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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Jennifer Robitaille Supply Chain Management Founder President - DOCK24 Inc. 1 Women of Distinction 2 Women of Distinction Jennifer Robitaille Supply Chain Management Founder President - DOCK24 Inc. Ottawa ON Canada 3 Women of Distinction T hrough her work as Founder and President of DOCK24 Jennifer Robitaille displays her passion for public procurement by providing top level services and assistance to the 3 levels of government when necessary. I hit my stride in this industry. I became a selfproclaimed Procurement Geek I ate breathed and lived public procurement for years. It wasn t enough to work in the field. I wanted to establish myself as a leader and innovator with a focus on Canadian municipalities public procurement. I set a lofty goal of eradicating corruption on both sides of public procurement whether it is the government side or supplier side. It is all about promoting open fair and transparent competitive bids.The only constant in supply chain management is change . You never experience the same day twice. There is always some fire to put out. One company I worked for supplied election materials to emerging democracies in post-war torn countries. I was the Director of Procurement and Logistics at the time. For a particular project we won a contract to supply election ink. I remember receiving a telephone call at 3am asking where the airplane carrying the ink was because the rebel force was invading the airport to discredit the upcoming election and the client needed to reroute the ink to another airport. If the rebel force got hold of the ink it could be mean more civil war to the area. There is never a dull moment. If you like lots of change and a highly charged environment supply chain is made for you. While she initially pursued a career in art restoration Jennifer quickly learned that she was more suited for a career in business specifically involving supply chain management and purchasing. Before deciding to start her own business she spent 10 years as a Reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces Communications Branch which taught her both discipline and leadership skills that she still draws from today before retiring as a Sergeant. During her stint in the military Jennifer worked in Communications and Logistics. She then transitioned to the private sector throughout the 1990s where she progressed from production planner to warehouse manager to purchasing agent and finally to Director of Procurement and Logistics. After experiencing her third lay off Jennifer decided to offer her expertise in the area of public procurement to the 3 levels of government. In her role of president of DOCK24 Jennifer assists government agencies with drafting administering evaluating and recommending award of contract of competitive bids. She also trains government staff and elected officials in public procurement Canadian contract law contract management and negotiation skills and assists with the writing and revision of purchasing policies and procedures. For those starting out in this industry -- stick with it. It is truly rewarding and there are plenty of opportunities for advancement. By the age of 36 I achieved the level of Material Manager which was equivalent to Supply Chain Manager. By the age of 40 I was Director of Procurement and Logistics and overseeing multi-million dollar projects. The supply chain industry is more integral to our lives today than it ever has been and yet it is threatened by a growing shortage of trained supply chain and logistics professionals to manage and lead the industry. It is a disaster waiting to happen. There are so many areas to specialize in inventory management and warehousing production and scheduling traffic and distribution and private and public procurement. One door may close and another will open. You can work in any industry anywhere in the world. You can specialize in simple mom and pop companies or in companies as complex as Amazon. Jennifer has made a wide variety of contributions to her field and community. She was the lead logistics officer during a forest fire evacuation of 640 evacuees and was responsible for sourcing over 350 goods and services through 50 different suppliers in less than 72 hours of the declaration of emergency. She then maintained the logistical support of operating an evacuation shelter for 14 days. In 2012 she was a speaker at the Purchasing Association Convention in Ottawa Ontario Canada and invited to speak at the Atlantic City Emergency Summit on managing supply chain during an emergency. 4 Women of Distinction Jennifer and her husband have also developed an award winning (Canadian and Global award in Technology and Innovation) emergency logistics software (eGASPTM) to assist municipalities with identifying and sourcing goods and services needed to set up an emergency evacuation shelter plus a material requirements planning tool that takes into account the raw component consumption rate related to failures during testing of manufactured goods during production. Their contributions didn t end there as they also developed a project management tracking program that sales can use to identify what product and service lines that have success in winning contracts aiding in setting strategic sales goals. Jennifer s most challenging project was to form a cooperative purchasing group for municipalities in Eastern Ontario where they could leverage their purchasing power on common goods and services to achieve lower costs and improved quality. She is currently helping Canadian Payments Association ( centralize their procurement and contract management processes. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A When people think of purchasing they only consider the aspect of buying but it is much more complex than that. Billions of tax dollars are spent on government contracts annually. Public procurement is complicated because of the complex legislative regulations whether it is government based laws trade agreements case law and or interpretation of legislative law and internal policies and procedures. There will always be more restrictions added making it more challenging to acquire goods and services quickly with minimal risks for everyone involved. A purchaser has to be aware of all the rules and regulations and how to weigh one supplier s qualifications against another. It is not black and white as people assume. For example a federal department was going to publish a Request for Proposal and there were rumors that a bidder may submit an unbalanced bid. I was invited to review the department s financial evaluation process to see if an unbalanced bid could win the 250 million dollar contract. The department broke down the financial requirements by hardware software training and ongoing support with different weights applied against each category. Well I was able to break their process and show that a bidder can submit the highest cost with no upper limit and still win the contract. I proposed using standard deviation into the financial evaluation process. As long as there are unscrupulous bidders and purchasers and a need to ensure that tax dollar spending is well spent the role of a public purchaser will remain relevant for years to come. Q What areas do you see change coming to this industry A There will definitely be more joint procurement initiatives. The main benefit for government is the ability to leverage purchasing power and economies of scale to reduce the cost of goods and services. However for small business to do business with government this is harmful simply because they will experience hardship in scaling their operations to support multiple government agencies over multiple years. There is a philosophy that one of government s roles is to help the economy and this includes helping small business. One way to do this is to provide access to lucrative government contracts. The government is supposed to be revenue neutral but can assume inefficiencies and higher costs unlike private industry to support the people and business. There is a conflict of interest in operating more like a business rather than a government and as purchasers we have a responsibility of protecting the economy including small business. Have fun and like what you do. Don t forget to laugh and not take yourself too seriously. The industry is serious enough without adding to it. Embrace change (and even introduce the change yourself). A small revolution is sometimes a good thing. Step up and promote yourself because no one knows you better or will sell your accomplishments better than you. Finally keep it professional at all times. Regarding her education Jennifer graduated from a 3-year Business Administration Program at Algonquin College in 1992 specializing in Material Management and Inventory Control. She received certification from the Purchasing Association of Canada in 2010 and earned a certificate as a Senior Professional in Supply Management from Next Level Purchasing in 2011. In her leisure Jennifer enjoys reading murder mysteries and business books and spending time with her supportive husband and two teenage sons. My peers tell me that I am a natural teacher. I would love to be invited to teach at a local college or university about supply chain management. Teaching and mentoring is one of my guilty pleasures -- besides dark chocolate. I would like to eradicate corruption from public procurement on both sides -- government and suppliers. It is na ve to think it will ever happen but it doesn t stop me from promoting ethical procurement every chance I get. On my tombstone I have asked that the words Open Fair Transparent be engraved on my tomb. 5 Women of Distinction Q What areas remain unchanged within your industry A There is still corruption within the government and with suppliers. It is simply human nature. There can be more legislation added to the process (and added costs) but at the end of the day if someone lacks integrity they will act on it to their own benefit. It is na ve of me to think that I can eradicate corruption but I am willing to do it one bid at a time. Q How does your business stand out from the competition A We publicly acknowledge and appreciate our clients through awards. We created an award that is presented to the municipalities that recognizes their commitment to supporting the ideals of ethical public procurement. The benefits of these awards are when they are publicly displayed. The public see that the municipality is supporting ethical purchasing and they are assured that their tax dollar is well spent. Suppliers see this and want to compete on opportunities since their proposal will have equal chance of being successful. We are also selective in who our clients are. We don t take on any member of the purchasing group. We vet each and every one of them to ensure that they have the same values as our organization. This is important to the current members. They want to ensure that their own values will not be marred by unethical members. Q When you retire what do you plan on doing A People tell me that I am a nature teacher. I would love to go back to school and possibly even teach at the college level. Mentoring and teaching is really my first love. Procurement just makes it so much more enjoyable since there are always changes happening in the industry allowing for more opportunities to teach and mentor. If that doesn t work there is always politics. Q What draws you to politics A Nothing is black or white in politics and that is how I usually see the world. It is a challenge to see the grey in all the noise that politics generates. As I mentioned previously I do not tolerate waste in government spending and this would be a good fit for me to bring forward my ideas on how to cut the waste. Q You ran twice for municipal office as a councilor for your ward Why A To this day I cannot figure out why I put my family friends and myself through two election campaigns. I think because the first time was so enjoyable. Yes it was truly fun. My husband our 2 boys and supporters knocked on over 12 000 doors 7 days a week from May until October. The issues during the first campaign centered on major projects with significant capital investment for the next 4 years. I ran a grass-root campaign. When I decided to run I was na ve and lacked understanding of the process and the issues. All I knew was that I did not agree with the way the current councillor voted on the issues at hand. During the second election campaign I came into the race weeks before the nomination period closed. I started late. I simply knew that the current councillor should not be re-elected since he was the only nominated candidate at the time. This campaign turned ugly from the start -- it was filled with negative campaign slurs against me my family and my campaign. It took a serious toll on me and my family. The fight in me just evaporated and I had nothing left in the tank to take on the incumbent. I came in second overall and vowed to not run again. Q Since then have you reconsidered running again A Once in a while I get all fired up again about the issues and how the incumbent had voted on a particular issue. I start to make plans on running in the next election. And then I give my head a shake and say Are you nuts Don t you remember how it was last time The feeling to run again quickly evaporates after that. Q What does your husband think of your career A He has been and is still one of my biggest champions. He is an excellent sounding board and provides sound advice in every aspect of my career as a purchaser and as a small business owner. I could not have had the career of a lifetime without his unwavering support. Q What do you colleagues think of you A I have a very competitive and goal-orientated mind-set. Over the last 20 years I have competed with peers on promotions such as during the military portion of my career and I have set challenging goals for my subordinates such as negotiating cost savings of 20% for raw material. I have lost (promotion went to my peer) and achieved success (20% savings in raw material). I am well respected by my peers and subordinates ( Jennifer is my best boss I have ever had in my 20 years ). At the end of the day I can only hope that I have treated everyone fairly and equitably and challenged them in ways that allowed them to grow personally and professionally. 6 Women of Distinction G raduating with an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting from Bryant and Stratton College Andrea Rodger was eager to get started in her career. Accepting a full-time position after completing an internship as a Medical Assistant at Pain Interventions she began working alongside Dr. Ajai Nemani in 2011. With previous experience in in a number of fields including hospitality construction and manufacturing Andrea knew that entering the healthcare field would open up many more doors thanks to the variety it offers. Andrea is currently employed with Rochester Regional today which has many locations all across Rochester New York. Working out of their Kings Highway location in Irondequoit New York her current position held is as a Patient Account Representative. Working in patient financial services she handles all of the front end billing specifically for workers compensation and no fault accidents. Being extremely accurate is key to her everyday success. Andrea Rodger Healthcare Patient Account Representative Front End Biller Rochester Regional Health System Unity Hospital Legacy Irondequoit NY I have learned a great deal especially when it comes to the computer software that is used. Although it has been a lot to learn it does have its benefits Andrea admitted. I also love to work with people and knowing that I m helping them is worth my efforts. A humble person by nature Andrea always believes in putting her best foot forward especially when it comes to career. As a single mother of one beautiful little girl her best interests are always at the forefront. Doing the best she can every single day means everything to Andrea. Failure is not an option. The wheels in my head are constantly turning Andrea said laughingly. It takes a lot to climb that invisible corporate ladder and I know I am just getting started in my career but I won t ever quit or get left behind. While Andrea divulges that she is still working on developing the necessary skills that are so necessary in the healthcare field like patience and empathy she is learning from a great team of professionals at an amazing organization. She also thanks her mom who has always believed and encouraged her to push forth and succeed no matter how gloomy it sometimes seems. Andrea enjoys doing extracurricular activities close to her heart. She is a coach for her daughter s youth cheerleading soccer and basketball team alongside several fantastic assistants. She loved the opportunity to coach the many kids as well as her little one. Q&A Q Are you fearful of every losing your job to technology A No. Currently three quarters of my job is still done on paper. Q Do you feel that earning your degree has helped you in the field A In some instances absolutely. School has been most beneficial in learning the medical terms as they relate to the body. Q Is the billing portion of your job hard A It can be tricky so it s always important to ask questions when you need help. My daughter Mya is now eight-years-old and she is the apple of my eye Andrea said. She makes it all