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WDM Marilyn J. Shafer-Asprey Arts and Entertainment Writing Education Writer Self-Employed Educational Consultant March 2016 Petal N Soap Mary Burns Soap Owner Operator Petals N Soap (256) 797-3050 https shop PETALSNSOAP features WDM 4 19 32 Marilyn J. Shafer-Asprey Arts and Entertainment Writing Education Writer Self-Employed Educational Consultant Williamsburg VA Food Nutrition Health and Wellness Education Owner Hope Nutritional Services Davie FL Hope H. Anderson RD LDN 41 48 Consulting Training Writing and Interim Executive Services for Non-Profits and Small Businesses Owner Consultant Coridan Consulting Writer Alexandria VA Health and Wellness Education Healthcare Founder Owner Your Wellness Coach Charlotte NC Catherine Cathi T. Coridan Maureen Carlomagno Media Literacy in Film Music Nature & Culture Critiques & Reviews Founder of Subliminal Epiphany Productions Louisville KY Regina Burnett MBA Marilyn J. Shafer-Asprey Arts and Entertainment Writing Education Writer Self-Employed Educational Consultant Williamsburg VA 4 Women of Distinction B etter known these days by her pen name M. J. Scott USA Marilyn J. Shafer-Asprey has become pretty well-known for her writing endeavors. A retired gifted students teacher who began her career working at Dr. Albert Schweitzer Elementary School in Anaheim California for two years before spending another 20 years in education in Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools has since dedicated her time to a number of different projects including opening up her own photography business VideOnomic in 2002 doing philanthropic work volunteering with Daniel Wetta Publishing Company and co-founding The Writer s Council in 2015 which serves to encourage aspiring writers to pursue their creative dreams and become published. But her journey into writing has given her the most satisfaction and she has published two books thus far through Xulon Christian Publishing Company the world s largest Christian self-publishing company. I began writing at the age of eight Marilyn noted. Now as a professional author I hope to continue in my creative endeavors in both writing and publishing and enjoy the myriad of opportunities and experiences that comes with it. Journey Into Fulfillment M. J. Scott USA was Marilyn s first book a series of light philosophical vignettes. Time On The Turn M. J. Scott USA is a series of vignettes and a culmination of her joys of traveling with her family. It takes readers through a journey in time from the Deep South all the way to Canada where they discovered historical heritage of the United States of America. Both have been published under her pen name M.J. Scott USA and both were featured in the London International Book Symposium in April 2015 which represented 12 countries. With two more books in the wings Enthusiasm is a short business and everyday living book and Power Steering seeks to help readers discover the gift of intuitiveness and learn how to obey their inner urge to be in charge of their own destiny. Both of these books will be published through Wetta Publishing Company of Williamsburg Virginia. All of her works can be ordered through Barnes and Noble Bookstores. Marilyn studied education at Manchester College earning her BS in Education followed by her MA in Mass Communications at Norfolk State University. Completing her doctoral program (all but her dissertation) at California Coast University her focus of study was Education Administration. All of her works can be ordered through Barnes and Noble Bookstores. Q&A Q What do you do to promote your books and gain recognition A There are many ways in which to promote a book. For example Time on the Turn will be exhibited in Hershey Pennsylvania Chicago Illinois Cincinnati Ohio Nashville Tennessee Denver Colorado and London England. Q Have you ever used your photography skills to help you in your writing business A Yes in both Journey Into Fulfillment & Time On The Turn. Q DO you plan to continue writing books A Actually I already have one that I am working on. It is a novel entitled Sports Attic which I hope to publish in the near future. Q Have you ever achieved any awards or accolades during your career A In 2002 I was recognized for my contributions to writing winning the Soliloquy of the Year contest by Dr. E. Paul Torrance at the University of Georgia. Q What leadership roles have you provided throughout your career that are most memorable A I was selected as a Master Teacher role for the Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim California. However I was unable to accept due to husband s military orders. I was Team Leader at various schools a member of the Superintendent of Schools Leadership Team for a year and was a Rep. to the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce for one year. I spent five years as a Supporting Teacher for the College of William and Mary Education department assisting student teachers. I later served as Lead Concierge at the Williamsburg Marriott for six years and as Lead Concierge for the United Methodist Homes Retirement Facility Windsor Meade of Williamsburg for five years. During my early college years for one year I was also President of a five state region for the Church of the Brethren Youth Organization at Manchester College. Recently I was asked to be listed as a Mentor for Manchester University Directory 2016. Q What is your greatest professional achievement A When Dr. E. Paul Torrance University of Georgia Gifted International Educator and Author requested my students and I to participate in his Soliloquy of the Year contest. He selected my entry as part of his keynote speech and he presented it at the San Francisco International Gifted Conference in 1977. Later my soliloquy was republished at the Manchester School of Business Manchester England. Q What organizations do you belong to and support A I have been a member of Phi Delta Kappa an honorary education organization for the past 30 years. I am active with The College of William and Mary Christopher Wren Association Classes in Life Long Learning. I am also a member of the Chesapeake Bay Writers Association Williamsburg Writers Gathering Literacy International and St. Stephen s Lutheran Church. I am currently supporting a new adventure in sharing the joy of giving to the Heifer Project a project which began during the time I was at Manchester College and I shook hands with the founder and his son as a college friend. Purchasing a baby llama for a family in Peru or Bolivia will be an annual joy. 6 Women of Distinction Gina Firman Nikkel PhD Community Foundation Private Philanthropy Mental Health Research & Innovation President Chief Executive Officer Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care Wilsonville OR U pon completion of her undergraduate degree in theater and dance Gina Firman Nikkel PhD was told by a colleague that she would make a great counselor. Taking those words to heart she enrolled in a master s degree program in counseling. In 1989 she began working as a therapist in a community mental health program but due to the lack of support of local elected officials for mental health she felt frustrated and began to take matters into her own hands. Elected to public office Gina served as a county commissioner in Tillamook County Oregon for eight years. Two terms later she became executive director of the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs (AOCMHP) in Salem Oregon followed by 11 years representing the AOCMHP Directors on policy administrative and legislative issues. The small non-profit organization has Gina playing a number of different roles. As president and CEO she makes sure that the entire staff and the board have the tools needed to do their job as CFO she works with their chief administrative officer and accounting specialist to make sure all funds accounts and projects have accurate financial records being managed to comply with their auditor and the IRS. She spends a lot of time corresponding with prospective donors and potential grantees and travels quite often. Stressing that good communication is vital Gina admits that the organization requires a lot of her time and attention in order for it to function at its highest capacity. I loved my job the people I worked with and the progress we were making Gina said. But in April 2010 I read the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker a well-known medical journalist and it radically changed my thinking about mental health care. I believe that each of us has the power and responsibility to help create a better world. My part in that includes serving people who are the most vulnerable. If you ever talk with someone who is dealing with a major mental health challenge Gina said they will likely tell you it can be quite frustrating to seek help and too often the care given is just as frightening as the original trauma or diagnosis. We can do better. According to Gina Whitaker s book made the case that people with mental health challenges were actually doing worse overall in the 50 years since the wide use of psychiatric medication had become the standard of care in mental health services in the US. Gina and several others around the world contacted the author and he put them in touch with each other. With funding from a like-minded therapist and philanthropist Gina organized a symposium in February 2011 for a cross-section of the mental health community consisting of psychiatrists psychologists social workers administrators public policy analysts philanthropists and those with lived experience to open the dialogue about what research policy changes and program changes were needed to improve mental health outcomes in light of the gamechanging knowledge they now had. At that very meeting The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care held their first meeting. Following several months of preparation by a core group Gina began serving as vice-chair of the Foundation. Soon after the board asked her to take on the task of building the Foundation as its first executive director. Gina holds a Certificate in Dance a BA in Theater and an MS in Counseling from Portland State University is a Pacific Program Graduate in Catalytic Leadership from the University of Oregon and holds a PhD in Public Policy and Leadership also from the University of Oregon. She is involved with several trade organizations including Council on Foundations Grantmakers in Health International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry American Association of Community Psychiatrists and International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. She has also served as chair of numerous organizations including Partners for Veterans at Risk Luke Center for Catalytic Leadership Tillamook County Commission on Children and Families among others. Gina is currently on the board of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous and volunteers by assisting groups at Coffee Creek State Prison. Her organization is also a member of their local chamber of commerce. 8 Women of Distinction Working alongside his wife as her research assistant Gina s husband is a semi-retired professional in the mental health field as well. With the understanding that the Foundation requires long strenuous hours they have a common faith in doing the right thing to serve others. Their blended family of six includes four children and six grandchildren. Although maintaining a work life balance over the last three years have been tricky Gina is now settling in and getting back to enjoying her life working out gardening going to community theater dancing studying genealogy and traveling for enjoyment. Below are a few of the Foundation s current projects and funding priorities Open Dialogue Replication Grant Clinicians and researchers at UMass Medical School are adapting the Finnish Open Dialogue model for use in the United States. It is a proven recovery-oriented clinical intervention that helps individuals in acute psychiatric crises to find recovery with little or no use of pharmaceutical medications. There are currently two pilot projects underway in Massachusetts. When additional funding is available the research team led by Douglas Ziedonis MD MPH and Mary Olson PhD will complete a clinical manual with practice and systemlevel fidelity instruments that will allow for evidence-based replication of the model throughout the nation. Hearing Voices Research (HVN) & Development Fund This project blends program development and research to gain understanding and provide support to those who experience hearing voices. People who hear voices or see visions are often diagnosed as psychotic and are given a poor prognosis. The medications routinely prescribed since the 1950s are effective for some but when they do work their benefits typically diminish over time while physical and psychological side effects become increasingly damaging. Excellence s Hearing Voices Fund supports the development of a network of hearing voices peer-support groups across the United States in cooperation with the successful network already established in the United Kingdom. Hearing voices peersupport groups offer a safe place for people to share their experiences of voices visions tactile sensations and other unusual experiences and perceptions. People meet together to help and support each other exchange information and learn from one another s coping strategies. Groups also offer an opportunity for people to accept and live with voices in a way that enables them to regain control over their lives. The situation in the US stands in striking contrast to that of other countries. England (a country with a population of 60 million) has 180 hearing voices groups and Denmark (a country of 5 million) has several dozen whereas the US with its population of over 300 million currently has only about 15. The fund will support the development of HVN groups across the US by providing a systematic program of training to build a network of hearing voices peer-support groups in each region of the country. Group leaders will be selected using a rigorous model in which mental health professionals and voice hearers collaborate in an intensive shared learning experience that equips them to apply HVN s concepts and methods to the creation of positive alternatives for people diagnosed with psychosis. The fund also supports research to provide basic phenomenological descriptions needed for future research into the voice hearing experience. Families Healing Together Online Support and Education Research shows that families who receive mental health education and support can help reduce their family member s relapse and re-hospitalization rates by up to 75% while improving the entire family s wellbeing yet family support is still largely unavailable. Families Healing Together is an innovative program with immense growth potential organized to meet this crucial need. It currently offers online family recovery education and support across the US and in nine countries on four continents. Initial evaluation of the course for outcomes and user satisfaction is very encouraging. Fund puts the power of the internet to use in the collection analysis and publishing of patient data and experiences with medications to promote recovery and make medicines safer for all of us. Improving medication safety is a multi-faceted problem but one point is clear people with lived experience have information that should be part of a research database and that should be shared with the public. The website enables reporting and sharing of medication outcomes by those with lived experience. Its mobile site extends this capability to handheld devices. The RxISK Fund also offers expert assessments of new drugs by independent clinicians for licensed and unlicensed indications analysis of consumerreported data and educational resources about treatment risk and risk reduction. It also supports publishing of research results lectures analysis of political sociological legal and regulatory impacts on health instruments to aid in determining the likely success or drawbacks of treatment programs and the quality of medical care. US residents can now make tax-deductible donations to this global cause. Mad In America Continuing Education Fund This incubator fund launches a new non-profit organization providing commercial-free online continuing education and continuing professional medical education related to psychiatry and its treatments. Initial courses provide a review of the evidence base for the short-term and long-term outcomes from the use of psychiatric medications. All courses are based on unbiased scientific literature and reviewed by the Foundation s Scientific Advisory Committee. In 2010 journalist Robert Whitaker published Anatomy of an Epidemic which investigated this question What does the scientific literature reveal about the short- and long-term effects of psychiatric medications This question is rarely addressed by the psychiatric profession in its texts and other educational efforts and thus Anatomy provided a perspective that is missing in the education of professionals about the merits and risks of these treatments. 