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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Lori Palmer Storage and Material Handling President - REB Storage Systems International 1 Women of Distinction Iris Dodge Morgan Fine Art Artists Artist Owner - Iris Dodge Studio 2 Women of Distinction Lori began her career with REB in 1982 while still in college. After landing an interview with a REB partner through an employment agency Lori started her first job with the company as receptionist. Eventually Lori developed a strong passion for the Storage Industry and left college to work with REB full time. In 2002 she became the executive vice president of the company and earned her current position of president in 2013. There are many things that have kept me in my career for so long. The REB team we have in place right now is the best. It took us awhile to get here but we now have the knowledge longevity and contacts to continue to be the best in our industry. Our clients have been good to us and I have made many close personal friends throughout the industry. It s a nice feeling knowing you could go just about anywhere in the world pick up the phone and dial someone to meet you for coffee. T Lori Palmer hrough her work as President of REB Storage Systems International Lori Palmer is dedicated to serving customers strengthening REB to compete in the next decade and striving to set a high standard in her industry. Storage and Material Handling Storage Systems International President --REB Storage Systems International President REB Storage Systems International Chicago IL Chicago IL In her current role of president Lori refers to herself as the Communicator and Motivator . With strategies and plans constantly changing to accommodate reality Lori focuses on keeping everyone informed and on the ball sending out companywide daily emails and holding regular informational meetings to ensure that everyone stays involved and motivated. REB which is based out of Chicago IL currently has locations in California Michigan Massachusetts New York Philadelphia Texas and Ireland. My advice for someone starting out in this industry is to learn everything you can about products applications the industry leaders and so on. There is an abundance of products available to sell and an abundance of clients you can sell them to. The sales potential in this industry is unlimited and it s not a zero sum game new products and competitors appear regularly. Join industry associations and get involved. Strive to know your business better than anyone else and never stop learning. Keep your eye on your own company and invest your time outside your company in order to stay current with trends and changing customer requirements. Stay current by constantly growing and changing. 43 Women ofof Distinction Women Distinction Lori s professional inspiration comes from the strong men and women in business that she has learned from over the years who have been instrumental to her rise as a woman in a male dominated industry. From these people she has learned to not take things personally but rather to stay focused on what matters namely getting the job done and delivering on her word. Being a woman should be treated as an advantage in business not a disadvantage. In the beginning being a woman in this industry worked against me because I had to prove I knew twice what a man in my position knew. The advantage was that eventually I did know more than many of the men in the industry and it was much easier for me to get past the front desk than it was for a man. Being a woman in a male dominated business can be an advantage if you make it so. In an effort to open doors for the women around me to follow Natasha Rawley of Archive Document Data Storage UK and I started the Diversity Business Task Group within PRISM and continue to lead the effort to bring more women and minorities into this industry. REB has made many contributions to their industry. For the past 25 years REB has owned a niche that they largely created in a business that stores documents for other companies. The majority of the commercial and corporate record centers are REB clients. Lori s business does it all -- design the systems supply and install the equipment that stores boxes of documents for their clients. REB has been actively involved in the international records storage industry associations serving on boards participating as speakers shaping policy and directly contributing to the future of the industry. For several years Lori has been the external face of REB but it s the REB team that s made REB s industry contribution stand out. I love people and I love being creative. I never set out to design and sell storage and material handling equipment. I wanted to be an Interior Designer. I guess in many ways I fulfilled that dream. I am an interior designer for warehouses and storage areas. Lori s company is involved in many organizations and has been throughout the years. Some of the organizations are PRISM (Professional Records and Information Services Management) ARMA (American Records Management Association) SSA (Self Storage Association) AMSA (American Moving & Storage Association) NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) WERC (Warehousing & Education Resources Council) IFMA (International Facilities Management Association) IFDA (International Foodservice Distributors Association) IRMS (Information & Records Management Association) and the MHEDA (Material Handling Equipment Distributor Association). She takes an active role in many of these groups with the majority of her activities devoted to the PRISM Association. Throughout the years Lori has worked on many task groups but believes her biggest accomplishment was serving as the board s first corporate partner position as a vendor partner. Asked to participate for a year after seeing the value that she brought to the table her fellow board members officially elected her to the board. I always say that if I had children especially a daughter before she went to college I would buy her an airplane ticket and give her a backpack. When she returned I would listen to her adventures where she went who she met and what she learned. I believe her adventures would positively influence her academic choices at college and help decide what type of people she wants to spend her life with. To experience the world outside of your owncommunity especially as a young person shifts your perspective from all that you d known up until that point to all of the possibilities that are out there. 5 4 Women of Distinction KNOWING IS POWER NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK A QUESTION Q What is the Storage and Material Handling Industry A Specifically it s the movement protection storage and control of materials and products throughout the process of their manufacture and distribution consumption and disposal. When we click order on Amazon we re living in the magical world of consuming in the 21st century. The world is still physical and this industry is responsible for making companies like Amazon successful. Q REB has been involved with the industry since the early days what has changed over the years A REB s industry roots are in Records Storage which for decades oversaw the safe storage and disposal of massive amounts of paper records like medical records or legal files for example. With the advent of digital records the Records Storage companies consolidated and re-emerged as national and international players in storage preservation and disposal of digital and paper assets. REB has been busy helping these customers expand reconfigure inspect and repair their warehouses as they retool their businesses. But the real story is how online commerce has transformed industry solutions for warehouse and distribution centers across the country. Q How does this industry transformation fueled by e-commerce impact your strategy for REB A REB s strength has always been our supplier relationships and system integration capabilities. For as long as I can recall we ve had a catalog business and in-house material handling product (MHP) experts to serve general customers and resellers alike. It s been a natural evolution to focus more attention on that side of our business and offer more system solutions to warehouse and distribution settings. Q You mention innovation which is a buzzword these days but what does that really mean in your business A Flexibility to adapt to the customer s business needs systems to maintain profitability and information to make the right business investments. We re always solving problems for our customers and in the process we re discovering new ways of doing things. Our SAP system captures and integrates data about sales marketing inventory pricing and other key data that enables us to create useful information about our business trends. Q What makes REB unique in this industry What is your competitive advantage A I ll tell you we ve got a lot of competitors. In fact thanks to the Internet we have more competitors than ever before. We re uniquely positioned to operate between a full system integration customer and a single MHP DIY customer and all those in-between. In other words we built a systems integration engineering and project management capability to serve our huge national and international Records Storage customers. At the same time we offered customer and reseller MHP catalogs. We have the infrastructure and expertise to do what ever customers need done. Q You mentioned that you have high customer loyalty what can companies do to earn loyalty with their customers A Serve. Notice I didn t say service. The key to customer loyalty is unadulterated commitment to customers in the good times and bad. I ll leave it to readers to figure out how to do that in their business. Q As you look to the future for your industry what excites you the most A American business is on the move. Look at the changes. Just five short years ago retailers stocked their shelves with inventory companies warehoused inventory and paper records were stacked sky high. That was BA before Amazon showed us how to do things differently. Suddenly everything is just in time inventory warehouses are distribution centers and records storage is digital archiving. Most people just look at their computer screens and say wow I love online shopping . I look at the backend the world of storage and MHP and think the sky is the limit for this industry in my career lifetime. Q Where do you see REB in that future industry A I see REB as a leader. We ve joined key industry associations like MHEDA WERC IFMA or IFDA not so we can display their logo on our webpage but rather because we want to learn contribute and eventually earn the same leadership role in the Industrial Storage market as REB has held for eons in the Records Storage Industry our work is cut out for us. A & Q 6 5 Q REB has been a leader in Records Storage which is undergoing a transformation. How do companies like yours change and adapt to market changes like this one A Invest. We saw this transformation coming years ago. It s important to be out in the market watching and listening to what s happening. Our Records Storage customer s requirements were shifting and we invested in innovative ways for our business to respond so in the process we were changing along with them. Over a three-year period we installed a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) system SAP which was a significant and necessary investment that allowed our company to expand into new markets. Q What do you see as your greatest challenge to expand beyond your Records Storage roots A We need to go west -- literally we need to expand westward. REB the brand is well known in the mid-west and east largely due to our success in Records Storage. Over five years ago we opened an office and small warehouse in southern California mainly to focus on the expanding into the industrial storage and distribution market along the west coast Texas and maybe western Canada all expanding markets. It takes time but that s our goal. Women of Distinction Women of Distinction I see Lori not just as the President of our company but also as a role model. She worked her way up through REB and she encourages others to step up to reach their own potential. She is always on the move but she will make time for any of us when we need her. When she says she has an open door she really means it. Lisa Hibbs Sales Support Representative REB Storage Systems International REB Storage Systems International From the very first conversation I ever had with Lori Palmer I knew she was a very special and unique person. Her charism and energy shine through in everything she does. Lori s rise to the top is a result of working hard determination and a love for what she does. Her connection to our clients is incredible. Lori has been an inspiration not only to me but to so many here at REB. Her story inspires all of us to understand that through hard work commitment and loving what you do anything is possible. REB is truly blessed to have Lori Palmer as our President. Linda Orlando Vice President of Project Operations I think the most important turning point in Lori s career was the foresight of the previous owner President Ed Lesko. Lori started at REB as a secretary answering the phones and typing proposals. Ed noticed her skills on the phone with customers and how she handle their requests. I remember Ed saying Lori should be out selling she would be a great asset to the company . The one issue that came up in changing Lori s role Material Handling Sales was a male dominated field. Plant Managers and Facility Managers were all males at that time. Would they respect her and value her opinion when making systems recommendations Well history did prove it that they could. She had a very successful career in sales until moving into a Marketing and Management role. In fact Lori was probably one of the first if not the first women in Material Handling Sales. She helped pave the way for the many women who are now in the industry today. Bill Welton Executive Vice President REB Storage Systems International I worked at REB as an administrative assistant until Lori asked if I d be willing to transfer over and work with her on the marketing side of the business. Working closely with her over the past five years since then has been such a positive in my life. She inspires me to continuously try new things and aspire to further myself both professionally and personally. You can t help but be motivated by the energy and ambition she brings to everything she does. Jacqueline Terrell Director of Marketing REB Storage Systems International 76 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction You re only as good as those who support you future sustainability of business globally we all invest and support diversification in the work place. Natasha Rawley I am