This Digital Edition requires Flash 9.0.115 or above to activate some rich media components.

Please click the following link to download and install: Get Adobe Flash player
When you are finished installing, please return to this window and PRESS F5 to view this edition.


WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Celeste M. Calfe CMF Career Management-Career Coaching and Leadership Development President & Owner 1 Women of Distinction Karen M. Carter Health Coaching and Nutritional Counseling Holistic Health Coach Nutritional Counselor Yoga Teacher Online Health Merchant Store Owner KMC Corporate Ventures 2 Women of Distinction Celeste M. Calfe CMF Career Management-Career Coaching and Leadership Development President & Owner Pittsburgh PA with Auxiliary Offices in West Virginia Ohio Kentucky and South Carolina 3 Women of Distinction P resident and Owner of Calfe & Associates Celeste M. Calfe is a visionary with a mission to help others excel in their chosen professions. With more than 30 years of experience in the Career Coaching and Leadership Development industry Celeste founded her company 11 years ago. With thousands of success stories under her belt Calfe & Associates is now recognized as one of the most successful independent providers of human resource consulting. The company now has five locations in five states where numerous remarkable careers have been launched. Each day brings new challenges and the chance to meet new people. I am able to travel to different locations in the United States and meet people from a variety of backgrounds from the steel mills in my hometown to the coalmines in West Virginia and to the tech companies in the south. In any given day I have the chance to talk to professionals just starting their careers to those more seasoned. I get to see how the CEO works and how he or she actually puts their vision into play for their respective organizations. It is a career when you can continually learn and grow as both an individual and a professional. I like to think that I have helped people along the way and made an impact in their careers. In her role Celeste is an active facilitator who oversees every aspect of her company from marketing to training to administrative tasks and changing ink cartridges. Known for her innovative and successful strategic business solutions Celeste s most predominant roles are as an executive coach and organizational consultant. A results driven leader she is dedicated to going above and beyond to assist individuals and companies in taking the necessary next steps towards successful careers. Additionally Celeste and her expert staff serve as a partner and a resource to client companies in the areas of Career Transition (aka Outplacement) Leadership Development and Change Management. Celeste earned her undergraduate degree from Carlow University and completed selected courses within the Masters Continuing Education Program at Penn State University. She was recently accepted into the MBA program at Carlow University and plans to attend in 2017. She started her career in 1984 after answering a newspaper ad for a Job Developer for the City of Pittsburgh. A natural communicator Celeste developed several meaningful professional connections that introduced her to her next opportunity. In 1985 she was named Senior Career Consultant for a small privately held outplacement firm in Pittsburgh. There she began her selfdescribed gypsy lifestyle traveling throughout Pennsylvania West Virginia and Kentucky to share her consulting expertise. After the business closed its doors Celeste went on to work for a large international human resources consulting firm where she oversaw three offices in West Virginia. She returned to Pittsburgh to work for another privately held firm before founding Calfe & Associates. Becoming a successful business owner was not without challenge Celeste admits. She overcame difficult professional situations by honing her professional skills and relying on her inner strength. I had to go outside of my inner comfort zone for the sales portion of my business. I like to think I am pretty good at the marketing and creating of programs but struggled with meeting people and trying to sell them my services. It was through this that I learned that sometimes you have to push yourself in order to succeed. I remember being in a training class and only one of two women. When it was my turn to sell I was nervous and afraid I would make a mistake and then the instructor told me to just go out there and be myself. I did and I nailed my presentation. To this day before I make a sales presentation or address a group I close my eyes and repeat my personal mantra and then I just do it. Throughout her accomplished career Celeste has learned to accept that there are circumstances that simply beyond her control. Someone once told me the best revenge is success. I always try and turn these situations into a successful situation. I ve found that by always being professional and never bad-mouthing my competition I have enjoyed an excellent reputation. I am also willing to admit if I made a mistake and then work to rectify it. No one is perfect but how we address our triumphs and mistakes should be. When I was starting my business and searching for a name my parents suggested I use the one everyone knows Calfe as I spent a lot of years building my personal and professional brand. As the business has my name on it I am always looking to make it the best it can be. I truly like people and I use that to my advantage to market my business and to keep up with the trends. Plus I am always aware that my name and reputation are out front and I need to work to make my services the best they can be every single day. 4 Women of Distinction In recognition of her contributions to the field of Career Management including Leadership Coaching and Executive Career Transition the Institute of Career Certification International named Celeste a Career Management Fellow (CMF) in 2008. The not-for-profit is an independent certifying body for professionals in the career management field. The Wall Street Journal USA Today and the South Florida Business Times have also interviewed Celeste for her expertise. Additionally she has presented at several regional Society for Human Resource Management meetings and conferences and Baby Boomer organizations. Celeste encourages aspiring career coaches to ask questions and learn to laugh. Q&A Q What physical changes have you seen in your industry A My industry started as a service for executives leaving an organization. The consultants were mainly male as the population we served was male. It was around the time that I entered the industry that more females were being offered the service along with a more diverse segment of the organization. It has also changed in the way we do business going from a bricks and mortar business with a full range of clerical services offered to one that is more self-sufficient and virtual. We no longer have to give phone cards and pay for Internet access for a home office as this is more common in today s world. Q Does every organization offer outplacement and leadership coaching & development A I would love to say yes but that is not the case. There are a lot of companies that do offer it but there are others who do not for whatever reason. The coaching is invaluable in my eyes in that it gives the affected employee a chance to share their dreams and frustrations with an unbiased person who can work with them to shape their careers. The interview prep and resume writing is also important as you want your person to have the best chance possible of getting that new job. Q Who or what has been your greatest professional inspiration A My greatest professional inspiration has been my longtime friend and mentor Tony Wieckowski. I ve know Tony for over 25 years staring when I first entered the career management industry. Tony has been my boss and I ve been his. We have been colleagues and most important we are friends. Tony taught me not to take myself too seriously and that everyone makes mistakes it s what you do with the lesson that counts. It is because of Tony and his encouragement that I stayed in the industry and I am eternally grateful to him for my success. Life is too short to continually make the same mistakes over and over because you don t want someone to think you are not qualified. This is a people business and you have to remember to be a person one who talks but more importantly one who listens. When Celeste is not helping others achieve their professional aspirations she enjoys sitting down with a good James Patterson or historical non-fiction novel. An avid baker she loves to make cookies and relieves stress by testing new recipes. Celeste also likes to unwind by tending to her rose garden. Hoping to leave a strong legacy of female empowerment Celeste encourages all women to reach for their dreams. If I could leave anything it would be for more women to be recognized for their accomplishments and for everyone to believe in themselves no matter what you do for a living. If I have proven anything in my career it is that I have never been afraid to take my career into new directions and to often be the first female as evidenced by my being the first female president of ACF North America first female president of a local chapter of Kiwanis and one of the first females in my industry. But the whole time I was doing these things I was doing them because I thought I could make a difference and not because I was a female. I never went after a job or stayed away from one because of my sex. It was only after I accomplished these things that I realized I was a rarity. I hope this will change as other female professionals push for their right to be heard. 5 Women of Distinction G oing back to school in 2011 to study massage therapy at the Milan Institute when her children were teenagers Alicia McNair wanted to find a career that best suit her passion of helping others yet would also allow her the flexibility to make her own schedule. Massage therapy was an industry that enabled her to do just that and today she is the proud owner of her own success business Aloha Breeze Mobile Massage based in Las Vegas Nevada. Unconventional in that Alicia travels to each of her clients homes it is a very convenient way for her busy clients to find time to squeeze in a quick massage. Available by appointment only Alicia offers a very flexible schedule especially for those that cannot commit to traditional hours. I am 100% dedicated to my clients I wish everyone knew just how important it is to get a massage on a weekly basis Alicia said optimistically. Promoting her business mainly through social media and word of mouth Alicia is very proactive about getting the word out there. She gives all of herself to her clients and in return provides some of the most popular modalities including Swedish Deep Tissue Aromatherapy Sports Rock and Pregnancy Massage. Alicia McNair Health and Wellness Massage Therapy Owner Massage Therapist Aloha Breeze Mobile Massage Las Vegas NV Listening to my clients and what their needs are is the most important aspect of my job Alicia stressed. Without knowing what it is that ails them I cannot possibly treat them with the proper techniques. Constantly challenging herself to understand the various types of chronic pain her clients endure Alicia continues to study the science behind her techniques. And as health and wellness continues to change and evolve so can Alicia s techniques. The proud mother of three Alicia s eldest son Randy is 22 and serving in the US Navy. Daughters Vanessa 20 and Paloma 19 are both in college. Alicia resides in Las Vegas Nevada is a member of American Massage Therapy Association and is a lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. In addition to being a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2013 she also holds an Associate s Degree in Arts and Sciences from Big Bend Community College since 2011. In 2015 and 2016 Aloha Breeze Mobile Massage was recognized by Thumbtack for its commitment and dedication to customers. Q&A Q What is your greatest professional achievement A I helped one of my clients that had several spine surgeries taking away her pain by relaxing her body with slow firm strokes in her back and neck and applying hot stones. Q How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations A In dealing with an unsatisfied client I focus on how to help to calm him her down. I believe my ability to communicate effectively with the client during these moments helps reduce my own stress in these situations and also reduces any stress the client may feel. Q How are you different from your competition A I combine several different massage modalities to create a unique style of massage that will leave clients minds and bodies in total tranquility. 6 Women of Distinction Amy S. Petro Real Estate Home Staging Owner Professional Home Stager Staging Perfection Venetia PA my S. Petro has held numerous customer facing positions throughout her life that have given her the necessary experience in working with people at all levels. Her experience combined with her eye for design enables her to be a successful home stager. Amy started her business in June of 2014. She gained an interest in the design and housing market after 13 years of being a stay-at-home-mom so she completed training through a Home Staging Program. Achieving a certification sparked her passion for helping others sell their homes more quickly and for more money. Amy enjoys helping others see their spaces differently. Her favorite part of the process is watching how energized people get from a home make-over. She states The before and after are what inspire me to keep going in this career. As the owner of her company Staging Perfection Amy shows her creative side as she manages its website and designs all brochures and business cards. She stays up-to-date on new design ideas such as furniture and paint colors in order to give a home a more modern look. Her responsibilities also include taking care of the accounting and tax aspect of her business as well as marketing and networking Staging Perfection. A homeowner should expect a home stager to be reliable honest and have the ability to bring a staged home in on time and on budget which is exactly what Amy has to offer. She provides consultations de-cluttering de-personalizing reorganizing and re-design which will set up a house perfectly for a desirable sale with the goal of appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Amy offers all design styles however she admits that her favorite style is rustic modern which can best be described as clean lines and a mix of woods and metals. She explains I prefer clean fresh uncluttered spaces. A When asked about her greatest professional inspiration Amy names her husband. Watching him work tirelessly to provide a good life for our family is truly remarkable. Our children are getting older and I am now in a position to help take some of the burden off of my husband. She states. Amy also adds that she would like to show her daughter that women can follow their passion while simultaneously raising a family. Amy S. Petro is the Chairperson of Women s Business Network McMurray Chapter which is a local networking group that supports each other and refers clients. In her free time she delivers Meals-on-Wheels volunteers at her children s schools and participates in Walks for the Alzheimer s Association. She absolutely loves outdoor activities with her husband and two children such as kayaking hiking golfing and playing tennis. She also finds peace in reading a good book curled up on her front porch in the fresh spring air. Amy would like readers to know that you can be middle-aged and still be trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. She states I want to leave this world with a legacy that there are good people in it. I believe that if you live a good life and help others along the way then you ve done a pretty good job of being a decent human being. 