worth it. 7 Women of Distinction Barbara J. Burns Non-contentious Law Barbara J. Burns Notary Public Qualicum Bay BC Canada With a diploma in Criminology Bachelor of Arts in Business and Psychology and Masters of Arts in Applied Legal Studies she founded Barbara J. Burns Notary Public in 2015. The practice specializes in non-contentious law specifically real estate and estate planning. A Professor at Simon Fraser University always used to say that A Notary Public in British Columbia practices happy law and Barbara J. Burns would agree. I do not like politics and I am a problem solver so I have found that I need to be aware of who my audience is and adjust my presentation of information that people may not be ready to hear or may simply not want to hear she said. Lots of times what people are saying is not the real story and if we are patient and truly listen we will be able to provide the service that best suits their needs. Prior to opening Barbara J. Burns Notary Public Barb served as Chief of Qualicum First Nation for six years. While she always had a passion for law her time as Chief gave her much greater appreciation of the legal system and the people within it. Additionally she worked for a local Non-profit organization for 7 years as an Operations Manager Human Resource Manager and was the lead person for the organization s Accreditation with CARF. Earlier this year Barb received a Life membership in the Bowser Legion the heart of her community. Her stepfather a WWII veteran inspired Barb s dedication to the Legion. Today she has been involved with the organization for 35 years and has spent 12 of those years on the Executive working with incredible people that have endless energy. Barb is married and has three incredible adult children. Her middle daughter works along-side her in the Notary office as the Legal Administrative Assistant. I believe that we owe it to our families to have our affairs in order when we die and I also believe that it is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our loved ones when we do Barb said. I love the work that I do as a Notary I find that my life experience has culminated in the opportunity to help people get their personal planning in order or to help people buy their first home or sell their family home and downsize for retirement or be a part of their lives in many different other areas and I will take good care of them and guide them through whatever stage they may be in. Since the Notary Public does not handle contentious matters Barb is able to devote all her time and energy to clients deadlines and priorities. She has built a reputation on integrity and honesty. Her highest priority is to satisfy her client s legal needs and provide the best highly personalized services available to the people of the Oceanside area on Vancouver Island British Columbia in Canada. 8 Women of Distinction Charlotte Keithley Publishing Healthcare Real Estate Author of Angels at the Midnight Hour Broker and Owner NV Assistant LivingAPT Locators LLC Coordinator at NV Assistant Living Home Scottsdale AZ F rom humble beginnings growing up in Iowa s bucolic countryside single mother Charlotte Keithley has amassed a successful real estate career with the sole purpose of helping others find their dream living situation. Charlotte who is currently the Broker and Owner of NV Assistant Living-APT Locators LCC has more than 40 years of experience in her field. Charlotte launched her accomplished career in the early 1970s. After attending Van Buren High School in Keosauqua Charlotte married at the age of 17 years old and moved to the larger city of Burlington Iowa. She became a mother to her son Joe and earned her real estate broker s license prior to opening a booming local real estate agency. Charlotte s talent was unmistakable. It wasn t long before she was named the Top Sales Woman in Burlington. She became very active at the state level and began investing in real estate as well. And she is not stopping there. In the fall of 2016 business associate Al Cassell will be opening up NV Assistant Living Home LLC where Charlotte will be the coordinator for the home. NV Assistant Living Home will be a 10-bed facility offering senior living and hospice care that meets individual needs. In preparation for her new position Charlotte recently became a certified caregiver. At the age that I am I still want to help people and give back to the universe and that is what I am doing. I have a true passion for it. When Charlotte is not helping others find the perfect and most comfortable living spaces she spends her time writing. She is releasing her first book Angels at the Midnight Hour in August 2016. The powerful non-fiction story is based on the tragic and untimely death of her brother who was killed or possibly murdered in a motor vehicle crash. The emotional tale speaks to Charlotte s struggle over the guilt and long last acceptance of her brother s passing. Her moral Your spirit is always with your family she said. A loving mother and grandmother family is at the heart of Charlotte s world. She relishes the time she spends with her two grandchildren Noah and Victoria whose initials are the namesake of her NV companies. I enjoyed helping families making a great investment for there future. I was the youngest broker in the area. People always came back to me to purchase larger home. It was then I knew I was doing a good job. Charlotte and her son later moved to Scottsdale Arizona where she attended the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business School. She briefly worked as a broker for another real estate company before opening her first Scottsdale-based business AZ Luxury Apartment Rentals LLC. After many successful years she sold that company and founded several other real estate businesses in Scottsdale. Today Charlotte is in her sixties and living out a life long dream as the Broker and Owner of NV Assistant Living- APT Locators LLC. Through the company Charlotte helps place clients in senior living homes and assistant facilities in addition to apartment locating. 9 Women of Distinction Chaerani Rani Affandi Architectural and Design Services President Affandi Architecture & Design LLC Chagrin Falls OH W earing many hats on any given day Chaerani Rani Affandi is a one-woman operation who serves as President of Affandi Architecture & Design LLC in Chagrin Falls Ohio. Living the dream she relies only on herself and her consultants to keep her business growing and thriving year over year. The success she has been blessed with over the past 17 years as an entrepreneur has been inspiring to say the least and all of the thanks goes to her tireless efforts and limitless talents. Understanding the clients vision and actually getting those visions to reality has been one of the main reasons I continue to do what I do she said proudly. Getting over each and every hurdle along the way until I reach the end result with a client is something that takes a lot of time and patience. Valuing the importance of networking Rani can appreciate just how much it means to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with other professional in the field. Equally important she says is the constant upkeep of new technology a very vital part of her industry. Very keen of the power of mentorship Rani says she still keeps in touch with one of her favorite professors Yousef Marzeki who is always teaching her new concepts and sharing insight with her. As a way to pay it forward to the future leaders in the field in particular women Rani is always taking interns onboard to help her in the office keep her company and learn from her. She currently has two female interns working in her office who hope to either become architects or work in the field in some capacity. One of her biggest and most valuable lessons she has learned in her many years in the business however has everything to do with overcoming the hurdle of letting go of the reigns just a bit. Delegating work to consultants that she can trust so that she can focus more on expanding her business has been a difficult yet necessary task but it s also proven to be profoundly beneficial. I am the chief operating officer who meets and greets future clients one day and the janitor cleaning my office the next Rani said smiling. But I wouldn t have it any other way. Affandi Architecture & Design LLC specializes in retail commercial and institutional structures. The full-service architectural firm not only offers clients dependable project programming but cost effective design services. Rani has an abundance of experience on both the exterior and interior of structures as well as fixture design commonly found in retail spaces. 10 Women of Distinction Before Rani completed her schooling she worked as a Draft Person in the engineering department of the United Parcel Service. More than anything it taught her the many complexities of working in a corporate environment and how to get along efficiently with colleagues and subordinates. After completing her BS in Architecture at The Ohio State University in 1988 she landing her first real job working for a small architectural company. Her first project included preparing construction drawings for a three-story building. Grateful for the experience they pushed Rani to understand how to put construction documents quickly and efficiently. Q&A Q How does the internet influence the design in your field A Clients have come to me with ideas images they have seen on the internet. It s good in one way and not so good in so many other ways. One image does not represent tell the work thoughts concepts or the process behind it prior to getting the final design representing in that image. Q What kind of projects do you do A Most of our projects are commercial focusing on retail restaurants and corporate offices. Q Does your company do interior design work A We believe that interior design is a part of the architectural field. We work closely with branding and visual merchandising companies requested by clients. Q What makes your company different from other small companies A I m a very hands-on person. My background and experience covers the architecture interior design branding and visual merchandising. Working on the expansion of the Universal Studios Florida project was one of my most memorable experiences in my life she said about her next venture. I was the youngest and the only female Project Leader on this amazing project. It was challenging high energy and exciting but the best part of it was that it taught me that I really needed to understand how to work with people and how to motivate others to do their best. After the Universal Studios project Rani earned the opportunity to work on the Bengals Stadium project as a Project Architect again as the only woman on the team. While gaining a tremendous amount of experience she also go to focus more on human interaction and how to approach other colleagues on the job. All these years later as a business owner she looks back at these moments with nothing but fond memories. LEED-AP BD C certified since 2009 Rani is married and resides in the same small town in which she works. Each year she chooses a different non-profit organization to become involved with so long as their cause is either animal or woman related. I am a very driven person. I love to get to know new people and I love animals she said. People who meet me in the professional setting usually do not know that saving animals is also a huge part of my life. 11 Women of Distinction Corretta La Shawn Patterson Business Management Health and Wellbeing Founder Owner Chief Executive Officer Ja Mae LLC Roanoke VA P roviding management and business consulting services to small- and medium-sized businesses as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ja Mae LLC Corretta La Shawn Patterson s consulting firm is a homebased business located in Roanoke Virginia. Established in 2015 Ja Mae LLC specializes in business management health wellness and notary services to those in need of professional guidance and support. Offering nearly two decades of experience to clients in business management insurance banking global optimization and prioritization of resources Corretta began her career in banking before being taken on board with Allstate Insurance Company in 2000 as a Support Center Manager. During her tenure with Allstate she earned recognition for her leadership and performance. She became a Division Leader and worked in various areas of the company including Corporate Relations Sourcing and Procurement and Human Resources. Providing professional services to clients such as reviewing resumes conducting mock interviews via face-to-face or video and critiquing social media sites to offer suggestions for brand imaging and reputation purposes are just some of the daily tasks Corretta focuses on when working with a client. She also provides various seminars and webinars such as Dress for Success and Appropriate Business Dining Etiquette to name a few. Corretta has a BA from Ferrum College and an MBA from Averett University. Extremely active within her community she supports several non-profit organizations that help women and children. She s a member of National Notary Association American Society of Notaries Society of Human Resource Management National Black MBA Association Inc. and National Association of Professional Women to name a few. A devoted Christian Corretta has always believed in maintaining a good work life balance. Today she s the proud parent of two college graduates. Daughter Malika has a JD from Valparaiso University School of Law and a BA from Virginia State University. Son James has a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs in my family Corretta noted but it s been the women in my family who ve really inspired me to pursue my dreams. My mom and aunts own their own businesses and they ve all encouraged me to get an education and follow my dreams. Thankful for the many blessings she s received over the years Corretta is so proud to be serving the Virginia area as the Founder and CEO of Ja Mae LLC an organization that represents integrity loyalty and community. A hands-on business woman who believes in being the face of the company Corretta is committed to guiding each of her clients and seeing every project through to the very end helping each of them move forward in their respective fields. I started my company as a testament to what a little country girl who grew up to become a single mom and college graduate could do with faith hard work love and support from family and friends. Corretta said. I m a people person and I enjoy the opportunity to help and work with others. 12 Women of Distinction Dylan Mariah MA BS RN LMHC E-RYT RMT Healthcare Nursing Education Owner of Dylan Mariah Wellness Solutions Support for Radiant Life Pittsford NY W ith her background in nursing mental health and fitness Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner Dylan Mariah offers her clients a unique blend of therapies designed to promote overall wellness and help them reach their full potential. The owner of Dylan Mariah Wellness Solutions she provides a wide range of services including Health Education Reiki Counseling Cymatherapy Yoga and Fitness Classes. To ensure success Dylan partners with her clients to create individualized solutions that fit their personal needs. I feel great about being able to do the work that I am called to do which also helps others. The smiles I see and the gratitude I hear expressed is very gratifying. What most inspires me though is to see people breaking free of unhealthy physical dietary mental and emotional patterns that keep them feeling stuck and unhappy. With enough support and after engaging in simple lifestyle changes people are amazed at how much better they feel and how much more they can do than they thought Dylan brings more than 30 years of professional experience to her practice. She launched her career after graduating from Lesley College with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology in 1984. Prior to that time Dylan worked as a patient advocate and educator in community clinics. A lifelong lover of learning Dylan was interested in continuing her studies to learn more about the physical health issues her clients were facing so she returned to school and earned her nursing degree in 2003. In order to offer her clients and students diverse and effective therapies Dylan has studied numerous alternative approaches to achieving health naturally. She is certified to teach yoga and has been a Reiki Master Teacher since 1994. The integration of holistic approaches into work that is well grounded in an understanding of nursing anatomy and physiology has enabled her to more effectively support those with injuries chronic illness and other physical challenges. I was drawn to this broad field of health promotion out of a love for helping others realize their greatest potential. For me these are just different avenues through which I am able to work with diverse groups of people. I encourage students and clients to learn about all of their options so that they can make informed choices that they will feel good about. Committed to mentoring healers and therapists and natural health practitioners Dylan has written four manuals on Reiki and writes essays on a variety of health mental health and spiritual wellness topics which are distributed to subscribers and posted on a professional website. Dylan s guided meditations are available on YouTube and can also be purchased on Dylan also does pro-bono work in support of various causes teaching classes and conducting demonstrations at events such as the National Parkinson Foundation s Moving Day the YMCA s Body Peace Weekend for Women and at Community Center Wellness Fairs. I would like for the world to be a better happier and healthier place because I was here. I would like to be remembered most as someone who cared and was willing to lend a hand. If I have inspired others to be better people I feel I have accomplished a great thing. 