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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Denise McCormick Health and Beauty Independent Brand Partner with Nerium International Katie J. Martin Financial Services Industry Financial Advice & Planning Financial Advisor and Owner Martin Financial Solutions 2 Women of Distinction Denise McCormick Health and Beauty Independent Brand Partner with Nerium International Mt. Pleasant IA 3 Women of Distinction D enise McCormick bestows passion onto everything she accomplishes. As a loving mother inspirational teacher and successful entrepreneur Denise lives by the motto People don t care how much you know until they know how much you care Denise s rose-colored outlook on life stems from overcoming a multitude of challenges on her path to success. She suffered a terrible accident when she was 13 years old and grew up with a difficult family life. She made the conscious decision early on to make positive choices. She received the Danforth Outstanding Leadership award upon graduating high school and went on to college. Today Denise holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Iowa Wesleyan University and M.A.E. in Education from Viterbo University. She has 23 years experience teaching elementary school and ten years experience teaching undergraduate classes for Iowa Wesleyan University and instructing graduate classes for Drake University and the University of Northern Iowa. During her career Denise has contributed significantly to both the education and beauty industries. She authored and compiled a Multiple Intelligences course for Great Prairie Area Education Association for K-12 teachers through Drake University organized and guided a K-12 district book study graduate level course on reading comprehension for the Mt. Pleasant Community School District and currently uses brand awareness and marketing to grow Nerium s standing the marketplace. Her tireless efforts have not got unnoticed. In 2002 she received the Literacy Award for demonstrated contributions to language development and learning of literacy in the state of Iowa from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. Not one to rest on her past accomplishments in August of 2014 she participated in Jack Canfield s Breakthrough to Success training and is earning Jack Canfield s online Train the Trainer certification. She is an active member of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce and she is a Marketing and Public Relations consultant for the Iowa Women s Foundation. Additionally she is involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Iowa City. In her free time Denise puts her musical talents to work singing at her church weddings and funerals. She also volunteers for the Autumn Festival Committee a three year commitment which helped raised 65 000 yearly for the youth programs at her church. Denise and her loving husband John are celebrating 40 years of marriage. The couple has two daughters Michelle a pediatrician in Melbourne Australia at the Royal Melbourne Children s Hospital and Laura a Human Resource Manager in Denver Colorado at Whiting Petroleum. Denise adores spending time connecting with her five amazing grandchildren Elizabeth Evelyn Cary Benjamin and Henry. I really believe that we are in this world to give back to others and make a positive difference in our own lives and the lives of those we touch along the way she said. I am so excited to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. Denise began her second career at Nerium International as an Independent Brand Partner in October of 2012. The popular health and beauty company offers age-defying skincare products developed from the patented extract of the Nerium oleander plant. Denise was instantly taken by the company s breakthrough formula and connected with Nerium s philosophy Make People Better. The company s ideals matched perfectly with Denise s previous role as an elementary teacher and graduate school professor helping students achieve success. I have found a company in Nerium International that embraces my core values and beliefs in life she said. My newest venture into being an entrepreneur in the health and beauty field encompasses all of the skills and knowledge I gained by being an educator for 26 years. My philosophy carries over into this new adventure in my life. Our age defying products for the face mind and body are giving people the strength confidence and courage to make changes in their own lives and I am happy to be a part of making that happen I am passionate about people and helping them to reach their highest human potential for their lives she said. My three careers have all involved this passion. As a wife and mother I sought to help my family succeed in their lives and careers. As a teacher I wanted my students to reach their highest potential. As an entrepreneur I seek to help my Brand Partners with Nerium International grow their businesses and succeed in a personal growth journey along the way that makes all their dreams a reality. 4 Women of Distinction 5 Women of Distinction Alexis Johnson Education Co-founder Executive Director of International Language Institute of MA Inc. Northampton MA W ith an adventurous spirit and a passion for travel and culture Alexis Johnson launched her career teaching languages under interesting circumstances. After graduating from Georgetown University in 1970 Alexis set out to explore Europe. She had spent her junior year in Madrid travelling whenever possible and the wanderlust was not out of her system. After seven countries and lots of adventures she ran out of money in Barcelona. She interviewed at the Institute of North American Studies and landed a position teaching English to Spanish and Catalan speakers in January 1971. It was the beginning of a fabulous career. She returned to the U.S. in August of 1979 and earned a Masters in Teaching English and Spanish at World Learning s School for International Training in Vermont. There she explored the idea of student-centered learning and remained on campus to teach English for two years before being hired as the Academic Director of a language school 45 minutes to the south in Northampton Massachusetts. When the school closed she co-founded the non-profit International Language Institute of MA Inc. where she served as executive director for more than 31 years. In the beginning Alexis and her colleague Janice Rogers did it all. They taught did the bookkeeping put together a board of directors hired and trained part time instructors took students on excursions and did recruiting. They hired Caroline Gear as one of those part-time instructors and she has become the current executive director. Besides English they offered many world languages taught a language program at Hampshire College and began on-site language classes for area businesses and organizations. In 1989 they began to receive state money to teach free English classes to refugees and immigrants. They also do teacher training regionally nationally and internationally and run intensive and extensive SIT TESOL Certificate courses. ILI s mission is to promote intercultural understanding through high quality language teaching and teacher training. For me it is important to feel I am doing something for others while I do what I love teaching and training. Participants in our programs have inspired me to continue to explore the best ways to help people learn another language. Two years ago Alexis published her first book Playing with a Full Deck which is intended to be a birthday book for those turning 52 to 59 years old. Now retired Alexis has started a business called Lexi and Language. Through it she hopes to take small groups of older adults to Spain to study Spanish and enjoy Spanish culture in a relaxing way. She will also continue to teach and train teachers. Additionally Alexis is working on a second book Jokers Are Wild which is about retirement caregiving and dementia. As with the first book it s a humorous look at the world through Alexis perspective. I hope I can help people laugh and look at their lives through a new lens. 6 Women of Distinction Aruna Chaubal Medical Esthetics Beauty ABC LLC -- Owner Munster IN B eauty and skincare expert Aruna Chaubal has always been ahead of the curve in her industry. With more than 20 years experience working in the United States and living abroad Aruna is able to offer her clients unique beauty and skincare treatments that originated and gained popularity in Europe or Asia but are not yet readily available in the United States. As owner of ABC LLC Aruna offers a wide variety of services including European facials and many other advanced treatments including Microdermabrasion Mesotherapy Myolift chemical peels light therapy waxing services and permanent make up. The salon also offers hair services including haircuts hair coloring perms Keratin treatments and a multitude of cutting edge coloring techniques such as balayage and strobing. Aruna specializes in ethnic bridal makeovers and also teaches makeup application at the salon. Additionally she is a Reiki master and offers that service to clients as well. When I see how happy my clients are after my services it gives me motivation. A savvy businesswoman Aruna opened her first salon SHRINGAAR in 1993. The full-service spa was an immediate success but when her husband was relocated to France for work Aruna chose to close the business. Upon returning to the United States she picked up where she left off opening ABC LLC. Since her company has grown exponentially through satisfied clients who keep business buzzing through stellar word of mouth recommendations. My clients are very loyal to me. Many of them I gave their first haircut or facial. I have grandmas moms and daughters of the same family. I am booked weeks in advance and on an average I work 10 to 12 hours a day. Though I have done this for many years I am as eager today to wake up and do it. Aruna holds a Bachelor of Science a Masters of Business Administration and a Cosmetology and Esthetic License. While she graduated at the top of her class in the beginning of her career Aruna found it difficult to find meaningful work. My biggest challenge was the race barrier. When I started there was no Indian in the field in no one would hire me. My first place of employment in this industry was Turning Heads. I am ever grateful to the owner who gave me a chance when nobody was willing to. After that I have never looked back. It was very challenging initially but I stuck it out and now I am known in this area very well. I feel I am truly blessed. Continuing to be a leader in her field Aruna spends a lot of time reading and researching the next best anti-aging treatments. She also plans on offering laser services at her salon in the near future. Aruna has been married for 34 years to her husband Dr. Pinakin Chaubal a senior research manager at ArcelorMittal. The couple has two sons who are light of Aruna s life. First and foremost I am a mom. My life and my career revolve around my kids. I would like to leave behind the fact that I did my best as a wife daughter mom and a professional. I have always given it my 100 percent. 7 Women of Distinction Beckie Butcher Healthcare publishing Self-employed biography author and cookbook author Elgin Il B eckie Butcher is an accomplished self-employed biography and cookbook author. With 20 years experience in the healthcare industry as a lab technician Beckie started her career as a professional author in 2005 when she published a cookbook Feeding The Flock. After being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a friend encouraged Beckie to share her story to offer help and hope to others who suffer from the disease. In 2012 Beckie wrote a book sharing her experience with CFS a serious and misunderstood disease entitled My Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The biography was instantly well received making it to Number 5 in the medical genre on Amazon in June 2012. Beckie continues to enjoy writing about subjects she is passionate about including cooking and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is passionate about spreading the word about CFS as well as her treatment. Beckie attributes all the success she has experienced in her career to her love for people. Q&A Q What inspired you to do lab work A I always knew I wanted to do lab studies even as a little girl. Q What inspired you to write a cookbook A I have always loved to cook and I thought it would be fun. Q Why did you write your book My Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome A To reach out to those who suffer and let them know they are not alone. I want to let them know there is hope for a better life. Q How has chronic fatigue syndrome changed your life A It has deepened my faith immensely. I now realize that if you don t have God in your life you don t have anything. Q What has gotten you through your journey with CFS A People -- my mother my friends my family and my ministers. Having good people around you is very important. Q What advice do you have for other CFS sufferers A Try to come to terms with it. Accept help from those who love you. They want and need to help you. Don t shut them out. I am inspired by just about everybody I know but mostly my ministers. They let me know I can be an inspiration and remind me that no matter how sick I am I still have a purpose in life. My life still has meaning. In the coming years Beckie hopes spread awareness for the serious debilitating autoimmune disease Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She also hopes to use her expertise as a lab technician to do research for the disease. I would like to be remembered as someone who was kind and cared about others someone who always had a smile on her face and enjoyed life. 8 Women of Distinction Deborah Debbie A. Lovas Personal Defense Safety and Security Specialist KirBela Global Enterprises LLC DBA Warren OH n avid gun enthusiast who loves target shooting and belongs to a sportsman s club Deborah Debbie A. Lovas spent years working in loss prevention for a large department store chain. Never a dull moment she loved her career. It kept her on her toes and she enjoyed the adrenaline it gave her. Working in loss prevention I had taken a few self-defense courses to protect myself and the training I received included the use of stun guns and pepper spray Debbie recalled. Since that time I ve met so many men and women who don t feel comfortable handling guns yet I strongly believe that every American citizen should be armed to protect themselves. With so many people opposed to guns I figured there must something out there that these people could use to protect themselves. That s when the lightbulb came on. Many months later in the summer of 2015 I founded KirBela Global Enterprises LLC. Demonstrating at area gun shows maintaining her website selling products on eBay hosting parties and relying on word of mouth Debbie has made a great business for herself doing what she loves and more importantly something she feels very strongly about. A Q&A Q Why is your field vital A People need to protect themselves from all sorts of dangers whether it be a would-be rapist home invader or mugger. Having some sort of self-protection device a gun a knife pepper spray stun gun baton keychain defense etc. empowers individuals just enough to give the confidence that s needed to defend themselves or someone else. Q Why stun guns and pepper spray Why NOT guns A Many people are opposed to or fear guns. For those people there must be another means of self-defense. Q Are the products you carry legal in all 50 states A As of this writing stun guns which are different than tasers are legal to carry in every state (including PR and most of the VI) except HI IL MA MI NJ NY RI and WI. Legal for home use carrying prohibited. TASER subject to requirement of handgun license Q How can you better educate your customers regarding self-defense A When someone purchases a self-defense device I do my best to explain the proper way to handle the item how to deploy it if necessary and what to do once it s deployed. I believe customer service needs to be back at the forefront she added. To me that means keeping my customers after I ve made the sale. It s the little things that keeps them coming back and referring their friends. KirBela Global Enterprises LLC also sells a host of other products online like apparel eyewear jewelry outdoor equipment protective gear and lighting. There is truly something for everyone. Trained in shooting sports Debbie is also a National Rifle Association Certified Range Safety Officer. She loves spending time with her husband Larry a retired teacher her children and especially her seven grandchildren and Dad who all make her heart smile. 