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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Dr. Lori Kay Ph.D. Healthcare coaching women in both business and personal challenges Women of Distinction CEO of Awakening the Successful Woman AssociationTM 1 Christine C. Forner BA. BSW. MSW. RSW Psychotherapy specializing in complex trauma and dissociative disorders Registered Clinical Social Worker at Associated Counseling Women of Distinction 2 Dr. Lori Kay Ph.D. Healthcare coaching women in both business and personal challenges CEO of Awakening the Successful Woman AssociationTM Toronto Ontario Canada Women of Distinction 3 S ince the age of 14 Dr. Lori Kay knew that she wanted work in a field where she could people. This put her on track to study psychology in college. At age 17 Dr. Kay entered York University and after completing her specialized honors Bachelor of Arts in Psychology she earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto in order to earn money teaching while she worked on her Master of Arts in Psychology at the Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education. It was there that she eventually earned her Doctorate of Psychology as well. From there Dr. Kay worked in a high school as a behavioral teacher with individuals and groups of teenagers. She was later a special education consultant at the board level where her primary focus was on behavioral children as well as children with ADD and autism. There she developed several programs many that were met with resistance until people saw her vision. One of my clients said to me I wish I could take your advice and mediations home with me. That got me thinking about putting together online courses in order to help more women. They would also be able to refer back to the information when needed. In addition Dr. Kay ran a group for bulimics and anorexics where they came and ate a meal while participating in group coaching sessions. The results were surprising. The bulimics ended up coaching the anorexics to eat and a bulimic was not allowed to go to the washroom without the accompaniment of an anorexic who would often talk them out of purging. The group was a great success. Today Dr. Kay still has a thriving private practice which she enjoys tremendously. As CEO she writes and records all of the online courses and also records the guided mediations. She speaks to clients herself and still does a lot of coaching. I created the Kindergarten Intervention program where we took children at high risk and placed them in smaller classrooms to nurture them hoping that this would help them be integrated into a regular classroom by the time they were ready for first grade. I also developed a lunch program at the high school level after realizing that many teenagers came from homes with low incomes and were hungry. As the program developed the incidence of fights in the schools dropped significantly and the programs expanded to where the older students started mentoring some of the younger ones and helping them with homework. Dr. Kay thought that she would stay in the education world for the rest of her career because she was happy being a change agent for education. However that was until the political climate of speciation education changed. Budgets were being cut and I didn t feel I could effectively do my job and tell families Sorry but funding isn t available. Therefore I decided to leave and started my full-time private practice. Through her practice Dr. Kay began to see how many women struggled with the same issues. What has kept me in my career for so long is my passion to help other women reach their full potential whether it s coaching them in business matters or private issues. It s the greatest feeling for me to see someone succeed and create the life they truly want. I believe I m a lucky person because even though I ve done this for quite a while I love what I do and it never gets stale to me. Each person is so unique. I find every person s story so different that I never get tired of hearing them and more importantly helping people change their lives so they re happy and fulfilled. Dr. Kay s goal is to help 100 000 women change their lives and be the best they can be. The tagline on her website is Unlock the Best Version of You . To me it s not merely a tagline but something I truly want to help women achieve. I d like to train more people to coach and eventually have enough people doing this style of coaching to help me achieve my goal. 4 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel your business is relevant in today s world A My business is relevant because I believe women have overdone it in many cases. Not only do many women have careers that are full-time but many of them still do the majority of household chores. And if children are involved there s another layer added. I believe that women of today can do a lot BUT they have to learn some new skills to manage it all in order be successful both professionally and personally. My business is about making these shifts for women in the way they do things so they can have it all Q On your list of qualifications you mention Reiki and neurolinguistic programming. How do these factor into your coaching services A I m a Reiki master and a neuro-linguistic practitioner but use traditional coaching methods with all my clients. However when clients ask for alternative methods I m able to use some of my other skills. Neuro-linguistic programming studies body language and the vocabulary a person uses to gain a better understanding of how they view the world. I find it helpful because it helps me speak to a person in their model of the world. I also use guided meditations which some people find alternative but they re optional in my program for women who are overwhelmed. Quieting their minds completely and doing traditional meditation is a huge challenge. A guided meditation takes you on a mini journey and is another method of relaxing your mind that many of my clients find very helpful. Taking a break such as listening to a mini meditation that s only three minutes long can help a woman regain clarity when she s feeling overwhelmed the primary reason I created them. Q How big a role does stress play in women s lives A Today over 60% of doctor s visits are stress-related. The incidence of women having heart attacks has increased dramatically in the last 15 years again related to stress. Women need to learn how to manage their stress. The challenge is that when they re stressed they don t feel they have the time to learn how to de-stress. Women s stress is one of the cornerstone s that helped me create the Shine program. I wanted to create a program that didn t involve a huge commitment of time for each module but that s still very effective. It took many versions before the program was offered to be as informative and concise as possible to help women who are stressed and overwhelmed. Once you re stressed you cannot think with great clarity and have to be creative in your solutions. You re often just trying to get though the day. This means you re not producing your best work and typically your family or personal life is also suffering. Prolonged stress leads to health issues which can be extremely devastating. Learning to take care of yourself even in a small way (ex. taking a bubble bath listen to a meditation or going for a short walk) helps to combat stress. It s one of the areas addressed in the Shine program. Q In your bonuses you have an emotional eating program. How big an issue is emotional eating A It s one of my bonuses because it s a big issue. Originally I ran it as a 4-week audio course but decided to add it as a bonus since so many women struggle with this issue. Emotional eating is exactly as the title suggests so I help women understand why they eat emotionally and how to begin to change patterns in their everyday life around food. Q What else do you do besides coaching and online courses A I m a guest speaker for events I m an author and I run live 3-day events where I work intensively with women to help them move forward in their business and personal lives. The live events are a lot of fun and most women have great breakthrough moments where they see how they can makes shifts that work for them. Q What type of clientele does Awakening the Successful Woman Association cater to A We cater to all types of women looking to make changes in their lives. Most of the women who seek out services are between the ages of 35 and 60. Typically there are concerns in either their career business and or their personal lives. These women typically are committed to change but are short on time. That s why two of my programs are online women can access them at a time that suits them. And for clients who prefer I do one-on-one coaching privately without any programs. Typically these clients contact me by e-mail or phone and we set up sessions at a mutually convenient time. 5 Women of Distinction Alia Renee Capodici lia Renee Capodici believes that everyone deserves to be loved and she certainly displays the truth behind that statement through her line of work. She is the Senior Marketing Representative for South Jersey Matchmakers as well as an Advanced Independent Consultant for Jamberry Nails. Alia joined the Matchmaking industry in December of 2012 after replying to a job posted on Craigslist. I had no idea I would fall in love with helping others fall in love She says. At South Jersey Matchmakers Alia s position is one that she feels holds the company together. Clients first fill out an online profile showing interest in the business and it is essential that she is follows up with these men and women in order to set up appointments for potential members to gain the necessary information to become a member. As the Senior Marketing Representative Alia is the customer s first real contact with the company and explains what will come next. Singles are offered a one-on-one interview with an expert matchmaking counselor and have the opportunity to purchase a membership. This process aids in finding the right partner for the existing members counting on finding their perfect someone . Alia enables single people to begin a journey that could possibly result in finding true love. When working with someone who has already experienced heartbreak Alia has the ability to give them hope again as she introduces them to an exciting alternative to meeting their soul mate on the internet. Sometimes they just need to be reminded that their love life and their happiness is a priority. She explains. Her ultimate goal is to help them actually find a loving lasting relationship like the one that she was lucky enough to find. Alia says Since my profession advertises love my greatest inspiration is my own amazing love story. Due to her battle with Endometriosis Alia was single for a long period of time before a former classmate found his way back into her life and straight into her heart after 17 years of separation and now they re expecting their first child As previously stated Alia is also an independent consultant for Jamberry Nails an innovative direct sales company. She is known to inspire her customers as well as her team members with her positive and supportive demeanor. This job allows Alia to have fabulous nails of her own and to host parties with diverse groups of women. She joined Jamberry in March of 2015 intrigued by the company and their products and the fact that she could be her own boss and contribute to making women feel beautiful. Alia Renee Capodici is a published author and a voracious reader having many of her book reviews published in local magazines. She is involved with many support groups associations and foundations to increase awareness for Endometriosis and lends personal support to women who are suffering alone and mistreated with the disease. She has devoted countless hours to this cause leads several online support groups and fundraisers and makes donations as often as possible. Despite her struggles Alia never gave up on her goals or dreams of becoming a successful woman and she encourages others to follow in her footsteps. A Matchmaking Service Direct Sales Senior Marketing Representative at South Jersey Matchmakers Advanced Independent Consultant for Jamberry Nails Cherry Hill NJ 6 Women of Distinction Amy Brogan EdD C Healthy Life Coaching Education Owner CEO Authentic Motivation for You Certified Transformational Health Coach Assistant Professor Fresno Pacific University Fresno CA ertified Transformational Health Coach Amy E. Brogan EdD has been helping busy tired women move from overwhelmed into peak energy and productivity since the formation of her business Authentic Motivation for You in June 2012. By not incorporating extreme lifestyle and diet changes Amy has been able to successfully help clients accomplish their health and wellness goals allowing them to become much more capable of living their life s purpose. Beginning her journey by teaching fitness classes in 1991 while still in college Amy got a taste of what it would be like to blend her passion for fitness with education. Once in the graduate program she applied for a graduate assistant position and began teaching activity classes and doing body composition testing in the human performance lab in the university s kinesiology department. After years of teaching at the university level Amy continued to teach fitness classes ranging from yoga and Pilates to cycling and everything in between. In 2011 she was introduced to health coaching and decided to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. That s when the idea for her business was first born. I love everything nutrition fitness health and wellness related Amy said. As a professor I want to see every student begin their life s journey living full out with the knowledge and tools to be as healthy as possible. As a business owner when I see someone struggling to make changes I have a strong desire to help make her life better because I believe that no matter what a person s age everyone was put here for a purpose and when someone isn t living in optimal health living one s purpose becomes more difficult. Authentic Motivation for You incorporates individual and group healthy life coaching and creates a variety of online programs to teach women more about nutrition fitness motivation goal setting and achievement and transformational thinking. My focus is to work with women to stop compartmentalizing the various areas of their lives and see how everything is interconnected Amy explained. We cannot compartmentalize the various areas of our lives if we want to be healthy and whole. In August 2013 Amy began teaching as an Assistant Professor at Fresno Pacific University where she currently teaches students all about nutrition health and wellness in the school s Kinesiology Department. She previously taught as a Lecturer at Fresno State in the same department from August 2001-13. Amy served as Adjunct Faculty in the Health Science Department at Willow International Center from 201113 and as a Graduate Assistant in the Human Performance Lab at California State University from 1995-97. She began teaching fitness classes at Copper River Country Club in June 1996 where she continues to teach today. A member of Fresno Women s Network and Sierra Running Club Amy tries to participate in community events whenever possible where students can volunteer and learn the importance of giving back putting into practice what they are learning in the classroom. Earning an BS in Food and Nutritional Sciences at California State University in 1995 an MA in Kinesiology in 2000 followed by a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in 2012 Amy holds certifications in Therapeutic Yoga is a 200-hr RYT through the Yoga Alliance Schwinn Cycling and as a Women s Ministries Specialist Holistic Health Coach and Transformational Health Coach. She s participated in the United States Water Fitness Association water fitness instructor training Balanced Body Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer training and The Pilates Coach Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer Training. Married with two teenage sons Amy s days are full. She likes to spend as much time outdoors as possible enjoys time spent with family running reading listening to podcasts and doing bible study. My family is my priority but creating balance where I can do work that I love without missing out on important events and being fully present for my family has been difficult Amy admitted. As a business owner and teacher who desires to help people that desire doesn t automatically turn off just because a client or student is no longer in front of you. This however has helped me to understand where women are coming from and makes me better in my role as a healthy life coach. I certainly do not feel I am unique in this challenge they are challenges we all as women face. I understand my clients struggles fears hesitations and worries just the same. 7 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel your healthy life coaching business is important A This is the first time in history where today s children are not expected to live as long as their parents due to primarily lifestyle related diseases. We must take this seriously and improve the health of our nation. Q What makes your business different than other health or life coaches A I believe where I am different from other coaches is that I work with the person to examine where thought patterns have gotten the person to where she is and all the different areas that encompass her life nutrition fitness personal relationships (family and friends) career and spirituality. Together we take the time to examine and understand how one area of a person s life impacts other areas and examine how the areas are all interconnected to affect health and overall well-being. Q What is one of the biggest obstacles for people desiring to make change whether it is losing weight improving fitness or creating more balance A Accountability is one of the biggest if not the biggest obstacle people have to creating change. For example many people set a weight loss goal are committed to the goal but no family friends or co-workers are making the same changes so the person feels alone and unsupported. Working with a professional is important when creating healthy life changes but this is when it becomes even more important to work with a professional. Q What is another challenge people have to living healthy A I believe the busyness and overwhelm many of us wear as badges of honor are big barriers to living healthy because people are looking for and or needing quick meals workouts etc. While people have the desire to be healthier the overwhelm of life wins out meaning people are looking for what is the most convenient. Q Why do so many people not achieve their weight loss goa ls A Because people don t set clear achievable goals. People simply state desires without a defined action plan. Q What makes it seem so difficult for people to create lasting change A Creating change is challenging because people have habits that can be difficult to break. Also most people see creating change as more painful than their current situation (for example eating healthy will be too costly or they will have to miss out on fun events they don t feel they have time to add exercise etc.). Q What is a misconception about healthy living losing weight and or fitness A I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that it has to be time consuming and that eating healthy foods is more expensive than eating faster processed foods. My goal is to get people to understand that eating healthy is often not more expensive particularly when we look at the cost of healthcare associated with lifestyle related diseases. Q Do you believe there is one way to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle that is best A No. I believe there are many different ways for people to achieve their goals. For example I partner with a health and wellness company that has systems for weight loss energy and performance and even within use of the systems people make adjustments based on their personal goals and lifestyles. People need to become aware of the foods that make them feel good and give them energy and those that decrease their energy and create a plan based on that knowledge. Q What do you think is your biggest strength in working with women A I m a high energy person with a gift for empathy and motivation which allows me to show tough love when necessary while my clients still know I desire what is best for them. I help women love themselves where they are right now and while on the journey to who they desire to become. Q What do you feel is the most important piece of advice you could give to women A Not only do we each need to love ourselves where we are so that we can honestly love others but that we need to build each other up and see ourselves as a community in progress rather than tear each other down because we view other women as competition. 