13 Women of Distinction Faith McCune Certified Life and Relationship Coach with a special focus on clients who have retreated from society due to unresolved loss disability or trauma. President of Duffy s World Inc. San Diego CA U sing the innovative PAWS philosophy (Positive Actionable Wisdom for Success) facilitated by the human-canine bond Certified Life and Relationship Coach Faith McCune is changing lives one client at a time. Faith President of Duffy s World Inc. specializes in healing individuals who have retreated from society due to unresolved loss disability or trauma. After spending 20 years as an administrator with a management consulting company Faith who holds a Bachelor of Education in Music from the University of Hawaii found her true calling. In 2013 she penned a book Duffy s World Seeing the World Through a Dog s Eyes. Her business path started to take shape from there. Faith returned to school to become a Certified Action Coach through Coaching Firm International and founded her San Diego-based business in 2015. Since then Faith has published five additional books. Faith is affiliated with the Institute of Coaching through the McLean Hospital Harvard Medical School and is a lifetime member of CEO Space International. Additionally she is a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and is listed on the coaching referral service and the Vets Community Connections a community-based initiative designed to involve a greater number of individuals in veteran reintegration efforts. When Faith gets a free moment you are likely to find her spending it with her husband and beloved dog Danna. Faith is currently training Danna to carry on the legacy of the couple s last Aussie Corrie who was an agility champion. Danna is also competing in obedience and rally and will be trained with Faith to provide pet assisted therapy. My business is a fledgling company but my heart and passion has been in coaching for a very long time she said. I am still learning but I am driven to succeed not for the money but to be able to see people emerge from who they thought they were to who they re meant to be. There is so much loneliness and isolation in our world today. Clinical studies have shown that having or enjoying the company of a dog or any pet will reduce blood pressure and stress. People live longer and healthier lives gain confidence and make more friends when they have pets. Dogs can sense our emotions even a change in our health. What better way to reawaken purpose and well-being The legacy I wish to leave is to see each of my clients grow and reach for their dreams and be the amazing people they were meant to be Faith said. Along the way if I can help one more dog find a forever home it would mean one less dog in the shelter and one more human finding love and joy by their side. 14 Women of Distinction Iris Meck Marketing and Communications in the agriculture and food sector in Canada President Iris Meck Communications Inc. and Host of Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference Calgary Alberta Canada I ris Meck s roots in the world of agriculture reach back to her childhood on the family farm in Manitoba. With a lifelong passion for the agriculture and food sectors she founded Iris Meck Communications Inc. nearly 20 years ago. The award-winning event management firm specializes in providing marketing and communications services to agricultural and food companies and organizations. The company provides public relations advertising and complete turn-key event organization as well as implementation including corporate openings product launches conferences workshops and forums. Iris is very involved with every project handled by IMCI and considers no job too small to bring the team together to produce the best product for the client. Apart from being budget conscious IMCI prides itself in meeting the individual needs of the client -- projects are completed on budget and on time. Iris has an enthusiasm for bringing people together to listen learn network grow and create a better life. Her greatest professional inspiration is a woman who was a few years ahead of her in agricultural studies at the University of Manitoba. She was one of the first women graduating from agriculture university studies and to be hired as a manager with an agricultural firm. Iris is proud to have followed in her footsteps. Today Iris cherishes the friendship that she has with her inspirational leader and is grateful for the business coaching she has provided to Iris over the years. Iris has learned to take risks and with that ask for what she wanted. She knows that if you don t ask -- you will never get it. It was not always easy but when Iris believed strongly in what she was doing and her goals and maintained a positive attitude and belief that it would work -- it usually did. Some people call it luck Iris calls it believing and asking the universe for what you want and knowing deep inside that it will come to be. Iris uses her platform to give back to the agriculture industry. As such she developed the Advancing Women Conference in 2014 when she saw an opportunity for growth that did not exist for women. Her goal was to create a positive space for women in the agricultural industry to learn together and connect with one another. Since its inception in 2014 this community has grown to two conferences a year and has a strong online presence where women network and share their common experiences and professional and personal successes. As an additional part of the program Iris arranges sponsorship for many young women agricultural students to attend that conference free of charge so they can take advantage of the excellent networking and learning opportunities. Additionally Iris is a long-standing member of the Institute of Agrologists the International Women s Leadership Association and the Connected Business Women Network (CBWN). She also sits on the committee supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture that looks at the advancement of women in agriculture through the Canadian Human Resources Council. 15 Women of Distinction Iris recently has taken on a philanthropic initiative in Peru where she is supporting local communities outside of Lima to establish a sewing school for women. And for several years has provided financial support to young agricultural scientists attending universities in Africa to allow them to attend major agricultural scientific conferences worldwide. Iris has had considerable success running her own profitable business for more than 17 years. She hopes to be an inspiration to others of what is possible. She truly believes that any woman can start and grow a successful business. Iris has always professed that if you love what you do and believe in yourself you will succeed. It doesn t come without hard work but if you enjoy what you do entrepreneurship is a life worth living she said. Iris also believes in learning something new and meeting someone new each day. This makes every day interesting and meaningful. An important development for Iris over the past several years is the drive to leave a legacy. It s a goal that inspired her to start the Advancing Women community and one that leads her to continue the quest to create a movement that is large enough to carry one after she retires. Q&A Q What would you attribute to your success A I have run a profitable business for over 17 years. Each year I hold the reins on expenses and find that if I produce the best product and provide over the top service to my clients I am rewarded with a profitable business. I attribute my success from firstly taking risks to do things differently finding new innovative programming for my clients and my business striving to do things more effectively and efficiently on a continuous basis. Q What keeps you motivated A Agriculture is a fascinating industry and I am passionate about it even though it is not recognized for the value it contributes and often is undervalued as an industry. In my mind if you eat you should be interested in agriculture. I am always excited to see a project executed effectively and completed with great success not only for my firm but also for the client. When the client is happy I am satisfied to say the least. I take the time to enjoy every success and let it soak in. As my business matures being able to give back through my volunteer work and the Advancing Women initiative and coaching young women is most important to me. Q What is the importance of mentorship in your industry A As in many industries agriculture is a male dominated industry that is realizing change with women entering the industry at all levels. With networking being the most important skill anyone should practice building a relationship with more experienced or more knowledgeable persons is the second greatest tool everyone should possess. Having a mentor increases the likelihood of creating a sense of belonging experiencing success in life and building confidence selfesteem and social skills needed to be a productive member of society and an industry. Q What are the pillars of a successful life A I am a strong believer that amplifying growth in a few main areas of your life will bring you success and a more fulfilled life. I focus on setting goals in what I call my 4 pillars of life which I believe are imperative to be able to know where you are and where you want to be. I use the concept of the four pillars as the foundation of the Advancing Women programs where I emphasize these key life and leadership skills that include financial management and personal financial independence relationships including mentorship coaching and communications health and balance of life strategies and career planning. By setting goals and focusing on these four areas one will not only succeed but will lead a happier life. Building the Advancing Women community is very important because it is a way to encourage and support women in the agriculture and food sector to live the best life they can fulfill their dreams and surpass their goals. 16 Women of Distinction Joanne C. Locke Food Restaurant and Catering Owner Manager - Main Street Deli and Catering Agawam MA T hrough her work as an Owner and Manager at Main Street Deli and Catering Joanne Locke is dedicated to providing a comfortable setting and delicious top quality food to her customers and clients. My advice for those looking to start in this industry is to be ready for hard work. It s much harder to achieve in this business than it seems. We ve seen so many restaurants around us go under or change owners since we opened. Secondly make time to plan. You can t always be just working the business you must be working on the business. Joanne her husband Rick and her son Mike first opened up an upscale deli takeout business inside a local convenience store in May 2005. Her background in education training sales and marketing combined with her husband s experience as a former deli ice cream shop owner and her son Mike s majoring in business helped their establishment find success quickly. After two years of steady growth the trio found a historical home in Agawam MA to use as their new location. This new location provided the homey atmosphere that Joanne had desired for her family s business. As Manager and Co-Owner of Main Street Deli and Catering Joanne takes on many responsibilities including marketing training staff financial planning and working the daily operations of the business. She has always believed in leading by example and feels the most important role is to remain focused on what needs to be done in order to continue the establishment s growth. The biggest lesson I ve learned is to know my limitations and feel comfortable with asking for help not only from my son and husband but also using the expertise of a lot of our employees. I can t do it all but I do see the abilities in others around me and try to cultivate those. I love hearing from my employees they have great ideas In her leisure Joanne loves spending time with her family and gardening. She is also a member of both the Women Business Owners Alliance (WBOA) and BNI of Western Massachusetts which both enable her to network and promote her business. I m a genuine person. I value honesty and trust before even love for without those you really can t have close relationships personally or in business. I want my legacy to show that I ve always put people ahead of business. I tend to look for the positive in whomever I meet. If I can t seem to find it I look harder until I find something and then build upon it. 17 Women of Distinction Jodi Aishton Home and Self-Improvement Owner Professional Organizer Space Therapy Montclair LLC Montclair NJ S hortly after the birth of her second child in 2008 Jodi Aishton her husband and the children packed up and moved out of Brooklyn New York to the suburbs of Montclair New Jersey. Making certain that she be extremely organized while in the thick of the big move Jodi knew it would be an essential component to her sanity. After all the children in particular had a lot of stuff . People began commenting on how efficiently we got things done and how effectively our home was organized Jodi said. I started helping out friends with small children helping them organize their playrooms mudrooms kitchens and other areas that needed help. My business developed from there. As Owner and Professional Organizer of Space Therapy Montclair LLC Jodi is never judgmental with clients is always open minded and keeps every job completely confidential. People are disorganized for so many different reasons it s Jodi s job to not judge but instead help them with how to fix it. Keeping in mind that each of her clients is letting her into their very private lives (and homes) it s her duty to make them feel comfortable and to maintain their trust. It s the only way the process of helping them will work. I take a genuine interest in my clients and enjoy getting to know them. The fact that I can walk into someone s cluttered and disorganized space helping them to purge and set up long-term systems to help them stay organized has been very motivating for me Jodi said who admits to having always been a very hands-on results oriented person. Staying organized is kind of like being on a weight loss program you re really motivated in the beginning when you first shed all the excess pounds but then you plateau and it s all about maintaining. Jodi s family has been a great inspiration throughout this journey. Her husband is a very organized person who doesn t believe in holding onto unnecessary things. While Jodi admits that she is still working on being as organized as him even she at times has difficulty purging personal belongings. In the end she ultimately feels more comfortable living in an uncluttered space. Jodi earned her BA in Mass Communications in 1995. She worked in product development at a luxury jewelry company and in project management and development at a women s and children s accessory company prior to forming Space Therapy Montclair LLC. Her experience has given her the ability to focus on tangible results skills that work well for Jodi today in the field of professional organizing. In 2014 Jodi became a professional member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Through organizing she works closely with a number of local nonprofit organizations such as Toni s Kitchen and the Human Needs Food Pantry Dress for Success and local libraries and community centers. In any community these types of places are a great resource for people to get started purging and organizing their affairs. 18 Women of Distinction G rowing up in the 1970s Julie McGloin has always been inspired by women making their mark in the world. She started her career at the 1980 Winter Olympics which led to a two decade long career working in the travel and tourism industry. Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic and travelled extensively I m very adaptable and invest my time in what I call lifelong learning having worked with Tony Robbins and organized conferences around the world for people like Bob Proctor from The Secret. Life is meant to be lived. I encourage all to step out of their comfort zone regularly and try something new and challenging. Committed to helping business owners reach their professional goals Julie and her husband founded Straight Forward Success in the mid-1990s. Learning the business coaching industry from the ground up the couple quickly became recognized as the catalyst for their client s accomplishments. Today Straight Forward Success has helped countless companies transform their businesses with their tried and tested tools. As COO Julie oversees all aspects of her business including the marketing administration and client relations. Additionally she developed a complete online E-Learning Marketing program billed by many of today s top marketing experts as the single most powerful client attraction program ever created. Helping our clients transform their businesses and their lives and become award winners has inspired me to continue to develop our business. As little as 1 in 20 business coaches are able to run their own business successfully let alone help others. Julie advises those aspiring to enter into the industry to take the time to learn be authentic and very good at listening. Julie McGloin Business Growth Specialist COO of Straight Forward Success Goleta CA Q&A Q What is unique about your business A With over 21 000 hours of coaching small businesses to achieve amazing results we offer one-to-one coaching as well as a fully automated do it yourself option. We will show you how to double your profits in 12 months guaranteed Q Who is your ideal client A Business Owners today are in the fight of their lives. We ll help you if you re a small business owner and you know you can achieve more... but don t know how to do it on your own. Q How can people find out more A It s very important to me to help you make the right decision without coercion or pressure. Go to our website http guidedtour and listen to the short video I ve created showing you how easy it is to make changes. Q What s the one thing people should know about your business A We will help you make more money and work fewer hours so you can enjoy the more important things in your life like family health and having fun. The biggest challenges of my career must be moving countries and twice setting up successful businesses from scratch. The most important advice I can give to others is to be present be professional listen be congruent and most of all be yourself. A people person Julie is active in various organizations including a board position with National Association of Women Business Owners and a member of the Santa Barbara Women s Club. She also is the successful co-author of How to Double Your 3 months. Guaranteed. A deeply compassionate person Julie spends her free time working with the local Hospice providing a valuable community service for those grieving the loss of their pets. 19 Women of Distinction Laura J. Ent Retail Toy Industry Co-Owner COO - Buddie Toys LLC Ann Arbor MI T hrough her work as Co-Owner and COO of Buddie Toys LLC Laura Ent is dedicated to providing an excellent product line with top quality customer service to all of her customers. I ve remained in this field for the children -- to provide safe and adorable toys made right here in the USA. Laura s career in the retail toy industry began in 2011 when she her daughter and grandson came up with an idea for a new toy while shopping one day. The family immediately hit the drawing board and enlisted the help of Laura s daughterin-law who is the designer of the family. All of Buddie Toys products are manufactured out of safe non-toxic materials in the United States. Buddie Toys is family owned and operated. Giving direction and organization is in Laura s blood which has been shown through her past experiences working as an elementary school teacher high school coach and secretary. Laura s biggest inspiration is her husband of 35 years Carl who set the example to fulfill the needs of the customers with the best customer service possible. I think my best quality is excellent customer service. I always want to do my best at giving the customer the best product at a reasonable price in a timely manner. I return calls and emails ASAP and I tell the truth if I can t follow through. I expect good customer service for myself and I try to give it as well. Regarding her education Laura received a BS degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University in 1984. In her leisure she enjoys reading going camping watching auto racing and spending time with her family. Laura is a member of the National Association for Professional Women and plans on joining the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce in the near future. My advice to someone starting out in this industry would be to never give up It takes a lot of time money and energy to succeed. Don t let others bring you down. If you truly believe in something go for it. In her role of co-owner and COO Laura handles the company s day-to-day operations including receiving filling and delivery of orders via internet in person and wholesale. She also makes all of the phone calls and does all of the paperwork accounting ordering of materials etc. Buddie Toys has a patent on their Buddie toy and a trademarked logo. My legacy would be to leave behind a thriving business that my family can be proud of and carry on. 20 Women of Distinction Levona Lee Rose Hunter Education Middle School ESL and Middle School Academic Adviser Professional Assessment Scorer ESL Teacher and Academic Adviser Retired Killeen TX Teaching has always been my passion. It sounds trite and sentimental but ever since I was a little kid I wanted to make a difference. fter just graduated from high school at the age of 17 Levona Lee Rose Hunter s best friend was getting married over the summer and was working as a teacher s aide for special needs kids at the elementary school level. Lee s friend needed someone to sub for her so she could go on her honeymoon. And now more than forty years later Lee is still working in education. Growing up I always wanted to work with children. Deep down Lee attributes her passion for education to growing up the way she did. Coming up poor in the inner city of Detroit she remembers what is like to be raised in schools neighborhoods and surroundings that aren t the best for a child s development. Neither of her parents attended high school finishing only as high as the eighth grade. School was like magical to me growing up. It was safe. It was the teachers that made it so. I think for me it was something about paying it forward. That s why I became a teacher. I wanted to give to others what was given to me. A In her free time Lee is an accomplished and published poet whose poetry has appeared in several print and online literary publications and anthologies. Currently she has a poetry chapbook in the works. I love writing. I love the creative process. In the past I have used a lot of my original copy for classroom instruction. Besides writing Lee also enjoys making hand-pieced baby quilts quilted wall hangings. She is also in the process of starting an online business called Rosalie s Attic to try her hand at being an entrepreneur. I believe in the potential of all people regardless of linguistic or cultural differences circumstance or disability. For this reason I have always channeled my energies toward the helping professions. Teaching is my chosen path. At the end of the day Lee simply wants to be known as the definitive compliment of being a mensch. A mensch is someone who is a person of integrity. They are of service to others and they give selflessly. They do not cut corners in relationships personal or professional. They will not deceive undermine or diminish those around them. Although she has temporarily retired from teaching Lee has found that her current role as a Professional Assessment Scorer for Pearson is equally as important as teaching. Now her responsibility is scoring the Language Arts portion of the PARCC exam which identifies where a student needs remediation and or enrichment so that instruction can be tailored to meet individual student needs. Lee knows she is now helping educators across the country to better structure their lesson plans to further help each of their students. 21 Women of Distinction Marci Brown Pharmaceutical Jewelry Design Pharmacy Technician & Owner of a Jewelry in Candles franchise Randolph MA S ingle mother Marci Brown makes juggling it all look easy. For 26 years she has worked as a Pharmacy Technician at one of the nation s top commercial pharmacies in the Boston area all while pursuing her talents as a jewelry designer franchise owner and being a loving and dedicated mother to 5-year-old daughter Ava Rose. In her role Marci is an expert at sales and marketing. She hosts online parties catalog parties vendor events and sells online at store marci-brown Naturally artistic Marci is also the founder of the jewelry design company Stringing Along where she works with her mother to craft beautiful custom pieces. I love creating she said. People always ask me my opinions on design. It absolutely what I love to do. Marci tells aspiring businesswomen to reach out to others in their pursuit of success. Networking she said is essential. Help them help you Marci advised. Ask a lot of questions and have them help you understand what needs to be done. Born and raised in Boston Marci previously worked for John Hancock a leading financial services company. For her next venture she aspires to work in promotional sales. Marci s ambition has rubbed off on young Ava who hopes to become a veterinarian one day. I strive for want I want Marci said. I am a everyday person doing the best I can. I am a hard worker and I want to help people. I am a single parent who wants to see her daughter on the right track. In 2013 Marci embarked on a second career as a representative and franchise owner for Jewelry in Candles a nationwide company specializing in providing an eco-friendly alternative to paraffin candles with a little something extra to boot. The company started with 100% soy wax that is natural and burns clean. Due to popular demand Jewelry in Candles added premium fragrances that transform homes into a relaxing and blissful experience. Each candle has a surprise wrapped inside a colorful foil that is unnoticeable until after the first lighting. Buyers can choose from an elegant variety of earrings necklaces and rings for men or women valued from 10 to tens of thousands of dollars. 22 Women of Distinction Mary Ross Writing Self-healing Author Los Angeles CA D Knowledge is wonderful but it has a beginning and end where on the other hand imagination can go on and on and never have boundaries of the mind. Mary Ross Author for Healthy Healing explains so passionately her love for writing. She was introduced to the industry during one of the hardest times of her life. In the year 2014 she was mentored by author Darnella Ford who had visited the shelter that Mary was residing in at the time to share her program Journey to Worthy with the women at the facility in Los Angeles. arnella Ford left a great impact on Mary as she taught her how to recognize her worth and acknowledge her strengths along with her weaknesses. She inspired Mary to use her talent to empower those around her to become better. Mary also mentions God as the most important of three entities for giving her the strength to hold on. Lastly musician Natalie Cole s lyrics to her songs Keep Smiling Thankful and Annie Mae saved Mary from the attempt to commit suicide while unfortunately experiencing domestic abuse as a teenager. She states Her words were written with a message of love understanding and push that said you too can survive and become a fighter. And so I did. With her current title being an author for the Healthy Healing organization Mary teaches the spiritual truth of one s self being enabling them to accept who they truly are and guiding them as they learn to love that person. She believes that when they are honest with themselves their souls are capable of bringing positivity into their personal lives. Mary s tough times have driven her to help those who have experienced similar trials and tribulations throughout their lives and she encourages others to believe in themselves as she believes giving them the faith to never give up. Mary has worked with various nonprofit organizations giving back to women and families who live in shelters. She has actively participated with AmeriCorps as a volunteer recruitment manager in her community and has served in the Army at Fort Dix New Jersey and Fort Belvoir West Virginia. She even appeared on stage at the Comedy Store the Laugh Factory Savoy and several Internet radio shows Her book Weapons formed against me is available to purchase on Amazon and she is presently working with Page Publishing on the uncut version as well as another book Baby Girl A Father s love for lust and dominance. Even in her free time Mary Ross loves to write. In fact she has an additional book in the works Healthy Healing. She attends many writer s conferences and mediates often. Mary Ross is a no nonsense kind of woman and openly accepts herself and her life experiences. She states We all have a story and that story defines us as an individual. Once we learn how to respect our story we can live our life with happiness and joy. 23 Women of Distinction Melissa J. Cornish Health and Wellness Coaching Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Owner of Your Total Health Experience Lipan TX fter realizing the dramatic impact nutrition has on health Melissa J. Cornish entered into the field of Health and Wellness Coaching in 2011. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Owner of Your Total Health Experience Melissa helps patients discover their full potential. She builds meaningful relationships with her clients helping them define what good health means to them. Whether a patient is looking to increase energy lose weight or reduce risk for disease Melissa specializes in creating a customized solution. My career began as a result of the fact that my family had seen major improvements in their health since I put into practice what I had been studying about nutrition. I had the idea to take all that I learned and help other people. As the sole owner and only employee of Your Total Health Experience Melissa built her company from the ground up by digging in and learning how to manage every aspect of the business of coaching people. In addition to providing unparalleled health coaching Melissa also is responsible for maintaining the business website and email service. She is the sole writer of all her content and also designed the company s logo. I literally have my finger on the pulse of my business at all times. I think the biggest thing was learning to slow down and understand that it takes time to build something well from the ground up that is going to be able to continue to grow and evolve. Some things take longer than expected but taking the time to do them right is always the best policy. Melissa completed the Health Coach Certification Course offered through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she discovered her niche in the industry of Health and Wellness Coaching. A I credit the Institute for Integrative Nutrition for teaching me about bio-individuality and emphasizing the importance of wellness in all aspects of life. Seeing room for all that individuality in the health coaching business is what keeps me motivated to keep developing my practice. Melissa is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). She was recently named as a VIP member and one of the 2016-2017 Women of the Year of the National Association of Professional Women. Sharing her expertise Melissa regularly writes articles for The Naturopathic Doctor Development Center which help doctors manage life outside of their patient waiting rooms. It is a way to give back to the practitioners in the healthcare field. Especially for women finding the balance between work and home life can be quite a challenge. Additionally Melissa is a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation and alumni of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Both of these groups help Melissa locate and support local organic farmers and producers as they provide excellent resources for her clients. I want to unite people with nature so that they can experience the most basic of human needs. Whether I get them physically interacting with nature or just get them in touch with the true nature of their being their lives will change forever in a positive way. Once there is release then enters peace compassion mercy and acceptance become new guides for living. 