9 Women of Distinction Dawn Leger Ph.D. Writer grants and fiction Grants Administrator City of Bristol CT freelance writer textbook editor co-owner and co-publisher of Lefora Publishing LLC Bristol CT D r. Dawn Leger is a lifelong storyteller and lover of the written word. Throughout her 20-year long career has applied her talents and expertise to countless paid and volunteer positions delivering professional writing communications and editorial services. She currently serves as the Grants Administrator for the City of Bristol Connecticut. In her role Dawn is responsible for writing and administering grants to support various government programs. As an independent consultant she also assists nonprofits with researching and applying for grants and has worked as a marketing and development consultant for agencies and individuals embarking on new ventures. Dawn holds a B.A. and Master s Degree from University of Connecticut and earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is also a freelance writer who has edited several important textbooks in the field of biomechanics and ergonomics. Additionally she has published two novels titled In Flight and Eagle Scouting and is currently penning a mystery series. A breast cancer survivor Dawn has a nononsense attitude toward life. Through her writing she hopes to create characters that are real and truly represent the human condition in its essence. For many years Dawn was involved in the Women & Girls Fund of the Main Street Community Foundation as well as other organizations dedicated to improving the lives and prospects of women in her community. She has held many leadership roles in the WGF including Chair of the Advisory Board. In 2005 she received the PLUS award for Positive Leadership and Unselfish Service by the Bristol Boys & Girls Club Family Center. Additionally Dawn was a founding member of the Joint Artists Collaborative of Bristol JACOB and is the co-owner and co-publisher of Lefora Publishing LLC an independent publisher that is dedicated to printing works of fiction and nonfiction that illuminate the New England experience. I ve always been a writer. Writing fiction is my passion and my avocation. I want to make people laugh and enjoy the story I have to tell. I also want to portray the characters that inhabit my pages as realistically as threedimensional human and not necessarily always likable folks. No one is simply a villain or a hero in my world. I hope that someone remembers a book of mine that they read and that it changed their life that I somehow was the steward for change that made a difference in the city where I work or for a person I worked with or someone I mentored... in short I hope that I leave this place better than I found it. When I make my fortune through the successful sale of my books I will establish a philanthropic fund that supports women s creativity. Someday I hope to teach creative writing again and to lecture wherever I can about the importance for women to find their unique creative outlets and pursue the dreams that make their lives special. 10 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Where do you get your ideas for your books A Characters come to me over time developed from people I meet situations I learn about questions I have about the world and they begin to speak to me and ask for me to write their story. The ideas come from many what if scenarios eavesdropped conversations news items and just life happening around me. Q How do you handle writer s block A I believe that if you develop a daily habit of writing you can overcome a block by simply sitting at the computer and writing through whatever is impeding your progress. Just write and as Natalie Goldberg said in her book Writing Down the Bones keep your hand moving. Q Do you use social media A I believe it is important to sell oneself and to be part of the large conversation that is taking place on the Internet. It s the best and easiest way to market oneself. But it can also be an incredible distraction and should be monitored and used only as a tool. Q Why don t you blog A Blogging can be a great way to build an audience online but it takes a great deal of time and dedication. In my case I ve decided that my time is more wisely spent on writing at this point in my life. When I have more free time I will start a blog but not until I have a really compelling topic and blocks of regular time to devote to it. Q Who s your favorite writer A I have many favorites among them Laurie R. King Alice Hoffman and Gwendolyn Brooks. Q What kind of training do you need for your position A It helps to have a good command of the English language but that s also what editors are for so as long as you re willing to allow yourself to be corrected for grammar all you really need to be a writer is a love of language and the desire to express yourself. Q I want to write but it s too difficult. What should I do A Not everyone can write a novel or a story. However if you feel that you want to give it a try sign up for a creative writing class and see what happens. Or simply begin by writing your memories of significant events that you wish to record for posterity. If it s truly difficult for you to sit and put your thoughts on paper then perhaps there s another way for you to find creative expression that would be more suitable. I don t believe that one needs to suffer for art. If it doesn t feel fulfilling while you are doing it or come easily to you then try something else such as painting or sculpture. Q Why fiction A I don t know. I ve tried other things as exercises but this long form seems to be the most comfortable medium for me. I can let a story unfold at length and see where it goes and allow the characters to reveal themselves over time rather than in a short story form where things are much more constrained. I did publish a prose poem that was very different from anything I ve written before or since and it was an exercise that just happened to work. Q Do you have plans to write sequels for your first two novels A No although there have been many requests for a sequel to In Flight. I have also thought about trying to write the screenplays to both of the novels because I believe they would be great films but I think that it would be too much like re-writing them because I already see them in my head. Putting in the visual directions and figuring out how to do that sometimes sounds like fun but mostly it sounds like something I ve already lived through with these characters. Once I am finished with them I m really finished. But if someone wanted to buy the movie rights I d be willing to work with them to help put the story on the big screen. Particularly In Flight being set in Turkey would be very interesting but the tension of the story in Eagle Scouting also could make for a pretty good film. Q What s next for you A For the past eleven months I have focused on writing and polishing my new mystery series which features Art History Prof. Cassie Thornton. I ve written four books in the series and just started on the fifth but before I get too far into the next episode in Cassie s adventures I want to turn my attention to publishing them. I think that Cassie s a thinking woman s Stephanie Plum and I don t mean to denigrate Janet Evanovich s books with that comparison by any means. My series is also intended to be light and funny but the character of Cassie has a little more depth. Cassie is struggling to find her way in a difficult world where bad things happen and she s constantly being challenged by folks from her past who want to drag her back into a shadier kind of life. Like Stephanie Plum Cassie has a police detective boyfriend whose presence keeps her on the straight and narrow but she s also grappling with her Gypsy roots - and this makes for a very entertaining look at New York City s academic and publishing world. I hope to be able to bring these books to a large readership in the coming year and thus find an bigger audience for all of my fiction. 11 Women of Distinction Latangela is the founder and president of Kreative Christian Works Inc. The organization is dedicated to imparting knowledge that prepares clients and students to obtain the results they desire. Kreative Christian Works encompasses much more than sharing information it teaches critical thinking as a method to evaluate access and verify ideas and events. This type of teaching ultimately transforms individuals and allows them discover their values purposes talents and gifts in order to appreciate cultural diversity and to embrace their self-worth. My desire to share knowledge that transform lives is the premise for all professions and endeavors since I was a child. It is and always has been my passion to make a positive difference in this world. Latangela s charismatic personality shines through her work as a radio personality on The Globe 87.9FM and LOVE860am ATL Connect. She is host of Inspirational Talk with Dr. Tangi which she uses as a platform to help people change their lives. Latangela who hold a Doctorate of Arts in Humanities and African American Studies is also a celebrated author. A poet and children s book author she shares her wisdom and insight in her powerful book Forever Seventeen The Bianca Dillard Story and A Pilot Study of the Impact of Sexism on African American Women Ministers in Methodism. A lifelong lover of learning Latangela is also an inspiring instructor and undergraduate advisor at Clark Atlanta University and Paine College where teaches undergraduate and graduate history courses engages in scholarship or creative research activities and provides students with academic advising. Civic-minded Latangela is involved with a number of enriching organizations including the Global Peace Platform Association the National Council for Black Studies the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People The American Association for Blacks in Higher Education the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education the Georgia Writers Association the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and The National Black and Latino Council. Additionally Latangela is an avid volunteer for the African American Panoramic Experience Museum and for the Attorney Michael B. King Legal Spelling Bee. A n innate passion for helping others thrive both professionally and personally is in Dr. Latangela L. Coleman-Crossfield s blood. Latangela L. Coleman-Crossfield Media & Education Radio Personality The Globe 87.9FM & LOVE860am ATL Connect Talk Show Inspirational Talk with Dr. Tangi President & Founder Kreative Christian Works Inc. Formal Instructor & Undergraduate Advisor at Clark Atlanta University & Paine College Atlanta GA Q&A Q Why are radio & TV talk show relevant A This is an opportunity to showcase the positive side of media e.g. one way in which we seek beyond facts and unearth truths to provide a platform for social justice and means by which the voiceless can be heard. Q Why is coaching and mentoring relevant important A In a world of ever changing technology cultures are merging and in some instances clashing. People are seeking solutions that will assist them with coping with racial tensions economic disparity strategies to overcoming fear and so much more. It is my desire to provide a service that will assist people with obtaining the result they desire. Q What are your future endeavors A I am pursuing a movie deal for my book Forever Seventeen The Bianca Dillard Story and other novels I have written. I am also pursuing publication for my 7 manuscripts. Q What is your favorite scripture A Psalms 42 is my favorite scripture in the midst of challenges that are guaranteed to come God is and always will be my source. My legacy will be that of a mentor inspirational coach author poet educator radio personality talk show host entrepreneur philanthropist and humanitarian who share knowledge that inspired and transformed lives across the globe. 12 Women of Distinction Jennifer L. Bordeaux Legal Family Law Director of Public Relations - New Direction Family Law Raleigh NC My role with New Direction Family Law allows me the opportunity to help educate people on the importance of having a supportive legal team by your side when going through a life changing experience such as divorce. It s that connection and the opportunity to help empower someone to find resolution in change that drives my passion to be a voice and proponent for family law. Jennifer was coming up on a year of unemployment when she decided to take matters into her own hands and attend the Paralegal Certificate Program at the University of North Carolina. Jennifer s previous background in criminal justice helped her as she pursued a paralegal career though she eventually began to reconsider her path due to the stress that came with the job. As she prepared to resign she learned that her firm was developing a marketing department and instead landed a position in business development after speaking with the managing partners. In her role as Director of Public Relations at New Direction Family Law Jennifer s main job is to educate promote and engage the community and people in need of a strong and supportive legal team. She attends networking events manages social media and other internet marketing strategies and fosters relationships within the community. Jennifer s work gives New Direction Family Law the opportunity to assist those going through stressful times in their lives while helping change the way society perceives divorce. My advice for those looking to get started in their respective field is don t settle for something you don t care about -- no matter what industry you re in. John F. Kennedy once said Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Educational and professional requirements are constantly evolving and sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. Sometimes you have to go find change instead of letting the change find you. A s Director of Public Relations at New Direction Family Law Jennifer Bordeaux is dedicated to educating the community on family law. Regarding her education Jennifer received a BS in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University in 2007 and an MS in Criminal Justice from East Carolina University in 2012. She earned a North Carolina General Instructor Certification in 2012 North Carolina Paralegal Certification in 2014 and North Carolina State Bar Paralegal Certification in 2014. In her leisure Jennifer enjoys traveling trying new restaurants and microbreweries seeing live music and spending quality time with her friends and family. She also volunteers at her family s annual Stan the Man Golf Tournament which raises money for Special Forces military members and their families. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it s easy to forget to live life to the fullest. I have Carpe Diem tattooed on my right foot as a constant reminder to make the best of every situation embrace the ones you love and seize the day I would like to leave a legacy of honesty acceptance and simplicity. Be honest with yourself and others accept the truth and differences in you and others that make this world a beautiful place to live in and find the humor joy and peace in the simple aspects of life. Don t over complicate things it will be easier to accept the truth. 13 Women of Distinction Jennifer Andrews Foody MBA Outsourced Bookkeeping and accounting services President Owner of Bottom Line Financial Services Inc. Wexford PA lready established in the corporate finance world profit and growth expert Jennifer Andrews Foody sought to break free from the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work structure and establish her own business that would allow her to pursue her professional aspirations while investing more time into raising her young family. After 20 years of employment at prestigious global corporations and family owned companies she founded Bottom Line Financial Services Inc. As President and Owner of Bottom Line Jennifer provides highly personalized services to diverse clientele. She works closely with individuals and small businesses to customize financial plans that fit their specific requirements. Through the company Jennifer offers bookkeeping services accounting support payroll solutions business consulting -- and more. I ve always loved working with numbers -- ever since I was a kid. After working for over 20 years in a number of accounting and finance roles it was a natural fit for me to start a business that involved my love for numbers. But more importantly I also have a passion for helping others. My business has allowed me to do both. Not only do I help small businesses with their accounting needs but I m also helping small businesses to become more profitable and more efficient. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management with a minor in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA degree from Purdue s Krannert Graduate School of Management with an emphasis in Finance and Operations Management. Additionally Jennifer is a Certified QuickBooks Online Pro Advisor through Intuit. This certification enables her to better support clients who use QuickBooks. Networking is an essential part of Jennifer s business as such she is a member of several industry-related organizations including the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Women s Business Network. A Jennifer is dedicated to her local community in which she lives and works. During the past 10 years she has volunteered her time and talents as a Board Member of several local organizations. Jennifer currently serves as the Co-Treasurer for the Ingomar Franklin Park Athletic Association an organization offering leagues and programs for baseball and softball. My faith plays such an important role in my life. It helps me to embrace reality and the things that I cannot change. In my professional life I ve had many challenges to overcome with starting a business from the ground up. But I had the courage to quit my full time job to start Bottom Line. That courage didn t come from an absence of fear but rather an abundance of faith. My strong belief system and faith have gotten me to where I am today. Family is Jennifer s first priority. She is a single mother to three wonderful children who enjoy living life to the fullest in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. I intend to leave a legacy of integrity. I hold myself to the highest ethical standards established by the accounting profession and treat each one of my client s money as if it were my own money. I will not compromise my values for any client. Integrity is the foundation of my business -- doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. 14 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why is bookkeeping one of the most essential tasks of any business A Bookkeeping is necessary to prepare financial statements and to analyze the financial state of a business. Bookkeeping allows you to see whether your earnings are enough to cover your expenses and gives you information that guides your financial decisions. Proper bookkeeping is also extremely important for preparing an annual tax return. Without good bookkeeping practices tax return work is more difficult and it is also more likely that discrepancies will occur on the tax return -- which then in turn can lead to an IRS audit. Q What specific services are provided by Bottom Line for businesses that do not have an accounting staff A Bottom Line is an affordable alternative to an in-house bookkeeper accountant Controller or CFO. I offer parttime Controller CFO services which is a great service for a growing business that has reached a point where they need professional financial advice and can t afford a full-time Controller or CFO. For smaller businesses Bottom Line offers a wide range of outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services so that the business does not need to employ someone internally. Q Why should a business outsource their bookkeeping and accounting A The primary benefit of outsourcing your accounting function is the cost savings. Even though there are costs involved with outsourcing the financial savings are significant. For small businesses outsourcing is typically more cost effective than paying to employ a part-time or even a full time bookkeeper or accountant. Outsourcing actually saves your business money in a couple of different ways Outsourcing reduces your payroll and overhead costs. There are no payroll taxes or employee benefits to worry about. And many of the indirect and overhead costs associated with maintaining a staff can be avoided. Outsourcing reduces your year-end work and fees. Your year-end work with your CPA is typically significantly reduced resulting in lower accounting fees and faster turn-around time in preparing tax returns. Q How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace for accounting services A I operate Bottom Line with the tagline Engineering Profitability . I am not just merely a bookkeeper . I am a profit and growth expert and a trusted business partner that offers value added accounting services. I help business owners to lower their taxes manage cash flow and increase profits. My services are not an operating expense to a business but rather an investment. I have combined my unique background of engineering and practical accounting experience to help save businesses money by offering cost savings opportunities and suggesting ways to improve their business in addition to processing the accounting transactions for the business. My clients benefit from getting personalized quality service beyond comparison. I perform all of the work which adds a personal touch as well as ensuring consistency in the work performed. I m able to eliminate the inefficiencies rework and errors that can occur when multiple staff is working on a client. Starting my own business has given me the ability to be a parent first as well as providing me with the opportunity to financially support a family on my own. 15 Women of Distinction Jo Coppola Wellness Awareness and Education Graduate Handwriting Analyst and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Philadelphia PA G raduate Handwriting Analyst and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Jo Coppola is an expert in the field of Wellness Awareness and Education. Jo was working as an Alcohol Counselor when she first became interested in Handwriting Analysis. She believed learning extra tools to work with people suffering from addiction would be beneficial to her ability to help those people improve their personal wellness in the recovery process. She enrolled in one introductory class in 1986 and quickly decided to pursue the entire coursework to earn a degree as a Graduate Handwriting Analyst. As owner of Voyage of the Pen Jo helps her client s learn more about their personalities through journaling. She provides individual handwriting analysis which allows people to connect with their emotions and embark on a path to recovery and self-healing. Through her readings she reveals client s strengths and weaknesses physical illness blockages in the heart or brain or any symptom that the body internalizes so he or she may become a more effective author in their life story. I continue to love my career both as a Handwriting Analyst and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I feel very strongly that each of us has an opportunity to help others to help themselves. It is my joy to give an analysis that responds to the deepest part of their personality and energy their soul and their purpose. It is a skill and an art form for me. It gives me permission to give permission to the receiver of the reading to fall in love with who they are It is an incredible honor to have a passion that speaks so highly to the raising up of personal vibration and purpose for interested people. Jo holds a Full Certification in Handwriting Analysis and Document Examination and Psychology of Handwriting from Felician College. She is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has a Master s Degree in Psychology. Jo has been practicing Handwriting Analysis for 27 years and has taught and given lectures for colleges and universities high school classes employee workshops and health fairs throughout New York State. 16 Women of Distinction Additionally she is a member of the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA) American Mental Health Counselors Association American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF) as well as the American Association of Handwriting Analysis (AAHA). She is also a Honored Member of Continental Who s Who and a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). She encourages those aspiring in the field to do their research. Q&A Q How is handwriting analysis a valuable business in today s standards A Handwriting analysis is a vehicle to assist people in not only understanding themselves as such by the brain s ability to assess personality but to see how intimate our relationship with ourselves can be through handwriting. In our business lives handwriting analysis furthers to help us become more suited to understanding that different personality types are what we all attract or detract. Understanding that in any personal or professional relationship what is not seen is the depth of a personality and in handwriting analysis the more true person is revealed. Understanding personality types is an important tool to have in communication with all people. Q Explain more of the science behind handwriting analysis that most often is misinterpreted A Handwriting Analysis is the uncovering of the emotional physical mental and psychological status of a person at the time of the written sample. The brain is able through the hand or other writing vehicle to show scientifically what is happening in the psyche and how that is interpreted through the neural pathways in the consciousness of wiring and the sub-consciousness of thoughts and feelings. Every thing on the paper is part of the analysis and tells the specifics of the layers of personality and how those traits influence our true nature. Q Handwriting Analysis is often thought of as a psychic form of interpreting a person. What it is really about A The idea that it is a psychic form has been argued because when the person analyzed is hearing profound details of who they are on a deep level it appears to come from another place that is not recognizable or in some ways normal. I find that when reading a person I am introducing them to themselves for the first time in a language that speaks of their truth. This is often a very valuable and profound experience. I am also opening up an opportunity for that same person to begin to journal or continue to journal and stay connected to what was revealed through the reading. Q I am curious about having my handwriting analyzed but I am also nervous about the interpretation. What should I know to alleviate my fear of having this done A Handwriting Analysis is one of the most incredible experiences a person can have You are getting an opportunity to hear things about yourself straight from your brain It is remarkable because the Handwriting Analyst gets a perfect picture of many parts of who you are through the many symbols and specific details of the writing on the blank piece of paper. It is a snapshot of personality which explores feelings and health energy and attitudes. It identifies with the more powerful person behind the writing. It is considered frozen emotions which when saved will last a lifetime. That is why journaling is so important. That is why people do not throw away love letters Finally an analysis allows a person to embrace those qualities that have always been there but are reintroduced in another way. The analysis brings up the life that desires to embrace it all deeply within the brain the personality awaits to shine through If anyone wants to learn about graphology it is important to read. There are many books available on the topic It takes many years to cultivate an understanding and practice in handwriting analysis. Most people also have a degree in Psychology which furthers the understanding of human behavior and symbolic interpretation. My degree in Handwriting Analysis is under the auspice of Psychology of Handwriting. It is my sincere belief that handwriting analysis is a valuable tool to share with anyone interested in investigating the science art and makings of the human personality. Jo is a humanitarian with a compassionate view on everything and everyone she encounters. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and will be completing her second Habitat project this year in Montana. I believe we are all here sharing this planet and good works that involve helping others seems to equal a happiness we cannot buy or seek on our own. My legacy would be that I lived a life that included helping people with self-awareness and self-discovery. It is simply a wonderful thing to see how much a person can gain by hearing the wonderful interpretation about who they are through handwriting analysis I would also like to draw more attention to analysis through either art or handwriting or both giving people the freedom to integrate the right brain in their own unique expression. 17 Women of Distinction Joan Tweed Holistic Therapy Owner Choices in Holistic Therapy Spring Valley CA J oan started a new career in 1988 not long after the devastating passing of her husband when she knew she wasn t going to be able to retire as early as they had planned. At that time she had a very good secretarial job but felt a need to change to a field that she would actually enjoy. A friend of Joan s suggested massage therapy and it just felt right so she enrolled in the Institute for Psychostructural Balancing in Pacific Beach California even though she had never even experienced a massage herself. All living things have an energy field. The human one however is a little more complex than most. Joan Tweed a certified Healing Touch Practitioner and owner of Choices in Holistic Therapy discusses chakras and meridians as well as the interactive field that contains our flesh and bones organs and other systems. She is part of a program that teaches a variety of energy system based modalities from many cultures that she learned while becoming a Healing Touch Practitioner. After becoming a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association she needed CEUs to satisfy their education requirements and she took a class at UCSD Extension in something called Healing Touch because it fit into her busy schedule and it just felt right also. Working days as a secretary part-time as a massage therapist and attending classes on weekends it took Joan three years to become a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner. Healing Touch is a program developed by Janet Mentgen a registered nurse who was a tremendous inspiration to Joan. This all led to having her own lucrative business and enjoying life all the while. Her biggest challenge when first starting her own business was promoting her services in her community. Despite her lack of sales skills she found herself easily connecting with other business people which included an acupuncturist who offered her the opportunity to teach classes on the human energy field explaining how each one of the seven main chakras works with an endocrine gland to maintain healthy functioning in the body and generally about how to maintain your health using self-care methods. These two women have been referring clients back and forth ever since. Still working at age seventy-four Joan does it all practitioner scheduler bookkeeper and laundry woman all rolled into one She feels her biggest accomplishment was getting Healing Touch started at Stand Down an annual effort by veterans organizations to get veterans off the streets and back into society. This came about because she volunteered at VVSD (Vietnam Veterans of San Diego now Veterans Village of San Diego) which put her in the right place at the right time . Stand Down has spread throughout the states and the complementary medicine tent has expanded right along with it. Other Healing Touch practitioners organize volunteers for this annual event now but Joan still volunteers when available. A mother of two beautiful daughters grandmother of six and great grandmother of one (so far) Joan still has a passion for helping others continues to mentor other women is an active member in various organizations and a participant in community events. Joan Tweed hopes to someday be remembered as an example to others of how people can pick themselves up and start over at any time in their life. She states I switched careers when I was 55 years old so don t ever think it s too late to change 18 Women of Distinction Joyce M. Kuczma MA LMFT Mental Healthcare Marriage and Family Therapy Sole Proprietor Joyce Kuczma LMFT North Huntington PA J oyce M. Kuczma MA LMFT worked as a Medical Biller for 15 years before gradually getting into volunteer ministry with youth families and seeking ministerial education. While continuing to work she followed a calling to full-time education in human services and theology. In 2007 she was working as Therapeutic Staff supporting lead clinicians in behavioral therapy with children in schools and homes. She also worked toward obtaining a Master s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010. By 2014 she was the sole-proprietor of her own practice which is in full swing conducting