8 Women of Distinction April Stirling RSW Mental Health Trauma Social Worker London Ontario E mbracing and uplifting victims of trauma and suffers of mental illness is the foundation of April Stirling s 28-year career. She got her professional start straight out of college in 1988 after completing her Bachelor of Social Work from King s University College. She was hired at the Psychiatric Hospital in London Ontario and fell in love with mental health. She spent the early part of her career focusing on the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness but has more recently focused her training and interventions on treating trauma. After 23 years of working at the Psychiatric Hospital and obtaining her Master of Social Work April started her own private practice. April s approach to therapy incorporates body mind connections to create the possibility of healing. She specializes in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy EMDR Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) and Yoga based Trauma Therapy. Throughout her career April has successfully treated client s suffering from Depression Anxiety PTSD Substance Abuse and Dissociation. When you keep the client at the center of your treatment and or care you won t go wrong she said. The only thing that really matters is the relationship. April s successes have not been without struggle. One of her greatest professional challenges was learning to remain authentic to herself and her clients while working in a large organization. This provided April with the opportunity to explore her value system and work ethic and discern what was most important. Her challenges inspired April to pursue opening her own office where she is solely in charge of what that practice looks like and to whom she provides service. I am entering a new phase in my life with many expected changes she said. I am excited to be evolving my social work practice even after all this time in the field. Incorporating more neuro-biologically informed interventions hold real promise for healing not just putting a Band-Aid on the problem. Incorporating yoga into the treatment of trauma is also giving her a new lease in her professional life. The roles of wife and mother remain of the utmost importance to April. She is married with one child who will be heading off to university in September. In her free time April enjoys walking her dogs and practicing yoga. It is important in this line of work to find the things that fill you up so you can show up renewed and ready to work she said. What has kept me in the field for so long is the amount of variety in my role as a social worker and of course the clients that I have worked with along the way April said. The field of Mental Health is always evolving and as our understanding of brain functioning increases it will be an exciting time to be providing treatment to those individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives. Throughout her career April has had the good fortune of working with many amazing clinicians over the years. Lessons learned included how to disagree respectively advocacy how to be a good team member and what it means to care. 9 Women of Distinction Dr. Carole de Casal D University Graduate Professor in Leadership Professor Tennessee State University Nashville TN r. Carole de Casal has been an educator for more than 45 years and began teaching in a preschool at the age of 12. She has never waivered in her desire to be an educator. She attended the University of Utah to earn a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in English and began her professional career teaching bilingual special education and Spanish in Utah in 1970. As a lifelong lover of learning Carole earned her Masters of Education in Special Education from the University of Utah an MBA in International Business from Novus University and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Law and Labor Relations from the University of Utah. Specializing in Civil Rights Law in Educational Settings and Leadership in Global and International Education Carole has held a number of leadership positions including (a) State Director of Civil Rights Compliance for Education (b) State Director of Special Population Programs and Federal Grants in Alaska and (c) Executive Director of National Disability Association. In addition to being a full professor for graduate programs and students Carole also held several administrative positions at the university level as an Assistant Dean for Accreditation and Strategic Planning Associate Dean for all internal operations personnel and finance Director of International Programs and Operations in South Korea and Director of Student Teaching and International Student Teaching in 16 countries. Additionally she has served as a Department Chair for Educational Leadership as well as School Counseling and Psychology at several prestigious universities across the United States. Today Carole is a professor of Educational Leadership at Tennessee State University in Nashville TN. The area of International Education is a high priority in Carole s career. Her desire to understand others and their culture have fed her passion for travel. In addition to attending La Universidad de Guadalajara as an exchange student to pursue Spanish she has taught Special Education at La Universidad de Coahuila in Mexico and throughout the university system in Canada training community college administrators. She has spent significant time working with universities in South America and has spent time volunteering and building schools in countries such as Roatan Honduras Altiplano Bolivia and Laredo Mexico bringing books into the school donating shoes and clothing for the uniform dress code and trying to improve relations and education across the world. She has traveled to more than 30 countries and says she s just getting started with philanthropic work in education. Education is your most important asset Carole said No matter what else is taken from you or by whom if you have your education you have a place to start over a place to grow from a place to begin your life anew. I speak from my heart and my own experience in this. Without my education I have no idea what I might have been doing today. Carole has authored numerous academic articles 13 book chapters and presented more than 750 professional papers and speeches throughout the world. She has been an invited speaker at OECD in Paris an invited presenter at Oxford University in England a keynote speaker at national conference in the USA and Mexico. As a frequent national and international presenter Carole s research findings provided audiences with new and innovative ideas new understandings and anew perspectives on education and educating leaders internationally as a critical focus. Her proficiency in research led to her being a UCEA Jack Culbertson Award winner for her Research and Teaching in Educational Leadership. She is member of a number of professional organizations including the Education Law Association (where she served on the Board of Directors) the International Conference on School Effectiveness and Improvement the International Association of Educational Leaders and International Women s Leadership Association and is currently a member of the CAEP Executive Board working with national level accreditation appeal processes for universities. Deeply interested in advancing cultural linguistic and international knowledge Carole holds degrees and international certification in TESOL TEFL and TESL and belongs to the Tennessee Teachers of English as a Second Language. There are such great needs in society and education is the only resolution to the great barriers that must be overcome in all aspects of the social construct she said. What we do for others matters education is the path for worldwide peace. What you take home from traveling is the best gift to share with students a broader understanding of how the world thinks and works is perhaps the most critical lesson a teacher professor can bestow upon students. 10 Women of Distinction Charissa PattersonMartinez Social Philanthropy Chief Executive Officer P.H.R.E.E.E Yorktown VA F ounded in 2006 by Chief Executive Officer Charissa Patterson-Martinez P.H.R.E.E.E. stands for Positive Human Restoring Enlightening Encouraging and Empowering. Located in Yorktown Virginia Charissa s life experiences are what initially set the organization in motion. Her life s journey caused her to notice a strong need within the community for encouragement and uplifting of women who were often carrying heavy loads upon their shoulders. In the beginning Ladies Dates were created based on the needs of myself and my peers. Women were invited to these gatherings with a specific purpose in mind Charissa said. Sometimes it was simply to meet new friends or professional contacts other times it was to gather toiletry bags to hand out to women and children living in area shelters and facilities. Due to an overwhelming response Charissa s simple gesture turned into much more. P.H.R.E.E.E. was born out of a need to consciously become a resource for others. As the organization s CEO Charissa speaks to women about their futures what they want out of life and how to find peace. Occasionally she conducts interviews with community leaders on similar topics to share it with members. She also encourages members to find a peer that will serve as their sounding board keeping them on track to reach their goals. During a three-year stint in Europe with my military husband I noticed a need for connection and inspiration. This was especially true of my fellow military wives Charissa said. This is when Ladies Date get-togethers with new friends and colleagues began overseas. While in Europe Charissa was invited by Rina Risper Owner and Editor of the Lansing s New Citizens Press to contribute a weekly column. Humbly accepting she said it proved to be yet another wonderful experience that only fueled her drive to speak to women more frequently which resulted in the formation in P.H.R.E.E.E. upon her return home. Reaching out to as many people as possible mostly through social media Charissa loves what she is doing. She has a simple and very basic love for others and it constantly moves her into action. It s important for all of us to remember to love one another. We are all of the human race and we should all strive to make it better for one another she noted. Patient empathetic and consistent Charissa is her biggest advocate. There is no one outside of herself that can truly grasp her argument for change. Your movement she says will be your own personal mission and no one will love it as much as you do. An active member with Women s Speaker Association Charissa is happily married. Her eldest daughter is also in the military as is her daughter s husband. Charissa also has an eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter who keeps her very busy and constantly entertained. A step-mother to two wonderful step-sons one is a freshman in college and the other is a sophomore in high school. I love making time for family. We make every day an adventure Charissa said happily. 11 Women of Distinction Christine C. Forner BA. BSW. MSW. RSW Psychotherapy specializing in complex trauma and dissociative disorders Registered Clinical Social Worker at Associated Counseling Calgary Alberta Canada S pecializing in complex trauma and dissociative disorders Christine C. Forner draws on her vast training almost two decades of experience her past childhood assault and domestic abuse to alter the course of and help heal those facing the worst types of traumatic experiences. Christine applies her expertise to help individuals who are often seen as too difficult too complex or too challenging for many. At her Calgary Alberta based practice Christine is a full spectrum trauma therapist who not only addresses her client s experiences of about the terror fear abandonment and loneliness but also about the power of self-love and internal care. Christine s career started at the age of 16 at a local call-in support line for teens. One of her first experiences with trauma was a phone call. With little training Christine relied on her instinct and was able to defuse the situation and save the person s life. From that day that Christine knew she wanted to be a clinical social worker. Christine pursued her diploma in Social Services graduated from Mount Royal College in 1990 and accepted a public education position at the Calgary Sexual Assault Center. There Christine learned the prevalence of sexual assault and child abuse which would alter her career forever. The experience planted the seeds for her future practice. It was during her own personal healing and training in trauma treatments that her book Dissociation Mindfulness and Creative Meditations and grew her perspective . Her book is a unique and innovative perspective on dissociation and mindfulness. She enrolled in the University of Calgary where she earned a Bachelors of Woman s Studies a degree she considers one of her most valuable tools in understanding intergenerational and cultural transmission of trauma. She was hired at a local woman s shelter helping domestic violence victims all while experiencing the suffering first hand at the hands of her exhusband. I would actually say that it was my personal challenges that impacted my professional ability the most Christine explained. As I was learning all that I could about trauma I started to slowly awaken to my own trauma history and traumatic marriage. As I was trying to understand what I could about my client s lives and traumatic reactions I started to understand my own self. I think this is common for a lot of therapist self-discovery is a requirement of the job and the most skilled therapist the most affective therapist have done their own journey of self-discovery and healing. 12 Women of Distinction Many people think my younger self included that hitting is the qualifying act for a relationship to be interpersonally violent she said. This is just not so most of the worst situations of domestic violence are perpetuated through continuous daily acts of terror control shame subtle coercive constant sexual assaults threats financial terror without one hit or only a few hits ever happening. Some of the worst damage happens and most lethal situations occur after the break up within marriages where there was not one single hit. The human brain processes emotional pain and physical pain in the same area so there is little differentiation inside of us neurobiologically. A hit just comes with a visual confirmation of the pain. Relational pain shame and daily experiences of disgust and distain from a partner is painful but does not come with tangible evidence. This psychological emotional and peripheral damage is often much more harmful than a hit. A pivotal moment arrived in 1997 the birth of her Christine s first child. I found it difficult to have a young infant and work at the shelter. However it took a long time for the reality of my life to come into my awareness being terrified and aware are mutually exclusive she said. Today Christine who holds a Masters in Social Work Clinical Specialization from the University of Calgary is committed to curing patients of childhood trauma neglect war trauma human trafficking trauma witnessing of or the victim of domestic violence. This type of healing is measured in years not weeks. Christine is a great proponent of educating the public on Dissociative disorders. Q&A Q Why is learning about dissociation so important for the general population A Dissociation is as common as breathing. Dissociation is super powerful and will result in us doing strange odd or destructive things to try to get out of dissociation or remain dissociated from the pain and reality. It s inertia. Dissociation is about fear pain suffering loneliness social difficulty and relational difficulty. There are hundreds of thousands millions actually of people who are dealing with this and have no idea because we don t talk about it. Q Where do I find a professional who is a full spectrum therapist A The ISSTD web site ( has a list of therapist the world over. Find someone who is able to freely talk about dissociation or at least willing to learn about it. Dissociation is fixable and preventable. Q What are the best books to read to in this area A The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk Born for love by Bruce Parry and Maia Szalavitz Sensorimotor Psychotherapy by Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher Dissociation Mindfulness and Creative Meditations by Christine Forner Q What was your greatest achievement A My three kids. They are my greatest success and really amazing people. They are the best people to be around and are very funny. They are living proof that love attachment attunement compassion work amazing well. Q What message would you like our readers to take away with A Our current culture does not support our humanity all that well. However self-knowledge and self-love cure a lot And laugher that stuff cures a whole host of ailments as well. Most trauma therapist are not trained in the freeze part of trauma they are only trained in flight and fight responses to trauma she explained. It is the freeze that is not well known in even some places it is stringently dismissed. It is knowledge in the freeze aspect reactions that one is able to understand and work well with this population. Christine s ambitions are as vast as her compassion and talent. She is an active member and treasurer of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation actively working to change the world s understanding of dissociation. She was awarded ISSTD president s awards in 2011 2013 and 2015 for her contribution to the society. With no plans on slowing down the mother of three and triathlete aspires to open an all-inclusive trauma center in her hometown and possibly earn a law degree. 