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WDM Kimberly (Glazier) Leonte PhD Education - Communication and Interpersonal Skills Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Professor Peaches January 2016 Peony Silks(Eastxchange Inc.) was founded in 2013.The main business is focused on various silk products based on Chinese Suzhou embroidery. We have two kinds of products gifts for a dear friend and hand made silk embroidery drawings. We Make Scarves Purses Ornaments Necklaces (650) 289-8393 2 Women of Distinction features WDM 4 21 32 Kimberly (Glazier) Leonte PhD Education - Communication and Interpersonal Skills Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Professor Peaches Chicago IL Online Language Education Co-Founder Academic Director Live Lingua Boston MA Finance (Private Equity) Investment Officer in Private Equity at California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) Sacramento CA Laura Blakney Liliya Kamalova 41 Tina Cantrill 47 Management Consulting Building Sustainable Employee Engagement through Organizational Alignment Organizational Culture Development and Purpose Centered Leadership President Oxford & French Consulting Group Ltd Ottawa Canada Rebecca (Beckie) Jorgensen Leadership Management Training Professional Career Coaching Professional Career Coach Owner of People s Choice Consulting LLC Mesa AZ Kimberly (Glazier) Leonte PhD Education - Communication and Interpersonal Skills Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Professor Peaches Chicago IL K imberly (Glazier) Leonte utilized her strong background in clinical psychology to develop Professor Peaches an extracurricular program in which parents can enroll their elementary school-age children to learn proven lifelong effective verbal communication skills. Professor Peaches also partners with elementary schools by integrating its curriculum into the existing school s coursework. She graduated from Tufts University in 2008 with a Bachelor in Clinical Psychology and worked as a certified residential counselor at McLean Hospital (a Harvard Medical School affiliate) in the obsessive-compulsive disorder unit. Later while earning her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Kimberly also worked as a clinical research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for two years and subsequently as a clinical research assistant at Mount Sinai Medical Center for two years. Additionally she was a counselor at Inter-Care an outpatient substance use treatment program for one year and had one-year externships at Bellevue Hospital Center American Institute for Cognitive Therapy Schwalbe Psychological Services (neuropsychology testing) and Max & Celia Parnes Family & Psychoeducational Services. Kimberly s internship was completed at Rogers Memorial Hospital (Oconomowoc WI) and her postdoctoral fellowship is underway at Rogers Memorial Hospital (Chicago IL). Being able to work with different populations (e.g. anxiety depression OCD learning disorders substance use) and age ranges (young children through older adults) were invaluable experiences. Over the years I began thinking more and more about how great it would be to target these issues before they even start Professor Peaches was born from this vision. Instilling positive verbal communication skills within children from their formative years will enhance their ability to overcome obstacles and be successful in life. Graduates of the program find themselves more articulate even at their young age and are better able to express themselves get along with others and achieve their goals as they grow up. Kimberly now serves as the CEO of Professor Peaches and is actively involved in all aspects spanning from minute details to high-level decisions of the company. However she mainly focuses on course curriculum development sales and marketing strategy setting and overseeing the expansion of Professor Peaches. She currently has 16 articles published and 15 posters presented at national conferences and is actively involved in the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation where she was awarded its Trainee Poster Travel Award for two consecutive years. As a member of both organizations I attend the yearly conferences and have chaired a clinical round table presentation. In addition I was recently asked to (and subsequently did) contribute work to the Misdiagnosis Association and Society. Kimberly even used to play competitive basketball and was recruited to play at the collegiate level. The internal drive I had for the countless hours of practicing basketball is relevant today because that same internal drive propels my passion for Professor Peaches. Moreover I never viewed practicing basketball or my clinical training as work since I love what I do I look forward to learning practicing and refining my abilities. She and her husband (and Co-Founder of Professor Peaches) Stefan were recently married (June 2015). Stefan has worked in the financial industry within the professional services and investment banking areas for the past 10 years. His strong finance background and business management skills along with his volunteer work with elementary school-age children and passion for helping children make him the perfect complement to my own professional background experiences and qualifications. Kimberly and Stefan have a puppy named Dewey a red merle Australian Shepherd. We are so very happy to have him as the first addition to our family Her free time is spent with Stefan and Dewey. They enjoy playing ping-pong (minus the puppy) because Stefan proposed to her while playing with the ring inside the ping-pong ball and taking road trips and going on weekend mini-vacations (with the puppy). Aside from that she likes basketball tennis bike riding reading and writing song lyrics. Kimberly would like to see generations of children that are confident effective and empathic communicators. The skills to become a successful communicator are often overlooked in formal education. Moreover the ever-increasing presence of technology is at the same time decreasing the opportunities for children to learn and practice face-to-face interpersonal skills. She hopes that Professor Peaches will make a difference in children s lives on a global level so that children everywhere will benefit from the advantages of being skilled verbal communicators. My most important responsibilities are to guide the direction of the company and to ensure that Professor Peaches is continually growing and evolving. Her genuine passion for helping others is evident in her work. I love working individually with people to help them build new skills and to set and achieve their goals. Q&A Q How does your background in clinical psychology translate to teaching kids verbal communication through Professor Peaches A My strong background in child development learning styles and the interaction between environmental and biological factors allow me to truly understand and relate to children. My clinical psychology training taught me that when working with children one aspect that is paramount to successful outcomes is including the child s parents or caregivers. Developing strong rapport a genuine understanding of the overall process and a strong collaborative working relationship with both the child and parents is a must. These same core principles apply to teaching kids verbal communication skills and are at the heart of Processor Peaches. Furthermore a critical goal as a therapist is for my clients to continually develop a stronger sense of mastery. The same goal is essential when teaching children verbal communication skills. By promoting mastery children receive both an instant learning benefit and the ability to continually learn develop and succeed long after their time in therapy or at Professor Peaches. Q What are your goals for Professor Peaches A Imparting strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills within children during their formative years provides immense benefits such as increasing self-confidence building stronger family and social relationships and instilling leadership abilities. Since all children benefit from having refined verbal communication skills the vision for Professor Peaches lies at the global level. Children everywhere deserve the very real advantages associated with possessing strong communication abilities. In the longer-term we aim to also help adolescents and adults build and refine their verbal communication skills. Our ultimate goal is to eventually be able to help people across the full age span. Q Why do you believe verbal communication and interpersonal skills are so important A Communication is universal all people regardless of factors such as age gender or race communicate. Moreover irrespective of an individual s life goals interpersonal skills impact one s overall personal and professional success. Even for people who prefer less interpersonal contact it is nearly impossible to never interact with anyone. Verbal communication skills also apply to a wide range of situations like expressing or selling one s ideas interests needs and desires excelling in school obtaining and maintaining a job progressing in your career and developing social and intimate relationships. Everything we do is built upon communication Q What exactly do communication and interpersonal skills really mean A Communication and interpersonal skills in their purest form are how we interact with and are received by others. It also refers to how a person communicates with oneself such as the level of insight and self-awareness into one s own actions and reactions. The actual words a person says is one way that verbal communication occurs. Nonverbals such as body language eye contact and facial expressions also contribute significantly to how an individual and their message are received. Likewise the tone of voice rate and volume of speech impact the quality and effectiveness of one s verbal communication. Additionally communication occurs through the medium of written words and images. Advances in technology are continually increasing the ways for which communication transpires. Individuals who are able to express themselves well across a range of settings are more likely to have healthy relationships and navigate their professional lives successfully. Q To what degree can these skills truly be taught to children A These skills can 100% be taught to children. While some people seem to be born great storytellers amazing public speakers or strong leaders the reality is that becoming a skilled verbal communicator takes time and demands learning and practice. As Mark Twain stated It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech . The attributes that ignite admiration from others when broken down into smaller steps can be learned and mastered by anyone. The first step is to understand the core elements behind what makes an effective communicator the characteristics depend on the context at hand. For example when giving a presentation some key elements include exuding passion for the topic changing the pace throughout the talk and making the audience care about what you are saying. However when meeting someone for the first time the key areas that embody strong interpersonal skills include being an active and empathic listener the ability to ask engaging questions and being able to share information about yourself. After learning the basics the next step is repeated practice to transition the newly acquired skills into habit. Q Can you see Professor Peaches working in school classrooms in parallel with your tutoring centers A Earlier this year we piloted Professor Peaches material in a primary school with two teachers in their classrooms. The feedback from the teachers and their students was exceptional and the ability of the program materials to work in the school setting from the original Professor Peaches Center format strongly supports the idea of developing strategic partnerships with schools. Our goal is helping children develop their verbal communication and interpersonal skills and partnering with schools is a great way to drastically increase the number of children we are able to help. 6 Women of Distinction Q How are you different from your competition A Most children s tutoring programs focus on math reading writing test preparation or the sciences. Of the few communication programs in the market the duration of the programs range from a 1-week-long camp to 10 sessions across five weeks. Brief time-limited trainings can provide a strong understanding of the skills but without continual practice along with targeted feedback true mastery is unlikely. The Professor Peaches curriculum spans from kindergarten through sixth grade the curriculum uses numerous different teaching methods in order to best stimulate learning and the material is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Additionally homework is an important part of Professor Peaches since practicing the skills outside of the class session is essential for transitioning new skills into routine. Another way Professor Peaches stands out from its competition is that most other programs focus on a narrow range of verbal communication skills such as public speaking or presentation abilities. At Professor Peaches we believe that verbal communication and interpersonal abilities manifest in a wide range of scenarios and aim to prepare children to be effective communicators across varied settings. Q How does Professor Peaches measure the children s improvement as they progress through the program A Improvement is measured using a powerful combination of our proprietary assessment matrix plus video footage of the child. An initial assessment ascertains each child s baseline level coming into the program. Regular ongoing assessments track each child s progress and further highlight areas in which the child is excelling and areas in which the child would benefit from additional attention and assistance. Video is a critical tool for us as it provides an objective measure of growth and the insight offered to children from seeing themselves on video is immense. Formal reports are provided and reviewed with both the child and their parents. Q What role has research played in your career thus far and how do you envision it continuing in the future A I ve used research both as a source for knowledge and also as a means for shaping and sharpening my own research hypotheses. The research area that grabs me the most relates to education and training. For one of my studies I designed developed and tested the efficacy of a 30-minute educational training video on OCD. I was also involved in research that assessed the effectiveness of a 3-day workshop for training medical health professionals in the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. For my postdoctoral fellowship I created four psychotherapy group modules and am collecting data on the effectiveness of the following groups communication skills mindfulness skills cognitive skills and behavioral skills. The experience and knowledge gained from my prior research projects set the stage for my passion for program development. The principles and curriculum of Professor Peaches are strategically and systematically built. The researcher part of me knows that quality control and program enhancement can only be done through methodically assessing and analyzing the progress and outcomes of the children which is why Professor Peaches prides itself on using objective measures to track children s progress. Q What is the value of Professor Peaches to children A The skills learned at Professor Peaches are simply invaluable to children and are truly lifelong skills that will continue delivering massive benefits many years after a child has been through our program. At Professor Peaches children learn to overcome the many challenges that impede strong and effective verbal communication. Building verbal communication skills simultaneously enhances one s self-confidence so Professor Peaches indirectly has a strong positive impact on improving children s self-concept. Moreover children s ability to interact with and form positive and healthy relationships with others benefits both their families and society at large. 