initial assessments diagnosing and providing emotional mental behavioral and spiritual healing to families couples and individuals of all ages. I m an outspoken woman with a calling to ministry preferably in the Catholic Church Joyce said who holds a BA in Theology Religious Studies. I live my life with high ethical and moral standards which isn t always appreciated in bigger businesses institutions. One reason I ended up on my own was because my last employer the owner of a large secular agency and I didn t see eye to eye. Now in private practice I ve lowered my fees to help more people developed and facilitated self-help social skills support groups for children at under 10 per hour and provided in-home services to elderly or incapacitated clients who chose a self-pay option for the convenience. I also offer a more holistic assessment guiding some who believe they need clinical therapy but thrive on Spiritual Direction only. These flexible ministerial approaches would not be possible at big secular agencies. Joyce s original inspiration to work in mental health grew out of personal experiences of adversity and abuse. Hoping to learn as much as possible about human behavior she felt compelled to get involved. She also wanted to help her older sister who was diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness in 1980. Aspiring to help women define their own identity in society and helping families learn to respect the value of every person so that ALL children can grow into adulthood knowing they are loved and valued Joyce continues to press on. God is the most important reason I am who I am and what I am Joyce added. Joyce is affiliated with American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She is a Liturgical Minister at her church teaches religious education to adolescents facilitates a Griefshare Program belongs to a weekly interfaith bible study and regularly participates in silent retreats. She spends a great amount of time praying loves outdoor activities and thoroughly enjoys life. Born and raised in a low income environment in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Joyce was the youngest of six children. Her minimally educated second generation Italian immigrant parents did everything they knew how to support their children. Joyce s father died when she was 13. At age 17 Joyce became pregnant married and gave birth to their first son soon after. She had their second son when she was 22. By the grace of God both are amazing men raising their two adorable grandsons with their equally amazing wives Joyce said happily. 19 Women of Distinction Katie J. Martin Financial Services Industry Financial Advice & Planning Financial Advisor and Owner Martin Financial Solutions Pittsburgh PA F inancial Advisor and Owner of Martin Financial Solutions Katie J. Martin does more than just help clients invest she helps them charter a course toward their future. Her attention to detail and willingness to truly listen and fully understand her clients needs has enabled her to have a lasting impact on their lives. With a focus on Retirement Income Planning Katie s primary objective isn t to sell a product or offer up an easy solution but to learn as much as possible about her clients dreams and future plans and together determine a roadmap taking clients from where they are to where they want to be. As a woman operating in a profession that has historically been dominated by men Katie often sensed that doing things their way felt a little awkward until she realized her strength lies in doing what comes natural building relationships with her clients rather than simply performing transactions. It was then that she recognized that female clients prefer working with someone who listens and cares and can relate to their personal challenges and experiences. I have always loved finding solutions that can make life easier and make things go a little more smoothly she said. My goal is to help reduce the anxiety surrounding financial decisions. I realize that my clients financial concerns are of the utmost importance to them and I address their needs with the same care and attention that I would give to my own. Katie is aware that there is no more powerful advertising than a satisfied client. I reassure my clients that I hear understand and share their priorities and that I will take all of the appropriate steps to get the job done. Katie has been serving clients in the financial services industry since 1999 and holds Series 6 63 and 65 registrations with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as well as a life insurance license in the states of Pennsylvania California Ohio Maryland and North Carolina. She is a member of the Women s Business Network the National Association of Professional Women POWER of Southpointe and the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. In her free time Katie loves being outdoors and playing with her fourth child a Golden Retriever named Champ. Martin Financial Solutions 1910 Cochran Road Manor Oak Two Ste. 520 Pittsburgh PA 15220 412-341-2888 ext. 316 Securities and investment advisory services offered through H. Beck. Inc. Member FINRA SIPC. H. Beck Inc. and Martin Financial Solutions are not affiliated. Once I realized that this is an area of strength I was able to turn a challenge into an asset Katie said. The clients with whom I work best are women in roughly my age-range some of whom are small business owners who are also trying to balance family life pay for higher education for their children and save for a secure retirement. A wife and mother Katie draws her inspiration from the challenges she and her husband Jim have faced in raising three children to be independent and financially responsible adults. 20 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Do you have an area of specialty A An area I like to focus on is Retirement Income Planning. Leaving the workforce and shifting from accumulating savings to drawing an income from your investments can be very unsettling for anyone and it s something you do not want to approach in a willy-nilly fashion. When and how you take withdrawals can have a huge impact on how long the money will last. I can help bring clarity and a sense of security during this time of transition and reduce the anxiety around this major life event Q Does a person have to be ready to retire before they need your services A No In fact we have the best success with those who start early but I work with people in all stages of life from those just getting started to those needing guidance on how best to draw retirement income from the money that they have accumulated. Q What is a common concern that you hear from prospects and clients A The most common concern is the fear of outliving one s money. One way to alleviate this is to prepare a Retirement Analysis a segment of a comprehensive financial plan to show how long their money will last at various withdrawal rates and then create an income strategy which helps to provide them with a sense of security. Q Who would you say you have helped the most A I love helping women in the 45-65 age range basically me because women often face a unique set of challenges. Their retirement savings may fall short due to taking time off to raise children. In addition their wages are often impacted by the gender gap . And women usually express the most concern over a fear of running out of money. These women are the ones who need my help the most. Q What should a person do when they change jobs if they had a company-sponsored retirement plan with their former employer A They should seek out help from a financial advisor who can explain the pros and cons of each of the options available to them. They will have several options available to them so good solid advice is essential. Q What types of accounts do you typically open for clients A The types of accounts I help clients open would include Traditional IRA ROTH IRA 529 Education Plan Individual & Joint accounts and Trust accounts. And the types of investments that we might use could include mutual funds variable annuities fixed or indexed annuities and managed investment portfolios as well as insurance contracts. Q Does Martin Financial Solutions offer fee-based planning A Yes if a client desires comprehensive planning we can do as much or as little as their situation requires in the areas of asset allocation analysis retirement income planning education planning estate planning and insurance analysis. Q Do you also work with Small Business Owners A I do I help small business owners realize the tax advantages that contributions to retirement plans can make on their bottom line. I help them set up retirement plans for themselves and for their employees and show them the benefits both to the company through tax savings as well as to their future selves and to their employees futures at retirement time. Q What have you found to be the most effective way to grow your business A I have a number of clients for whom I know I ve done a great job. I let them know that I am expanding my business and taking on new clients and that by way of introduction not only would they be helping me but they would also be helping those they care about. A personal introduction from a satisfied client is by far the most effective way as well as the most rewarding way to grow my business. Q What would you say sets you apart from others in your field A I feel what differentiates me is my ability to put myself in my clients shoes because I ve been where they are for example trying to balance the budget while putting three kids through college and I want to bring the survival skills I developed to others in the same situation I spend time each day thinking about the impact that I can make in their lives. And when the going gets tough I never forget what brought me into the financial services business in the first place the reward of knowing that I can make a difference. 21 Women of Distinction Linda Maccariella Education Senior Career Teacher ESL Teacher - School District of Philadelphia (retired) Philadelphia PA T hrough her work as an ESL teacher in the School District of Philadelphia from 1972-2004 Linda Maccariella managed to positively impact the lives of many children by teaching them English upon their arrival to the United States. Linda held several positions during her 32 year teaching career including Small Learning Community Coordinator Voyager Reading Coach Program Support Teacher and Instructional Support Teacher. In addition to teaching English as a Second Language her responsibilities in these positions varied from mentoring teachers who needed help to developing strategies and interventions for at-risk students. Each of your students is special in some way and it should be your goal to find that area in which a student can shine and provide the student with opportunities to do so. Let your classroom evolve organically with children s work being among the materials used to teach skills. Children learn best what they own. Encourage your students to take risks and let them know that without taking risks they will not be grow. With the classroom set up properly and with appropriate resources children will be able to teach themselves and teach each other when you are not working with the entire class. Teachers should view themselves more as facilitators than instructors. Following her retirement in 2004 Linda worked as an independent contractor providing staff development for Training Learning and Consulting. She also taught ESL to adults at Northeast High School and Spanish to healthcare workers. Linda s biggest inspiration throughout her career were her students and their families who remained dedicated in their mission to begin new successful lives in the United States. The gratefulness that was shown by the families of her students was helpful in overcoming the challenges of her job. Linda considered it her mission to empower students with the skills to become life-long learners. As a way for students to continue their learning after the school day Linda wrote a parent guide titled A Parent s Guide to Early Literacy How to Help Your Child Become a Successful Reader in Grades K 1 and 2 . In this guide which Linda had copyrighted by the Library of Congress she outlines for parents the qualities good readers must develop as well as reading strategies to be reinforced at home. Regarding her own education Linda received a B.S. in Secondary Education - English in 1970 and a certification in Spanish K-12 in 1972 both from West Chester University. In 1985 she received her M. Ed. in Bilingual Counseling Psychology from Temple University and was eventually designated a Senior Career Teacher by the Philadelphia School District in 1990. I believe that teaching is an art more than it is a science. A teacher can create something very special every day that is not in the lesson plan. I cared so much about each student s psyche and progress and my legacy lives on in the selfconfidence pride and enthusiasm my students possess. I never get tired of hearing from former students Miss Mack remember when we. . . In her leisure Linda enjoys the arts crafting cinema traveling and dining out. She also volunteers as a hugger for babies who may experience developmental issues without proper care in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Pennsylvania Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 22 Women of Distinction Lynn V. Amicucci Real Estate Interior Design Staging Organizing President Founder Vernace Designs Rochester MA s a child Lynn V. Amicucci was very tidy and organized and she d drive her mother crazy by constantly cleaning the house rearranging and organizing everything. When it was time to go to college she planned to pursue interior design but her advisor recommended against it because it was a wasted field . Reluctantly Lynn listened. A I started my first company a house cleaning business Cleaning...With a Personal Touch while in college. I had five employees Lynn said. But it wasn t until years later and after raising my two boys that I took the plunge to start Vernace Designs. As President and Founder of Vernace Designs Lynn uses her talents as an Interior Designer Stager and Organizer creating unique spaces for homeowners preparing homes for sale and organizing them. Creating harmonious spaces is more than just a job for Lynn it s her passion. I once worked with a hoarder and compulsive buyer Lynn remembers who hadn t let anyone in her condo for years. We discussed setting goals and in six months we were ready for her to host her first dinner party. It was a long road but also a huge success and it left such a huge impact on me and the validation of what I do. Q&A Q How can looking at house plans by an interior designer be more cost effective when building a new home A There ve been many times when builders are just suggesting designs and not truly looking at the functionality of the living space. As an Interior Designer I m looking at the flow of a layout where the furniture will be placed the quality of life in the space and the amount of natural light and I can catch many costly mistakes. Q Why is staging important A Most people cannot see the vision of an empty home. By putting furniture and accessories into the space prospective buyers can get a better insight. Houses are staged to attract the majority of prospective buyers and the investment in staging can be far less costly than having your first cost reduction. Q Why pay for an organizer I should be able to do this myself. A Many people women in particular feel they should know how to organize their home. But we re all busy with children home and career. We need to step away from the mindset that we must do it all . I develop an easy system to follow so clients can spend more time on priorities. Managing everything from creative design to sales and marketing from time to time Lynn calls on her family for staging IT and bookkeeping needs. Juggling many different tasks to meet client needs and deadlines much of Lynn s ongoing and additional referral business depends on her strong work ethic and ability to meet demanding deadlines. Whether it be a client who wishes to decorate their space from head to toe someone who wishes to sell their property or a mom who needs to get her family s life organized Lynn has the right tools for success. 