13 Women of Distinction Christine Krauss I Holistic Healthcare Reiki Master and Shaman Owner of The Crows Healing Nest Greenville NY ntuitive Consultant Master Reiki Practitioner and Shaman Christine Krauss uses her expertise and naturally abilities in the field of Holistic Healthcare to help others heal. A graduate of the Holistic Institute in Albany Christine is the owner of The Crows Healing Nest based in Greenville New York. Through her practice Christine offers a wide range of services including Shamanic Reiki Services Psychic Healing Psychic Medium Readings -- and much more. The thing that has kept me in my career for so long is my desire to help people. I have always been interested in the psyche and psychology. My main focus is to spread the idea that a person has the ability to heal themselves naturally. Christine holds a degree in Human Services and became a certified Reiki Practitioner in 2012. She is able to channel universal life force energy into clients to activate natural healing processes in order to restore their physical and emotional wellbeing. The increasingly popular ancient healing technique helps clients to become aware of a more powerful energy which allows them to have control over their body mind and soul -- an inner power that is truly needed in today s society. According to a 2007 study conducted by the National Health Interview Survey 1.2 million adults and 161 000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki than in the previous year. An increasing number of American hospitals have begun offering Reiki as part of treatment especially for cancer patients. A large part of Christine s healing work includes providing client s with messages from their ancestors or spirit guides. Spirits visit Christine often for help in guiding their loved ones from the physical plane over to the astral plane. When giving a message Christine uses her clairvoyant as well as her clairaudience skills. As a psychic she connects clients with their guides on a deeper level and receives messages from these guides to help clients take better care of himself or herself. As a Shaman Christine uses a technique referred to as defragmentation to work on removing blockages in the physical body. If a client is a having a problem with fears or anxieties the problem can be corrected through a technique referred to as chakra illumination. She can also perform absent healing on a loved one that is distant. When she is not helping others through her business Christine is a loving wife mother and grandmother. She has been married for 17-years to her husband. The couple has two children a son 17 and a daughter 26 and one grandchild who is eight-yearsold. Additionally she is active in three local church organizations which help Christine spread her message and often attends spiritual and metaphysical workshops. Q&A Q What challenges have you faced that contributed to your success A Some people in the healing community doubted my competence as a Shamanic Healer. These people would claim that they were better or had more experience than me. These comments have only contributed to my motivation to be the best I can be within my field. Q What is the biggest lesson you have learned A The lesson I have learned is to be persistent. Q Who or what has been your greatest professional inspiration A I have a few people who have inspired me to be a healer and a psychic. One person who has inspired me is Christopher Penzack who is an author and teacher in the spiritual community. He has written at least 25 books about spiritual enlightenment and the universal consciousness. There is another teacher who has also inspired me. He is an instructor named Richard Barry. He has been a psychic for 30 years. I met him when I was attending the Holistic Institute in Albany. Q What advice would you give to others A Keep patient and learn whom your healing guides and or healing animals are. These guides are needed to be communicated with and invited in when a healing is being done. Q What would you like readers to know about you A I don t do things according to any manual. I orchestrate my healings according to my spirit guides and my client s spiritual guides. Q What type of legacy would you like to leave to the world A That you can do anything you set out to do. And you should never give up if you feel something so strongly in your heart. 14 Women of Distinction C hief Executive Officer of Zip Xpress Dina McKnightDargis began her career in the shipping and transportation industry as a file clerk in 1981. Through hard work and integrity Dina rose to the top of field in what is often considered a male-dominated profession. Early in her career she worked for several companies in the transportation industry along the way gaining invaluable knowledge and experience that allowed her to found her own business in 2001. Today Zip Xpress is highly regarded for its superior service to Michigan shippers. Setting the company a part is its mission to restore the respect and dignity that the industry once had beginning with providing exceptional customer service. As CEO Dina wears many hats overseeing the financials of the company as well as the day-to-day operations. Zip Xpress pioneered the concept of optimization which has allowed the company to save customers significant amounts of money in shipping costs as well as provide them safe and reliable deliveries. I felt a real connection to the industry and found it very fascinating every day is a new learning experience Dina said. We have faced many challenges such as recessions and competition but through all of this we continued with our strong convictions of customer service and pricing which allowed us to weather the ups and downs. Passionate about her employees Dina has created a work environment with a strong team-oriented culture. One prime example is the company s annual Christmas party when Santa bringing gifts to all the employee s children. The company is heavily involved in Make a Wish Michigan in both donations and fundraising. Zip Xpress has been the largest corporate fundraiser for the charity for 8 years. Additionally Dina has volunteered for Women in Transition buying their groceries each week as well as sitting for their children when they have job interviews. The company is also a benefactor of Folds of Honor helping provide scholarships for families of disabled and fallen soldiers. Dina calls her husband Mike Dargis her greatest inspiration. A fellow business owner Mike is the CEO of Green Transportation which is the linehaul provider for Zip Xpress. The couple has two grown daughters a son three grandsons and two granddaughters. Dina McKnightDargis Transportation CEO Zip Xpress Holland MI The legacy that I would like to leave the world is that as a woman in this very male dominant industry hard work honesty and commitment is very important to break through the walls Dina said. I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today and am very proud of my accomplishments. 15 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is the relevance of your business in our country A Without trucks our country would be at a standstill. Everything we utilize day to day is transported in some form of transportation. Q What is the current state of your industry A We are facing a major problem with driver shortages. The average age of a driver is 57 as these drivers leave the industry there are no new ones coming in. Q What are you doing to overcome this problem A We are actively recruiting drivers through the military. Green Transportation (my husbands company) provides an in house drivers school that pays the driver through their training process and then upon completion they are paid at the rate of an experienced driver. Q What is the significance of women in trucking A Women in trucking generally are very strong in their values and integrity which is very important when dealing with customers. Women drivers have been proven to be safer drivers which is very important for the industry in keeping insurance costs down. Q What are the most important thing customers look for in choosing a carrier A I feel that the most important thing a customer looks for is safety. Having damaged freight causes so many casualties. Rebuilding the product delay in customer receiving their product and possible loss of a customer. Q How important is cost when a shipper is choosing a carrier A I think that cost is a large factor in choosing the carrier but I also feel that shippers need to look at the overall costs. If their product is arriving on time and damage free then it might be cheaper to pay a higher freight rate. This is something that is overlooked quite frequently in our business. Q What are your productivity standards within your company A As a service provider getting product from point A to point B takes special care and planning so that all of the freight arrives safe and on time. By rushing this process being driven by productivity instead of sustainability leads to casualties that customers don t want or need. Q Why is sustainability so important to Zip Xpress A Most companies operate their businesses to make a profit with the triple bottom line of sustainability being an after thought. We practice sustainability in all areas first which results in larger profits. Q Why does Zip Xpress measure carbon footprints for its customers A The environment is one of the legs of sustainability and with our unique business model it allows us to measure the carbon footprint of our customers as well as measuring our own performance with the movement of freight. Last year we saved over 3 300 000 of carbon emissions. Q Why do you think housekeeping a clean campus and clean equipment are so important within Zip Xpress A Housekeeping image and perception of our industry and us is everything to Zip. Our standards are very high as well as our efforts trying to change the perception of Truckers into a better-respected entity of the business world. Many if not most customers view our industry as a necessary evil that we are desperately trying to change. 16 Women of Distinction Donna Karlin CEC Diplomate IABMCP Executive Coaching Organizational Psychology Leadership and Business Evolution Certified Executive Coach Founder and President of A Better Perspective & The School of Shadow Coaching Based in Ottawa Canada and working globally Women of Distinction 17 s founder and principal of A Better Perspective Coaching and Consulting Donna Karlin helps individuals and organizations become remarkable. A self-described pot-stirrer Donna is a thought shifter and reality checker better known as The Shadow Coach . An international speaker lecturer author and world-renowned leadership coach Donna founded A Better Perspective 17 years ago. During her 33 year career Donna pioneered the Shadow Coaching methodology and founded MindsfulTM Global Research and Development Team. A I help people shift how they think and in turn what they do Donna said. People become who they may be when they let go of who they are. We live in a complex world. Change is a constant technologically environmentally and organizationally. I not only work with people in a world of continuous change and transition but also help them learn how to embrace it effectively dancing in real time so they contextualize change immediately. I love every second of what I do. It s not easy work and I often have to deal with intense turbulent situations or profound grief but this kind of work matters. To help people see beyond the obvious and fill their space in the world well nothing is more rewarding than that. On top of that every day is a learning experience. Donna holds a Certification in Organizational Psychology with a focus in Executive Coaching from the Professional School of Psychology a Certification as a Diplomate in Professional Coaching from the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine Counseling and Psychotherapy a Master Corporate Executive Coach Certification from the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches and a Postgraduate Corporate Executive Coach Certification from the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches. Additionally Donna attended the University of Alberta for postgraduate studies in Organizational Behavior and is a Founding Fellow at the Harvard Medical School Institute of Coaching. Her extensive list of professional accomplishments and educational background sets Donna apart in her field. Her personal connection with the industry continues to motivate Donna s expertise and advancement in the areas of Executive Coaching Organizational Psychology Leadership and Business Evolution. In 1980 when my son was born he was partially paralyzed and after a great deal of consultation with a research fellow in plastic reconstructive surgery he underwent a surgical intervention that had never been done before she recalled. By the time he was about 2 years old his surgeon asked me to work with all her future patients I say future patients as he was the first patient operated on (globally) for this condition. Once I agreed to work with the surgeon s patients I knew I had to have access to the best minds in medicine (surgeons psychologists physical and occupational therapists) so I could learn what was possible for the patients before I could work with them and their families. I went back to school consulted with professionals across many professional fields in medicine and designed a methodology that I am now teaching around the world. Donna is the author of the award winning book Leaders Their Stories Their Words - Conversations with HumanBased Leaders and The Power of Coaching. She has contributed to leading industry publications including the Journal of Leadership Studies and the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations. Dedicated to the advancement of her field Donna is a member of the Advisory Council for International Academy of Behavioral Medicine Counseling and Psychotherapy founding member of the International Association of Coaching member of the International Coach Federation and member of the International Critical Incidence Stress Foundation. At this stage in Donna s career she focuses on projects that have the greatest ripple effect globally. As such she regularly works with innovators that can help shape the world in a myriad of ways such as the TED Fellows. She also works with individuals in the middle of turbulence such as natural disasters emergency response centers task forces people who need to recognize their deepest Shadows and make responsive not reactive decisions. I want my methodology to become mainstream which means teaching more speaking more and not only getting the word out but to teach everything I can to the next wave of practitioners she said. I not only want to continue working with huge corporations and governments which I m doing now but to work more with startups and innovators and help them create a unique business model with a leadership team that evolves them exponentially. Donna is the mother to a gift of a son who is married to a wonderful woman who Donna is proud to call her daughter-inlaw. Donna has an amazing life partner Ray and because of him two stepdaughters one who is a commercial pilot and the other who is embarking on a career in forensic science. 18 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Your work goes well beyond executive coaching. Can you tell us more about your work and approach A I look at the intersection of all systems and their influence. In other words people systems or an individual s personal operating system organizational systems and what frameworks are in place to best support its people and organizational behavior or culture and its influence on its people. We can t work with people in a vacuum. Bottom line what I do is I m a brain-stormer business mentor change agent connector consultant educator teacher entrepreneur idea generator and writer. I teach what I ve created and I learn as I teach continuously reinventing my methodology and my class material. I use my case studies from past work (making sure not to violate any confidentiality) and at the same time use what s shared in my classrooms to support clients and their organizations. It s an organic practice one that is never stagnant. Being a Shadow Coach means more than just shadowing my clients it s working in real time observing them yes (when at all possible) but working with their Shadows (fears insecurities and their hidden potential they haven t yet discovered). It s multi-dimensional a 360 approach to human evolution. Q What professional challenges have you faced that have contributed to your overall success A What I am doing with regards to Shadow Coaching didn t exist way back when so I had no proven stats to show successes to potential clients. I could have viewed this as a roadblock or as an offering that no one else was providing. I chose the latter and it has always served me. It s not about marketing myself as I don t like to use that word when it comes to our profession. Rather I like to view it as attracting people to possibilities they would not experience unless they worked with me. Q. Who or what has been your greatest professional inspiration A. There have been many who have inspired me to stretch more to do more and expand my presence around the world. I can t identify even one or two. I think it s more about paying attention to how people view me learn from their feedback and grow because of it. When I started the Shadow Coaching methodology people were clamoring for me to teach them and insisted I start a school. I listened and I did and founded the school in 2004. I teach seasoned professionals and listen to each one of them as they learn and percolate on how to best use the model I created. I continue to evolve the methodology as well as how I do my work because of them. Nothing is static. Everything we do is organic. If we don t listen to those we serve then it s about us as practitioners and not about why we do our work. It should always be about the client or client organization. Q What would you like readers to know about you A Nothing is more important to me than family and my close friends who are my family by choice. I love my work but I will never let it compromise the important relationships I have. I love to connect with people and connect people who I believe would have synergy in their work. It s not unusual for me to meet someone and virtually introduce them to someone I work with or know through speaking gigs or my work. I thrive on percolating with students and helping them see beyond their courses. I do a lot of keynotes and speaking gigs however what I offer to the event organizers is an hour-long session at the end of the conference for a group coaching session where I can connect the dots with them take what my talk was about and contextualize it with them and their worlds so they can do something tangible with what they learned. One of my most rewarding speaking engagements was when I did a keynote at Penn State told the organizers to point me in whatever direction they wanted as I would be there for two days and as a result had a group coaching session with the MBA class another with faculty and then meetings with some of the senior leadership. That was awesome. Once I m there I want to have as much impact as I can. I m not one of those speakers who does my thing and leaves. I want to be as accessible as possible. I suppose what it comes down to is helping people become more of who they are to be remarkable. 