9 Women of Distinction As is well known pharmaceutical companies are a primary funder of continuing education courses and that financial influence often leads to a biased dissemination of knowledge about the risks and benefits of psychiatric medications. Mad In America Continuing Education will fill this gap It will provide evidence-based reviews of the relevant scientific literature by using online learning platforms with nationally and internationally recognized researchers and practitioners. Successful completion of the courses will allow licensed professionals to receive CMEs and CEUs. The audience for Mad in America Continuing Education courses will include psychiatrists other physicians who prescribe psychiatric drugs psychologists nurses social workers counselors and alcohol drug treatment professionals. We also expect that people who take psychiatric medications and their family members will be interested in these courses. The first course was launched in December 2014 with additional courses being offered during 2015. ECPR Fund Supports the expansion of Emotional CPR trains people to assist others through emotional crises and makes the practice accessible to people around the world. ECPR is more than mental health it is public health. Just as Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation or CPR teaches the general public how to assist a person whose heart has stopped eCPR teaches the public how to be with a person to restart their emotional heart. It uses three simple steps C Connecting P empowering and R Revitalizing. When people are certified in eCPR they can help others recover from severe emotional distress trauma and or disasters thus preventing unnecessary use of costly hospital emergency rooms and mental health services. Feeling connected empowered and revitalized helps people once again feel part of the community helping build stronger and more resilient communities. Intentional Peer Support Fund Intentional Peer Support is an approach to helping people who are experiencing mental health challenges that sets aside diagnosis assessment and treatment and focuses instead on learning and growth and how to form relationships that are mutually transformative supportive and challenging. The curriculum is based on a workbook which walks the participant through the process of examining the lens through which he sees and understands the world and then moving toward the life he wants. The Fund was established by the course developers to speed the expansion of the core curriculum to serve a wider variety of cultures particularly Native American tribes and to provide scholarships to people and organizations who would otherwise not be able to access the training. We gave to Excellence because it is structured to bring about important changes to mental healthcare in this country. Nowhere else can a donation make such an impact on changing the way we care for our most vulnerable citizens. ... Don Cooper and Lisbeth Riis Cooper Founders CooperRiis Healing Community Mill Spring North Carolina... Q&A Q What is your Foundation s mission A We connect the passion of private philanthropy with the world s top researchers and programs to bring recovery based care and supports to every community. The change we seek begins with standing by those who need us seeing hope where others see despair. It can thrive only when research is unbiased dialogue is open and healing is an often-achieved goal. It takes respect compassion and the sure knowledge that recovery is more than a possibility - it is what we expect. Q So you are a Community Foundation A Yes and we are like a Community Mental Health Development Bank. A typical Community Foundation is small geographically it covers a state region or city and it helps donors fund their passion or community need for that area. We took that model and turned it around. Our geographical location is the world and what we help donors fund is focused solely on mental health research education and programs. Q Who are your employees and what do they do A Each of our employees have professional or personal family experience in the mental healthcare system which fuels their compassion and commitment to improving these systems for everyone. It is a modern team based in Wilsonville Oregon but with some of us working remotely right now in California and North Carolina. The work is divided between financial management program development and oversight marketing and donor care. Q What does your Global Scientific Advisory Council do A Our Global Scientific Advisory Council advises the board of directors in setting our research investment priorities and helps to score research proposals invited for funding. Central to our mission is distinguishing legitimate welldesigned research from biased or poorly designed research to ensure that we are supporting and sharing helpful reliable information. Q What role does your board of directors play A Our board provides the regular financial and programming oversight that is necessary to give our donors confidence that their investments are being well-managed and the organization is staying on mission. We have been very intentional about building a board with a rich diversity of skills and perspectives that keeps our discussions and our decisions lively and intellectually honest. Q Why should I contribute to The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care A The fun thing about giving to EXCELLENCE is you can be very directive know exactly where your donation is going and then watch it grow into something great. There are exciting research projects and new programs already in development that could be completed faster or reach farther if they had some additional funding. If you have a great idea of your own you can establish a new donor-advised fund recruit your friends to contribute too and then direct the funds to a project you like or create from scratch. This is a huge help to those who want to do good work and get a tax benefit without the administrative headaches of creating and managing their own tax-exempt charity. Q What is your fund structure A EXCELLENCE partners with visionary philanthropists to help create their own fund donate to an existing fund underwrite the operations of EXCELLENCE itself or to leave a legacy through an estate plan (a charitable plan that balances personal financial and philanthropic goals with the needs of the mental health community). From the beginning we asked how charitably-minded people could make the most of their giving how we could make giving easy and how we could provide a full spectrum of giving opportunities and personal involvement. So we have a variety of funds donor advised incubator field of interest legacy and general. We have organized EXCELLENCE for the maximum benefit and ease of today s philanthropists for those who want the most active personal involvement to those who wish to defer to the guidance of EXCELLENCE s staff and advisors. Although we are international we are also a community foundation (a type of 501c3 public charity) so you receive the most advantageous tax benefits available for charitable gifts. The expertise of our investment advisors ensures the stability and longevity of your gifts. Q Do you take pharmaceutical money or special interest money A No because we want to make sure that the research we fund is unbiased that nobody has an economic interest in the outcome of the research. Q What else would you like people to know A This is critical because the stakes are so high for people and their families and there are so many powerful special interests with big money at stake we are committed to finding and sharing everything we can to help people recover from mental health challenges. We are pro-helping and antihurting full stop. That means when we see data that say long-term use of antidepressants and antipsychotics is not helpful and often harmful we re going to say so even if it means we are wrongly accused of being anti-medication . We support an individual s right to choose or not choose medication and are committed to ensuring they have all of the information that exists to provide for truly informed consent for the risks and benefits they pose. It means we continue the dialogue with people who think forced treatment is a good solution while at the same time we work tirelessly to create a system that will make forced treatment obsolete. I would say the stand-out characteristics of our organization are first of all humility and secondly a commitment to the truth whatever we find that to be in the course of our research and discovery. Q What do some of your donors say about Excellence A A diagnosis of a severe mental illness has long been seen as a life sentence of mental deterioration. EXCELLENCE is working to replace that false destructive belief with the proven fact that people can recover from severe mental illnesses. By funding recovery-oriented research treatment programs and educational initiatives EXCELLENCE will become a beacon for a new reality of recovery. ...William Anthony PhD Professor Emeritus Boston University... I joined Excellence to sponsor research and development models of care and treatment focused on recovering from cooccurring mental illness and addiction. ...Lawrence Gentile III LLM Florida... The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care values empiricism and rigorous research while being willing to challenge accepted dogma. We need a venue where research is not driven by commercial interests and where funders support projects that investigate how to help those experiencing extreme emotional distress in ways that are both more effective and more humane than the standard practices today. ...Sandra Steingard MD Medical Director Howard Center Burlington Vermont... 12 Make your philanthropic dream come true with EXCELLENCE... Fund and support research projects programs or education campaigns of your choice through an EXCELLENCE Donor-Advised Fund Support the EXCELLENCE General Fund whose research programs and educational grants are chosen by our Scientific Advisory Council and Board of Directors Are you passionate about a certain area but not sure what to fund Open a Field of Interest Fund and let our Scientific Advisory Council and Board of Directors choose great projects for you in your area of interest Want to leave a legacy Open an Endowment Fund in your name or in honor of someone you love Launch an independent nonprofit with an EXCELLENCE Incubator Fund Our story... We connect the passion of private philanthropy with the world s top researchers and programs to bring recovery based care and supports to every community. 14 Women of Distinction Mary Madden PhD Research Program Evaluation President Dr. Madden and Associates LLC Bradenton FL P articipating in an internship at a local family planning agency while in her fourth year of undergraduate studies Mary Madden PhD absolutely loved the work. During her internship a part-time position opened up at the local family planning office Mary went for it and was granted the position. When Mary graduated she moved into a full-time role and remained there for nine more years. Branching off into her second position Mary then became the director of education and training for the Family Planning Association of Maine. It was the beginning of a very rewarding career for her in social science. Beginning her new profession with the Family Planning Association is what initially kickstarted Mary s decision to go back to school and further her education. She was greatly inspired to learn how to conduct research and program evaluation and in particular how to use the qualitative research method that the author of the book Meeting at the Crossroads and dear friend of hers Lyn Mikel Brown used in her research. Lyn s studies explored girls decision-making in the face of moral dilemmas. Mary was intrigued and interested in how this methodology could be used to explore girls framing of their own sexuality and sexual decisions. Her interest also stemmed from her work in sexual education. Just prior to studying for her doctorate Mary co-founded a non-profit organization CERES Associates in 1995 with two colleagues of hers. Working as a consultant the organization delivered education research and evaluation services to government and community organizations in Maine and New Hampshire. Most of the work focused on sexuality and HIV prevention education. During her graduate studies she worked as a graduate assistant for the Women s Resource Center at the University of Maine implementing and supporting initiatives focused on gender equality. She then worked as a research associate for the Center for Research and Evaluation College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine designing and implementing program evaluations for schools and community organizations that were external to the university. That position followed by becoming an assistant research professor from 2000-07 then as an associate research professor from 2007-13. During Mary s years at the University she served as research faculty for the Center for Research and Evaluation College of Education and Human Development as director for Rising Tide Center in the Provost s Office and as co-director for the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention. I desired to explore something that was missing from education and to conduct research that would look into and challenge traditional notions of girls sexuality and their understanding of