honoured to be part of the PRISM international diversity task group. When Lori Palmer first approached the idea with me as a woman in business I was totally on board it is so important for the You re only as good as those who support you R Storage Systems E B You re only as good as those who support you Lori With Nathan Campbell && Neal Goldman Lori With Nathan Cambell Neal Goldman I have enjoyed and learned while working with Lori Palmer and REB Manufacturing over the last 11 years. Her expertise and the leadership of her team has allowed my companies to grow effectively timely and within a reasonable budget. She has been able t o help us set and maintain a company standard so we can focus on our core business. I recommend working with Lori her team and her company. Dennis E. Barnedt III Chief Executive Officer Oasis 7 8 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Patricia G. Fedina Advocacy and Facilitation Services for Elderly and Disable Adult Founder and President of Care Managers of South Florida Inc. (CMOSF) West Palm Beach FL P atricia G. Fedina has never allowed life s circumstances to define her future. She is the Founder President & CEO of the non-profit organization Care Managers of South Florida Inc. (CMOSF). She is the celebrated author of NO TIME TO GRIEVE Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live . Patricia has chosen to commit her life to serving others. Born Patricia Ann Wheeler on April 29 1953 in a small town located in South Carolina. Patricia s pregnant mother baby brother and some of her other family members moved to Florida abandoning her at the age of two. Patricia s mother returned when she was about six years old and kidnapped her. Years later Patricia discovered yet another shocking revelation she had a different biological father than her brother and sister who was born in Florida. She also learned she was her biological father s first-born child and one of five or more other children. The devastating news was not the end of Patricia s pain. She and her baby sister suffered through years of being molested at the hands of a family member. Patricia married at the age of 16 years old to escape the abusive home. She believed the marriage would bring light and an end to the dark chapter in her life only to find her husband too would become her abuser. Today Patricia specializes in senior care and is a powerful Motivational and Inspirational Speaker. In 2014 Patricia obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant License. She wanted to further ensure the optimal quality care of her father-in-law and hopes to do the same for others. Additionally Patricia obtained her license as an ordained minister in order to offer spiritual guidance and consolation to clients during their time of bereavement. She is also a State of Florida Notary and a Third Party Voter Registration Agent. In 2013 Patricia founded Care Mangers of South Florida. CMOSF is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping their elderly and disable adult clients maintain best quality of life possible. CMOSF providing support to individuals family caregivers partners and significant others just as any loving family member would. CMOSF is a non-denominational a non-political a non-culture and a non-racial organization. They believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and the upmost respect. They offer complimentary consultations to assess and determine their client s needs. CMOSF has an elite staff and volunteers many are experienced family caregivers. They assist their clients with learning computer and cell phone skills to help them better communicate with their loved ones. CMOSF s goal is to empower and uplift the spirits of our clients by advocating and facilitating for them and their family caregivers. Patricia said We will work as a team with the family caregivers and health care providers to ensure the best care possible for our clients. This would also enable CMOSF to act as an extended family and thus mitigating any possibility of abuse or neglect. CMOSF knows how important it is to have eyes and hears in place when you the family caregiver are unable to be present. We know the many challenges a long-distance caregiver faces. Our client s quality of life is our number one priority. I am sharing all of this to inspire other women to forgive and let go of the changes that maybe holding them back. Patricia said I have been happily married for almost sixteen years to my forth husband Thomas Fedina who is very supportive and devoted to me. Patricia always had impeccable work ethic. She was employed as a customer service representative for a local utility company for nearly 23 years. Her position ended in May of 2011 the same month she became a caregiver for her now 95-year-old father-in-law. With one career ending Patricia gained another and found her true calling. 10 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What specific tasks do you do that helps the organization function at its highest capacity A I am very good with communicating with all type of people. I am always out in the community doing what I can to bring awareness to the concerns of elderly and disabled adults. I am always looking for new and better ways to assist other family caregivers. Q What has kept you in your career for so long A My experience as a long-distance caregiver for my mother for almost six years. Also being a caregiver for my 95-year-old father in-law who has dementia for almost five years. I know how important it is to have the love and support during a loved one s time of need. Q What professional challenges have you faced that have contributed to your overall success A At this time I will not say I am fully successful but even with the lack of financial support needed I have accomplished many goals and I refuse to give up. Q What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your industry A Make must have the passion and love for what you are doing and also trust in God for nothing is going to happen overnight. Q What is the biggest lesson you have learned that you feel is good advice for others A Twenty doors may close before one is opened but just keep the faith and keep believing in you. Q What is your family life like A My first-born son was killed at the age of 42 as a result of gun violence on November 14 2015 his father was my first marriage. My surviving son is 36-year-old his father was my second husband. I had serval miscarriages before giving birth to my sons. I have two grandchildren and three great grandchildren I haven t had the opportunity to spend time with any of them. I would love to have a closer mother and grandmother relationship with them all. The sad thing about it is I didn t have a close and loving relationship with my parents either. Q What do you do in your free time A Workout karaoke gardening date night with my husband. Q What kind of legacy would you like to leave the world A Walk-In offices all over the Unite States that will assist elderly and disable adults clients and their family caregivers to make sure they receive the best medial and personal care possible for them to live quality of lives. The Book NO TIME TO GRIEVE Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live Patricia shares how she overcame personal and professional challenges in her book. She shares her experiences with the deaths of her grandmother brother sister mother father and four other immediate family members during 2003 2011. The subtitle of the book was inspired by a program her late grandmother had for over twenty years before her death in June of 2003. Patricia actually celebrated her 50th Birthday at her grandmother s church just two month before her passing. The celebration theme was Give Me My Flowers but Patricia didn t significant of it until she was sitting at her grandmother s wake. Patricia haired a young woman to build a website for her new book and after the woman read only a few pages she advised Patricia to start her own business. The young woman told her she could feel the compassion on each page she read. The young woman told her the book will be very inspirational for other family caregivers who are faced with challenges that sometimes occur while caring for parents or loved ones who are terminally ill. Patricia also shares her experiences with having to make the difficult decision of having her brother removed from life support. She was at the bedside of her grandmother brother and mother. She was the one who had to be the rock for the family many times and it was not easy at all. After writing the book and having time to look back on her life she came to accept her calling. The book will also help many understand the importance of having Medical and Dual Power of Attorney (POA) Living Wills Do Not Resuscitate Orders (NDR) and early hospice care. After the murder of her oldest son Patricia was advised by family and friends to write a new book. They have come to believe that God did give her the title NO TIME TO Grieve. 11 Women of Distinction Linda Maria Frank Publishing Broadcast Author of Annie Tillery Mysteries & Hosts Producer of The Writer s Dream Massapequa Park NY Women of Distinction 12 L inda Maria Frank humbly refers to herself as the unlikely writer. A lifelong educator turned accomplished author and television personality Linda uses her background in science and teaching to develop compelling stories that are opening up doors for young readers. Before venturing into writing Linda s first love was teaching. She taught science on Long Island New York at Seaford s Middle School and High School. At the time penning a successful book series for young adults was far from her mind. As an educator however Linda was compelled to do more than recite facts from textbooks to prepare students for exams. To keep her class motivated and interested in the curriculum Linda s creative talents came into play when she began teaching forensic science at the high school level. She supplemented the curriculum with intriguing fictional stories to go along with each of the case files she assigned. Students were asked to figure out the evidence research how that evidence would be processed in a forensic lab and present their findings to the class. When Linda closed one chapter of her career she stepped into another. With the introduction of her Annie Tillery Mysteries Linda has been happily writing publishing and marketing great teen mystery books. Inspired by a childhood passion for the Nancy Drew mystery series and the popular television series CSI she successfully combined an appealing heroine Annie Tillery with a gripping story plot to create new fiction books for mystery readers. Her marketing line for the series is Nancy Drew meets CSI . It was the forensic science courses that gave her the story lines for her heroine Annie who is based on a composite of her former beloved students. All Linda s books have a historical component as well. They had the most fun with it Linda recalled. One day I was sitting it the library and I was thinking I could write a book. When I first got into the business of teaching I was not interested in writing. I did not like to write. But what happens when you teach is that you want to make it interesting for the kids. You end up writing lesson plans. In order to make something that could be very dry interesting you have to do some pretty imaginative things. So I became a storyteller. Linda ended her career in the high school as Department Chairperson teaching biology chemistry and forensic science. Linda went on to teach forensic science and biotechnology at Hofstra University. Throughout her 50-year career as educator Linda was named Seaford High School Teacher of the Year in 1989 and in 1995 Linda received an award from the American Association of University Women for inspiring young women to pursue the field of science. Linda is not one to simply retire. My passion right now is to tell great stories Linda said. What I like to do with my stories is to make sure the story is compelling through history mystery and science. If you can put those elements together you have an interesting story that opens up those doors to whole new worlds for children. The series including The Madonna Ghost Girl with Pencil Drawing and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. The Madonna Ghost and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys have been awarded the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading from The Authors Show. Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys won a Red Ribbon from The Wishing Shelf Book Awards in 2015. Bravo to Linda Maria Frank reads one review. This third book in her Annie Tillery Mystery series is a stunner Although written for a young adult audience even I as a senior citizen was captured by the mystery and intrigue interwoven throughout this story. Linda is currently drafting the fourth novel in the Annie Tillery Mysteries series The Mystery of the Lost Avenger a ghost story that takes place in the present and in WWII s 1943. Each time she embarks on a new book Linda takes writing classes speaking with other authors to help develop her own talents. She encourages aspiring authors to do the same. I don t like the word retirement it sounds like you are going to sleep Linda said. Throughout your life you should always be thinking what do I want to do next 13 Women of Distinction Linda s goal is to bring books into schools. In June 2015 she made an important breakthrough. Trish Roberts a fifth grade teacher at Stewart School in Garden City purchased a classroom set of Annie Tillery Mysteries for her class s literature circle. The students read the books and wrote some insightful letters to Linda who subsequently visited the class and presented her workshop How to Write a Mystery. Ms. Roberts seized the opportunity to do these activities stating it was a good example of Common Core at work. The students however were more interested in the adventures of Annie Tillery and her friends. When Linda is not writing chapters for the next Annie Tillery Mystery she is o doing presentations of her books. In addition to writing teen mysteries she also hosts and produces a local television in called The Writer s Dream a series of shows with writers in many different aspects of the profession. The Writer s Dream is a half hour show recorded at LTV in East Hampton. The show airs on all Cablevision channels on Long Island including their Westbury Hauppauge and Riverhead stations. The show is also broadcast on YouTube at https user lindamariafrank I am reading your book Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys and I absolutely love it wrote one student in Ms. Robert s class. The setting is fantastic the plot is out of this world and I can t even tell you how good the characters are. I think the book has excitement mystery friendship and romance all throughout the book. Where in the