19 Women of Distinction Dr. Phyllis Geneva BivinsHudson Instructor and Consultant Public and Private Education Education Consultant Genceptz Education Consulting South Orange NJ The initial direction of our children s education will inevitably affect their future life however those who defy the odds distinguish themselves among the masses. This quote by instructor and education consultant Dr. Phyllis Geneva Bivins-Hudson is one she scripted through her own life experiences. s a child whose education was neglected and eclipsed by the nation s current education system she felt a calling to become an educator to affect change in other children. Phyllis traveled a mile or two further down the same avenue and inquired at what was then Jersey City State College and now New Jersey City State University. Through the help of a compassionate school secretary and an empathetic admission s director Phyllis was enrolled and on her way to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree all while caring for two young daughters. In May of 1979 she graduated and almost immediately after was hired at a junior high school in East Orange New Jersey. Today Phyllis holds a Masters Degree in English Literature from Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College a Supervision Certification from the New Jersey City University a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University and her Principal License. She has been in education for more than 37 years in the capacity of teacher of middle school students curriculum writer administrator site disciplinarian English language arts coach and facilitator. She is also the owner of Genceptz Education Consulting and is celebrating 20 years in business. As the sole proprietor of her company Phyllis provides professional development for school districts and consulting for larger education companies such as Pearson. Genceptz Education began with one client who came to Phyllis for tutoring in English language arts. From that client the company grew to more than 100 clients over a period of seven years. The company expanded to include consulting and through the business Phyllis co-founded the Rutgers University Alternate Route Teacher Training Program which she is still active. A After being told I would never amount to anything and that I should be content getting a high school diploma and having babies on purpose I decided that no one defines me or decides my fate other than the God I serve Phyllis said. Therefore I left my desk one day where I was employed as an administrative assistant only months after completing my high school diploma evenings and went in search of higher education. I researched colleges in the area where I resided making St. Peters College my first stop. I was told I could not enroll because I had no money. I did not understand since I had seen several TV advertisements encouraging people who were not financially able to pay for college tuition to apply for financial aid and enroll in college today. My heart sank. But I persisted. 20 Women of Distinction It is a business designed for those who are serious about helping our most precious commodity--children. I live by the Hippocratic oath--do no harm she said. When entering a classroom with preconceived notions about children whether it is about their culture their religion the color of their skin economic status their parents etc. we have already done somebody s child a disservice. Each child must be approached as a blank slate and allowed to fill that slate through development of who he she is based on his her own terms and not what someone else believes he she should be. Through the course of her career Phyllis has made a number of written contributions to schools. These have included Curriculum Writing Professional Development Workshops and Seminars in English Language Arts and Blogs in Education. Additionally Phyllis is a dedicated philanthropist. Since 1986 she has been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority the not-for-profit Greek-lettered sorority of collegeeducated women dedicated to public service. The organization emphasizes programs that target the African American community and promotes academic excellence and assistance to persons in need through their Five Point Programmatic Thrust which includes Economic Development Educational Development International Awareness and Involvement Physical and Mental Health and Political Awareness and Involvement. She is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa an education sorority which promotes high-quality education in particular publicly supported education as essential to the development and maintenance of a democratic way of life. Phyllis currently resides in New Jersey with her loving husband of 21-years. The couple has three children and three wonderful granddaughters who are the light of Phyllis life. Q&A Q Why is Genceptz Education Consulting relevant in education today A Genceptz addresses many of the instructional shifts in the changing educational practices today. In addition it offers oneto-one observations and debriefings to educators who teach children or administrators who manage schools. Q How does your work encourage technology in education A The work done is constantly centered around some form of social media where tweeting blogging and LinkedIn are encouraged in settings which require synchronous and asynchronous sessions. These instances require engagement with colleagues who discuss current issues in education. Q If you weren t already in this business would you enter it today A Absolutely I would enter this same kind of business today because the needs are still the same. The most striking difference in today s education and education when I began my company back in 1996 is the level of technology incorporated in education today and the commitment to engage our children ensuring they embrace the technology. Q What are the tangible and intangible assets that can t be measured in what Genceptz does which differentiates the company A My reputation speaks for itself. There are many positive commentaries around the work done through my company that speaks directly to the emotional resonance from the people who have been recipients of my work. Q In the past few months what is the smallest change made that has made the biggest impact in what you do What was it about that small change that produced the large return A I have supported many seasoned educators whose reluctance to make the paradigm shift necessary to change their pedagogy in the classroom. In doing so there have been significant changes that have affected their practices. Q What do you want to own in the minds of those you service and why A Although my journey has changed in that I have been constantly improving and changing with the times in terms of who I am and what I do there is one constant and that is the belief that every child can learn and aught to be taught how to learn effectively. Q How do you keep educators inspired A I meet educators who are frustrated and nearing burnout. To inspire them I often share and discuss similar experiences to empathize with them so that they know they are not unique in their journey and that what they are experiencing is par for the course. The legacy I would like to leave to the world is for all who are charged with the care of children in any capacity to recognize the needs of those children and with purpose respond to those needs with understanding compassion humility fairness and fidelity Phyllis said. 21 Women of Distinction Dr. Heather Williamson Business Consulting Executive Coaching President of Transformation Group LLC Richmond VA I f you think it is too late to continue your education or realize your professional aspirations Dr. Heather Williamson would urge you to reconsider. After participating in leadership training breakout sessions with an Industrial Organizational Psychologist Heather returned to school to earn her Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a focus in Leadership. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia and at age 42 started a new career in 2007. What has kept me in my career is my passion for helping others develop to their full potential and achieve their goals Heather said. Whether my client is an executive who achieved his goal of increasing his business revenue by 32 million or a client who found her passion in music and developed a strategy to go to Nashville and make records. Every client is different and I love bringing clarity to needs and wants. Once identified we go to work to make it a reality. During this time I also had a son. Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who championed my desire to become an organizational psychologist Heather said. I had left a great job to go back to school and finish my education. I was very happy to go back into the corporate environment under Talent Management but my husband suggested that I open my own business. To this day I don t regret that decision. Yes times were tough early on but being positive and resilient has made me a better person. I am living my dream and purpose and I want others to know that they can as well. Heather is a member of Executive Women International and has served as the Richmond chapter President and as a facilitator for the Academy of Leadership. Sharing her expertise she is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of Business teaching a leadership management class. Additionally Heather is was a member of the Powhatan Chamber of Commerce and previously served as chamber President. Heather and her husband Kent are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in 2016. The couple has one son Temple who is 9 years old and in the 3th grade. In her free time you will find Heather cooking especially Italian cuisine. She also enjoys gardening spending time with family volunteering at her son s school and serving on non-profit boards. Heather is the Founder and President of Transformation Group LLC. Specializing in Business Consulting and Executive Coaching relationship building is the foundation of the company. Heather is an expert in organizational and individual transformation leadership development and improving business results through behavior change management. In her role she develops and facilitates accelerated organizational transformation programs including employee and customer engagement management leadership and strategic planning. The legacy that I would like to leave the world is to be courageous Heather said. Don t let negative thoughts or people determine your future. Go for what you want in life. I did 22 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Our business provides executives and entrepreneurs the opportunity to hone their leadership skills so they effectively communicate their vision and empower their team to achieve it. These skills are important when growing a business. Q As an entrepreneur how do you balance work and life A Balancing work and life is a challenge. Having a family I have learned to work when my son is at school. Once he comes home my time is spent on ensuring his homework is done fed and attended any sports events. Once he is in bed I finish any work that I need. It took me a while to figure this out. Q What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your industry A My advice would be you need patience and to believe in yourself. I think that because typically prior to going into business for yourself you have worked for a company. You are used to getting a consistent paycheck and working 40 hours a week. When starting your own business you may not have a paycheck for months work 50 hours a week. Also you are responsible for business development marketing bookkeeping etc. With all of these responsibilities it is important to create structure of how much time and effort you are going to devote to each activity. Finally if what you are doing is a true passion and you are living your purpose then do not give up Q What is the biggest lesson you have you learned that you feel is good advice for others A The biggest lesson that I learned is to focus on your strengths. Know what you are good at and turn over the tasks that you are not so great at to someone with those skill sets. For example I am not great with bookkeeping. It could be weeks before I entered in deposits or withdrawals. So I learned to hand over that task to someone else on my team. Q Who or what has been your greatest professional inspiration A My husband Kent has been my greatest inspiration. He has supported me and my desire to go back to school and finish my undergraduate degree and graduate degree. He then gave me the confidence to start my own consulting business. He is a self-employed general contractor and knew I possessed the drive to be successful as an entrepreneur. Q Is hiring a coach really important A I would say definitely YES If you want someone to help you think through strategies coach you on being more effective in your role or be held accountable. If you answered yes to all of these questions than hire yourself a coach and I promise it will be the best investment you have made in your business. I recently hired a coach to help me create an Internet marketing strategy and business implementation plan. Like many business owners social media I use regularly to market my company but I knew I could do it better. I recognized that I needed help as I didn t possess the skills or knowledge so I hired a woman that was successful in this field. It was the best decision I have made and hopefully the readers will soon see my social media posts and offers. 23 Women of Distinction Jennifer O Brien Technology - Accounting Software Systems focusing on distribution and manufacturing President - Accounting Business Solutions by JCS Arlington Heights IL This was the catalyst for Accounting Business Solutions by JCS a Master Certified Solution Provider for Sage and Intuit products that includes Sage 50 Accounting Sage 100 QuickBooks and QuickBooks Point-of-Sale software. For manufacturing businesses Accounting Business Solutions by JCS offers MiSys and JobOps manufacturing software solutions. JobOps and Corrigo are available for field service management. Accounting Business Solutions by JCS also performs valuable detailed business reviews to identify areas for improvement and provides solutions to increase your efficiency. JCS prides itself as being best-in-class for consulting and support services. As President of Accounting Business Solutions by JCS Jennifer is responsible for creating communicating and implementing the organization s vision mission and overall direction as well as formulating and implementing the strategic plan that guides the direction of the business and overseeing daily operations. A fter leaving corporate America in 1989 Jennifer O Brien had a desire to work with small businesses in the areas of accounting and IT. I love working with new businesses and have a passion to pass along my 30 years of knowledge and experience to them while learning something new. Watching how hard her mother worked to raise seven children was a tremendous inspiration to Jennifer. When I was younger she always told me I could do anything I wanted to do. Jennifer was raised on a farm in a small town and likes to watch things grow especially organic foods so today she enjoys working in her small garden raising vegetables. She also maintains her small town values where the community takes care of one another. I think it s important for individuals to support each other and help the next person succeed. That s part of what makes a person successful. If she is remembered for anything Jennifer wants it to be for helping younger individuals in the area of education. I think knowledge opens so many doors and is something that can never be taken away or lost. 24 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel your business is relevant in the world of technology today A Small businesses are becoming more and more dependent on technology in order to compete. Accounting Business Solutions by JCS strives to help each one determine which software fits their business model so their future growth is not stifled because of it. Q Can you help me understand accounting how to migrate my information over and how to manage a new software system A Yes one of the things we focus on is helping small business understand what all these numbers mean and how to get reliable information from your software package to support informed business decisions. We have a tested strategy with over 2 000 other businesses so we can help create a roadmap for each individual business and we understand best practices. Q What are the advantages of hosting my software in the cloud A There are no hardware costs for a server or a static IP address. You outsource your IT (if you have a distributed workforce) and much more. Q What are the disadvantages of hosting my software in the cloud A Payback is around 40 months. There are customizations in the applications or interrelated applications that can t easily be set up in the cloud. And the more secure the site the more costly it is. Q Can you help me get more from my entry-level accounting software A Sometimes we can help you understand and utilize advanced features you may not be aware of. We also acknowledge that your entry-level accounting software helped you get where you are today. However as your company gets bigger your business requires software that s agile and will support growth and innovation and that may require moving to a more robust system. Q Can you help me automate more of my business processes A Yes we can show you options in software that enhance processes from order to cash that include planning procurement and production delivering streamlined system visibility without depending on exhaustive manual efforts or Excel. Q I need more statistical information and quicker access. Is that possible to help me drive my business forward A Automating business processes enables more effective and efficient data visibility allowing opportunities and risks to be quickly identified for strategic action. Q Is it easy to automate my business systems to do more than just pay bills and invoice customers A The award-winning Sage 100 or the new Sage 100C software provides a complete end-to-end business solution designed for companies that manufacture produce and distribute goods or provides professional services with field service management. Q When should I consider more than an entry-level program A When you re ready to drive your business forward and join the JCS customers who have successfully transitioned up to Sage100 software and gained business advantages TRADE UP to position your company for growth and gain a competitive edge while enjoying all the operational and strategic benefits that Sage 100 provides. Q How can I test drive my options in software before I buy it as well as ask questions A We provide free private demos and business reviews to help you make an informed choice. 25 Women of Distinction Johnna V. Wheeler Health & Wellness Owner Whole Family Health and Nutrition Frederick MD T hirty years of chronic debilitating and life threatening illness intensive research and repeated trial and error gave Johnna V. Wheeler an education she could not acquire in any classroom. Inspired by her personal struggle Johnna developed a passionate interest in the fields of nutrition and health. After earning her certification as a Mind-Body Nutrition Consultant Eating Psychology Coach from The Institute For The Psychology Of Eating Johnna opened Whole Family Health and Nutrition. Through the Frederick Maryland based practice she helps clients navigate their journey through illness to wellness so they can arrive at their destination with less suffering expense and fewer lost years. Johnna provides a whole body approach to wellness that includes nutrition counseling lifestyle coaching health and weight loss mentoring. She also extends her expertise to include pets. With restored health and vitality Johnna said Chronic illness was a constant and unwelcome companion for most of my life which gave me empathy and compassion for others who are struggling like I did. I figured it out and in 2013 I restored my health. This was the education God used to develop my gift mature my character help me realize my purpose and prepare me for the work I do now. I can explain how disease conditions are created and also how they can be connected because I lived it. I can show people how the body is able to heal itself. Not with drugs but with optimum nutrition because I accomplished this in myself friends and family members first. I also corrected disease conditions in my pets and those of my clients. Specializing in treating Systemic Candidiasis yeast infections and Leaky Gut as well as all the secondary health problems they cause Johnna created The Candida Exit Strategy which is a protocol for returning Candida yeast back to it s proper form function and station. She is also a health researcher who regularly writes articles about nutrition health and disease. She is currently finishing her first book Taking Control of Your Health - A journey through illness to wellness. Johnna is also a member of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating Alumni Directory The International Women s Leadership Association and Elete Women Worldwide. Johnna s dedication to helping others achieve their best life extends far beyond the walls of her practice. In 1994 she founded a ministry called Making Friends with People with Disabilities. Through the organization she teaches a course that equips kindhearted people to become socially comfortable and competent with people who are disabled. A community leader Johnna also established the Catoctin Mountain Community Information Network a local information board and website where neighbors can connect with each other. Prior to founding Whole Family Health and Nutrition Johnna was a personal caregiver for 25 years. She cared for clients who had digestive and health problems similar to the type she suffered from. I want to leave a legacy that I benefited others she said. I love seeing the magic that happens when someone s health turns around and they find the right nutrition or emotional course correction that makes a tremendous positive difference in the rest of their life. 26 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How is Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut the beginning of chronic disease A 80% of the immune system is along the gastrointestinal tract. 