how they made sexual decisions in a culture with many mixed messages about girls and sex Mary explained in detail. While this was the topic of my dissertation I went on to apply my research skills to many issues but primarily I applied them to issues that impacted the health and well-being of adolescents. While working in the Center for Research and Evaluation Mary planned and directed the National Study on Student Hazing with her colleague. It was and still is the most comprehensive research on hazing in the United States. The research continues to guide colleges and universities in their efforts to prevent hazing and remains a prominent source of information for other researchers practitioners and journalists. Mary also spent time evaluating a school-based suicide prevention program entitled Lifelines from 2002-11. The evaluation contributed to identifying effective practices in youth suicide prevention and her findings have been shared with numerous other states. She is very proud of her efforts and the impact this program has had on others in the field. In 2014 Mary left the University of Maine moving to the west coast of Florida to begin a research and evaluation business to continue conducting research and doing evaluations. Dr. Madden and Associates LLC is a small business based in Bradenton Florida whose work focuses on the development health well-being and education of children adolescents young adults families and women. Clients include social service and educational organizations local and state government agencies businesses K-12 schools and colleges and universities. She has since taken on a senior associate Cheryl Robertson Ed.D. who has 22 years of education experience working with elementary high school and college students. Mary also continues to work with college campuses to assess and prevent hazing. Together Mary and Cheryl provide research and evaluation services that include conducing original research conducting needs assessments evaluating the implementation progress and outcomes of programs and policies answering key questions using surveys interviews and focus groups conducting campus assessments of hazing and sexual violence and developing evaluation plans for grant proposals. Training services include restorative justice gender equity hardiness zones and strength-based programs for girls encouraging girls to pursue science technology engineering and mathematics multicultural education and hazing prevention. 16 Women of Distinction I want to contribute to making the world a kinder more inclusive equitable place where all young people regardless of gender race sexuality or social class are treated with dignity have access to education and opportunities and live in environments that support them in becoming the best version of themselves Mary said with regard to opening Madden and Associates LLC. Q&A Q Why do you feel that what you do is relevant in today s world A The research and program evaluation Dr. Madden and Associates does contributes to understanding vital issues in education and human development and provides information on the programs and strategies that are effective in addressing problems such as hazing and youth suicide. In addition we study ways of supporting youth to become activists to build upon their strengths and to use strategies to challenge injustice and inequity. It is well known that preventing problems before the occur contributes to individual family and community health and well-being and makes economic sense. Q How did you become involved in researching hazing A I was working as a research faculty member in the Center for Research and Evaluation at the University of Maine. A colleague of mine Dr. Elizabeth Allan presented a paper on theories about hazing at a conference and was then asked by a board member of the National Interfraternal Council if she was interested in conducting a study on hazing. We had collaborated on an earlier project to examine whether or not there was still a chilly climate for women students in the college classroom or if conclusions about a chilly climate were related to the research method used to study the issue. Dr. Allan asked if I would work on the study with her. At the time I knew little about hazing but was well grounded in research methods to study the issue. I certainly learned a lot about hazing and college student experiences through this study. Q What are the most important skills you need as a researcher A There are many skills one needs to be a researcher. In addition to the knowledge about how to conduct research one needs A) Creativity There is not one right way to study an issue or problem rather there are many approaches and lots of room to be creative designing a research study. B) Strong Organizational Skills You need to be able to attend to many details when designing and implementing a study. You need to be able to clearly identify all the issues that need attention in every phase of the research and you need to keep a good record of the changes and decisions that are made throughout the study. C) Strong interpersonal skills Many studies in social sciences require that you work with people. It may be other researchers and practitioners but it will also be participants in your study. Successfully recruiting people or organizations to participate in a study requires that you establish trustworthiness between yourself and program or organizational staff and also between yourself and potential participants. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Family Life Education followed by a Master s of Education in Human Development and a PhD Interdisciplinary Degree in Education and Human Development Girls Development and Education with a concentration in Women s Studies all through the University of Maine. Serving on the board of directors for a non-profit organization called Hardy Girls Healthy Women Inc. (HGHW) in Waterville Maine Mary is their recent vice-president. HGHW is dedicated to the health and well-being of girls and women. In collaboration with Author and friend Lyn Mikel Brown they developed a curriculum guide Adversaries to Allies for organizing and facilitating coalition groups for middle school girls. The curriculum helps girls understand issues related to gender and inequity and teaches them how to be activists to address inequity and injustices in their schools and communities. Mary is currently working to evaluate the impact of the program. Often found spending quiet time at the beach reading or practicing photography Mary is proud mother of three wonderful adult children two daughters and a son. Her oldest daughter Kristen graduated with a degree in English and is a magazine editor and small business owner living in Oregon with her husband and their two young children. Daughter Jamie graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and is a senior pricing manager for a large international company. She lives in Maine with her husband and two young children. Her son Michael graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and works for the Department of Defense overseeing shipbuilding. He also lives in Maine with his fianc . 17 Women of Distinction Q Do you ever image you would have a doctorate degree A No I never even dreamed I would go to college. Even after completing my bachelor s degree I felt I had gone as far as I could. However once I started to work I began to identify what I didn t know and what else I wanted to know so I kept pursuing more education to learn more. Once I was inspired to learn research I knew this meant earning a doctorate which scared me because I wasn t sure I was smart enough to earn a doctorate. I decided I d first take the advanced statistics course and if I could pass that I would move forward in a doctoral program. I passed the statistics class and found myself intrigued energized and wanting more. Q What is it about doing research that you like so much A I love the process. It s so creative yet also requires an analytical approach. I love to analyze data and to make new discoveries about an issue or topic. There are many approaches to analyzing a dataset so you can re-analyze the same data and get new findings from the varied analysis. I also love the contribution that research and evaluation make toward improving the status quo. So for example my research about hazing can help a college or university take steps to create a healthier environment and experience for students joining organizations. Q What is program evaluation and how did you begin doing program evaluation A Program evaluation is a subset of research. It uses research methods to support the development and enhancement of a particular program or strategy that is used to achieve a goal. For example if you want to know if a Science Technology Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) program implemented in a high school increases the number of students who pursue study in a STEM field you would evaluate the program first to determine if it is being implemented as intend and how the implementation is working. Once you make adjustments to a program then you evaluate it to determine if the program is meeting its goals and objectives. I first became interested in program evaluation when I working as the Director of Training and Education for the Family Planning Association. Two colleagues had developed an innovative HIV prevention program for high school students and we needed to evaluate the program to see if it was effective. I was also in a Masters of Education program then and worked with a researcher to conduct the evaluation. I found the process interesting so when I entered my doctoral programs one of my goals was to understand how to evaluate programs. I was given an opportunity to work in the Center for Research and Evaluation at the University of Maine where I learned a tremendous amount about evaluation. After graduating I was offered a job as a research faculty in the Center and continued to gain expertise in evaluation. Q Do you still do research on girls issues A These days I use my research skills to evaluate strengthbased programming for girls that is implemented by Hardy Girls Healthy Women. I am currently working with Lyn Mikel Brown to evaluate the curriculum for girls coalitions that we created. Q What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of being a small business owner A I find it difficult to play all the roles in a small business. A small budget means I m the researcher marketer web developer and business strategist. It s taken quite a bit of learning for me to understand what I need to do in each of these roles and to integrate them. I still have much more to learn but I love the challenge. Q Where do you see yourself headed next A My goal is to continue to grow my business. I also am seeking external funding to be able to pursue additional research on hazing and the evaluation of girls programs. Q What advice would you give to others who are considering becoming a researcher A First I d say learn what it is that you are passionate about and how research could contribute to that topic. Next talk with researchers in that field to find out more about what they do. And last if you are a student find a faculty member who is doing research that is similar to what you would like to do and see if you can work with them as a research assistant. This will give you a broader picture of what research entails and help you determine if this is a path that you wish to continue on. 18 Women of Distinction Hope H. Anderson RD LDN Food Nutrition Health and Wellness Education Owner Hope Nutritional Services Davie FL lthough Hope H. Anderson RD LDN spent 17 years in food service management it wasn t until 2001 when she created Hope Nutritional Services that she found her true calling. Hope Nutritional Services served as the vehicle through which she would offer fee-forservice nutritional counselling. Since her initial launch Hope has expanded to include anti-aging products and has now transformed the business to an online based business model. A Earning a BS in Foods and Nutrition in 1974 from Howard University Hope later went on to pursue the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Loyola University in 1994. She successfully completed the examination by the American Dietetic Association (now The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics) and became a registered dietitian in 2000. In 2004 Hope obtained her Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management by the Commission on Dietetic Registration and a year later became a Therapeutic Lifestyle Coach through Metagenics. Hope had the education and experience needed to start her own health and wellness company but was faced with the challenge of going online. Not knowing anything about the internet Hope started from scratch arming herself with books taking online webinars in marketing gaining the tools needed to obtain the necessary knowledge she needed to run a successful online business. I am passionate about food nutrition and health and want to give people the power to take charge by making informed decisions to support their health and wellness Hope said about what she loves most her career. After working in food service management for so many years and becoming a registered dietitian it felt natural to launch my own private practice. 