7 Women of Distinction Ann Lee Travel Industry Owner and President of Ann Lee Concierge Travel Bradenton FL 8 Women of Distinction ffectionately known as the Travel Slut by her family and friends world traveler Ann Lee draws upon her 30 plus years of corporate business experience to provide her clients with unique and luxurious travel opportunities. A lifelong adventurer Ann has spent most of her adult life travelling the world. She made the transition from client to consultant in the travel industry after retiring from a rewarding 34-year career with General Motors Acceptance Corporation. With a Graduate Degree in Public Administration she transferred her accounting and financial knowledge attention to detail and superior customer service skills into her business Ann Lee Concierge Travel. Ann specializes in personalized and exotic travel for individuals families and specialized groups. She along with her husband oversees all aspects of the business. Including designing print media organizing transportation in unique places planning the decorations and locations for events -- and much more. With the understanding the Hospitality and the Travel business often presents situations beyond her control Ann is always prepared with a Plan B so her clients are never inconvenienced. Having travelled extensively throughout the contiguous United States Hawaiian Islands Alaska Caribbean Canada Mexico South Pacific Europe Asia Africa Australia and New Zealand Ann can offer special insight to her clients. She has paddled a dugout canoe down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in the 1990 s before the country was open as an organized tourist destination rappelled on a zip line through the rain forests in Costa Rica hiked the Copan ruins in the interior of Honduras snorkeled with sharks in Bora Bora stingrays in Grand Cayman and did a shark cage dive off the coast of Hermanus in South Africa. Even now she spends more than half the year traveling across the globe. In addition to real world experience Ann holds dozens of certificates of completion in various travel specialties. She is a Disney expert a cruise specialist and an Australian travel expert. Ann has networked endlessly in the industry and has accumulated a large contact group of people worldwide. She is also very lavish in her appreciation and sends handwritten thank you notes collecting friends everywhere she travels. A Ann is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents the world s largest association of travel professionals as well as The National Association of Career Travel Agents the foremost travel Industry association which is dedicated to providing the finest education training networking and representation in support of Career Travel Agents. Additionally she is a member of the travel consortium ENSEMBLE and is an active member of the online community of amateur travelers VT Virtual Tourist. Virtual Tourist is an organization of one million plus amateur travelers who exchange travel tips and organize and hold member meets all over the world. Ann is recognized as a top 1000 travel tip contributor and was acknowledged and presented with an award for Exceptional Service. Hoping to leave her friends and family with a legacy of a love for travel and the desire to meet new people experience new cultures and taste new foods Ann and her husband Charlie love to take their children and grandchildren on culturally enlightening vacations. Hopefully we will have exposed them to people places and adventures that will inspire them to study and work hard to build their own type of future. Instead we will leave them rich in memories. I truly believe that travel is the best education and if more people travelled and learned about different cultures we would have so much more understanding and peace in the world. I have stayed in the Travel Business and hope to be working in this industry until the day I die because not only am I an avid reader I could also be described as a professional student and I am passionate about visiting new places and learning about new cultures and meeting new people. 9 Q&A Q. How much do you travel each year A. I have been making travel a priority in my life for many years now and I don t plan anytime soon to change my ways. Some years I travel almost 200 days but I probably average 150-180 days a year travelling. 2015 was a 150 days travel year and 2016 -- well we will have to see but so far it looks like a repeat of 2015. Q. Where is your favorite place in the world A. First let me say it is a woman s prerogative to change her mind so this may change without notice. However if I had to pick one destination in the world as my favorite I would really be in a quandary. My first thought is Australia or New Zealand -- but I might pick Lake Tahoe Nevada for the winter and Tahiti for the summer. I truly can t think of any one place that I would NOT go back to. I love to experience the people places and things of the world. That s what makes me The Travel Slut I am today. Q. What is your favorite continent A. Of all the continents I love my home in North America and all it has to offer but since I have visited every state in the United States (except Rhode Island) and many provinces in Canada and states in Mexico I have to say that I REALLY enjoy travel to Australia because there is so much history so many diverse things to see and do. Europe would also be close behind because it has so much to offer to someone seeking either hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas or refuge from the cities in the rural areas. Of course when you want to explore or experience the cities Europe is wonderful as city centers are so compact that walking is the transportation du jour. I enjoy walking. I also enjoy the great rail system throughout Europe and enjoy trains for travelling between countries. Q. What major change have you seen the most since you started traveling 30 years ago A. Globalization is much more pronounced than it was 30 years ago. From Wal-Mart s in Acapulco to KFC s in Vietnam the world is getting smaller or at least easier for major corporations to reach into the far corners of locales which then is followed by all their peripheral influences. That and the roller coaster costs of fuel which is controlling prices of everything everywhere and the ubiquitous fee schedules for just about every mode of transportation such as Airlines Trains Car Rentals Cruise Lines as well as many standard amenities that were once complimentary at Hotels. Q. Is luxury travel important to you A. While I can easily switch from a 6 star cruise ship (Scenic River Cruises) to a thatched hut I think I m appreciating more luxury travel with my husband as I mature. Q. Do you like adventure travel A. I could write a book on how much I love adventure travel. As I look back over the years I have done many things that most non-travelers or people that travel only on a limited basis would consider way too adventuresome for them while I take it in stride and perhaps even take it for granted. Q. Do you have any secrets to travel or tips to share A. Yes I always tell my clients to take half the clothes they think they will wear and plan for twice as much money that you think you ll spend. Look carefully at any souvenirs that you consider bringing back home. So many unique items that you might find in a foreign country for example were really trinkets made in China and often times you can buy the same souvenir back here in America at a World Market or a Pier One for less money. I only purchase handmade items from local artists. However I always bring back a refrigerator magnet. I have a huge custom-made magnet board on our lanai where I display about 400 of my nearly 500 magnets from various places I have travelled. Not only is it a great conversation starter when we entertain at home. Each piece has a story to tell and reminds my husband and I of what we were doing and where we were when we bought the magnet. We have had family and friends bring back a magnet for us from their travels however we place it on our outdoor refrigerator unless we have also been to that particular location. I also suggest making color photocopies of your passport and any other identification and place a copy of each in each piece of your luggage. Not only will that help identify your luggage if it ever gets lost or the luggage tag gets torn off in transit it will also help you get a replacement passport very quickly if you should lose the original and you are out of the country. I only take two credit cards with me when I travel. One to use and the other to keep in abeyance and separate from the other one in case the first one is lost stolen or compromised. 10 Women of Distinction E mpowering and enlightening others through the spoken and written word for more than 22 years Candie M. Zenon recently turned her passion into what is now known as Changing Seasons Life Coaching LLC. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer Candie cocreates with clients specifically single mothers strategies that strengthen their faith family and finances. Her motto is helping them Love thru it Learn from it and Live after it . Noting that the it represents the trials of life Candie said I emphasize loving in particular because sometimes we allow our trials to harden our hearts and we forget to live beyond our pain. Centering mainly on group coaching and creating products that help women identify their potential discover their purpose and live life at a greater capacity all while preparing for an even greater future Changing Seasons Life Coaching LLC focuses on teaching single mothers how to create a vision for their homes organize and run their homes smoothly with a workable budget and create a spending plan that will equip them to endure the same responsibilities as a household comprised of two parents. Candie M. Zenon MBA BSCJHS Life Coaching Personal Development Faith Finances Weight Loss Founder Chief Executive Officer Changing Seasons Life Coaching LLC Powder Springs GA I help the single mother maneuver through life with less stress and by fostering relationships that were once supported by the multi-generational family unit Candie said noting that according to the US Census Bureau three out of 12 million (80%) single parent families were headed by single mothers in 2014 and 73% were African American. My desire is to encourage enlighten and inspire these women to be good stewards of their purpose passion and potential by offering a combination of coaching teaching mother s wit and a sense of humor. In 2007 Candie launched the Preparing To Be The Bride workshop to prepare one s heart for wholeness and healing. She also authored My Precious Wedding Gift a singles guide to finding love and has frequented television and radio shows and has hosted weekly and monthly coaching sessions and a series of workshops on behavioral and time management. Becoming a Certified Life Coach in January 2016 Candie holds a BS and an MBA from Colorado Technical University. Q&A Q What was your inspiration for starting your business A I m currently a single mother of three girls and I know all too well the burdens of raising children alone. Fortunately I met great people who taught me strategy structure and financial management. Now it s my hope to share the wisdom I ve learned. Q What is coaching A Coaching is not counseling consulting or therapy. It borrows from these professions but doesn t diagnose or give solutions. It co-creates a plan of action that assists the client in getting from where they are to where they desire to be holds them accountable and celebrates their accomplishments. Q What areas do you coach A I enjoy coaching in the areas of Personal Development Health and Wellness Spiritual and Life Transitions. Q You said you offer one-on-one coaching A Yes however I prefer group coaching where I can furnish participants with workbooks and visual aids that encourage one another and write out see and hear thus engaging them at a sensory level. 11 Women of Distinction Demetria Evette Crenshaw R Transportation Logistics Health and Wellness Advocating Lead Transportation Assistant US Air Force Naval Weapons Station Independent Distributor It Works Victims Advocate Goose Creek SC etiring in November 2014 as a Traffic Management Craftsman for the US Air Force after 20 years of service Demetria Evette Crenshaw has since been serving her country as a Lead Transportation Assistant. Spending most of her time on the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek South Carolina the newly engaged mother of two is very happy in her new role. Assisting and guiding staff by training and helping them with customers at the Station Demetria also serves as next-in-charge when her boss is away overseeing the daily maintenance of the job. The thing that inspires me most to remain in my career is that I love helping people she said. Over the past 10 years Demetria has also been working as a Victims Advocate. I wanted to be the voice for those that didn t have one. I love being there for those beautiful women suffering through domestic violence Demetria explained. When Demetria isn t busy on base or advocating she s working part-time as an Independent Consultant for It Works. For nearly three years she s been teaching customers how to live a healthier lifestyle and how to look and feel good about themselves by offering an array of products that work . Relying on the comfort of her step-mom and her faith since she was just a kid Demetria always knew that she would go on to do great things. Determined not to continue living the life she was born into she instead made the decision to make something of herself. Q&A Q Why is what you do important A People need transportation and logistics to move people. Our office provides assistance in this aspect to all that need our military moved. Q Do you think you have enough experience to do the job and get it done right A Yes. I have over 20 years of experience in the transportation and logistics field. Q How did you become involved in becoming a victim advocate A Growing up as a child of an alcoholic mother who was raped and abused by several men and the fact that my mom didn t have the avenues that we have today I wanted to advocate for women who experience what she did. I wanted to be the voice for those that didn t have one. Q You were involved with the Vagina Monologues A I have a great friend Anastasia Ketchen who received rights. She held auditions and I received several parts. I loved participating because it was based on stories of women who were formally abused. God always has a plan she said and when you fail at something it doesn t make you re a failure it means that you need to keep trying until you get better at it. Demetria has an AS in Business and a BS in Information Systems. Her fianc Christopher Johnson a recently published author actor and motivational speaker has four children of his own so between the two of them they have six amazing kids ages 9-20 They are very much in love. 12 Women of Distinction Freda F. Brown EA CDFA Divorce Financial Analysis Owner EA (Enrolled Agent) CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) - Divorce Financial Services Southwick MA T hrough her work as Owner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst with Divorce Financial Services Freda Brown is dedicated to helping her clients solve their financial issues while making sure all parties are served equitably. Freda is a member of the IDFA (Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts) ADFP (Association of Divorce Financial Planners) and the NATP (National Association of Tax Preparers). She was a President and Treasurer with both Toastmasters International and the WBOA (Women Business Owners Alliance) even receiving the WBOA Business Woman of the Year Award in 2012. Divorce can be very emotional. Every situation is unique. I know that I am helping my clients understand their financial issues and make educated financial decisions instead of emotional decisions. Having been a tax professional since 1981 Freda became interested in becoming a CDFA in 2003 after she helped a client fill out financial forms and began working with his lawyer on the financial issues. After becoming an Enrolled Agent and CDFA she launched her own business Divorce Financial Services. As the sole proprietor of Divorce Financial Services Freda meets with clients analyzes their situations offers options works closely with their lawyers and can be utilized as an expert witness. She looks at the financial issues in a divorce including personal vs. marital property tax consequences issues of house property retirement pensions alimony and child support. Then she analyzes this data and provides scenarios for achieving fair and equitable divorce settlements based on knowledgeable decisions. I went through my own divorce several years prior to becoming a CDFA. The lawyers hired by both my ex and I were consumed with what we had not with what we needed or wanted. That is what I bring to the table. Find out what you have and what you need and then we can figure out what you want and if it s financially possible. My goal is that both parties leave the marriage financially healthy or in some cases equally financially unhealthy. Regarding her education Freda received a BS in Education from Springfield College in 1974 graduated from the College for Divorce Specialists in 2003 and has participated in continuing education yearly since 1984. In her free time she enjoys gardening and spending time with her family. Freda is also a volunteer member of the Town of Southwick Sewer Implementation Committee. For those looking to get started in this industry you need to care about your clients and not just think of them as your means to making money. Know your craft double check your numbers and be confident in the advice you re giving. I would like my clients to be in a better place (emotionally physically or financially) because of the choices they made after consulting with me. 13 Women of Distinction Gelie Akhenblit Professional Networking Organization CEO Founder - Scottsdale AZ T hrough her work as CEO and Founder of and Gelie Akhenblit is dedicated to bringing local business professionals together through networking. I have the gift of bringing people together and I truly love what I do. My platform allows people to connect with others in order to grow themselves personally and professionally. Gelie s journey in the networking industry began in 2007 when she started connecting with others to