover who they are what their passions are and funnels them all to help them realize their life purpose. Some of her clients have a particular goal or specific change they want made. With Kimberly s help they can meet those desires more efficiently saving precious time and gaining confidence. Specializing in women s issues Kimberly s area of expertise is helping women get through their transitions successfully. She is able to encourage metamorphosis through phases that include growing children the empty nest stage post-divorce raising a special needs child crisis pregnancy post abortion forgiveness and grief. A life coach is different than a therapist Kimberly explains. A therapist helps uncover issues from your past while a life coach meets you where you are now and launches you forward . Kimberly will encourage her clients at their own pace and help them overcome obstacles that have previously held them back. Kimberly s compassion for others in need started when she was young and her parents took in foster babies. She learned that it was important and okay to ask for help and that someone should always be available to help in time of need. Kimberly was fortunate to have her family present in her life providing a stable and loving environment that offered support and inspiration while teaching core values and healthy boundaries. Kimberly recently received her credentials as a Board Certified Master Christian Life Coach through the International Christian Coaching Association. She also holds a Bachelor s Degree in Social Work from Texas Christian University which she earned in 1993. She enjoys taking classes and plans to gain additional qualifications in the future and loves leading seminars and classes about forgiveness Biblical peace and helping women discover their spiritual gifts. In the future she would also like to grow as a conference speaker. With two beautiful teenage daughters Kimberly enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures. She recently cruised the Western Mediterranean and spent a week in Tuscany Italy. Kimberly s oldest daughter enjoys scuba diving and competition with her varsity cheerleading team. Last Year against all odd her younger daughter who has Tuner Syndrome completed the New Jersey Half-Marathon. women of distinction magazine 60 L. J. Jackson MS Founder President PersonAl Power within inc. MANY SUCCESSFUL WOMEN FEEL UNSATISFIED IN THEIR PERSONAL LIFE. They feel like they re not enough so they let their dreams die or don t move to the next level. They are filled with self-hate or insecurities so their relationships suffer and they blame themselves for everything and are depressed unable to take care of themselves emotionally or be fully present for their loved ones. It doesn t have to be this way. This was once L.J. Jackson s story. Having spent many years of her own life riding an emotional rollercoaster hiding her feelings and pretending to be happy knowing just how miserable she really was inside L.J. engaged in destructive behavior and attracted unhealthy and abusive people into her life. After finally realizing that it was time to take action L.J. worked with a mentor and continued her growth until her personal power was restored. Now she wakes up each morning with feelings of hope and joy and teaches others how to do the same. I ve learned that it s never a matter of if a person can grow or change L.J. explained. It s simply a matter of when once their mind is made up to put action behind inspired thought. L.J. has a Bachelor or Arts in Psychology and an Master oif Science in Counseling and Guidance with 19 years of experience and skills learned from some of today s top leaders in the personal development industry. She is proud of her work as a school-based counselor at Bilingual Family Counseling Inc. where she became an expert at providing individual and crisis counseling. She is also honored to have shown 2 000 teenagers how to move past their perceived limitations and go on to pursue careers as doctors lawyers law enforcers engineers and leaders in society as a school guidance counselor at San Bernardino City Unified School District. Since 2004 L.J. has also been helping women see beyond their current circumstances obstacles and perceived limitations allowing them to restore their personal power and reach their desired personal and life goals. She is now excited to have women as the one and only focus of her Personal Power Lifestyle Mentoring Programs. She is also thrilled to be in the process of writing the first of a series of books based on her life experiences and teaching others how to tap into their personal power within . L.J. is a member of the Continental Who s Who of National Business Leaders the National Association of Professional Women the Worthwhile Referral Sources and Women s An avid reader L.J. mostly enjoys books that inspire her and allow her to grow and continue to evolve. To unwind L.J. loves to laugh watch movies spend time with friends and family and dance. 61 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Leticia Montero Rodriguez President montecArlo services inc. AN ENTREPRENEUR BY NATURE Leticia Montero Rodriguez is fueled by the desire for success. And when she has a business idea she finds a way to accomplish it. While running the event department of a cleaning company Leticia realized there was an opportunity for her to grow in the cleaning industry. In 2010 she formed a cleaning business Montecarlo Services Inc. My formal education is in languages and I worked for many years in the import export industry which gave me a strong background in management logistics and coordination Leticia said about what makes her successful in business today. Not to mention the fact that I am persistent organized detail oriented and highly motivated to become stronger in life both mentally and economically. Montecarlo Services specializes in professional commercial and residential janitorial services for homes banks stores and offices and offers additional services such as power washing carpet cleaning and floor care. They also cater to events sport venues cleaning and post-construction cleanup. As Founder and CEO Leticia is responsible for determining the strategic direction for the company negotiating contracts monitoring the company s daily operations and supervising the undertakings of each of its operational units. Leticia focuses on developing healthy relationships with potential clients and concentrates on quality. Recruitment and training of personnel is a vital task she also actively oversees because it is important to have qualified cleaners in order for her business to be successful. For Montecarlo Services to be successful Leticia also recognizes that it takes a lot of hard work. She is always available for her clients and vendors and directs each and every business transaction with professionalism. She is present both mentally and physically to ensure all details are covered and all tasks are completed properly as requested. She is always focused on the end result and does not get