19 Women of Distinction Today Hope writes content for her websites and provides expert content for three other sites supports her social media outreach with posts joining groups and making comments and produces and posts video content to her site. There are certain activities Hope suggests be done daily and she does it all by herself. The first would be an early morning affirmation in which one would state his her goals. She suggests eating healthy meals snacks and hydrating one s body with adequate water. Make time to move exercise and meditate. Try to set up daily plans the night before and participate in enjoyable activities. A member of the Business People We Trust and her local chapter of the National Association of Professional Women Hope also participates and promotes on an as needed basis for the programs to assist the American Heart Association Diabetes and Cancers on their yearly campaigns to raise funding. Hope has written two e-books that were available on downloads on two different websites and was a member of the panel Immigrants Eating Habits on a segment of Esta Semana Show which educated audiences about the behavior of immigrants in the United States. She wrote a proposal and received a grant that implemented nutrition education and training for students in the Chartered Youth Advisory Program. Hope has also conducted taste tests of exotic fruits and vegetables educating students on the importance of eating good nutritional foods and the impact of their growth and learning. I am a very knowledgeable empathic and caring person and have both hands-on experiences and professional education in health and wellness Hope said about her dedication to the field. Hope is married lives in Davie Florida and her only daughter lives in Montclair New Jersey. When she s not scheduling presentations and demonstrations for follow-ups with prospects interested in her anti-aging products or the business opportunity she loves to garden spend time with her husband read and go to the movies. She also enjoys entertaining friends by touring her gardens having great meals together and sharing laughs. Q&A Q Why do you feel that food and nutrition play a vital role in health and wellness for people and the world A From the beginning food has always been mentioned to play an important part in health and wellness. In the days of Hippocrates he stated that food is medicine coupled with the fact that we can heal our bodies with healthy food. Q Why do you feel that your online business is relevant in today s technological world A My message is relevant and serves the purpose of delivering credible evidence-based information that is scientific. It fills the gap by educating people on how to make informed decisions by eliminating misinformation and myths when they search the web. Q What is your business and how does it serve the world A My business is an online platform named Hope Nutritional Services which provides credible information based on research. It collaborates with like-minded people partners with companies and organization that bring value to the public when people search for solutions to improve their lives. Q What is unique about your business and how do you stay above the crowd A I have witnessed the multitude of misinformation that is on the Internet. Some businesses sole intention is to make money and do not provide the service or product that they promise. My mission is to serve ethically stand behind my word and work provide superb value that I m proud of always be respectful and respected not take advantage of people or ruin my reputation. Q What is the status of our food chain Is it in good health or in crisis A Staying abreast with food sustainability and keeping a pulse on GMO s (genetically modified organisms) the Food Revolution book and the various Summits held by John Robbins and other guests pinpoint to emerging information that there is a food crisis. There are over 46 million people who are hungry and don t have enough food to eat. The safety net is pulled or cut and big agribusiness has made profits that are more important than our health more important than the environment more important than your right to know how your food is produced. This is mind boggling to me. It is my duty in bringing awareness to this struggle for people to be informed. Q How are people responding to these changes and what is your role in helping to bring about change A People are taking action from the rural farmer to the urban household s dinner from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes. People are demanding and reclaiming that their food systems and their menus support their health. My role is to provide these findings write about them and sign petitions to congress and state representatives to keep or prevent legislation. Q What are some of the issues that your business supports A Today there is a huge and growing demand for organic food. I support this as well as keeping a pulse on sustainable food fair trade non GMO humane and healthy food supply. I provide information on the topics that are controversial provide peer-reviewed evidence point people in the direction of the research where they can find options to shop and find these foods at their local farmers market. I also noticed that big retail chains are jumping on the bandwagon by displaying local natural and organic foods for customers. Q What do you think is causing these changes and movement A As people become more informed they want to feel and look great and become healthy. They expect more and are demanding more. There is a movement for healthy foods that is starting a political force. There is growing evidence of obesity and chronic illness getting out of hand. Families companies and governments are driven into bankruptcy by high healthcare costs. Providing information with solutions on services product programs and tools will give people the information that they need quickly in a reliable fashion so they can help themselves become healthier. Q What is the role of the medical community Are they tapping into the source to fill the gap A Medical science knows a lot about the impact our food choices have on our health and on the world around us. But the information is not delivered and growing with the technical speed of the Internet. This is one of the reasons I created a platform where my message can be delivered quickly to reach more people in near and far away places around the world. They ll have the information that they need to keep themselves and the planet healthy. Q What is your biggest why and how do you want to be remembered A My biggest why is my purposeful intention to give high quality service. I want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people who want to improve their health through eating healthy foods and exercise and by providing added benefits of products that can enhance delivery of energy coupled with a youthful look and feel from within and outside of their bodies. I also want to help eradicate malnutrition and hunger in children both locally and around the world. Making it fun making it delicious changing your life - that is the best gift that one can give oneself to live a healthy and purposeful life. 21 Women of Distinction Jill A. McCracken Education Political Science Retired Teacher Holmdel High School Short-Term Election Observer Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Board of Directors Instructor Center for Holocaust Human Rights and Genocide Education Brookdale Community College Consultant NJ Holocaust Commission NJ Dept. of Education Haverford PA W orking her magic in a school district that valued excellence and supported innovation Jill A. McCracken spent more than 30 years teaching at Holmdel High School in New Jersey. Beginning in 1983 she was mentored by a dedicated group of professional social scientists colleagues who demonstrated how to excel teach and inspire and had several administrators along the way who helped her with funding projects and grant applications. Using humor to teach history as a story while also teaching study skills Jill tried to never let any student fall through the cracks . While this sometimes angered them and their parents for not going away she insisted on quality work and homework. Her role was to teach and see young people learn sometimes in spite of themselves. My vocation involves tapping into each student s unique potential consciously enabling the student to think grow and let each talent mature Jill said about the complexities of being an educator. The challenge is to maintain my status as a student-learner even as I provide an environment in which those entrusted to my care can thrive. Many students come into history political science or psychology with predetermined ideas about liking or not liking the subject matter. Tearing down prejudices is of paramount importance allowing students to participate and question while using stimulating critical thinking skills that holds their interest. This is where enthusiasm for teaching comes into play. After earning her BA Cum Laude at The College of New Jersey Jill spent a month in South Korea Hong Kong Mainland China and Taiwan as one of her responsibilities at the high school would be teaching Chinese History as part of World Cultures. Completing coursework in Holocaust studies and an internship at the then Center for Holocaust Studies at Brookdale Community College (now Center for Holocaust Human Rights and Genocide Education (CHHanGE)) at age 19 she later went to them for teacher training. Once she honed her craft she began to teach other teachers assisted them with programming and joined their board of directors where she has served for 25 years. She worked with CHHanGE on a variety of programs over the years and created a Summer Teacher Training Institute to prepare teachers for teaching Holocaust and Genocide in their classrooms and elementary to high school teachers have graduated our program while we adjusted to meet their needs. She introduced them to the Armenian Cambodian Rwandan and Balkan genocides as well as the Ukrainian and Irish Famines and still regularly speak at colleges on genocidal topics most recently at Rutgers University. Jill also taught as an adjunct professor of history at Brookdale Community College which she loved. Teaching adults enabled her to explore more controversial topics in history more fully a liberating opportunity that she was not afforded in a high school of minors. Fifteen years ago Jill began volunteering as a short-term election observer with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She has served as a Short-Term Observer (STO) in Croatia Azerbaijan Kyrgyzstan twice Ukraine Belarus and recently visited Moldova in November 2014. Receiving a scholarship to travel to Israel in 2000 to attend the International Scholars Program at Yad Vashem Jerusalem their Holocaust Memorial and Education Center the life changing event led Jill to travel to Kosovo a year after their genocide and NATO war against Milosevic and Serbia. I saw first hand the results of ethnic cleansing peacekeeping was embedded with the US Army at Camp Bondsteel had my own flak vest Kevlar vest and billet Jill remembers about this unbelievable experience. We went on patrol I witnessed MedCap DentCap attended an Albanian wedding atop a mountain in Kllokot went on foot patrol in Vitina. In 2005 Jill took a half-year sabbatical to take part in an internship at the US Mission to the UN in Press and Public Affairs. It was a fabulous opportunity and the place where the Bolton appointment as Ambassador Food for Oil Scandal Iraq War Afghanistan and the Darfur genocide was raging. In 2010 the New Jersey Holocaust Commission the Liberty Science Center and the families of 9 11 published a comprehensive K-12 curriculum Learning for the Challenges of Our Times Global Security Terrorism and 9 11 in the Classroom of which Jill was the co-author. She has since written lesson plans for the National 9 11 Memorial Museum and won the 9 11 Tribute Center Award in New York City for Teaching Excellence in 2014. Jill s also a consultant for the New Jersey Holocaust Commission through the Department of Education which included writing curriculum using core curriculum standards. A former CCD teacher at St. Gabriel s Roman Catholic Church for several years when her children were younger she was also a twirling coach Performing Arts Club Advisor ran a Toys for Tots program and an Adopt-a-Platoon Program and organized a successful international program Global Connection which enabled Holmdel American Serbian and Albanian students together to work on peace projects such as peace murals. Holding a BA from College of New Jersey in History Education an MA from Seton Hall University in Education and an MA from Norwich University in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management Jill is a fellow of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the US Institute of Peace both in Washington DC. Married to Daniel McCracken who is pursuing his PhD in Molecular Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. They are both currently residing in Pennsylvania while Daniel completes his studies. Jill also has two daughters who work in New York City Diane Cerqueira an assistant vice-president for CITIGroup and Patricia Cerqueira a merchandise assistant for Macy s. 23 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What does a Short-Term Officer (STO) with OSCE do A STOs must qualify by passing a variety of exams. STOs receive detailed briefings on past relevant political situation and law. The STO and in this case a male European interpreter and driver deploy to locations throughout the host country. They assess the local situation and examine preparations for Election Day investigating violations and complaints. Q What happens on Election Day A STOs assess opening voting closing and counting procedures and draft structured observation reports on aspects of the electoral process in their area of responsibility. The information forms the basis of the final election report prepared. Q What was your most memorable election mission A After claims that wide-spread cheating had taken place by the winning party the opposition rioted in the capital. Looting and shooting took place and windows of buildings shattered. The national army was called in to restore order. I was roughed up some at the county seat by a police officer who wanted my election protocol. Q How did you use these experiences in your teaching A In teaching World Civilization it came up when I taught the Enlightenment. We looked at the political theory and how these ideas were later incorporated into our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We examine issues of today whether in Eastern Europe and Central Asia or Iraq and Afghanistan. Having been an STO I have some real credentials for being able to extrapolate on issues that arise in developing a new Constitution under a new government. Q At CHHanGE which project are you most proud of creating A The Monmouth Museum of Lincroft New Jersey s exhibit focused on the lives of 11 Holocaust survivors with artifacts photographs maps and curricular materials. I created survivor Fritz Fred Spiegel s story selecting photographs that survived from his happy life in Germany. Q What work did you do in Kosovo A In 2006 I brought teacher Kathleen Dougherty. Teaching these students with no equipment no chalk no blackboards just us and a few sheets of paper was a challenge. We improvised wracked our brains and it worked marvelously. Q What was one memorable project you did at Holmdel High School A My students participated in the 100 Days of Silence project at CHHanGE. After studying the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda they took full-sized human cutout boards and responded artistically to what they learned. Q What are you proudest of accomplishing A The terrorism curriculum is one of the most important contributions I ve made to education. Q What work did you do for the National 9 11 Memorial Museum in New York City A I wrote lesons based on artifacts and exhibits at the National 9 11 Memorial Museum helping the next generation understand how this event changed America and the world. Q Have you won awards A Yes. The Maud Dahme Award for Moral Courage was created to honor those who saves the lives of a child Holocaust survivor Maud Dahme in Holland during World War II. To do so was to risk one s life in no uncertain terms. 