7 Women of Distinction STRONG COMMUNICATION CHANGES LIVES COMMUNICATION WORKS FOR THOSE WHO WORK AT IT. John Powell HELP BUILD YOUR CHILD S FUTURE TODAY . CONFIDENCE HAPINESS SUCCESS PROFESSOR PEACHES MEET THE EXPERTS Creative Speaking Presentations Social Skills Tone Speeches Body Language Negotiation Listening Expression Eye Contact 8 Women of Distinction Elise S. Sobol EdD Special Education Higher Education Music and Music Education Music Educator Rosemary Kennedy School Adjunct Professor New York University Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music of City University of New York and Long Island University-Post School of Visual and Performing Arts Author Speaker Concert Pianist Wantagh Brooklyn NY U pholding her music teaching philosophy that is deep rooted in the belief that the classroom should be a happy place where all students can feel safe secure and successful in a learning environment where teachers can consistently build student assurance esteem interaction opportunity and understanding Elise S. Sobol EdD has been a music educator for the special needs population for more than 27 years. No matter what the discipline Elise explains that it is the teacher s responsibility to find out how the child learns best. Using evidence-based practice and specific instructional strategies one can then be innovative inside the classroom to optimize each child s success. There are extraordinary learning needs of the special education students I serve Elise explained. In order for students to reach higher levels of cognitive understanding it has been necessary for me to be innovative in designing a music teaching approach that could be inclusive to all. Prior to earning her Master s Degree and New York State public school teaching certificate (1987) she spent several successful years in the music business running a piano studio and early musical development programs for young children. Beginning in 1988 she also began working for the Nassau BOCES Department of Special Education at the Jerusalem Avenue School and currently at the Rosemary Kennedy School in Wantagh New York. As part of a large teaching staff serving high school students age 16-21 with moderate to severe cognitive language delay including autism spectrum disorders Elise must support their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals through music to assist in their meeting grade level expectations. In addition to academic goals her specific tasks are to also help their social emotional development through school wide performance and community outreach opportunities throughout the year. Besides classroom music the students can participate in Glee Club and music ensembles such as guitar keyboard and chime ensembles. To enrich and integrate cultural activities across the curriculum Elise serves as the PTA Cultural Arts co-leader booking appropriate events throughout the year widening the educational horizons for the school wide community. Eleven years into her teaching career at Nassau BOCES Elise expanded her teaching after school hours by accepting a position in 1999 as an adjunct professor in music education at Long Island University-Post School of Visual and Performing Arts. One year later she accepted a position as an adjunct instructor in music in special education at New York University-Steinhardt Department of Music and the Performing Arts Professions. Still teaching at both universities with an additional position at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music Elise is involved in music teacher education and thesis research advisement. Her courses at the universities include Music for Exceptional Children Enhancing Literacy through Music in Special Education Music Foundations for Teaching Special Learners and Music in Special Education. Implementing this concept Elise published her first book in 2001 entitled An Attitude and Approach for Teaching Music to Special Learners. In the book Elise talks about seven foundations for teaching special learners teacher s love of children understanding those with special needs training skill presentation of materials through a reality-based system that uses multisensory techniques active patience and the belief in the positive and possible. Elise has sustained a multi-faceted career in music since her first public piano recital debut at the age of eight. She has worked in artist management publicity promotion and publishing all prior to beginning her careers in both performance and education. 9 Women of Distinction Elise has since written and released additional publications Loud Louder Loudest- Teaching the Dynamics of Life (2004) in Spotlight on Making Music with Special Learners the second and foreign language editions of An Attitude and Approach for Teaching Music to Special Learners (2008) Music Learning in Special Education Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities in MENC Handbook on Research on Music Learning Vol. 2 Application (2011) and Autism Research Music aptitude s effect on developmental academic gains for students with significant cognitive language delays in 2014 among others relevant to her field. Over the course of her career Elise has gained much recognition for her dedication to education. Her international programs Reaching Higher with Music in Education and Building Bridges for Learning with Music first developed for professional development of teachers in Aruba and New Zealand are a part of Elise s brand . Her speeches at international conferences workshops and presentations which showcase progress in the field have helped develop continuing invitations to train teachers and work with other researchers. Her cutting edge autism research is now published through ProQuest and is available worldwide to scholars who are interested in music research concerning individuals with intellectual development disorder. This research opens up new conversations for expectations of contributions of this specific population to our global society. The New York State Education Department has selected Elise as one of five 2015 New York State Teacher of the Year Finalists. She has also earned to date two Music Educator Award nominations from the GRAMMY Recording Industry (2013 2014). She is a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the New York State School Music Association was one of the recipients of the 2005-2006 National Honor Roll (NHR) Outstanding American Teachers Award was nominated for a Women of Distinction Award from the New York State Senate in 2003 earned a Citation of Excellence Award from the New York State Assembly in 1998 a Very Special Arts Award of Honor from VSA and the Office of Accessibility at JFK Center for Performing Arts Washington DC in 1993 in thanks to her support of the Long Island Very Special Arts Festival and her work with students with disabilities and has received several other similar awards and global music contributions for her work. Elise is a member of several organizations that play a role in her background including the National Association of Music Education Nassau Music Educators Association Association for Supervision Curriculum and Development Royal Overseas League Phi Delta Kappa The New York State School Music Association as chair of the Music for Special Leaners since 1993 New York Society for Music Teacher Education as a member-at-large and has sat on their executive board since 2006 International Biographical Centre as an adviser for Arts and Humanities and United Cultural Convention where she previously served as executive director from 2002-09. In Elise s service position for the New York State School Music Association as state chair for Special Leaners she has served as a go-to resource person for lesson design curriculum development assessment evaluation and as a leader to shape the field of music in special education for membership throughout New York state and their affiliated members in other states. The New York State School Music Association is a part of their National Association for Music Education community. Earning an AA in Liberal Arts Studies at Simon s Rock of Bard College in 1971 Elise went on to study Piano Performance at Mannes College of Music from 1971-73 and Theory Studies at Juilliard School from 1973-74. She earned her BA Degree in Music and Arts in Education at the New School for Social Research followed by her MA Degree in Music and Music Education at Teachers College Columbia University in 1987. Elise then acquired 60 post-graduate credits in diverse special education topics from 1988-2010 before ultimately earning her Doctorate of Education in Instructional Leadership and Curriculum Development from St. John s University in 2014. She holds several teaching certifications as well including a Response to the Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate. Although Elise is deeply involved and dedicated to her work her biggest most profound and joyous role has been in being a mother. All grown up her two sons are now 34- and 32-years-old. They share a passion all their own as coowners of a music promotion and production company called Sobolbros LLC. Individually they both maintain full-time careers outside of their business. Married with four young children Marlon is the manager of the Center of Music and Neurologic Function at the Schnurmacher Rehabilitation and Nursing Center of Center Light Health Systems White Plains New York while Aaron is a vice-president and partner of Integrated Investment Media UM-McCann Worldwide in New York. We as teachers can never underestimate the power we have to positively shape a child s life Elise said lastly. Every child can and should have school success. Every human being processes information differently and is unique in his her learning style whether designated in special education or not. When I came into this world I weighed just 2.2.pounds and on many levels I ve fought every day to survive. Grateful for each blessing I feel obligated to continue my work with those children who cannot advocate for themselves. Beginning each day in prayer Elise keeps a daily journal for reflection. She exercises every day and has a nutritionist that works with her to keep healthy. Although both of her parents are now deceased she still keeps a circle of elder friends whom she really cherishes and she makes every effort to see them on a regular basis. Also taking time out of her hectic schedule to spend time with her friends and family she always enjoys attending and participating in cultural arts performance dance and theater events. Q&A Q Why should one go into music teaching A It is a most rewarding profession that has a wide and lasting impact on influencing the growth and development of a student and his her life course. Q When should music training begin A Music is our birthright. Music rhythmic and melodic training begins in utero with the mother s heartbeat and respiration baby rocking back and forth in a steady pulse growing inside the protective waters of the womb. To keep progress with this natural development early musical training can begin at the Pre-K level. However it may begin at any stage of one s life and be beneficial. Q Is dual certification in music and special education recommended for new teachers who want to work with students with exceptionalities in the schools A At the university level I recommend that my students who have earned their undergraduate degree in music education pursue their Master s in Special Education. For those students who have earned their undergraduate music therapy degrees to work in the public schools I recommend that they earn their Master s in Music Education. Q What type of internships fieldwork experience is available in music in special education settings A More and more there are internships available in the field non-paid or paid. Gathering this type of information is part of the work that I do as State Chairperson Music for Special Learners as a resource to New York State School Music Association membership. The internship experience is an invaluable prelude to see if one is cut out to work in the field. Q How important is it to belong to professional educational organizations A This is absolutely basic to becoming experienced. One cannot develop in a vacuum. Through visibility innovation can develop. Leadership shapes the future of the profession. Q Can you describe original quotations borne from your work teaching and reaching exceptional learners A Yes. The following are a part of the section called Pearls and Roses (my birthstone and flower) in my 2008 Sobol text An Attitude and Approach for Teaching Music to Special Learners 2nd Edition. Lanham Md Rowman and Littlefield Education in partnership with National Association for Music Education 97-100. Q I noticed that in your biography you mention that you have had careers in other aspects of the music business such as artist management publishing and promotion. How has this helped you as an educator performer and educational leader A This is a very good question because there is business to tend to in all professions. Every skill from handling paperwork and pressure multi-tasking working with people with different personalities booking events organizing meeting agendas producing shows at school rehearsal techniques et al are strengthened by my previous work. I confidently can say that my extensive experience in the music industry has helped me succeed in all my educational activities. Q Can strategies for learning a musical instrument help students to master other skills A In order to successfully practice and bring instrumental performance to a mastery level strategies used in special education called task analysis are employed. First then next finished (all done) is an organizational technique that allows a student to have success step-by-step. Building upon what one can do is key to advancing in the field. This proactive positive attitude of building upon strength to strength allows steady progress with any skill no matter how slow or fast the pace is of accomplishment. Q Does Music Literacy Enhance ELA and Math Skills A Yes. Developing music reading skills for directionality left to right top to bottom and return sweep help students develop concepts in print. My doctoral research topic was to show how music aptitude (the natural ability to differentiate tones and rhythms) has a positive effect on the developmental and academic gains for students with significant cognitive language delay. A three-pronged process was used to build basic skills in math. Since a literate society raises the levels of responsible citizenship it is wonderfully fun that music and all of its attributes pitch rhythm harmony form dynamics tempo can be integrated across the curriculum to assist all learners advance in English Language Arts and Core Math Standards. 