24 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How is a Health and Wellness coach different from a nutritionist A A nutritionist goes to school for several years to learn the specifics about the nutritional breakdown of foods and how they satisfy the nutritional needs of our body. A health and wellness coach looks at people as an individual and works with their mental emotional and physical needs to recommend diet and lifestyle changes to achieve optimal quality of life. Q Would you consider working for one of the health insurance companies as a health coach A No. Q Why not A I feel that I would be limited to how much I could help individuals due to the health insurance companies having strict guidelines to operate inside of. Q How would that affect your ability to coach someone A In my own business the most important aspect of my coaching is focusing on what the person needs to reach their goals. Everyone responds to different concepts in different ways. Aside from making changes to a client s diet and activity level I teach them how to manage stress shop for healthy foods prepare delicious meals that the entire family will enjoy suggest certain vitamins and minerals or herbs or design a detox program for them. Q Do you ever work with doctors A I work closely with each client s doctor so that they can monitor their patient s progress run lab tests and adjust or eliminate medications. I am also affiliated with several local doctors and practitioners on a referral basis. Q Are there other services that you offer A I have several workshops that I give such as meal planning new baby nutrition and health food store tours. I run a group detox program and I am also working on teleconferences. Q Besides nutrition what other areas do you have experience in that helps you to treat clients A My first true interest in alternative medicine was with reflexology. Then I branched out into studying energy and frequency healing reiki working with chakras and magnets Ayurveda meditation and aromatherapy. Q Do you have any big goals for the future A I am currently working towards my certification in aromatherapy. Since I use them so much in my home I want to teach my clients how these gifts from nature can improve their quality of life. Q What do you feel is the reason that the health coaching business came into existence and continues to grow A I think due to most people s busy lifestyles they have lost touch with what is natural normal and healthy. Health fads come and go so fast that it leaves people wondering what is the right thing to do. The goal of health and wellness coaching is to bring people back to the basics and show them how to incorporate healthy practices into everyday life. I think this is important for the survival of the human race. 25 Women of Distinction Nancy Arcelay-Vargas Higher Education Faculty Member Ana G. M ndez University (South Florida Campus) Department Chair Health Information Management Programs Millennia Atlantic University Faculty Latin Division HSAS Online Program Fort Lauderdale FL s a proud single mother of four amazing kids Nancy Arcelay-Vargas had to work much harder than the average mom to reach her academic and professional goals. But with a lot of perseverance humility late nights and little sleep she made her dreams a reality. The fruits of her labor include a 27-year long career and today she employed at three different college campuses all of which are centrally located in Southeast Florida. Entering into higher education in 1989 as a Clinical Instructor Nancy supervised students performance in clinical practices and trained students in technical skills related to respiratory care for the University of Puerto Rico. Becoming Program Director for the University she then developed implemented and evaluated the Respiratory Care Certificate Program on the Medical Science Campus designed curriculum for the program and coordinated students clinical practices and supervised faculty and clinical instructors. Transitioning into the role of Quality Improvement Coordinator of Maternal and Child Health Services for United Healthcare Plans of Puerto Rico she remained into position for four years before becoming a Preventive and Education Coordinator for GERI Inc. designing preventive and educational services to the maternal and child population of the health reform in Ponce Puerto Rico and the southeast communities. A Relocating to Florida in 2001 Nancy began working at Ana G. M ndez University s South Florida Campus and today is working with the program of Health Services Management Program and Community Health at the bachelor and master degree level. Landing a position with Millennia Atlantic University in 2012 as Department Chair of Health Information Management Programs she s responsible for faculty professional development course planning and programmatic certifications. Simultaneously working at a third university as a Faculty Member of the Latin Division HSAS Online Program since 2013 she conducts health administration service course and translates curriculum from English to Spanish. Hoping to someday establish a gym for children with special needs Nancy says there is a great need to develop alternative rehabilitative services to mitigate the limitation of health insurance coverage plans when kids reach the plateau in their treatments. Individuals with special needs she stresses need to maintain what they ve gained after rehabilitative treatments have ended in order to maximize their potential and functionality. Nancy holds an AS in Respiratory Therapy Magna Cum Laude a BS in Health Science Administration Cum Laude and an MS in Public Health with a Minor in Child Development and recently completed her Doctorate in Education in Instructional Leadership Magna Cum Laude in 2014 from Argosy University s online program. The mother of three sons and one daughter two of them live in Puerto Rico and two are in the US. She is also blessed with five wonderful grandchildren. As an educator I transform lives. Students have their professional dreams and I m the facilitator to allow those dreams to come true. In each institution I ve empowered students to recognize the trends in technology and health management globally Nancy said. I m also a lifelong learner an agent of change and a public servant who is constantly in pursuit to improve health services through education prevention and innovation. 26 Women of Distinction Patricia Tricia Watts Gift Basket and Party D cor Creations Tricia s Gift & Party Creations Lindenwold NJ fter losing her husband over 10 years ago Patricia Tricia Watts was left alone to raise their four children on her own. Not accustomed to asking anyone for help she continued working her overnight job which she s been doing now for 14 years with a smile on her face. Finally after all this time Patricia was ready to do something different something that inspired her and made her happy. As the Owner of Tricia s Gift & Party Creations since 2010 she s loved every minute of it of the experience. I wanted to own something have something of my own Tricia said. I started my business creating beautiful gifts and party d cor something I love doing. Tricia s Gift & Party Creations belongs to me an amazing creation all my own. Knowing that she had nothing to lose Tricia took a chance and succeeded. Working out of her home she creates custom beautiful handmade gift baskets and party d cor for every occasion including centerpieces holiday decorations diaper cakes and baby shower favors wedding shower gift baskets and favors sports party decorations graduation gift baskets and sympathy baskets. You name it she ll create it. Each gift can be personalized too. Tricia s small business allows her the ability to focus on customer service. Because of this she has devoted customers who continuously return to her for future purchases. They are confident in her work and especially enjoy the compliments they receive for their thoughtful gifts. Tricia has never let a single customer down and she fills each and every order on time every time. Even if it means overnighting a shipment to fulfill her orders on time satisfaction is her number one priority. A In my opinion there are two kinds of people in this world those who do the work and those who take the credit she said. I m my own boss I do my own creating and I m proud to take the credit for a job well done. Very fair in her pricing Tricia admits that she doesn t charge what she should but by charging less she is able to continue doing what she loves and not jeopardize a good thing. Advertising online Tricia mainly relies on social media such as Facebook Twitter and Instagram. She also hands out business cards and flyers to help promote her business. Proud of her accomplishments Tricia s family and extended family have told her that she has shown them that anything in life is possible. The best way to predict the future is to create it Tricia said optimistically. Your life is what you make of it. The saddest thing would be if I had nothing good to leave behind for my growing family to remember me. Through this experience I ve been able to give beautiful original gifts that my customers are proud to give their loved ones and that truly makes me happy. 27 Peg Donahue Service Industry Peg At Your Service President and Owner Peg s Home Staging Solutions President and Owner Portside Cuisine Cookbook & Blog Author Delray Beach FL T hroughout her diverse and fascinating career Peg Donahue has become a master of many trades. She fell in love with the creative side of cooking at an early age and as fate would have it she has turned her childhood passion into a portion of her profession. Her journey into the world of professional cooking began in the early 1990s. Fifteen years ago Peg found herself living on a sailboat at anchor in the harbor in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Surrounded by other boats which all had charter crews Peg often attended fantastic dinners aboard neighboring vessels and hosted many of her own. Combining her love for sailing and cooking Peg became a chef aboard several mega yachts. After 8 years into her career she retired to care for her mother who was suffering from Alzheimer s. Returning to the United States Peg launched two successful businesses -- Peg At Your Service and Peg s Home Staging Solutions the latter of which she is currently phasing out to focus more time on her successful cookbook and food blog Portside Cuisine. Portside Cuisine is a compilation of recipes that she used regularly and that were also shared during the crew dinner parties. In her cookbook and blog at Peg regularly posts yummy recipes and a lot of interesting and funny stories about her life at sea as both a live-aboard sailor and later on as a Yacht Chef. Peg At Your Service or PAYS is a full-service concierge business designed to help clients manage their busy life. As the sole proprietor and employee Peg wears many hats and offers a wide variety of services that fall under the umbrella of Personal Assistant Personal Shopper and Errands and or Concierge Services and Property Management Services. Through all of her business ventures Peg achieves her ultimate goal of enriching the lives of others. I love people and I love helping people. I find it satisfying at the end of the day to know I helped someone complete a task that they needed help with. An honest person Peg has learned to trust her gut when it comes to taking on jobs. She encourages aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to know their worth and to be selective about the assignments they choose. 28 Women of Distinction The biggest challenge I think I faced is learning how to read the warning signs when I m contacted. Not every request is a real opportunity. Trust your instincts. It s OK to say NO sometimes. People will constantly tell you that they don t want to pay your fees. If you price yourself within the industry standards feel confident in that. Peg is a dedicated member of several industry-related organizations such as Real Estate Staging Association International Concierge Members Listing GoodReads and the Broward County Chamber of Commerce. Her businesses are also in excellent standing in the South Florida Chapter of the BBB. Peg was married for 34 years and is a dedicated dog mom to Luca an adorable Maltipoo. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with friends and sharing her contributions with the world. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Everyone has such busy lives these days. Everyone seems to need assistance just getting their day to day chores completed. That s where a concierge and errand service like Peg At Your Service can be really useful. Q What types of services does Peg At Your Service typically perform A Concierge personal assistant errands property management Q What does property management entail A Here in South Florida we have a large population of Snow Birds that are absentee owners for at least of any given year. This service provides them with someone local checking their property on a regular schedule and with ability to help them with all sorts of overseeing like landscaping pool services checking their homes for leaks and sometimes even managing seasonal rentals. Q Do you charge specific pricing for different services A What I charge is usually based on a specific need and those needs always have their own built in quirks. For those reasons I try to stick to charging by the hour however I can usually give the client a pretty close estimate. Q Your cookbook sounds amazing. Where can we purchase it A I ve self-published the book and it is being offered on The title of my cookbook is The Portside Cuisine Cookbook A Yacht Chef s Recipe Collection. There s also a quick and easy link on my website located on several pages. Go to either BLOG or RECIPES. There s also a free 18 recipe cookbook download available if you subscribe to my website newsletter. I m an honest hardworking and compassionate woman who has a passion for good food. I love to cook and try to share my love of friends and family by feeding them well. I love the idea that I ll now have a cookbook left for posterity in the Library of Congress I m now a legitimately published author -- how cool is that 29 Women of Distinction Rebecca Zblewski Direct Sales Organizational Products Associate Director Clever Container Amherst Junction WI T ired of living paycheck to paycheck Rebecca Zblewski knew that she had to do something different. After seeing an ad on Facebook for Clever Container in March 2015 she messaged the consultant for more information. Liking what she heard and believing in the product she was ready to give it a try and venture into unchartered territory. A year later and Rebecca is now an Associate Director promoting the company and selling their products. Q&A Q What is Clever Container A Do you LOVE to organize Are you the one that needs HELP with organizing Either way Clever Container s stylish and affordable storage solutions can transform your home into the organized space you ve been looking for. Whether you are organizing your bathroom kitchen office garage car or even suitcase Clever Container helps put together systems for organization. Q What is their mission A Clever Container is dedicated to helping people take control of their lives by providing high-quality innovative and functional tools along with practical techniques and useful information for organizing the world around them and by offering a business opportunity to motivated individuals who share our belief that an organized environment can lead to a more productive fulfilling life. Q What is Clever Container s Motto A It s not just the product it s the process. Clever Container is committed to providing top quality unique products and solutions to reduce the stress of an organizational task. Q Why did you choose Direct Sales A I had the ability to build a business with minimal investment. Getting started is relatively inexpensive but also one of the hardest things you will ever have to do because you have to have a great work ethic desire purpose goals and reason to implore yourself and grow. Who doesn t need to be more organized Rebecca said. The demand for home organization products in the US is forecasted to increase three-and-a-half percent each year through 2019 to 10.5 billion in revenue. Throughout the process Rebecca has made some longlasting relationships and Clever Container has given her a strong sense of self-worth. Furthermore the personal and professional growth she has shown is beyond her wildest dreams. In fact Rebecca has experienced so much growth that it s enabled her to not have to go back to her teacher s aide position but instead get back into nursing part-time as a Registered Nurse. She has also increased quality time with her husband Steve of 14 years and her two sons Nathan 12 and Ryan 9. Participating in various fundraising events throughout the year with her company Rebecca loves community involvement. Admitting that she is just a normal person living a normal life she says that anyone can be successful if they put the time into it and follow the 6 S s of Success (Speak with confidence Share your story Success through education Surround yourself with successful people Set goals and Support and Recognition). Rebecca is also a true believer in God because with Him there is no limit in what she can accomplish. 