25 Women of Distinction Melanie Ann Prapopoulos Art Design Co-Owner Design Art Concepts LLC Owner Melanie Prapopoulos Works of Art Miami FL O ne of the biggest challenges of being an artist for Melanie Ann Prapopoulos she confesses is not being known . While most of the recognized artists are indeed men and the industry is still very much catered to the male leaders of the art world there are many women artists who are just as powerful just as trendsetting and just as talented yet go much more unrecognized by their competition. Unfortunately it is difficult for women to climb over that wall and not become disheveled by the double standard that the industry provokes as a result. It is also the main reason why Melanie became an entrepreneur in the art world. Beginning her career in fashion Melanie also worked in retail management for some time before getting into art and finally in higher education. Teaching college writing and literature since 2000 at The University of Indianapolis Athens Campus in Greece she begin doing art exhibitions in 2004 in Athens Greece and has been painting and creating ever since. Her first love charcoal eventually led to working on canvas and she still does both on occasion. But now her true focus is on mixed media. Hosting her own website that is dedicated to her artwork she also runs her own company in Miami Florida a city heavily influenced by art with business partner Maria Apostolidis. When an artist joins a public art site she explained a gallery or agent will scroll through all the artists and then send out highly complementary letters exalting the work and its universal importance all the while stroking the ego of the artist. Then they will offer the artist an exhibition for a fee. When you first start in this business you don t know any better. The problem is that once the gallery or agent is paid they have no motivation to actually do anything but put two nails on a wall. Melanie further explained that an artist should be able to expect that the opening will be attended and that those who attend will at least have the ability to buy or advance the artist in some way. But that s not the case. The artist in reality is investing in making the art promoting it and investing in the exhibition. That s not what DAC is all about. DAC is making major strides to the art and design world. Melanie and her partner are proud of how they go about their business knowing that they are serving their clients with integrity and are looking out for their best interest. Melanie believes in herself what her company has to offer and she prides on great business ethics placing value where it is due. Her experiences in the art world have propelled her vision and mission for DAC to serve each and every artist and designer by using every resource she can and she is proud to stand behind something she very much believes in. Melanie also does charity work when she has time which often include the opportunity to show off an artist or designer in some way. She is heavily involved in board activities is a board member of the 1800 Club in Miami and has presented several academic papers in conferences in Europe and the US. She has also entered her work in various competitions and has won several awards for them. Born in England she grew up in New Jersey with her parents and two brothers. The grand-niece of Epaminondas Thomopoulos a Greek artist of the early 20th century Melanie holds a BA form New York University and an MA from the University of Indianapolis. I started the business because there were things that I saw in life and in the art business that I had hoped to expose. I also wanted to help others avoid some of the negatives that I have experienced Melanie said about the formation of Design Art Concepts LLC (DAC). Officially founding DAC in January 2014 Melanie and Maria have been silently working together for a few years already. The mission of DAC is to offer the opportunity of exposure and recognition to artists and designers by means of exhibits and broker sales for the emerging artist designer while creating ties with collectors. There are so many artists and designers who need help getting their work out there and both Melanie and Maria want to bridge the gap by creating opportunities for their clients to shine. As the co-owner of DAC Melanie juries artists seeks locations for them to exhibit sell or place the pieces works on the design and upkeep of the website and negotiates with and for the artists and designers. She brainstorms with her partner implements new exhibiting strategies and networks too. DAC is different in that they are doing the exact opposite of what galleries and other agents are doing. I care about society. I don t want to see suffering. I want the future generations to be prepared. I want anger and hate to just run off of us and vanish. I know I sound overly sensitive and like a dreamer but between my own artwork and what I see in our universities and colleges and what is shown on the news I am saddened Melanie added. I care about equality in race gender sexual orientation and spiritual beliefs and I want everyone to have their chance at the pie . 27 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What inspires your work A I am inspired by what I see around me meaning what society is doing now. Too often the desires of society destroys or negates the individual in some way. Take for example our common definitions of beauty not everyone fits into them and so women are altering themselves to fit into that impossible mold. I am also concerned with how we socialize our young girls and boys through fairytales which also prescribe unattainable objectives. Q What other things inspire your artwork A I am often interested in how color affects the viewer and I find that through abstraction I can fully explore my own reactions to color and those of my viewer. This then becomes very interesting when others view my work and interpret it. Often times their interpretation is completely different from what I see in my work but that is probably the best part of creating as it starts discussions that I have not even entertained. Q Why did you start Design Art Concepts LLC A We startedDesign Art Concepts because the art world more often than not serves the gallery or agent leaving the artist vulnerable and exploited. Q Can you further explain A Emerging artists and designers are approached by some galleries agents who offer them the opportunity to exhibit in their gallery for a fee. But once the gallery gets paid their incentive they don t actively seek for clients to purchase works. Works in the show are mismatched and the result is lack of unity which in turn can become confusing and chaotic for the viewer and can hinder sales. Anyone can attend too and they are usually not collectors but the gallery just wants to show the artist designer that the opening was attended. Q How will you enable the artist or designer A We will enable the artist or designer through various innovative promotions and exhibition opportunities Gallery Venues Public Space Virtual Space and Marketing. But most important of all we will not play upon the vanity of the artist or designer but instead make sure that we have clients who are collectors locations that are relevant and international. We want to be able to cooperate with artists and designers as well as galleries both here in Miami Florida all over the United States as well as internationally. Q What do you hope to see happen in the industry A I have always wanted to be an artist and now as an art and design agent as someone who can effect change someone who is able to put into images what needs to be said we can make change. I want to be able to promote and protect future artists and designers so they can say and do what they feel the world needs to see and learn. I firmly believe that both artists and designers are what the Romantics called prophets and we must hear them. Q Who is one of your favorite artists A Frida Kahlo a Mexican painter best known for her selfportraits has a lot to do with my not giving up in this field. Her perseverance is very inspiring. Q What other artists inspire you A I am moved by the work of Goya. He is what I admire the most he clearly mirrors the behaviors and beliefs of his surrounding society almost throwing their faults back at them and making that into art. Q You are also a professor of literature and writing. Can you tell us about that A I love being in the classroom and informing my students about what things mean. For example each semester I assign my students the task of interpreting songs like Changes by Tupac anything from Marvin Gaye or even American Pie forcing the student to learn about the historical climate when the song was written to learn the meaning of words to learn that the song has value above and beyond the beat . Q What is next A I ve been thinking about getting back to writing not just academically but I d like to get some of my creative writings out there as well. I d also like to see a brick and mortar establishment of d a c. 28 Women of Distinction Roxanne Del Rio PhD Higher Education Associate Dean North Central Texas College Corinth TX 29 Women of Distinction ttending Del Mar College in Corpus Christ Texas Roxanne Del Rio had the opportunity to participate in the college s Work Study Program in the Health Science program. Immediately falling in love with higher education she assisted students who desired to learn more about careers in health science such as radiology registered nursing and respiratory therapy. Continuing to work in the program until she graduated with her Associate of Arts Degree Roxanne vowed to one day return to higher education. Transferring to Texas A&M University she worked several parttime jobs to finance her education. Following her graduation with her Bachelor s Degree in Political Science she found her way back to higher education as planned. A I have traveled extensively throughout Mexico Latin America Asia Middle East Europe Canada and the United States. I believe it is important to understand different cultures when working with students. In higher education I have experienced a number of students who have chosen to study in the US and knowing their cultures and educational systems allows for me to serve and communicate effectively with the student. Knowing who your students are and where they are from makes for a more effective leader and mentor Roxanne added. The higher education process of obtaining a degree is very complex for students in general. Often times prospective students and current students do not know how to navigate the bureaucracy of the educational process such as what it takes to get admitted into college financial resources available academic resources available or how to withdraw from a class. It takes a special individual to listen to the needs of the students and find the necessary resources. For this reason Roxanne applauds all those that make the decision to work in higher education. It also isn t the most financially lucrative field to work in you will never get rich from working in education but the rewards are priceless when your students walk across that stage to accept their diplomas. Roxanne has written and published approximately two dozen journal articles relative to education some of which have been presented at conferences. She has been active with numerous not-for-profit organizations over the years including the League of United Latin America Students as their scholarship chair as a member of the Denton Adopt-A-School Program as a member of the US Census Bureau Complete Count Committee Member for Denton County and as a board member for National Society of Hispanic MBA s in addition to many others. She has also been a member of several education and community activities and organizations. She has served as chair of the La Vida Denton which promotes Denton Texas to students at North Central Texas College University of North Texas and Texas Woman s University is a planning member for the Equity & Diversity Conference for the University of North Texas has been the chair of the National Behavioral Intervention Team for North Central Texas College since 2010 is an associate member of the National Behavior Intervention Team since 2012 and is a planning committee team member for the Annual Career Planning Program which is sponsored by the Denton Chamber of Commerce since 2013. She has also been a member of the University of North Texas Association of Graduate Students in Higher Education and served as their vice-president in 2009. Following her associate s and bachelor s degree Roxanne went on to earn her Master s Degree in Public Administration followed by her PhD in Higher Education Administration both from the University of North Texas. Married to a wonderful man named Pieter Vermeulen Pieter is of Dutch heritage who was born in Singapore and lived in Indonesia Bermuda and Holland. Pieter also works in higher education in administration as the director of recruitment for the University of North Texas in Denton. I love mentoring and coaching students Roxanne admits. When I see a student that I mentored and coached through their academic program I am very proud to have been a part of the process knowing that I have truly made a difference in their life. Now the Associate Dean of Denton County Campus and Associate Dean of Students at North Central Texas College Roxanne s one primarily responsibility is to serve as the college disciplinarian. When a student gets into trouble for violating a policy in the student code of conduct such as disrupting the classroom or violating student rights Roxanne is called in to talk to the student. Over the years however she has learned that students that have a discipline problem are not necessarily bad students they may just be dealing with issues within their home work or relationships. When Roxanne speaks with the student she is successful at convincing him or her to alter their behavior for the better. As a result when the student makes the decision to comply with her advice they are able to continue their courses resulting in a higher student retention rate and best outcome for both Roxanne and the college. Roxanne has experience working for a number of different higher education institutions from community colleges to graduate schools both public and private. Each institution brings its own unique challenges. Understanding cross cultural challenges for example have made Roxanne better equip to deal with student cultural customs empowering her ability to serve students effectively. Knowing a little about a lot she says has certainly contributed to her success today. Also attributing her success in higher education to measuring the quality of service she provides to each student serving students is and should always be individualized. Service is not providing a cookie-cutter approach to helping a student but rather providing customized service that meets the unique needs of each of them. 30 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is the difference in working for a community college and working at a university A Community accepts all that qualifies where as a university may have a selective admission process. Q What are challenges in working for a community college A There are challenges working with students from diverse economic backgrounds because they may not have the financial resources needed to succeed in college. Q Do you work with parents of students who are studying at college and university A Yes and often times you encounter parents when their child student is in trouble however many colleges and universities have policies that may or may not allow them to discuss student issues with the parents. Q Does working for higher education pay the bills A Yes. Working for higher education pays the bills but nothing more. Q Is working for higher education a 8 00am 5 00pm job A No. Students need you when they need you and if you work in Student Services definitely not. Q Why would I want to work for a higher education institution A If you like working and mentoring students throughout their college career you would like working in higher education. Q How does one begin a career in higher education A Research the employment section of the higher education institutions you wish to work for or in your community and find a position that you may qualify for. Generally a bachelor s degree is required to work in Admissions or Advisiong Counseling departments which are great places to begin. Q Does a higher education institution pay for additional education for the employee and their family A Depending on the institution they may a pay portion of the employee s tuition and fees to continue their education and sometimes their family s tuition is also paid for. Q Do colleges and universities accept veteran benefits A Yes. Most colleges have a veteran s representative. Visit with a veteran s representative for more information. Q Do colleges and universities give out scholarships for students A Yes but it is limited. The business and many not-for-profit industries generally have more scholarship money to award to students. Often times scholarships are not awarded because there are not enough students who apply for the scholarships. 