world did you think of such a good story Another event Linda likes to be involved in is Career Day at local middle and high schools. Talking about writing getting a book published and the various careers that students can pursue in the field gets the students excited about writing and gives them some direction. It is great fun to do the show Linda said. I get to talk to all these authors about how they write their books how they publish their books and how they market their books. I love it. What s next for Linda Maria Frank Her answer That s the thing. Isn t it What in the world is next 14 Women of Distinction Dr. Annie Price Small Animal Veterinary Medicine Surgery and Dentistry Veterinarian and Owner President of Ormewood Animal Hospital Atlanta GA D r. Annie Price s desire to become a veterinarian started at the age of 16 while working as a receptionist at an animal hospital after school. Annie sees patients full-time while managing the staff and business side of the hospital. She also makes sure to know where the practice is financially at all times and monitors how her staff is managing their work. I was fortunate to experience the hard work and dedication of three very strong intelligent and compassionate female doctors. This inspired Annie to attend the University of Georgia and earn a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. During that time she realized her passion for science and medical innovation so she continued her education at the University of Georgia s College of Veterinary Medicine and became a doctor. From there Annie worked in the Atlanta area for 11 years as an associate veterinarian in two different multi-doctor hospitals before opening a small animal hospital (Ormewood Animal Hospital) in 2010 as a solo practitioner. She has since added another associate and doubled her support staff. Ormewood Animal Hospital was founded on the principles of community and friendship because let s face it who wants to go to an animal hospital that feels like a hospital Here you and your pets are treated like friends and neighbors. There are no stuffy titles we re all on a first name basis. There are no closed doors families are involved in the care of their pets every step of the way. We provide personalized care based on the needs of pets and their owners. It s not just about making sure the patients feel good it s about making sure their family feels good too. Not only performance but also how they re coping with their work day emotionally if they re continually challenging themselves and feeling fulfilled. I also offer internships for young women who are thinking about joining our profession. Annie continuously draws tremendous inspiration from her staff. Their drive to always do their best with an unrelenting desire to never let a pet or owner down despite the difficult work and long hours is proof of their uncompromising compassion. They hold me to very high standards and expect my best each day. Her career in veterinary medicine has been her absolute passion and life calling. 15 Women of Distinction I gain tremendous satisfaction from helping an ailing pet and relieving the stress and fears of its owners. I love teaching clients how to best care for and provide the greatest life for their animals. Every day is quite different and filled with intense emotions that afford great opportunities to help and be of service. The best advice that she can give another veterinarian just starting out is to never compromise your standards for any job. Q&A Q What was your motivation to start you own practice A I wanted to create a healthy uplifted work environment that had a direct connection to my community. Veterinary medical facilities are trending toward being larger and larger and I wanted to have a small hospital that felt comfortable and where our clients really felt they were a part of our practice. Q Where would you like to see your practice in five years A My plan is to maintain consistency with our high quality service. I don t ever want to hear that we got complacent and just did our job . I want to continue to exceed our clients expectations. Q What are some of your favorite books you have read about business A Some of my favorite books about business include Integrity by Dr Henry Cloud Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh The Power of Respect and Thank You Power by Deborah Norville Why Pride Matters More Than Money by Jon Katzenbach Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson The Mindful Leader Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation by Michael Carroll Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders Q How do you manage stress and the emotional side of your work A I have a regular meditation practice and try to remember that I m here to be of service. If I focus on the needs of my clients and not my own there s a greater sense of reward. Also I always try to maintain a good sense of humor. Insist on a work environment with people of uncompromising ethics and a heart for true service. This field is stressful and every day is a deep commitment so you need to surround yourself with a team that understands and believes in the hard work they re doing. Annie is married to Joe Price a graphic designer and together they have five dogs two cats five chickens and an unreasonable rescued grey squirrel. Dogs Moki Jeffrey Olive Trudi and Roolani Cats Mia and Arthur Chickens Chuck Penny Polly Rose and Sophie Squirrel Beatrix She s an avid runner a bookworm a vegan and most of all a friend of all animals. 16 Women of Distinction Beth Adkisson Executive Coaching Strategic Planning Leadership Development Chair Vistage Worldwide Partner Charting the Seas of Success Newport Coast CA C atching the entrepreneurial bug Beth Adkisson founded and led a boutique marketing communication agency. Virtual One s client profile was diverse from start-up companies to well-established organizations. Beth attributed a lot of her agency s growth to decisions she made with the support of her Vistage peer advisory group. Vistage brings together business executives in intimate peer groups and helps them improve their businesses and lives. In 2000 Beth became a Vistage Chair. A chair is a highly trained professional that facilitates Vistage peer advisory groups and helps leaders dig into their challenges. Every day is a new experience and she feels extremely blessed to have the opportunity to help leaders navigate both the potholes and successes that lie ahead. In 2005 Beth also founded Charting the Seas of Success a company dedicated to helping leaders achieve measurable results. She is a former president of National Association of Women Business Owners and sat on several charity boards in the past that support women children and the arts. When I am being the best me I can be I am living my life strategies Beth added. Beth s life strategies include Look for Possibilities (speak possibly be passionate focus on opportunity find what s working what is possible) Interrogate Reality (explore truths - mine theirs and ours) Change is Choice (realize that opportunity only comes from change learn to live with uncertainty and act with confidence) Connect (people to people and people to resources) Look for Gifts (each person is valid and valuable help others bring out their own magnificence) Be Present and Make Sunshine (live with purpose be intentional passionate and fully awake in life) Trust Myself (create my own future quiet the voice in my head that says I can t do it ) and Don t Take Myself Too Seriously (laugh a lot make everyday fun). Since I began my career many years ago in the oil business a very male dominated field I quickly realized that males and female were viewed differently in the workplace. Knowing this I just focused on the objective and doing the best job I could do. Fast forward when I sit down with a leader it s about the human being their though leadership personal values and vision for the future it s not about gender Beth noted. 17 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why should an executive business owner join Vistage A Vistage members outperform the competition. A 2015 analysis revealed that members who joined Vistage over the past five years grew their companies at three times the rate of average US companies. Vistage members are a special group of leaders who provide valuable insight based on their extraordinary achievements. These unique peer groups allow members to tap into different perspectives and solve difficult challenges. Q What differentiates Vistage from other executive-focused organizations A The hallmark of our groups is something we call Issue Processing . It s a structured thorough and efficient approach to helping members think through the dynamics of a challenge. It forces you to push beyond your assumptions and get to the real issues. That s critical to understanding and evaluating your options before making a decision and taking action. Q How often do Vistage members meet A Most groups meet once a month for a full day meeting comprised of a combination of expert speaker workshops and closed-door issue processing sessions. Members also meet monthly with their Chair in a one-to-one session designed to help them identify their most important needs and opportunities. Q Is everything discussed in Vistage groups confidential A Yes. Confidentiality is at the core of the trust achieved in a Vistage group. Q What types of programming do you offer for members A At monthly meetings Chief Executive and Small Business groups have an expert speaker present on topics ranging from strategic planning to finance hiring and sales. There are also annual regional events that members can participate in as well as webinars podcasts a network of members to connect with on our members-only online portal and our newly launched network events bringing together members of similar interests and industries. Q Are Vistage Chairs employees of Vistage A Vistage Chairs are independent contractors who have the flexibility to choose their own schedule and set their own income goals as they build their Chair practice. Q How many members does Vistage have How many Cha irs A Vistage has more than 20 000 members and more than 885 Chairs in 16 countries worldwide. 162 Chairs are women. Q What kinds of industries do your members come from A Vistage s top industries are manufacturing and services which together make up nearly half of all Vistage member companies. Other top industries include wholesale trade finance and insurance construction retail trade transportation and healthcare. 18 Women of Distinction Britney Danielle Easton Fitness and Wellness Yoga Yoga Instructor Owner Blue Moon Yoga Fresno CA oga instructor and owner of Blue Moon Yoga studio Britney Danielle Easton knows first hand the transformative powers of practicing yoga. She started taking Bikram yoga classes in 2008 to help her cope with a stressful time in her life and fell in love with the practice immediately. Nearly 10 years later she likens the ancient art to a best friend helping her stay healthy and strong on a daily basis. Y I love yoga and I know there are countless benefits of a consistent practice Britney said. Practicing yoga regularly has opened many doors for me and improved my quality of life in almost every aspect. I love my path because it is ever changing and that s exciting. In 40 years from now I will still be able to practice learn grow and achieve in yoga. Yoga wasn t always a mainstay in Britney s life. She attended Santa Clara University and graduated with a degree in Psychology in 1999. She went on to the University of Notre Dame and graduated with an MBA in 2004. Britney held various jobs in between undergrad and graduate school but never found her true passion until she started working at Living Intentions a raw food company. Raw food and healthy living complimented yoga completely. It was a whole new way of life for Britney. She completed teacher training for yoga instruction in the spring of 2010 and began the next step in her journey. Before owning Blue Moon Yoga in Fresno California Britney was teaching yoga in Manhattan. She moved home to the west coast to be with her then boyfriend and now husband Michael. She quickly got a job teaching at a yoga studio and a few weeks later the previous owner asked her to purchase the business. The rest is history. Like yoga running a business is a balancing act. As a small business owner Britney has her hands in everything and has become a master at multitasking. It is important for her to connect with all her students and be available for them both as a teacher and friend. One of the reasons the studio is successful is because Britney gives the staff and students a lot of freedom to be themselves. Another key to Britney s success is her willingness to try new things. She learned early on that it is ok to fail as long as you keep trying. 19 Women of Distinction Time management is something Britney constantly strives to improve. She seeks to maintain balance by prioritizing the most important aspects of her life and dedicating time to each one. So what is Britney s secret for getting it all done She is an early bird waking up before the sun rises to accomplish tasks before the day starts is her little secret. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Yoga is growing like crazy because it works Studios are popping up everywhere and men and women are participating in classes all over the world. Yoga is healing for the mind body and soul and it s going to continue to grow as time goes on Q What types of people are in your classes A Yoga is for absolutely everybody. We have classes with men and women of all shapes fitness levels and ages. Yoga is about honoring where you are in the present moment and taking it from there it doesn t matter where you start. Q How do you go about finding the right studio A Practice yoga at a place that feels just like home. There are many different types of yogas so find a studio that suits your body and your mind and stick with it Practicing is a journey that takes time and dedication but it is well worth it Q Your studio teaches yoga in the heat what is that about A Practicing yoga in the heat has numerous benefits for the body. Some of the main ones 1) It gets your heart rate up providing a cardiovascular workout in addition to a stretch. 2) It loosens up your muscles and makes them more pliable so you re less likely to injure yourself and can get a deeper stretch allowing for faster body transformation. 