11 Women of Distinction Q How do you select repertoire for your concert programs A Solo repertoire has to be meaningful for me to spend time practicing. The meaning for me comes if there s something about a piece that can enhance the audience s knowledge and appreciation of the composer as a human. What was his her state of mind What message is the piece conveying Does it mark an historical moment or does it transcend all time For years I performed a program entitled A Gentlewoman s Pursuit . It was named after a long-playing record that I saw one time visiting historic Williamsburg. The core of the program was what happened when the pursuit of the 19th century woman became a passion. Works programmed were by prominent female composers such as Fanny Mendelssohn Clara Schumann and Cecil Chaminade. My next concert recital will be in Edinburgh Scotland in June 2015. Repertoire planning is underway and for me the music has to connect to the audience attending. There is no greater lively art than music for bringing out the learning potential of a student. My most important function is to bring my students to a happy place in music where they feel safe secure and successful. Special learners can see a world of wonder challenging us to extend our own human potential. Dealing with cognitive and affective functions music provides language for communication and development of self-expression. Music is a language beyond words. It is mathematics in process and progress. It is the science of sound and a study of history and cultures. It is architecture of form and geometry of design. Music is an essential part of healing giving power to the will to succeed. Inside each and every child is a perfect human soul with unlimited potential locked up needing to be set free to find his or her ultimate power of expression but it depends upon your own understanding. It depends upon Y.O.U. The microphone and the video camera are indispensable teaching aids for the special learner. They help mold instill a sense of pride and accomplishment and help show musical talents not usually recognized. These tools are empowering for the education of the child with special needs. Music education can profoundly affect the mental health and welfare of the students by teaching about peace harmony beauty calm silence love and laughter. See with your soul hear with your heart touch with the gifts that you have each been given. 12 Women of Distinction Dr. Euraina Barnes Mental Health Owner CHOICES Queens NY 14 Women of Distinction E arning her BA in Art History from Empire State College in 1998 Dr. Euraina Barnes went on to pursue her MA in Counseling Psychology with a transpersonal psychology specialization at Vermont College at Norwich University two years later. At the time it was not required to have a license to become a professional counselor so in 2000 she went into private practice for herself. Since then Euraina has worked as a mental health counselor at SCAN-New York for those who have been affected by 9 11 as a Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted (MICA) therapist at Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling as a licensed mental health counselor at FEGS Project Cope and as a program director program coordinator and intake coordinator at Hands Across Long Island. In May 2014 she completed her MD of Alternative Medicine through the Indian Board of Alternative Medicine (IBAM) and is now a PhD Candidate of Education at North Central University since 2008 concentrating in organizational leadership with plans to graduate in the summer of 2015. Presently in its development stages Euraina has founded CHOICES a mental health counseling facility located in Queens New York that includes many components such that it delivers a comprehensive program for anyone who chooses to use it. Including programs such as On-Line Therapy Anger Management Spiritual Development Cognitive Remediation Mental Health Counseling Trauma Therapy Conflict Resolution and Consultations. Euraina also serves as a mentor and has partners who contract with her to do substance abuse counseling marriage and family therapy as well as a wellness self-management program as she develops a travelling wellness program. She is also planning to take on an acupuncturist on board to offer Auricular Acupuncture to clients. I am a lifetime student. I love to learn Euraina admits about herself. I don t fit into a box so it s hard to categorize me. My love for alternative studies has taught me to go beyond self. That is exactly what transpersonal theory is. I love watching people have their own a-ha moment. That is what counseling is Euraina said about the many benefits of working in this field. As a therapist we are there to provide possible outcomes of the choices that the patient makes. The session should never be about what the therapist thinks you should do. In Euraina s opinion learning how to listen be apathetic and compassionate are fundamental qualities a counselor must possess in order to successfully work in mental health. She knows this to be true as she has supervised students who both excelled and struggled. She cannot stress the amount of patience and empathy that is necessary in order to be able to efficiently provide the proper guidance and support to those going through counseling. Having a good mentor to guide you on your path is also essential. Dr. William Sutton who has personally guided Euraina throughout her career began working with her when she started her master s degree program at Vermont College. He tutored her pushed her when she needed to be pushed and most of all spent time talking with her about the very complex field. He is like a second dad to her. Euraina has also been blessed to have loving family there to support her as well. Her Aunt Wilhelmenia was probably her biggest cheerleader. Whenever Euraina would get discouraged she would always tell her You can do this . When she walked in her cap and gown the very first time for her undergrad her aunt was the loudest one cheering her on. More than anything though it was Euraina s brother Ray who was probably her biggest influence when it comes to working in mental health. Ray served 30 years in prison. During the duration of his time served he earned two bachelor degrees and was part of a movement for helping at-risk youth. After his release from prison he worked as a case manager for a non-profit organization helping those who needed support. Her brother passed away in 2012. My brother and I had a long talk as he travelled through his end of life preparation Euraina said. He said Sis the answer to life is love . Through love everything is conquered. Everyone works to put their fingerprints on something in life. What is your fingerprint going to be Euraina never got into this profession for the money. Instead she followed her heart. Social services is something that offers different levels of program specifics such as social work or mental health counseling. She was lucky enough to have the chance to work with people who had been diagnosed with mental illness and were chemically addicted. This population of people is one of the most challenging to work with in terms of their behavior. It begs the question Which came first the addiction or the mental health issues Although she doesn t have a title just yet Euraina is in the process of writing a self-help book. It has been a few years in the making and she hopes to complete it real soon. She is a member of several organizations relevant to her field including the American Psychological Association National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) American Counseling Association as well as the National Association of Distinguished Professionals. She is also a lifetime registered medical practitioner of IBAM. Euraina has made presentations numerous times over the last few years including Personalized Recovery Oriented Services within a Peer-Run Organization at Creedmoor Hospital in 2011 Personalized Recovery Oriented Services within a Peer-Run Organization at Queens Mental Health Council in 2011 Personalized Recovery Oriented Services with a Peer-Run Organization at National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2011 and as a panel presenter on Integrating Peers into the Workplace at The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies Inc. in 2013. On October 19 2014 Euraina was asked to do a radio show called Voices Beyond the Wall at Vassar College. Discussions included alternative therapies forensics and mental illness and how an incarcerated family member affects others they leave behind. Euraina was a Certified School Counselor through New York State Department of Education and Certified Doctorate of Addictions I through National Association of Drug and Alcohol Interventionists. She is a licensed mental health counselor through the state of New York Certified Acu-Detox Specialist through National Acupuncture Detoxification Association Certified Hypnotherapist through The International Association of Counselors and Therapists and a SecondDegree Reiki Practitioner under Patricia Bono. For years she has worked in the field of trauma addictions mental health and recovery. She has been trained in understanding and navigating the criminal justice system in New York City as well as in anger management social cognition interactive training motivational interviewing smoking cessation family psycho education training and compassion fatigue. In a committed relationship Euraina has been a single mother for many years. Now as her daughter prepares for graduation in May 2015 with plans to pursue her master s degree in fashion journalism Euraina couldn t be more proud. Euraina s father who has been living with her for the past seven years due to health issues consistently provides her with his many words of wisdom and she is grateful for that too. Growing up with four brothers and two foster sisters they all reside in different parts of New York with the exception of two of her brothers Ray and Alexander who both lost their battle with cancer. Recently Euraina started her own wine collection. She is learning how to taste wines pair them with desserts and enjoys sharing the experience with friends and family. It is a great way to get everyone to come together and enjoy one another s company. We as humans are multifaceted Euraina said lastly. We are limitless. There are so many times that we place glass ceilings on ourselves out of fear. Fear is the response to physical or emotional danger which can save your life but can also leave you powerless. Step out of fear and step into your life. Q&A Q Why is mental health care necessary A Access to mental health care is worse than other types of medical services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2010 that the country had 156 300 mental health counselors. Access to mental health professionals is worse than for other types of doctors 89.3 million Americans live in federallydesignated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas compared to 55.3 million Americans living in similarlydesignated primary-care shortage areas and 44.6 million in dental health shortage areas. Q Why are people not going to receive services A Mental health care is expensive with 45% of the untreated people stating that cost as a barrier to them receiving help. Majority of people who do have some form of health insurance coverage may have limitation of services for mental health care. Q If I go to see a therapist does this mean I m crazy A Attitudes and stigma about mental health service is a big barrier to care. Going to a therapist should not have the social awkwardness that people carry as badge of shame. The shame is not getting the help YOU deserve to be safe and healthy. Q What makes the mental health care system effective A The key to positive outcomes in receiving services at the end of the day lies in the readiness of the person to trust their medical doctors are there to help being able to accept help and most importantly be honest about your behaviors and symptoms. Q Where can I learn about types of mental health treatment A One place you can go to is The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America s communities. They also may have local offices near your city. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another organization for help. Programs and services help people whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. At you can find the help you or a love one needs. Q Why are so many mentally ill people ending up behind bars A Many people struggle with their symptoms and sometimes their symptoms go unnoticed and untreated. Have you ever tried to make healthy decisions when you are under stress Everyone responds to stressors differently. When someone is symptomatic making sound healthy decisions are difficult and the outcome can be dangerous. The other issues that remain the same are so many mental health hospitals are closing down throughout the country and people not having access to appropriate treatment or recovery options due to the lack of funding. These are some of the reasons for recidivism. Q What can I do as a citizen to pressure for improving the care and treatment of the mentally ill especially those in prisons and jails A On the national level we can contact our congressional representatives and senators. On the local level we can contact our state and local governments or our state s Department of Corrections. We need to make sure that programs are funded to help those in need. The funding for programs is getting smaller and smaller each year. There are people out there doing great work but the lack of funding causes them to close their doors. Q How can ethical duties to respect privacy and maintain confidentiality are met A Identifiable medical records should not be marked in a way that makes it obvious that they contain psychiatric records. Only the minimal information needed for emergency treatment should be recorded and disclosed (please refer to HIPPA). Q What does it mean to have a mental illness A Mental illnesses are a medical condition that interrupts a person s thinking emotion disposition capacity to relate to others and everyday functioning. A mental health issue is just as organic as someone who has diabetes. Diabetes is a medical disorder of the pancreas. Mental illness is the diminished ability to cope appropriately with normal life stresses. Q What causes mental illness A The exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known. Through research it suggests that many mental health issues are caused by a combination of psychological biological and environmental factors. Jody Hyun Agustsson Arts Entertainment Studio Artist Lomita CA J ody Hyun Agustsson has made a lifetime career out of art drawing and painting. She was born in Los Angeles CA the daughter of parents who were artists and musicians. I was inspired by my parents. My father graduated from Chouinard s Art Institute. He also played the piano. And mother was an artist who also played the violin. My parents painted with a group of artists in Los Angeles under the direction of Stanton McDonald Wright. Another member of this