23 Women of Distinction Marie Voorhees Lavender Farm Owner Operator of Hidden Spring Lavender Skillman NJ T Life is too short to go to a job that stresses you out every day. his is something that Marie Voorhees found out later in life when her desire to have pretty flowers in the front field of her farm blossomed into a career with lavender. I explain the growing process of the lavender the types of lavender we grow and what they re used for. Her husband and mother have inspired and encouraged her through their positive motivation. They both are very supportive and believe in what I m doing. Marie also dedicates time to give lectures at local rotary clubs church groups libraries and senior centers as well as support the Carrier Clinic a hospital for the mentally challenged. I knew it was lavender that I wanted to grow but was uncertain if it would grow in our environment. I planted 1 000 plugs in the spring of 2013 they were flourishing by the end of the summer. We had people coming by to purchase fresh lavender so I knew there was a public interest. The following spring we planted another 1 000 plugs and began renovating the cow barn to be our Lavender Gift Shoppe. We now have over 4 000 lavender plants and over 150 items of lavender products made by me on the farm. This was initially a part-time venture for Marie but when her full-time job at the corporation she had worked at for 36 years was eliminated she decided to go all in with lavender. As the owner and operator of Hidden Spring Lavender she does it all including the care of the lavender plants hand harvesting all 4 000 plants drying the lavender creating and making all of the products sold and ordering all of the non-lavender ingredients for the products. I ve been a vendor at their health fairs and other events. Our lavender products are very therapeutic to not only the staff that works there but also to the individuals they care for. I donate many items for their fundraisers as well as a portion of the sales I receive from their events. She is dedicated to her work and farm as it was her dream to own a farm for most of her life. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be living my dream. Most people would find this lifestyle too labor intensive because long hours and hard work are not for everyone but when you re passionate about what you do it becomes a labor of love. Marie feels that life is about doing what you really enjoy. My passion for gardening and having pretty flowers has helped me continue in this direction. When people drive to our farm they always say that we have a little piece of heaven or a hidden treasure . It makes me feel so good that others feel good about what I ve done. In addition Marie gives farm tours to many garden clubs around New Jersey. Be creative passionate dedicated and try to make a living at it. Objects are not what are important in life they cannot bring you happiness. You may not end up being rich money wise but happiness is a rich that is priceless. 24 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How did you learn how to grow lavender A I did my homework and asked questions. The only way one can learn is to ask. Q Do you have any competitors A There are other lavender farms across the state and in Pennsylvania but I think our products speak for themselves. I sell a quality product that is made with love and care. Q Why did you choose to grow lavender A Lavender has a beauty to it not only in the summer while it is blooming but also during other months of the year. I shape our lavender in a slight mound shape to keep it attractive and to help it survive the winter snows. Each variety of lavender has a slightly different color foliage which makes it very pretty even when it is not in bloom. Q How does lavender help people A Lavender has a calming effect to it along with many other medicinal uses. It can be used to treat things like headaches sunburn insect bites nosebleeds cold sores and the list goes on. Most people use our Essential Oil to relax and sleep. Q What type of products to you make A I make a wide array of items anything from lotions soaps aromatherapy items bath products beauty products men s products floral arrangements wreaths gift baskets etc. Our products are listed at our website and can be ordered online as well. Q Where do you sell your products A Our products can be purchased at our farm in our converted cow barn which is now our Lavender Gift Shoppe and we are open. Or you can order from our website and we will ship your products to you. People come and walk through the lavender field take pictures and then come into the Shoppe. Q How do you market your products A I do some advertising in local papers however our best way of marketing is through word of mouth. We have many repeat customers and anyone who has received a gift basket from our farm has also come in to get more products. Q Do you make your own essential oil A We harvest a good part of our lavender for distillation. My husband does the distillation while I harvest the lavender. We also sell pure essential oil in our Shoppe. 25 Women of Distinction Patsy Ann Seabolt R.N. BSN Healthcare Staff Nurse Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Charleston WVA C aring and compassion Patsy Ann Seabolt has dedicated her career to helping others as a staff nurse for Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) in West Virginia. Throughout her 40-year career Patsy has excelled in the healthcare industry and spent more than 35 years as a Cardiac Nurse. Take time to address each person client as an individual. Take pride to address each patient and client separately without categorizing or labeling. Everyone wants to feel important and wanted -- showing them that they really matter. The biggest lesson that I have learned over the years is simply to pursue your dream In her free time Patsy enjoys crocheting reading traveling and conducting family research. She recently wrote and published a book called Morris Short Family History 18122002. Patsy is also a dedicated volunteer assisting her sister Marilyn who is a teacher at the West Virginia State Farm Bureau Agriculture Science Lab. The lab is designed to visit elementary schools throughout West Virginia providing science curriculum and experiments to Pre-K through 5th grade students. As a volunteer Patsy helps students and provides clean up once the students have completed performing an experiment. Patsy married her late husband -- her high school sweetheart David Allen Seabolt in February 1973. She has one adult daughter Roberta Ann Seabolt who is following in her footsteps working with mentally and physically handicap individuals. The pleasure of caring for people from all walks of life has kept me geared to nursing for over forty years. I found it a privilege to help manage people s health. Each person has their own personality likes and dislikes and requires individual handling of their situation. Thus handling each situation requires a flexible caring knowledgeable and capable nurse. Nursing is a challenge a dedication and worthwhile life experience. Patsy began her accomplished nursing career in September 1968. After graduating high school she enrolled in Cabell Adult Education in Charleston West Virginia studying Practical Nursing. Upon completing her training she became a Licensed Practical Nurse in the State of West Virginia in December 1969. She enrolled at Morris Harvey College and earned her Associate Degree in Nursing in 1978 and in 2008 she received a Bachelor Degree from Mountain State University. My greatest professional inspiration has been the advancement of my professional integrity education and satisfaction of accomplishment of my inner self-driven goals. A veteran in her field Patsy often mentored co-workers. She encourages aspiring nurses to never give up on their professional ambitions. The legacy that I wish to leave for my daughter family friends neighbors coworkers and acquaintances is that I was a hard worker and a caring and nice person. Also I would like to be remembered as knowledgeable honest trustworthy friendly jolly supportive and caring person. 26 Women of Distinction Rosemary Fuoco Higher Education Associate Professor Mohawk Valley Community College Utica NY T wo years after completing her Bachelor of Science in Education and Teaching Certificate in Vocational Technical Education at the State University of New York (SUNY) Rosemary Fuoco acquired a position at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica New York as an Adjunct Professor. Over the past 30-plus years she received term appointments was promoted to Assistant Professor and later to her current title of Associate Professor. Enjoying the many changes she s seen in herself and her students from one semester to the next Rosemary has especially treasured the variation that every day has to offer and the great influence she has become on her students. From week one to week 15 I see great improvements in my students in their studies Rosemary said and they too can see that improvement. Influencing and shaping their lives is very inspiring. Rosemary teaches courses in the Administrative Assistant Degree Program. She teaches Computers and Society (Introduction to Computers) advises the administrative assistant students and serves on a number of different committees on campus. She is very organized and structured in her role and she works very hard. She is also very dedicated and has a great deal of patience with her students especially those that don t believe in themselves. Rosemary received her MS in Education from SUNY just after completing her BS in 1982. Prior to teaching at the College she worked in the Legal Department at Oneida County Department of Social Services as a stenographer and for IBM Corporation in Utica as a temporary administrative assistant. She was also a substitute instructor for Oneida-Herkimer BOCES in New Hartford New York from 1999-2003 and was a keyboarding instructor at BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education also in New Hartford from 2002-05. Coming from a long line of teachers Rosemary s mom was a kindergarten teacher her uncle was a high school principal and her great aunt was an elementary school principal. Having taken much advice over the years from her family Rosemary has learned the value in being a kind patient nice and respectful teacher. As a teacher one of your biggest responsibilities is to shape your students lives as best you can she said no matter what age they are. I hope that my teachings are never forgotten that I have inspired influenced and shaped their lives in a positive way and that I ve served all of my students as a mentor not only in the classroom but out there in the real world too. Currently single Rosemary spends a lot of her free time volunteering for a number of local hospice events. Some of them have included the Butterfly Release Celebration which honors loved ones by sponsoring a butterfly in their name the Hospice Happy Hour the Hospice Light Up a Life and the annual Epicurean Delight at Hart s Hill Inn in Whitesboro New York where the proceeds benefit Hospice and Palliative Care Inc. Rosemary also volunteers for an organization called For Your Neighbors preparing meals for the shut-ins (disabled persons whom are unable to leave their homes). I see many students that lack the selfconfidence and self-esteem to receive their degree Rosemary added who takes pride in the fact that her students know and trust her. I try to instill in them every day that they have to do it for themselves and not for anyone else. 27 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What makes a good teacher A A good teacher is someone who loves to teach someone who is a mentor who listens who gives advice who inspires has patience and who is dedicated to his her profession. Q If you are not happy in your profession what do you do about it A If you are not happy it will show in what you are doing. In teaching your students will see you are not happy. The students are an excellent source of judgment. Q How do you inspire your students A You try different teaching methods. If one does not work then you look for another method. You want the best outcome for the students. Q Does a student know when you are not having a good day A Yes if you don t come to class happy smiling etc. they will sense it right away. Everyone s body language is very easy to read. Q If you are not happy at the institution you teach at what can you do A First talk to your supervisor and see if you can work out something that will meet your needs. Hopefully this will work. If that does not work you may want to start looking for another position. Q How do you know when a student does not understand a subject that you are teaching A If you give a student an assignment and he she hands it in and it s incorrect I will go over the assignment with that student individually. Q Do you think teaching is hard A No I don t you have to like love what you do because it shows in your teaching. You need to prep for the classes you are teaching. Some instructors wing it I cannot. If you don t know the material you are teaching the students will see that and loose interest in attending classes and doing homework. Q Do you think teaching is important in today s society A Of course it s important. The students we teach are our future. Q Would you advise someone to go into teaching A If you have a love for teaching yes I would advise them to go into teaching. You must have patience and understanding because it shows. Q What piece of advice would you give someone starting off in the teaching profession A Love what you do. If you do not enjoy doing your job it will show. 28 Women of Distinction Stefanie Siegel Non-profit Management Executive Director and Founder of Bailey s Cafe Brooklyn NY compassionate community leader and educator Stefanie Siegel is the visionary and guiding force behind the Brooklyn-based non-profit Bailey s Caf whose mission is to connect generations through arts and service to make a better world. The name is from a novel by Gloria Naylor where the Caf serves people who find themselves at the edge of the world and seek a place to heal and ground themselves. Bailey s was created from the belief that healthy vibrant communities have spaces where people can go to find their personal relevance and sense of purpose nurture their individual growth and make connections with other people including across generations. Bailey s creates physical and virtual spaces in partnership with local leaders artists and inter-generational volunteers through a focus on community building service and the arts. Stefanie was inspired to found Bailey s Caf while she was teaching public high school in Brooklyn. With high ideals and very little understanding of the culture of an urban school in the beginning of her career Stefanie always believed that educating her students required more than what was taught or possible in a traditional classroom setting. It was from this desire to create a different kind of environment for selfdiscovery creativity and community building a space that is inter-generational and supportive that Stefanie founded Bailey s in 2003 while she continued to teach. After 25 years of teaching English in New York City public high schools Stefanie knew it was time to put her full focus on Bailey s. A As my dream to create Bailey s Cafe became reality building positive reciprocal relationships between people of all ages and backgrounds has been key Stefanie said. Using the arts and opportunities for community service as the way to bring people together share stories find common bonds celebrate honor and grow. With roots in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights the organization is committed to serving all community members in the Central Brooklyn area. Now celebrating 13 years in operation Stefanie recently established the organization s first brick and mortar storefront in the community. The new facility enables the organization to generate opportunities for economic development social entrepreneurship community engagement and artistic expression eventually we will grow to include a communal cafe a media center movement and visual art studios a performance space a community garden and a wellness clinic. For now we are enjoying being able to explore what it means to be a place and not just programs. 