distracted by daily activities or obstacles. Living in Cuba Leticia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Advanced Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages or ISPLE Pablo Lafargue as they say in 1984. Shortly after she moved to Bordighera Imperia Italy and earned her Certificate of Computer Operator and Typewriting from Gamma Institute. After spending 20 years in Italy Leticia moved to Miami FL where she earned a Certificate in Immigration Paralegal Studies from Florida Paralegal Institute a Certificate of Attendance for Employment Laws and Management from Human Assets Association Inc. and became a Certified Notary Public Signing Agent and did OSHA training through Miami-Dade College. Leticia is a VIP member of the National Association of Professional Women and member of Business Network International (BNI). She also supports the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes to raise money for research and St. Jude Children s Research Hospital. As an active walker and runner she also participates in other fundraising pro-health organizations throughout the year. She enjoys being outdoors listening to music and spending quality time with friends. women of distinction magazine 62 Marcia Yifan Song owner AcuPuncturist songshine AcuPuncture LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE BIG APPLE Secondly as the practitioner she must treat and make sure on West 21st Street Marcia Yifan Song has been helping patients as an acupuncturist healing one patient at a time. Since opening the doors to her own business Songshine Acupuncture in 2013 Marcia hopes to bring awareness to the masses of the many health benefits of acupuncture. Immigrating to the United States when she was just 10 years old Marcia had to overcome a handful of challenges including learning a new language and getting accustomed to her new life in the States. Following in the footsteps of her mother Marcia wanted to make something of herself. Marcia s mom began working in Oriental medicine in her native country and after getting all of her certifications her mother opened her own practice in Rhode Island bringing along all her skills. So after going back to school to earn her Master s Degree in Chinese Acupuncture from the New England School of Acupuncture Marcia had the option of working for her mom working for someone else or working for herself. When I first entered school I thought I would graduate and work alongside my mom. But deep down I wanted to have my own practice Marcia admitted. I struggled with that conflict for a while. In the end I decided to open my own practice and I m happy I did it though it wasn t easy. Working with my mom would have meant seeing her patients who were used to her techniques and may or may not have liked mine. I didn t want that comparison. Having her own practice also means that Marcia has the freedom to do what she wants. She has a lot of flexibility to grow her business the way she sees fit. But one of the most important aspects of running her business is in marketing and making sure that people are coming in the door. her patients leave feeling better than when they came in. Like the famous poet Maya Angelou once said I ve learned that people will forget what you said people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel . Marcia couldn t have said it better herself and her business literally and figuratively thrives around that single principle. Acupuncture is considered an alternative and holistic approach to medicine. Marcia has been asked time and again Does it really work People often don t believe in it because the media focuses more on western medicine and pharmaceutical drugs. So it s important that Marcia educate clients just as much as she treats them. She believes in herself and what she does and people can see and feel it. Marcia is a member of Acupuncture Society of New York and National Association of Professional Women. Prior to working in the healthcare industry Marcia earned a Bachelor of Business Adminstration from Boston University School of Management and worked as a future operations specialist. In her free time she loves to meditate do yoga swim and travel with her husband who works in finance. 63 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Marilyn Thorpe owner And coAch nexPhAse trAnsitions llc Trinidad and Tobago native Marilyn Thorpe came to the United States 42 years ago. Stepping out of her comfort zone and leaving her family and friends was necessary to broaden her horizons and discover her resilience. After working for 21 years she was ready to transfer her energy time and commitment from being an employee to complete empowerment. Wanting to provide a much needed service that connects others with their purpose Marilyn formed her own business as a life coach in 2006. I truly believe coaching is what I was meant to do. I love helping others reach their dreams by overcoming their barriers Marilyn said about her love of life coaching. As the sole owner of NexPhase Transitions LLC Marilyn is the primary service provider responsible for finding new business products and development. Her coaching focus is in the areas of business development career franchise and life coaching to different markets. A key function that helps to leverage Marilyn s time and resources is the implementation and proper use of technology to keep the business operating efficiently and effectively. She also knows when to outsource certain functions to help streamline business performance and productivity. The transition from employee to entrepreneurship was daunting and there were times Marilyn doubted herself and her ability to be successful. That being said she knew she had to get over that hurdle because going back to a 9-to-5 job was not something she wanted to ever consider again. Initially Marilyn was faced with the challenge of getting enough clients to grow the business and develop and research new products so managing her time and resources was imperative. By participating in mastermind groups working alongside another coach and surrounding herself with positive people Marilyn found success. Through perseverance and creativity not only did Marilyn overcome those obstacles she has used those experiences to develop business coaching programs for her clients. MARILYN IS A VIP WOMAN OF THE YEAR member and President of the Bowie Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women an organization that allows women to interact exchange ideas educate and empower one another. She is also a member of eWomen Network an organization devoted to networking and supporting its members in building and growing their businesses. Because it is important for Marilyn to give back to her community she volunteers for the Sisters for Christ Dream Team. She helps to develop nurture support mentor and coach teenagers to aid them as they transfer into adulthood by developing programs events and educational modules for those many young ladies. Marilyn also volunteers her life coaching services at a local church by way of counseling