30 Women of Distinction Regina M. Mitchell Manufacturing President Warren Fabricating and Machining & Managing Partner Ohio Steel Sheet and Plate Warren OH 31 Women of Distinction R egina M. Mitchell was born to succeed in the Manufacturing and Steel Services industry. Her passion for her work is in her blood. Regina s father John C. Rebhan founded Warren Fabricating and Machining in 1968 and Ohio Steel Sheet and Plate in 1986. Regina got her start working for the family business an early age selling steel on commission after school. Once she sold her first truckload she was hooked. After graduating high school Regina studied Business Management at Loyola University in Chicago. Upon returning home she gained experience working for the family s company in multiple deparments and eventually became a project manager. Today she is the President of Warren Fabricating and Machining as well as Managing Partner of Ohio Steel Sheet and Plate. As a leader of a company who builds equipment that contributes to the depletion of the earth s natural resources I felt a noticeable lack of environmental stewardship in our corporate culture. A change in our corporate culture empowered by common sense and education on sustainable practices was necessary to encourage the cooperation of management and our employees a change that had to start at the top. Since implanting the initiative the company has reduced emmissions and trash costs provided a safer work environment for its employees and minimized its landfill footprint. Due to the program s success Warren Fabricating was recently recognized for its Achievement in Waste Reduction. Regina reguarly speaks on behalf of the Manufacturing Alliance of Ohio to promote awareness of challenges facing the industry such a lack of skilled labor workforce unfair government regulations and illegal dumping of scrap and steel by foreign countries. For her tirerless efforts Regina was recently recognized by The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) as a 2016-2017 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. A deeply compassion person Regina has been involved with the local chapter of the American Heart Association for 15 years. She has served on their Board of Directors and TriCounty Heart Ball twice. And will once again be co-chairing the event in 2017. Through Warren Fabricating and Ohio Steel s Heart Walk Team Regina and her staff have raised more than 100 000 in memory of her father during the last five years. Additionally she is the Founder and Trustee of the Regina M. Rebhan Family Foundation a non-profit that supports the local community with scholarships donations and leadership development. She reguarlly works with area trade schools with recruiting and workplace initiatives with the local Chamber of Commerce. For more than 25 years Regina has been a member of the Warren Junior Women s League and currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Finance Chair for the Development and PR committees of her high school Alma Mater John F. Kennedy Catholic School. Watching my father John C. Rebhan build these businesses from scratch was a great inspiration. I was blessed to watch The American Dream come true for him. Success for him did not happen overnight. He taught us that everyone gets paid before we do. He taught us to keep the profits in the company and continue to reinvest in the future of the companies. The sudden passing of her father who suffered a heart attack greatly impacted Regina both professionally and personally. Ready or not it was time to lead. She stepped into her new role making the difficult decisions taking risks and accepting responsibility while grieving loss of family member. Today Regina oversees production customer relations and implements and approves all capital expenditures for expansion building projects new machinery and technology improvements. Additionally she manages the company s Safety and Human Resource departments. Like her father before her Regina is a visionary in the industry. She uses her platform to be a steward of the environment. Manufacturing is an admittedly dirty business. To combat this issue she developed an innovative sustainability initiative. Her goal is to implement smart simple sustainable practices. This mission brought her to American Military University where earned a continuing education certificate in sustainability. 32 Women of Distinction More important than leading is serving. I was raised having the best of both worlds. My father was a great leader who taught me the value of hard work and my mother donated her time to her community and others. She has had a long career serving others from the director of a maternity home to building a program of guardians for the elderly in our community. She taught us that serving others is as important as leading others. I have always been grateful to have the best of both worlds and do my best to find the balance of both. Of all her accomplishments perhaps the one closest to Regina s heart is being a wife and mother to three ambitious and generous children. Q&A Q What is your favorite quote A Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi Q What are some of your business strategies when looking for talent A Reward loyalty invest in people as readily as your invest in technology and promote from within your organization. It is important to let people know that are contributing to your organization both with your words and your actions. Q What is the biggest lesson learned that you feel is good advice for others A Do not let fear dictate the outcome of your life. Step out of your comfort zone. Speak up. So many people are crippled with self-doubt. I see people passed up for opportunities because they feel like their contributions are not good enough or smart enough. Just because you are young or a female working in a male-dominated field do not doubt your ability to contribute to the conversation. The women on my team are some of my best problem solvers. I constantly encourage them to speak up and be part finding solutions to problems. Be kind to each other. Words have great power. You can empower and encourage people with your words as easily as you can discount them. Q What is the biggest lesson learned that you feel is good advice for others A Always be willing to mentor people. It does not matter what stage in your career you are in there is always someone we can influence. We are all born with valuable gifts that were meant to be shared. It is my obligation to give back what I have been given. My greatest legacy will be raising bright responsible and hardworking children. My son who is a freshman at Youngstown State University hopes to one day take over our family company for a third generation. Teaching my children the importance of commitment and purpose. Whether they become involved in the family business or not I want them to be responsible respectful employees or employers who value hard work loyalty integrity and service to others. 33 Women of Distinction Robin A. Boersner Management Real Estate Senior Property Manager Winn Residential Boston MA s a New Construction Lease-Up Property Manager Robin A. Boersner gets on board long before the construction begins. She works with the development team and construction foreman to ensure that each project meets the specifications from a resident s point of view. Having an insider s point of view she says really helps avoid costly redesigns after projects are complete. No two days are ever the same for Robin and that s okay with her. When Robin first started out she worked for The Hamilton Company in Brighton Massachusetts overseeing the operations of more than 200 rental units. As she gained experience she left to work for Action Vest Management Corporation overseeing 500 units. She then worked for The Greenhouse Apartments in Boston managing 322 units and eight commercial spaces. In March 2009 Robin began working for Winn Residential in Charlestown Massachusetts. Being a property manager is no easy task. One must have a solid understanding of budgets financial reporting and financial forecasting. Negotiating skills are also crucial whether you are bidding out jobs with vendors solving disputes between neighbors or overseeing an entire team. A Q&A Q What do you find most challenging about being a Property Manager A The fact that we are dealing with residents regarding something so personal as their home. Each resident is different some are very easy going and you never hear from them others are bothered by things that are not in a property manager s control but the expectations for solutions are very high. Q What is the biggest lesson learned that you feel is good advice for others A You are capable of anything once you set your mind to it. It s just a matter of surrounding yourself with good people and always trying to better yourself. Q What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your industry A Treat it as an exciting journey and challenge yourself every day. This job is what you make of it. Q What three things do you need to be successful in this job A Genuinely liking people the desire to make people love where they live and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Leadership can be tough you will have an entire team answering to you she said. The ability to deal with so many different types of issues means you constantly have to adjust your way of thinking. Still Robin says working in property management has been the best decision she s ever made. The diversity of the job has been the most rewarding part for me Robin admitted. It s what has kept me in this position. Robin is a member of National Apartment Association. She is a Certified Apartment Manager and holds certifications in Fair Housing Fair Housing Compliance and Workers Compensation. 34 Women of Distinction Robin Lewis-Nazon Legal Services Independent Associate Executive Director LegalShield Ada OK O ne of the best decisions Robin Lewis-Nazon has ever made was when she decided to attend a private business reception for LegalShield. Entering into a career where she could run her own business from home while raising her children and still be able to attend all of their extracurricular activities with her husband she truly has no regrets. As an Independent Associate for the company since 1998 Robin helps them achieve their mission in helping everyone in North American gain access to top attorneys to Worry Less and Live More . Believing in Founder Harland Stonecipher s and President CEO Jeff Bell s burning desire to promote justice honesty integrity compassion and love for all Robin is grateful to work for such a reputable organization. The road to success is not a straight line though she noted. I ve experienced many ups and downs setbacks and comebacks but the key is to discipline your disappointments and never ever quit. Making a two-year commitment in the beginning of her journey Robin spent the first year learning all she could about the business and the second year learning and earning residual income. A CPR Instructor for 27 years Robin taught 17 of them for the American Red Cross. She serves as an Independent Contractor for the American Heart Association for the last 10 years and counting. As a member of the National Association for Professional Women Robin is also a Charter Member and Trainer with Mirelli Entrepreneur Training for Women. Robin holds a BA in Psychology since 1982 from Binghamton University. Married for 36 years to her wonderful husband Herold Nazon they ve raised three amazing sons together. Their eldest son Alexander lives and works in Summerville as a personal trainer and security guard. Their middle son Malcolm will graduate from the University of South Carolina in 2018 with a BS in Anthropology. Their youngest son Eric will be completing Bishop England High School in June 2017 and is looking forward to attending Johnson & Wales Culinary College the following fall to become chef. In my 17-plus years of working with LegalShield I ve witnessed over and over again incidents that were all resolved by making one simple phone call Robin said happily. From the lady who saved 500 on a car repair bill to the guy who saved over 10 000 on his car note to the man who was reimbursed for a shirt that the drycleaners ruined LegalShield provides access to equal justice leveling the playing field for everyone. First bitten by the entrepreneur bug at the ripe age of 14 after attending a Mayor s Summer Youth Program in her community Robin learned the skills and experience of what it means to work for wages. Once she realized how to get paid for the production of work it was never the same for her. At age 35 she opened Robin s Nest Child Development Center running it successfully for five years. And after she began her family she was ready for a different outlet that gave her more flexibility and LegalShield was the answer. 35 Women of Distinction Sue SwingerEllbogen Communications Creative Writing Freelance Owner Chicago IL B reaking into the corporate world after relocating from Southeast Missouri to the windy city of Chicago Illinois Sue Swinger-Ellbogen landed a position with Levi Strauss & Co. as a sales associate turned supply chain manager director supporting major retailers in the Midwest. The success of her career with the company gave her the opportunity to work for major manufacturers like Nautilus Inc. and Alberto Culver Unilever who supported retail giants like Walmart Target Kroger JC Penny Sears and Kohl s. But when her career came to an abrupt end after being laid off when the company was sold Sue and the rest of her coworkers were scrambling to find work. That was when Sue decided to go back to her roots to start fresh. The results included an impressive success rate with 98% of them landing a new position within just three months. Those in higher level positions took a bit longer but 100% were fully employed in six months time. I found that I really liked encouraging people and helping them uncover their potential strengths and skills that they took for granted Sue said. I helped them understand how transferrable their skills were how valuable they were and what great assets they could be to other companies. Since that time Sue is still helping others with their resume needs. Now working on a freelance basis Sue listens to clients studies the industry they wish to pursue and hones in on their skills and experience all prior to preparing their professional resume. She makes sure their LinkedIn profile is optimized counsels them on how to do a focused job search and prepares them for upcoming interviews. One of the most important elements in acquiring a job however is having the confidence and courage to push through. My early career was entrepreneurial staring with a business that taught etiquette to girls and women and writing a newspaper column called Your Best Image Sue remembers. I also sold jewelry to boutiques and department stores. I was always a very self-sufficient career-minded individual. Laid off in 2012 Sue s co-workers were very anxious about their careers and what was next for them. Many of them had no idea how to begin a job search yet alone put together an impressive resume. Taking charge Sue began to write their resumes more than 40 of them in a six-month period. It s crucial to be able to push fear and doubt out of your mind put one foot in front of the other and keep moving she said. Inactivity breeds fear and insecurity. 36 Women of Distinction What is so special about Sue s many talents is that she typically understands her clients skills and strengths better than they do. So being a skilled writer is only part of her job. I know first hand from having worked in the apparel fitness and consumer package goods industries the various interactions and streams of work within a company that allow me to ask prudent questions of my clients to dig up information that will be useful Sue explained further. Sue also understands the pressure that clients feel to find a job. Being laid off herself there is always the worry and self-doubt that they will never land a job or make enough money especially those that are close to or over the age of 50. Helping alleviate those fears Sue first identifies their strengths motivators and drivers that will put him her in a positive mindset then she creates or updates their resume before educating them on social media and interviewing skills. In 2010 Sue added Author to her own resume. She published two young adult novels that year Campfire Kids and Tabby Cat Trails followed by Missing in Tuscany in 2013 and Adventures in Shanghai in 2012. Her most recent book The Dali Mystery will be coming out in 2016. She is currently working on two more books. I d love for my writing to inspire young people to read more and expand their horizons as much as possible Sue said about one of the reasons she focused her books on young adult genre. To know that they really can do anything they set their mind to no matter what their life s circumstances are is inspiring. Additionally Sue self-published a cookbook in memory of her daughter who passed away of breast cancer in 2014 titled (Lee Ann s Birthday Celebration Cookbook . All of Sue s books can be found on her website. Sue is big into supporting the community in any way she can. She is a member of National Organization of Professional Women Supply Chain Management Professionals Women in Supply Chain Management and Executive Service Corps which is a non-profit that helps other non-profit organizations and small businesses succeed. She makes quilts for Lutheran Women s Relief organization as well as for family and friends and writes memoirs for those who have lost loved ones or pets. She also does resume writing pro bono for those who cannot afford to pay for her services. Earning her degree in 1980 Sue obtained her AA in Liberal Arts at Three Rivers Community College. She later received her Supply Chain Management Certification in 2004 at the University of Tennessee followed by her Project Management Certification in 2012 from Right Management Outplacement. Centrally located just nine blocks west of Lake Michigan and nine blocks north of Wrigley Field Sue and her husband enjoy their home with their dog Lola and their cat Cleopatra. Their two daughters however have been the biggest joys. Their eldest was a successful executive for Levi Strauss & Co. before passing away two years ago and their youngest is a chief financial officer of a bank whose husband works for the Department of Conservation. Her daughter and son-in-law have two beautiful children who Sue says keep her young and full of smiles even on her most difficult of days. 37 Women of Distinction Susanne Kahle Keene Business & Executive Coaching CEO and Los Angeles CA S usanne Kahle Keene CEO of and began her practice in 2008 with over 25 years of management experience. She had mentored coached and developed leaders at all levels in diverse and interdisciplinary environments including education medical research manufacturing and retail. Susanne spent time strengthening her coaching skills and obtaining more knowledge about her chosen profession. She created a select list of mentors confident that she could learn from them for they had each been in the industry much longer than she had been. She took their