90% of the cells in your body are not you but a community of microorganisms (the gut micro biome) that interact with your genes metabolism and other body functions. You need the majority of those microorganisms to be beneficial to you. When Candida (one of those microorganisms) and the parasites viruses and bacteria they are supposed to destroy invade the damaged intestinal lining they begin to live their entire life cycle inside your body reproducing and excreting toxins in you that cause serious harm to your weakest systems first which is different for each person. The symptoms are treated with drugs as individual conditions while the root cause remains undiagnosed and untreated. Q How or why does your business stand out from the competition A My professional practice focuses on the whole body and synergistically incorporates nutrition education lifestyle choices health practices and emotional wellness coaching for people but I also consider pets as part of the family. Pets are developing many of the same disease conditions as their people diabetes cancer thyroid problems obesity heart problems and digestive ailments. There is a connection and it s nutrition. I help their people understand pet nutrition and assist them in choosing the best food and alternative therapies for their pets. People will do for their pets what they will not do for themselves. When I help them resolve their pets health problems then it opens the door for me to inquire about their health and how I can help them achieve the same results. Q How is health restored A To restore homeostasis in the body you must reverse the disease process by 1) eliminating all sources of contamination and cleanse the body of environmental toxins heavy metals parasites viruses bacteria and yeast. 2) Give the body what it needs pure water organically produced whole foods that provide optimum nutrition rest and rejuvenating sleep. However every healing strategy you do will be voided by stress because healing only happens when the body is relaxed. 3) So lifestyle choices health practices and thought patterns also need to be addressed. Q What are your hopes for the future A I worked for 25 years using my body to care for and make the world accessible to people with disabilities which gave me a large abdominal hernia and 4 prolapses. Now I am disabled but I refuse to go on disability. I worked for years to support my business until it could pay it s own bills and support me too. My goal is to work from home and spend more time serving my clients family church community and ministry. I will publish my book and I d like to do more public speaking at women s conferences workshops and other events. I plan NOT to retire but to keep giving my gift and serving others. 27 Women of Distinction Katy Marier Non-profit Executive Director Alpha en Partage Adult Education Centre St. Charles ON s Executive Director of Alpha en Partage Adult Education Centre Katy Marier dedicates her career to helping others advance both personally and professionally. Since the Ontario-based non-profit s inception its mission has been to provide educational services to adult residents of Sudbury East who have not had the opportunity to obtain their grade 12 diploma or need to improve their reading writing numeracy and technology skills. The organization has help hundreds of adults ages 19 and up achieve meaningful employment and pursue their professional ambitions. Katy started working at the center part time in 1995 and was elected Executive Director just three years later in 1998. In her role Katy oversees the day-to-day operation of the organization ensuring that the staff meets the expectations of its clients Board Members and financial backers. A The biggest lesson I have learned is that you lead by example. As a leader you should be the hardest worker be well-prepared and the one willing to do all the things no one else wants to do. Katy draws strenght from her greatest professional inspiration Mr. Jean Paul Osborn. She was introduced to Mr. Osborn in the early years of her career. He has since been her mentor teacher and guide both professionally and personally. Katy has devoted countless volunteer hours to establish the organization. Through Alpha en Partage she participates in many local community events. When she is not working Katy enjoys golfing camping traveling and fishing. She is the proud mother of two adult children Patrick and Melodie and a stepdaughter Lauren and two grandchildren Joey and Jesse who Katy loves spending time with. A truly dedicated individual Katy believes no one should give up on his or her passion and aspiration. The number one thing that has kept me in my career for so long was the passion to provide educational employment and pre-employment certifications to a remote rural area. Adult Literacy is the key to breaking out of poverty it gives people the confidence to better their lives through education to pursue better employment and it gives them a voice and a place in today s society. Katy studied at Cambrian College in Business Administration. Throughout her career she has grown to become a successful and respected leader. In the beginning of her professional career she was challenged by juggling administrative tasks at the non-profit without a full-time staff. Determined to succeed she incorporated Alpha en Partage using personal funds to secure grants and obtain contracts. Being a single mom with two young children and limited income she was putting it all 28 on the line. The legacy I would like to leave the world is the continuity of an established bilingual learning center within our community that will continue to provide educational and employment support for adults who have not had the opportunity to attain their grade 12 diploma. Women of Distinction Linda Lee Energy Infrastructure Travel Corporate Travel Manager - TransCanada Corporation Calgary Alberta Canada T hrough her work as a Corporate Travel Manager with TransCanada Linda Lee is focused on helping others by enhancing their travel experiences and ensuring all travelers trips are worry-free safe and seamless. The corporate travel industry is very dynamic and has provided challenges and opportunities that are both exciting and rewarding. I m inspired by the varied people that I meet and work with as I continue to hone my skills. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn and help others which I am extremely passionate about. Linda had been working with TransCanada for 20 years as an Executive Assistant when she was offered a position as Corporate Travel Manager in 2007. In 2015 Linda became a certified Global Travel Professional (GTP) and has since been invited to join the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Canada Advisory Board. Recently she was named to the inaugural GBTA Masters Honors a recognition program that highlights the most engaged most committed most connected and most involved GBTA Direct Members. In her current role Linda s responsibility is to develop travel policies that are cost effective and support corporate business objectives while ensuring safety security and comfort of her company s travelers. She also monitors travel trends provides data analysis and offers advice to the executive on the best practices also suggesting changes to proactively promote constructive changes in travel behavior. Developing and nurturing relationships with travel vendors suppliers and peers within the industry is a key mandate of her role as well. My advice for someone starting in this industry is to find a mentor A mentor can be someone you admire who can support you and your career aspirations or someone who provides guidance. You need to ensure you develop a good understanding of the role that you re interested in figure out what skill set is required or what additional skills may be needed in order to be successful. Get involved in the area that intrigues you -- watch listen ask questions. Don t be timid. Approach your leader about your goals. If you surround yourself with positive reinforcing people you can t help but be inspired to push on. Be empathetic with others. Be kind. Be open and be adaptable to any situation or opportunity that presents itself. There is truly something behind the saying Everything happens for a reason. In her leisure Linda enjoys health and wellness barre training traveling golfing cooking taking long walks and spending time with her family including her two grown children. I m a positive outgoing person and believe that success is about passion and focus. I enjoy meeting people and have an avid curiosity about culture. 29 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is the role of the travel manager and how has it evolved A In previous years my primary responsibilities were to expedite and provide assistance to travelers in a number of ways such as helping them book flights hotels and cars. In recent years our priorities have changed. There is more focus on cost savings and looking for ways to contain travel costs manage expectations comply with company policies mandating the use of preferred travel vendors duty of care and managing travel risk. Q What are the expectations or priorities of a corporate traveler or road warrior A A seamless travel experience is the top priority of the corporate traveler or road warrior. Given that they are normally multi-tasking and their mind is preparing for the meetings ahead the less surprises travelers encounter the better Q What do you tell travelers who say they found cheaper flights or hotel accommodations on other travel sites A Part of the role of the travel manager is to negotiate the best pricing possible with all of our travel vendors and suppliers. Travelers need to understand that just because they think they ve found cheaper flights or hotel rates that may not necessarily be the case. More often than not there are hidden costs and fees that a traveler may not be aware of at the time of booking. Most important travel risk management is a top priority at TransCanada -- the ability to locate our travelers in the event of an emergency ensures the safety and well-being of our travelers at all times. Q How has the travel industry evolved to tailor their services in order to meet those needs A Airlines hotels and car rental companies have gone out of their way to simplify the travel process. Bypassing long line ups is so important to frequent travelers -- a simplified airline check-in process personalized hotel profiles for frequent travelers seamless rental vehicle pick-ups. Travelers are loyal -- they stay with vendors who go the extra mile. Q How does mobile technology impact the travel industry A Mobile technology is the traveler s savior. With the ease of online check-in with airlines up-to-the minute notifications of potential delays or changes hotel information and so much more. Everything they need is literally at their fingertips. As the new generation comes into the workforce mobile technology will continue to be an expectation. Q Why are buyer supplier relationships important A It s all about partnerships -- working together to benefit both the organization and the supplier. There is greater understanding when the buyer and supplier work as a team. Essentially it is a win-win for everybody. It was one of our long-term strategic partnerships that resulted in TransCanada being named Company of the Year in 2014. Q What are the key benefits of being a member of a travel association A I would encourage all travel professional members to be a member of an association. It s difficult in this global economy to find a source where you can network access industry research resources for education and career advancement. An association can represent the entire travel industry as a single voice to shape lead and direct the future the business travel industry. Q If you had the opportunity to meet one person who would it be and why A I would enjoy meeting Michelle Obama. She epitomizes the confident woman -- classy elegant and with just the right amount of sass -- a smart and successful woman in her own right. A loving mother and supportive wife she exudes warmth and poise but yet you can sense an underlying strength and resolve in her demeanor. 30 Women of Distinction Karen L. Alter Agency Advertising Brand Development Digital and Public Relations Owner Principal Borshoff Indianapolis IN M arketing executive Karen L. Alter brings more than 30 years of professional experience to her role as Owner Principal of Borshoff. A fullservice agency Borshoff specializes in advertising brand development digital and public relations and is headquartered in the Indianapolis Indiana area. The team at Borshoff is adept at problem solving. We start by asking a lot of questions to get to the real issues and uncover how we might help Karen explained. Our job is to be resourceful and strategic ensuring all communications make a positive impact. Karen has been at the agency for 20 years and is one of four owners principals. Her responsibilities are vast and include overseeing the agency s day-to-day operations and brand culture and working closely with account and creative teams. As senior oversight Karen collaborates to deliver comprehensive marketing programs that generate results for some of the agency s top clients including Kiwanis International NIPSCO Purdue University and the Indianapolis Indians. Prior to being promoted to her current position Karen led the growth and development of Borshoff s Creative Services department which now represents half of the agency s workforce. I ve stayed in my career because of the variety of work and the endless opportunity to tackle new and exciting challenges Karen said. Take technology for example. It has drastically changed communications over the years and we have to continually explore how to use it effectively to impact customer experiences. And as our industry evolves I continue to develop relationships with amazing and talented people who inspire me every day clients colleagues and business partners who I also call my friends. Karen s success has not been without challenges. In 2009 she was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery and then radiation and chemotherapy spent time in the hospital and had to reduce her work hours significantly for a few months. 31 Women of Distinction Fighting a serious illness staying connected to work as much as possible and trying to keep things normal for my family was the hardest thing I ve ever done Karen said. My journey back to health has been challenging as well but my family friends and my Borshoff family provided the love care and support I ve needed. God has blessed me with healing and the opportunity to use my leadership position to share my own story to help others through difficult times. Throughout her career Karen has been involved throughout the community and in training the next generation of communication professionals. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis Women s Fund of Central Indiana and she was a contributing creator founding member and past executive board member of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. Karen was an adjunct professor at University of Indianapolis teaching Healthcare Marketing at the master s level and at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis teaching Public Relations 101 to bachelor s students. She has also guest lectured on numerous occasions at these schools and Butler University her alma mater. A member of the National Association of Women Business Owners the American Advertising Federation and the International Association of Business Communicators Karen stays connected to the industry. For her achievements the International Association of Business Communicators Indianapolis Chapter honored her with its Communicator of the Year award. Family and faith are the foundation of Karen s life. She has been married to Richard Alter her husband of 23 years who is a social studies teacher and basketball and baseball coach at Lutheran High School of Indianapolis. The couple has a son Matthew age 15 who is a freshman and three-sport athlete at the same high school. Karen s colleague and business partner Jennifer Berry once shared that a true leader is the person who cares the most and this philosophy has guided Karen s leadership style. I strive to model servant leadership and it s always been my goal to lift others up and help them reach their full potential Karen said. I hope that when others describe me they ll remember that I lead with my heart. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Advertising and public relations are essential for any company to succeed in business today. And with the fast growth of digital companies need strategic partners like Borshoff now more than ever to effectively reach their customers at the right time the right place and with the right message. Q How does a women-owned business stay competitive in today s business world A Being a certified women-owned business (WBE) has afforded Borshoff great opportunities as many organizations require this designation. We find that the best strategy with business prospects and clients is to make sure we re at the table with the decision makers whether that s the CMO CEO CFO director of procurement or board of directors. Q In an industry where a big agency can be seen as expensive (as compared to a small or boutique agency) how do you demonstrate value A Borshoff nurtures partnerships with clients that allow us to lend our skills and talents to help make them successful. We are unique in that we have expertise from all communication disciplines allowing us to look at the whole picture and build marketing programs that are effective. The value isn t in making communications it s in understanding the client s business industry and goals as well as audiences wants and needs. Then we create a strategy that brings these things together. Our clients see the value in this approach because they see that their investment is maximized when their audiences are successfully engaged. Q What role does culture play in keeping employees happy and motivated A Employees are a company s biggest asset and make up its culture. The best way to create a positive work environment is to encourage open and honest communication listen to your employees and maintain a good balance of productivity inspiration and fun. Q How does a business owner maintain balance A Having other commitments outside the business is healthy. We encourage each other to be involved in the community in professional organizations and with our friends and families. We also check each other at times especially when feeling overly stressed or ineffective. It s so important to have empathetic colleagues with whom you can share and get encouragement. 