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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Mindy Casavant Bernard President Chief Executive Officer - Amazing Face Michelle Esparza Houston TX www.osnational.com mesparza osnational.com National Sales Executive - OS National LLC Mindy Casavant Bernard Wellesley MA www.youramazingface.com youramazingface yahoo.com President Chief Executive Officer - Amazing Face Established in 2007 President and Chief Executive Officer of Amazing Face Mindy Casavant Bernard has married her talents together bringing nearly 30 years of experience in nursing and 10 years of experience in aesthetics together to support clients with their everyday anti-aging skincare needs. Located in Wellesley Massachusetts Amazing Face offers a variety of treatment options and some of the most outstanding results. The business was built on the simple concept of wanting to help people look and feel there best. Enjoying seeing the results of her clients work as much as the clients love getting them Mindy is proud that she finally found her dream job after all these years. I was a surgical nurse for 29 years at the world renowned Children s Hospital in Boston Massachusetts Mindy said about her extensive experience in healthcare. It taught me a great work ethic professionalism and patience. It also exposed me to some of the sharpest and brightest minds not to mention hardworking people in the world all things I try to emulate every day with my business. It also taught me to be a good listener which is essential when working with clients in my line of work. lives for the better. Mindy also trained under Sasha Parker at the Esthetic Skin Institute the number one nationally recognized training facility for Botox and fillers. She counts her blessings for having had the opportunity to be surrounded by some of the most talented professionals in the field. As a one-woman operation Mindy s services at Amazing Face include Botox a neuromodulator that is injected into the muscles preventing them from contracting and allowing the skin from continuing to wrinkle and crease. Specific areas for treatment include forehead lines frown lines eyebrow lift crow s feet under eye lines and bunny lines. Radiesse a strong volumizing filler that is made up of calcium microspheres. It provides lift and scaffolding in the face especially in areas that have lost fat or volume like the cheeks. Juvederm Belotero Voluma Restylane and Perlane all injectable hyaluronic acids with varying degrees of thickness and viscosity all of which are used in different places for a number of reasons. All manmade forms hyaluronic acids are a naturally Breaking into the healthcare field as a nurse all those occurring substance in the body that can plump fine years ago Mindy would fly to New York Nevada and lines treat stronger lines around the nasal mouth Florida to study medical aesthetics because there was area and lips correct contour cheeks and under no one at that time teaching the specific type of work eyes tear troughs. she was interested in doing in Boston where she lived. Lucky to meet Dr. Joseph Russo a Harvard Sculptra an injectable poly-l-lactic acid that stimuUniversity educated plastic surgeon who believed in lates collage growth. and supported her Dr. Russo became her medical director years later. He along with several represen- Ultherapy the only FDA approved non-surgical ultatives taught Mindy about every product the very trasonic procedure used to stimulate growth of new same products she uses today at Amazing Face. collagen for the face and neck and non-invasively lift the eyebrow neck and under the chin. I remember just how much I loved the experience working under Dr. Russo she recalled. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment a treatment I couldn t get enough of it. They say that you that delivers broadband light through the skin for reknow when you re doing your life s work when juvenation helping to restore a youthful looking skin you would continue doing it even if you didn t get intended for aged or sun damaged skin. It treats paid. That is where I am today. Amazing Face is pigmentation and redness and promotes more everything I dreamed it would be and more. vibrant and healthy skin stimulating elastin and collagen by way of radio frequency. It also helps Mindy participated in countless trainings under Dr. decrease facial redness lessen the appearance of Russo. More importantly it was he who taught her pigmented spots reduce pore size and improve the meaning of always striving for excellence and con- texture and fine lines. tinually trying to seek out ways to change peoples Chemical Peels including salicylic lactic kojic retinoic or alpha hydroxyl acids all of which help slough off dead skin cells from the top layers in various degrees. Dermaplaning the process of manually exfoliating the skin with a blade in attempt to remove dead skin and debris as well as fine hair from the face which allows for greater absorption of serums and other products. Microneedling the process of creating small microperferations in the skin which in turn encourages the body to create new collagen and elastin. This can be done in combination with hyaluronic acid peptides stem cells or plasma rich platelets PRP also known as Plasma Rich Platelets is the process of drawing one s blood then spinning it down to remove the red blood cells which in turn leaves you with a super potent serum of your own platelets. The platelets job is to rush to the site of injury. The PRP can be used for facial rejuvenation or hair restoration. Celluma Light therapy developed by NASA. A noninvasive treatment that utilizes red and blue light to fight acne wrinkles texture and tone of the skin and even reduces pain. Mindy s business is her baby it reflects who she is as a person and how she wants to be perceived as a businesswoman. I try to embrace the fact that excellence is an attitude not a skill Mindy noted about how very seriously she takes her job. I make a great effort to really listen to my clients as they describe what they see on their face. I like to hear what their own vision of what beauty looks like to them. I spend a lot of time educating my clients of different options and really encourage them to focus on what bothers them the most first before tackling the next issue rather than doing everything all at once. I tell my clients that what is happening to their face did not happen overnight so why would we try to fix it in one sitting I tell everyone that we are all a work in progress . Two years prior to forming Amazing Face in 2005 Mindy remembers being introduced to Botox for the very first time. It was something she knew would be very very big and soon. Mindy not only wanted to be a part of it but she wanted to be a part of doing it really well while also keeping it affordable so that clients could afford to keep up with treatments. Two years later with the formation of her business she is admittedly aging with her clients something that she says continuously inspires her to come up with new ideas and better products. People would always ask me what skin cream I liked or what makeup I was using Mindy recalled. One day when I was still a nurse Children s Hospital one my colleagues had said to me Mindy you are so missing your calling . That comment really resonated with me. I have been blessed with an artistic sense of beauty and I have been constantly studying faces ever since. Mindy