3) The heat makes you sweat more eliminating toxins and cleansing your body each thoroughly. Q I would like to try yoga but I m not flexible at all A Great that means yoga is perfect for you A lot of times people believe they need to be good at yoga before they take class and that s just not true We all need to start somewhere and you will be surprised how fast your body grows and changes with a consistent practice. I went from teaching yoga for a living to running my own studio and that was definitely a challenge Britney said. In the beginning I had no idea how to deal with the expectations of students and it was difficult to try to make everybody happy. I learned that as long as I am true to myself and to yoga then everything falls into place. Britney s business is all about giving back. Blue Moon Yoga hosts the annual Cupcakes for Cancer fundraiser and participates in Relay for Life. The company has raised money for the Fresno Poverello House Ronald McDonald House United Way Community Food bank and gives free yoga to support many of their students through fundraisers in the community. They also have programs to help the Marjorie Mason Center and Wounded Warriors of Fresno. She hopes to continuously have a positive impact on the community. Britney recently gave birth to a son Andrew and is 7 months pregnant with her second son due in May. She credits her amazing husband for giving her strength and patience and believing in her so completely. In the future Britney and her husband plan to grow both their family and the yoga studio. I would like to share and inspire as many people as possible about the benefits of practicing yoga so they can do the same she said. I see people gain confidence and strength through their yoga practice and I ve witnessed many physical and mental transformations. I love seeing my students leave with smiling faces 20 Women of Distinction Iris Dodge Morgan Fine Art Artists Artist Owner - Iris Dodge Studio Virginia City MT 21 Women of Distinction others. A s a Painter and Artist Owner at Iris Dodge Studio Iris Dodge Morgan loves expressing her passion for art through her own work and the work of Iris was inspired to begin a career in the art field due to her mother s encouragement and work as an artist. She started painting in 1976 while working in Alaska on the pipeline. Raised in Montana Iris learned to diversify in order to make a living which led to her working as a cook waitress full charge bookkeeper secretary seamstress and a pianist as well as an artist. I love making a difference. I have painted many categories and have enjoyed each one. The most rewarding categories have been portraits of people and animals -- capturing the mischievous twinkle in a child s eye the contemplation of an animal and recording people on canvas. They all have a story to tell. The development of technology has come as a bit of challenge -- needing a web page to promote my art and learning how to maintain it plus the jump from a 35 mm camera and slides to digital and having to submit my art with it. However I have learned to adapt and progress past these challenges. In her role at Iris Dodge Studio Iris does most of the work in running the business which has left her with less time to actually paint. However her husband is very helpful in brainstorming new ideas as he has been in sales for a large part of his career. Some of Iris responsibilities in her studio including doing the interviews photo shoots and selecting the combination of photos to be used in a portrait. At the moment Iris is working on commissions she had put on hold until after her book Plaids Stripes and Denims was published in September 2013. It is a collection of 52 Notable Montana Cowboys with their portraits and poetry that conveys the story of their lives. Television network PBS aired a segment on the cowboys featured in the book on their program Backroads of MT which Iris participated in. Working with Gus Chambers who works on Backroads of MT Iris and the cowboys were filmed and interviewed for the show. The segment can be viewed on the homepage of Iris website Iris was also chosen to be featured in Best of America s Oil 2011 which is a book of specially selected artists. The organization went through 40 000 websites while also traveling to fairs and art shows across America and chose 75 final artists to be featured in the book including Iris. To view Iris feature in the virtual book you can go to the Meet Iris section on and search her name to find her pages. Before anything else everything I am or ever will be is by the Grace of God. I love Him and His Son. I pray that others can see His light in me. God has been my biggest inspiration as He has placed a wholesome love for each one of my subjects along with a desire to capture them on canvas. I am also inspired by my husband too many artists to mention and Tim Irwin who designed the book Plaids Stripes and Denims for me and helped with the publicity. In her free time Iris enjoys playing the accordion and the piano and also likes cooking and gardening. She loves to spend time with her husband along with their seven children grandchildren and great grandchildren as well when possible. Iris is also a member of the Oil Painters of America and has been since 1992. My advice to anyone starting out in this industry is to be true to yourself. Be selective when choosing who you study with and listen to everything they say then try it in class to the best of your ability. Eliminate the things that don t help you accomplish what you hoped for or set out to do. Learn the anatomy of your subject and practice drawing. Learn colors and LEARN TO SEE Also when you choose a class to take don t feel intimidated when you are painting with very accomplished artists. You are not there to show them what you can do but to learn what they can do. Your money is as good as anyone else s in the room. I hope I m remembered as someone who truly made a difference in the lives of those I met. As someone who touched the lives of those I had the privilege to paint. I want to be remembered as someone who was honest and loving and I want my grandchildren to remember me and all of the things that I had the privilege to teach them. 22 Women of Distinction Toni D. Stone Non-Medical In-Home Senior Care Providers Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Sunrise Care Givers LLC Greenville IL D eeply concerned about the rise of Ageism in our county Toni D. Stone has dedicated her career to helping our nation s seniors. Her company Sunrise Care Givers LLC is non-medical home care agency for the elderly or others who prefer to stay home but need ongoing care and assistance due to health or illness. Toni s mission is to create a system of care that will support her client s independence and provide them opportunities to grow and develop a personal connection within their own environment. Toni founded Sunrise Care Givers after moving to the small town of Greenville Illinois in 2005. Since 1998 she had been working in the private duty Companion Care field and was searching for career opportunities without much luck. There were very few private home care providers in the area. Toni instantly recognized the need for such a service. In 2007 Sunrise Care Givers LLC took shape. As CEO Toni s areas of expertise include executive management of day-to-day operations finances people employee management marketing and staff development. The stories and experiences that seniors have to offer is so very valuable Toni said. I once had a client who assisted in making the first nuclear bomb one who fought on the beaches of Normandy one who was one of the first female bank president s when it wasn t a woman s place the list goes on and on. They are the reason I continue in this career and will continue to do so. It took many years to make my career what it is today she said. I actively tell clients employees and family that Sunrise Care Givers is not run solely by me. God actively takes the wheel when it is needed most. This Christian based company provides not just care to our seniors it provides friendship a family for those who have none and most of all we keep all of them in our prayers every day. 23 Women of Distinction Toni s sense of responsibility stems from her grandmother Ms. Evelyn Cooper. She taught Toni to pursue both passion and compassion. Q&A Q Are they licensed in the state Does your state require a licensed agency to provide care A Does your state require a license for an agency to conduct business or provide care in your state If so make sure that the agency you are looking for is licensed and are responsible for all taxes for caregivers. Q What is the background screening process for caregivers A Make sure the agency does a fingerprint background check drug testing and continues random testing checks all professional and personal references. Q What is the Scope of Service that can be provided under your state guidelines A Most states limit the scope of service that can be provided under a Home Care Services license. Usually skilled care cannot be performed under the Home Care Services license. Seeing the look in my Grandmother s eyes when I told her what I was doing inspired me she said. The proud expression because she knew that she had inspired my career and made me the strong willed independent woman that I have become. Toni cautions aspiring caregivers to do a lot of soul searching before entering into the industry. The position is not for the faint of heart. Toni and her team are faced with death more than life. It takes understanding and strength to be successful. Along the way Toni uncovered abuse toward seniors. Being so close to her grandmothers it was difficult for her to learn of these tragic crimes. During her time in private duty Toni reported more than one caregiver for abuse. I feel that as long as we are regulated by the State and an advocate for Senior citizens I will continue in this career for no other purpose but to keep them from abuse and assist with the best quality of life available to that individual in our care Toni said. Toni hopes to leave a legacy of enriching the community. She and her staff participate in the GRH yearly Health Fair sharing information with the public about the types of assistance available for aging loved ones. Sunrise is also partnered with the Veterans Care Coordination and the Illinois Homecare Hospice Council. Toni is married to her wonderful husband Gary. The couple has three children and three grandchildren. I love spending time with family she said. As you learn from this industry family is the most important asset you can have next to your health. 24 Women of Distinction Audrey Dworak Health Wellness Weight Loss Nutrition Consultant Health Coach Chief Executive Officer - Your Whole Self Wellness Lake Hopatcong NJ T hrough her work as CEO and Health Coach at Your Whole Self Wellness Audrey Dworak is dedicated to helping others change their lives for the better by introducing them to healthy lifestyle and eating habits. Audrey helps women improve their relationships with food weight and body image so that they can fit into their skinny jeans feel great in their body confident and empowered. Rather than choose a generalized diet or routine for all of her clients to follow Audrey gets to know each of her clients individually and develops personalized programs for them. Audrey counsels individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition exercise and mind-body connections plans and conducts workshops and classes that cover various health and wellness topics advises clients on nutritional principles food selection and preparation and helps clients set and achieve goals to dramatically improve their health and happiness. I struggled with my weight for a long time tried almost every diet out there and could not keep the weight off. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Stage 3B Cervical Cancer. My prognosis was not good and my life expectancy at that time was two years. During those two years I researched how to heal my body from chemotherapy and radiation through nutrition. I went back to school to become and Integrative Nutritional Health Coach. I learned and incorporated so much about how to heal the body as well as how to get to the root of my emotions. I also learned that you need to feed both your mind and body good things to truly live a healthy lifestyle. Once I got to the root of those issues and addressed the other areas in my life the weight not only came off but has stayed off. I have not only lost weight but have maintained it for 9 and a half years now. I am doing what I love and I m happy in all areas of my life. In her free time Audrey enjoys reading photography cooking healthy meals spending time with her family and listening to music. She also volunteers on a caring committee that provides delivered meals cleaning services or even just company to other members of her religious community as much as possible. In order to succeed in this industry you have to like people and truly want to help them transform their lives. You should love seeing them succeed and have a passion for what you do. Audrey began her journey in the Weight Loss industry after becoming a Weight Loss Counselor in 1987. Even while she successfully guided both men and women to reaching their weight loss goals she still struggled with her own weight. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2006 Audrey began expanding her knowledge on nutrition becoming an Integrative Nutritional Health Coach after graduating from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2011. She then became a certified WellCoach in 2013 and earned her Living on Live Foods Level I Certification. I want women to feel empowered and take control of their health and lives so that they can live a life that they love waking up to everyday. When you re happy with yourself and your life you can accomplish anything. 