seminars read their books and sought advice from marketing experts to help her dream come to life. Staying laser focused contributed to my overall success she says. After completing her coach certifications she has become an expert in helping people improve their communication skills style and approach in order to foster better relationships in their personal and professional lives. Once established as a mature and experienced coach Susanne began to see that her particular gift was helping her clients develop the skills to negotiate anything any problem any conflict. For business clients she teaches managers executives business owners individual employees groups and teams experiencing conflict or communication interruptions how to navigate situations that ultimately lead to successful resolutions. With individuals she offers families the necessary tools to improve lack of communication. Susanne feels most inspired when she helps a work team and its leader attain a new sense of awareness clarity and goal setting. According to Susanne it always boils down to finding the most effective and efficient way of communicating an idea. She believes that confusion and disruption are the result of a failure to express one s feelings with words. Susanne knows about this all too well. She openly shares that one of her biggest challenges was learning to say the right thing which ultimately led her to her coaching niche effective communication. She admits that she struggled in the past having unsuccessful conversations as a manager wife mother sister and friend. After years of learning studying practicing coaching reading and experiencing she knew she could be of great benefit to her clients if she shared the tools that would lead them to better outcomes. Susanne has written several guidelines on career coaching and has been involved with the International Coach Academy Impact Coaching Academy and Karen Cappello Coaching to keep up with the latest developments in coaching techniques. Her company Life Coach in LA won the title of Best in Santa Monica 2015. She has maintained her Board certification through the Centers for Credentialing Education and has recently taken a class from Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School on Giving and Receiving Feedback. She is currently active in her community participating in volunteer work with several organizations such as Harvest Home in Los Angeles Hope Gardens Children International and USA for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency). In her down time Susanne loves playing the piano and spending time with her husband children grandchildren and her French bulldog Colette. 38 Women of Distinction Thelma Gifford RN & LPN Education Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health - Eastern Community Colleges (IECC) Olney IL I n 1969 when Thelma Gifford and her family returned from a three year assignment to Germany she felt a strong need to do something worthwhile and decided to enroll in college. At the age of 35 she was one of the older students but that didn t stop her from successfully completing her tasks and enrolling in the AD Nursing program. In 1971 Thelma graduated and passed state boards for licensure as a registered nurse. When Thelma Gifford was a child she lived in South Eastern Kentucky where the Frontier Nursing Service was the only source of health care. She names Mary Breckenridge as the Founder and explains how she often visited Thelma s home when her mother was ill. They all rode horses as there were no motor vehicles or roads for them to travel on. Those early efforts have evolved into a University of midwifery and mother child health. Thelma states The dedication of these brave women has stayed with me. She loved every aspect of Nursing and was inspired and determined to continue school where she earned her BSN and MSN Degrees. She taught in the AD program in her community before becoming Associate Dean. Her role was to oversee all activities in the four campuses in rural Southern Illinois. She made sure the highest level of teaching was carried out and maintained the National League of Nursing Accreditation keeping the state board pass rate high. Lack of funding from the State for needed supplies and equipment was a setback for Thelma so she advises aspiring educators to always believe in themselves and those they work with. Surround yourself with great people if it is within your power to do so and allow them to do their work. She explains. While she claims to have made the mistake of attempting to teach with minimal years of clinical practice her graduates are staffing the hospitals in her area and beyond She chose to teach and her legacy will live on through the students she taught. Thelma has been retired for over two decades therefore she is no longer involved in academia. She participates in a lot of volunteer work and is very active in her church First United Methodist Church. She serves in jail ministry and coordinates most things at her church that involve food such as funeral dinners along with visiting and taking communion to the shutins of her congregation. Free time finds Thelma in the park with her dog Lola in her flower gardens in the summer along with visiting shut-ins and hospitalized patients. She enjoys water aerobics and resistance exercises at her local Health Works. Thelma states I have a positive outlook on life. I have many friends and a loving family. She believes that all women should have a career and still have the ability to support themselves and their children should they need to. With two children 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren Thelma Gifford does all that she possibly can to take care of the planet by recycling and being frugal with natural resources in order to make the world a better place for generations to come. 39 Women of Distinction Dr. Theresa Phillips Skincare Health and Fitness aids Owner Developer - Redeem and Renew Skin Solutions St. Charles IL T hrough her work as Owner and Developer at Redeem and Renew Skin Solutions Dr. Theresa Phillips is dedicated to serving her customers by providing them with top quality organic skincare products. I enjoy seeing people s faces when they see results. It s quite gratifying to see how a person begins to look at themselves differently with a more positive outlook. With Redeem and Renew I now have an opportunity to help many outside of my original sphere of influence. Theresa began her journey in the skincare industry in 2014 after discovering that she already had the formula sitting in her cupboard. This was realized after she had a professional facial done. Wow she thought. I can do this at a better price point. Theresa had already developed an organic anointing oil for ministers. Eventually she was contacted by a man who owns an organic lab about launching a skincare product which was the birth of Redeem and Renew. As Owner of Redeem and Renew Theresa handles all of the daily operations of her company. How does one work with skin care Simply this Ya gotta love the skin you re in. So show it love by improving it and by being the best you that you can be. Aside from her work in skincare Theresa has a Doctorate in Ministry and is an ordained Bishop and Dean of a Praise Christian Seminary. She also owns and operates Global Prophetic Voice which is an online Prophetic publication and is the developer of Royal Scents A Kings Oil. However the mandate on her life is to help establish people in destiny. More often than not it also pertains to appearance. The best advice I can give to someone is to just stick it out. If something is part of your destiny never give up. Read all you can and watch instructional videos on YouTube. Make sure you know what you are talking about educate yourself in skin care or whatever it is you want to do. It s important to have integrity and be honest. Listen to what people have to say about your products and change them if necessary. Don t let anyone get to you it s okay to be different. In her leisure Theresa enjoys shopping gardening and spending time with her family. She also serves as volunteer Chaplin of the Women Auxiliary Post 342 and serves as CoDirector of Be A Hero to A Hero. Theresa is the author of 22 Christian books and is presently working on a skincare booklet. She is a recording artist out of Nashville TN as well and had spent many years as a fashion stylist and personal shopper. I m a middle-aged woman who s ready to attack the world with a new concept of skin care. I m a visionary. I love making others feel great about themselves and have spent my life serving others. I d like to leave a legacy of honesty plus the passion to give back to the community and beyond. I d also like to leave a well-built company to my children and grandchildren. 40 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Our business is vital to today s market because it s an organic and natural way to make the skin healthy. Our product is quite effective and affordable. We continue to develop products for all ages and skin types. Q Is your product really organic A An organic product is something made of original living entity. Our product goes above organic standards using more original matter than is required by law. Q I see your products contain oil. Isn t that greasy on your skin and clogging to pores A No essential oils do not clog pores nor are they greasy. They are pressed from the plant. These oils hydrate the skin and give it that anti-aging effect we all long for. They are healthy and mostly non allergic or addictive to the skin. Q What is the most important ingredient I can put on my skin A WATER At Redeem and Renew Skin Solutions water is our friend. Our moisture locking system will take your water and turn it into a force of hydration. Our system has ingredients that are cohesive with water making your skin soft and supple. Also never forget to drink plenty of water a day. Q How can I prevent my skin from aging A As we age our skin loses elasticity and collagen showing wrinkles and sag. When focusing on prevention you can slow down the aging process dramatically. Our Royal Glow Cream is a Green Tea Extract formula that is an antioxidant. As the chemical process invades our society it is imperative to use our natural ingredient products. Q I have uneven skin tone. How can your product help me A Our Brightener Serum has a high content of Vitamin C. When used on a daily basis it can reduce the appearance of brown spots and other types of sun damage. Vitamin C also helps boost healthy collagen production giving us firmer skin. Q I have sensitive skin what can I do A Wash your skin gently. Our products are not containing harsh chemicals but test on inner upper arm for allergic reactions. Q What are the age limits on your products A We have had people use our product from ages 5 to 89. All have had results. In older clients we can reverse some age while in younger clients it s been beneficial for some skin irritation and rashes. Q I m a Spa owner can I get your products in bulk A Yes we offer wholesale pricing. Q What if I need a stronger product A We offer professional grade items upon request. Each Esthetician must show license. This will ensure us that the professional grade items will be in the hands of those qualified to use them. For more information on our skin care please contact 41 Women of Distinction Tina Lund MSN RN Healthcare Owner HealingTouches LLC Las Vegas NV retired registered nurse with 45 years of professional experience Tina Lund s second career was born out of necessity. After retiring from her position as the Nurse Executive of the Minneapolis VAMC Tina was diagnosed with two different types of breast cancer in 2009. Following bilateral Mastectomies Tina went home with a bandaged chest and 2 Jackson-Pratt (JP) drains. A In 2015 Tina trademarked SecureDrain and established her business HealingTouches LLC. The SecureDrainTM belt is affordable easy to use designed by a cancer survivor and can be used in the shower. It now comes with a measuring cup and documents to record drainage. Men or women can use the belt after surgeries such as mastectomies and abdominoplasties. It is everything a person would need to manage a drain at home. Tina highly recommends networking with others business owners and as such is an active member of the National Association of Professional Women the Las Vegas Empowered Women s Network and the Networking Team of Las Vegas. The following day I was allowed to shower. When I removed the binder and bandage the drains hung free and I was afraid they would fall out. At first I had my husband hold the drains while I showered -- not a realistic solution I devised a belt with tape that allowed me to independently shower and manage the drains. I drew a belt design in my journal along with a couple of other ideas. I stated a goal to make these for others. Tina and her husband moved to Las Vegas that June where her unique idea began to take shape. She was treated at the Nevada Cancer Institute and in 2012 decided to have breast reconstruction. At one of her appointments with plastic surgeon Dr. Cameron Earl she described the belt and her aspirations to produce them for other women. He asked her to bring one to her next appointment and his reaction was greater than expected He gave one to a patient and both were pleased. I was so encouraged Dr. Earl has been providing these belts to all of his patients who go home from surgery with a drain since October 2012. He encouraged me to start a company and make these belts available to others. Dr. Earl has been both inspiring and supportive of my work. I have so much gratitude to have such an amazing and caring person as my surgeon. Facing surgery especially when it is for cancer brings a whole set of concerns. This belt has helped so many (women predominantly) I would like to see a day when no one has to worry about how to take care of a medical device at home. I am passionate about helping others to take care of their health care needs and understanding what can be done to make home care easier for them. 42 Women of Distinction Tina Smith Beauty Industry Esthetics Master Esthetician Salon NV Salt Lake City UT s a teen mom at the age of 17 Tina Smith spent her time as a housewife and mother to her four children until she began her medical career as a Certified Nurse s Assistant at the age of 26. She was the eyes and ears for the Nurse . As much as she loved caring for her patients after 12 years she realized that she needed to either become a Registered Nurse or choose a new career. However at the age of 40 a long time of schooling wasn t what she had in mind. She states I am a nurturer I love people and I love helping them. She also has a love for personal beauty and claims she has always been a glamour girl . A In 2009 Esthetics was a small industry most people didn t know what an Esthetician was. Medical Esthetics was on the horizon and that s where Tina s vision came. It blended both of her loves nurturing and caring for others. She toured some local Hair Schools which offer Esthetics training and decided to attend the Paul Mitchell School in Salt Lake City. She began her classes in 2009 and that is when her new In her spare time Tina enjoys cooking with her husband Kelly career started. Although she didn t end up in a Medi-Spa she for her family gardening and antiquing. She greatly values her absolutely loves working in the heart of Salt Lake City. She time with her family. In 2015 Tina was able to become part of is currently a Master Esthetician the highest certification in a local support group SHEROES which is a national support Esthetics in a very well-known hair salon Salon NV. Tina group created to stop sex trafficking and abuse of women performs facial treatments for women men and teens which and children all over the world. They dance in flash mobs focus on professional skin care and she provides treatments throughout the city creating awareness for the cause. Her with advanced knowledge of devices and products to help efforts can be seen on youtube and are absolutely amazing. maintain and improve the appearance of the skin such as acne scaring pigmentation and signs of aging. She removes all body hair including personal areas (her clients have named her the brazilian queen ) with professional waxing techniques. Tina has a motto for herself she wants her clients to always leave her better . She not only offers very detailed and professional services to her clients she also lends a listening ear and loving heart to them. Her clients value the friendships they have developed with her. Women of Distinction 43 Upon her graduation in 2011 the economy was struggling. The beauty industry was slow and Tina was hesitant to start right away knowing that she needed to build a clientele and may not have great success under the circumstances. Although she names this as her greatest challenge in her present field of work she perfected her skills through repetition and gained confidence through teaching the skill daily as an Esthetics Instructor at Paul Mitchell the School later to venture into the Salon industry. Tina advises others in her chosen field to always be humble as there is a lot of competition in this industry. She welcomes feedback whether it is positive or negative and encourages others to do the same as it has helped her become better in all ways. As previously stated starting out was hard and building a clientele was difficult but between her dedication and marketing herself through Groupon in 2013 Tina can honestly say