and coaching ministries and is an active and longtime member with the Christian Women s Leadership Group Washington Metro Area Women s Ministries. Marilyn enjoys playing tennis and is always looking to improve her game. As a lifetime learner she loves to travel and explore other cultures has a passion for reading both fiction and non-fiction material and considers herself an avid amateur gardener. Still living in Maryland today she has been married to her husband for 40 years. women of distinction magazine 64 Marsha Moore reAltor downing FrYe reAltY Author As a child Marsha Moore wanted to become a flight attendant. Upon reaching adulthood she moved from California to Alaska in 1971 and became one. But by 1988 she had decided she was ready to change careers and try something completely different. A friend of hers a realtor was doing very well and Marsha thought If she can do it so can I. Marsha has been a realtor now for 26 years presently at Downing-Frye Realty in Bonita Springs and Naples Florida. My enthusiasm and rewards achieved by assisting my customers with their real estate needs is why I have found success in this field Marsha said. My business is a result of loyal customers and referrals. I have an uncanny ability to connect with buyers and lead them to a home and community that they wouldn t have originally thought of or even thought they wanted. An honest sincere and caring realtor who loves selling dream homes and making her clients dreams come true Marsha uses her networking skills boundless energy and her admitted sixth sense to help all of her clients find their ideal property. She knows when the price is right and in fact won two cars on the television game show The Price Is Right. Active with various organizations including the National Association of Professional Women Marsha was recently voted as their Woman of the Year. She even started her own group known to many locals as the w00-w00 SoulMates . The group has nearly 100 members who meet in an effort to share information and network with each other. Marsha became an author by popular demand. After being diagnosed with sleep apnea two doctors suggested that she lose 20-25 pounds in order to possibly avoid wearing the C-Pap device. After losing 30 pounds in 28 weeks and going from a size 14 to a size 6 she was constantly being asked to share her weight loss secrets. The end result was her writing a book The Shrinking Belt...a No-Brainer To Weight Loss Marsha accomplished her goals eliminating the use of the C-Pap and keeping her 30-pound weight loss off since 2010. Marsha plans on writing another book soon based on the little voices within her all true stories. In addition to selling real estate and writing books Marsha has since invented a tanning product called TanTeaseTM. When she isn t consumed with her work she can be found helping out at her husband s business Gulf Coast Inspections and Testing Radon Mitigations. Her son Jonathan Bush is an office manager for the business. His wife Lydia home schools their boys and is the owner of WEIGHTED SOLUTIONS a company that makes products for children and adults with autism and those with restless leg syndrome. Jonathan Lydia and Marsha s grandsons Lukah 7 and Jaeden 4 just moved to sunny Florida from Louisville KY to live close by. 65 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Patricia J. Hunnybun owner PAmPered Pets & PeoPle llc Monument CO clients are gone. DUBBED AN ANIMAL WHISPERER by her family plants and do all of the little things they may need while her Patricia J. Hunnybun was born with a natural instinct and ability to work with animals. In 1991 Patricia started working with her friends and family s animals pet sitting and training dogs and horses while she ran a large equine stable. Four years later she started her own animal care business Patricia s Pampered Pets which was later renamed Pampered Pets & People LLC. You know the old saying Find something you would do for free and make a career out of it well that s what I did Patricia said enthusiastically. I worked in corporate America for almost 19 years while I was a single parent. When I was financially able I decided to take the risk and pursue my dreams and passion to do what I love. Patricia offers in-home pet sitting so the animals can stay in their own homes with minimal to no exposure to any other animals reducing their risk of injury or illness that could be contracted by other animals. She also adheres to the pets feeding schedules food types and gives them one-on-one personal attention with their familiar toys in their own home environment. She provides play visits exercise and walks in their own neighborhoods to keep them on their regular routine and reduces stress through exercise interaction and engagement. In-home pet sitting gives Patricia s clients added security because their home is not left unattended for long periods of time and she can check on the house while giving it a lived in appearance. She ll also bring in the mail water the To better serve her clients Patricia is certified in Animal Safety CPR and First Aid through the Red Cross. She is an accredited member of ASPCA Pet Sitters International National Association of Pet Sitters her local Chamber of Commerce the Better Business Bureau Professional United Pet Sitters Angie s List (where she happened to win the 2013 Super Service Award) and the National Association of Professional Women who awarded her the 2014 2015 VIP Woman of the Year. Giving back to her local community Patricia donated 10% of the company s earnings between July and September 2013 to help the relief efforts with the Black Forest fire where 486 homes were lost. As a member of the Black Forest Business Group she also helped raise over 3 000 for the fire department who lost a lot of equipment fighting the fire. Loving the wonderful splendor of Mother Nature Patricia and her husband spend a lot of time enjoying wildlife whether in the mountains or by the ocean. They are both certified scuba divers and have taken trips to Belize and Kona HI. Patricia loves horseback riding kayaking traveling and taking road trips too. I live my personal and professional life by the Golden Rule and my business motto is Treating You Your Pets and Your Home as My Own Patricia said. I strive every day to live up to that motto and the Golden Rule. women of distinction magazine 66 Racquel Victoria Singleton-Quiney liFe coAch Author And Poet PisceAn citY WITH A THIRST FOR HELPING WOMEN Racquel Victoria Singleton-Quiney decided that she wanted to pursue a career path where she would be able to do just that. In 2011 Racquel received her life coach certification from Fowler Wainwright International Institute of Professional Life Coaching in an effort to inspire encourage uplift and empower women. My motivation and inspiration has always been my clients Racquel said about life coaching women. I meet with them talk about their goals and plans and give them direction to reach the outcome they desire. I am also my clients personal cheerleader and a great listener. Racquel