discover new career opportunities. During this time she discovered her love for networking and started attending every networking event she could get to ultimately realizing that she had a great passion for the industry. In January 2008 with little experience as business owner Gelie launched as a source for local professionals entrepreneurs and business owners to find out about networking events in the area. Eight years later NetworkingPhoenix has over 36 000 members and over 500 local networking events listed on their calendar. As one of the most popular websites in the Phoenix area NetworkingPhoenix s annual Signature Events bring in 1 500 professionals. I came to this country as a refugee from the former Soviet Union because my family wanted freedom. They started me on this journey to freedom and I continued it throughout my life. When I wasn t happy in my corporate career I quit my job in order to follow a passion. When I wasn t happy in my 17 year committed relationship I decided to leave to pursue my personal freedom and happiness. I want to encourage people to push forward on their own journey and not settle for anything less. Here is a link to a TEDx talk I did on this topic GelieTedX In her leisure Gelie enjoys working on her mind body and soul and is very physically active. She likes to wind down and get in touch with herself by relaxing and listening to podcasts. Gelie earned her BA in Communications for Arizona State University in 2003. To those looking to become an entrepreneur or enter the professional networking field I would say go for it If you have the gift passion and desire to help others with your business idea or vision then that s a great thing There is no challenge you can t overcome. As CEO and Founder of NetworkingPhoenix Gelie works as the company s visionary and covers every role available on a daily basis. Her prime purpose is to help people connect and everything her company does demonstrates its mission to network in a business professional manner. I want to be remembered as someone who cared for everyone I ve met. If I can somehow positively influence everyone I meet then I ve contributed good to the world in my lifetime. I want my daughter to know what her mother stood for and that her mother did everything with love followed her passion and didn t let anyone get in her way. 14 Women of Distinction Ginger A. Gibbs Legal Mediation and Dispute Resolution CEO and Mediator Apple Penguin Founder and Director Educate and Empower Inc. Greater New Orleans Area s a middle child Ginger Gibbs embraced the role of mediator her entire life. A happy-go-lucky girl with a great family and lots of friends her childhood seemed easy. Unfortunately transiting from teenager to adult proved difficult and she made many bad choices. As she fought to turn her life around she realized her difficult experiences uniquely equipped her to help others. She gained employment as a receptionist in a law firm where she was promoted to paralegal after becoming certified in 2004. She continued paralegal work while double majoring in finance and business administration then earning a master s degree and juris doctor. Throughout her experiences she searched for an affordable alternative to traditional divorce litigation. She resolved to find a settlement method which could preserve relationships rather than emotionally draining parties. A Ginger is now CEO and Mediator at Apple Penguin a company offering mediation services. She wants to spread awareness about mediation as an alternative option to traditional divorce and custody litigation. The organization focuses on assisting individual families with creating a functional specifically tailored plan for moving forward. To help achieve these goals Ginger created a Divorce Boot Camp which helps people help themselves by providing common sense tips for people going through divorce and custody battles. The boot camp opens participants to a community where they can share experiences tears friendship and related interactions. Ginger is a dedicated community member and longtime volunteer. She is the Founder and Director of Educate and Empower Inc. a non-profit organization focused on helping families by connecting them with resources educating them on avoiding common stress inducing pitfalls and empowering them to make the most of family life together. Additionally Ginger is a buddy with the New Orleans Miracle League and a volunteers with the self-help civil law clinic through the New Orleans Pro Bono Project and serving veteran focused organization Combat Wounded Coalition. I had firsthand knowledge of the high cost of divorce which reaches beyond just the emotional toll. I saw parties paying their attorneys thousands to divide their family and almost all of their assets. Divorce often left them with a fraction of their net worth insolvent and with unsatisfactory results or no resolution at all. I thought there has to be a better more efficient method. During her second year attending law school she enrolled in a Family Law Mediation class and everything clicked. Her educational background work experience and newfound method for settling family matters without expensive litigation led her to get certified as a family law mediator. In many states mediation is not common or encouraged for family law matters. Ginger hopes to change this mentality by showing clients the value mediation holds. Mediation is ideal for me because I am passionate about helping families. I want to do my part in building a better world today and for future generations. I hope to help people avoid divorce when and if possible and desired. If a divorce is inevitable I aim for softening the impact divorce has on the family unit especially children. I would like to leave this world a better place then when I was on it. My dream is to see families learn how to work things out without tearing each other apart. I want to equip families with tools for weathering tough storms. Sometimes the storm is making it through a divorce without hating the other spouse parent. Sometimes people only need help navigating a rocky season so they can make their marriage work. 15 Women of Distinction D escribing herself as spiritual passionate and dedicated Hedva Levin has made a name for herself in the Cherry Hill New Jersey community quite some time ago. Graduating from Gratz College with an Associate s in Jewish Education in 1978 Hedva is now a Supervisor Site Leader for the School-Age Child Care (SACC) before and after care program for the Cherry Hill Public School System and Jewish Education and Conversational Hebrew Teacher at both Temple Emanuel and Temple Beth Shalom. Hedva Levin I started in this career by sheer coincidence Hedva said about her religious teachings. I lived in upstate New York in 1971 and at the time my local synagogue was seeking a Hebrew teacher and contacted me based on a recommendation they received. I accepted the position and have been teaching now for 45 years. Splitting her days between overseeing the SACC program at both Stockton Elementary School and Thomas Payne Elementary School teaching Hebrew and Conversational Hebrew she also prepares children and adults for Bar Bat Mitzvahs. Instructing students on the foundation of Hebrew whether it s learning the alphabet or perfecting a student s writing ability or with older students taking the foundation and applying it to tasks like preparing for a bar bat mitzvah all of these skills ultimately help them improve and move forward in their journey as a Jewish man or woman. Adult Jewish Education and Conversational Hebrew Elementary Education Jewish Education and Conversational Hebrew Teacher Temple Emanuel and Temple Beth Shalom Supervisor Site Leader School-Age Child Care (SACC) Cherry Hill Public School System Cherry Hill NJ Q&A Q What is your biggest professional strength A I adapt my lessons according to the needs of my students of any age group or learning style. Q What would your mission statement be for teaching A To help students realize that through learning they can enhance their lives in a positive way. Q Are there any flaws in the field of Jewish Education A Many times the focus is on learning prayers and blessings. Conversational Hebrew should be more prominent in the classroom. Q Are you afraid of making mistakes when teaching A Never I learn from my mistakes and encourage my students to live by the same philosophy. Q What do you think the best tool for teaching is Technology a textbook or personal experience A A combination of the three. You should always evolve in the classroom. A little bit of traditional and modern makes for a perfect recipe. Helping students understand the origin and future of our heritage is very gratifying Hedva said. Hopefully all of my students walk away with a deeper understanding connection and love for their religion. I also hope they feel secure in who they are and in their religion so they never have to be ashamed or afraid of their heritage. Born in Israel when Hedva first moved to America she wanted to keep that connection with her country and teaching allowed her to do that. Even though it was difficult at first due to language barriers teaching also helped her become fluent in English. Hedva and her late husband shared five children. Adding 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild to the family tree since that time family is everything to her. 16 Women of Distinction Inastazia M. Draper-Ivy Pharmaceutical and Insurance Sales Pharmaceutical Sales Representative National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives Insurance Agent Memphis TN F ormer flower shop owner of Rozes in Memphis Tennessee Inastazia Draper-Ivy made the tough decision to close her store just over a decade ago to go back to school because she just couldn t make ends meet. The single mother of three began attending Middle Tennessee State University completing her BBA in 2009. She s since become a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative and Insurance Agent. Spending much of her time with family Inastazia also serves as the CEO and Mentor for the Draper-Ivy Domestic Crime Victim Program since 2016 which serves those in the community that are battling domestic violence. The organization specifically assists women and children by sharing stories teaching the signs of abuse discussing escape plans and other hot topics. The majority of these women and children experience trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder and a level of pain that must be shared in order for them to heal Inastazia said. My program does just that serving as a form of therapy for them. A mother of two daughters and one son Inastazia too is a survivor of domestic violence. Her organization is as an outlet for her to share her story as well and allows others to learn from her mistakes. Spending all of her free time either volunteering or with her children Inastazia is a wonderful mother who does everything she can to make sure her children know just how much they are loved. Residing in Memphis they travel often to Europe and across the US. They dine out often and love playing sports. I always loved selling and teaching others Inastazia said in relation to career. I ve also always been very outgoing and passionate so I wanted to do something that represented who I was as a person. I chose both fields because I love them equally. Science motivates me as much as much as sales does. Working part-time as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative for National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives Inastazia sells products in doctors offices pharmacies and hospitals. Spending most of her time on the road she enjoys the traveling many benefits and salary. Keeping abreast of new research via attending workshops and reading medical journals she notes is crucial to her career. As an Insurance Agent Inastazia sells all types of policies to clients making sure each of them chooses the plan that best suits them. These two fields require you to stay on track be focused listen and open up she noted. It is not all about making money at first. You have to be willing to work a lot of hours at first to build up relationships. It s a bit nerve wracking and overwhelming initially but it s worth it in the end. My kids are the happiest kids I know Inastazia added. I worked very hard to get where I am today and I made the right choices in order to survive. I thank the Lord for helping me achieve my goals and guide me in the right direction. My father has also be instrumental in my life. He has given me strength advice and love when I needed it the most. 17 Women of Distinction J ennifer Baker Warren always knew she wanted to become a teacher. While earning a B.A. from Middlebury College Jennifer began teaching during her sophomore year in 1981 and never looked back. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother today Jennifer is the owner of Journeys Educational Consulting and the Director of Admissions at Desert Academy in Santa Fe New Mexico. In her various roles Jennifer strives to cultivate curiosity and guide the next generation of students. Through her consulting business Jennifer supports high school students in all aspects of the college admissions process including researching schools generating a list planning college visits developing a testing plan completing applications and finding scholarships. Additionally she helps younger students determine the best type of school for them and supports their parents through the process of finding appropriate day or boarding school options. At Desert Academy Jennifer continues her commitment to helping students achieve academic and personal excellence. She oversees all aspects of the recruitment and enrollment process. supporting parents as they navigate the application process as well as overseeing all aspects of applying for financial aid. Throughout her career Jennifer has learned that everyone has something to offer and to keep an open mind even during times of hardship. Jennifer Baker Warren High School Administration Teaching & Educational Consulting Owner Journeys Educational Consulting & Director of Admissions at Desert Academy Santa Fe NM Any challenge is always a learning experience and Education is a journey not a destination are two of her favorite quotes. Jennifer holds a B.A. from Middlebury College in Classical Studies with a minor in Education. Additionally she earned her MAT in Elementary Education from Sacred Heart University as well as a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from Rudolf Steiner College a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA and a Diploma from Leadership Santa Fe. Following her undergraduate graduation Jennifer completed a teaching internship at Rippowam Cisqua Elementary school and has worked in both independent and public schools ever since. Prior to founding her company and working at Desert Academy she gained more than 20 years of experience teaching grades pre-K through 9th as well as with school counseling and admissions. Jennifer is an active member of the RMACAC and IECA as well as Who s Who of America s Teachers. Jennifer is Wilderness First Responder certified and is an active member of SF Search & Rescue. A warm and friendly person Jennifer is both responsible and creative. In her spare time she volunteers for a variety of organizations and causes including literacy animal welfare and Relay for Life and is an avid world traveler. Q&A Q Why is educational consulting important in today s world A As prices rise parents can easily get overwhelmed in the process of finding an appropriate school for their children. Having an expert relieves stress and gives valuable insight. Q Why are you good at your jobs A I am extremely organized creative efficient and personable I relate well to parents and students alike. Q If you could choose your career over again would you still want to be in education A Absolutely I love what I do and know that I am making a positive difference in the world. Q Why would a family choose you over someone else A Not only do I have 7 years experience in educational consulting I earned a certificate with distinction from UCLA in Educational Consulting. I also have more than 20 years of teaching experience and have raised three children. 18 Women of Distinction Karen M. Carter H Health Coaching and Nutritional Counseling Holistic Health Coach Nutritional Counselor Yoga Teacher Online Health Merchant Store Owner KMC Corporate Ventures Nassau County NY olistic Health Coach Nutritional Counselor and Yoga Teacher Karen M. Carter s connection to the field of Holistic health care is deeply personal. Following her own health crisis suffering IBS and a thyroid autoimmune disease with severe symptoms and metabolic syndrome Karen became interested in alternative medical treatments. Karen attended Clayton College of Natural Health in 2007 and graduated with a Master s of Science degree with honors in Holistic Nutrition. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach through IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition.) In 2014 she received her Traditional Naturopathic Practitioner Diploma with honors from Sandy Hill Institute for Natural Science. Additionally Karen has been teaching yoga since 1999. In addition to managing KMC Corporate Ventures Karen enjoys a full time career as a Mortgage Consultant for a local bank. She has been in the Mortgage Banking business for more than 25 years. While juggling multiple careers presents its challenges Karen draws inspiration from one of her earliest influences Norman Vincent Peele author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Dedicated to the advancement of her field and her business Karen often participates in networking events such as Holistic Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of Women Networking in Women s Prosperity the National Association of Professional Women and is a former member of the Long Island Yoga Association. A Long Island native in her spare time Karen enjoys traveling yoga walking in nature particularly lakes and trail paths as well strolling along the shoreline during the summer. She especially loves spending quality time with family good friends and her 91-year-old mother who Karen calls her true source of inspiration. I adopted a new eating program that improved my immune system reduced and healed the inflammation in my body. I became a healthier stronger and more rejuvenated. Most importantly medication free I was able to enjoy the person I saw in the mirror again. Food choices are very important part to our health and happy to share my expertise. In 2009 Karen established KMC Corporate Ventures Inc. Through the umbrella corporation Karen is Holistic Health Coach Nutritional Counselor Yoga Teacher and Online Health Merchant Store Owner. As the Principal of KMC Corporate Ventures Karen is constantly exploring new avenues to share her knowledge. She organizes free health events yoga classes provides customized counseling sessions and operates an online health food store which boasts organic non-GMO gluten free and natural foods at great savings and free delivery options I believe my passion and enjoyment of reading and continual learning about nutrition and how certain food choices herbs essential oils supplements and body work can create a healthier mind body and spirit has fueled my career for so long. Every client is uniquely different and with different dietary needs by targeting a certain niche market made it so much easier for me to reach a certain group as to trying to help everyone. My niche is helping people who are gluten sensitive and coaching women in health wellness and beauty from the inside out and like who they see in the mirror. My legacy is that I positively touched and changed one person at a time who I was honored to cross upon my path. 19 Women of Distinction I n 2002 former salon owner LaShundra D. Harmon was seeking a career change that would allow her to better her family while continuing to help her community. A business savvy people person LaShundra found her niche in the financial services industry specifically in the fields of mortgages and real estate. After becoming Mortgage licensed she founded her own mortgage company and real estate consulting firm. And in 2012 became Insurance Licensed and launched her Independent Insurance business. Today LaShundra is a Financial Services Representative with The Heartland Group. A natural team leader LaShundra is a top producer who was the first in her Firm to win the Pacesetter award for production. LaShundra often represents the company at community events. She belongs to several Professional Women organizations. Hoping to help others become more knowledgeable about the financial services industry in 2015 LaShundra established the non-profit the Association of Financial Mommies. The organization s mission is to educate about the importance of Starting Financial Legacies and administering information and tools to get started. Through the Association of Financial Mommies LaShundra teaches financial literacy to children and groups that want to become more financially savvy. She is currently working on a new and innovative financial literacy workbook for children as well as on her memoir and a screenplay. She also volunteers her expertise teaching Financial Literacy Workshops and Entrepreneurism in her community. My passion for helping people specifically professional women and women entrepreneurs has kept me in my field. I am passionate about my love for helping people. I love speaking up for those that don t have a voice and I like sharing my knowledge with others. I am great listener. Outside of work LaShundra participates in several charity and fundraising events including the food pantry at her church. Additionally she serves as a School Board member and as the Alumni Legacy Coordinator at her parish. LaShundra D. Harmon Insurance and Financial services Financial Services Representative with The Heartland Group The Greater Chicagoland Area Q&A Q Why does life insurance matter A Life insurance matters because it helps protect the family financially in the event of the death of a loved one as well provide certain tax benefits while you are alive. The cash value can help you do things needed while you are living. Q How can you pick the best financial advisor A Put together questions for a potential advisor and see how open they are with answering your questions and see how comfortable you feel with their answers. Q How do I begin tracking my spending A First you need a budget sheet as well as a notebook. Begin writing down where you spend your money so you can see where you can save more. I want to leave a philanthropic humanitarian legacy and a legacy built on my love of people. I want to be known as a great financial educator within my community. I want people to say I ve opened their eyes to building greater financial legacies for their families. Rich in family LaShundra is a loving single mother of two ambitious and compassionate children. Her daughter Taylyn 21 is a graduate of Syracuse University and a Newhouse Scholar who operates her own media company and founded SWEETEST Magazine. She is also a current Google News Lab Fellow. LaShundra s son Miles 13 a freshman in high school and is an aspiring producer director and actor who is currently filming a new horror film. 20 Women of Distinction Linda Maccariella T Education Senior Career Teacher ESL Teacher - School District of Philadelphia (retired) Philadelphia PA hrough her work as an ESL teacher in the School District of Philadelphia from 1972-2004 Linda Maccariella managed to positively impact the lives of many children by teaching them English upon their arrival to the United States. Linda held several positions during her 32 year teaching career including Small Learning Community Coordinator Voyager Reading Coach Program Support Teacher and Instructional Support Teacher. In addition to teaching English as a Second Language her responsibilities in these positions varied from mentoring teachers who needed help to developing strategies and interventions for at-risk students. Each of your students is special in some way and it should be your goal to find that area in which a student can shine and provide the student with opportunities to do so. Let your classroom evolve organically with children s work being among the materials used to teach skills. Children learn best what they own. Encourage your students to take risks and let them know that without taking risks they will not be grow. With the classroom set up properly and with appropriate resources children will be able to teach themselves and teach each other when you are not working with the entire class. Teachers should view themselves more as facilitators than instructors. Following her retirement in 2004 Linda worked as an independent contractor providing staff development for Training Learning and Consulting. She also taught ESL to adults at Northeast High School and Spanish to healthcare workers. Linda s biggest inspiration throughout her career were her students and their families who remained dedicated in their mission to begin new successful lives in the United States. The gratefulness that was shown by the families of her students was helpful in overcoming the challenges of her job. Linda considered it her mission to empower students with the skills to become life-long learners. As a way for students to continue their learning after the school day Linda wrote a parent guide titled A Parent s Guide to Early Literacy How to Help Your Child Become a Successful Reader in Grades K 1 and 2 . In this guide which Linda had copyrighted by the Library of Congress she outlines for parents the qualities good readers must develop as well as reading strategies to be reinforced at home. Regarding her own education Linda received a B.S. in Secondary Education - English in 1970 and a certification in Spanish K-12 in 1972 both from West Chester University. In 1985 she received her M. Ed. in Bilingual Counseling Psychology from Temple University and was eventually designated a Senior Career Teacher by the Philadelphia School District in 1990. I believe that teaching is an art more than it is a science. A teacher can create something very special every day that is not in the lesson plan. I cared so much about each student s psyche and progress and my legacy lives on in the selfconfidence pride and enthusiasm my students possess. I never get tired of hearing from former students Miss Mack remember when we. . . In her leisure Linda enjoys the arts crafting cinema traveling and dining out. She also volunteers as a hugger for babies who may experience developmental issues without proper care in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Pennsylvania Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 21 Women of Distinction Lisa M. Dougan Legal Special Needs Trusts Trust Attorney - ACHIEVA Family Trust Pittsburgh PA T hrough her work as Trust Attorney with ACHIEVA Family Trust Lisa Dougan is dedicated to helping her clients plan for the future by aiding in the establishment of trusts for those with special needs. It is important for young female attorneys to believe in themselves and not be intimidated by anyone. It is important to ask questions but not be scared to take initiative as well. Being active in bar associations and networking is also very important. Trust your heart and always be true to yourself. Regarding her education Lisa received a BA in Biochemistry in 2005 an MS in Forensic Science and the Law in 2006 and a School of Law Juris Doctorate in 2011 all from Duquesne University. She is a Council Member and Program Subcommittee Member with the Probate & Trust Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association as well as a member of the Elder Law Committee within the Allegheny County Bar Association and a member of the Allegheny County Orphans Court Manual Local Rules Subcommittee. In her leisure Lisa enjoys reading crafting doing DIY projects and spending time with her husband and young son. I very much enjoy assisting families and attorneys with planning for the future for loved ones who have disabilities helping determine what steps are the right ones for an individual concerning a special needs trust. Seeing firsthand the benefits of having a special needs trust in place for an individual with a disability and what can be accomplished with those funds is very rewarding. After enjoying the introductory law classes she took while working towards her Master s Degree in Forensic Science and the Law Lisa decided that she wanted to go to law school. She then began working full-time for The Honorable Lee J. Mazur who has been her greatest mentor and professional inspiration throughout her career in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Orphans Court Division and attended law school at Duquesne University. Through her work with the Court she became familiar with ACHIEVA Family Trust and reached out to the firm s president for a job which she landed while still in law school. Following her graduation in 2011 Lisa began working for ACHIEVA Family Trust full time as the Trust Attorney. As Trust Attorney Lisa is entrusted with reviewing every trust document that is submitted for administration to ACHIEVA Family Trust as well as other associated legal documents. She also oversees the opening and closing of the trust accounts meets with and presents special needs trust plans to attorneys and families and oversees the legal portions of the Future Planning Project. I grew up in a middle class blue collar family. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through law school. I am one of the many who obtained an advanced degree only through carrying the burden of a substantial amount of student loan debt the majority of which is from attending law school. I enjoyed being a student and school always came easy to me but I have never had anything handed to me on a silver platter. My hard work has enabled me to be where I am today and I hope to continue to have that hard work recognized and appreciated. 22 Women of Distinction I t was 1987 and she had just graduated from Sam Houston State University with a BS in Agriculture Education. Mary Wilson had known that she would teach high school agriculture FFA. Her agriculture teacher Ms. Peggy McMullan was a great inspiration. Mary Brown Wilson At the time there were only seven females currently teaching agriculture in the state of Texas Mary said. Fortunately I had good mentors surrounding me. I loved working with my dad on our farm as a kid so teaching others to appreciate its value was high on my list of priorities. Teaching high school students Mary has worked with thousands in the classroom on multiple teams in contests with Supervised Agriculture Experience projects and has shown livestock all across Texas. She s also taken them on countless trips FFA conventions banquets livestock shows and speaking events throughout the year. Most of her students in fact are with her for all four years since she teaches multiple classes like meat processing and the fabrication of carcasses livestock management wildlife management farm business management and horticulture. Agricultural classes do not have to be all about livestock she noted. Many subjects like floral design metal fabrication animal science and more are also taught. Stressing the importance of agriculture Mary says that no one can survive without it. Growing up on a farm she learned to appreciate its value and all that our natural resources provide for us to survive. High School Education Agriculture Science Teacher FFA Advisor Barbers Hill Independent School District Mont Belvieu TX Q&A Q How important is agricultural education A Agriculture education provides young people an avenue for phenomenal leadership skills personal growth and career preparation and the opportunity for them to see firsthand the value of agriculture to every human being. Q Why would you encourage young people to pursue a career in agriculture A What are the three things the human population would die off without within days Fresh clean water food and clean air. All three are resources we must protect and make sure is readily available. Why wouldn t we give young people every opportunity to consider careers in the agriculture food fiber and renewable resource industries Many may not become producers of agriculture or work in the marketing sales advertising or transportation aspect of the business but it s important to open doors for students to see their opportunities and to learn to appreciate and understand just how important agriculture is to each of us she said. Mary has served as an advisor for over 100 students who received their state FFA degrees (16 are to receive their American FFA degree). She started a pilot program in Texas for an online record book program that is now utilized in 48 states. She s also seen several of her students become agriculture teachers themselves. Mary created a dog therapy program at her high school too called Baxter s Eagle Paws and she is excited to have a veterinary technician class start in the fall of 2016. Mary s 29-year career has come full circle and says it s the greatest thing to get to teach a second generation of students. 