29 Women of Distinction Meagan Murphy Documentary Film Production The Breast Archives Deliberate Healing Productions LLC Easthampton MASS 30 Women of Distinction T he statistics are shocking. Ninety percent of women are unhappy with their breasts. Furthermore a UCLA study that polled 60 000 women discovered that 85 percent of them are dissatisfied with or ambivalent about their breasts. Despite such alarming figures the issue has been swept under the rug. Upon learning the magnitude of the dilemma veteran broadcast and film professional Meagan Murphy knew she needed to start a conversation to bring the voices of real women to the forefront. The Breast Archives is only the latest accolade in Meagan s accomplished career. She has more than 25 years of experience in the film and broadcast industry. In addition to earning a BS from Northeastern University in 1992 Meagan received two certificates from the International Film and Television workshops in Maine as well as certificates from a New England-based Women s Mystery School Mama Gena s School of Womanly Arts and a 200 Hour Teacher Training certificate from Expressive Arts & Yoga through Northampton s Embodiment Institute. She earned a Communicator s Award for her work with teens and a Medical Journalism Fellowship through Blue Cross Blue Shield. While at PBS-WGBY she contributed to and oversaw several award-winning series. Her film repertoire includes Night Deposit Fathers & Sons and Victor s Big Score. Meagan is active in several industry and networking associations including the International Documentary Association Women Business Owners Alliance eWomen and Women in Film and Video New England. Additionally she sits on several committees for the Arts Council in Easthampton Massachusetts. My thoughts jumped to the women in my life who were struggling with their breasts in so many different ways. Some had body image issues others grappled with breast-feeding woes and still others had cysts or cancer. I realized that what I thought was a strictly personal grief was actually a large-scale problem. In 2012 Meagan formed Deliberate Healing Productions LLC to produce The Breast Archives documentary. The powerful film features the incredible stories of nine brave women willing to bare their souls and their bodies on camera. The documentary investigates how the media religion patriarchy and other cultural influences impact the relationship women have with their breasts and seeks to offer a refreshed understanding of the interaction between a woman s breasts and her mental physical and spiritual development. By creating an occasion to talk about a taboo subject Meagan hopes to change the way women and society perceive the female body. Breasts play a crucial role in women s experiences of puberty sex motherhood health and aging and the way women feel about them can profoundly influence their lives. Yet despite their centrality and influence women rarely feel empowered to speak openly and candidly about what their breasts mean to them. A more candid discussion is needed and deeply desired I believe and this film will help that happen. The Breast Archives project is quickly gaining recognition in the industry. It is the only film among a handful of films about breasts to come into the market in 20 years that doesn t focus on breast cancer. Significantly it s also the first film that roots itself in an overlooked body-based wisdom. This product is truly unique and needed. Focus groups and test screenings strongly indicate that this project will make a lasting contribution to a more public conversation about an important topic. I d like to be a role model who inspires courage compassion and authentic expression. I am also deeply committed to changing society s faulty perceptions of women and their feminine bodies as somehow dispensable and I intend to use The Breast Archives as a springboard to make a difference in this arena. 31 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What motivated you to leave broadcast television to pursue a personal film project A With a small nest egg I d inherited from my grandparents I traveled to Egypt to visit the ancient temples where I saw towering topless figures of goddesses and matriarchs. It struck me that this ancient civilization had very different attitudes about women and about their bodies. In particular I became inspired by the idea that breasts contain a form of ancient wisdom and I wanted to try to understand what that might be through the medium of film. I d been shooting interviews with crews all over New England for 10 years at that point so asking women to talk about a breastbased wisdom felt reasonable and easy to arrange. After I shot the interviews it was clear that I d captured a conversation that deserved my full attention so I resigned from the position I d held at WGBY-TV for 12 years and since then I ve devoted myself to The Breast Archives. When I tell people that I m working on a documentary about women s breasts there s either an awkward silence or immediate fascination. Both reactions reveal how circumscribed our relationships and attitudes about breasts can be--for men and for women. Just mentioning my project uncovers strong curiosity and a desire to share. Everyone has a breast story As a filmmaker I want to start conversations about things that resonate and deepen our understanding of ourselves and others and this subject gives me that opportunity. Q What is the primary issue you re trying to address with this film A The discontent women feel toward their breasts is strikingly widespread across the western world. Because girls bodies are judged and sexualized from a very early age it is rare for a woman to be able to define her breasts on her own terms. Media plays a real role in shaping our attitude about our bodies-- this we know--but this film can help to correct some of the misperceptions and fallacies that exist. For example too few of us enjoy the privilege of being properly introduced to our bodies when we are young and coming of age which would allow us to learn to flow with cycles and listen to our intuition. Instead these important sources of information are overlooked and even mocked and demeaned as frivolous or insignificant. I believe that these gifts and forms of knowledge are a women s birthright and an important balancing influence. The film talks about the disconnection we often feel within our bodies but also our somatic wisdom and how to repair and connect with those sources of knowledge. Q What have you learned from other women as a result of establishing your business and developing this project A Women have become such mentors for me in recent years. They re observant they re driven and they re filled with humor and wisdom. In particular the nine women in The Breast Archives have become huge models for me in terms of their embodied enlightenment. They demonstrate that to be vulnerable is to be courageous and that true courage means being vulnerable--a truism that s beautifully reflected in the documentary. Q Can you share more about the interview process A The participants knew beforehand that they would be asked to expose their breasts to the camera. They chose to participate because they felt empowered to take part in what they knew to be a new and necessary conversation and they understood that baring their breasts was part of that. There were moments of nervousness as they removed their tops but these moments tended to be fleeting and quickly shifted toward feelings of generosity authenticity and dignified courage. Once the breasts were revealed the interviews shifted dramatically becoming more profound and openhearted. Being topless gave the women a heightened awareness and was visibly transformative. As the women sorted through their experiences and feelings and as they articulated their insights their perspectives began to shift. The camera captured everything as they began to assimilate experiences that had been previously compartmentalized. As one woman said There are so many things that I haven t really thought about concerning my breasts and their ability to open me up. Removing their shirts wasn t just about daring or boldness or even self-acceptance but about asserting a right to claim their identity and love themselves. Q You re launching a crowd funding campaign this fall. Aside from the obvious monetary objectives what else are you hoping to gain through the use of this particular platform A If there s one thing I ve learned in business it s that you have to ask for help when you need it. For this documentary to find its audience we ve needed to build enthusiasm awareness and support for what we re creating. Right now we re using a variety of social media and community outreach strategies to connect with new friends and supporters who share our vision. I m excited about the crowd funding platform because it provides an opportunity for me to explain the idea of the film in my own from-the-hip manner and to share the passion that my team and I feel for this project. It also seems like the perfect platform to reflect the true communal effort that s gone into the making of this documentary. It s challenging--in an exciting way--to ask for help after three years of effort. The expenses associated with making a film have been astonishing--and we re not out of the woods yet so I m also pleased to have the chance to communicate with such a wide variety of benefactors friends peers organizations and neighbors which reinforces the sense that this production is a collective achievement. If we want these stories told we have to make it happen together. 32 Debbie Pokornik Health & Wellness Women s Issues Chief Empowerment Officer at Empowering NRG Anola Manitoba Canada I n today s hustle and bustle many mothers feel disconnected from the life they are living. It s as if they are rushing through time wishing for more yet lacking the energy or confidence to do much about it. A mother of two Debbie Pokornik understands these challenges first hand. No stranger to personal or professional setbacks she s turned many obstacles in her life into opportunities to grow. Her first priority has always been being the best mother to her children. She attended a parenting course when her youngest was a baby and before she knew it had taken over the small up-start company. She had found the starting place for her mission in life. Debbie began creating programs counseling families and speaking to groups and associations. Hoping to spread her message further in 2010 she authored an award winning book Break Free of Parenting Pressures and founded her business Empowering NRG. As the Chief Empowerment Officer Debbie develops a variety of programs videos podcasts and written material geared toward helping proactive mothers create a life that inspires awakens and fulfills them. A sought after public speaker Debbie also addresses audiences both large and small about living their best life. The desire to guide these women towards awakening is stronger than me and is what keeps me going. I actually don t believe I chose this career nor do I feel like I m choosing to stick with it. . I am awake to suggestions from the Universe and this is the direction I feel guided to take. I am passionate about what I do but this feels like it s something too big to be ignored. In 2012 Debbie released a second award-winning book Standing in Your Power A Guide for Living Your Life Fully Awake. Additionally she created Family Booster Shots 52 cards geared toward helping parents ensure family time is quality time. The game is the recipient of Mom s Choice Award Academics Choice Award for Mind-building Excellence and the Parent-tested Parent-approved Award. Prior to founding Empowering NRG Debbie enjoyed a career in social work working for Genesis House Women s Shelter and as a Community School Networker for the TransconaSpringfield (Sunrise) School Division. Feeling called to spread her message further Debbie made the difficult decision to leave her full-time job to develop her company. The biggest lesson I have learned is not to ignore messages from the Universe. In hindsight I was being told by my guides to slow down and recharge my physical body when I made the decision to leave the school division. I decided to write a book and launch a business in an effort to relieve the guilt I felt for leaving a steady job without having a guaranteed means of replacing the income. The next thing I knew I was dealing with a head injury that slowed me right down for over 10 months. My advice to others would be to notice the gentle messages you receive from the Universe. I call this following the sign-posts and it is a heck of a lot easier than getting mowed down by them. Recently Debbie served as Chair of the Editorial Board for Canadian Association of Professional Speaker s (CAPS) National Magazine as well as Treasurer for her local CAPS Chapter. Prior to that she volunteered for her local Justice Committee Special Olympics Women Business Owners -- and more. When she is not spreading her message Debbie enjoys being out in nature and spending time with her family. 33 Women of Distinction B orn and raised in Westchester County New York Mary McDermott has since relocated to the Jersey Shore in Belmar where she now works as a School Nurse at St. Rose Grammar School. But a lot has happened in between those years and she s experienced more than most could ever imagine from graduating college to living and working in Japan changing careers raising a family and experiencing heartbreaking loss and tragedy. I fell in love with the Japanese culture when I was in my junior year at Rutgers University Mary said. Immersing myself in the language I bought a one-way ticket and moved into a Kyoto convent as the first English teacher there in over a year. I studied Japanese at night with the wife of a wealthy businessman and after 12 months moved into my own tatami mat room to work for a major corporation while exploring Tokyo Hiroshima and Okinawa for another year. When Mary returned to the US she translated on both coasts as the only female for two world famous Japanese corporations. Living 3 000 miles from home and now a single parent she quickly realized that her career was no longer conducive to raising her child. Going back to school at night to earn her RN degree she eventually graduated married began a new career with an international pharmaceutical company and was about to become a mommy again. Mary McDermott RN BA Healthcare Education School Nurse St. Rose Grammar School Belmar NJ Over the next few years my parents and husband passed away from cancer within four years of each other. The hospital became my second home while raising my teen and toddler. Two years later I lost my home in Super Storm Sandy. With so much loss I found myself searching deeply for sources of strength and returned to the Japanese way of thinking for guidance. Today Mary is a Registered Nurse working at St. Rose Grammar School. Responsible for more than 300 students she is constantly inspired by their innocence. In 2012 she received a Proclamation by the Mayor of Belmar for having saved a teacher s life. Encouraged to share her story with the world by a teacher and sensei in Kyoto Mary s since written a memoir that s already earned an Honorable Mention from Writer s Digest. She s now hoping to find a literary agent who loves the Orient as much as she does and can work with her to publish her story. Q&A Q How has world travel helped you in your careers A Being a minority is a great asset. Being the outsider in any culture gives you added perspective when dealing with clients from other countries and in understanding one situation from many different points of view. Q Do you have a message for the young girls who will become our future A Change history. Rather than criticize your classmate support praise and acknowledge her because that good energy comes back to you your class your town and the world. Q Many people have come and gone in your life. How do you cope A Every one misses someone. My losses have made my heart soft but my courage strong. 