s role as a life coach not only involves coaching but also all of the administrative work. She contacts clients books appointments and gathers all the information she needs before the coaching actually begins. While Racquel s coaching focus is in the areas of emotions relationships and self-love for women she does not limit herself to just those three components. Her true goal is to change the world by inspiring others through love life creativity and a deep faith in God. In high school Racquel started writing poetry and today her writing and life coaching go hand in hand. With the ability to create poems through her own words and be able to express what s in her heart Racquel finds a true connection between poetry and coaching. Her first book of poetry was published in 2004 by Rain Child Productions. Since that time Racquel has written and published two more books dealing with her experiences in love and loss of love. The first Quotations from the 9 to 5 Woman was published in 2009 through Xlibris and the second Memories and Stages of Love Volume 1 was published in 2012 through AuthorHouse. It speaks of life choices relationships and love. As a life coach and author Racquel keeps her eyes on her goals and never lets the world tell her that she cannot do something. Early on she was faced with people who didn t believe in her or her work but she pushed through and proved them all wrong. By keeping God first in everything she does and through much hard work Racquel has been able to achieve great success as a life coach and author. Before becoming a life coach Racquel worked as a security officer at the MGM Grand Casino and as a customer service and a sales representative in retail for Rave and Sunglass Hut. These positions helped her gain insight as to how to deal with people and clients on an individual level which in turn made her into a better life coach. Racquel enjoys reading psychology books singing and spending time with her family. She likes going to the movies and of course writing poetry. She and her husband Calven Quiney reside in Westland MI with her son Robert who just finished high school in 2014. 67 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Rhonda D. McLain licensed certiFied ProFessionAl midwiFe mclAin midwiFerY & doulA services SINCE RHONDA D. MCLAIN WAS FIVE YEARS LLC. Rhonda had attended approximately 100 births and OLD she knew that she wanted to deliver babies. As many more prenatals at the completion of her classes and she got older that desire grew stronger yet she became disheartened with the doctor patient model. Instead Rhonda desired a more holistic approach. After being introduced to a midwife she realized it was exactly what she had envisioned. And as they say the rest is history . I love what I do Through my training I have learned and developed skills to do so much more than deliver babies Rhonda said about midwifery. I am making a difference by helping women believe in themselves and their bodies. I am trusted to take care of women during their pregnancy as well as keep everyone safe and healthy prenatally during labor and delivery and afterwards . Even though Rhonda was confident that she wanted to be a midwife she decided to go to college anyway. She graduated from Harding University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Management. During her senior year Rhonda worked at a local pediatric clinic Pediatrics Unlimited May of 2008 the clinic hired her full-time as a patient services coordinator. This gave her experience working with insurance companies scheduling patients and handling patients needs that she would eventually bring forth to her own business. Starting Doula training in the Fall of 2009 Rhonda received her Doula Certification and began practicing. She officially began midwifery classes and her apprenticeship in January 2010. During this time she started working as a receptionist and then as office manager at Labors of Love Birth Center apprenticeship. Traveling to California Rhonda passed the North American Registry of Midwives written exam before passing the South Carolina State Oral Exam. In 2012 she was licensed to practice midwifery in South Carolina and a year later she obtained her Certified Professional Midwifery Certification. In 2013 Rhonda formed McLain Midwifery & Doula Services as sole owner responsible for all aspects of the business. She gives all the mothers the option of delivering in their homes or at Labors of Love Birth Center. She enjoys educating the women patients and their partners regarding the beauty of pregnancy and the many amazing aspects of the female body. Whenever a woman can go into labor with a bit more ease and in control Rhonda feels she has done a good job. Rhonda is a member of National Association of Certified Professional Midwives Upstate Birth Network Spartanburg Young Professionals Christian Midwives International and National Association of Professional Women. She is also in the process of earning her Placenta Encapsulation Certification. I want women to be able to have options Rhonda emphasized. If they want to deliver in a hospital great. If they want to deliver in their beds at home I ll be there. But most importantly I want them to be able to make informed decisions that are not based on fear or misinformation. women of distinction magazine 68 Rosalin Denise Marshall chieF executive oFFicer Founder vintAge rose BAttered women s shelter corPorAtion REDEFINING HERSELF AND REPLACING THE VICTIM CARD with self-worth and positive self-esteem is something that Rosalin Denise Marshall battled in her adolescent teenage years. Living as a victim of domestic violence during much of her school years Rosalin went on to work as a Certified Nurse s Assistant (CNA) for the elderly and disabled for more than 30 years. In 1998 she began a new career under the direction of Dr. Al Sorkin who was the director of URDC Choices a day treatment program for women and children suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. I have a strong desire to help other women with children to find a safe place away from their abusers giving them resources and relocation programs away from the abuse Rosalin said. To help plan out their futures without the threat of fear or intimidation and provide a place of solace for them is very comforting for me. As a survivor I ve been given another chance at life to share my stories with other female survivors of domestic violence and to let them know that they are not alone. Rosalin gives much thanks to Dr. Sorkin for helping lay the groundwork and she is forever grateful to him. Eventually retiring himself in 2010 Dr. Sorkin passed away in 2013. A man of great character he worked endless hours seven days a week to come to the aid of the women and their children in his treatment program that Rosalin also participated in back in 1994. When Rosalin first began her journey into the development and formation of her shelter she began by visiting local communities and interviewing women at random from all different ethnic backgrounds. She