23 Women of Distinction M ore than 40 years ago Maureen Kendrick Murphy PhD participated in an accelerated summer program at Huntingdon College while still a junior in high school. Since that time Maureen has made quite the name for herself graduating from Huntingdon in three years with a BA in Chemistry Magna Cum Laude followed by a PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of South Carolina. Maureen spent time teaching as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama and Russellville High School before accepting her current position as Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at the place where it all began for her Huntingdon College in 1997. Throughout her teaching career she has taught a variety of courses from General Chemistry and Biochemistry to Research in Chemistry and Critical Thinking. She also served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the First-Year Experience program and designed several educational programs. Maureen Kendrick Murphy PhD Higher Education Research Professor Chair Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Huntingdon College Montgomery AL The number of chemistry and biochemistry majors in our department has almost quadrupled from 20 in 2005 to 75 in 2016 Maureen noted. In the future chemistry will become even more interdisciplinary than it is now. Many of our world s problems will be solved by interdisciplinary teams of persons who are able to synthesize and relate information from chemistry and many other fields. In 1992 Maureen co-authored Metals in Biological Systems with three graduate students. The text was used to teach bioinorganic chemistry courses when the field was just becoming an accepted field of chemistry proving a valuable curriculum resource. She has also published more than 69 research articles. A 32-year member of American Chemical Society Maureen has served the organization in several capacities. She is also involved with National Exchange Club participating in outreach science activities in K-12 classrooms. The mother of one daughter and one son Maureen s husband Dr. Michael Derrington Murphy is Instructor at Northwest-Shoals Community College. Maureen and Michael hope to build a K-6 elementary school after they both retire with a curriculum based upon Science First teaching all subjects through the lens of science. Q&A Q Why is chemistry important A Chemistry is the central science. Everything we do eat make feel observe and breathe is related somehow to chemistry or chemical biochemical reactions. Using chemistry to understand nature is vital to sustaining our world. Q What do you feel is your most compelling research discovery in chemistry A It was made with undergraduate student Heather M. Fuller in 2000. We published the first chemical analysis of yaupon the black tea made from the Ilex vomitoria holly leaves by southeastern Native Americans. We answered the question of why Native Americans vomited after drinking black tea. Q What role does social media play in your career A I use social media (ResearchGate LinkedIn Twitter Facebook) to communicate with professionals in the field post new research results advertise our chemistry program and events to the world and prospective students connect with friends and to seek out new opportunities to serve others. 24 Women of Distinction Monika Miles Tax specifically multi-state taxation President Miles Consulting Group Inc. San Jose CA W ith more than 20 years of experience in the taxation industry Certified Public Accountant Monika Miles specializes in helping companies navigate business across state lines. As president of Miles Consulting Group Monika develops streamlined systems which help her clients expand their operations with confidence efficiency and peace of mind. The firm focuses on multi-state tax consulting helping clients traverse state tax issues such as sales tax and income tax in interstate commerce including e-commerce. For instance Monika often works with technology clients answering questions such as What are the sales tax ramifications of selling our new widget software or cloud solution into the following 15 states Additionally Monika regularly presents technical topics on multi-state tax issues -- and other subjects -- via webinars and lectures both at local events and national conferences. She is currently authoring a book called Beyond the Staff Handbook a guide for those just starting in their accounting careers. A proponent of networking with a purpose Monika is an active member of numerous professional associations. For more than 20 years she has been involved with the Accounting & Financial Women s Alliance (AFWA). She served on the National Board of Directors from 2005 forward and was the organization s National President in 2011. And she is currently serving her second term as the President of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) - Silicon Valley. For her tireless efforts Monika s peers have bestowed upon her many awards. She was recognized as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor magazine in 2012 2013 2014 and 2015. Additionally the Silicon Valley Business Journal recognized her as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley in 2014. Monika was also presented with the AFWA President s award in 2009 and the NAWBO - Silicon Valley s Business of the Year award in 2010. Outside of the office Monika also spends her time helping others. She has been volunteering for more than 17 years with the American Cancer Society s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer raising more than 175 000 in the process as one of the largest individual fundraisers for the event in the Bay Area. I feel that I am making a difference in their business by adding my knowledge and expertise to their particular situation. And I like being able to truly help business owners and entrepreneurial companies including technology start-ups in Silicon Valley to navigate the state tax landscape. Monika holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Taxation (MST). Recently as an addition to her multi-state consulting practice and using her history with professional consulting Monika developed an educational program called Jumpstart Your Rainmaking. The program helps professionals seeking to increase their revenues by enhancing their prospecting and sales skills. Monika teaches these principles through a series of webinars as well as through in person instruction and coaching. The skills to building relationships which become referral sources or new clients can be learned. It s not magic. The secret sauce is to develop a systematic approach for reaching out and building relationships throughout your career. You must have a plan and measure against it regularly. The Jumpstart program provides a roadmap to do that. If one person has one more birthday because I raised money then I ve impacted a life and helped to create a legacy. Whether it s family or strangers I hope to use whatever my unique skill set may be to make the world a little bit better place than I found it 25 Women of Distinction Q&A Q As a business owner what is one of your biggest challenges A I think most service providers would agree that one of the biggest challenges is balancing between going out to bring in new business (targeting) and then delivering on those projects (execution). In a firm where much of the work is project based consulting we need to make sure that the pipeline is filled with potential next leads so networking is a must. At the same time client projects must get the attention they deserve so we can exceed the expectations of every client. There s a delicate balance between managing staff and current workload and also doing the necessary marketing and targeting. Q Have you ever felt that your opportunities were limited in the field because you re a woman A Not really. When I started in big firm public accounting most of the partners were still men to the tune of about 80%. But now it s starting to become more even. Most of the larger firms boast that their new partner classes are 50 50 women and men. I didn t stick around at the big firm long enough to see that happen. I hung out my own shingle and now my firm is 100% woman owned. Q What advice would you have for young women entrepreneurs or those just entering a career in accounting or tax A I think it s very important to get your professional certifications (i.e.- CPA) early upon graduation because it doesn t get easier the longer you wait. Also make sure that you invest in both the technical aspects of the profession AND the client interaction and revenue generation part of the business as early as possible. Finally I m a big believer in being an active participant in supportive professional associations where we become stronger as a community than on our own. Find a group that fits for you and become an active member. Q What has been challenging about branching into the new specialty around Rainmaking A It s a whole new business And right now I m basically running two businesses one of which is fairly mature but still needs a lot of my attention and the other which could grow into something really successful as long as I continue to dedicate some time to that growth. Branching out into this area is a dream that I ve had for a long time so I m really excited about building it and seeing where it goes. Q Do you have any final words of advice for someone looking to start a business or change careers A As an entrepreneur I m a hug fan of starting a business And I recommend thinking about the financial aspects in detail before jumping. Make sure you have a well thought out plan and enough of a safety blanket in reserve to last several months. Once you have that and it feels right don t be afraid to jump. And then once you do find some help a network of entrepreneurs (like NAWBO) and a business coach. It s much harder to do this if you try to do it alone. Put yourself in a room of people who can help you fulfill your dream 26 Women of Distinction Nina Raj Educating and Coaching Owner and CEO of Yes I am Hired & L.E.T.SkillsCa Calgary Alberta Canada E mployment coaching specialist Nina Raj is a project and people manager with more than 20 years of professional experience in human resources development coaching and mentoring. As owner and CEO of Yes I am Hired and L.E.T.SkillsCa Nina and her expert staff help people from all walks of life become more valuable to their work place by improving their soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable people to interact more effectively with others. Mastering these skills enables individuals to enjoy a more rewarded professional and personal life. Based in Calgary Canada Yes I am Hired offers workshops that specialize in teaching Soft skills and Employment skills to meet those needs. Learning how to ace an interview tips on writing an effective cover letter and resume that will stand out among the other candidates and personal branding are just some of the topics covered in the workshops that will give client s the edge they need to be noticed and land their dream position. As CEO and owner Nina is committed to building the business through networking and hiring fellow trainers all while constantly staying up-to-date on emerging trends in her field. When I was teaching at the Bureau of Prisons in the USA I felt much despair sometimes seeing the limitations and conditions of the inmates. I had to fall on my knees and surrender to God and seek His help every step of my way. Eventually I saw much success in equipping these inmates with skills that helped in reducing the recidivism rate in the system. That success boosted my confidence and confirmed to me that I was in the right career choice. Throughout her career Nina has learned that everyone is capable of learning and getting ahead in life. She advises those starting out in the coaching industry to keep an open mind and realize that everyone has their own unique style of learning. I have stayed this long in my career because I have immense passion for it and I see much value in what it does for individuals -- increase in self-esteem and self-confidence which leads them towards personal and professional growth and success. Nina is a graduate of Simon Fraser University in Psychology and Communications and holds a number of industry-related certifications. She is a specialist in project development and implementation and has mentored hundreds of people in efficiency and optimization. For her expertise Nina was asked to conduct organizational and leadership development for management teams in US Federal Prisons as well as working with inmates which led to a significant reduction in the projected recidivism rate for those prisons. While rewarding Nina said the position was not without its challenges. The important thing is to understand that everyone learns differently so we need to teach in a way that can be understood. We need to teach people using their representational system by which they learn i.e. Auditory or Visual or Kinesthetic. Sharing her expertise Nina authored a soon-to-be released book entitled Get your Bounce Back Using Soft Skills which speaks about using soft skills to succeed both professionally and personally. A fun loving and compassion person Nina enjoys giving back to her community both locally and globally. She is actively involved in her local community in Calgary where volunteers her services speaking about Soft skills and Employability skills. Fluent in multiple languages Nina also enjoys teaching internationally. She recently conducted an introductory lecture on Soft skills at the N.E. Petroleum University in Daqing China where she hopes to continue teaching in the near future. I believe that when you allow yourself to travel and learn about different cultures you grow tremendously as a human being. I would love to impact as many people as I can through soft skills with the hope that they in turn will impact the next generations. I wish to use different mediums to reach people globally to help people have hope for their future and experience the success that has eluded them. 28 Women of Distinction Q&A Q Why are life skills soft skills important A Research says that most businesses in any industry would prefer to hire people who have soft skills rather than hard skills. Companies can teach the hard skills but they cannot teach soft skills which are more important to them. Q Why are soft skills important to these companies A Having soft skills saves the company a lot of money and that is important to them. It is important for companies to have employees who are positive have good work ethics and are great team players manage their time constructively etc. These are skills they have no time to teach. Q Why are soft skills important in your personal life A Soft skills are interpersonal skills or value based skills. These skills allow individuals to live in harmony with each other and with our own selves because we bring value to each other and value each other. When we demonstrate good self-esteem are positive etc. people are attracted to us and you can help influence positive change and become a change agent hence moving with the times. Q How else can you benefit at work with these skills A These skills increase your shelf life with a company. An employee with these skills becomes more valuable to a company and they project leadership qualities. Q How do these skills help you get promoted at work A When you have these skills you can stay calm under pressure make right choices and decisions which in turn help your progress at work. Q Does it cost a lot to take these soft skills workshops A Generally it is recommended that you invest at least 10% of your income to continuously educating yourself. And these workshops are very affordable and generally have a one-time cost. Q Can you just learn by reading books only A Learning can happen in whatever format you choose however participating in a hands-on workshop enables an individual to interact with like-minded people participate in activities and discussions that greatly increases one s learning experience and allows one to see a variety of perspectives on the relevant subject matter. Q Can I be employed as a life skills coach with a company A Most coaches work as contract workers. Most companies want training once or twice a year so they cannot afford to hire someone as an employee. Q Why is it important to take employability workshop A Due to the fact that such workshops do not just teach the general and behavioral interview questions and answers but also provides valuable tips to improve our resumes and make them stand out. It also prepares an individual to be completely prepared to succeed. Q What kind of workshops are offered by Yes I am Hired And why should I take my workshop through your organization A Yes I am Hired Offers Soft Skills workshops employability workshops such as interview prep skills using LinkedIn and preparing resumes. We are in the process of adding more workshops such as Goal Setting Branding and appropriate use of Social Media and such. . All our workshop instructors have a minimum of 15 years of expertise in this field and we keep our class sizes small enough to allow for greater interaction and attention. We are the preferred company for many organizations here and are constantly recommended to others by our satisfied customers. Our growth has also been possible by word from our many successful participants. Our satisfied participants have seen greater successes after having been trained by us. Our instructors are also available to students post workshops for follow ups Coaching mentoring and encouragement. We are also in the process of expanding internationally into China and Mexico as well as expanding across Canada. 