painting group was Pauline Majoli Khuri. Pauline later became one of my drawing painting art professors at Loyola Marymount University. I also drew inspiration from Charles M. Thompson Ed.D (Chair) and my mentor professor while I attended California State University Long Beach. Charles encouraged me to write a thesis and have a drawing exhibition titled Interior Abstractions . Jody earned a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola Marymount University and a Master of Arts from California State University Long Beach. It was during this time (May 1981) when I presented a Master of Arts Exhibition titled Interior Abstraction which consisted of 14 drawings. I was influenced by solutions that were developed with selected linear and value combinations. My drawing themes follow anti-classical ideas with line remaining the vital core of each statement. My purpose is to create structures which are subjective personal interpretations and to integrate them by the dynamic use of line in multiple view images. I perceive a field in which abstract experiences can be realized through the use of line in multiple view images and can be equally removed from naturalism and abstraction but which unites and embodies both domains. The multiple view method attempts such a fusion. George Braque s change of scale and his multiple view technique were influences on Jody s work. Ben Nicholson whose work offered pictorial possibilities within another generation and timeframe was also an influence. With a masterful linear style Ben Nicholson developed the ideas of Synthetic Cubism and Purism and demonstrated the richness of their pictorial possibilities. Ben Nicholson used multiple view line with shape silhouettes and time space juxtaposition. During my Master of Arts program I was influenced by solutions that were developed with selected linear and value combinations. My drawing themes follow anti-classical ideas with line remaining the vital core of each statement. My purpose is to create structures which are subjective personal interpretations and to integrate them by the dynamic use of line in multiple view images. I perceive a field in which abstract experiences can be realized through the use of line in multiple view images and can be equally removed from naturalism and abstraction but which unites and embodies both domains. The multiple view method attempts such a fusion. After the master of Arts exhibition Jody exhibited her drawings and paintings locally nationally and internationally. Jody s art work is related to other areas of art such as music theater and ballet.. Art is an all-encompassing yet ever-changing language of energy. Art is the life force of creativity and personal vision. It is simply a way of life. As the daughter of parents who were artists and musicians I explored a lifelong career in art drawing and painting that has resulted in a joyous experience and lifetime of being able to master my craft. Her advice for anyone looking to become an artist is that they should be classically trained. Great artists take the time to learn their art history. They know that contemporary art does not live in a bubble and they honor the legacy of those who came before them. It is important to never stop learning to learn about the issues facing your medium or mediums today and to understand your subject matter inside and out. We live in an age of technology. There are benefits to technology. However I sometimes feel as if art has become less. The fast paced gimmicks of digital cameras videos websites etc. somehow diminish the value of the artist to master their craft. It questions if the artist is creating the work or if the technology is creating the artist. That is why I would prefer to publish my art catalog in book format when it is completed. Q&A Q What do you believe the justification of your art work to be A My art work is perceived as a field in which abstract experiences can be realized through the use of objective elements of form. It is my goal to build a picture enriched with the inherent beauty and lyricism of the objects I perceive. Q What is your method A My method for finding beauty is to create art which is equally removed from naturalism and abstraction but which unites and embodies both domains. The multiple view method attempts such a fusion. Q What are multiple viewpoints A Representation of volume and space without anchoring the spectator to a single field of view. Q What are found environments A Environments which were not arranged by the artist but were discovered as they exist in nature. Q What is your drawing method A Each drawing is executed by movements from the shoulder. With this approach the arm wrist and hand are left continuously free for motion. The pencil literally becomes an extension of the fingers and drawing is a more introspective process. The goal is to attain a quality of line that does not fall become rigid or lose its lyricism and beauty. Q Do you have a favorite technique A I like to mix techniques and mediums. Drawing with graphite pencil is one of my favorite techniques. I can evoke a symbolic sense of mystery through which I can derive my own personal response to the linear statement. Watercolor is another favorite technique. I like the transparency of color the spontaneous movement and the naturalism. Q What is your favorite genre A I prefer to depict scenes or events from everyday life. Q Do you prefer to work in the morning or evening hours to create art work A I prefer to work in the morning so that I can utilize the natural light. Q Do you create your art work in parallel or do you prefer to create art work one after the other A I prefer to create art work in parallel. Q Do you accept commission work A Yes I will accept commission work. 20 Women of Distinction Laura Blakney Online Language Education Co-Founder Academic Director Live Lingua Boston MA B eginning her career in Mexico in 1999 as a Spanish and English language teacher Laura Blakney studied and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Teaching in both Spanish and English as a Second Language at the Universidad de Morelos. Moving into administrative roles at different schools and organizations after teaching at Universidad Internaci nal Sol xico Spanish School and as a volunteer teacher for the US Peace Corps Laura co-founded Quer taro Language School in Quer taro Mexico in 2008 before selling it in 2013. That same year she also cofounded with her husband which has been in existence for more than six years now. Working out of both Boston Massachusetts and Quer taro Mexico as co-founder and academic director Laura travels quite often back and forth but she simply loves the teaching aspect of the business. She knew she wanted to teach since she was just five-years-old and it has been a dream come true. Starting Live Lingua with her husband Laura s official title is academic director. It is an all-encompassing title that essentially means that she is responsible for anything related to the teachers or the students. She personally interviews all new teachers and picks the ones who are the best fit. She provides training for teachers who need it generally on the technology side of things and also works with teachers and students to come up with custom study plans on a studentby-student basis. She regularly evaluates student progress based on teacher reports as well and steps in to help if necessary in order to help them break through a plateau. I can t imagine ever retiring from teaching in the conventional sense Laura said honestly. I will keep teaching for as long as my body and mind lets me. I still wake up every morning and cannot wait to get started. Even though I mainly do administrative work these days I always make sure that I personally teach two to three students at Live Lingua in order to keep myself up to date. At Live Lingua we have been aware since day one that the teachers are the key factor in language education Laura added. Technology changes year by year but a great teacher is always a great teacher. So my main responsibility is to make sure they are able to do theirs. 21 Women of Distinction When it comes to keeping focused Laura always has a lot of ideas stirring in her head. While most of them usually sound great at the time she has come to the understanding that she is only one person and she cannot tackle all of them at once. Even though she has a fantastic staff to support her she still likes to begin all projects or at least build the groundwork by herself. In the very beginning it led her to start a lot of projects with only few of them reaching completion. She has learned to focus more and work on one at a time from start to finish before moving on to the next making way for a less hectic workday and better results. This new way of doing things has served her very well. Coming from two very different backgrounds both professionally and personally Laura a teacher and her business partner husband Ray a software engineer are sometimes challenged when it comes to finding a common ground when trying to solve business issues. But somehow they have managed to pull together every time to form a great working relationship and both of them bring great abilities to the table reaching great compromises on almost every issue. Likewise the education portion can be tricky. You will have good days and bad days. Laura admits that some students can be awful not to mention complaining parents and restrictive bureaucracy. But those teachers who love what they do can easily look past the bad to appreciate the one student whose life they have changed forever or the student who says thank you for that has been done for him or her. Keeping focused on the bigger picture as an educator is always worth it in the end. Teaching in general and teaching languages in particular is all about providing people with different ways of understanding and communicating with each other Laura noted. I strive to help others understand each other better and I believe that this is the only path to making the world a better place. Married without children Laura and Ray have a black Labrador mix that enjoys the run of the house. Living half of the year in Boston Massachusetts where their main office is and the other half in Queretaro Mexico where their Latin American offices are located there is never a dull moment for either of them. I had a teacher in college who still inspire me to this day even though we are no longer in touch with each other Laura said with great fondness. She had escaped from Cuba and came to Mexico to teach us. Even though the school had strict government mandated material to go over she would always find ways to add material to her classes that were useful for us and that we could actually use in our careers after graduating. I still aspire to be like her and to find new ways of teaching that works. Balancing her career with her personal life Laura spends a lot of time sweating it out doing fitness related activities. She goes to the gym every workday and does yoga three times per week. She believes that exercise is important because in today s world we are all sacrificing family and health for work when it should be the other way around. She makes sure to spend at least an hour a day taking care of herself and thinks that everybody who works with her benefits from her efforts as a result since it makes her healthier and less stressed on the job. Laura also volunteers the little time she has leftover by giving English lessons at her church and at a local school for the deaf. Q&A Q Why did you start Live Lingua A Live Lingua was actually just a spin-off of a brick and mortar language school I had founded. We started offering Skype Spanish lessons out of that school and within six months our online classes were bigger than our physical ones. Q Are you worried about technology making live language teachers obsolete A No in fact the contrary. We are seeing that students are realizing that the gimmicks of the language learning software and courses that teach you a language in 30 days are exactly that a gimmick. And they are coming back to the traditional way of learning from live teachers. Q Which of the languages that you offer is in the most demand A Spanish. One of the primary reasons for this is the growth in Spanish speakers in the US and Canada. Q Where do you see Live Lingua in five years A Our goal is to focus on quality not quantity. As a school that offers live online classes we cannot scale up to 10 000 students overnight. We realize that. So our goal is to be the best at matching up teachers and students and providing them top quality service. Q Do you plan on adding other languages to the ones you offer A Yes. We plan on adding two languages a year starting this year. We don t want to grow faster than that because we want to be able to guarantee that we can get great teachers on board before growing any more. Q Outside of teaching languages what do you like to do A I love to cook. I actually also offer Mexican cooking class out of my home in Mexico for tourist from around the world whenever I have the time. Q Do you have any other businesses A Yes. I also run a niche travel agency called Teach Me Mexico (http It is a complimentary business to Live Lingua. In Live Lingua we offer language immersion online. With Teach Me Mexico we help arrange language immersion in person. Q If you weren t a teacher what would you be A I can t imagine being anything but a teacher. I may have taught something else but I think I would always be teaching. Q What was a life changing experience in your life in relation to career A One of the most life changing experience in my life was the year abroad I did in the US. I studied at the University of Texas Austin. Not only was that the year I learned English it also showed me what great education looked like. Q What is on your life s bucket list A I would like to get my PhD in education and then have an opportunity to teach on each continent to get exposed to different teaching and learning styles. 23 Women of Distinction What do all language students learners scholars students have in common Nothing How you learn is different from everybody else. That is why it is impossible for most people to fully learn a language using a book software or audio course no matter how fancy they are. At Live Lingua you work 1-on-1 with a professional teacher that customizes a curriculum to you. Email info Skype live.lingua (339) 499-4377 Margaret Lupyan S Professional Writing Service Personal Histories Company Histories Tribute Books Manuscript Assistance Coaching Principal Memoirs Unlimited Chagrin Falls OH panning more than three decades Margaret Lupyan s career in writing has afforded her the opportunity to work on a variety of writing projects both creative and technical. Having spent many years in corporate communications she decided to focus on what she really enjoyed writing biographies and histories. Officially launched in January 2000 Memoirs Unlimited has been a wonderful source for documenting personal histories company histories legacy statements and other special projects such as heritage recipe books family sports archives oral histories tribute books and celebration booklets. My legacy truly will be one of helping others create their own Margaret admits. I hope to produce as many personal histories as possible before I decide to retire. I m an introvert who really likes people This is what makes what I do so perfect. I enjoy meeting a variety of clients but I am also very comfortable spending hours alone working on a memoir. Memoirs Unlimited charges by the hour so the cost of a personal history will vary based on the length of the story and the amount of detail that goes into each piece. The length of time it will take Margaret to complete the project will also vary but clients are always welcome to check in on its progress by reviewing drafts. Margaret typically conducts weekly sessions with clients that last for approximately one hour and are held at the client s home or their place of business. Located in Chagrin Falls a town in northeast Ohio it is preferable but not necessary to have face-to-face interviews. Interviews can also be conducted over the phone and or by email. She will interview each client for up to a period of six months before transcribing the recorded sessions weaving them into chronological order to create story structure. Drafts are later submitted to clients giving them the opportunity to add change or delete content. Clients also receive final drafts at completion. If a client does not desire their memoir in book form they have the option of receiving their project unbound and placed in a folder or are provided a copy of the recorded interview sessions and transcriptions. 