asked questions pertaining to how they felt about having a shelter in their neighborhood and explained how she would be involved with doctors offices and County Social Services. Now in the process of securing a location and or residence for Vintage Rose Shelter to provide a safe place while trying to also raise funds to lease or rent a home or small office building Rosalin s efforts are making real headway. It takes patience persistence and hard work Rosalin admits. There is always work to be done and appointments to be made in moving forward with the organization but it is worth it. Rosalin is active with the National Association of Professional Women s Pasadena CA chapter. She is also involved with local and private fundraising events that help build funds for the Vintage Rose Shelter and has held several luncheons and workshops on the domestic violence cycle for women. She is hoping to publish her autobiography this year entitled Reminiscing which she began writing in 2003. Growing up in East Orange NJ Rosalin was the youngest of 12 children. She now has three children of her own Asia (23) Elijah (22) and Sampson (21). 69 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Sally Pelletier Moore President executive director Founder Perks n moore inc. SALLY PELLETIER MOORE SPENT 12 YEARS Sally is the Founder and President of Perks n Moore. She AS A CAREGIVER for her mother and then for her is also Executive Director Treasurer Secretary and a fullhusband. Both had suffered from Alzheimer s at a time when very little was known about the disease. Tending to their needs was devastating. It turned her life upside down and inside out stripping Sally of who she was before both of their lives were stolen from her. The devastation was indescribable. time volunteer. To promote Perks n Moore and its services Sally has been invited as a guest 16 times with CLOSE-UP Talk Radio has presented at yearly social work conferences with the National Association of Social Workers and National Association of Christian Social Workers since 2006 and was a keynote speaker for A True Jewel Inc. s First Annual Fundraiser Social Event to support Special Women in Palm Beach County in 2013. Though it took me 14 years after my husband s death to realize my dream of caring for caregivers I knew it was something I needed to do Sally said. I completed the required paperwork and forms and attended start-up business workshops at night and on the weekends. In December 2009 Perks n Moore Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. The novel concept behind Perks n Moore is caring for caregivers. Caregivers identify stress and self-isolation as the most crippling impacts of their lives and respite and emotional support as the two most important and desired services. The Perks n Moore s programs were created based on caregivers ideas to address those needs. Perks n Moore s innovative programs and services go beyond the monthly support group occasional education classes and yearly conference. The programs provide mentoring education support and socialization to all caregivers so they can meet and overcome daily challenges. Their services focus on each caregiver s immediate problem and then focuses on long-term needs. This unique approach offers caregivers a daily gathering place where they can relax and learn simple solutions to everyday challenges. Don t compromise your values and integrity for anyone or anything Sally noted. Trust in God and believe in yourself because nothing is impossible if your goal is beneficial to others. An active member of the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce Boynton Chamber Health Council and the Spirit of Giving Network Sally is the in the process of forming the Collaboration of Caregiver Organizations with two other non-profits that care for parents and guardians of special needs children. She is also the author of two Alzheimer s caregiver s journals entitled One Word An Alzheimer s Caregiver s Journal and Two Tears an Alzheimer s Caregiver s Journal and she is now working to complete Three Hearts Four Joy Five Sorrow and Six Cents . After the death of her husband Sally went back to college to earn her Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Saint Leo University in 2000 and a Master Degree in Social Work from Barry University in 2001 and she became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida in 2009. women of distinction magazine 70 Sara J. Merchant owner sjm solutions llc FOUNDED IN 2012 SJM SOLUTIONS LLC was a result of Sara J. Merchant s wish to run her own online business to earn extra income after retiring. The website has been up and running for more than two years now and is a result of one of her biggest loves cats. Featuring beds furniture carriers litter boxes dishes strollers toys and more for every finicky feline s needs Sara carries many of the top brands in pet supplies at very affordable prices including Big Shrimpy Majestic Sherpa Pet Group Cat Dancer and many many more. She prides in carrying only the best in quality products and features some of the big sellers and special items in a separate category online for quick and easy access. As Founder and Owner of her online business Sara oversees the website upkeep as well as the ordering of products and seeing that each and every customer is happy. She is honest trustworthy and very hardworking and it shows in how she tends to her business and her clients. I stand behind all of my products Sara said confidently. They are all well-known and some of them are even made in the USA. Though Sara s online store only ships products within the United States items that are in stock will ship within 2-5 business days typically via UPS and FedEx but no PO boxes please. Returns are guaranteed for up to 30 days as satisfaction is guaranteed. They also gladly accept Visa MasterCard Discover and PayPal as forms of payment. Once on the site you can log in and create your own account making it that much easier to make future purchases. is also featured on several of the popular social media outlets including Facebook Twitter Pinterest and Google . Sara previously volunteered with the Animal Welfare Association working with the cats. It was a wonderful experience. More recently she has taken up an interest in making handmade greeting cards and giving them away to friends and family for various occasions like birthdays and other special moments in their lives. She also loves to work on puzzle books to pass the time and keep her mind not only occupied but sharp. A married woman Sara and her husband have no children of their own but they have one loving female four-legged feline named Princess that they consider just as special. 