25 Women of Distinction Ayanna Banks Customized Girls and Women s Accessories Founder Chief Executive Officer - Gods Imagery LLC San Antonio TX T hrough her work as Founder and CEO of Gods Imagery Ayanna Banks empowers and inspires women by sharing her customized accessories and spreading the word of God. Aside from her work with Gods Imagery Ayanna has released a book titled Killing Me Softly The Prerequisite is Death The Assignment is Life and writes for her online blog called Spill the Tea which allows users to anonymously unload their minds of clutter and can be found at I m a U.S. Army disabled veteran that struggles with severe PTSD. I m a mother wife and caregiver for my parents. I consider myself a Serial Entrepreneur . I ve continued to fight through my struggles in life and have become a self-published author blogger and independent business owner. I am an Overcomer and all glory is to God. When everyone else gives up on you don t give up on yourself. When you are faced with adversity at every turn keep pushing through until you break through. P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). With God all things are possible -- I m living proof. In her leisure Ayanna enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is also a member of Living Way Church and the NAACP and volunteers for Soldiers Angel and her local food bank. The adversity in my life and the lives of the females that I ve had the pleasure of serving is why I continue to passionately provide inspiring words a listening ear and support. My career is not self-seeking but it is a heal the healer business. I practice what I preach. When I see these women overcoming struggles and becoming empowered -- I am reminded of why I do what I do. Before founding Gods Imagery Ayanna served in the U.S. Army enlisting in 1996. For many years she has worked to inspire fellow women through God s word and decided to expand her platform by starting Gods Imagery. As founder chief visionary and creative mind at her company Ayanna is in charge of the customizing marketing ordering bookkeeping inventory management and trending research for the products. Don t focus on what could go wrong focus on what could go right. Don t be afraid to fail because the world is yours Believe that you are unstoppable and your tomorrow will always be greater than your today. Do a self-assessment to discover your gifts and passions. When you learn which gifts you can use to pursue your passions the rest is easy. Don t jump into anything without educating yourself and knowing all there is to know with clear understanding. Believe that you are right where you re meant to be and everything is happening exactly as it should. I want to leave a legacy of love hope and encouragement. I want others to remember me for always encouraging them with Gods word and loving them unconditionally. I want my life to have been a servant s life -- a servant to God and to His people. My purpose being fulfilled for the Kingdom of Heaven and my children carrying on my legacy is all that matters to me. 26 Women of Distinction Carla D. Carter Telecommunications Wholesale Service Representative AT&T Fort Worth TX N ineteen years after graduating from college and Carla D. Carter is still employed with the same company that first hired her back in 1996. Completing her degree with a Bachelor s of Business Administration in Marketing at the University of Texas at Arlington she quickly found her niche in telecommunications after landing a position with AT&T as a Service Representative first in their Local Service Center then in the Alliance Wholesale Local Service Center. A member of Women of AT&T Oxygen and Community Network all recognized groups within AT&T Carla was a recipient of the President s Volunteer Service Award from 2011-2015 the AT&T Customer Rules Service Excellence Award in 2013 created a job aide for the company s Work Force Management group in 2013 and was recently featured in an article for her company newsletter entitled GO Connection Newsletter a spotlight on her volunteer work within the community. Carla became a Licensed Minister through the Potter s House School of Ministry in 2009 before being ordained three years later. Participating in volunteer work through her church and in the community often she serves as the Director of the Hospital and Nursing Home ministries. She also speaks at women s conferences and community events and serves as a Debutante Mentor to young girls ages 10-17. A two-time breast cancer survivor and health advocate who speaks out about bringing awareness through early detection she also participates annually in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Walk to End Lupus Now events. I thoroughly enjoy my job the people I work with and the company I work for Carla said happily. In telecommunications there s such an array of departments and opportunities in which to work. By being dedicated teachable and responsible on the job it s much easier to become an asset to an organization and remain marketable for the future. As a Service Representative Carla s in charge of providing excellent customer service first and foremost. Taking inbound calls typing up orders in a timely manner solving customer issues and managing workload distribution are also all part of the job scope. Over the last near two decades working for the telecommunications giant Carla has learned that unfortunately it isn t always what you know but who you know. By networking getting actively involved with coworkers and taking on a business mentor that works with her monthly on various areas of the business she has been better able to hone her skills in the field. It s important that you share your goals with your manager or someone within the company that you really trust so that you can take the necessary steps in getting promoted Carla noted. People can t help you if they don t know what you want to do with your career. It s my wish to leave behind love encouragement and purpose by making a positive impact on this world through giving speaking and writing and by sharing my faith with others Carla added. 27 Women of Distinction Carol A. Gooch Women s nonprofit networking association Founder & Executive Director of Montgomery County Association of Business Women (MCABW) Montgomery County Conroe TX C arol A. Gooch has a true love for helping women grow which is the spark that has led her to her current role as the Founder & Executive Director of The Montgomery County Association of Business Women in Conroe Texas. She is a mentor at the Montgomery County Association of Business Women (MCABW) which she founded in 2005. MCABW is a place where women of all ages and ethnicities unite to aid and support one another to become the best they can be professionally and personally. Carol s goal was to create an organization for women to succeed not only financially but to improve their physical and mental health as well. Carol s journey ultimately began in 1974 earning her Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling at Troy University. Her hard work and dedication has earned her many roles in her community. She is a licensed professional counselor certified to educate children families and even those with chemical dependencies in the state of Texas. This makes her the perfect woman to run such an empowering establishment as MCABW. Her past experiences as a teacher and motivational speaker have turned her into what she calls the go to lady for any and every issue. Carol s devotion to helping others is something that many can learn from. Her organization gives scholarships to selected female high school graduates of Montgomery County. This gives even young women the opportunity to become as successful as she is. Carol is a 2003 Leadership Montgomery County graduate and has proven her loyalty to Montgomery County in too many ways to name. The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce has given her a life time membership for her tremendous efforts in giving back to her community. This isn t just a job to Carol it s her way of life. Her wise words caring demeanor and countless acts of kindness earned her the title of MCABW s Woman of Distinction in 2011. Your word is your bond. She says and her word has certainly created a bond amongst the many women of the Montgomery County Association of Business Women. Stay true to yourself and don t worry so much because if you can control something then you don t have to worry about it and if you can t control it then there is no reason to worry. Carol s legacy will definitely leave an impact on not only the women whose lives she has personally touched but women everywhere. Life is short so enjoy the ride with a smile on your face. Carol s line of work surely puts a smile on her face as does her family. She is a devoted wife mother and grandmother and she loves to travel and explore new places in her spare time. There is no limit to this remarkable woman s achievements. 28 Women of Distinction Emily S. Carroll Research consulting on political and public policy issues President and Co-Founder of Janus Analytics LLC Sandusky OH S olid research is an important step in shaping public policy. Emily S. Carroll is an expert on this process. Her company Janus Analytics specializes in providing world-class research data management needs assessment program evaluation and policy analysis with a focus on customer service. As president and co-founder Emily manages a team of highly educated well-informed policy analysts who seek to influence the creation and implementation of effective public policy and meaningful programming. Through public policy we have the opportunity to create lasting and effective change for individuals communities and the country she said. It s really about trying to provide as much certainty as possible around public policy and programs. This is where Janus Analytics comes in to provide funders and those receiving funds with outside evaluation analysis and innovative opportunities. Emily holds a master s degree in Political Science from the University of Akron and a Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus on American Politics Public Administration and Public Policy from Southern Illinois University. But her passion for politics began while she was undergraduate at Bowling Green University studying Women s Studies and Psychology. While earning her degrees Emily became politically engaged. She worked as a student assistant at the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and completed an internship at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. Kellie Copeland the Executive Director was and continues to be a mentor for Emily. It wasn t an ordinary internship where I was expected to get coffee and stuff envelopes Emily explained. She taught me to really think through political issues allowed me to sit in on meetings with stakeholders and involved me in the organization s strategic planning. Emily s professional inspiration continues to come from the incredible women in her life. She hopes to use her role to inspire and help other women as well. I am passionate about social justice issues and this passion is what drives my work she said. Ultimately I want to be a force for good in furthering evidence-based discussion debate and decisions on social justice issues. This is especially true when it comes to issues faced by women and children. Emily is a dedicated member of the American Political Science Association the Midwest Political Science Association the Society for Research in Child Development and the National Association of Professional Women. An animal lover in her free time Emily rides and shows her beloved American Quarter Horse in western all-around events at American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) approved shows. She has a nine-month-old Standard Schnauzer puppy and a seven-month old Welsh Terrier puppy who are beginning to compete in American Kennel Club shows. 29 Women of Distinction Rabbi Helene Weintraub Ainbinder W Religion Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of Beit Chaverim Jewish Congregation of Southern UT St. George UT hen Rabbi Helene Weintraub Ainbinder was a young girl Jewish women rarely had the opportunity to explore Judaic learning or become a rabbi. These roles were considered a male obligation. With an A.A.S. from Fashion Institute of Technology Helene worked as a Fashion Designer for Bridal Originals and then as a Buyer for the Medco Corporation. When women were able to become rabbis Helene already had a family and lifestyle that did not permit her to focus fully on learning the required skills to enter into the field. That changed when her son enrolled in religious school. Helene rediscovered her desire for teaching religious education and became a member of the Sisterhood and started Judaic learning. Her formally training in Judaism began in 1984 at the Morasha of S.A.J.E.S. She studied at night after her children went to bed. Helene continued her studies while raising her children taking care of the household chores and working part-time teaching in various synagogues. In 2010 she earned Ordination from the Esoteric Theological Seminary. Throughout her studies and career Helene continued to encounter sexism from male professors and others in her field. Their behavior only made her strive harder for excellence and prove the naysayers wrong. Women throughout history were ignored however today s feminists movements have increased the world s view of women roles within society Helene said. Women are starting to reach new heights in a myriad of professional positions and letting their voices so Today Helene has spent more than 30 years as a teacher Educational Director and Rabbi. In 2013 she became a Rabbi and Spiritual leader of Beit Chaverim at Jewish Congregation of Southern Utah. Her role is to conduct various life cycle events Sabbath and Holiday services visit the sick and educate children and members in their Judaic heritage. Helene is passionate about advancing women. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah the Women s League for Conservative Judaism and The Women of The Wall in Israel. Additionally she is a board member of the Torah Fund and is active in volunteering for her community. She was honored to be called on to participate in a grant program with Jerusalem s Israel schools and synagogues called Ki Va Moed working on Judaic educational programs and environment projects with Israelis for eight years. Helene also wrote a book titled A Novice s Guide Through The Jewish Holidays. The guide was designed to encourage readers to become comfortable learning practicing the observances for the holidays and have a sense of connection to the Jewish people. My passion for teaching Judaic Studies had provided opportunities over the years to educate children families and adults in various synagogues religious schools she said. Where can you find a job that is not really work but a place where you can make an impact on your community and have enjoyment doing 30 Women of Distinction Jessica Jean Schaak Child Care School Age Program Coordinator - Citrus County YMCA Beverly Hills FL J For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29 11 essica Jean Schaak has been working for the YMCA since she was 12-years-old. In 2003 she started her career in Maine as a Junior Counselor (in training) at Penobscot Bay YMCA s summer camp. I was at an awkward stage of my life and needed a purpose. Child care became my purpose. Today Jessica is the School Age Program Coordinator at the Citrus County YMCA where she provides a fun engaged and organized program that makes everyone feel welcome. I know that asking someone how they are is just part of the job for some people but I truly care about the response. I go out of my way to make someone feel welcome and truly believe that a simple smile and a listening ear is how you achieve that. Aside from child care Jessica has a passion to become something better not just to grow on her own but as a community. My community matters which is ultimately what has kept me in child care. I believe that the families I come into contact with every day are valuable. Her greatest professional inspiration was Erin Fogg the child care Director when Jessica first started working for