25 Women of Distinction Because what Margaret does for a living is very specialized the contribution she makes in her field is in publicizing it. In fact she even hopes to work with educators this year at the high school level to help create a lesson plan for memoir writing. The thought of students being interested in recording a memoir particularly learning the skills of writing and interviewing puts a smile on her face. She is thrilled at the thought of them becoming acquainted with what the field has to offer. In addition to helping individuals record and publish their memoirs Margaret offers manuscript assistance and coaching. This service is geared toward those who have begun a writing project and feel overwhelmed have lost direction or have simply run out of time. Currently a member of Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce Margaret previously served on the executive committee and as a member of Women in Networking. She is also a former member of Association of Personal Historians. She holds a Bachelor s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Kent State University. While in the process of writing and editing the memoir I will sometimes research a client s family background to add extra depth to their history Margaret added. If a client wants their personal history bound the next step would be designing the page layout of the memoir which also includes photographs and graphics. At the end of the day however it is ultimately Margaret s sole responsibility to uphold all the aspects of her business from creating her own ads for recognition to representing the company at networking functions and producing all of the creative work herself. If necessary she will even outsource transcription if she feels she is getting backlogged or overwhelmed. To be very transparent Margaret concedes that the support of her husband has made running her business much easier. His sincere interest in what she does has gone a long way. Like many small companies Memoirs Unlimited is subject to the many business peaks and valleys and she has been lucky enough to have that much needed support during those valleys. Because she finds her work so interesting and those she meets so special she would do some form of personal history writing even if her company had never been established. Margaret has worked as a documentarian and communications specialist was a partner in a small graphic arts company and was both a freelance writer and designer for a variety of companies and organizations. She has learned that any amount of networking is beneficial regardless of her position and especially as a business owner. She has also found that even when she walks away from a networking function with no new business she still collects the names of many contacts that could be used if she needed to outsource. She believes in keeping up with technology as it is always advancing and one will totally lose themselves in the workforce without it. This for her in particular can include anything from creating a website to keeping up with changes in prepress production. Although she admits to having very little free time Margaret is attempting to learn a second language. She has also been collecting genealogical data on her family for years and she has plans to write a family history of her own in the near future. She has just recently finished composing and illustrating the first draft of a children s book and plans to publish it before the end of the year. Fascinated by the properties herbs and plants Margaret grows a wide variety of her own. A mother of one amazing son who is now attending college Margaret s life is more than blessed. I have a strong conviction that my service is needed and in my opinion necessary Margaret said finally. We tend to think that heirlooms are pieces of jewelry or antique furniture when they are really the stories and experiences of our ancestors. Preserve your memories they are your essence and legacy. 26 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Do you think your business is more relevant today than it would have been years ago A Actually no. I think recording the thoughts and experiences of a family member have always been very necessary. The stories increase in value with each new generation. The point is to record the memoirs of those you love before they are gone. Q Why don t people just become their own family historians A I think there are many people who are tracing their genealogy and are gathering names dates and locations. This type of research is fascinating and provides structure to their family history what it doesn t do is add depth personality and life to their family tree. A memoir brings a family member s personality to the forefront. Q What equipment does a personal historian require A When I meet with a client I carry three things a digital tape recorder a pad of paper and several pens. My PC is used for transcribing editing and weaving the memoir. Q How do you spend most of your time A When creating a personal history the main portion of time is spent sifting through months of interview transcriptions. These transcriptions are then organized and placed in chronological order. It s a form of story weaving where you take fragments of copy to make a cohesive story. Q What is the best thing about running your own business A One of the best things about running my own business is having the freedom to develop my own system and methods. Though there is structure in my work every project is thoughtfully written and unique no cookie cutter memoirs. Q What is the best business advice you ever received A Years ago when I was first starting out and was experiencing a few bumps my father said three little words Everything is temporary. So simple yet it has always stayed with me. Q How long is a typical memoir A Though every project is unique a memoir is usually around 100-150 pages. This includes any photographs or graphics a client wants to add. Q How long does it take to complete a project A A memoir or company history can take from six months to over a year to complete. It all depends on the client and their schedule. Q What is the difference between Personal Histories and Company Histories A Personal Histories are an accurate account of life and times. Our service preserves stories anecdotes and special events for future generations. Company Histories consolidates data and images from company archives with recorded interviews from retirees and senior staff members for an accurate retrospective of the company and its products. Q What is a Legacy Statement A A legacy statement or ethical will is a non-legal document that provides an individual the opportunity to share advice and offer explanations and lessons learned from the life they have led. Legacy statements can be as brief as one page or as detailed as a personal history. 27 Women of Distinction Traci McBride Image Consulting Personal Branding and Wardrobe Stylist TeeMcBee Image Consulting LLC Avon Lake OH 28 Women of Distinction fter doing some serious soul searching Traci McBride made the decision to make a career change. Moving out of real estate and into another field that would make her as happy as she was when she first entered the real estate market she made a list of her strengths and weaknesses. Step by step she focused on other s self-esteem and confidence a direction she was truly drawn to. Through the process of elimination a career in personal branding and wardrobe management slowly revealed itself to Traci and in 2008 she had moved on to building the next chapter in her life. A Having learned how to love herself Traci says she is perfectly flawed . She has embraced her flaws and imperfections as they make her who she is. She hasn t always felt that way but through self-reflection she has learned that she is a unique and gifted individual. She says she is not the smartest prettiest fattest shortest or funniest yet she is enough she is strong she fights for the underdog is compassionate thoughtful engaging opinionated and direct. She s great at a few things and good at many others. She knows what her weaknesses are and she hires others to do what she s not so great at. Most of all she lets her strengths define her not her weaknesses. Traci wants all women to know what their super powers are just as she knows her own. As she too was once lost she loves showing others how to find themselves. Surrounding yourself with the right people that embrace you and all the growth you are making is the best gift you can give yourself. She also desires to show and teach teenagers these valuable lessons that most women don t discover until they are sadly either much older or never at all. Currently serving on the auxiliary board for the non-profit Dress for Success Cleveland Traci was on the main board for two years prior. She is also a board member of National Associate of Professional Organizers and National Association of Women Business Owners. Prior to forming TeeMcBee Image Consulting in 2008 she was an independent consultant of Undercover Wear a direct sales lingerie company. From 1994-99 she was a sales representative of luxury custom homes and since 1999 she has been a licensed Realtor for Realty One Prudential Lucien RGL Realty Referral. In 2010 Traci became Style for Hire Certified with Stacy London of What Not to Wear fame to enhance her career and was invited to style for Stacy s company here in Ohio and did some styling events in Chicago and New York. A loving and dedicated wife and mother of two sons Traci has been married to the most supportive man in the world since 1989 and he is a true gift from God. Their son Ryan is married to Angela and they have a daughter named Emily and their newborn son Kingston. They reside in Louisville Kentucky. Traci and her husband travel to Kentucky often to visit. Son Mitch is a cycling enthusiast who is engaged to be married in the fall of 2015 to fianc Alexis. Together this young couple have huge hearts that have rescued two dogs over the last few years and have remained local in Cleveland. I loved to focus on people and the real estate industry was shifting in a way I wasn t interested in moving Traci said about the complexity of the business. Now I am completely in control of the steps and services of my business. Never tiring of watching a woman change right before her eyes Traci says that every day is special every client is unique and the ah-ha moments are addicting. Clients change not only in their image but also with an entire new belief in themselves after working together. As a personal branding and wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting LLC Traci enjoys the creative process. Offering her expertise based on clothing fit cut proportion and fabric personal style lifestyle and body shape as well as life goals supporting clients in looking and feeling confident is what Traci was born to do. Having lost my mojo self-confidence and self-esteem in my early 30 s after becoming a stay-at-home mom was a pivotal time in my life and continues to color my world Traci shared. I can actually see when another woman has lost herself and is in need of a reboot. This motivates me every single day. Creating tips and offering advice on her Facebook page Traci also writes article for her monthly e-newsletter and a local CBC Magazine attends many networking events is on three non-profit boards and provides complementary phone consults for people to decide if she is the right person to support them. Additionally she does speaking engagements closet detox power shopping color analysis mastering the mix & look book sessions for clients to effortlessly build a wardrobe that visually communicates their goals each day. 29 Women of Distinction 30 Women of Distinction Q&A Q When and why should a client call on a professional consultant for personal branding advice A Usually when the frustration in the closet is being reflected in the mirror and with how they feel about themselves. New moms going back to work professionals ready to elevate unemployed in need of an edge basically anyone with any shape size can be at a crossroad in life. Q What are the benefits of a flattering wardrobe A More respect more credibility more attention (for the right reasons) more clients more confidence more love more friends and more money. Need I say more Q What qualities does someone with style have A The knowledge of what looks best on their body type with a tailor on speed dial. They shop mindfully and no longer spend money creating garment orphans or trends that do not honor their body goals and defined signature style recipe. Q Do you have to be a model to achieve your goals A Thank goodness no As a curvy full-figured woman myself investing in a wardrobe that honors who I am while elevating my message and goals that is a gift you give to yourself every single day. No one is born with a style manual it is a learned skill. Q Likewise can you achieve those goals without breaking your budget A Yes Once a plan has been established it will determine the stores and shop every effort is to save money and consider CPW (cost per wear). A jacket that complements five outfits that costs 50 vs. a jacket that coordinates with 20 outfits but costs 100 are decisions we make together. The same goes with evaluating your current garment investments. Are they worth tailoring to update or is it best to find a newer fresher version Knowing where to invest is key. I believe you can own fewer clothes but have more outfits that ll streamline your daily routine. Q What should professionals consider when dressing each day A Dress to best convey your message and goal as well as being mindful of your audience. Do you need to visually communicate your authority be relatable show your credibility demonstrate how detail-oriented you are or show how creative you are Color texture details and garments can help you achieve the goal. It is all about mastering the mix of garments body type message budget profession and personality. Q Do you have any examples of professional image killers A I can write a book on this one ill-fitting or