31 Women of Distinction Catherine Cathi T. Coridan Consulting Training Writing and Interim Executive Services for Non-Profits and Small Businesses Owner Consultant Coridan Consulting Writer Alexandria VA M otivating inspiring and equipping non-profit leaders and their employees to meet their goals achieve their missions and make a Can Do difference for the people they serve is Catherine Cathi T. Coridan s role as the owner and consultant for Coridan Consulting. Providing writing services online and onsite training services and interim executive services to help individuals and organizations navigate change with excellence and impact has been Cathi s mission since 2010. It s important to be able to determine what we can do . How we predict embrace and handle change in our lives makes all the difference in our success Cathi explained. Healthy productive long lasting growth comes from learning how to handle challenges with gratitude and a positive attitude. She taught counseling in a seminary dedicated four years to youth ministry in two parish communities and later transitioned into senior level management roles with behavioral health issues as the associate director of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and as senior director for Substance Abuse Programs and Policy at the National Mental Health Association. She also served as CEO for two youth agencies in New England Mount Saint John and Girls Incorporated of Worchester. In 2010 significant health issues led Cathi to leave her day job and establish Coridan Consulting to help others reach their goals through grant writing and organizational development. In 2013 she began writing her story The Can Do Chronicles where she narrates her journey through significant health and financial challenges with a Can Do approach. She s since launched an online workshop series as well the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life and she is now finishing her second book The Can Do Workplace. A member of Rotary Club of Alexandria Cathi embraces their motto Service Above Self. It inspires her and is in full alignment with her values as a woman wife business owner and friend. Explaining further that people who want to hang on to what worked before and resist change can only become stuck and frustrated. Cathi says there are no silver bullets hacks or apps to make effective change and healthy growth and coaching and mentoring can help them become unstuck. Cathi worked as a probation officer in juvenile court immediately after college. She then pursued her MA in Psychology and became a counselor in behavioral health programs in public and private agencies in Washington DC and Columbus Ohio followed by operating her own private practice in Columbus. I believe the greatest gift from God is the ability to start over and choose life every day Cathi added. 33 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is your definition of a Can Do Workplace A An intentional work environment that encourages promotes and supports system-wide and individual employee excellence for change and growth. It is a place where strategic change inspired growth and a persistent attitude of gratitude are the expectation and the norm. Q Why is creating a Can Do Workplace so important A The positive organizational culture of a Can Do Workplace with its commitment to mission focus on possibilities and openness to change build resilience that protect the organization from many of the risks and negative outcomes that are prevalent in the uncertain economic times. Q What can an organizational leader can do to get and keep great employees A Engagement of employees in creating and maintaining the culture of the organization and the employees must have a clear understanding of their role in meeting their mission and goals. Q What is the most effective personal strategy for having a Can Do career A Setting professional goals that are based on your passions and your dreams. Once you set the goals it is important to track your progress toward achieving them on at least a yearly basis making any changes in a timely way. This helps you stay fresh and connected to your dreams Q What are some of the most costly mistakes that organizations make A One not focusing their work and workforce on achieving their mission two setting goals that the staff employees cannot achieve or don t have the skills or resources to achieve and three not investing in the development of their workforce to succeed. Without all of these in place the risk of turnover is very high as is the risk of losing your clients and customers. Q What are some of the most frequent mistakes that manager make A Requiring the people they supervise to rely too heavily on them. Delegation of decision making and accountability are critical. Decisions should be made by the person closest to the issue as far down the structure as possible with adequate training and fair accountability. Q What are important requirements for making successful transitions in organizations A Transitions means change and change is very difficult and can bring out the worst in people. Transitions need to have well-designed well-constructed plans with many opportunities to assess and then use lessons learned clearly defined and competent leadership systems in place to over-communicate and get and use feedback from all constituencies. Q What are the values of a consultant versus an employee in organizational change A A consultant can provide feedback in a more direct open way without fear or political consequences. An employee has more stake in the outcome long-term and can help get the support and buy-in of colleagues to support implementation. A combination of both is best. Q What do you say to people who don t want to spend money on staff training A Training and other forms of staff development are the most critical investments for the future of a business. I ask them about their turnover rate and employee morale and what more productive things they could be doing if they didn t have to spend time with hiring turnover and employee discipline. Training is an investment when you look at it that way. Q What is the best period of time to cover in a strategic planning process A I prefer to see the strategic planning as an ongoing process one that is tied to the mission and in front of everyone as they work to achieve their goals. The three-year model gives us a defined time with points of measure and a framework to revisit the goals in a formal way. 34 Women of Distinction CoraLyn J. Turentine Non-Profit International Development Director WaterStep Social Justice Coach Indianapolis IN S ocial Advocate CoraLyn J. Turentine has always been inspired by the apostles of the early Christian church. They were flawed ordinary human beings who fought passionately and willingly died for justice. Practical strategic and radical in advocating for the poor and oppressed CoraLyn studies their writings and personal stories to better understand how she can be more effective in her own leadership. Now the director for WaterStep a non-profit that empowers ordinary people to provide safe clean sustainable water sources CoraLyn approached them in 2011 about possibly expanding into Indianapolis and they said yes. She has led and overseen the expansion and has served as the organization s health and hygiene instructor for their training program. She holds WaterStep certifications in Hand Pump Repair Water Purification and Health and Hygiene Education. To help other visionaries of social change CoraLyn started her own non-profit social justice consulting business. As an independent leadership coach and advisor she focuses on partnering with these visionaries to achieve their mission by training and equipping them in leadership and organizational effectiveness while specializing in international and faithbased programming. CoraLyn holds a BA in Sociology from DePauw University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Eastern Universtiy. In 2009 she married her husband whom she met in high school. As self-proclaimed volunteer nerds with many of the same visions they work together to help improve the lives of others. It s disgusting that we allow our brothers and sisters here in North American and beyond to live with this kind of systematic oppression and poverty CoraLyn said. Experiencing it myself there is no alternative but to commit to a life in pursuit of love and justice. By the time CoraLyn was 16-years-old she had experienced life with real hunger had access to medical care and was living in and out of shelters. She found herself as a student at the worst-ranked public school in Indianapolis Indiana experiencing true education inequality. A native Canadian she could appreciate the struggle of immigrating to a new country and the deep hurt of systemic and blatant racism. She even dealt with sexual harassment and was mocked and marginalized for her faith. Miraculously these experiences only fed her thirst for social equality as opposed to smothering it. CoraLyn s passion for social justice has mobilized her to lend her leadership talents to numerous organizations and faith-based ministries such as VOICE KidsPeace and The Caring Place Discipleship Ministry. She and her husband are licensed therapeutic foster parents and have helped eight children ranging from 18 months to 18-years-old. CoraLyn also serves on the advisory board of Chosen a local nonprofit that provides holistic support services for parents who choose life instead of abortion. Just like the disciples I m an ordinary person using the resources and talents that God gave me to make a difference she said lastly. Making a difference isn t special it s just an ordinary thing we can all be a part of. 35 Q&A Q Why is international development important A National borders are inherently political and only exist on maps. In reality (with China as probably the only exception) countries aren t surrounded by physical borders. People from developing countries (which is an incredibly disempowering word if you think about it) are our neighbors and we should invest very intentionally in supporting one another. Q What has been one of the greatest challenges you have experienced in your profession A There are 2 being a woman-of-color and coming from a low-income background. We are missing out on enhancing our impact by not doing more to encourage and support minorities and lower-income individuals when it comes to engaging in international development. Q What makes for an effective international development worker A You have to shed your own ethnocentrism and approach the work with true humility in order to be effective. If you can t do that then you ll probably just make things worse for the very people you re trying to help Q What sort of training is required to be involved in international development A International development is so diverse and multi-faceted. There are government organizations for-profit companies non-prof its faith-based organizations and just ordinary individuals all working to end poverty fight injustice and make the world a better place to live in. It is neither a specific degree nor profession but instead a willing heart that is required to make a difference. Q What role does faith play in your work A My faith is at the center of everything I do. I cannot speak for all Christians -- only for myself. In my own life God has taught me that loving others and going through the painful stuff WITH them (just as He has done for me) is the greatest love that we can have. Q How is working on issues of poverty and justice in developing countries different from working on issues of poverty and justice in the US A I think (and this is just my own personal opinion) that it is much easier to be innovative in international development than it is here in the U.S. People are far more open to creative and unconventional strategies. Q What is one piece of contemporary advice that you would give to someone who would like to launch into a career in international development A Think outside of the traditional non-profit box. Instead of thinking from the perspective of someone who wants to help ask Who has the knowledge and know-how to make change happen but lacks the financial political professional resources to make it happen 36 Women of Distinction Lucyna Lucy Mleczko Stationery Manufacturing President Lemon Tree Stationery West Babylon NY fter receiving a phone call from her business partner Sanford Weiss who was doing printing work for her design studio at the time Lucyna Lucy Mleczko was invited to visit Long Island to look at another printing company that he was thinking of buying Lemon Tree Stationery. After taking one look at what Lemon Tree was doing Lucy was immediately sold on the opportunity to become Sanford s partner. A Many years ago Lucy s love affair with printing began while working as a receptionist for a printing broker. She didn t know anything about printing but she asked a lot of questions better understand the business. Becoming the assistant production manager she was introduced to graphic design and after completing courses in QuarkExpress Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop was able to work for a graphics design firm. Several years later she was finally on her own as the owner of LMP Graphics design studio. I really love what I do. Making people happy when they see our invitations gives me the greatest satisfaction and makes me proud to be a part of this organization Lucy said. As the designer of our products my main responsibility is to keep them trendy and current. Being a small business owner means wearing many hats therefore I m involved daily with everything from production to invitation assemble. I m proudly able to operate most of my machines and I m not afraid to run them either. In March 1990 I arrived at JFK Airport with just 200 and I didn t speak English Lucy recounts. A friend found me a room to rent and I was on my own. I did what I had to do working to support myself. My goal was to do something with my life that I d be proud of or I d be going back to my country. Nine years later I became the co-owner of Lemon Tree Stationery. Lucy sees inspiration in many different forms which is key when it comes to creating custom invitations. It can be a simple piece of fabric on an article of clothing or wrapping paper used for gifts. She has pushed herself to a level playing field has proven that she can be a successful female business owner and works very very hard. But it s her passion for what she does that really makes all the difference. Happily married Lucy and her husband have been together for more than 20 years. He is a big part of her success because he has always believed in her and allowed her to take risks and follow her dreams. Although they have no children they do have a one-year-old German Shepherd whom they adore. 