29 Women of Distinction Patricia M. Cunningham Real Estate Licensed Broker Owner Serendipity Estates LLC Brooklyn NY O n a hunt to find her dream home Patricia M. Cunningham and her family were left feeling underwhelmed and disappointed. Searching and searching for two full years they finally found what they were looking for in 1997 in Brooklyn New York. Knowing just how competitive the field is Patricia is always thinking outside of the box. She is confident and comfortable in her own skin which is equally important and is able to ease client concerns during an often very stressful time. In love with Brooklyn s vast neighborhoods and everything the city has to offer Patricia has no plans to leave the area any time soon. Not to mention it s much easier to sell real estate in an area that you wholeheartedly believe in. She also hopes to someday purchase a building to assist homeless families and veterans. Saddened and frustrated to see so many people struggling just to get by it would be a very fulfilling venture for her. Patricia s dream is to fulfill her clients real estate dreams regardless of their social status. Married to her husband Edwin who is now retired and enjoying every minute of it the two of them enjoy listening to jazz music and going camping. Patricia also enjoys walking around Prospect Park travelling and taking in the beauty of nature. She s a Prime Time member and serves in the Technical Arts and Open Arms ministries at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. She was also recently inducted into the National Association of Professional Women VIP Woman of the Year Circle for 2015-16. Patricia shares two children with Edwin Sean-David and Ayanna. Sean-David is a professional violinist who teaches at Saint Ann s School in Brooklyn. Ayanna is an interior designer and licensed salesperson at Serendipity Estates. She s also the video coordinator at Emmanuel Baptist Church. During the search we encountered numerous agents Patricia explained. Some were courteous and polite but not experienced while others were experienced but not intuitive and compassionate to our real estate needs. After a year of off-and-on home shopping I became frustrated with my agent s inability to assist us in finding our dream home. Another year later the experience began to stir up an interest I didn t know even existed in me and I began to develop a great passion for real estate. Forming my own agency was the end result. As Broker and Owner of Serendipity Estates LLC which is located in the heart of Brooklyn Patricia and her team specialize in residential real estate serving the community with the utmost integrity knowledge and understanding of clients needs. I began my career in real estate in the midst of the sub-prime crisis when the real estate profession was extremely challenging and seasoned agents were leaving the business Patricia said who spent four previous years working as an Associate Broker for a real estate company in Brooklyn New York. Deciding to ride the storm and wait for the rainbow to appear was the best decision I ve made. 30 Women of Distinction B etter known as Fast Pat Patricia Mae Oplotnik has enjoyed more than 45 years teaching dance. Opening Patricia s School of Dance in 1964 in Kansas she s since worked for 17 years in the Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management at Oklahoma City University as an Artist-in-Residence in tap and owned and directed Applause Studios in Oklahoma City a full-service performing arts center that offered training in all genres of dance voice and gymnastics. Selling the school after 30 years to become a full-time professor at Oklahoma City University she fully retired just last year in 2015. Patricia Mae Oplotnik Dance Education Entertainment Owner Fast Pat Dance Oklahoma City OK Dance teachers are an important cog in the wheel of a child s life Pat said. I believe the arts make a profound difference in our society and I hope to continue preserving tap history for future generations through my work today. Growing up in a small town in Kansas Pat s mom traveled with her to larger cities for training for years. Her social life personal life and family life all included dance and it required a lot of sacrifice. Pat is now focusing on the future of tap by concentrating on dance teacher training. Her online company Fast Pat Dance offers instructional DVDs for teachers to construct tap curriculum. She will soon be filming more additions that will cover legitimate and illegitimate time steps in all of their forms. Still touring with dance companies adjudicating and teaching private workshops Pat s trained with tap masters choreographed for American Kids co-producing the original all-kid musical The Will and the Wind earned a Teacher of the Decade for the musical in 1995 was named Outstanding Full-Time Faculty by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oklahoma City University in 2012 and choreographed shows accepted for Las Vegas venues as well as for Branson stages. The highlight of her career however has been in knowing that many of the dance teachers throughout America have been inspired by her including her son Brent Oplotnik and daughter Angie Sellers both sought after Master Teachers and Choreographers. Q&A Q Why is tap training fading in popularity in America A Many kids are enthralled with the freedom of contemporary and modern dance training. It s an important style but there just aren t enough modern contemporary companies to employ them. Q Besides a knowledge of the vocabulary of tap what must a competent tap teacher know A Basic music theory. Tap is percussion and must be synergistically one with the beat in any musical piece. Q What do you see for the future of tap A Tap musicals appeal strongly to the public at large and tap festivals worldwide are widely supported. The future is very bright I ve traveled the world because of dance made many wonderful friends along the way and raise a strong competent family because of the discipline I received in my training Pat noted. Pat is mother of five grandmother of nine and greatgrandmother of one who lives in Oklahoma City with her husband of 49 years. 31 Women of Distinction Penny Armitage R.A. Architecture President of Armitage Architecture Buffalo NY I I ve always been drawn to designing and creating spaces. n elementary school Penny Armitage R.A. remembers redesigning the school during history class into her own home. Many of Penny s extracurricular activities involved mini construction projects in her home. Fortunately my parents were great about directing that energy and forgiving when an unapproved construction experiment on their house would go astray. After obtaining Master s degrees in Architecture and Business and holding several positions within AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity Penny was able to not only hone her technical skills but learned about the micro and macro levels of construction design and business on the whole. Now Penny serves as the President and Principal Architect of Armitage Architecture. As Principal Architect she oversees all architectural design and construction documents. As the President she is responsible for the development and implementation of business strategy and project procurement. Also Penny serves as the President of Armitage Construction where she continues to develop and implement business strategy project procurement and construction consulting on all projects. I didn t have a mentor or anyone helping me when I first started out. I had to do a lot of research and teach myself how to start market and run a successful company. That path still continues today which has turned out be both an asset and a blessing. At the end of the day Penny hopes to leave a positive impression on all of her nieces and nephews and encourage them to be the unique people she knows them to be. I worked for a number of years in nonprofit organizations. I left the nonprofit world and began working for an architecture firm in order to fulfill the requirements to obtain my architect license. It was during this time that I began trying to think of a way to create a hybrid company between the two. Over the years Penny has stayed involved with the nonprofits and continues to believe that her business endeavors should be responsible and help the surrounding communities. Between her parents and experiences early on Penny believes she s been inspired and guided to her life s purpose and passion. I love designing buildings. The endless possibilities of what can be that the act of designing brings about is what has kept me and what continues to keep me passionate about my field. I also want them to remember that you learn something from every person you encounter. Over time the wealth of knowledge that you accumulate becomes invaluable both personally and professionally. In the following interview Penny further discuses her job career and life s passion 32 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How do you manage the work life balance A It s a constant struggle between needing time to invest in the company while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I try to set a reasonable work schedule that allows time for other areas of my life that are important to me to grow as well. Q Do you think Green Building will have a predominant role in architectural design in the future A I think green building will eventually become an essential way to design buildings. The damage that has been done and that we are doing to the environment is becoming more obvious. We need to take care of what we ve been given and preserve it for future generations. Q Is environmentally friendly design construction affordable A There are a variety of different approaches to sustainable design. There are design solutions and alternatives that don t necessarily involve expensive technology. Q Where did the inspiration for a social enterprise architecture firm come from A I worked for a number of years in nonprofit organizations. I left the nonprofit world and began working for an architecture firm in order to fulfill the requirements to obtain my architect license. It was during this time that I began trying to think of a way to create a hybrid company between the two. Q What types of projects or organizations does the social enterprise aspect of your company invest in A We ve invested in a variety of different nonprofit organizations whose missions are meaningful to us. Some of the organizations we ve donated to are Catholic Charities Family Justice Center of Erie County Habitat for Humanity and Family Promise of WNY just to name a few. Q How does technology impact the architectural profession today A There have been great advances in architectural software. Building Information Modeling software which we utilize allows us to more effectively communicate with out clients and consultants using 3d renderings and computer modeling. Q What do you think makes your company different A Our company is different due to our out of the box thinking. We develop innovative solutions to common problems. Whether it s in design or construction we are excellent at thinking of new and creative ways to approach design challenges. Q What types of projects do you work on A We are a commercial architecture and construction firm. We have experience with multifamily housing office buildings medical buildings adaptive re-use projects places of worship and mixed use buildings. Q What s typically found on your desk everyday A The staples that I always have with me are my sketch book a cup of coffee and wrinkled index card from being in my pocket that I write a bible passage on to keep with me for the day. 33 Women of Distinction Robyn Feldberg Career Industry Coaching and Resume Writing President fter graduating with a Bachelor s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising and a minor in writing Robyn Feldberg accepted her first job as a resume writer in 1991. Little did she know then she d still be in the business more than two decades later. Recognizing her passion for helping others Robyn launched in 2006 and dedicated her career to helping others find their dream career. Soon after she returned to school to train as a career coach and has since has completed numerous coaching certification programs. A This has been the cornerstone of her success and her clients appreciate that they can count on her to always stay ahead of the latest industry trends to ensure their success. In demonstration of her commitment to give back to the careers industry Robyn is proud to have served as the president of the National Resume Writers Association for two years and as a certification grader for two years. I m doing the work I was born to do and I love partnering with people to help them land their dream jobs more quickly and easily. It s especially rewarding when clients land new roles with large salary increases make difficult career transitions or enhance their career by getting more or less of what they want (more money more autonomy more less travel less bureaucracy a healthier work life balance etc.). Robyn recognizes that every client is different and enjoys the challenge of meeting each person she works with at their point of need guiding them through a highly personalized hands-on coaching and resume writing process. Some of the things she helps clients with include writing resumes cover letters and LinkedIn profiles administering assessments and coaching people to identify the next chapter in their career path define and achieve their career goals create and execute a modern job search plan enhance their interviewing skills and negotiate a higher salary. Her clients success is personal for her and that s why she has demonstrated a unique commitment to her own continuing education and development. I m very serious about my clients success and am proud of having positioned myself as a leading expert in the industry. My goal is to help each client achieve abundant success which I define as a career in which people are fulfilled personally professionally and financially. I m committed not just to changing careers but to touching lives and leaving behind a lasting legacy of helping people make meaningful change allowing them to realize more happiness more significance richer lives and more meaningful relationships. In addition to being a contributor to more ten published career books Robyn has been quoted in high-profile publications that include the Wall Street Journal Reader s Digest and U.S. News and World Report and has served as the television careers expert on ABC s Good Morning Texas airing on WFAA in the Dallas area. 34 Women of Distinction Sharysse Boer Information Technology President Dominate Designs Flagstaff AZ F rom an early age Sharysse Boer dreamed of becoming a businesswoman. Hard working and motivated she put herself through college earning a Bachelor s degree in Business Management and a certificate in International Business Studies. Additionally she supplemented her education with studies in Computer Science. Today Sharysse is living out her childhood dream as president of Dominate Designs. Dominate Designs is design and web-based project management firm specializing in Custom Design Business Services Project Management Creative Writing Website Design Programming Problem Solving and Calligraphy. As president Sharysse has a dynamic role overseeing all of the company s decisions bookkeeping marketing and website development. Most importantly Sharysse is a motivating leader who works closely with her expert staff to ensure the successful outcome of all projects. For each project she works with clients to create the project plan documentation and timelines. On many projects Sharysse will also work with clients to develop software solutions from scratch. As a Project Manager she was involved with completing complex projects designing project plans from start to finish providing solutions and recommendations -- and much more. Seeing an opportunity Sharysse drew upon her background in these areas to found Dominate Designs. Sharysse built the company s brand and reputation from the ground up. The business began with one location and has now expanded into two states Nevada and Arizona with two corporate offices. In addition to operating a successful IT company Sharysse applies her expertise to advance her field through other projects. She is currently working on a new application or app for mobile devices and PCs. The app is a fresh new intellectually challenging game that is unlike any other app available in either the Google Play Store or iTunes. A copyright is pending approval and the app is expected to be complete in 2016. Sharysse is also in the process of writing a short story. The fictional story is based on real events and has elements of technology science fiction and mystery. While it is not due to be released until late 2016 the book has already gained much fan fare from readers who find the book hard to put down. Hoping to leave a successful business behind as her legacy Sharysse is constantly challenging herself to grow her company by adding more services while inspiring others along the way. I have stayed in the Information Technology industry because I find the work challenging and changing. I started my business in the IT industry because there are many opportunities for expansion and growth. Working with the people who will ultimately benefit from the implementation of the new software or system is very gratifying. It is a pleasure to work with the stakeholders throughout the process and help them achieve success when the project is complete so they can finally receive the benefits of the technology. Prior to founding Dominate Designs Sharysse launched her career as a Programmer Analyst for a small IT Consulting Firm in Reno Nevada and quickly became a Project Manager within the firm. Working as a Programmer Analyst helped Sharysse develop her programming skills and gain experience with a wide variety of website tools. I would like to leave behind a successful business which will endure economic changes and continue to thrive. I am a very hardworking and determined individual. I m a self-made success through my efforts and hard work. I want to inspire other people who are struggling to become successful and work hard toward their goals. 