71 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Shari Anderson-Mientus indePendent regionAl consultAnt AmBit energY INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT SHARI ANDERSON-MIENTUS is grateful for the phone call she received from her cousin asking her to take a look at a home-based business opportunity that was quickly becoming the 1 retail energy provider. Shari looked into the opportunity and shortly thereafter began her journey with Ambit Energy. Ambit is the perfect business opportunity Shari said. I do not keep inventories deliveries or collections. I am not selling a product I am offering a service that will save customers money and provide an unlimited earning potential for consultants that join the business. Potential customers consist of everyone because everyone unconsciously purchases and habitually uses electricity and or natural gas. Ambit Energy is a network marketing energy service provider based in Dallas TX that provides electricity and natural gas services in deregulated energy markets. Currently Ambit has a marketing presence in 14 states and is determined to reach all 50 states and as well as spreading internationally as markets deregulate. Ambit is a member of the DSA and was named the 1 fastest growing privately-held company in 2010 by Inc. 500. With the utmost professionalism at its core Ambit s goal is to be the finest and most respected retail energy provider in America while its motto is to never sacrifice integrity for growth. Shari says that when a prospect arises she shares the Ambit opportunity explaining to others the potential savings on their monthly energy bills. She also shares the business opportunity with those who are interested in changing their financial future. Ambit is not a get-rich-quick plan but with a consistent and persistent effort the sky is the limit. Shari really enjoys being part of an organization that has been a positive force in her life. The backgrounds of other Ambit consultants are diverse and Shari enjoys meeting other consultants and hearing their stories as to why they became Ambit consultants and hearing their successes. She also networks with fellow consultants when a question arises that she does not have an answer for. Within Ambit everyone is truly looking to assist one another to help grow each other s business even when the end result has no effect on their own business Shari added. With a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University Shari spent the beginning of her work career with Kemper Financial Services. In 1996 she decided to make a dramatic change and became a Firefighter for the Chicago Fire Department before being promoted to engineer emergency medical technician in 2004. Celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary this year Shari and her husband first met in college. They have two adult children one is in the hospitality industry and the other is in healthcare consulting. Shari enjoys working out horseback riding and traveling. She also enjoys meeting new people making her consultant work that much more enjoyable. women of distinction magazine 72 Susan Skoczypiec AdministrAtive secretArY cArteret Police dePArtment owner nAture s BrilliAnce BY sueTM HAVING DEALT WITH MULTIPLE ALLERGIES FOR YEARS Susan Skoczypiec wished to find a line of a certificate from EBay Powerseller in recognition of her outstanding achievement. Susan also has diplomas in Holistic Beauty Therapy and Holistic Herbal Therapy and certificates in Reflexology Aromatherapy Bach Flower Remedies Crystal Healing Nutritional Therapy Herbalism and Business Development for the Alternative Health Therapist. All of these achievements took place through the Natural Health Institute which is based in Canada. When Susan isn t consumed in her own business she also works full-time for the Carteret Police Department as an administrative secretary. There she is responsible for handling the budget purchasing and keeping up to date files. She is also the coordinator of their Neighborhood Watch Group and the National Night-Out Project. She has been with the Department since graduating from high school initially hired after the township received a grant for their crime prevention unit. She began as their clerk typist and was actually the first clerk and woman to work for the Borough Carteret Police Department. Throughout her years Susan also obtained many certificates including Executive and Legal Secretary. natural mineral make-up and organic skin and body care products suitable for all skin types. With a lot of persistence and exhausting research Susan found products that were not only effective but safe even for those like Susan with multiple allergies. In 2007 she took it a step further having founded Nature s Brilliance by SueTM selling products that are 100% natural or organic and have all been tested and approved by Susan herself. It may sound clich but I love what I do and love helping people locate products for their skin tone and skin type Susan admitted. I am a creative person and enjoy making new cosmetic products. Nature s Brilliance is a web-based business located on the East Coast of New Jersey. Susan is the sole proprietor and handles all phases of the business. It has been quite the learning experience but Susan believes in herself her work and her products. After finding the products she wanted to sell and creating her company website Susan then began to produce her own cosmetics free of many of the top food allergens and chemical ingredients. Susan has since become very educated with her own allergies that she is happy to now be able to share her knowledge with customers who suffer from the same issues. IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND THE WORK YOU DO IT WILL SHOW IN THE WAY YOU HANDLE YOURSELF AND OTHERS. I DEVOTE MY ENTIRE SELF TO EVERYTHING Susan is committed to helping her customers. She I WORK ON AND HOPE THAT WHAT I DO treats them with respect and in return they become loyal ALWAYS HELPS PEOPLE IN A POSITIVE WAY. consumers. Susan s online sales have even awarded her 73 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Swapnil Sharma reAltor re mAx dFw AssociAtes SEEKING A CAREER WITH THE FLEXIBILITY through the many obstacles that come with buying and needed to juggle family life Swapnil Sharma decided to become licensed in real estate in 2009. As an agent for RE MAX DFW Associates in Flower Mound TX she gets to work with clients seeking to buy or sell their homes which is very rewarding. Because her clients hope for a pleasant experience Swapnil works hard to transform their dreams into reality. selling real estate on her clients behalf isn t always easy but she always has the best interest of each client. This is what makes Swapnil a successful realtor. Swapnil hopes to make a positive impact on the real estate industry by being known as hardworking caring and an incredible colleague friend and agent. She strives to inspire others the way she has been inspired by professionals such as the CEO and Director of RE MAX Margaret Kelly and Real Estate Coach Tom Ferry. Being a member of the International Real Estate Society Accredited Luxury Home Specialist Veterans Land Board National Association of Women and National Association of Realtors has allowed Swapnil to utilize more resources for her clients and in turn suggest the top homes in their area. She is also active in her online community by starting her own blog and always finds time to update her social networks with real estate tips and articles. Loving all that the city has to offer her family Swapnil lives in Flower Mound TX. Her husband Somesh is a software engineer and provides a great life for her and their children. Amey (9) is showing a large interest in athletics sports and studies and Aarna (4) is creative artistic and has a loving personality. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than helping my clients achieve a home sale quickly with ease and for a better price than they imagined Swapnil said about her career in real estate. As I continue to grow as a real estate professional I see my abilities improving and my clients returning to use my services for their next real estate ventures. Swapnil prides herself on providing excellent services repeat clients and referrals. From showing a home to drafting offers and contracts to scheduling inspections and closing deals Swapnil ensures that her clients are followed up with and feel completely satisfied with the services she provides. To ensure a pleasant and appreciative relationship with her clients Swapnil is always honest and genuine. Though clients may not always love the news she has to give them during the process they still respect and listen to her because she is willing to give them all the facts. Navigating women of distinction magazine 74 Tara M. Lavis PrinciPAl mAck lAvis mArketing llc AFTER A SUCCESSFUL COUPLE OF YEARS IN face of change by embracing it as a positive force and has ADVERTISING and quantitative market research Tara demonstrated most importantly the importance of allies M. Lavis transitioned smoothly into brand management later forming her very own business. This shift placed her at the hub of activity for brands responsible for their short- and long-term success. My career experiences have been both deep and diverse and in each role I have brought value and have been valued for my contributions Tara said about her accomplishments in marketing. As long as I am stimulated at this level I cannot imagine leaving my current line of work. Tara opened a small professional marketing consulting firm Mack Lavis Marketing LLC in 2013. As Principal of the organization Tara is responsible for all operations and business development which she finds both challenging and exhilarating. Through her marketing consulting Tara brings substantial experience in managing programs that convey clarity to complex business issues. These issues range from understanding the business consumer decision making process to designing and implementing high impact marketing and communication programs that target prospective customers with a portfolio of offerings. Crediting her former supervisor and mentor for passing on a great deal of advice to her when it comes to great business practices Tara continuously strives to heed his recommendations daily. Her mentor has also challenged her to form the best solutions even when they aren t the most popular. This has taught her to be resilient in the and loyalty. Willing to do anything within her ethical realm Tara also discovered that she can learn from the smallest of assignments where she s worked on a lean team as well as on priority projects that came with large resources. The professional woman Tara has become over the past few years is amazing. She couldn t imagine doing anything else. However if you asked her two years ago where she d be today she might have said something completely different. Being a small business owner is a dream come true for Tara. Accepting that not every role was an ideal fit her self-reflection has also helped her visualize what roles best leveraged her key skills and interests. She then acknowledged her weaknesses examined herself and developed a plan to turn those weaknesses into strengths a key to her entrepreneurship success today. By reinventing herself Tara was able to brainstorm her values and develop a plan to achieve her goals. She did this by not constricting herself in current paradigms and only after breaking her prior paradigms did bigger and better business opportunities present themselves. Tara s a member of the Institute of Management Consultants and National Association of Professional Women. She volunteers with the Junior League of Greater Princeton and enjoys photography and hiking local trails. I hope people can see that I ve built a successful career only while maintaining my integrity and core values Tara said. 75 National Association of Distinguished Professionals Thelma Allen Stich PhD RN President owner student nurse coAch llc BARELY A TEENAGER Thelma Allen Stich tended to Student Nurse Coach offers an online experience that is her terminally ill grandmother who was dying from stomach cancer. The nurses at the hospital taught Thelma how to change dressings so she could care for her grandmother upon her return home. By the time she was 15 she decided to volunteer in the summer as a candy striper. This is when she really discovered just how fascinating nursing was. By the end of that summer she knew for sure that she was going to study nursing in college. Thelma went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from CUNY Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing in 1980 followed by an Master of Science in Nursing from Wagner College in 1990 a PhD in Nursing from State University of New Jersey in 2001 and then became a legal nurse consultant in 2004 and RN Auditor in 2013. After practicing nursing for 34 years in many different areas of healthcare including acute care ambulatory care drug nursing research and patient education and teaching academe community health and homecare nursing Thelma found herself unemployed. Being physically challenged due to multiple chronic illnesses and after being turned down time and time again in interviews Thelma felt that no one would ever hire her again. That s when she decided to hire herself. In my own small way I am helping one student at a time to become a nurse and alleviate the nursing shortage Thelma said who has been the owner of Student Nurse Coach LLC since 2007. I ve always wanted to make a difference in my profession and it s a blessing that I ve been able to do so many diverse things and still be a nurse. designed to supplement and enhance the nursing student s education. Each student is personally tutored by a teacher in any of the nursing educational programs (Diploma ADN BSN RN to BSN RN to MSN and LPN to RN). The goal is to help the student be successful in a non-threatening nonjudgmental environment. Techniques are utilized to help the student identify important content from nursing textbooks understand test question construction reduce test anxiety improve writing skills and learn effective time management. As President and Owner Thelma makes every decision does all aspects of the budgeting recruitment and retention of students and website content design. I NEVER GAVE UP WHEN NO ONE WANTED TO HIRE ME THELMA ADDED. IT S IMPORTANT TO NEVER STOP BELIEVING IN YOUR ABILITIES. Thelma