her books are full and she even has a waiting list Tina now has an amazing list of reviews from Groupon which is available online for the public to see. Karen M. McPherson Healthcare Homecare Nursing Behavioral Health Behavioral health clinical manager of Ideal Home Healthcare Westlake OH 44 Women of Distinction H omecare nurse Karen M. McPherson knows that working in the healthcare industry is more than just a job -- it is a calling. As the behavioral health clinical manager of Ideal Home Healthcare Karen serves as a part of an exceptional team of dedicated managers and clinicians. The organization takes a unique approach to patient care. Ideal s management team is not the type to hide behind a desk. They are active in their patients treatment and often conduct homecare visits while inspiring the staff on a regular basis. In her role Karen is a resource to the other clinicians helping to develop and implement creative strategies and goal specific interventions. She has created a plan of care specifically addressing individuals with hoarding issues which has become a major concern across the nation. Additionally she serves as a consultant to the medical nurse to determine the appropriateness of behavioral health referrals and conducts community outreach to increase awareness of mental illness. My clients are my greatest inspiration. I am a privileged witness as they choose the pathway to healing and transformation. I am inspired by their willingness to recognize they can be victorious even when the distance between their present day reality and their desired goal seems so far apart. Karen s connection to homecare nursing is an extremely personally one. At 22 months old she fell on space heater and sustained 2nd and 3rd burns to her right hand and face. As a result Karen endured multiple hospitalizations and surgeries. Using her expertise and personal experience as a platform to help others Karen developed and implemented multiple grief support groups. She is certified as a Rainbow grief counselor for children and was an integral part of creating and implementing an AIDS Hospice team. Karen is dedicated to working with persons with disabilities and the poor to help empower them with the belief that they need not be defined by their limitations or circumstances. Karen encourages those in need to seek out help to overcome difficult situations. An educated mother of five Karen turned to her church when she was unable to cope with her alcoholic husband. She was a victim of domestic abuse -- the shame and the guilt held her hostage. She suffered alone in silence with depression. Through the grace of God she went into counseling and was able to heal. My faith influences and impacts every aspect of my life. My personal journey and the physical pain and emotional abuse have given me invaluable insight. Through Jesus Christ I believe I am empowered by the Holy Spirit daily. Because of everything I have experienced I find I truly embrace every moment of life and have a different perspective then many people. Working on the AIDS Hospice Task Force working with the poor and disabled and working with persons with mental illness I realized how very blessed I am. Sometimes clients are the greatest teachers. Following her divorce Karen became a single parent to her two children. Both are graduates of the University of Dayton and have followed professionally in their mother s footsteps one as a Music Therapist in a hospice setting the other as a Pediatric Medical Social Worker. Today Karen enjoys the rich life she has built. She enjoys helping young moms learn effective parenting skills and to focus on the relationship with her children. During the summer months she volunteers at her church assisting with the children s summer camp. I remember feeling afraid and vulnerable when my parents had to leave each day. I can close my eyes and still recall the gentle touch and the comfort of her words and her presence. She was my nurse I was blessed to have her as my nurse during my initial and subsequent hospitalizations. That was the beginning of my journey into nursing. Today Karen holds a BSN from the University of Akron. While coming to terms with the loss of function of her hand and the limitations it creates has been a great challenge Karen has transformed her grief into a vessel for change. Strong in her faith Karen overcame depression related to her disability and started on a healing journey a path that has been inspiring others throughout Karen s nursing career. I understand the grief associated with disability and coping with depression and chronic pain. I hope that my faith allows me to empower others to come to terms with their own feelings and their challenges. By grace through faith I have empowered individuals to recognize their potential as they move from being victims to being victorious. 45 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Seeing someone in their own environment in their own home provides me with a realistic picture of their specific challenges and gives me an insight unavailable in on any other treatment modality. Q How does homecare differ from other types of care with those who have mental illness A I have an opportunity to meet them right where they are at. For example my client had been seen in the office of numerous professionals and never disclosed she had a daughter. After establishing a trusting relationship in a homecare visit. I observed a simple photograph of a young woman standing next to her. I asked questions about the photograph and this was the key to unlocking her pain. She revealed to me that her daughter s son was struck by a car while crossing the street to the visit his grandma to visit her. Without the home care visit this breakthrough would likely not have occurred. As a result of the visit she was able to begin working with me through her grief and healing. Q How does mental illness impact other medical problems that the client may have A Mental illness cannot be viewed separate from physical problems. It s necessary to see the client holistically as an individual with emotional physical social and spiritual needs. For example a person with heart disease or lung disease is more apt to experience anxiety as well as depression directly related to their prognosis and physical limitations. They may also experience isolation and grief at the loss of their ability to function as they once did and the distress over finding new ways to accomplish routine tasks. Q What is one of the major benefits to homecare behavioral health services A Teaching the clients to live and manage within their own environment and circumstances. It gives the clinician the ability to explore and address the barriers to wellness and the need for additional services as well as the freedom to be creative by utilizing what resources they have available in their home. Q How does Ideal address medication compliance issues A By being in their home we are able to do thorough medication reconciliation. The nurse reviews all medications and assists the client to discard outdated and expired medications. The Nurse is able to call physicians and pharmacists for verification and set up weekly medication planners. Q How would Ideal provide care for an individual who has many needs A We have a multidisciplinary team that works under the direction of the client s physician which addresses personal care needs therapy as well as connecting the individual to other resources. Q What other types of programs in addition to behavioral health does Ideal provide A We have a Cardiopulmonary program which is multifaceted. Some of the skilled nurses address diet sodium weight and respiratory status while others address the impact of depression anxiety and coping with the illness. We are all interconnected. The physical impacts the emotional and vice versa. Q What prevents people from getting help for mental illness A I believe it s the stigma society has placed on emotional mental illness. The public although changing creates barriers that result in people experiencing shame and guilt that can be suffocating resulting in a cycle of deeper depression and isolation. Q What criterion qualifies a client for Ideal homecare services A The physician must write an order for services. Under most insurance plans a potential client must be homebound which means it takes taxing effort to leave the home to receive care. There are exceptions to meeting this criteria therefore anyone considering homecare should contact our office for further clarification. Q What are the goals for Ideal behavioral health in the next year A To seek a grant to increase both education and services to those who have hoarding issues. To create an opportunity to work collaboratively with the County Board of Developmental Disabilities to increase services to this population and their families. And to expand our outreach to persons with other disabilities such as hearing and visual impairments. 46 Women of Distinction A. K. Driggs Marketing Publishing Writing Author and President CEO of Avatar Marketing Inc. Kailua-Kona HI W hen author A.K. Driggs sat down to write her memoir Abandoned in Search of Rainbows she did not yet realize the profound impact her story would have on readers. The book speaks about the adoption process in the 1950s specifically about Ms. Driggs personal experience -- discovered as a newborn inside a brown paper bag left on a toilet seat in a bar and grill in Rochester New York in 1954. Deemed unadoptable due to an unsightly rash that covered her body she was finally adopted by a loving family at two and a half years old. Her trial tribulations and ultimate success teaches readers that they too can find happiness in a fractured world. Ms. Driggs has made waves throughout her extraordinary life journey as an animal communicator musical prodigy bisexual lover phone-sex superstar recording artist and CEO of Avatar Marketing Inc. With a passion for the organic and natural products industry Ms. Driggs founded Avatar Marketing more than 30 years ago. Acting as an out-sourced National Sales Manager the firm helps save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in standard employee costs. Ms. Driggs uses her platform to give back. Her original music from the 1970 s 1980 s 1990 s and 2014 is now available on the album titled JOURNEY THROUGH THE YEARS as a digital download from Amazon and iTunes. A portion of proceeds from both Abandoned in Search of Rainbows and JOURNEY THROUGH THE YEARS goes towards ocean marine animal and land conservation causes in the U.S. and globally. Additionally Ms. Driggs is a volunteer at the Hawaii Island Human Society and the Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital. She has been married to the same woman for 22 years. Rich in family Ms. Driggs cherishes her extended family of friends in Hawaii known as her Hanai Ohana or adopted family. Within her Ohana Ms. Driggs has a five-year-old child who is the light of her life. Abandoned in Search of Rainbows touches on life s real time experiences that everyone goes through but may not want to deal with Ms. Driggs explained. Topics in the book cover life death love loss abandonment in one way or the other betrayal cancer care giver relationship between child and parent sibling issues spirituality questions like why am I here and what am I supposed to do and more. The story is passionate provocative and sizzles with excitement. You will laugh cry and smile. The memoir is helping people with their daily life challenges and issues. 47 Women of Distinction Monica Carson Consulting Child Support Mediation Private Process Owner Carson s Child Support Consultations Austin TX W orking for the Texas Attorney General s Office in their Child Support Division for 20 years Monica Carson decided that she would be able to better serve others by forming her own child support consultation business. Founded on January 13 2012 Carson s Child Support Consultations which is located in Austin Texas has been the best decision she has ever made. When I start talking to people about child support issues you can really hear and see my passion for the topic she said. I m a great listener and really do my very best to help clients understand how the process works and resolve all issues. Attending Career Centers of Texas Inc. Monica received her Paralegal Certificate in 1991. She previously worked as a Court Liaison Financial Specialist and Paternity Child Support Officer prior to forming her consulting business. A member of Austin Texas Association of Mediators and National Association for Private Process Servers she also serves as a Board Member on Texas Process Servers Association. Volunteering her time with the Bastrop County Texas Sheriff s Office Alumni and with her daughter s school Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders an all-girls school in Austin Monica is passionate about her community. Monica maintains a Youth Enhancement System (YES) business on the side another great interest of hers which combines breakthrough sciences in a product system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. By focusing on the health longevity and renewal of cells through these products she helps customers enjoy vibrant youthful results that last. Married for 17 years to Benny Carson they share one daughter Haley who is now 16-years-old. Benny is also selfemployed and is a Professional Household Furniture Mover with 27 years of experience in the industry. I really enjoy helping parents through the child support system. I m a big Dad advocate since they need the most help in understanding the system Monica said noting that the moms usually have the system and state working for them for free. Unfortunately not all mothers end up being the best custodial fit for raising their children. I have seen many fathers become the better parents putting their children first. As Owner of Carson s Child Support Consultations Monica runs the entire business from child support consultation to serving as a Private Process Server Child Support Mediator and Notary. When a client first sits down with her they are usually frustrated and upset about the system but after they are finished talking he she has a much better understanding as to how the system works and feel much more confident about going to court and representing themselves. It s Monica s job as their consultant to put their minds at ease. Monica s business is very unique and one of a kind. Usually acquiring her clients through referrals she explains to each of them that hiring an attorney is often not the answer to their child support issues. Explaining to them that you are your biggest advocate most issues can and will be resolved without an attorney with proper consulting. 48 Women of Distinction Shallan Ramsey Consumer Products Feminine Hygiene Founder CEO of MaskIT LLC Ashland OR I I really believe in what I m doing I believe women should have the ability to sanitarily and discreetly dispose of their used feminine products. I m thrilled that we can make a difference on earth by providing this responsible solution. n 2012 Shallan Ramsey conceived the idea for MaskIT because she was genuinely passionate about creating a solution for women to deal with their used feminine hygiene items that actually made sense. Q&A Q What inspired you to create the MaskIT pouch A I have teenage daughters and we live in a house with a septic tank which means you can t flush anything We were going through so much tissue it was ridiculous. I realized there was nothing I could really say because we were just doing the same thing most women have always done the good old toilet paper wrap. The trouble is that toilet paper is just not a practical disguise for saturated items and leaves a perplexing situation in the trashcan. Anyway I decided to take it upon myself to create a better way. Q What makes MaskIT so unique A MaskIT is the only solution on the market for the disposal of feminine products that is easy to use blocks odor won t leak is discreet and is earth friendly. It s unique design even keeps your hands and bathroom clean. We make the MaskIT pouch from certified compostable biofilm. The film we use is essentially derived from the starches of plants and vegetables (mostly thistle weed) and compostable polymers. It can be consumed by microorganisms that naturally live in our soil. Q Where can women buy MaskIT A MaskIT is available at many retail locations across the country as well as on drugstore. com and To find a location near you visit www. I confidently made the decision to bring my idea to life no matter what challenges I may encounter along the way. As the CEO and Founder of MaskIT Shallan has found that the unique experience of inventing a product and running a company has afforded her the opportunity to operate at all of her business s positions. Shallan knows that leadership role that she has taken has allowed her to grow professionally but help her business grow as well. By inspiring those she works with Shallan believes she has motivated her team which has translated into a positive passionate and productive environment for everyone. I believe the MaskIT solution will help build confidence in young girls empower women and help reduce the vast waste of trees for the sole purpose of covering feminine items. 49 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 51 Women of Distinction Melissa J. Cornish Health and Wellness Coaching Women of 52 Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Owner of Your Total Health Experience Distinction