34 Women of Distinction R afaelina Cortorreal-Lopez has a big heart especially for women children and the elderly. It s the reason why she went back to college to study psychology. Today she s helping clients reach their full potential as a Therapist and Founder of her own business. Rafaelina D. Cortorreal-Lopez It took a lot of courage for me to tell everyone I was going back to school to be a psychologist. But here I am humbled by all that I ve accomplished and all that God has blessed me with Rafaelina said. Rafaelina founded Counseling & Mentoring Services in 2013 in Fort Mill South Carolina to help teens and families in crisis as a Therapist and Mental Health Counselor. She helps clients develops long- and short-term goals coping stress management and social skills anger management strategies and positive ways to improve self-esteem. She also supports clients dealing with grievance related to family death and illnesses and educates them on resources like shelter clothing food education and job opportunities. Since May 2015 Rafaelina has also been working at Piedmont Medical Center s Center for Psychiatry in Rock Hill full-time developing therapeutic relationships with patients in the psychiatric unit through group and individual counseling and by conducting group activities to teach social and coping skills. Rafaelina is working toward her PsyD in Clinical Psychology at Capella University with a duel specialization in Clinical Counseling Psychology and Sex Therapy. She holds a BS in Psychology an MS in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Counseling Psychology and has a Baccalaureate Certificate in Mental Health Counseling and Services. A member of American Psychological Association and Capella University Clinical Psychology Research Gate Rafaelina is also currently planning a walk run to raise suicide awareness and will be offering group counseling to those at risk of suicide in her school district. We live in a world that is becoming more and more stressful for everyone. People need a safe place and someone that they can count on and reach out to who can help them in times of crisis. I want to be a part of that support network Rafaelina added. Rafaelina is married has a 21-year-old daughter who recently completed her bachelor s degree and has a 10-year-old son. Psychology Mental and Behavioral Health Founder Therapist Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor Counseling & Mentoring Services Group Counselor Therapist Center for Psychiatry Piedmont Medical Center Fort Mill SC Rock Hill SC Q&A Q How has your industry grown in the last couple of years A The industry has grown and continues to. People are becoming more aware of mental illness and awareness is being raised all over the world. People are starting to reach out for help and the stigma of mental illness is slowly diminishing. Q Why are you so passionate about suicide prevention A I lost my nephew to suicide in 2015. He suffered from depression for years and always struggled with selfacceptance. I want to do more to honor him and help prevent suicide. Q What do you envision for your Counseling & Mentoring Services A I envision a lot of growth and more activities in the community to raise awareness for suicide prevention depression and overall mental health. 35 Women of Distinction Roza Starodubtseva B States. Education Teacher assistant North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) & Lecturer University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) Wilmington NC orn in Russia educator Roza Starodubtseva dedicates her teaching career to increasing the accessibility of Russian language studies to students in the United In 2012 she accepted a Russian language lecture position at UNC Wilmington. Working diligently to grow the program she has established the course in both face- to-face and online formats. Received a 100 000 grant for developing and directing a residential immersion Russian language summer camp for middle and high school students. With a deep passion for promoting history and culture in collaboration with UNCW Public History Program Roza initiated the Volga to Cape Fear Project which allows Public History graduate students to ensure that the stories of migration are not lost to time. The project showcased major milestones in the history of Russian migrants and their important roles in the economic and cultural development of the Cape Fear Region communities. I initiated the project and was a contact person for the community involvement engaged the community members to share their family stories organized interviews and provided translations. The project received National Council on Public History s Student Project Award. And she has no plans to slow down. As a teacher and a mother of three I am fully aware of community needs in education specifically in the area of foreign languages. I have a promising project in mind a Language Academy for elementary through middle-school age students. There is community demand for learning the world languages. The Academy offering early learning of various critical languages would fill the void strengthen the ties between the local communities and give an opportunity to master a language of choice for future use. As a former performance educator I always had a desire to develop and teach with significant creative productivity thus giving back to the community where my family has found our second home. I recognized the importance of knowing multiple languages and knew of the opportunities that one can open themselves up to by learning a foreign language. In local schools the only option was Spanish. I feel that teaching the Russian language to younger generation I serve the community. Now students can take Russian language online if a face-to-face class is not available locally. Achieving this lasting accomplishment was not without challenge. Roza began her teaching career in 1990 in St. Petersburg Russia upon graduating from St. Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences with a major in Art Direction and Theater Production. My career was dramatically changed when my husband accepted a job offer from a company located in the US. In 1995 our immediate family with 3 small children relocated from St. Petersburg Russia to Wilmington North Carolina. After moving to the United States Roza trained local actors privately and was involved with theater programs in local schools. Adapting to a new and different culture and environment Roza also established Russian language programs at local schools and Russian program for adults. Being curious about the American college education and teaching techniques hoping to return to teaching path Roza enrolled back to college. When in 2008 the NC Board of Education decided to add Russian language program to NC public schools she contributed to a group effort in designing the first online Russian language course. To obtain the necessary knowledge and skills required to teach and design online courses Roza once again returned to college attending UNC Chapel Hill. Now students from NC public schools can take Russian language online if face-to-face class is not available locally. Roza continues to work with NC Virtual Public School as a teacher s assistant. 36 Women of Distinction Shelley Leone Banking Real Estate Senior Service Specialist - JP Morgan Chase Columbus OH T hrough her work as a Senior Service Specialist with JP Morgan Chase Shelley Leone is dedicated to helping clients resolve their real estate issues. I enjoy working with customers and the frequent demands and changes that come with working in the real estate and banking industries. I enjoy problem solving and take ownership of their issue from the first initial customer interaction until resolution. Shelley got started in the real estate industry in 1990 after graduating high school. When the real estate business she worked for crashed she became unemployed for a period of time and began looking for a new job until she found the right fit for her. Since 2009 she has worked for JP Morgan Chase. In her current role of Senior Service Specialist Shelley works in the support group for the executive office and private client customers and handles inbound calls from colleagues who work in the Chase branches across the United States. She also services mortgage and home equity accounts and helps resolves escalated issues or concerns from customers or internal colleagues. Throughout her life Shelley s greatest inspirations have been her parents who taught her to be honest and work hard in her pursuit of achieving whatever goal is in front of her. My advice for those starting out in their respective industry is to learn all you can in the current position you were hired for and go above and beyond to learn new skills. Knowledge is power. Keep an open mind stay positive be a team player and have a good attitude. Never give up on yourself or doubt yourself. Always be kind and loving to yourself. When bad things happen there is a purpose behind it happening -- you learn and grow from it. In her free time Shelley loves training in athletics to become the best version of themselves. She is active in her local running community and has participated in various 5k 10k trail and obstacle races. In 2015 she completed a half marathon as well as Spartan Sprint and Battle Frog obstacle events. She plans to participate in another half marathon and finish a Tough Mudder in 2016. With hard work determination consistency passion discipline and willpower you can achieve your goals and overcome setbacks and obstacles. My passion is to help others achieve their goals and inspire them. You are worth living the life you imagined. I would like to be remembered as someone who never gave up. I turned my life around by overcoming addiction injury and overeating and I am now the best version of myself. I m in the best shape of my life in my forties. 37 Women of Distinction F or the past 20 years Shirley Hardwick has been an Educational Specialist (RtI) employed through Gary School Corporation in their Special Education Department. Her experience in education spans a total of 37 years she s taught elementary level K-5 and gifted education grades two and four. She s also taught multiply handicapped students in special education and even supervised a preschool for one of the United Way agencies in the city prior. Providing Pre-K-12 teachers with academic or behavioral interventions Shirley also provides specific instructional modifications and accommodations required by law for students that aren t performing at grade level standards or are having difficulty managing their behavior or interacting in a socially acceptable manner. Trained to develop an individualized education plan for special needs students she also facilitates in-service training on the RtI process for teachers in the four schools she services. Shirley Hardwick Education Administrator Response to Intervention Specialist Gary School Corporation Special Education Department Lynwood IL Accurate assessments of students can prevent or significantly reduce the number of students that are misdiagnosed as having a cognitive or emotional disability Shirley said about the importance of her role in the school system. It s so important to thoroughly review all students records in order to make accurate assessments of their needs and be sensitive and accommodating to parents regarding their concerns for their children. Shirley is a member of the Governor s State Alumni Association and The Gary Reading Council and serves on the Scholastic Achievement Ministry which provides information seminars and financial support for graduating students at her church. A singer songwriter Shirley is also certified as a writer for children and teens. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from St. Joseph s Calumet College an MA in General Education and Multicategorical Special Education from Governor s State University and will be completing her PhD in Education in late 2016. Q&A Q What is the best thing about working in education A Teachers have an opportunity to make a positive impact on students and help them to identify their strengths and abilities. Q What do you find most challenging as an educator A Finding the time to teach content rather than test-taking skills. Q How important is classroom climate A It is important that students are made to feel that their opinions and input will be heard and respected even when constructive criticism is needed. Q What is the greatest challenge A Keeping students engaged in the learning process. Q What educational practices need to change A Students should be free to demonstrate what they ve learned in various ways other than paper pencil tests. Despite the less than adequate salaries and the many challenges teachers face I m thankful to God that I have been able to positively impact the lives of countless children over the course of my career Shirley added. Shirley has been married for 32 years and has one son and daughter. Her husband owns a small trucking business her daughter is a certified nurse assistant and her son works in construction. 38 Women of Distinction Tiffany A. Mayfield T Personal Public Service Life Coaching Tax Pro Elite- The Mayfield Firm Owner A R Consultant Author Speaker Small Biz StartUp Consultant Personal & Business Development Consultant Mantra Live Your Best Life Now Houston TX iffany Mayfield is a renowned business owner life and tax mastery consultant best selling author and speaker. Although passionate about many things Tiffany s calling is to purposely and fearlessly motivate women to change their mindsets in order to change their lives. She believes change isn t free. It will cost your old life and it will pay down on the road to your purpose. I love people. As a life coach I work intensely with women ages 35-49 and as a business coach I work with professional men and women in their business ventures. I love people and I enjoy sharing my stories and strategies in order to help them reach their full potential. Ms. Mayfield s extraordinary story of recreating her own life while recovering from heartbreak disappointment rejection defamation despair and lies to boldly become the ultimate change and superhero she was waiting for is the driving force behind her audacious pursuit to teach motivate and guide women that they too can change. Tiffany believes every woman possesses the power to overcome learned behaviors of past instruction and direction hurt and pain as well as over identifying with broken labels taught by broken leaders circumstances and society. Through proven methods tools resources and live virtual events the empowered woman embarks upon a new standard of clarity and perspective and recognizes the power in her strength she experiences a transformation of her position in all areas of her life. Tiffany guides her clients through her tax mastery program and teaches the power of solution to legacy building and tax and accounting resolution in their business and personal lives. The odds of being successful were against me. I was a single mom at 19 a single mom of four by age 24 and a cancer survivor by 28. Negativity kept walking into my life but I m still here How Because of faith and unwavering belief that I deserve more I knew I had to work for all that I want and deserve and I worked harder than anyone I know. Now I pay it forward through service love life and value into all willing to receive. Tiffany Mayfield is the owner of Tax Pro Elite - The Mayfield Firm (3 years in business 15 years experience) and outside of her own business she works closely with a highly acclaimed Teen Mentor. She is a co-author to a best selling anthology Fabulous New Life. My advice for anyone looking to become a life coach or mentor is to first reach out to a strong and proven life coach in order to receive some guidance in their career. Also the biggest lesson I ve learned is that we must tackle and resolve our past struggles because hurt people can hurt their business. I want my legacy to show my service to women men and children who have fallen been trapped in past pains and struggles and feelings of unworthiness as I guided them in love towards transformation and self-discovery. 39 Women of Distinction Prophetess Tondalyn L. Perry P Motivational Speaker Think It Not Strange Ministries -- President Founder Plano TX rophetess Tondalyn L. Perry s passion for encouraging others to overcome obstacles inspired her to found Think It Not Strange Ministries (TINS) in 2008. As President Tondalyn coaches individuals to grow and achieve all their goals and desires. A motivational leader she offers marriage and family counseling as well as helps people become free from addiction. Since founding Think It Not Strange Ministries Tondalyn has travelled the country as a motivational speaker and has hosted several conferences including the annual Birthing Butterflies Women s Conference initiated in 2012 and The Experience Conference established in 2011. Both events are examples of growth through Think It Not Strange Ministries. In 2002 Tondalyn joined Mount Olive Church of Plano (MOCOP) and is currently a licensed minister. In 2012 Tondalyn was ordained as Prophetess. She serves as a member of the MOCOP praise team and a leader of Singles with a Testimony (SWAT) Singles Ministry. She regularly teaches new convert classes through a Prison Ministry as part of a coalition of churches and is a devout leader of other ministries at the church. Tondalyn is currently penning a book and is a dedicated member of the Ministry of Sister Association The Commend Her Network Serenity Bridges Inc. Lifesaver Care Baskets BXA Production Meals on Wheels and Habitat Humanity in Texas. She is currently enrolled at Christian Life Theology to earn a Masters and Doctrine in Theology. She is expected to graduate in 2018. Seeing people grow and advance in life when they thought they could never be successful in life inspires my work. When people doubted me I said I could accomplish what I desired. That caused me to fight harder. If you fail get back up. Never quit. There is a lesson learned in everything so Think It Not Strange. Tondalyn is truly a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and has been since she was a young girl. At the young age of five she came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved. She began preaching at the age of 14 while attending Hillcrest High School where she led bible study. After graduating from high school in 1996 Tondalyn attended Navarro College in Corsicana Texas and continued her ministerial work on campus. Tondalyn also completed studies at Bethel Theological Seminary. She graduated college and subsequently began her career in the banking and mortgage industries. She has enjoyed 17 years of employment in the field and is currently an Operations Analyst II at her firm. I have a heart for all people and l love very hard I don t meet strangers I make myself friendly to all. I love making someone s day special. I love putting a smile on someone s face. I just believe the joy of the Lord is our strength. Genuine love lasts and will heal a broken heart. The legacy I want to leave the world with is Think It Not Strange God has a plan to work it out in your favor. You will win every time if you believe this statement. 