35 Women of Distinction Q&A Q When working on a project how important is it to establish measurements for success A Establishing the success factors for a project is so critical because it determines the course of the project. By knowing what will make the project successful the project team will be able to identify if the project tasks are contributing or not contributing to a successful outcome. Q Is it better to have a technology solution or a process training solution A The answer to this question largely depends on the issue. Technology is great to assist people with solving problems but is not always the way to actually solve the problem. Typically the technology is a way to enhance the ability for a person to solve a problem. Q How does change affect a project A Change can either positively or negatively impact a project. If a key decision maker or the most knowledgeable person leaves the project this may result in a negative consequence. On the other hand if a person who was consistently confrontational or argumentative leaves the project this may result in a positive consequence. Q How important is project planning A Project planning is essential to help the project achieve a successful goal within budget and on time. With limited planning a project may still complete but my experience has been that unorganized poorly managed projects typically exceed the budget and the estimated timelines. With good planning and organization the project has focused tasks and goals which all contribute to the successful completion of the project. Q How does risk affect a project A Risks can come in many forms on a project including funding budgeting resource allocation timelines unforeseen circumstances conflicting personalities and more. Mitigating risk is critical to a project s success and it is best to take action quickly when a risk is identified. Acting quickly will help to lessen the impact the risk may cause on the project. Q Is it better for a project manager to have experience in project management or education in project management A I think a good project manager will have a mix of both project management education and experience. To be really effective the project manager also needs to have an approachable personality and enjoy working with people. The project manager doesn t need to be friends with everyone on the project but needs to establish a professional and open working relationship. Q How important is it to prepare documentation on a project A Documentation is important on a project but there is a point where documentation can be a burden. The level of documentation for the project should be adequate but not more than what is necessary. The best approach is to have a standard package of documents which are prepared for every project. The level of complexity of the project will determine the amount of time and effort necessary for the documentation. 36 Women of Distinction Sheila Gabrielsen S Healthcare Holistic Health Practitioner Owner Certified Reiki Master Teacher (CRMT) - LOVE REIKI Coventry RI heila Gabrielsen is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of LOVE REIKI in Coventry Rhode Island. She is dedicated to offering Reiki services to those in need of relief from pain stress or emotional turmoil. I m inspired when I see the texts emails and 5-Star reviews I receive from clients telling me I have made a difference in their lives. It motivates me to help more people in need Sheila said eagerly. Sheila s journey as a Reiki practitioner began while going through breast cancer treatment. Arthur Plitt who offered complimentary Reiki treatments to cancer patients at The Breast Health Center in Providence Rhode Island impressed her by easing her pain and discomfort caused by chemotherapy treatment. As a result Sheila felt that she had found her calling. She then went on to earn her Reiki I Reiki II and Reiki III Master Teacher Certification from Reiki Master Teacher Norine Laferriere at Holistic Hands which was offered by The Gloria Gemma Cancer Foundation. Volunteering the first few years Sheila now rents space with other holistic practitioners like Acupuncturist Dr. Christopher Carlow in a medical building in Coventry. And while her paying clients have helped her by referring friends and family members to her Thumbtack for Professionals ranked her 1 Reiki Master in RI in 2015 and 2016 putting her in The Spotlight for her work. Sheila loves teaching Reiki to both her students as well as her own children. Her son Erik earned his Reiki Master Teacher certification in 2016 and helps teach class when his schedule permits. Daughter Samantha an actress in Los Angeles volunteers her Reiki services at events when she s in town. My advice for those looking to get started in this field is to find a mentor continue your education and keep working on perfecting your skills. Seek out people who support inspire and genuinely want to help you succeed Sheila noted. You will find that there are many likeminded people who share your passion to help heal people animals and our world through love. Sheila added I have a very deep connection to God. I pray every morning that He will use me as an instrument of His love and light. Some of my clients have suffered great loss and feel dead inside. Through Reiki the light inside of them reawakens. Other clients were abused while growing up forced to bury their emotions for decades going from one bad relationship to the next. Reiki promotes healing those emotions and restores who they were before the abuse making them able to love themselves and others again. I know of no better way to serve those in need then to spread love through Reiki. Alicia Holmes a US Veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) started as a client of Sheila s who recently earned her Reiki Master Certification in November 2016. Alicia improved so quickly she inspired Sheila to create the Veterans Reiki Relief Program offered monthly to veterans suffering from PTSD free of charge. Sheila is a member of the Reiki Membership Association International Center for Reiki Training Southern New England Holistic Wellness Group and National Association of Professional Women as Chapter President. Reiki doesn t take the place of medical treatment. Seek medical attention from a licensed medical professional for any health issues you may be experiencing. Reiki is considered Complimentary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) and compliments Traditional Medical treatment. It s proving to be very beneficial in improving patient care and is used in hospitals across the country in pre-op and post-op surgeries to accelerate recovery in emergency rooms to reduce anxiety in abuse and trauma patients and for the ease of chronic pain as well as in cancer hospitals to combat the negative effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Reiki is a traditional Japanese healing technique based on the principle that channeling energy through placement of hands on or above the body can holistically activate the natural healing process in the body to restore physical and emotional well-being. We have a physical body made up of skin organs and veins but we also have an energy body made up of auras chakras and meridians. Eastern medicine has traditionally practiced proper energy (Qi or Chi) flow and the balancing of emotions for thousands of years in the understanding that circulation and balance are key elements for optimal health. Our physical body has seven layers of skin. Our energy body consists of seven layers of energy called aura. Each layer is associated with a chakra. These auras are our personal space and identify who we are our mental and emotional state and our connection to God. Our physical body has seven main organs whereas our energy body has seven main chakras. Organs and chakras are located in specific areas of our body and perform specific functions throughout the body. Meridians are energy channels transporting energy throughout the body much like our veins and arteries carry blood. During a Reiki treatment clients remain fully clothed and each client has a unique experience. Some clients express feeling a wave of relaxation wash over them while others see colors or feel warmth or vibration radiating from the practitioner s hands. Most simply fall asleep and awaken relaxed but refreshed and free of physical pain and emotional stress. Extremely stressed clients may cry (which is proven to excrete stress hormones from the body) as emotions come to the surface unexpectedly. One client s comment... When I went for my first treatment I was battling physical as well as deep rooted emotional pains. I was lost looking for a miracle to help me find my way back. During treatment I became relaxed losing the tension and sadness. Words don t do justice for the transformation that I underwent on the inside. When it was over I felt like I had been overtaken by a love I didn t even know I still had inside of me. The sadness was gone the frustration and hopelessness had melted away and the pain in my lower back had completely disappeared. How could this woman do for me in an hour what my doctors hadn t been able to do in several years I look at the world from a completely different point of view now and can honestly say that it was because of my experience with Sheila at LOVE REIKI. 37 Women of Distinction Stephanie Escott Personal Development & Human Services Workplace Development Strategic Interventionist Teacher of Human Consciousness Peterborough Ontario Canada serving the global community S tephanie Escott Strategic Interventionist Coach and Teacher of Human Consciousness for Motivating Mindfulness says her services are for those who know there must be more to life they are searching for bigger answers. She inspires clients to expand and shift their perspective so they become an active participant in what happens in their lives instead of just watching from the sidelines. She helps clients to bring into light what is holding them back from becoming the greatest version of themselves. Stephanie uses quantum physics that shows the power of the human consciousness along with solid strategies taught by Tony Robbins and Cloe Madanes revolutionists in the world of human transformations. She is a Master Reiki Practitioner who is continually expanding her knowledge and use of energy. Ms. Escott is a Transformational Speaker focusing on revolutionizing the Human Services industry. She believes change starts with the people and is inspired to share her experiences and knowledge with government disability service organizations and people who are in receipt of these services. The Oprah Winfrey Network interviewed Stephanie to learn and better understand her life raising a son with Cerebral Palsy. It was then that she first realized the impact of her journey on others. At the end of the interview the host shared how inspiring he felt I was I could visibly see that he was moved. I believe that we all have choices all of the time we can choose to be a victim of life or we can choose a perspective that allows us to thrive. I have been blessed with a knowing and understanding that every human being has a purpose a calling a reason for experiencing life. It is my purpose to help others transition from a busy mind to a mindful one. I guide my clients to become conscious of their emotions providing tools to help them become aware of their thoughts the story they are telling themselves. Ultimately guiding them to their authentic selves who they truly are. It s a shift in perspective. When you learn and practice mindfulness your life transforms profoundly barriers no longer exist and everything is an opportunity for growth. Motivating Mindfulness offers free consultations. Lear My journey inspired me to serve the world of disabilities . Based on my personal experience working and walking through this world it is time to evolve forward for the sake of every one of us. In my opinion it is time to bring humanity back to our human services and an understanding of human consciousness and mindfulness is key to a much needed transformation. 38 Women of Distinction S ummer Gould got her start in the field of Marketing in 1991 when she began working at Eye Comm Inc. a company her father founded in 1990. She worked her way through the ranks starting in production doing hand labor for direct mail assembly and holding positions such as receiving clerk data processor receptionist and customer service representative before being named president in July 2013. In her role Summer oversees all strategic planning for the business a full-service and results driven direct marketing firm. While the industry has experienced drastic changes in the advent of digital marketing direct mail continues to have the highest response rate of any other marketing channel and is the most trusted by recipients. A motivated and positive leader Summer s ultimate goal is to provide customers with top quality service. Summer Gould Marketing President Eye Comm Inc. Santee CA I provide leadership for my employees and inspire them to make everyday a better day than the one before it. I love the challenge of never having the same day twice. Constantly learning new things keeps my mind fresh and open to ideas. I love the people I work with as well as my customers. How can I not stay in this everchanging industry Summer regularly writes a blog about direct mail for Target Marketing Magazine and has authored several blogs and white papers for Eye Comm. Additionally she is President of the San Diego Mailing Systems Management Association is on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Printing Industries Association the Board of Trustees for Epicomm and participates in numerous local marketing and networking events. Q&A Q How can direct mail take advantage of mobile devises A Mobile can be incorporated into direct mail with QR Codes personalized URL s Augmented Reality and Near Field Communication. All of these need to link to mobile ready content otherwise you are wasting your money. Q How do you keep your employees encouraged and motivated A I m hands on and am always engaged with the employees. It is important to get to know each one as a person in order to relate better to them. I let them know on a daily basis how important each one of them is to the company and their coworkers. Q What is the most important thing to have on a website A The most important thing is to have relevant content that your customers and prospects are going to want to read. Your content should answer common questions and provide helpful tips and information they need. I would like my legacy to be that I was able to help people with their marketing and was able to provide the knowledge they needed. That my actions reflected my words and that people know I really cared. Attitude is everything I feel that a positive attitude drives me to be a better person and leader. It inspires others to do the same and all of us have a better day. 39 Women of Distinction Tammy M. Baker Automotive Engine Rebuilding Equipment Sales Parts Office Manager - Joe Baker Equipment Sales Inc Cincinnati OH T hrough her work as the Sales Parts and Office Manager with Joe Baker Equipment Sales Inc Tammy Baker is dedicated to helping her customers with all of their automotive engine rebuilding equipment needs while providing them with top quality customer service. Being able to help people has kept me in this career for so long. I enjoy working with the customers resolving machine issues and providing a quality service. I have become friends with many customers vendors and representatives along the way. Regarding some her biggest inspirations in her work Tammy feels the customers and employees push her to do her best on a daily basis. Because of them she is always open to learning new things while sharing her knowledge with others. Despite being a woman in an industry mostly dominated by men Tammy has been able to prove to her customers and peers that she is just as knowledgable as any male within the industry thus earning the respect of those she comes in contact with. Tammy began working in her current industry in 1984 as a Receptionist with Kansas Instruments. She continued working at Kansas Instruments until 1989 earning a promotion to the parts department along the way. Tammy first began working with Joe Baker Equipment Sales in 1993 from the company s In her free time Tammy enjoys volunteering at the Good home office part-time. In 2010 she switched to a full time Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati Ohio gardening bowling position and is now the Sales Parts and Office Manager. In exercising at the gym baking barbecuing and spending time her current role Tammy takes on many responsibilities and with her two grown children. oversees the office s daily operations. She provides machine and parts sales goes out into the field to meet with customers handles the company s website and marketing manages the billing and receivables and handles the ordering of the parts and machines while taking care of many other roles. She feels that her constant attention to providing quality customer