the YMCA. Erin has always been a role model for me. She was a team player and would do whatever was needed from answering phones at the front desk to cleaning the floors or taking out the trash. She always encouraged me and still does to this day. Jessica has contributed to the YMCA s annual giving campaign for the last three years. The money raised went toward the building of a YMCA in Citrus County that will open on May 1 2016 She would like for everyone to know that they are loved and that they have a purpose. God made us all differently but I want people to know that they are valuable. Q&A Q Why are you so excited for Citrus County Florida to open a YMCA facility A I m excited because the Y was what I needed and I know that many other people need it too. It s not just a facility to work out or for your children to be watched it s also support for our community. Q Where do you want to be in five years A I would like to be in a higher position at the Y that I love as well as have a family of my own. Q Why did you move to Florida A I moved to Florida right after high school because my aunt and uncle gave me the opportunity to live with them while I was in college. Florida seemed to have what I needed to become my own individual and grow as a person. Plus I met my husband who I ve been married to for almost two years here Q What are you most thankful for A I m forever thankful for God s love the support of my friends and family and for my church family at Crystal River Church of God. 31 Women of Distinction Katherine Paxton MC CCC Healthcare Counseling Counselor - Katherine Paxton Counselling Services Victoria BC Canada s a Counselor with Katherine Paxton Counselling Services Katherine Paxton is dedicated to helping individuals with autism change their lives for the better while aiding others in better understanding those on the autism spectrum. The truly unique people I ve served have kept me in this career. It s been an honor working with these amazing individuals and families helping them create the life they desire. Each person has had some amazing gifts as well as some challenges while their families have moved mountains to support and help them. Their commitment is humbling. Helping these individuals and their families is a very rewarding experience for me. Katherine has been helping people with special needs for most of her life. In 1993 she was hired as a Behavior Consultant for The Laurel Group where she specialized in working with children and adults who were on the autism spectrum. After over a decade in the field she opened up a private practice in 2006 so she could offer a cognitive behavioral approach to clients. A In my career I have developed skill in taking the conventional counseling tools and altering them to best fit the people I m supporting. There is no singular approach as everyone has different needs and abilities. Shaping the tools so that they fit the person increases their effectiveness in helping the person achieve the change they desire. Helping people achieve the change they desire is my primary goal and gives me great fulfillment. In her free time Katherine is a volunteer Mental Health Director for Focus Ability WorkAble Solutions which provides support and employment for people who are on the autism spectrum. She also supports local organizations that work with people who have special needs including Victoria Society for Children with Autism Operation Trackshoes Community Living Victoria and Sooke Family Resources Society. In 2007 she published her book Counselling People on the Autism Spectrum A Practical Manual receiving a Counselling Book of the Year Award from the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association in 2010. In counseling it s very important never to lose sight of the fact that you re working with the client as part of their team for change. For this to be effective you need to develop an understanding of who your client is as well as an understanding of their unique situation. Respect how clients have managed to get to where they are now. Clients need to know what they re doing well as well as where they could change. Regarding her education Katherine received a BA in Psychology from University of Manitoba in 1988 a BSW from University of Victoria in 1993 and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Campus Alberta University of Calgary University of Lethbridge and Athabasca University in 2006. She has been a Canadian Certified Counsellor since 2006. I hope that my book Counselling People on the Autism Spectrum A Practical Manual is the start of leaving the world with a better understanding of people who are on the autism spectrum. This book could be used as a selfhelp book as well as a guide for counsellors and mental health professionals to work more effectively with people on the autism spectrum. I also hope that my speaking engagements help people better understand someone who is on the autism spectrum and helps them with supporting these people. 32 Women of Distinction Keesha Latoya Kenyatta Davis Education Chief Executive Officer Davis Education Consulting Lorman MS K eesha Latoya Kenyatta Davis had every intention to pursue a career in healthcare as a pediatrician. Studying pre-medicine at Alcorn State University she was ready to put her best foot forward to continue her studies in medicine. However after the news that she was expecting a baby she restructured her studies toward health science and graduated in 2005. Her attention immediately deviated from the healthcare field into a field that would still allow her to help children. Becoming an educator in 2006 allowed me to still do what I love without neglecting the one that I loved so dearly my son Keesha said. Once I got into the field my love for teaching grew and I immediately developed a deep passion for helping children excel and become lifelong learners. When you realize the potential impact you have on your students it s an amazing feeling. Initially Keesha worked for Jackson Public School District then Madison Parish School District in Tallulah and finally Claiborne County School District in Port Gibson before making a transition into her current role as the Chief Executive Officer of Davis Education Consulting. Now in it s beginning stages of development Keesha s dedicating a lot of time to making a positive name for both herself and her business. She s also overseeing all management and marketing aspects of the business. Davis Education Consulting offers teacher evaluation services in Head Start. Currently Keesha is a certified CLASS observer with future hopes of providing professional development for teachers in Head Start and public school settings. Serving as a member of numerous relevant organizations Keesha is also on numerous boards including as a Policy Council and current Chairman for Mississippi Action for Progress Inc. During the 2014-2015 academic school year she was also honored by being named Star Teacher for the 2014-2015 at Claiborne County School District. In addition to completing her BS in 2005 Keesha earned an MEd with a Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Phoenix. She is currently working toward her Doctor of Philosophy at Jackson State University. Q&A Q How do you feel about the huge push for technology in education A The field of education needs to incorporate a healthy balance between the use of technology and direct teaching because it s my honest belief that technology has taken away our students ability to problem solve think critically along with other imperative skills. Q What challenge areas do you plan to focus on in education A I plan to focus my business in three areas teacher evaluation and training literacy reading comprehension and teacher professionalism and code of ethics. Q Do you feel your business is important A Statistics show there s a high percentage of unprofessionalism among educational leaders including verbal physical abusing of students inappropriate conduct with students nationally failing of literacy across the board a percentage of poor teacher evaluations and evaluation methods being a huge problem all of which will have a significant impact on our children s future. 33 Women of Distinction Latoya S. Jordan Business Consulting President of A Different Approach Consulting LLC. Atlanta GA L atoya S. Jordan finds that the legal world can certainly be challenging. Her story however proves that she is fully capable of facing those challenges and empowering others to do the same. Latoya graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2006. In the fall of 2009 she then went on to start her own law practice in Atlanta Georgia Jordan Young & Associates LLC where she primarily worked with start-up and small businesses. A short time after she was in business Latoya found herself being much more than just a lawyer. It was in 2015 when she decided to transition her practice and launch A Different Approach LLC a full-service business consulting agency. Latoya s love for helping people is what gives her the drive to expand and excel in her career. She has created commendable relationships with people in need of her expertise. She has never turned her back on a client under any circumstances even if they do not always possess the necessary financial resources to receive her services. I want every person who seeks my advice and counsel to walk away in a better position than when they came to me. We find a way to just make it work . She says. Ultimately when my client wins we all win. Latoya s goal is to be able to share the stories of the many people that she so kindly led to a more successful lifestyle. If I don t help them succeed then I can t tell that story and these stories provide inspiration to other entrepreneurs. Ms. Jordan takes such a personal approach because she wants each and every client to know that she is personally invested in their journey. A specific client of Latoya s refers to her as sandpaper she states. The sandpaper analogy isn t an insult at all if you really understand the purpose of sandpaper. It feels rough at first but in the end it makes everything that was rubbed against it smooth. This statement confirms for Latoya that she did not choose this career path to simply make money but to really engage with clients in a way that makes a difference. Her mission is to gain the trust of her clients and make sure that they are provided with the necessary tools to succeed. Latoya pays homage to Alvin Hall and Hilary Young the other principals of her organization who she feels produce equally brilliant work. Without them she feels that A Different Approach LLC wouldn t be in the prosperous and triumphant condition in which it currently stands. Latoya is presently creating an e-book on how to build Relationship Capital within organizations as well as beginning volunteer work as a business coach. It has been her dream to guide individuals seeking her help and that dream is surely becoming her reality. 34 Women of Distinction Linda Clayton Entrepreneur Author Artist Business Owner Carlton GA I n 1981 Linda Clayton enrolled in the New Horizon Medical Training Center in Columbia South Carolina and graduated with a degree as a Certified Nursing Assistant. After school Linda returned home. She has learned a lot along the way but the best lessons came when Linda became an entrepreneur. In 1996 Linda became the proud owner of Lynn s Bar-Q and a small retail store. After 9 11 she returned to health care at ResCare Home Care as a CNA. Q&A Q How do you know what your gifts are A Yours gifts are the things that give you the greatest joy with the lease amount of effort you must search within yourself to find them. Q What was your greatest inspiration A I would say it has to be Love Love it does things to the mind body and soul there are chemical changes that take place in the brain. There is nothing like finding one s center and being in Love with who you are who is around and what you are doing. Q What are the down falls of this kind inspiration call Love A Sometime you will fail but what you have learned is greater than any thing that may be lost at this point. It can never be taken away for it has been awaken and is a living gift. Yours to share. Q Over the next few years what goals do you hope to achieve A To prosper in my business so I will be able to give to others that are in need here in our country as well as work with a few of the Missionaries that are in foreign country. You must know that a career does not start where you end up for most of them there is a process Linda said. And I can say that I am very pleased at this time where it has brought me. What kept me on this path is I have always had a caring heart a love for animals people and listening to older people talk to learn from them. And this is how I came into the beginning of my career. It would be many more years to get to the place I m at now and those are my passions. Today Linda is an accomplished musician artist and author. Thought she only started writing a few years ago it is her true passion in life. She has begun writing a biography and self-help book. Additionally Linda recently had her first poem showcased in one of the World Poetry Movement s publication of Stars In Our Hearts. Even though I have always enjoyed reading poems and plays I never thought I would be able to write anything myself she said. The more I would write the more I wanted to. I have been on fire from that point on. 35 Women of Distinction Lois Hollis Shame Guilt Education Owner Creator Soulspeaks LLC Waynesville NC B orn in Baltimore Maryland in 1943 Lois Hollis has always been at the forefront of new information in healthcare. After earning her RN at St. Joseph Hospital she completed her BSN at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in open-heart surgery in its infancy neurosurgery and gastroenterology. However Lois s 30-year career blossomed in 1966 when she helped establish one of the first Kidney Hemodialysis Centers in the USA at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She is also known for spearheading their containment of a hepatitis epidemic. Upon retiring from Kidney Hemodialysis Lois married and was fortunate to have three beautiful daughters. Despite her accomplishments she experienced migraine headaches heart insufficiency structural deformities and depression from unknown childhood abuse. After decades of illness Lois turned to holistic health for a solution. Sessions with Lois consist of using her patent-pending technique called SHAME GUILT Release Technique or SESGRT a natural approach to healing that combines the inner emotional self with the knowledge of shame guilt. Lois has done extensive research on the topic and published her book Emotional Revolution Evolution Releasing Shame Guilt in January 2016. She ushers in a new branch of study as a Shame Guilt Educator. She boldly demonstrates how shame and guilt or shame guilt is the root of emotional disorders. Lois has also authored The Universe Speaks. Her book is written in the soul s language and can directly change one s life expand consciousness and nourish the soul. As a compliment to her book she produced a deck of 96 Divination Cards Soul Mirror Cards A Guide to Soul and Self. I unknowingly began this venture when I decided to heal myself Lois explained. I was able to talk with my emotions rather than speak about them. Lois produced a DVD Out of Discord Into Harmony to characterize her natural way to heal. Friends began to notice how her life changed and they wanted to do the same. They too had astounding results Lois added which inspired me to make helping others out of the trenches of shame and guilt my mission. As Owner of Soulspeaks LLC Lois redefines shame and guilt how it creates traumas and how individuals can break free from its slavery. As a Shame Guilt Educator Lois acts as a coach therapist or guide if you will helping clients find and let go of their negativity and regain self-esteem. Entering into this field I had to sharpen my creative skills as a speaker and writer to illustrate the new shame guilt paradigm Lois noted about her evolving career. Today I feel fortunate to not only know our extensive use of shame and guilt but also to share this crucial knowledge. Now living in the Smoky Mountains of Waynesville North Carolina Lois enjoys spending her free time skiing traveling and precious moments with her family especially grandchildren. 