worse no foundation wear VPL (visible panty lines) muffin top chipped polish (toes and fingers) deodorant or other stains low cleavage anything too tight or too big poor grooming stilettos flip flops evening wear during daytime rings on every finger visible pin jobs fake designer goods or an entire wardrobe of black. Q Since networking is often talked about as an important business tool what would you recommend to others learning how to network effectively A Several tips come to mind 1) Mind your P s and Q s. Ask more about the other person than sharing about yourself. Have a great handshake and give excellent eye contact 2) Wear what makes you feel confident We walk stand and talk differently when we are dressed our very best and we feel it. Trust me others will respond because they will feel it too 3) Its human nature to want to be noticed valued and respected. When you dress as if you respect yourself others will give you respect. A little self-awareness goes a long way to practicing the body language and facial expressions that will encourage others to interact and engage with you Q How did you get involved with Dress for Success Cleveland A As I was developing TeeMcBee I was looking around for a charity that aligned with our message and beliefs. Having been a single mother at a young age many years ago I know what it feels like to struggle for the basics in life that life lesson has never left me. When we help women feel confident and empowered we impact and help the kids too. Being on the inside of an organization and directly helping and supporting women is a real connection that touches your heart. I have served on the Board of Dress for several years and am now an Auxiliary Board member as well as a speaker on managing your image each month for the clients of Dress for Success. I find staying connected face to face with the women that come through their doors and sharing my life experience is a great joy to me and honors my mission and passion in life. Q Who is your ideal client and what areas do you work with clients A Women over 40 usually going through some transition in their life are my ideal clients. Fuller figured women feel comfortable with me being a curvy plus over 50 wardrobe stylist. This is a no judgment zone. I work in person in both NE Ohio and Louisville Kentucky as well as virtually. 31 Women of Distinction Liliya Kamalova Finance (Private Equity) Investment Officer in Private Equity at California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) Sacramento CA L iliya Kamalova has been interested in economics and finance ever since she was in high school back in Russia. One of my teachers had us play a game where we had to start a business and learn how to promote it take care of the finances and report performance. That s when I first became fascinated with the business world. Liliya studied financial management in college and started working at a large retail bank after moving to the US nine years ago. She then worked for a start-up bank. I practically knew nothing about this industry. But we all have to start somewhere. I worked hard to learn everything. I studied outside of work just to get my bearings in the industry. It s been a work in progress. However I realized early on that a positive attitude and good people skills matter a lot even in more technical fields. Even though I work with spreadsheets and power point presentations most of the time it s the interpersonal relationships that make your life easier and make things happen. Today Liliya is part of the Risk Research Analytics and Performance team for CalPERS one of the largest players in most financial markets. Because the bank was brand new and a lot of processes were not in place there was an opportunity to learn and grow very fast. I participated in everything such as day-to-day operations. I dealt with auditors. And I was also a project manager responsible for launching the first investment product. At the same time Liliya enrolled in the CFA program and passed the first exam. She then got hired by a private equity advisory firm in 2011 as an analyst and has stayed in the private equity industry ever since. We analyze different industries geographies and general trends to help make asset allocation decisions. Additionally we review the portfolio fit of potential investments and risks associated with them. Eventually it all comes down to investing the savings for retirement of the public employees of the State of California. And in her free time Liliya likes to play tennis with her husband of almost nine years Sarwar. She also (being from Russia) is into winter sports like ice skating and skiing. I ve even been teaching my five year old son how to ski. 33 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Private equity firms are known for cutting jobs and leveraging the companies. Is it true A Private equity investing is all about creating efficiencies and growing companies. Both investors and people who work at these companies end up benefiting from the changes that private equity firms put in place. Because of the nature of private equity transactions private equity firms need to use leverage as a part of the financing for the deal but they do that with the goal of paying it off in the future while investing in a company s growth and development in the meantime. This all applies to responsible and diligent private equity firms. Q What are the advantages of private equity investments A Generally private equity investments provide a good means of diversification for large usually institutional size portfolios. In addition private equity is believed to generate higher returns than public investments over long term. But these higher returns come at a price in a form of additional risks liquidity risk being the most notable of them. Q Who are the major players in the private equity industry A Major players are private equity firms that are making private investments and actual investors in these private equity firms. The investors are often large institutions like pension funds endowments sovereign wealth funds etc. But sometimes it could be family money or personal investments from wealthy individuals. Minimum commitments start from 1 to 5 million. Additional players in the markets are private equity fund of funds secondary funds private equity advisors and placement agents. Investment banks have supporting roles in private equity transactions. Q What are the more recent private equity deals we all have heard about but didn t realize were backed by private equity A Some of the major deals that took place in 2014 include the acquisition of Safeway by Cerberus in order to combine Safeway with fellow grocery chain Albertsons. That was a 9 billion transaction. Another big one was the acquisition of PetSmart by London-based BC Partners for almost 9 billion. Q Why did you decide to switch from working in the private to the public sector A First of all since CalPERS is such a large player in most financial markets it attracts a pool of very experienced private equity professionals who I can learn from. Also it s a great opportunity to get exposure to the largest private equity firms. And on top of everything you get a work-life balance that is so hard to get when you work for private companies. Q What is the role of women in the private equity industry A There are significantly less women than men in the private equity and finance industry in general. Even if you attend one of the CFA exams you ll notice that with each level of the exam the percentage of females is getting progressively smaller. But the situation is changing especially with such initiatives as Women in PE conferences or Network of Professional Women or this magazine. These types of organizations increase our exposure to the network of professionals and their active members increase the awareness in the community. I really believe that there s a positive trend in this and the US is so much fairer to women in the workplace compared to many other countries in the world. 34 Women of Distinction Melanie D. Holtz Professional Genealogy (specifically a professional Italian Genealogical Researcher) Owner of Holtz Research Services dba Lo Schiavo Genealogica Raleigh NC Bari Italy M elanie Holtz researched her own family for about 10 years before determining that she wanted to do this kind of work professionally. As the owner of Holtz Research Services dba Lo Schiavo Genealogica Melanie manages all projects. In 2002 I began to seriously educate myself on records methodology history language and genealogical standards. Over the next several years I studied took classes and attended educational conferences. She loves reconnecting people with their heritage. As an adopted child the importance I place on familial connections is perhaps stronger in me then in those who are not adopted. Therefore the idea that I could help a person find their ancestors and regain a piece of their self that was lost was naturally appealing to me. I find great satisfaction in helping people with something as important as their own families. Italian-Americans are very family-oriented. However most of them no longer live in enclaves and the stories of the past are not passed down as they used to be. My ability to see five steps down the road on a research project helps to progress each project in an efficient manner. Learning to build the research upon previous records (and redirect the research as appropriate sometimes at a moment s notice) is key to finding correct lineages. Sometimes I m in an Italian archive and a record points me to a different town or parish. Being flexible and understanding what records were created and where they can be found now is essential. 36 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How does one become a professional genealogist A I studied for nearly six years and went through the process of board-certification with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (http During this time period I also honed my Italian language skills a necessity in the specialty I chose. There are few formal opportunities to get a degree in family history and the majority of professionals have to self-educate by choosing educational opportunities that will help grow their skills to a professional level. This way of educating oneself is often harder to accomplish as a university has not laid out the path to professionalism for you. Q In order to become a professional genealogist is it required to be board-certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists A No but the process is a way for you to evaluate if your skills are at a professional level. Being board-certified is also an assurance for potential clients that the work they will receive will meet genealogical standards. In order to become a boardcertified genealogist one must submit a portfolio of work that is then judged by experts in the field of genealogy. Your work must meet genealogical standards and is evaluated against a rubrics created for this purpose. Being certified or accredited (through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Researchers) is required for certain types of work like that with government agencies and the U.S. military. To maintain your certification you must submit current work samples to be judged again every five years. These work samples must address any deficiencies noted in the previous application and show growth within your field. Q Why did you focus your business on Italian research A As I was honing my genealogical research skills a friend asked me to research the Italian side of her family. During the course of research I found that I loved working with the Italian records. Italian records reveal so much more about a family then the average American record. I have always loved languages learning about other cultures and was excited about the idea that I could travel to Italy regularly for work. Q Are there any other reasons you chose to be an Italian researcher A When I began my business there were very few professional genealogists working in my specialty. Those who were working in Italian research were near retirement or not taking clients. Therefore there was a gap in the market that I saw I could fill. This is important and bettered my odds of being able to make a full-time living within the profession. Q Do you offer any other services then Italian genealogical research A Yes I also help Italian-Americans acquire dual citizenship with Italy. Many Italian descendants are seeking dual citizenship because they plan to move to Italy want to travel within Europe more easily or want to send their children to European universities. This is a life-changing decision for them. Additionally I lecture write courses on Italian research and help trace living Italian descendants for probate cases. Q What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in the last five years A In general my biggest accomplishment was being able to make a full-time living doing a job I am passionate about. My business has also expanded so rapidly that I now need several assistants to handle the workload. One of my assistants is a native Italian with a great deal of experience in genealogical research which enables me to provide quicker service to my clients as well as a broader range of services. Q What have you done in the last five years to promote the professional genealogy industry as a whole A I served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Genealogists for three years. Additionally I ve served on APG s Professional Development Committee for six years and am currently the Chair of the committee. We have made great headway in expanding the organization s educational offerings. In this way we support the growth of the profession as a whole as well as that of individual genealogists. I also established the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research with two of my colleagues (Michael Hait CG and Cathi Desmarais CG) in 2014. The Virtual Institute will grow to be a strong option in the field of genealogical education in the years ahead. Q How can one find out more about your business and what you do A They can visit my website at There you will find examples of my work and information that will help you learn about me and my business. I also have a blog about Italian research useful records and genealogical standards at http Additionally I am listed in the rosters found on the websites of the Association of Professional Genealogists (https www. the Board for Certification of Genealogists (http and the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (http 37 Women of Distinction Sue Markgraf Media Public Relations Marketing Communications Services Sustainability Founder President GreenMark Public Relations Inc. Chicago IL W riting professionally for more than 30 years Sue Markgraf began reading newspapers as a young child falling in love with the way words combine to tell stories. Studying writing throughout her school years and concentrating on journalism in college she worked as a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor during the first half of her career. In 2006 Sue founded GreenMark Public Relations Inc. based in the Chicago area and today continues as a journalist representing clients through media relations. GreenMark exclusively represents clients dedicated to green spaces places and issues through integrated communications services specializing