service is something that helps the company thrive. Women of Distinction 40 The advice I would offer to someone who is starting out in this career is to listen to your customer s needs and concerns. You should also be willing to go the extra mile and think outside of the box. Be yourself don t be somebody you re not. As long as you work hard it will pay off. Tracey King Szakal W Travel & Dentistry Owner at Generations Vacation and Generations Romance & Business Manager at Oral Surgery Associates of Central Georgia P.C. Warner Robins GA ife mother and successful businesswoman Tracey King Szakal has a knack for making juggling it all look effortless. After graduating from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Business Administration Tracey married her college sweetheart and started a family while balancing a career managing the business aspects of her husband s oral surgery practice. As her four children grew older Tracey decided to take her passion for travel to the next level and opened her travel agency Generations Vacation in May 2014 followed by Generations Romance in June 2015. As the owner and sole Travel Consultant at the agencies Tracey aims to provide highly personalized services to her clients. Her boutique-style businesses are a success. Q&A Q Why use a Travel Agent when you can book a trip online A Number one question I get. Most people are not aware that booking a trip online is using an Online Travel Agent (OTA). You will not get personalized service especially if you run into kinks in your travel plans with an OTA. A Travel Agent has education expertise and experience with destinations and resorts and will be able to guide the traveler with his her knowledge and help the traveler to avoid spending hard earned money on a less than perfect experience. Q I am thinking about starting a career in the travel industry. Where do I start A The American Association of Travel Agents (ASTA) has a great online course for just 25.00 that will help you decide if this career is right for you. https dc learn becoming-a-travel-agent-a-great-career-choice. Q You are a Home Based Independent Contractor with a Host Agency. What is a Host Agency A A Host Agency is an agency that acts as a sort of an umbrella over a number of different independent agencies. Most of them offer support training and a commission split with the agent. Most but not all agents under a Host Agency are home based agents. Vendors see the Host Agency as one agency rather than a number of different agencies. My best advice would be to look at Host Agency Reviews http . I will admit that this is the website I found when starting my own agency and it offers some great advice. I am biased I believe Travel Quest my host agency is the best With the support of my friends and my community I have been blessed to grow my travel agency quickly. I am inspired every day by the memories that my clients make through travel experiences that I help them plan. Tracey is a knowledgeable Certified Specialist with the Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Association and a Certified Leisure Travel Specialist with Travel Leaders. Additionally she is a founding member of the Family Travel Association (FTA) a member of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and a member of National Association of Certified Travel Agents (NACTA). For her contributions and skill set Tracey was named Travel Quest Rookie of the Year in 2015. Of course travel is more than a profession for Tracey it is a passion. In her spare time loves visiting and exploring new places with her family. A compassionate community member Tracey also enjoys volunteering with the Meal Ministry at her church and at her children s school. I feel like I am a truly fortunate woman. I wake up in the morning happy to get to work I really love my careers I hope that my legacy would be to have been an example of faith love compassion and encouragement to my children family members friends and clients. 41 Women of Distinction Meghan Glenday Bio-Energy Healing Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Certified Bio-Energy Healing Practitioner Calgary Alberta CAN ttending a Body Soul & Spirit Expo in Calgary in 2013 Meghan Glenday listened intently to Michael D Alton as he spoke about energy healing. His words resonated so much that she continued to pursue the subject long after his speech was over. Signing up for his Level 1 course soon after that would teach Meghan all about Bio-Energy Healing she then participated in Michael s Practitioner Training course. Introducing her to an entirely new perspective in alternative healthcare the very unconventional method was becoming more and more appealing to her as time went on. There s so much to learn and discover in energy healing Meghan said. There s still a lot of mystery around it and I m continuously in awe over it. Bio-Energy Healing is not yet a mainstream modality meaning that not many people have heard of it yet or recognize its benefits but it s extremely exciting to be involved in the path-paving process alongside a community of unique practitioners who are all working towards the same goal of getting Bio-Energy Healing more recognized as a very powerful healing modality. As a Certified Bio-Energy Healing Practitioner today Meghan uses a series of specialized hand techniques in and around her clients bio-fields to identify and remove energy blockages from their bodies. By doing so it reestablishes their bio-fields natural balanced flow in turn allowing their bodies to do what they do best realign and heal themselves. The key to being an excellent practitioner Meghan says is in mastering her own energy. Just as athletes must train to maintain their fitness levels their health and their mental focus she too must continue to train as a healing practitioner. Meghan is also part of an online community that has been established for practitioners who have studied under Michael D Alton s School of Bio-Energy Healing. It s a place where they can share experiences post insights ask questions and inspire one another. A Practicing Bio-Energy Healing is definitely a lifestyle. Through continuous training and development as a practitioner working towards mastering my own energy I ve reached a higher state of overall health and wellbeing she added. I m more in tune with what my body and spirit need and I live a more balanced routine. Tapping into my own energy and the energy around me has been rewarding on so many levels. Meghan studied International Management in college and began her career working for a global tech company. She now works in the financial industry as she builds up her Bio-Energy Healing practice. Currently she holds four certifications in the field Level 1 Introduction Workshop in Bio-Energy Healing Level 2 Bio-Energy Healing Practitioner Training Level 3 Advanced Bio-Energy Healing and Personal Growth Workshop and Level 4A Bio-Energy Teacher Training. A competitive Squash player Meghan is on the Women s Squash Week Committee in Calgary. She s been heavily involved in the sport since her youth and continues to compete in local tournaments. She loves travelling learning new cultures running yoga and the arts. In the last year she has also become a strict vegetarian due to her love and respect for animals. When people connect more to themselves though inner awareness rather than external gratification they tend to lean towards more natural remedies organics food choices and eco-friendly products Meghan added. I want to help raise society s expectations to live healthier happier and more fulfilling lives. 42 Women of Distinction Q&A Q What is bio-energy healing A Bio-Energy Healing is a very powerful safe and natural healing method used to promote health and wellbeing in all facets of life by treating a variety of ailments and injuries. Q What creates energy blockages in the system A Stress plays a major role in energy blockages be it emotional mental physical or even spiritual. Holding onto emotions and feelings will influence the physical body. All illnesses arise from some form of stress in the body. Q What types of ailments does bio-energy treat A Bio-Energy Healing focuses on the cause of all ailments which is blocked energy. Therefore it successfully treats a variety of conditions. Bio-Energy Healing has helped people with chronic back pain neck and shoulder pain hip pain headaches and migraines depression and anxiety fatigue insomnia stomach pain and indigestion and endless other ailments and conditions. Q What are other benefits of Bio-Energy Healing A A balanced energy system typically brings rapid stress reduction and ease of pain. Those receiving Bio-Energy Healing often report improved sleep increased energy and a greater sense of vitality. Q What can you expect out of treatment A A Bio-Energy Healing treatment is a safe and non-invasive experience with minimal touch. The treatment is part standing and part sitting depending on the stage of the session and the techniques being carried out. Throughout the session there may be sensations of heat cold tingling and swaying. Some may feel more sensations than others. Q What sets Bio-Energy Healing apart from other modalities A I encourage energy healing and holistic healing in general and recommend that everyone try out a few modalities to see what works best for them. I stumbled across Bio-Energy Healing when I was actually looking at other natural healing methods. Bio-Energy Healing was the one that resonated the best with me and I have stuck with it ever since. Q Where can I find a Bio-Energy Healing practitioner in my area A Check out Michael D Alton s website for a list of certified practitioners throughout Canada the United States and Europe at 43 Women of Distinction Molly Verrier Higher Education Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Sciences Health Care Associate Professor Emeritus Department of Physical Therapy Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto Toronto Ontario Canada F or Molly Verrier the sky is the limit. As an Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physical Therapy specializing in neuroscience and neurorehabilitation at the University of Toronto she enjoys a multifaceted and rewarding career. Bringing more than 40 years of professional experience to her position Molly is required to have expertise and an in-depth understanding of the assessments therapeutic approaches outcomes and impacts of physical therapy services and to impart that knowledge onto Master s and PhD students. Throughout her career Molly has been blessed by working in a highly talented environment with extraordinary individuals with bright minds and superb skillsets. A proponent of networking with the purpose of advancing her field Molly views these interactions as an opportunity to enhance her own ability to innovate in challenging situations. Whether she is teaching or conducting important research Molly said her aptitude for connecting the dots has been one of her greatest strengths. She continuously strives to collaborate with others in her industry to share ideas and information freely. Physical therapists in the 1970 s in Canada were predominately female and in academia doctors were mostly male. I had to learn very quickly to demonstrate extreme competence to gain acceptance which meant that I learned to optimize my times to interact carefully select when to disagree and always make patients care and well-being the center of focus for discussions in order to gain respect and maximize inter-professional collaborations. Molly encourages aspiring Physical Therapists to be team players network communicate and collaborate to advance the healthcare field and quality of care for patients. I have had the good fortune of having had the opportunity to learn work and have a significant leadership role in such an enriched learning environment as the University of Toronto. It is a perfect fit for me to have multiple careers in physical therapy. Interactions with persons from all walks of life with needs to enhance their personal health and well-being bright curious students asking questions colleagues to learn from and with dedicated scientists challenging me by asking important questions requiring meaningful answers and most importantly having opportunities to make a difference in peoples lives. All have been energizing rewarding and satisfying. Those who choose to go into the profession are usually people oriented and often extroverts who enjoy developing professional relationships with patients and others in the workplace so being patient centered comes naturally. There is also a major emphasis in the educational programs to assist students to learn and understand that patient centered care is a mantra for the profession. 44 Women of Distinction Molly s interest in the field of physical therapy was sparked following an accident she suffered as a young girl. In 1957 at 9 years old she informally started her career. As an extremely physically active and risk taking child Molly had a catastrophic tobogganing accident on an icy slope in a small rural town. The result was a severely fractured tibia and fibula just prior to the Christmas season. She was bed-ridden for the holidays non-weight bearing for five months and had to be home schooled. When it was time to regain her mobility there were no physical therapy or rehabilitation services in her small community. This required self-action and dedicated assistance from her family. After having to create my own physical therapy I wanted to become a physical therapist. In September 1967 Molly was accepted in the Physical and Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Toronto -- one of the most exceptional universities in Canada. She earned her Diploma in Physical and Occupational Therapy (Dip P&OT) and went on to earn a Master of Health Science Degree from McMaster University. The innovative graduate program at McMaster allowed Molly to design her own course. This gave her the opportunity to focus her studies on organizational management strategies for change and health economics paired with a specific emphasis on spinal cord injury clinical neurophysiology and neurorehabilitation. These educational experiences became the foundation of her career trajectory first as a practicing physical therapist then scientist educator administrator consultant and mentor. As a scientist she spent a decade researching mechanisms that affected movement for individuals with spinal cord injury Parkinson s disease stroke and other neurological conditions along with her colleagues in the basic neurosciences. In 1989 Molly was named Director of the Division of Physical Therapy in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at U of T and by 1994 became the first Chair of a newly constructed Department of Physical Therapy in the Faculty of Medicine. After a short sabbatical teaching at Curtin University in Australia she returned to U of T to build new MSc and PhD Rehabilitation Science programs. She went on to hold many other prestigious titles prior to accepting her current Emeritus position five years ago. Molly is currently a member of the Board of Directors of West Park Healthcare Centre a rehabilitation and complex continuing care centre in Toronto where patients particularly those requiring respiratory musculoskeletal and neurological rehabilitative services receive individualized care that addresses all aspects of person and possibility in the journey from crisis to hope to getting their life back. Additionally Molly co-authored a book entitled Rehabilitation Environmental Scan Atlas Capturing Capacity in Canadian SCI Rehabilitation. This book characterizes the status of spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation in Canada. It assesses accomplishments to date in the care for the many consequences of SCI from a research care delivery and health policy perspective. More importantly it provides recommendations on how to move the care agenda forward to make a difference in the lives of persons with SCI. Molly is also a member of the Canadian Standards Association Committee Developing Standards for Wayfinding in Health Care Facilities in Canada. More recently she became a Member of the Board of The Shelley Gautier Para-Sport Foundation. This registered charitable foundation helps place para-cycles in recreational facilities so that those with disabilities may have opportunities to be physically active and socialize in the mainstream. I would like to be remembered as being a difference maker for those whom I have crossed paths and that their lives have been truly enriched by our interactions and relationships. A loving wife mother and grandmother Molly values work life balance. When she is not researching and mentoring others she enjoys playing golf painting and spending time with her granddaughters who always make Molly smile. 45 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Diane Barry Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 Stephanie Escott Personal Development & Corporate Workplace Development Strategic Interventionist Coach Transformational Speaker Master Reiki Practitioner Teacher Peterborough Ontario serving the global community 47 Women of Distinction Ann Lee Travel Industry Owner and President of Ann Lee Concierge48 Travel Women of Distinction