37 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why choose Lemon Tree Stationery A Quality value variety. As seasoned invitation professionals we possess the knowledge as well as the skills to make you certain that our customers invitations are the best quality they can be. Our wide range of papers printing abilities and techniques guarantee the best value for the money. We also cater invitations specifically to our customers budgets. Q What makes Lemon Tree Stationery different from other stationery companies A Old fashioned customer service Our phones are answered by stuff there s no pressing buttons or talking to a computer or going through an entire bureaucracy. We go the extra mile and stop at nothing so that customers get what they need when they need it and on budget. Q Why are invitations still so important A The invitation sets the tone of your affair conveying warmth family and friendship. It s the first personal impression guests will receive to announce an important milestone in their lives. Q Do handmade invitation make a difference A Each invitation because it is handcrafted are individual just like the guests you invite. Handcrafted invitations are treasured as keepsakes bringing back memories of times long gone and evoke emotions that make us happy years later. Q What is the process of getting Lemon Tree Stationery invitations A As wholesale manufacturers we will refer you to one of the dealers in our nationwide network. They will meet with you and guide you through the entire ordering process. They will contact us as well for advice samples pricing on custom items and other helpful suggestions. Our company works with our dealers very closely to guarantee total satisfaction. Q E-invite or old fashion invitation A In today s electronic world where everything is a click away we think it is very important to send beautiful handmade invitation to your family and friends to invite them to the important affair you are planning. Our invites tell your guest that you really care and want them to join in your joyous event. It is personal and one-on-one and leaves your guests with a good feeling. Q What is one of the most challenging aspects of owning your own business A Owning my own business is very tough work so you have to be sure to love what you are doing. There will be days when I m not feeling well but I can t call in sick. I cannot take long vacations either. My business needs me and I have to make myself available at all times. Q What are one of the keys to running a successful business A Success doesn t come easy or fast but if persistent patient and ready for challenges it will come. In my industry you must be open to new techniques and be willing to try new and different materials that other stationery businesses are using. It s not only paper after all. Q Who or what is one of your greatest professional inspirations A I look up to Martha Stewart very much. Besides designing invitations I too enjoy cooking baking making innovative seating cards for my holiday table and in general making the world around me beautiful. I also enjoy making window treatments refinishing and reupholstering antique furniture and faux painting walls. Q What types of works did you design with LMP Graphics for your clients A Mostly it was logo and stationery design business cards brochures newsletters flyers and sell sheets all kind of marketing materials. I also did some invitation designs but for corporate clients. 38 Women of Distinction Mary Burns Soap Owner Operator Petals N Soap Harvest AL fter Mary Burns stumbled onto a YouTube video of a person making soap into the shape of cupcakes she was fascinated. She immediately got busy researching the procedure of making cold process soap and began formulating her very own recipe. Deciding to take it to the next level Mary started a business out of her new found interest called Petals N Soap in 2010. A Since the start of Petals N Soap Mary hasn t hired any employees to assist in the operation of her business. As a start-up business it was ideal for her to keep expenses down and focus on increasing profit margin. But since sales have begun to grow and her soaps are more in demand Mary is considering adding an additional person to her team of one in the near future. Mary s biggest must-have in relation to her products is ensuring that the natural way is always the best . She believes chemicals whether in food or bathing products are destroying the planet. When customers use her soap Mary is contributing to lessening the chemicals in the environment and leaving the world a better place with all-natural products. Educated at Millersville University and the International Institute of Interior Design in Washington DC Mary is artistic by nature. Her experience working in accounting and owning two other businesses has prepared her well for successfully starting Petals N Soap and Mary enjoys the fact that she gets to use her artistic background every day in her business. In addition to being committed to the success of Petals N Soap Mary is dedicated to her family and friends. Married she has three adult college educated children and two grandchildren that she loves spending time with. Mary also loves giving Victorian era parties for both family and friends. I love learning new ways to manipulate the soap batter to produce new designs Mary said about what keeps her interested in her soap business. I am constantly creating new soap developing new products and refining the recipes I already have. Although Mary didn t initially have the total support of her family and friends when starting her business she did not let it stop her. Following her instincts and her husband s encouragement to pursue her dreams Mary conducted extensive research on bath and body products to develop her own recipes. She found suppliers that offered the high quality products she needed at reasonable prices and perfected the recipes for her soap and other bath and body products. Her last step was deciding the avenue in which to sell her products. Choosing internet sales Mary s various cupcake chocolate pound cake and hot fudge brownie soaps are all being sold on Etsy. Inspired by food music nature and her very own garden she is constantly developing new products including body butters and bath bombs for customers through the website. 39 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What ingredients do you use to make your soap A To formulate a recipe when making soap I use a variety of oils and butters including olive oil coconut oil sustainable palm oil palm kernel oil castor oil shea butter cocoa butter mango butter and argon oil. Q Do you use any additives in your soap A Yes. I use several different kinds of milk clays aloe vera juice poppy seed colloidal oatmeal and jojoba beads. Q Do you make other bath and body products A Yes. I make bath bombs bath fizzies bath melts body butters foaming sugar scrubs emulsified sugar scrubs solid sugar scrubs bath salts lotions and cream soap. Q What fragrances do you use A I use citrus blends floral blends herbal blends and high end perfume duplications. Q Do you use essential oils to fragrance your products A I do make some products with essential oils which are my 100% all-natural products. I also use a combination of fragrance oils and essential oils in some products. I try to fulfill the needs of all my customers. Some of my customers are sensitive to fragrance oils but not essential oils. Q Are you developing any new products for Petals N Soap A I am currently working on lip balms solid perfumes and room sprays. They will be available before Christmas 2014. Q What do you use to color your soaps and bath and body products A To color my products I use oxides micas and natural colorants such as beet root powder spiralina and other natural colorants. Q What do you use to make the ornamentation on the tops of your products A I use glycerin soap to create the objects that decorate my soap and bath and body products. I put nothing on my soap that isn t soap. Q What new things do you have planned for Petals N Soap for the coming year A I will be doing YouTube videos showing the process I use to create my products and I plan to open a brick and mortar store in my community. Q What are your goals for Petals N Soap A My goals for the company include promoting my products and getting people to realize the importance of using good wholesome products that are healthy for them and the environment. 40 Women of Distinction Maureen Carlomagno Health and Wellness Education Healthcare Founder Owner Your Wellness Coach Charlotte NC Maureen Carlomagno Health and Wellness Education Healthcare Founder Owner Your Wellness Coach Charlotte NC B lessed to have so many great mentors in her life Maureen Carlomagno first discovered an interest in healthcare and community engagement while studying public health in college. It was the perfect blend for her. Fifteen years later she s still working in the same field and she absolutely loves what she does. Working for other people for over a decade she finally decided to shift gears and focus on the parts of public health that she excelled in most health coaching and consulting. Soon after she changed her focus again to the greater community. Maureen founded Your Wellness Coach in 2012 and has since become one of the top personal wellness coaches in Charlotte North Carolina. Also working with clients who aren t local to Charlotte she s gradually broadening her reach nationally. As the sole owner overseeing all operations Maureen teaches classes and workshops that give clients tools to make their lifestyles healthier and happier and works with clients individually if they want an individualized experience. While most of her services are designed especially for women she has several unique coaching packages that address subjects like being a healthy bride preparing for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum experience identifying how to be the kind of mom that you want to be and achieving overall work-life balance. All of my services have been developed by me just for my clients Maureen explained. Nothing is boring or run of the mill. I take pride in the fact that everyone I work with gets a fun dynamic and personal experience. My teaching style is non-judgmental and respectful and I do not guilt-trip or shame them. Being a positive supportive force in my client s lives is important. Maureen works primarily outside the box offering unique solutions to clients. She wants them to incorporate healthy habits that will really fit into their lifestyle. They work together to find solutions and then build a plan. Explaining that the clients are the ones holding the ultimate solutions Maureen is there to unlock the answers for them. Currently writing an e-book Maureen plans to have it completed for publication in 2015. She will also be partnering with some online learning companies and local businesses to create one-of-a-kind classes in 2015. She s involved with professional organizations and business groups at the local and national level including serving as the organizer of a local work life balance group and a women s social networking group. She feels that network is very important and she prides in staying connected. 42 Q&A Q What kind of business services do you offer A Your Wellness Coach offers specialty services to meet the needs of those looking for personalized wellness programs for corporate community or individual use. We integrate health expertise alongside intuitive coaching including oneon-one health coaching small group programs and seminars on a range of health topics to help you reach your goals. Q What kind of health coaching do you provide A I work together with clients by focusing on personal development through smart decision making. Using personal interaction and specialized assessment tools I help people take control of their lives and use health resources to their advantage. Q What services do you offer for clients who aren t located in Charlotte A I offer individual coaching via telephone and an online program. About half of my clients are not local. I also offer online group classes which you can complete when it s convenient for you each week. It s great for busy people. Q What are some examples of topics you might discuss with a client What will they learn A Weekly sessions with clients focus on accountability goal assessment health education challenges and motivation. Clients choose their health goals to work on with my guidance and we work together to achieve success. Topics include achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and body understanding and overcoming obstacles and habits that are not helpful trying new foods implementing self-care techniques and managing stress. Q What kind of businesses do you partner with to provide your group services A I partner with local businesses that provide complementary services. I ve built a trusted network of providers and we refer clients to each other. I also work with national chains like Babies R Us and Harris Teeter grocery stores. In the past six months I have also expanded to working with education companies online and offer classes through them as well. Q How do you give back to the community A I donate a portion of my individual coaching spots to charitable organizations and teach free health education classes to local non-profits. Next year I hope to expand to more communities. Q What are your favorite programs to teach A I love all of them but my favorites right now are The Intuitive Bride and The Intuitive Mother . They are about connecting with yourself and your partner (The Intuitive Bride) or child (The Intuitive Mother) during important life-changing times in a woman s life. Q What kind of experience do mothers get when working with you A I offer self-care services that empower expecting and new mothers to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Our programs offer a meaningful connection with a knowledgeable and non-judgmental adviser and the support of other women in the same stage of life as you. Q Can you give us three quick tips for taking care of yourself A Get enough sleep most people are sleep deprived. Drink enough water this helps you keep from overeating and makes your skin look great. Forgive yourself and others for mistakes we all make them and hanging on to negative emotions isn t healthy for you or the ones you love. Q Can you provide us with a client testimonial A Your Wellness Coach is a comprehensive approach to help you improve your overall health and well-being that fits perfectly into even the most hectic of lifestyles. I found the program to be fun interactive and one of the most impactful programs I have experienced -Erica N. 43 Women of Distinction Monique Bew-Sullivan Translation and Logistics Interpretation and Translations Services Chief Operations Officer Niki s