32 Women of Distinction Meg Budries Technology and Analytics specializing in Commercial Real Estate Client Services Associate Analyst CoStar Group Boston MA T Do what you can with what you have where you are. Teddy Roosevelt hat is Meg Budries philosophy and from a very young age she was hands-on and wanted to help and interact as much as she could. Meg first worked on berry farms when she was only five-years-old and later at a local hardware store. I needed to be busy at all times. However she has always had an interest in real estate and would spend Saturdays on the internet looking through her town s geographic information system (GIS) to gather data about home values and sales. To this day I have no idea why but it was a significant interest of mine. Meg began her career interning at a real estate company in Providence RI while attending Bryant University. After graduating (Cum Laude) in 2012 she started working with an IT firm. I thought it was the most practical way to learn as every company utilizes technology in some capacity. The industry is ever-thriving and will always be a pinnacle of any company. From there Meg moved on to CoStar to join their product team and heard tech talk around her all the time which taught her a lot. Her current role is as an integral hub between the product development team the sales team and the analysts economists. The reports and data that she has provided them has been a tremendous benefit. Essentially Meg has created custom service and support for all elements of the company and additionally creates marketing and training materials for both internal and external users. This has been something I ve loved from day one. Being a hands-on person it was Legos to learning in the real world. Creating something for someone that gives them a solution has taken me here but I ve always loved building things. As a child I constructed cities in my driveway with chalk and drove around on my tricycle built cardboard boats and helped my dad with a treehouse. Meg strongly believes in passion and followed her own. That is her legacy. I ended up here because it was a combination of practicality and the love of my life (real estate). If you have the weirdest of passions and end up smiling after doing anything related to it go for it. It doesn t matter what people think. I was playing with a GIS system online and recording the Gettysburg Address in my basement studio while every one of my friends was watching cartoons. I was weird but it s definitely more interesting to be weird than normal. So whatever you do make sure it s your choice. I ve thankfully learned more than I ever thought I could in three years. CoStar being a hybrid of commercial real estate and technology made working there an irresistible opportunity. There s a generational glue from tech to speak (so to speak) these days making it important to be on 33 both hubs. It is ever-changing and evolving. Women of Distinction Michelle Wiegel Gessert PT CEIM CHC C Home Healthcare Clinical Manager Home Health Madison East Branch Home Health United Madison WI linical Manager of Home Health Michelle Wiegel Gessert PT CEIM CHC has been working in the healthcare field her entire career. Her adoration for the industry which stems back to childhood has given her the determination to continue her journey more than 30 years later. In Michelle s role she works closely with Home Care and Hospice as well as the various teams surrounding her including those in nursing and therapies scheduling intake durable medical equipment wound care IV infusion telemonitoring and education. Making quick and accurate decisions to keep patients safe and healthy in their home she relies on patience and good communication. Although I focused on pediatrics for many years I also worked in work injury pain management the NICU First Steps and Birth to Three programs taught at the college level in wellness and with patients by using dogs and horses Michelle said. I ve always worked in home health in some capacity and I feel it s the common thread in my career. About 15 years ago Michelle was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Feeling more pain than the patients she was treating she started reading intensely about her illness. She began taking supplements changed her diet and modified her exercise routine while carefully balancing her rest and activity levels to keep her symptoms in check. Learning to be more patient with herself how to persevere and how to live clean Michelle has since taught this process to her patients. Michelle is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association volunteers with the Apostolate to the Handicapped and plays guitar for her church and for special events at work. She s also a founding member of Cooperative Special Recreation Initiative combining the local recreation departments to provide special recreation activities for children and families with special needs. My mother is a nurse who is still working as a volunteer at the age of 82. She has shown me that volunteerism not only helps others but helps our souls as well Michelle noted. My dad was an active volunteer who played the tuba in a clown band for the Knights of Columbus raising money for children with special needs. My daughter has also spent time during the holidays singing for kids in a juvenile detention center and has assisted with many of my patients. A very proud mama Michelle s daughter excelled in music and was awarded a scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Denver s Lamont School of Music for Classical Voice. She s performed at the American Girl Place Theater in Chicago Illinois has been in commercials recorded several CD s and has traveled the world singing. Being a physical therapist allowed me the freedom to take my daughter to auditions and made it affordable to get her lessons she noted. Physical therapy is a wonderful career with so many benefits. Michelle has a BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is Certified in Wellness and in Infant Massage and is a Certified Health Coach in Chronic Disease Management. 34 Women of Distinction Peggy Pacella Information Technology CEO MAP Technology Solutions Philadelphia PA C ustomer satisfaction is Peggy Pacella s highest priority. Her Philadelphia based firm MAP Technology Solutions has been dedicated to providing clients with comprehensive IT solutions and hands-on support with an emphasis on building long lasting client relations for nearly 20 years. Peggy brings decades of experience in the Information Technology industry to her role as Chief Executive Officer. With an education from Thomas Edison University and Villanova University Peggy is a veteran in her field having held number of leadership positions at prestigious companies including Philadelphia-based firms including Rosenbluth Travel International Agusta Aerospace and Philadelphia Telco Credit Union. In 1997 she decided strike out on her own founding M.A.P. Technology Solutions a firm dedicated to unwavering commitment to customer service and the advancement of technology systems. M.A.P. Technology Solutions specializes in identifying clients needs and developing customized IT solutions. Peggy along with her expert staff works closely with clients to implement software leading technology and business intelligence tools. I chose this career path because I saw the outstanding growth potential associated with it Peggy said. We know we have a winning formula because the proof is undeniable -- much of our business is derived from repeat customers and referrals. As Chief Executive Office Peggy oversees all aspects of her business. She is a hands-on leader whose role includes everything from managing the company s finances and marketing to supervising and inspiring staff. Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field has not been without challenge Peggy admits. The biggest challenge that I had to overcome professionally in the Technology field is being a woman in this male dominated industry Peggy said. It is sometimes difficult to break through and have companies listen to you and view you as a subject matter expert because you are a woman. Peggy is dedicated to supporting fellow women in business. In 2013 The National Association of Professional Women named Peggy Professional Woman of the Year. She is a volunteer with the Women Business Enterprise National Council as well as past board officer and current member Network of Women in Computer Technology. Additionally Peggy is the president of the Delaware Valley Computer Users Group. MAP Consulting Services Inc. is a nationally certified WomenOwned Business Enterprise and holds additional certifications from state and government agencies throughout the United States Mid-Atlantic region. Our vision is to present comprehensive solutions to each and every customer no matter what the circumstances Peggy said. 35 Women of Distinction Rachel L. Noth Healthcare Program Coordinator Area Agency on Aging 1B Southfield MI F or nearly a decade now Rachel L. Noth has been gaining speed in the healthcare industry beginning as a Pharmacy Technician turned Nurse Assistant. Today Rachel is a Program Coordinator for Area Agency on Aging IB in Southfield Michigan. Enhancing the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities in the communities they serve Rachel makes sure that all information is entered correctly data is always correct and that she as well as each nurse social worker and family she works alongside are on the same page when it comes to communication which is vital. The people are the reason why I still do what I do. I am in the business of touching peoples lives Rachel said. I believe in relationships and building on how others can improve even the most difficult of circumstances with their individual knowledge. Lifting her hat to all those who believed in her Rachel says first and foremost her family has always been there for her. When she wasn t sure if she had wanted to continue in the journey of healthcare they were there to tell her to follow her heart. Knowing that they were there for her allowed her to take risks and leaps in new directions with comfort and ease. Rachel is a Chairperson for the Hazel Park Lions Club where she also hosts an annual bowling fundraiser for the club with her husband Steven. She also serves as President of the Hazel Park Board of Education. A 2014 BS graduate in Psychology from Wayne State University Rachael loves to volunteer read be outdoors and spend time with family and friends. She also loves listening to jazz music Motown and old country like Patsy Cline. I find that when I am working on a project and need a little inspiration or need to refocus music is what truly speaks to my heart she added. Rachel is a goodhearted calm and compassionate person who always does what is right no matter the consequence. Never getting into her profession for the money instead she followed her heart. Working in or around healthcare truly makes her happy. Born to Michael and Robbie Webb Rachel has a younger sister Morgan who is currently attending Rachel s alma mater. Rachel s husband Steven helps run the family s business alongside her parents. In the past I was often not taken seriously because of my age and that had been discouraging at times Rachel noted. But by making sure I did my research before speaking I was able to confidently contribute to professional conversations. Today I am a much stronger person for it. I ve learned to listen by never talking over anyone and diving deeper into a problem to find better long term solutions and always promote positivity in everything that I do. 36 Women of Distinction Reagan Edith Lorraine Lavorata R Higher Education Adjunct Instructor Various Colleges Universities Private Tutor Long Island NY eagan Edith Lorraine Lavorata teaches has been an Adjunct Instructor for the past 23 years at various institutions in marketing management human resources and general business courses. She s also been a private tutor for 11 years in ESL English French social sciences earth environmental sciences and bible studies. In 2006 Reagan traveled to Russia where she taught both undergraduate and graduate courses and served as a student advisor. Residing in Long Island New York with her husband when she isn t busy teaching assessing and monitoring her students progress she is working on her doctoral thesis a quantitative study about women and STEM finishing her PhD. Q&A Q What are some of the biggest challenges to success A People s attitudes towards those of us with disabilities and medical challenges. Q What is the most important aspect of your job A Making sure my students learn and grow. Q What experience have you had with multiculturalism A I ve done a lot of travelling to France Russia and other European nations. I lived and taught in Russia and had students from Nepal Tanzania Nigeria Kenya India China and throughout Russia. Here I have many students from China Korea India Turkey and other nations throughout the world. Q How do people s attitudes impact on your success A Since I have neurological mobility and rheumatologic limits I require personal assistance to do things and some colleges universities and employers may either lose patience or be reluctant to deal with such challenges negatively impacting earning potential. Through education and awareness training conducted at colleges universities and corporations I hope to inspire others to increase successes of people with disabilities. I conduct these trainings if anyone is interested. My inspirations include God Jesus my students and my students progress Reagan noted. I treat my students as customers applying the marketing concept and total quality management in the classroom. As an Adjunct Professor Reagan admits that it s not a steady income but due to her physical limitations and health challenges it is difficult for her to obtain a steady income. Struggling with neurological disabilities and chronic pain she does her absolute best despite her challenges accomplishing her goals that are most beneficial to her students. Looking to her favorite NFL Quarterback Eli Manning for support when she needs it most she added It s not about my legacy but that of my team or in my case my students. Also Eli Manning is an agent of social change which goes along with mission of Walden University where I m finishing my PhD. A member of American Association for University Women Reagan holds a BS in Marketing and an MBA in Management both from LIU an MALS in Liberal Studies (Political Science Business History from SUNY an EdM in Education Administration from Columbia University Teachers College a Master s in Library Science from St. John s University and is currently working toward the completion of her PhD in Management at Walden University. She enjoys reading books in French her French culture Russian culture technology political science economics music sports dancing singing karaoke and spending time with friends family and 37 colleagues. Women of Distinction Reyna LaShawn Gilmore MD Medicine - Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati OH R I m constantly striving to do more for my family and community and to learn and better myself. eyna LaShawn Gilmore has had an interest in medicine since she was a teenager when she was in the Academy of Health Professions a health magnet program at Tampa Bay Technical High School. From there she attended Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology before earning her Doctorate of Medicine from Howard University s College of Medicine in Washington D.C. The work that I do with my patients and families has kept me in this career. Though the cases can be sad and emotionally draining there are many cases where I see progress and where I m able to educate people about mental illness. There is a stigma associated with mental illness (especially in the African-American community) that Dr. Gilmore hopes to eliminate. As an African-American female physician I have a chance to provide support and education to this particular community as well as inspire African-American youths. Over the years many people have inspired Dr. Gilmore on a professional level. I look up to Dr. Charles and Dr. Jackie Collins who are both practicing African-American psychiatrists in the Cincinnati area. Dr. Suzanne Sampang a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center was my fellowship program director and is now my colleague. She s an inspiration as a minority female physician in my field and is a true leader. Dr. Deirdre Evans-Cosby is also an inspirational female as an African-American psychiatrist who I worked with during my general psychiatry residency at Morehouse. Dr. Gilmore s family has also provided tremendous inspiration. While my mother wasn t a physician her work ethic and leadership has been an inspiration to me. The same applies to my older sister who also has a strong work ethic and leadership quality. My father is also a professional African-American who I look up to. And my boyfriend Clarence Gordon Jr. inspires me with his work ethic perseverance and leadership. I come from a family of leaders and go-getters . I decided to focus on child and adolescent psychiatry based on my medical school experiences and personal experience with mental health. Dr. Gilmore did her psychiatry residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta GA and her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center. These trainings further solidified my interest and passion for a career in child and adolescent psychiatry. Now board certified in psychiatry Dr. Gilmore stayed at the Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center as one of its practicing physicians. She also works as an Assistant Professor teaching medical students at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In addition Dr. Gilmore treats teens in the hospital who are in crisis (meaning suicidal aggressive or in some way dangerous to themselves and or other people) and children of all ages in her hospital clinic and at a local community mental health center that serves disadvantaged families. 