is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International a guardian for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals a former member of the American Cub Scouts and former team leader for the American Heart Association. Married to husband Charlie for 32 years her life is full when family is nearby. They have two adopted children a son and daughter and two granddaughters that she loves to play with. When Thelma s alone she can be found listening to music reading poetry and reading inspiring stories like We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman. women of distinction magazine 76 Theresa Lynn DiFato Debra D. Schnelle chieF executive oFFicer chieF oPerAtions oFFicer triFectA solutions Theresa Lynn DiFato and Debra D. Schnelle began their careers in the military and were part of the generation of leaders who demonstrated that women could serve their country modeling the highest standards of professionalism and competence. During Lynn s 20 year career in the US Air Force she achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel served as Chief Consultant to the Surgeon General for Infection Control and Deputy Chief for the Chemical Biological Material Division in the Air Force Medical Support Agency Modernization Directorate. Debra entered the US Army Medical Service Corps as Radiation Protection Officer and served as Lead Medical Planner for Chemical Biological and Nuclear Defense for the US Army retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Drawing on their professional and military experiences Lynn and Debra founded Trifecta Solutions in 2010. Committed to developing the strategies and tools necessary to support healthcare transformation they assist organizations in facing rapidly evolving technologies business intelligence tools data and analytic delivery mechanisms by specializing in providing government managers with the information and knowledge they require to make more informed powerful decisions. There is no substitute for working within a medical treatment facility and understanding the challenges of improving processes and procedures while simultaneously serving a large patient population both women agree. In the military we served in one of the largest healthcare systems in the world which helped prepare us for our role in serving federal clients and improve the healthcare experience for veterans military personnel and citizens. Through the services provided by Trifecta Lynn and Debra are intentionally and carefully building a business that will nurture critical thinking and the ability to discern what works and what doesn t work within the healthcare system. The two women are developing a niche expertise in technology assessment and program evaluation believing that objective measures will serve their clients better in the long run. Working together Lynn and Debra define the vision for the company but as business partners they have divided their responsibilities carefully with an eye to leverage their different skill sets. As CEO Lynn leads the company s business development efforts developing and sustaining strategic partnerships with both clients and business partners across the country. She focuses on sustaining an environment within the company that encourages innovation creativity and personal fulfillment. As COO Debra works to develop and improve all of the corporate processes from recruiting talented people to monitoring project performance and defining how work quality will be assessed and monitored. Debra s skills are in research and process improvement and she focuses those skills on ensuring the company is growing and developing as planned. Both Lynn and Debra have contributed multiple publications and several presentations in their area of expertise. Lynn is a member of the National Association for Professional Women and the Association for Professionals in Infectious Control and Epidemiology. Debra is an Incident Commander for the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps where she supports the emergency preparedness effort. 77 National Association of Distinguished Professionals indEx alExis shiPPEn m.Ed. Owner Miracle Vending Mount Laurel NJ ChEryl J. stEWart ann graham Owner Travel For You LLC Pickerington OH cheryl http 614-679-2388 Chief Information Officer B&B Home Improvement Madison WI 608-347-2462 dAwn A. Bluemke barbara l. davis Retired School Nurse RN Stafford Middle School Plattsburgh NY Executive Director Black Diamond Charities Grayslake IL dawnbluemke http 630-772-1794 bianCa silvia Porrino W. deBorAh emmons Founder Owner and Wedding Coordinator BiancaWeddings BiancaWithLove San Diego CA biancaweddings http http 619-313-1823 Owner Deb s Family Vacations Nottingham PA debby http 610-308-6020 deBorAh vezAn bonniE K. bourrEt Notary Public Notary Signing Agent Pro Signature Notary LLC Fort Leonard Wood MO nrbkbourret http 573-855-1516 President Owner Limbkeepers Lyme CT dvezan http 860-304-3250 deBrAh j. husseY Cassandra fEar Owner Fear s Confections Cleveland OH http 216-481-0888 Co-Owner MogoBox LLC Diamondhead MS customerservice http 228-255-7110 844-843-6646 (toll free) donnA Ames CElinE uttaro Owner The Embroidery Company Inc. Edmonton Alberta CAN celine http 780-944-4848 Senior Manager Clinical Project Lead Global Clinical Operations Global Registry Operations Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Cheshire CT http amesd 203-271-8358 geri stePhens-love Independent Consultant AVON Chula Vista CA gerilove http 619-861-8788 lEtiCia montEro rodriguEz President Montecarlo Services Inc. Miami FL info http 786-970-4535 jAnet green reAsons Peer Support Specialist Community Friendship Inc. Atlanta GA jreasons http 404-875-0381 marilyn thorPE Owner and Coach NexPhase Transitions LLC Laurel MD info marilynthorpe http 301-617-0846 Johnna stEvEns Radiation Safety Manager A Large Worldwide NDT Company NC and SC marsha moorE JuliE trEgEr President Chief Executive Officer Northern Rose Caregivers Libertyville IL julie http 847-549-3147 Realtor Downing Frye Realty Author Bonita Springs FL moorefuninthesun marilynthorpe http www.the 239-593-5646 PatriCia J. hunnybun dr. Kathryn b. 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Boynton Beach FL sally http 561-215-8732 thElma allEn stiCh Phd rn President Owner Student Nurse Coach LLC Staten Island NY askdrthelma http 347-983-4606 sara J. mErChant Owner SJM Solutions LLC Magnolia NJ sara.merchant http 856-282-4793 thErEsa lynn difato dEbra d. sChnEllE CEO & COO Trifecta Solutions Reston VA lynn.difato debra.schnelle http shari andErson-miEntus Independent Regional Consultant Ambit Energy Chicago IL mientus23 http http 773-750-9304 susan sKoCzyPiEC Administrative Secretary Carteret Police Department Owner Nature s Brilliance by SueTM Carteret NJ skoczypiecs susan http 732-541-3866 732-742-2999 sWaPnil sharma Realtor RE MAX DFW Associates Flower Mound TX skoczypiecs http 972-402-4115 tara m. lavis Principal Mack Lavis Marketing LLC Princeton NJ tara http 609-619-1406 Call Us (216)481-0888 Check Us Out on Facebook