36 Women of Distinction Lucie Padiany Kadage Community Service Nonprofit Senior Case Manager Immigrant Specialist Greater Harlem Healthy Start NMPP New York City NY L I ve really been doing this since I was a little girl but I just didn t know that I was serving people. I was giving what was inside of me the unconditional love of being a sister keeper to those kids who did not have cover protection or provisions from their parents. ucie Padiany Kadage s experiences inevitably pushed her to help adolescents and young adults who got into prostitution due to the lack of basic necessities at home. Early on Lucie realized that these young people never chose their lives but that society and necessity forced them into it. Lucie remembers being a young girl helping others and not telling her parents because they didn t want her getting involved. At eight years old I was involved in the youth ministry which was to help kids who were using prostitution as a means for living. I remember taking things from my home and giving them to young girls which showed them love. I also helped them gain shelter through church. Lucie is now employed with the Greater Harlem Healthy Start Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership agency a federally funded initiative designed to reduce infant mortality in the most vulnerable and at-risk communities. As a bilingual professional Lucie is able to engage with clients in French and English perform an excellent job recruiting and meeting the diverse needs of immigrant communities as well as individuals native to the city. Through her job Lucie is frequently involved with advocating for her clients from housing and food to immigration and domestic violence. I know that I ve been sent to partake in this field by my heavenly father. I believe deep down in my heart and soul that the love of God in me helps me to always do the right thing because it s my assignment to help inspire and show someone else that there is always someone somewhere who cares about them. Lucie also knows what it s like to be in want and what it s like to have more than enough. She believes that she has learned the secret of being full by being hungry. She realized that once she made it through the difficult times in her own life she emerged stronger better and wiser. One of Lucie s future goals is to write a book about her life and how she ended up where she is today. The sweetest victory is the one that s most difficult the one that requires you to reach down deep inside ask a lot questions. Why You still have to fight with everything you ve got and be willing to leave everything out there on the battlefield until you come out the other side of victory. Unfortunately it all comes with a price. 37 Women of Distinction Natalie Kennedy Veterans Benefits Administration Veterans Service Representative - Department of Veterans Affairs Author St. Petersburg FL ability. A s a Veterans Service Representative with the Department of Veteran Affairs Natalie Kennedy is dedicated to serving veterans to the best of her Aside from her work with the VA Natalie is also a published author. She just completed her third book Home is Where the Honey is which can be found on along with her previous books Unleashed Voices and Like A Child. Natalie received a BS specialized in Education Workforce from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1999 along with a MA in Organizational Management in 2005 and Doctorate in Education in 2010 both from the University of Phoenix. She also earned her Master of Practical Ministry Biblical Counseling from Master s International School of Divinity and is a Certified Minister of the Gospel through Breath of Life Community Church and New Journey Community Church. The Lord is first in my life and I trust and believe in God Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I try to keep life simple. Sort of a laid back person but love to give back to my community whether it s the person next door or someone across the world. I love to laugh and enjoy eating good food and enjoy cooking. In her leisure Natalie enjoys reading writing and volunteering for a number of organizations that benefit the homeless. She is an advocate for veterans and volunteers with directing veterans to services agencies and VA organizations that will help them. Natalie who is a Navy veteran has helped and served others for most of her life. Following her time as a Case Manager at the YWCA Family Village Homeless Shelter she ventured out to find a more challenging but less stressful job. In 2009 she sent her resume to the Department of Veteran Affairs which was the start of her career with the VA. I m making a difference in a veteran s life every day whether the veteran is granted or denied their disability claim at least the veteran is aware of the service offered to him or her. Being able to serve a veteran and change a veteran s life is certainly a plus to me. In her role of Veterans Service Representative Natalie s specific task is to process veterans benefit claims and provide comprehensive services to America s veterans and their families. Once she receives a veteran s claim she ensures that the veteran receives the benefits they have earned through their service. The goal is to serve the veterans that served our country. A person will need to take their time when starting out in this field. There is never a mistake that cannot be corrected. Take things slow because each day brings different challenges to overcome. Continue to build your knowledge base. Learn from mistakes and move forward. All of those little things add up to big success. Also always follow your dreams. I want to give more than receive always do my best in everything and be committed to my beliefs. I avoid saying hurtful things about others. I am a lifelong learner. I will love others unconditionally. 38 Women of Distinction Dr. Pam Gumbs Healthcare Pharmacy Chief Executive Officer Owner United Pharmacy Berkeley CA G etting the correct drug to the patient is not always as easy as it seems. As a Clinical Pharmacist Dr. Pam Gumbs who goes by her nickname Dr. Pam explains that as the number of diseases increase the simple factors of metabolism side effects and polypharmacy which is the use of four or more medications being used by a patient at the same time generally in adults over the age of 65 are appearing more and more making the job more complex than ever. Treating the patient for the proper disease and not the side effects of another medication is something she must always be aware of. There is never room for error. As a Clinical Pharmacist CEO I must place the patient first in not only filling their prescription as prescribed by the health practitioners but also in assessing the risks that that they might be subject to due to unknown side effects and multiple drug regimens Dr. Pam said about her responsibility she holds as the Owner and CEO of United Pharmacy in Berkeley California. Graduating in 1975 from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy with a Doctorate of Pharmacy Dr. Pam eventually completed her residency at UCSF Geriatric Institute to increase her knowledge of geriatric medicine in 1991. However she s dedicated most of her career serving in the capacity of an Outpatient Pharmacist. Recognizing that Dr. Pam s judgement is a priority in her current role at the pharmacy it is not only required but is on the line every day too. A double check of a patient s prescriptions when it comes to the possible interactions of medications is automatic for her. Believing in the power of teamwork in order to be sure the best interests of the patient and the health facility are being met Dr. Pam also demands active participation between both the pharmacy and the medical staff in the decision making process. It is my goal to educate the world around us in such a way as to provide the ultimate healthcare possible Dr. Pam added the passion she has for the field. Currently serving as the President of Alemeda County Pharmacist Association where she writes a monthly newsletter Dr. Pam is also a member of the Alameda County Drug Take Back program which takes unused medication out of the home and potentially out of the hands of children is a member and delegate of the California Pharmacist Association Academy is a member of the Christian Pharmacist Fellowship and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacist is a Project Member for the Alameda Contra Costa Medical Association Hypertension is a P&T Committee Member for Alameda Alliance for Heath and is an Advanced Care Committee Member advising geriatrics of their right to take charge of their lives by signing a form signifying their death wishes in advance. In 1988 Dr. Pam also served as the USA Pharmacy Leader on the Presidential Symposium on Medicine Tour in China and served for 10 years as a Pharmacy Representative on the Alameda Alliance for Health Board of Governors. She was also a Trophy Winner on Communication Excellence by the California Forensic Association. 39 Women of Distinction Penny Jean Kerr Men s Grooming Barber Cosmetologist at Corporate Image Barber Shop Roanoke VA P enny Jean Kerr s life changed in the year 2000 when she decided to take her passion for fashion and style to the next level. As the current owner of Corporate Image Barbershop in Roanoke Virginia Penny took a leap of faith to become the successful woman she is today. Kerr s determination to excel in the field of cosmetology derives from a series of obstacles in which she overcame as her career began to flourish. Penny purchased the shop from mentor and former owner Shelby Tucker a breast cancer survivor. Tucker was sure that even her most frequent customers would be well taken care of as she underwent treatment. With no previous history of business management or ownership it was Penny s faith in God and strong sense of gratitude that sustained the fun and friendly environment at Corporate Image. She pays tribute to her many loyal clients who she has created innumerable memories with. Each person is so unique. Each one is a new movie or a new scene. She states. Gaining a customer s trust engaging in conversation and laughter and simply knowing that she is positively contributing to their lives makes Penny s every day worthwhile. She finds pure joy in helping generate the look that they want to achieve. Since possessing ownership of the shop she has created a line of men s grooming products named The Mustachery. Her Beard Oil Hair Product and Gourmet Shave cream are all made of chemical-free ingredients and are best sellers among her customers. Her compounds help with skin imperfections such as psoriasis eczema cuts and abrasions. Penny doesn t only help the men of her community she gives back to society in numerous ways. Being a business owner barber and mother Penny finds that her biggest achievement thus far has been juggling all three roles while still making time to volunteer and help others in need. She is actively involved in many events to raise funds as well as donate funds to local organizations. The Master of the Universe has blessed me She says. Luckily for Penny she has the pleasure of working alongside her best friend Karis Joback for the past several years who she feels is one of the business best attributes. Joback s devotion and support to both Penny and their clients is a major component that built the amicable attentive and cheerful atmosphere of Corporate Image. Penny plans on expanding the shop in the near future and will continue doing what she loves surrounded by whom she loves. Competitors have been a blessing and a lesson. Without competitors it would be easy to become complacent in this business. She says. She has come to realize that competition doesn t only strengthen her personally but it builds her business and management skills as well. 40 Women of Distinction Shawnee Christensen Women Empowerment Events Owner Founder - Yes You Are Worth It Ogden UT s Founder and Owner of Yes You Are Worth It Shawnee Christensen is dedicated to empowering women and showing them that they can live the lives they ve always dreamed of. After years of wanting to work in women s empowerment Shawnee began Yes You Are Worth It in 2015. She then got right to planning the organization s first event which was held on January 30 2016. She has previous experience with running her own business and looks forward to the challenges it brings. A When asked about her greatest inspiration in life Shawnee gives credit to her mother for setting a positive example throughout her life. Her mother s perseverance strength wisdom and hard work have motivated Shawnee to always be her best and learn from all of her mistakes. I have had a very difficult and interesting life full of challenges. I ve broken down physically mentally and emotionally. It was an extremely difficult time but God had other plans for me and somehow I persevered. It has taken time to rebuild myself. I ve learned so much and I can t wait to share my experience in hope of helping others. By nature women take on the world every day. No one is exempt from breaking down. I believe I can teach anyone how to change their lives and avoid that terrible experience. In her leisure Shawnee enjoys running stand-up paddle boarding and spending time with her husband and two teenage sons who are involved in rodeo as ropers. She has been on several Youth Rodeo boards and volunteers every chance she gets. The best advice I can give at this point is to trust your instincts love your life and never give up on your dreams. If you love what you do you don t ever work a day in your life. I m working hard to ensure the rest of my life is spent doing what I love to do and that is to help people see the potential in themselves. Everyone is GREAT everyone is BEAUTIFUL. Sometimes we just forget and we need someone to help us remember. I want to be that someone. Shawnee takes on every role within her business. Aside from planning the events she is a motivational speaker takes care of the advertising and fully participates in the setup and take-down. She hires additional guest speakers along with vendors that sell everything a woman could want. She is also a Life Coach and a Financial Planner. The biggest lesson I ve learned is not to take life so serious. Life is hard and it can be a tremendous challenge but bad days will pass and good days will follow. Most of the time you will look back on your bad times and laugh. I believe you need balance in the physical mental and spiritual aspects of your life in order to be at peace. It took me 38 years to find that balance and now I want to share the secret with the world. 