38 Women of Distinction She has earned the following awards and distinctions throughout her career November 2004 Recipient of Outstanding Community Service Award from Howard University College of Medicine April 2006 Recipient of Chapter Member of the Year Award for Student National Medical Association (SNMA) June 2009 Received award for helping to initiate an annual resident retreat at Morehouse School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry April 2010 Selected as American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education (APIRE) Research Mini-Fellow February 2011 Nominated for National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Board of Director Position June 2011 Selected as a National Institutes of Health-National Medical Association (NIH-NMA) Research Fellow June 2011 Recipient of Inaugural Resident of the Year Award at Morehouse School of Medicine July 2011 Recipient of the EY Williams Resident of Distinction Award at Morehouse School of Medicine April 2012 Received an Honorarium from Morehouse School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry to give an educational talk to the department June 2013 Recipient of the Brian J. McConville Outstanding Resident Award at Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center June 2008 - Present Member of American Psychiatric Association (APA) May 2010 - Present Member of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (AACAP) July 2010 - Present Member of American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP) As someone who is compassionate dedicated hardworking and down to earth Dr. Gilmore tries to find some way to relate to anyone she works with or talks to and does not see herself as being above anyone else. I think that everyone has a role in life and it should not be minimized. She also wants to be remembered as someone who never gave up and tried to make the most of whatever situation she was in as well as someone who constantly learned from any person she came into contact with regardless of their age sex gender race ethnicity sexual orientation religion employment status socioeconomic status or health status. As an African-American physician who has gone through her share of trials tribulations and discrimination I would encourage people to never give up on their dreams goals and aspirations. People may try to deter you along the way but if you remain focused and persevere the sky is the limit. Don t let others dictate your fate or lose yourself in the process. Live your life to the fullest. 39 Women of Distinction Sallie Gawron A New Lifestyle Health and Wellness Alternative and Holistic Care Consumer Products Executive Director Milford CT E xcited to be on the cutting edge of a very emerging industry Sallie Gawron is committing to sensible reforms scientific inquiry and natural products that millions of consumers already love. As the Executive Director of her mission is to teach people that they have a choice when it comes to taking care of their bodies. And while many individuals don t even know about the many benefits of cannabidiol or CBD it is all the more reason for Sallie to try and make it more well-known in order to create nationwide change and acceptance. If you are up on the news you would know that hemp and CBD are poised to change the world for the betterment of everyone Sallie said. From her company s earliest beginnings Sallie has believed that we have options in life and if one option does not seem to be working then we must keep going until that something does work for him her. Believing in her industry and everything it represents she founded Caseys-Edibles. com as a way to give people options and to help where help is needed. For more than two years now Sallie has been conducting research that directly involves the CBD hemp oil industry the environment and the agriculture here in the United States. She believes in the direction her company is going and is eager for what lies ahead. Just over two years ago I was invited to an annual party. I remember a gentleman sitting next to me at the table with so much pain in his face Sallie explained about how it all started for her. He had a hard time picking up a drink could hardly hold his silverware and seemed so disgusted and frustrated with himself. He needed help to do everyday things that many people take for granted. After he ate he pulled out medical marijuana and smoked some of it. I watched as this man s pain left his body leaving his painful facial expressions behind him. He began to smile he was able to pick up that glass and take a drink and he became more aware of his surroundings. He even got involved in conversations around our table. I was so impressed I was in awe. I observed him for most of the evening. That s when I knew that I needed to get involved somehow someway. It took me more than a year of doing research to find the best direction for me to take and that is when I founded Caseys-Edibles. Making it very clear that CBD or hemp is completely legal in all 50 states Sallie admits that she has hit many roadblocks since the formation of her business especially when it comes to marketing her products because many people assume that CBD is from the black market. 40 Women of Distinction Hemp is one of the most misunderstood plants. CBD has been around for thousands and thousands of years. In fact the Declaration of Independence was signed on hemp paper she said. I proudly offer only the highest quality consumer products featuring premium CBD cannabidiol help oil without the THC all of which are completely safe natural and legal. Nonetheless Sallie knows many sick people in our country alone could benefit by using CBD. Believing in her business she carries a wide assortment of products that are richly infused with CBD a natural constituent of hemp oil. Several of her products can also be made purposely for a specific customer s issues by an onboard physician. In other words if one of these products needed to be stronger for a customer s needs Sallie can put him her in touch with the physician who can make the tincture just for them. Of course it must be a legitimate issue in order to do so. research. The biggest aspect is of course social media. She blogs writes social media content and keeps on top of her website adding content such as recipes and new products all in an effort to educate and share her products with the world. Sallie s newest project is to open up a storefront in her town the first CBD help holistic store later this summer. Extremely excited she will be seeking a Crowdfunding Campaign through the industry s resources. Sallie attends CTNORML meetings on occasion a place where she can meet with MMJ patients activists dispensary workers and owners and people in the medical alternative holistic industries. She hopes to get even more involved in 2016. CTNORML stands for Normal Connecticut. The organization helped lead the successful fight to decriminalize marijuana in Connecticut and to fight to legalize the use of cannabis for qualifying medical conditions. Many people have no idea just how many different uses hemp has or just how healthy it is for our bodies and for our Earth Sallie noted. Hemp is the original green product. And it is not the same thing as marijuana. Industrial hemp and marijuana are both scientifically categorized as the same species of plant but they are different strains. Marijuana was bred to have the high THC value whereas hemp or industrial hemp has only minute traces of THC. Selling products strictly online offers customers a variety of different products to choose from. She has 100 different products on the website s Beauty and Therapy section including Hemp Root Therapy Baby and Me Organic Spray that is great for sunburns irritated skin burns insect bites hydration abrasions and cuts Hemp Root Therapy Lip Balm and Cibaderm Hydrate Hand Cream Nourishing Body Lotion and Shampoo. In the Concentrates Oils and Dabs section there are approximately two dozen different products to choose from like Entourage Effect Vape Oil Sticks Dab Wax and Ultra Premium CBD Oil which is a safe and alternative to prescription pain killers. The Edibles section includes CanChew Gum Casa Luna Dark or Milk Chocolate Bars CBD Gummies Green Garden Peanut Butter and more. In the Vaporizers Atomizers and e-Liquids section there is another dozen or so products including the Prefilled Cartridge several types of e-Liquids and Holistic Crystals for pain relief. It even has a section just for our four-legged canine friends. Products include Crunchy Hemp Dog Biscuits Health Hemp Pet Gel Caps 100% organic Pet Aid Spray formula and Pet CBD Chicken Jerky. is also a great resource for recipes like Paleo Spaghetti Squash Crunchy Hemp Protein Bread and Cucumber Hemp Salad all recipes that can be made with products found on Sallie s website. Heavily involved in promoting her business Sallie handles every bit of the marketing and advertising as well as I am a strong reliable and serious woman who embodies confidence determination authority and experience Sallie said. I stay with my beliefs and morals but I am also versatile helpful and caring. I hope to contribute greatly to this industry leaving behind a world to generations to come. I am very proud and excited to be a part of this and we need to come together as a society to make it work for everyone in every industry. Recently single again Sallie is happier than she has ever been. Residing in a beautiful beach-boating community the rest of her family also lives in Connecticut including her daughter who works in fitness. 41 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is CBD A Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis and industrial hemp. It is a major constituent of the plant and represents up to 40% in its extracts. CBD also promotes and supports the nutritional health of aging bodies. Q Are CBD and THC the same thing A No they are different compounds. CBD and THC are both cannabinoids but THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high or stoned. CBD is non-psychoactive meaning it won t get you high. Q Will I get high from CBD products A Our CBD comes from carefully-cultivated hemp plants not marijuana which is why it is legal for us to import and use this CBD-rich oil. Q Does CBD have minimum or no side effects at all A Since CBD does not act significantly due to its biological effects the chances of any individual suffering from psychotropic effects (the main trait of other marijuana derivatives) are next to none. This should explain why it has higher potential for being used for the development of various medicines in the field of pharmaceutical research. Q Is it legal A CBD obtained from legally grown hemp plants included in our products is legal in all 50 states. All products contain less than 0.03% THC as required by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to be legal for sale. The products are not intended for use by minors under 18 years of age without adult supervision even though there are no psychoactive ( high ) effects yet it has been used safely by children and adults for many years. Q What are the benefits of CBD A Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to ease a variety of symptoms and the scientific community is currently experimenting with the substance on a wide scope of medical applications for epilepsy multiple sclerosis spasms inflammation anxiety bipolar nausea arthritis diabetes and many other conditions including cancers. Q I ve heard that hemp hemp seeds are called superfoods A Yes because of its nutritional values (listed above) which match the valance required by the human body. Hemp seeds are so naturally good for you. They have a great nutty flavor. They are filled with all the omega oils that our own bodies produce. I put them in my smoothies I add them to yogurt I sprinkle them on top of salads I add some to my pasta sauces I sprinkle them on muffins I ve even added a cup or two to my grandma s old fashioned meatloaf. Q How does CBD work A We all have cannabinoid receptors in the endocrine system white blood cells spleen and nerve cells. CBD increases and stimulates the production of our own cannabinoids which produces many health benefits. Q Will CBD help my condition A We recommend you to conduct your own research on the CBD discoveries and the situations of others who have had success with CBD due to FDA regulations restricting us from making claims. Q Is Hemp Seed (CBD) Oil of high nutritional value A The oil is of high nutritional value because of its 3 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids[3] which matches the balance required by the human body. Q Has scientific research shown that CBD may be therapeutic for many conditions A Yes and they include acne ADD ADHD addiction AIDS ALS Alzheimer s anorexia antibiotic resistance anxiety atherosclerosis arthritis asthma autism bipolar cancer colitis Crohn s Depression diabetes endocrine disorders epilepsy seizures fibromyalgia glaucoma heart disease Huntington s inflammation irritable bowel infections kidney disease liver disease metabolic syndrome migraines mood disorders motion sickness Multiple Sclerosis nausea neurodegeneration neuropathic pain obesity Obsessive Compulsive Disorder osteoporosis Parkinson s Disease Mad Cow disease Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rheumatism schizophrenia sickle cell anemia skin conditions sleep disorders spinal cord injury stress and strokes TBI. Q Do you take CBD oil products A Yes. I take tinctures which I place a drop or two under my tongue. The CBD oil product that I take has given me so much energy that I feel like I can leap from rooftops. I have a peaceful happy feeling while I take these products. But there are so many products that I carry such as shampoos conditioners and body washes. Your skin feels and looks so soft and nourished as a result. I carry cooking products edibles and chocolates too. I ve even opened up a pet section which is doing very well. I choose only the best and will not carry all that is out there. My products are selectively chosen and I absolutely love them. 42 Women of Distinction H.G.Countess Tatania Kurbatov Private Charity Founding President CEO International Wellness Foundation Inc. Palm Beach Shores FL E stablished 10 years ago in 2006 the International Wellness Foundation Inc. has been changing lives in more ways than one. Founding President and CEO H.G. Countess Tatania Kurbatov had a mission to serve those suffering from disabilities and being wheelchair bound by making much needed resources more readily available throughout the world. Thanks to dedication of executive board members and countless volunteers her organization provides free wheelchairs wellness education and holistic individualized health programs to qualified underprivileged individuals on a global level. International Wellness Foundation Inc. is a 501 (c) corporation that was established by Tatiana with a strong dedication of helping the local and global community. The public charity is designed to sponsor the health organic living and wellness education projects for underprivileged people all over the world. At the age of two Tatania contracted a post vaccine polio in her country that brought on paralysis and S shaped total scoliosis. When she was nine her parents brought her to the US for medical treatment and after fve spinal fusions from cervical to lumber zones her condition was stabilized and she was able to sit in a wheelchair without further danger of lung or heart compression. But at age 16 Tatania was in an unfortunate school bus accident and suffered a fracture of the neck and increased paralysis of the upper extremities. Five years ago she was diagnosed with a post-polio syndrome that is slowly promoting the decrease of system functions and ability to move. And just two years ago doctors found damage to the telescopic spinal fusion rods in her lumbar zone that remains irreparable due to having already been through eight surgeries and over 40 hours of anesthesia. I ve had my share of difficulties Tatania said. I ve learned the true value of making the most of every moment in life. I hope others will stop taking for granted their abilities and start utilizing them for the betterment of this world. Having been in philanthropy for over 20 years now I don t believe I will ever stop my efforts. According to UN statistics about 15% of the world s population lives with disabilities which equates to about one billion people. It s beyond a lifelong mission of mine to provide assistance and make improvements in the lives of so many people in need. Because Tatania s foundation is completely run volunteer based it is her duty first and foremost to lead and inspire the executive officers volunteers and supporters by example. Networking to bring awareness to handicapped needs deficiencies of care and poor accessibility in both the local and global communities Tatania also corresponds with volunteers and supporters negotiates with wheelchair suppliers and shipping companies hosts local national and international fundraising events establishes coalitions with other charitable and social organizations and oversees the provision of health services and wheelchairs to the underprivileged men women and children to continue her efforts. 43 Women of Distinction Having a physical disability with first-hand experience in inadequate handicapped accessibility around the world has been a huge inspiration for me Tatania said about what motivates her charity work. Being able to relate and recognize that countless underprivileged people around the world need improved handicapped accessibility and assistance with effective healthcare makes me strive to devote all of my free time and resources to the betterment of the global community. Tatania is a copyrighted Writer and International Instructor of Seminars Teaching to Master the Fullness of Life which teaches people about discovering and optimizing their innate potential. Since 2011 she has served as Ambassadress of Goodwill at Southern Philippines Muslims and Non-Muslim Unity and Development Association and has amplified the opportunity for her to increase global awareness of the needs of the handicapped. Until 2015 Tatania has been serving as Chairwoman of the International Outreach Community Service Program at Greater Federation of Women s Clubs Woman s Club of Stuart Florida a valuable partnership to the Wheels of Life charitable project of fundraising purchasing and shipping free wheelchairs to underprivileged women and children in Ukraine and Poland and future efforts of providing wheelchairs to those in South America and Caribbean regions. Crediting her extensive studies and degrees in metaphysics psychology and theology to her being able to comprehend analyze and process large quantities data as well as skillfully utilize social and political dynamics to provide necessary healthcare assistance to those disabled underprivileged individuals Tatiana is a strong advocate for education. It s education she says that not only empowers others but also gives people the ability to succeed and serve as more valuable members of the community. Ordained to the Deaconate by Old Catholic Church of North America in 1999 Tatania is an expert in Personal and Professional Crisis Management. She earned a BS in Metaphysics in 2002 and an MA in Psychology from Parkwood University. She is a certified Reiki Master and has earned an accreditation in Spirituality and Healing in Medicine Advanced Hypnotherapy Techniques Using the Healing Power of Mind and Emotional Freedom Technique. In 2010 she graduated with a Diploma from Ashworth College in their Professional Small Business Management Program which has enhanced Tataina s ability to calculate budgets prepare proposals and business plans implement various marketing methods and manage multiple departments and projects simultaneously. I ve faced many challenges being handicapped but the biggest has been being a handicapped woman in a world that is expected to be dominated and controlled by healthy people especially men Tatania added about how being handicapped has affected her. When meeting new people I face prejudice and need to prove my capabilities to neutralize the condescending predispositions that being a female in a wheelchair makes me less of a human being or a damsel in distress. On the other hand once I ve proven my education and my abilities I m able to establish valuable allies and lifelong acquaintances. Supporting numerous charities and civic organizations including the GFWC Woman s Club of Stuart Palm Beach Gardens Woman s Club and Greater Palm Beach Women s Club Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens and Jewish Federation St. Elizabeth Skete Holy Cross Montastery and St. Matrona Church and GTS Husky Rescue and Humane Society Tatania has also received several awards and accolades including having been named Countess Tatania Kurbatov Day by the Mayor of Stuart Florida on October 28 2013 for her outstanding achievements. She was a 2013 recipient of a Peace Award presented by Royal Society Group was honored in 2001 by Congregation Beth Solomon and European Immigrant Benevolent Association for Dedication and Commitment in assuring the success of the organization was recognized in 1995 by the Society of International Academic Excellence earned a 1994 President s Award for her extraordinary effort to achieve academic excellence and for meeting the goals of the Presidential Academic Fitness Award Program which was signed by President Bill Clinton and that same year she also earned an American Legions School Award for her courage honor leadership patriotism scholarship and service necessary for the preservation and protection of the fundamental institutions of our government and the advancement of society. Tatania served as a member and project manager at the Lower Delco Optimist Club from 1998-2005 which gave her the training and experience of being able to successfully research depict finance establish and run international charitable projects. She was also on the fundraising committee of Congregation Beth Solomon in Philadelphia Pennsylvania from 2000-2005. The time she spent on the committee taught her how to network in the local community and secure endorsements of charitable projects from local to state level officials. In 2016 Tatania s grace was recognized as the Top Female Executive by International Women s Leadership Association. 