Int l Ltd. Charlotte NC M oving to the US as an immigrant of Peru Monique Bew-Sullivan s mother achieved the American dream. She went to school built a successful company and supported her family on her own. Teaching Monique that no matter what obstacles she would face in life that if she worked hard nothing would stop her. By the age of 13 Monique s mom taught her how to do the books for the family business. All these years later she is the chief operations officer of the family owned and managed company Niki s Int l Ltd. an international interpretation translation and transportation agency whose mission is to facilitate clear and concise communication between business owners and clients within a medium. The translation and logistics industry is fractured over 90% of companies in the industry are sole proprietorships with small geographically limited reach. This is because it is hard to keep consistent quality on a large-scale basis for language services. Networking is critical because in order to meet a client need on the other side of the country you must have a quality partner that you can work with. Having that network is critical to grow and succeed in the industry. Monique is a member of Association of Language Companies American Translators Association National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators and International Medical Interpreters Association. Earning her BS in Business Administration from University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2007 Monique then earned her MBA from Hult International Business School in London in 2013. Ever since my mom taught me how to do the company s books I fell in love with the business Monique said. I have such a passion for what we do. Our services facilitate the ability for companies and individuals to communicate and I think that is such a critical need in our world. My job allows me the opportunity to bring people together cultures and companies as well as meet people from all over the world. It is a very unique and fulfilling career. I believe that success is earned through education dedication and hard work Monique said who married recently. Even today women may not have as many opportunities available to them as men but that doesn t mean women can t be as successful. Often times we need to make our own success and write our own rules not just accept the status quo. I m just doing my bit to level the playing field. Niki s Int l Ltd. has trained staff available 24 hours a day to meet the needs of clients. As COO Monique oversees business development strategy compliance and training. She works with department managers to ensure that they are constantly keeping up with clients needs as well as the newest trends and technology in their industry so they can deliver the best options for clients. Equally important Monique values the importance of networking. 45 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What unique challenges does your industry present A Language and logistics is a niche industry there are relatively few barriers to entry and few industry standards about quality. This makes it challenging for many companies in the industry to provide consistent service over large geographical areas. Q How do you manage quality control in your business A We have a department dedicated to recruiting screening and training our service providers. They work diligently to background check language test and verify that every vendor we work with has the best credentials and experience. Q What makes you different from other companies in your industry A We understand what it takes to provide excellent service. Our CEO is a certified legal and medical interpreter and every employee (no matter the department) goes through industry training to understand what our clients truly need from our services. Q What motivates you in your business A I love making people happy. Being in a service industry gives you so many opportunities every day to make people happy my employees my vendors and my clients. Striving to ensure they have a wonderful experience with my team and our services is what keeps me going. Q How do you keep your employees motivated A I am very transparent in how I run my company and I am constantly asking for feedback from my team. I believe this helps people to feel important and that they are a true part of the company which helps them enjoy coming to work each day. Q What is the most rewarding part of your business A Helping people who need it. Our service allows people who don t speak English to connect to others and get what they need. Our transport services allow people to get to their medical appointments so they can get treatment. Everything we do helps someone who truly has no other way to get what they need. Q What changes would you like to see in your industry A Our industry is extremely competitive and fractured. I would really like to see stronger connections developed between competitors . We are all providing a valuable service and we should be working together to be better not working to cut everyone else out of the equation. Q What do you see as the biggest challenges the industry faces A Changes in technology and immigration pose a lot of challenges for language and logistics. This industry is very fluid and you have to be ready to adapt to rapid changes in computer software and government policy. Q Where do you see this industry in the next five years A The industry is really poised to grow in the translation segment. Globalization is increasing and as the world becomes smaller the need to connect becomes larger. I anticipate big changes through technology in facilitating language services. Q What are your personal goals for your business in the next five years A I am focusing on taking our company into new industry segments such as tourism healthcare and shipping. I am also working on technology investments that will help us improve our efficiency and offer a wider array of software based services. 46 Women of Distinction W hile working at the state fair registering patrons for a drawing in 1995 A vese Mayo discovered a hidden talent that would change her life. A vese Mayo Publishing Owner Poet Publisher - A vese Publishing Virginia Beach VA My booth was set up in the early afternoon. I was sitting meditating which is a way of life while waiting for the crowd to show. I began to write and doodled. Before I knew it the lights music and the rides were in full blast and I had written six poems. That was the beginning of literary career. I believed with all my heart that I would have my own business one day. In life you learn to do what you have to do until you get to where you want to be even if it means working for someone else. A vese realized she had a talent she could use as a means of supporting herself and is now the Owner Poet and Publisher for A vese Publishing where she publishes greeting cards and posters and is currently writing a book to follow her other one Fifty Pennies and a Dream . I stayed with it and learned to do what was necessary to make a publishing business work. I relied on the wisdom and understanding I learned from the study of the bible and the knowledge I collected through secular employment and life s experiences. When others can relate to my message and benefit from the messages that come from my heart I m inspired to continue writing. One of her biggest challenges was finding the courage to step out of her comfort zone and introduce herself as a poet. My previous jobs had nothing to do with the arts. So imagine the apprehension introducing myself as a poet to my friends and family. To them this was another one of my ventures that was not going anywhere. I understood why they would feel that way. However you must always be true to yourself. Know that it is ok to be different. Humility is a quality that most of us think we have. But humility is elusive. You can have it one day and it s gone the next. We were not born with it so to have it we must be conscience of its need. I am drawn to those who are humble but you should always believe in yourself and in what you do. A vese believes that treating people like you want to be treated is one of the keys to success. That is one of the many rules I live by and it has added richness to my life. I am as I see myself a woman from humble beginnings. I came from a poor background raised by a single parent who instilled rich qualities in her children. I ve always been true to myself and to those I ve known. I have inspired and motivated some. I have also encouraged those who needed more confidence. And I have been a positive influence in people s lives through my messages and my conduct. 47 Women of Distinction Regina Burnett MBA Media Literacy in Film Music Nature & Culture Critiques & Reviews Founder of Subliminal Epiphany Productions Louisville KY R egina Burnett s desire to learn about research & write grants for educational purposes led her to a career working with nonprofit organizations and the launch of her own private nonprofit Subliminal Epiphany Productions in 2000. She has a true passion for helping others become the next leader in their community mentor in their profession or contributor in all aspects of their lifestyle. It is important to understand that we all make up this country and world as a whole and therefore must realize that diversity and culture have its place in nurturing a nonprofit s mission vision and purpose. We must care enough to share resources ideas and concepts that will move an individual forward in life onto their next level of accomplishment be it for nonprofit or profit efforts. For example I recently joined a project with Paycation Travel to create an income stream to fund my philanthropy efforts. What drew me to this project is the mission of Team Xplosion (under the direction of our brilliant leader and visionary Mr. David Gilty) to save households by giving them a vehicle for breeding financial freedom a way to get back my time as I please with friends and family and create leaders willing to mentor others toward meeting daily lifestyle objectives. Regina aspires to give back one day through teaching and be known as a woman after God s own heart . Our mission is to empower leaders to see past their obstacles by taking action in their learning and understanding towards media literacy by applying critical thinking principles from a colloquium point of view. Our vision is to see that individuals have an equal opportunity to achieve the lifestyle they desire in order to contribute to all aspects of their life by walking out their purpose in life. Our purpose is to support and conduct non-partisan research education and informational activities to increase public awareness of media literacy and juvenile delinquency as well as preventing community deterioration by being a support outreach ministry. Regina performs various tasks behind the scenes to support the company s mission vision and purpose. There are so many needs in the community that require the research and development of projects to meet the needs of individuals having to complete community service hours or put in a certain number of volunteer hours to complete a particular program or qualify for certain scholarships. I help the organization function at its highest capacity by keeping records of client information developing legal documents needed to qualify as proof of completing designated hours of community or volunteer service and organizing events like walks for heart disease multiple sclerosis Alzheimer s cancer and other causes. I would like to earn my PhD in Divinity and teach it because I am proud of the transformation in my life. I have come a long way and owe it all to my relationship with God. 48 Women of Distinction Yael VanGruber Contemporary Art Unique Custom Jewelry & Fashion Designers Boutique for Men Women Artist Jewelry Designer at Clique Gallery-Boutique Yoga Instructor Addison TX The Gallery carries a wide variety of her contemporary art designs such as digital art acrylic oil water color & print making as well as sculptures glass decors and other types of visual art. The Boutique carries crystals unique gems pearls Italian glass gold & diamond custom jewelry that Yael designed as well as fashion scarves designer bags art decor spiritual books and more. Her unique art & jewelry are meant to bring joy both to the maker and their buyer viewer. It exposes the unseen and unknown areas of our lives in a way that empowers us. Yael believes that just like in art when she uses contrast to bring out the beauty of her paintings it is a metaphor of how God also uses contrast in our lives through challenges trials and pain to bring out our inner beauty for us to appreciate who we are. The purpose of her art and jewelry is to move her customers emotionally and bring them to a higher dimension in touch with their inner soul. She believes in wisdom of the soul which is a reflection of a deeper sense of where a person is coming from. My artwork is about my spiritual beauty and the essence it embodies. My talent is a gift and blessing from God. You will find a lot of grace romance happiness and love through my art. I specialize in five different kinds of media digital art acrylic oil watercolor and print making. I truly enjoy working with all of them transforming my ideas into reality. Since art makes me think in a special creative way without telling me what to think art also questions me and lets me arrive at my own pace to my own answers. I bring a lot of unconditional love and passion to my artwork without any regard to what I will receive. Y ael VanGruber is the Artist Jewelry Designer at Clique Gallery-Boutique a gallery and fashion boutique in uptown Addison TX. Yael is also a Yoga Instructor specializing in Hatha Yoga which she teaches out of her Gallery Boutique. Hatha Yoga focuses on physical health and mental well-being. It uses bodily postures breathing techniques and meditation to make the spine supple and promote circulation in all the organs glands and tissues. Hatha Yoga postures also strengthen and stretch muscles and align the body to promote balance and flexibility. She has been married for 28 years and has 10 children (5 boys and 5 girls). In her free time Yael enjoys spending time with her family cooking reading writing working on various art projects (such as painting in different media knitting crocheting sewing and designing jewelry) movies friends travel and of course yoga. I enjoy devoting my time to my artwork and helping others seek harmony and peace within themselves whether it s through my art jewelry designs yoga classes or blogs that are published on Amazon and on my website. 49 Women of Distinction WDM Women of Distinction Team Marissa Bacchi EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DIRECTOR OF CLIENT RELATIONS LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN EDITORIAL COORDINATOR SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Anne Silar Helene K. Jennifer Hardy Jill Mongonia Donna Davis Simone Goodall EDITOR Kimberly Diehl Ronni Gates Holli M. Narvaez HEAD WRITER Rebecca Valuch Felix Pons WRITER Cyndi Murray Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 MON- THU- 10 00AM - 5 00PM FRI - 10 00AM - 4 00PM SAT & SUN - BY APPOINTMENT Melanie Ann Prapopoulos Art Design Co-Owner Design Art Concepts LLC Owner Melanie Prapopoulos Works of Art