40 Women of Distinction Candi Hughes CAIA CFP Finance - Investment Management Director of Securities Operations - Hatteras Funds Raleigh NC C andi Hughes finance career started in 1998 working for a fixed income manager in Durham NC. Prior to that she had no financial industry experience. Q&A Q What are alternative investments A At Hatteras Funds we define alternative investments as strategies that derive a meaningful component of total return from nontraditional management techniques. These strategies fall into two primary categories hedged investments like long short equity designed to help mitigate risk and private investments like venture capital designed to generate enhanced returns. Q Do you do any securities trading for the fund A Typically no we hire managers to trade positions in our funds. When a manager is terminated there may be some remaining securities that need to be traded. I would then step in and trade the securities. These can range from equities forwards bonds and options to illiquid securities. Q How do you balance work and home life A I have a great partner in my husband Kriss. He helps handle a lot of the extra-curricular activities for our son. He s always been supportive of me and helped with the demands of my career. At work I m also lucky to have a situation that allows flexibility when necessary to be there for my family. You can t always be there for everyone but with support from both family and work you can be successful. Q What women inspired you A My mother was a role model for me. She was a strong woman who managed our family and finances and instilled in me the belief that I could do anything I set out to do. Q What is your dream job A I d like to be a baker because I love to make cookies. One day when we ve made the money we feel we need for retirement we ll open a bakery in some place warm. I was hired because of my strong analytical background and ability to answer mental math and problem solving questions during my interview. Today Candi serves as the Director of Securities Operations for Hatteras Funds an alternative investment firm with 2 billion under management. Alternative investments include every kind of security type from stocks to bonds to convertibles and derivatives and each requires a unique operating procedure. Candi has systematized and created policies and procedures to ensure that the firm is operationally as efficient as possible. In addition she works alongside the firm s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on fund and corporate accounting. Finance is fast paced and I work well in an environment that demands focus and attention to detail. I also enjoy the operations side of the business because each day is a new challenge and presents the opportunity to learn more about the industry. It s a small world and most of the people you work with are smart and fun to be around. Candi would like to show young women how to be strong in the world with everything they do. Whether you re in a male-dominated industry like finance (or in another profession) you can be strong assertive intelligent and compassionate. I d like for my son to view women as equals and treat all people with respect and kindness. 41 Women of Distinction AnnMari Shannahan Not For Profit (AIDS Research) Vice President Public Information at amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research New York NY W ith a background in media creative design and development AnnMari Shannahan brings more than 20 years experience to her position as Vice President of Public Information at amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research. AnnMari is a natural leader overseeing a team of 11 dedicated professionals who are responsible for the international not for profits marketing communications and public relations. She is charged with raising public awareness about amfAR and its mission of supporting AIDS research HIV prevention treatment education and the advocacy of AIDS-related public policy. Building the visibility of the Foundation AnnMari collaborates with the scientific community and media as well as providing support of high profile fundraising galas around the globe including the Foundation s largest event in the south of France during the Cannes film festival. From there her career took off. She worked with Fortune 500 and start-up companies as well as not for profit organizations. She returned to school completing the Executive Education Marketing Program at Harvard Business School in 2004. And after 17 years in her industry she founded her own creative studio The Ingenuity Lab. Soon after she was introduced to the CEO of amfAR. AnnMari joined the Foundation in 2010 seven months after the death of her husband Regis Thomas Shannahan. He was an exemplary and accomplished man and husband who was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 pancreatic cancer in September 2009 and died seven weeks later in October. The couple was married for 18 years. Even as his health failed Regis encouraged AnnMari to embrace life. It is a philosophy she continues to live by. Professionally and personally I ve been blessed. I ve worked extremely hard to be successful but I also believe that luck has played a role at times. In addition to my successes I ve also experienced great loss which has helped to shape how I see the world and live life every day. My choice has been not to dwell in the negative or past but be positive about moving forward. I hope that by living this way that I have inspired those around me to see things a little differently. I have a passion for working in a creative environment where ideas become a reality AnnMari said. I have a deep respect for the creative process given my background and I find it very gratifying when I can successfully manage solving business problems with creative solutions. Working with amfAR for the past 6 years has been a major highlight. Professionally and personally it s gratifying knowing that I m contributing to putting an end to the greatest health crisis of our time. AnnMari has been the inspired creator of marketing initiatives over the course of her career. After earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Connecticut State University in 1992 AnnMari accepted an Art Director position at People Magazine Online and moved to Manhattan in 1995. 42 Women of Distinction Melissa Carter Wellness Writing Owner Reiki Practitioner - The Wholistic Package Saratoga Springs NY T hrough her work as a Reiki Practitioner at The Wholistic Package company owner Melissa Carter finds joy in healing others to the best of her ability. Aside from her work in wellness she also expresses her passion for writing. Melissa became interested in Reiki a Japanese healing art that focuses on balancing one s energy flow to create an improved sense of well-being in all aspects of life after successfully receiving the treatment to relieve stress. Soon after earning her certification as a Reiki practitioner in 2013 she began The Wholistic Package. Always have a plan. Do as much research as possible regarding the demand of an industry. Network and use your available resources. Value advice from people who have experience in your industry. Know your strengths and challenges and know that sometimes we can t do everything on our own. Ask for assistance when needed and focus your time energy and thoughts on where you re strongest. Keep good records and circle back to previous resources and contacts -- you never know where opportunity may lie. As owner of The Wholistic Package Melissa takes command of all roles including financing networking marketing and offering her services. In addition she also holds a full-time job in marketing for an outside organization. Melissa is the author of a children s book titled Little Lucky Ladybug and is currently working on several new projects. In her mission to help as many people as possible she has previously served as a board member for a homeless shelter that houses women and children volunteered for animal and health-related organizations and offered Reiki to the American Cancer Society. I m thankful for the opportunity to follow my passions and dreams -- it s such a fulfilling feeling. I m all about empowering other women and I m an open resource so I welcome questions. My goals are to help improve the wellness of others through Reiki and bring peace to people s lives. Regarding my book I would also like to work with schools literacy organizations and other empowering organizations. In her leisure Melissa enjoys staying active through exercise and spending quality time with her friends and family. She also possesses a love for music and enjoys attending concerts. There are no boundaries for your dreams. If you re an ambitious motivated and passionate hard worker you will be successful personally and professionally. With determination my ideas came to fruition. There will be challenges but set your goals and take things day by day. Don t just follow your dreams follow through on them. Be grateful for your success and use your gifts and talents to inspire and empower others. I hope to inspire and empower other people with my genuine kindness and care while fulfilling my dreams. I want to leave people smiling and looking at me as an example of how to live and to know that I can truly make a difference in others lives. Positivity motivation and action are key. 43 Women of Distinction Natalia Levey C.N.C. Health and Wellness - Nutrition Certified Health and Nutrition Coach and Chef Founder of Healthy Intent Tampa FL fter completing the Art Institute of New York City s professional culinary training program in 2002 Natalia Levey dedicated the next decade to being a wife and mother while teaching private cooking classes and perfecting her recipes. I became a master at cooking family dinners throwing parties and teaching people how to cook. In 2013 her passion for health was reignited by the challenge of going on a serious elimination diet in pursuit of learning about her body. This led Natalia to becoming certified as a health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and as a nutritional consultant from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants training under world-renowned integrative medical experts like Mark Hyman and Deepak Chopra. The following year she founded her company Healthy Intent. My goal is to educate professional women about the importance of proper nutrition and self-care through private and corporate cooking classes lectures workshops and a digital magazine. Natalia believes that each person is unique. My health systems are based on your personal patterns. No more one-size-fits-all health programs that give the same old advice. If you want to truly catapult your energy and productivity you need advice that makes sense for YOU. She has been greatly inspired by women with strong voices and fun personalities like Dr. Christiane Northrup Kris Carr and Marie Forleo. I m very fortunate to be in the company of very supportive and successful women. For Natalia English is a second language however it s been her primary one for the last 15 years. It took a lot of work for me to learn how to write well. Words are very powerful and are the way we communicate information and ideas how we support and inspire make someone laugh or influence others to take action. I knew that was going to be something holding me back so I took numerous writing courses and read a lot of books. I then actually wrote a book. A Her book Cravings Boss - The REAL Reason You Crave Food and a 5-Step Plan to Take Back Control is available now in most major bookstores and online. Natalia s professional affiliations include International Association of Health Coaches American Association of Nutritional Consultants American Association of Drugless Practitioners American College of Nutrition In addition she connects with the community by doing nutrition workshops and talks at various cancer support groups. As a business exercise Natalia had to ask people in her circle to name the best things about her. It was really challenging because I prefer to talk about other people s lives and successes. However what they came back with was so amazing and made me feel truly appreciated. It helped me see myself through their eyes. They said I was loving curious generous and dedicated. Her best advice for others is to not be afraid to show vulnerability. People want to be able to relate to you. As soon as I started opening up a little about myself I received great support. It s ok to ask for help. Someone out there actually cares and wants to help you succeed. 44 Women of Distinction Jeannie Lorin J Skincare and Cosmetics Founder and CEO of Beauty Society Inc. Huntington Beach CA eannie Lorin built her company Beauty Society with a conscience and socially responsible business model in mind. Women and families sell her fine line of eco-friendly skincare and beauty products across the United States. The company its career opportunities and wonderful products empower women all over the nation. Jeannie considers her sales representatives business partners. Empowering others is Jeannie s mission. Giving the gift of empowerment keeps her steadfast in this industry and drives her company forward every day. As the company founder and CEO Jeannie keeps busy and involved with all aspects of the business. Over the years Beauty Society has grown a wonderful and dedicated staff allowing Jeannie to take on a larger role as the company s visionary. Jeannie works tireless to ensure the products are on the forefront of what the public wants in an ever-changing world of consumer commerce. Though Jeannie has extensive experience in sales she faced challenges when she first entered the beauty industry and became a business owner. She met these challenges with strength and a sincere belief that she could and would overcome each of them. She became a fast learner an unstoppable problem solver and more empowered than she ever thought she could be. Over time my inspiration has grown Beauty Society not only makes people look better which makes them feel better it gives them opportunity to grow both professionally and personally she said. We are on a divine mission to help and serve people this will keep me in my career forever. Her inspiration in the beginning was to unfold the secrets and problems in the skincare industry. In 2004 as Jeannie was approaching her 40th birthday finding an effective anti-aging line became of great importance. However she could not find any product that worked as advertised. She embarked on quest to discover ingredients and formulas that would make a difference she had no intention of going the needle and knife route. To her surprise she learned that science had identified ingredients and formulas available in product development but the major companies were not using them and the companies that were carried a price tag too high for the everyday woman hence the mission to provide guaranteed results at a price anyone could afford began and Beauty Society was born. You have to love what you do not a little you have to love it all the way the deepest love and faith you must have a belief in a higher power and 100% faith in your purpose Jeannie said. I work hard to stay authentic as a woman wife mother and friend. Although I have built a large organization from scratch I never at any time feel I am better than anyone else. We all have the same opportunities in life we just need to find the passion. Jeannie resides in Huntington Beach California and is very in love with her husband who is an extremely supportive man who adores Jeannie. She has four beautiful strong and passionate children who face life head on as she does and are following their dreams. 45 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Diane Barry Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035