44 Women of Distinction Since the time of Peter the Great Tatania s ancestors have belonged to some of the noblest Russian and Ukrainian blood lines hence her title Countess . Until retirement her father Count Tikhon Kurbatov a former Doctor and Bio-Energy practitioner maintained a very successful international holistic medicine practice. Since 2008 Tatania s mother Countess Tamara Angelique Kurbatov under the pseudonym of Author Angelic Tarasio published two motivational books in the US Mother Maria and Home-Coming in the Alternate History trilogy of God s Miracles in Lives of Regular People and is working on publishing the third book and transforming a trilogy into a movie. Tatania has enjoyed some amazing mentors in life especially that of her mother as well as her paternal grandmother Countess Maria Kotyk-Kurbatov who survived of one of the darkest periods of 20th Century Europe. Other great mentors who ve been instrumental in her success include Lady Margaret Thatcher Mother Theresa and Florence Nightingale. Tatania is single and resides in sunny Palm Beach Gardens Florida. Dedicating more than 20 years of her life to philanthropy counseling and writing she is open to finding a partner in life who shares the same passions as she. Q&A Q How did you prepare for your professional success A I started on my career path through sufficient education professional development and dedication to helping others in any way possible by donating time resources and experience. Q Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by professionally and personally A What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson Q What are your views of life A Life is what we choose to make it. Life in itself is a great gift that we can either waste or make something incredible of. What attracted me to Unitarian Universalism is that it is based on Spirituality vs Dogma. The ability to combine instead of divide. To me personally God is the Source of Life that creates supports and guides it directly & indirectly through Holy Spirit (Shekinah of God) and Celestial Beings. Religions on Earth are like bridges that are intended to elevate to the Creator literally and figuratively as in the ancient phrase all roads lead to Rome . In accordance to the Divine plan we will ultimately reach ascension and our journey home to the Source will be a reflection of our individual or family Karma (with awareness quickly and easily or blindly with multiple detours and hardships). What attracted me to Unitarian Universalism is that it is based on Spirituality vs Dogma. The ability to combine instead of divide. 45 Women of Distinction Mathilde Weems Fashion design and manufacturing women s apparel Owner and Principal Belle Neptune LLC Los Angeles CA E ducated at Brown and Stanford University where she obtained degrees in Psychology and Medicine Mathilde Weems had a 15-year career working in the private and public sector in Psychiatry when she decided to trade it in for a more fulfilling life pursuing fashion and design. Already a student of printmaking on textiles graphic design and apparel design for more than 20 years as a hobby in 2012 she earned a Certificate in Textile Design from Central Saint Martins in London. The following year she opened Belle Neptune a California-based independent apparel company. As the sole owner and principal of Belle Neptune Mathilde is responsible for overseeing all aspect of her company from product design and development of textile prints and garments sourcing materials sample making and working with contractors to carrying out manufacturing marketing sales accounting and inventory management. Known for her unique print designs and classic style lines Mathilde s emphasis is on fit comfort high quality materials and construction. She draws inspiration from everyday patterns and colors in her natural surroundings. She then works with scale and proportion to construct prints suitable for apparel. The most popular items are dresses featuring space imagery from NASA. Mathilde is a member of PeoplewearSF and the Fashion Business Institute in Los Angeles. Additionally she has taught art at numerous organizations such as The Richmond Art Center and The San Francisco Center for the Book. She has also participated in several esteemed artist residencies including The KALA Art Institute Penland School of Arts and Crafts and The Skopelos Art Foundation in Greece. I always wanted to be in the creative arts but was discouraged from doing so Mathilde explained. Initially I chose a career that would be stable but I was unhappy. I tried to work in my former career for as long as I could before making the switch to the design business. I keep going because I am stubborn and enjoy transforming my creative compositions into wearable art. I love composing and have endless ideas. I have enjoyed working with clients and producing a product that contributes to their sense of well being. I would like to be known for my creativity and innovative use of prints in my designs she said. I am an artist with a passion for creating and bringing joy to others. 46 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is it that you most enjoy about what you do A I love creating art and designing print patterns for fabric. When the image is transformed into fabric and then further transformed into a wearable garments that people love I am thrilled. Q What brought you down the path of fashion A I ve always loved clothes and fashion but never considered it as a career. I was making pillows and tote bags at first but really wanted to make printed dresses and tunics. When I attended a textile design program in the UK I was inspired by what the students were making in the fashion department. I was blown away by the possibilities and was further inspired to get more training in apparel design. Q What are the most interesting aspects of what you do A I love composing images and seeing what emerges as I work digitally. I love to explore how the print and style lines come together in the shape of a garment. Q How does your former career in Psychiatry influence your current one A I had extensive training and experience in Mental Health. I was originally interested in body image and eating disorders in women. I continue to be quite sensitive to women s issues regarding body image and typically I am very comfortable interacting with the public. I listen to all feedback about what women want and what they don t want. Q What is the nature of your product or service A Currently I stock some inventory of women s apparel of my designs and have numerous styles that can be made to order in a person s size depending on the prints that I have in stock. I continue to develop a library of print designs and garment patterns for both casual wear and dressier occasions. Q What skills are required to do what you are doing A Advanced graphic arts skills extensive knowledge of print production basic to intermediate pattern making skills cutting and sewing garments knowledge of stitch types fabric properties basic tailoring extensive knowledge of production process ability to budget and cost products confidence and persistence in dealing with contractors. Q How many hours do you work in a week A 60 to 100. Q What part of your current work is most challenging and rewarding A The most challenging thing is that there is not enough time in a day to get everything done. I am often exhausted and have little free time. The most rewarding aspect is the creating and getting validation from customers that they enjoy my work. Q Is your current career harder or easier than your former one A In many ways this is harder because of the sheer amount of physical labor involved and having to sell a product to strangers. In my former career people came to me for advice and help. Now I have to promote my products and myself which is very different. Q What is your vision for the future of your organization A. Currently I am in the process of re-locating my home and business from Northern California to Southern California. I aim to expand my reach to retailers and customers in this region and do more wholesale business. In addition I am expanding my studio with new equipment so that I can develop more prints and prototypes more readily. I would like to develop more products including bags home furnishings sewn products for animals and possibly items for men. I aim to expand the business in order to hire more help and keep creating. 47 Women of Distinction Vicki Starfire Internet Marketing Social Media Owner Manager - StarShine Products LLC Ferndale WA n Aging Born-Again Gypsy I started with my online business in 2010. I had just returned from living and working in Japan for 15 years as an ESL teacher and I wanted a change. This is my third career. I started out as a social worker in the late 60s working with street kids at the Open Door Clinic in Seattle. Then I turned to teaching and acquired my second Masters degree from Columbia University Teacher College. I loved living and working in Japan especially Kyoto. When my health started to fail I decided it was time to return to Canada and the US (I m a dual citizen). I m much better now and I m having a great time with my new career -- online marketing and social media. As you can see I love to keep learning. Social media such as Facebook Pinterest Twitter and more recently Podcasting and YouTube are always changing so there s endless growth Besides the challenges of installing and maintaining constantly changing social media platforms my other professional challenge is focusing my business. I m having so much fun that I tend to get scattered into many areas like sales on Amazon (selling pet products) recording my podcast Spectacular Seniors and attending various business meetups in the Vancouver Canada area.However I take every customer seriously and finish projects as planned. Having a business online allows me the freedom to travel when I want and work from anywhere. It s the dream of many people. I call myself a born-again gypsy because I move a lot and like an exciting lifestyle. Where will I be in 10 years I m quite happy living and working on the West Coast of the US and Canada. Since I can work from home I ll undoubtedly continue as long as I m physically able. A The biggest lesson I have learned regarding marketing is to focus on people s needs wants and how I can help them. Sales come in naturally once people know and trust you. Want to check out one of my pet products Here is the link http pethouse1 My hobby is doing psychic readings. I attend a spiritualist church and have training in mediumship. Yes I can communicate with people from the other side and I use primarily palm reading in my readings. You can find me in the summers at various farmer s markets or craft fairs. I ll tell you about your work health love life answer your questions. I tell you everything I have a loving family who wonders what this strange person is doing in their midst. I mostly spend time with my dog Samantha my best friend Peter and my son Chris. I m always eager to make new friends and would love to hear from anyone who reads this little summary. Please use my business info listed above. Thanks to Women of Distinction for this opportunity to share my life with you the readers. 48 Women of Distinction Veva Hartsfield Recruiting and Staffing Chief Executive Officer at The Employers Choice Central AR H elping aspiring professionals find their niche in the job market has been Veva Hartsfield s specialty. As Chief Executive Officer at her company The Employers Choice she works closely with her recruiting team who help applicants find work and succeed in their fields. Possessing positive leadership skills and extensive expertise Veva s staffing team assists companies in hiring the bestqualified candidates available for various open positions. Although The Employers Choice was founded in 2011 cofounders Veva Hartsfield and Jeanette Hurley have been owners in the Recruiting and Staffing industry for 23 years. Ironically Jeanette was the first employee that Veva sent out over 30 years ago. Additionally Kelly Davis Operations Manager has been with them for over 17 years. Veva credits her team for their current success. She believes teamwork works The company offers both Temp-to-Hire and permanent placement in the Central Arkansas area. With more than 30 years experience Veva learned valuable professional lessons early in her career. Her first job after graduating from the University of Central Arkansas in 1982 was a straight commission position with a small employment agency. I definitely learned the importance of earning my keep there. I had to produce to have income which was a great lesson early in life. The biggest lesson I have learned in the recruiting and staffing industry is that appearances are often deceiving. Some of our best employees had very little to offer yet they were hungry for opportunity. Given a chance they became SUPERSTARS. To this day they still stop by and give us the credit for their successes. First and foremost God is Veva s foundation and inspiration in all areas of her life. During difficult times Veva also draws strength from the quote Sometimes success is a matter of just not giving up. Positive reinforcement is the secret of my success. I suppose you could say I have recruited myself out of a staffing job because I am not afraid to hire people as good as or better than me. A manager is only as successful as his staff members. Management by intimidation is lunacy in my opinion. Self-starters thrive in an environment where they are allowed creativity and the freedom to do well. Management by intimidation is what drove me to do my own thing. I have the best management team around and we love helping people We treat people the way we want to be treated. Our mission is to help people get from where they are to where they want to be. We help people find the employment they seek and to help companies find the people best suited for their jobs. By doing this we contribute to the wellbeing of individuals businesses our community and our state. 49 Women of Distinction Veva s philosophy is that life can be win-win for all. Veva studied Naturopathy through Clayton School of Natural Healing. As a non-practicing Traditional Naturopath she believes in proactive health and natural healing through a balanced diet good stimulation and activity rest and positive thoughts and expectations. A talented author she had an article titled Being Positively You published in a magazine for adolescents and teenagers called In Between Times. She researched and wrote a short simple user s guide for their wholesale aromatherapy company Hearts & Roses a company private labeled for natural grocery chains and specialty companies. Veva also enjoys writing poetry. As a young adult Veva participated in the Lifespring Self Effectiveness Program and learned how to create vision take committed action and achieve desired measureable results. This experience has helped her both in business and in life. She previously served as President of the Little Rock Early Riser Toastmaster Club a chapter of the international speech and leadership program. Striving to grow and expand as a professional facilitator and motivational speaker Veva is currently training with the SCORE organization a non-profit association providing counseling and workshops to small businesses. Q&A Q Do the employees you send to work pay a fee A The employee does not pay any fees. Q How long does an employee work before he she is available to become a permanent employee with the employer A Typically employees work 8-12 weeks before they become full time employees with our employers. Q How does the employee get paid A We pay employees weekly. We offer direct deposit to their personal bank accounts pay cards and actual paychecks. Q Why should I use a staffing service to get employees A The employer is not responsible for advertising recruiting benefits workers compensation and payroll expenses. All of these expenses are covered in the fee. Q How is a fee determined A The fee is generally determined as a percentage mark-up over the employees pay rate. Q Why do you need my worker compensation skill code A Our fees include covering the employee s workers compensation insurance which is determined by the work and work site. Q Do you offer the employee insurance A Although our employees are often hired within 120 days they are offered health insurance after 60 days effective on their 90 day of employment. Q Do all of your employers require previous work experience A We have employers who require no work experience just a willing attitude others have very specific work experience requirements. Q Why should employees work with you instead of another organization A The Employers Choice has 60 years combined experience in finding the right person for the right job. It is more than just a task to us our employees become part of our life. Q Why should employers work with you instead of another organization A Having so many years in the industry we have found that once we start working with an employer we find ourselves saying WE in reference to them. They also become part of our lives. I would like to share a legacy of hope with the world. Hopelessness is the worst place I ve ever been. It is dark and lonely there. It is also easy to be down on ourselves because criticism set backs failure loss happen but we are each of value in some way. We each make a mark in this world somehow -- whether we realize it or not. I want mine to be a mark of hope comfort and perhaps inspiration. 50 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. 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. 51 Women of Distinction Emily S. Carroll 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. 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. 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 52 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. 53 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. 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 Linda Lee Energy Infrastructure Travel Corporate Travel Manager - TransCanada Corporation 55 Women of Distinction Veva Hartsfield Recruiting and Staffing Chief Executive Officer at The Employers Choice 56 Women of Distinction