in media relations and including reputation management public relations and marketing. As the face of the brand Sue s work is to provide executive council to clients while leading results-based strategy and tactical direction. Sue s passion for her work and the sustainable industry often forges alliances among the firm s clients that provide valueadded networking and results. She s on the cutting edge of new media guiding the firm s direction on opportunities that are in addition to traditional marketing communications strategies. Married to her high school sweetheart Sue and her husband live in the Chicago suburbs and raised two children. She has dedicated her career to using words to make a difference. Prior to GreenMark Sue led the public relations team at the Chicago Botanic Garden and worked at FleishmanHillard Chicago. She is a past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago and is a regional director of the national Garden Writers Association. When she s not in her office Sue can be found tending her home garden another passion that grew from childhood. Early in my career I never expected that I d be one day running my own firm and leading teams of people on communications projects that contribute significantly to our environment culture and society Sue said. To work shoulder-to-shoulder with remarkable people and help make an impact is a privilege I don t take lightly. GreenMark photos are by Jackie Jasperson 39 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Is GreenMark a member of any professional or industry organizations A GreenMark is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. The firm is a Certified Female Business Enterprise and is IDHR Eligible. We belong to the Garden Writers Association Publicity Club of Chicago Society of Professional Journalists and National Association of Professional Women. Q What clients does the firm represent A Our clients are the best-of-the-best in the sustainable industry and include Chalet Landscape Nursery & Garden Center Chicago Flower & Garden Show Lurie Garden in Chicago s famed Millennium Park National Garden Bureau Navy Pier ROC Exhibitions for the National Fire Protection Association and others listed on GreenMark s website. Q How has social media changed the landscape for media relations professionals A Social media offers exciting new channels to reach audiences. It provides newsmakers with venues to instantly share their point-of-view directly with consumers. This means GreenMark not only reports social media news for its clients but we must also monitor the venues for interest-items that may relate to our clients businesses. Q What is the biggest ongoing challenge in your field A From electronic to social media platforms there s a wealth of opportunity for telling clients stories. A news outlet that was once considered local in focus can now be considered national because of its Web presence and search engine viability. Understanding the sheer wealth of platforms what they cover and who their reporters are is one of the industry s greatest challenge. Q Have you faced any professional barriers specifically because you are a woman A From my days as a news reporter and throughout my career in media relations my personal focus has been on nurturing my own self-confidence. I feel strongly about my abilities and I ve learned through the years what works for me and what doesn t. In my opinion the most successful women learn to push through barriers others impose on them by taking responsibility for their own professional nourishment. Q Do you believe that women are paid less in your profession than men A I really don t see evidence of that although I suppose it may be true in some cases. Q What s the biggest difference between working with a large organization vs. a small one A For me it s really less about an organization or a company s size and more about its values and integrity. Q What are your plans for growing GreenMark A The next five to 10 years will be one of measured growth with the best team in the business and with clients whose mission centers on sustainable values. Q What do you look for in a GreenMark client A I ve learned to be selective about the type of client GreenMark represents. GreenMark clients have a basic understanding of how good communication works and they value that as an integral part of their vision and mission. They also recognize that in order to work well public relations marketing and media relations are a mix and reflect their brand s message. Of course valuing team concepts and working in an atmosphere of mutual trust are requirements also. GreenMark isn t a vendor. We are a partner in the pursuit of our clients goals. That respect must translate into all facets of our business relationship. Q Finally what media coverage has GreenMark received since you first started the business A In 2012 the Chicago Tribune recognized us in its ongoing Remarkable Woman series and in 2013 the Daily Herald wrote about us. We are grateful and yet we also believe that media coverage belongs first to the important work of GreenMark s sustainable clients. 40 Women of Distinction Tina Cantrill Management Consulting Building Sustainable Employee Engagement through Organizational Alignment Organizational Culture Development and Purpose Centered Leadership President Oxford & French Consulting Group Ltd Ottawa Canada T ina Cantrill was born and raised in England moved to Canada almost 16 years ago and has lived and worked in many different parts of Europe and North America. She has travelled extensively and is bilingual (English French). Following a highly successful 20-year career working for several Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare industry (with close to a decade at the Executive Leadership level) Tina founded Oxford & French Consulting Group Ltd. My travel and international business experience has allowed me to mix with many cultures from many parts of the world. As a business contributor in our rapidly growing global economy the experiences I have had and continue to have are invaluable to my work with national and international organizations. As President I help organizations build longterm sustainable success through the power of people. I do this by helping organizations engage their most precious asset (their people) in unique and sustainable ways. I deliver keynotes and develop presentations and programs for leaders at all levels and guarantee my clients a valuable memorable and action-oriented experience. 42 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why did you start your company A During my 20 years working in several large organizations I have been exposed to all aspects of organizational life. I have an overwhelming passion to help organizations engage their people by finding their purpose building top to bottom alignment and creating environments where people can excel and organizations can enjoy long-term success. When organizations understand and work towards a common purpose they excel. When they don t they don t. It s not complicated but nor is it easy or intuitive it needs work. I ease the path to help organizations and leaders find and sustain their purpose longterm employee engagement and sustainable success. Q What do you feel makes you unique A I understand the world of today s executives I ve been in their shoes. I have seen organizations from top to bottom and know what drives success and what gets in the way. I choose to focus on the things that drive sustainable success. I am a very down-to-earth no nonsense collaborator and am very genuine in my desire and determination to see people and organizations enjoy sustainable success. I have a long-term view and the programs and keynotes I deliver are aimed to carry the organization for years not just a few hours. I build memorable and actionable content so that people leave inspired and impatient to get back at it and stay at it . My experience makes me unique. I have worked in several countries have extensive leadership experience across many different commercial situations and have the academic back-up. I m not just about books or experience. I blend my experience knowledge science current trends and the experiences of some hugely talented associates to build and deliver a really valuable product that helps organizations take their success to the next level. Q You are a mentor with three different groups Futurpreneur Canada Invest Ottawa and the Telfer School of Management at Ottawa University. Why do you do this and what do you get out of it A I get a tremendous amount of pleasure from seeing people do things they once believed to be impossible or never even considered doing. Mentoring is about nurturing self-belief. It is as much about asking the right questions as it is about providing answers. I also learn a lot when I mentor people. Irrespective of age experience or industry whenever I work with someone I learn something new and I become more self aware. So whenever I m asked to act as a mentor I jump at the chance. It helps me to grow learn and develop as a professional and as a person. Q What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given A Respect people. Whatever role they play or whatever job they do show them respect because everyone s role though different is equally important. Thanks Dad. Q There are hundreds of people out there delivering leadership training. What makes your approach stand out A I understand people leaders and organizations. I have walked the path of the leaders I work with. I have been coaching training and developing leaders at all levels of organizations for many years. In addition to being a coach for my direct reports I have coached people from the matrix teams I have worked with peers and even some of my bosses. I have done the job of an executive. I ve been there and know what it takes and I understand the world of the modern executive and organization. I have seen first-hand what makes an organization tick and what gets in the way. I get it. And I want to share everything I have learned and continue to discover to help organizations and individuals build sustainable success for themselves and their organizations. Q What common traits do you see in highly successful organizations A They put their people first ahead of everything else. They understand their people are the drivers of the organization s success. That doesn t mean they are soft on their people expectations and standards are high. Highly successful organizations align from the top create environments conducive to sustainable success and communicate constantly. They have a clearly defined and understood purpose and ensure that everyone understands their role in driving that purpose. It s tremendously powerful when it s done relentlessly and consistently. Q What do you believe has been the major reason for your success A There isn t just one reason there are many. The first that springs to mind is my unrelenting attention to building sustainable organizations. I ask myself What do I need to do to build this business 5 years out Long-term focus drives longterm behaviors which in turn build sustainable organizations and businesses. I have a genuine desire to see people succeed individually and collectively. I do not leave purpose to chance and confirm and help people understand their role in living that purpose. It gives meaning to the work that people do and sustains engagement like nothing else. I also have an unrelenting focus on creating an environment where people feel safe to take risks make mistakes and develop and grow. I firmly believe we won t get anywhere by maintaining the status quo. The only way to grow is to put oneself in a place of discomfort and move towards comfort. Once one feels comfort it s time to push forward again. 43 Women of Distinction Daisy Magalit Rodriguez Nursing Education LVN to RN Associate Degree Program Former Assistant Program Director Associate Degree Program Unitek College (before retiring in 2012) Fremont CA W ith a full government scholarship from the National Science Development Board Daisy Magalit Rodriguez attended the University of the Philippines as one of 12 scholars in the country who passed a national competitive exam and interview. As government scholars we were required to major in either chemistry or physics. I chose chemistry but in order to keep the scholarship I had to maintain an average of 3.5 or an equivalent of A-. Because of the high attrition rate from the scholarship after the first year the government relaxed their academic requirement a bit and we were allowed to keep the scholarship as long as our instructors verified that we belonged to the top 5% of the class. But after two and a half semesters of this rigorous requirement I lost the scholarship. Daisy was forced to look at other options to continue her education. Daisy started out as a critical care nurse but spent most of her nursing career in nursing management. I was also a nurse educator for a total of seven years so I have a combination of clinical nursing management and education experience. I worked in four major acute hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area as an administrative nursing shift supervisor where I was acting as representative for hospital and nursing administration. In her role as educator and assistant director of the nursing program Daisy was a lead instructor in medical-surgical nursing. I did classroom lectures and clinical instruction. And as an administrator I assisted the faculty in following curriculum guidelines conducted faculty meetings where student issues were discussed and provided guidance for student success in passing the RN board exam. And based on her experience Daisy authored the book The Balance Concept in Health and Nursing . The book proposes a unique model in nursing practice based on the concept of balance called the Balance Health Nursing Model . She also contributed as co-author in two book chapters and research articles in two national publications. I applied at the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital School of Nursing a free three-year government-funded nursing program. I graduated in 1965 and passed the nursing board soon after that to become a registered nurse. It changed everything for me. Soon after graduating Daisy came to the United States under the Exchange Visitors Program for nurses where she worked for two years before going back to the Philippines. I finished my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and eventually a Master of Science in nursing. In order to finance my graduate education I took jobs as a nursing instructor in two nursing programs where I discovered my love for teaching. Combining my passion for nursing and education found a realization for me during those early years of my career. I feel that my literary and scientific endeavors have contributed greatly to my success. I was named Nurse Educator of the Year in 2011 by the Philippine Nurses Association of America the national organization of Filipino nurses in the U.S. 44 Women of Distinction Debra Capel Ross Healthcare Direct Marketing Chief Executive Officer of Bridges to Health Care Inc. (Nonprofit) Campaign Manager Business Representative at 5LINX (Direct Marketing Company) Greenbelt MD D My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion some compassion some humor and some style. - Maya Angelou ebra Capel Ross started