41 I sincerely hope that every person I meet is left with a positive impression of me. I hope that when women attend my events they have the time of their lives and leave feeling better about themselves. I want every woman to KNOW that they are strong sexy and sophisticated and they can conquer the world. Women of Distinction Ministry Social Science Administration Executive Director Unfolding Truth Ministry Garfield Heights OH Evangelist Shelia Griggs-Parker G iving hope and restoring faith in those suffering from addiction is Evangelist Shelia Griggs-Parker s mission in life. As the Executive Director of Unfolding Truth Ministry in Cleveland Ohio Shelia uplifts hurting women and children. The ministry teaches women to be self-sufficient and builds their self-esteem and self-worth by providing a safe and trusting forum to deal with the issues that have rendered them hopeless and helpless. Shelia s career started from childhood. She was raised by a dedicated single mother who instilled a deep spiritual foundation in her children. Even as a child Shelia gravitated toward the kids no one else wanted to play with the less fortunate the kids that were being laughed at and she would defend them at all costs. Little did she know that her career was being formed When Shelia graduated from high school she became pregnant with her first daughter moved out of her mother s house and in with the father of her child. Three years later she got pregnant again with her son. At the time Shelia was a stay at home mother but when the children s father moved out Shelia found herself a single mother with no income forcing her to go on welfare. I made up in my mind at this time that I didn t want my children to have to take food stamps to the store I wanted them to know that there was a better way Shelia recalled. Motivated to provide her family with the life they deserved Shelia took a position working at a vocational school where she made too much money to remain on welfare and continued to struggle financially. When the school lost its funding Shelia began working at a Juvenile Court. She worked there for nine years before making the brave decision to return to school. In 1992 Shelia was married and she enrolled in classes at her local community college. There she discovered that there was a name for what she naturally gravitated towards as a child --Social Work. While attending community college one day on my way home I turned my radio off and said Lord your trying to tell me something and I m listening what came to me in that moment was Unfolding Truth Ministry she said. This ministry would help women to unfold the secret things that keep them bound and keep them from their full potential and from their purpose. After graduating Shelia went on to attend Cleveland State University and received a Bachelor s in Social Work before earning her Master s Degree in Social Science Administration with a concentration on AOD (Alcohol and other Drugs) from Case Western Reserve University. Today as Executive Director Unfolding Truth Ministry Shelia is responsible for the day-to-day management decisions and for implementing unfolding short and long terms goals. She determines and communicates Unfolding s strategic direction through guidance from God. When I see people come in with bowered down heads with such a hopelessness and I can give them a ray of hope and they trust the process of being set free it s priceless I cannot put a dollar amount to that feeling Shelia said. 42 Women of Distinction Sheila Wall Insurance Sales Independent Producer Castle Insurance Agency LLC Eau Claire WI S heila Wall is a serial entrepreneur. With over 30 years of experience as a business owner and entrepreneur starting out as a Board Certified Music Therapist she launched the internship training program at Dunn County Healthcare Center. In 1997 she launched her own successful business as the proud owner of an adult day service program that expanded into assisted living. But after the economic downturn of the economy in 2008 Sheila had no choice but to sell her dream business in assisted living that she invested more than a decade of her life to to another company with deeper pockets. Starting anew however was quite difficult. Discovering that she was either overqualified for most of the positions available or what the employers considered too old for the role she was offered a receptionist position at an insurance office. Q&A Q What kind of training is required to be an insurance agent A Each state is different regarding educational requirements. In Wisconsin it takes 24 hours of training culminated by a 4-hour exam per the type of insurance. Certified financial planners variable life and annuity agents health insurance etc. all require much more training. Q Are there continuing education requirements A Yes. In Wisconsin we must take 24 hours of approved continuing education including three hours of ethics every two years. Q Why do people have to buy insurance A Insurance spreads the financial risk over many people. Eighty-five percent of people experience a loss in their lifetime that far exceeds the premiums they pay into their policy. Insurance provides financial peace of mind for the events of life from falling off a bike to getting married or buying a car. The owner of the agency gave me the opportunity to begin growing my own book of business and I eagerly jumped in Sheila said. In the fall of 2013 the agency was bought out by Castle Insurance Agency LLC. Under new ownership three full-time staff members were hired to do the job I had been doing as the office manager giving me the freedom to attend promotional events join networking groups and be more visible in my community. As a result Sheila became the highest producing agent in the company. Her goal for 2016 is to again triple her income. Sheila brings value to the table by teaching training and giving of herself without expectation of acknowledgement. She s written many employment manuals and handbooks and although she has never been formally published her dream is to eventually do so. Sheila has a BA in Music Therapy from UWEC and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University. She is licensed in Property and Casualty Insurance and in Life and Health. Born into a family whose father was an insurance salesman and a mother who was a homemaker Sheila sadly lost her dad to a car accident when she was just three and her mother to a heart attack when she was 1. Sheila is currently happily married with six grown children in a blended family. 43 Women of Distinction Susan Theresa Diverio Education Director of Education - Women s Coalition of St. Croix Christiansted St. Croix United States Virgin Islands U pon graduating from Saint Peter s College (now Saint Peter s University) with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Psychology in 1985 Susan Theresa Diverio began her career as a missionary teaching at St. Francis de Sales Mission School on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas. She was assigned to teach the 3rd grade with a class of 18 students (ages 7-15) most of whom were illegal immigrants (or children of immigrants) from Haiti and spoke Creole as a first language. Since then Susan has served in the roles of assistant principal and principal in Catholic schools based in New Jersey and in the Caribbean islands. She has also continued her education throughout the years earning various master degrees and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Walden University while serving as Director of Education for the Women s Coalition of St. Croix (WCSC) a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence sexual assault and other crimes of violence. The WCSC provides advocacy programs and services to end all forms of violence and oppression by promoting equality for all. As Director of Education I conduct an adult alternative high school program called Link for students wishing to complete their secondary education. The majority of the students are victims survivors of domestic violence earning their education in order to secure employment and become financially independent. In addition Susan is an advocate for victims as well as an advocate trainer. I m currently developing a training program in teen dating violence awareness for students attending the University of the Virgin Islands. Trained college students will then conduct sessions in junior high schools and high schools on St. Croix. The program is designed to educate students on the dangers of unhealthy relationships and train them to become advocates for their friends and classmates. 44 Despite the vast changes in education and students in the last 30 years Susan remains in this profession because she recognizes that without a quality education individuals can never fully realize their potential. I enjoy helping students realize their capabilities overcome their obstacles and create the life they desire. She has spent her life helping to make other people s lives better through education and providing opportunities for them. I believe that people have an obligation to help others achieve and this is done best through partnering with others. While it sounds virtuous it s hard work and often discouraging. I often feel as if I have a zero percent success rate but then a former student will suddenly appear and tell me about the great accomplishment he she achieved and credits it to being at Link. Susan continually learns that part of the journey is walking with someone until they can walk alone and choose their own path. It s the helper s job to trust the path that the other has taken. Women of Distinction Inderpreet Kaur Kalra Consulting - Business Systems Analyst Nonprofit Organizations - Juvenile Center Immigrant Welcome Center Indianapolis IN I ndia native Inderpreet Kaur Kalra grew up with big hopes and dreams. Upon earning her BBA from Guru Nanak Khalsa College Mumbai University in 2003 she began working for Prudential Insurance in India in the financial service sector analyzing policies and mortgage risks customer retention strategies and bringing newer projects from overseas from Reading UK to Mumbai. Inderpreet loved every minute of it from analyzing business gaps to making the business process more efficient to successfully running a project. Within two years she had completed her Master s in Commerce from Mumbai University and she was ready to tackle the world. Along the way she learned the importance of honesty hard work how to trust herself keep an open mind being held accountable and that failure is just as important as success. In 2008 Inderpreet began working for Bentley University in Massachusetts in their Information and Process Management department and then in their Center for Marketing and Technology as an intern while pursuing her MBA in Finance and Information Technology there. After receiving my MBA I wanted to get into consulting before I went full-time with any company Inderpreet said who is now consulting with Liberty Mutual. I strongly believe consulting provides a well-rounded experience we all look for. The sheer excitement working in different demographics with different clients and learning different cultures helps people grow leaps and bounds in not only understanding how to deal with situations but also alter the pace or way in which a situation is handled. Over the course of her career Inderpreet served as a senior business systems analyst and has performed many roles including system design business process analysis built new prototypes and blueprints for new requirements and enhanced current system features. She s managed the scope and budgets for projects built mitigation backup plans and worked with system architects to build good enterprisewide system solutions. A spiritual woman Inderpreet is always looking for opportunities to give back because it keeps her grounded and provides her with direction and vision. Currently she is running a program for children in different units at the Juvenile Center of Marion County in Indianapolis Indiana which involves teaching them self-confidence trust and self-empowerment. She also analyzes real life situations with them and teaches them how to handle them. Inderpreet also works with immigrants and refugees at the Immigrant Welcome Center of Indiana assisting them in getting them settled in the state. She works with the community to better understand problems and issues they face and guides resolves and connects resources that can help. Previously she s worked with the ARC of Massachusetts My Own Business Inc. and Child Rights and Youth. Guided toward a path into management by her father Inderpreet wants to encourage others who have an analytical mind and like to perform root cause analysis find solutions and better ways to join the business analysis world. She hopes to connect with women around the world via social media (forums blogs websites etc.) to be able to build an online network community who can share experiences and exchange ideas. Inderpreet believes it takes the whole village to raise a child and similarly see a change in the world. I hope to contribute in my own way by letting women I meet feel empowered Inderpreet further added. If we come together as a community we can help the women of today and the children of tomorrow. 45 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Helene Kaye Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 Keesha Latoya Kenyatta Davis Education Chief Executive Officer Davis Education Consulting 47 Women of Distinction Dr. Annie Price Small Animal Veterinary Medicine Surgery and Dentistry Veterinarian and Owner President of Ormewood Animal Hospital 48 Women of Distinction