her career in healthcare in 1982 after graduating from North Carolina Central University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. Her public health service career began in Winston Salem North Carolina as a health educator where she worked with teens in the community to help them make responsible family planning choices in addition to other public health projects. In the mid-1980s Debra relocated and started working as a health educator specialist in Prince George s County Maryland. She spent six years working with HIV AIDS issues and later formed her own nonprofit to serve the affected population. For over 16 years Debra has managed the largest African American community-based organization in Maryland (Bridges to Health Care Inc.) as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The organization provides HIV AIDS prevention treatment and support services. As CEO I provide leadership vision and set the goals for the organization. It is my responsibility to make sure the organization is functioning at its highest capacity. I look for opportunities that fit the mission of the organization and advocate create and support the projects we undertake to make sure goals are met. I ve managed several millions of dollars in health care grant contracts from major funders such as the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Ryan White Care Act the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other funding institutions. This experience has also allowed for management and oversight to programs and services such as primary medical medical specialty dental and other health and social services. Additionally Debra spent six years working with a local political campaign. She served as campaign manager of a county executive campaign and became skillful and successful in the political arena. Debra also works as a Business Representative for 5LINX. 5LINX has helped customers live better lives since 2001 by offering life-enhancing products and services. By offering a complete training and support system 5LINX gives you the power to market a wide variety of outstanding services and earn a residual income stream that can grow month after month year after year. And in her free time Debra loves traveling and experiencing different cultural events family activities and advocating have people who need help. She also likes to read an array of exciting books and magazines. But ultimately she would like to be remembered as a person who loved God and family and dedicated some of her time to help people live a better life. 45 Women of Distinction Niki L. Evans Robinson Home Health Agency & Adult Day Center Chief Executive Officer Founder of N & H Services Inc. and N & H Independent Living Inc. Columbus OH N iki L. Evans Robinson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of N & H Services Inc. and N & H Independent Living Inc. She also works in the field and knows has met and or worked with every client. I make sure that our services are delivered my way with compassion and much respect for the individual. About 90% of our clients were one time my client before I opened my agency and or I have worked with their coordinator and have received the referral to provide services or to attend our adult day center. After Niki s mom got sick in 1978 she knew she wanted to become a nurse. Helping her made me realize that I wanted to help people. It felt good to help someone else. Prior to opening N&H Niki worked in various places like the OSU Medical Center (trauma unit) Nursing Homes and Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix AZ (labor and delivery) a physician s office and New Beginning Transactional Housing for Women (helping women who just got released from the institution become a positive productive citizen). Niki has also served on the Health Ministry at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (her home church) in Columbus OH for the past 10 years. The illness and tragic death of my mother and best friend has opened my eyes to a whole other world and made me see that life is too short and if God has blessed me to live another day I need to share His word and do His work while I m able too. My children have inspired me to unspeakable words. I was determined to give myself and children a better life than the one I was giving them. However I was an 8th grade dropout a mother at 17 years of age and a single parent. So when my children started asking me about college I could not even speak on that. This motivated me to get my GED and enroll in college immediately after. I now have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (with a minor in Organizational Leadership). I am also seven classes away from earning my nursing degree. My husband (a graduate of The Ohio State University) is my biggest support next to my children and grandchildren but my strength comes from God. We have been very happily married for nine years and have six children together. Three out of the six work for my company and have graduated from various colleges. We also have 15 grandchildren who reside in Columbus OH. Niki believes that faith is all you need to make a dream a reality. A dream is only a dream if you do not act on it. Faith persistence and determination will bring you success. I am diverse in many areas but working with individuals who have disabilities holds a special place in my heart. Her mother husband and children have been her greatest professional inspiration. Rebecca (Beckie) Jorgensen Leadership Management Training Professional Career Coaching Professional Career Coach Owner of People s Choice Consulting LLC Mesa AZ fter earning her Master of Science Rebecca (Beckie) Jorgensen spent 15 years working in the Human Resources field. But that was until she experienced what she refers to as a toxic work situation. A After having my professional values and ethics challenged I knew I had to make a change. I looked long and hard at my situation and evaluated the impact it was having on my life family and health. I said to myself repeatedly there had to be something more to life than this. I had the choice to stay stuck in a job for which I had lost my passion for or make a change. In January 2014 Beckie had a surgical procedure on her left wrist which prevented her from working for three months. But the actual tasks of this job were not aligning with my talents and I was once again left searching for my life s purpose. It was through networking that I was introduced to a coach. The first thing he asked me to do was take Gallup s StrengthFinder assessment. My StrengthFinder report became the foundation for discovering my true calling and purpose. As I worked intensely with my coach I began to research and read about the work of Gallup and Marcus Buckingham. I bought every used book I could (as I was broke) watched YouTube videos by Marcus Buckingham and soaked up all the knowledge I could about the Strength s Revolution. Learning to align my strengths to my purpose and career was not easy. There were days I had meltdowns felt confused feared the loss of stable income and cried. However once I aligned my strengths to my purpose in life I found my WHY. Beckie is now a Professional Career Coach and Owner of People s Choice Consulting LLC. I care so much about professionals who feel stuck in their jobs burned out and no longer have the passion to do the work they once loved. I took action to build my coaching business to show such people that when you put your unique strengths to work the possibilities are limitless. Knowing how to align your strengths to your purpose will positively transform your personal and professional life. I personally relate to my clients need to rekindle their passion overcome fear and dig deep within to find the motivation to make different choices take chances and pursue positive changes. My clients work with me to discover their strengths connect them to their talents and implement a plan of action to achieve professional fulfillment and success. During this time I realized that I could not just go back to a traditional job. I could not bear the thought of returning to a work environment where I may run the risk (once again) of having my energy depleted and losing sight of my dreams passions and hope. So instead of going back to corporate work Beckie trained with the Organization for Entrepreneurial Development (OED) became a Certified Business Advisor and opened her own consulting business. 47 Women of Distinction Samantha Inesta Nonprofit (Human Rights Organization) Founder and Executive Director of Beasister2asister Brooklyn NY S amantha InesSamantha Inesta is the Founder and Executive Director of Beasister2asister. She meets with people in communities and foreign delegations and works with law enforcement and advocates for stronger legislations and protections for domestic and foreign born victims of trafficking. So what does Samantha hope to accomplish with her programs I want my programs to teach women and girls to not judge but care for one another. I want my programs to not only reach the cities and suburbs of this country but the towns and villages of other nations. I want to see mothers in Southeast Asia say no to selling their daughters to traffickers just to put food on the table. I want to see young women in Eastern Europe form groups that will help stop fraudulent job opportunities that have claimed the lives and families of so many women. I want backward cultural practices performed on girls in the Middle East to be replaced with education empowerment and a support system of families and communities with men and boys embracing women and girls as equals and strong contributors to society. And here in the US I want to see freedom and democracy fully endorsed where rape and sexual assault is not a Women s Issue but an issue for both men and women. I want my programs to reach girls from broken families to set them on a straight path to a full life and never know what it s like to be enslaved. I want my programs to wake up this country that we call the land of the free and home of the brave and tell everyone that is far from the truth for a lot of women and girls who live here. One of the things I love doing at my job is bringing women and girls together to be a support system for one another. To see them looking out for one another is what makes the organization reach its goals and vision and function at its highest capacity. She got her start in the nonprofit world back in 2004 while working in the finance industry for a well-known women s organization in New York City. But her passion for human justice around the world provided a greater calling. I have always been interested in human rights (particularly those of women and girls) and wanted to get involved. I soon found a niche where I felt comfortable and would be effective human trafficking. The issue is linked to the most criminal human injustices all over the globe. But this line of work isn t for everyone. There are things one must consider before deciding on a similar career path. First you must develop a tough skin. This is NOT an easy issue to work on. However if this is something that s truly in your heart don t give up. You ll hear a lot of horror stories but there are solutions. One thing to remember is that these women and girls don t need your tears they need your help. 48 Women of Distinction Sharon Ann Stanton Health Manager Dignity Health Center for Faith Health Ministries Gilbert AZ N early eight years ago Sharon Ann Stanton was invited to work within the Dignity Health System (then Catholic Health Care West) in Arizona. She was in charge of developing a Faith Community Nursing Program within the Mission Integration Division which was oriented toward partnering with faith communities in the East Valley section of Metro Phoenix. While one of their major efforts was in developing a seamless transition between home and hospital and back home again through the supportive healing ministries of respective faith communities Sharon was given the specific task of developing a network of faith community nurses. What evolved was a relationship between hospital systems and faith communities connecting to bring the highest level of medical care and faith-based healing together Sharon explained who has over five decades of nursing experience and is now serving as a manager for the Center. When Sharon moved into the community health arena she realized that the health system in America was being dominated by the medical industrial complex. Compassionate healthcare was losing its edge and she gravitated toward a mission of accountability for responsible workers who dealt with health and illness prevention. She further recognized that the medical system was centered on providing medical services for the sick and dying rather than being centered on health promotion and disease prevention. But now she gets to follow her heart yet still make a tremendous difference. It s the perfect fit. Dignity Health provides high-quality affordable healthcare services in a compassionate environment while meeting the needs of patients physical mental and spiritual needs. Their healing philosophy is to not only serve patients but their staff communities and the planet. Beginning her career in nursing following the completion of her BSN degree in 1962 Sharon worked at St. Mary s Hospital in Rochester Minnesota and home of the Mayo Clinic. She s spent 52 years in nursing with over 30 years in faith health ministry as a registered nurse and has since earned her MS in Community Health Nursing as a specialist administrator. Notably Sharon s earlier professional years were centered within her ministerial journey beginning in nursing within the shadow of Assisi Heights motherhouse for the Sisters of Saint Francis in Rochester and the Mayo Clinic. Sharon held several national leadership positions including six years as president and three years as immediate pastpresident of President Health Ministries Association. She served more than 15 years in administrative direction for the Center for Faith Health Ministries in Atlanta Georgia and in the Dignity Health East Valley of Phoenix Arizona and ten years as a commissioned spiritual director. She s presented numerous presentations and workshops and has authored many articles for the faith health ministry audience. Sharon is also entertaining the idea of writing a book maybe two when she has the time to sit down and dedicate the time to it. I ve realized that the heart has to be put back into healthcare. The only way to do this is to acknowledge and own the model that the faith community and the health medical system must engage in holistic healthcare. Otherwise health doesn t result Sharon added. 49 Women of Distinction ISSUE Women of Distinction Team WDM Marissa Bacchi EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR HEAD WRITER LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Felix Pons Jill Mongonia EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Rachael Aspen Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Kimberly Diehl SELECTION COMMITTEE Rebecca Valuch Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 Sue Markgraf Media Public Relations Marketing Communications Services Sustainability Founder President GreenMark Public Relations Inc. (847) 970-9160 http smarkgraf Donalda Jean Carson Healthcare Executive Director at Prince George Hospice Society Prince George BC Canada