is a Teacher of Botox and Fillers too alongside Dr. Russo at the Aesthetic Institute of Massachusetts. Dr. Russo s Aesthetic School and plastic surgery office are the result of a lot of hardworking individuals that strive to support so many people she said. I feel so fortunate to have the support of Dr. Russo and his incredible support staff. They are all like family to me and a home base for all I do. It is really important to have that when you are an independent business owner. I can t thank them enough for all that I have learned through them and continue to learn. Mindy earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1987 at Boston College. More recently she had the honor of studying under and completing a master class by invitation only under Dr. Mauricio De Maio a reputed plastic surgeon from Brazil who boasts over 20 years of experience in developing techniques in non-surgical aesthetic medicine. It was an invaluable opportunity that she will forever be grateful for. Nominated three years ago in 2013 to join The Council for Women at Boston College a council dedicated to furthering the role of women as leaders she continues to utilize the organization s many benefits today. A very positive person who is not afraid to express herself Mindy has a great ability for putting life into perspective. I really love life Mindy said happily. I think life needs to be embraced. We create our lives so why not enjoy it If not today then when There will always be someone who has more than you and there will always be someone with less. Offer support and encouragement. Hold the door for someone. Let someone go in front of you in traffic. Stop and help someone even if it is going to make you late. Smile at others when you walk pass them. But don t ever let anyone dim your light. So many people want you to just fit in and conform. I m not against that to a certain degree but we all have gifts and that part of you should never ever be negotiable. Married to her best friend Tim for the past 22 years they are such different people but they balance each other out very well. They try to do lots of fun yet casual activities together like sipping red wine by the fire pit in their backyard after a long day. They also have four sons who still keep them very busy. Their eldest John is studying to become a chemical engineer at Northeastern University. Their second son Matthew is pursuing a business accounting degree at Providence College. Their youngest boys Stephen and Michael are still in high school. Just this year Stephen Michael and Mindy took a trip to Maui Hawaii. I have such an affinity for Hawaii Mindy smiled. I lived there in the 1990 s and worked as a nurse in an operating room there. I moved to Hawaii with only a bicycle and a suitcase. I didn t know a single soul. I grew up there in a sense. I learned how to make new friends keep old ones and how to truly fall in love with my work later on in life. Q&A Q Why is it about what you do that is most inspiring A Everyone wants to feel good. Looking good is a part of that. It goes both ways. If you feel good about the way you look it helps you feel good about yourself and vice versa. If you feel good about yourself you have more to give to others and isn t that what it s all about There is no better medicine than the feeling you get when you genuinely help someone else for no reward recognition or selfserving purpose. There is no better feeling. Q What have you learned about yourself throughout your career A No one can ever take away what you earned through hard work or trying to be a better person each and every day. Whether it be your family friends your education or business do them all well. I ve learned to be myself at all times. When things fall into place easily and effortlessly it means you are on the right path. If you keep hitting resistance maybe you are headed in the wrong direction. Q Where do you see yourself in five years A I would like to continue in the field of medical aesthetics but I also want to become a leader in aging well . I want to be a living testimony of living to your fullest potential at each stage of your life. I m not talking about trying to look 30 when your 50. I already did 30 . I think that aging is truly a gift that needs to be embraced not dreaded. You should strive to get better and healthier every year of your life. I can t get enough of seeking out the latest innovations to fight aging that are happening in the medical world right now. I joke with my clients that I am still waiting to peak Q What do you think makes you different than some practitioners A I try everything on myself first. I practice with every product that I use or sell. I want to know how each product performs before I recommend it to someone else. I don t want to recommend or promote anything to anyone that I don t use or think is great. I also keep striving to get better. I not only teach but I also take lots of classes. I don t want to stay stagnant. Business is something that needs to be fluid. You cannot offer people the same thing over and over. I focus on treating my customer the way I would want to be treated. Q What is something else that makes your business personally rewarding A I am genuinely interested in people and I love to hear about their lives where they have been what they do for a living how many kids or grandkids they have. I really think people are fascinating. Sometimes people don t even know how interesting their lives really are. Everyone has a story to tell and that is amazing. I try to make it very personal. Let s face it this a very intimate business. Q What is it that drives you to continue to work so tirelessly on growing and improving your business A Well there are two things. One thing is that I truly love my work and love making people feel more beautiful. I love meeting new people and being able to run my own business which has always been a dream for me. The other reason I work so hard is for my four sons. I am a true believer in educating your children which is a belief my parents instilled in me when they too were working so hard to pay for my education. My dream is for my children to reach their fullest potential. Since the cost of education is so high I work very hard and I keep this worthwhile goal in my mind throughout my 12-hour days. I am able to view work not a chore for me but as means to an end as education is an incredible privilege. My hope is that they find work that gives them the same sense of pride that Amazing Face has given me. Adrienne Risby Lovingood Artist - Portraits by Adrienne Peoria IL adrienne.risby yahoo.com Through her work as an Artist at Portraits by Adrienne Adrienne Risby Lovingood displays her passion for drawing and painting by creating beautiful portraits to sell and display in galleries. Her specialty is drawing and painting portraits of people and pets from photographs. My drive and passion for what I do has kept me in this career for so long. I didn t think I was good enough to compete with professionals at first though. When I started painting for shows and people were actually selling my work I received the validation I needed to persevere. Adrienne has loved to draw since childhood. In 1998 she began thinking about getting serious with portrait drawing and painting while in college. During her sophomore year in college she had to undergo back surgery and began sketching during the recovery process in order to pass time. She had also received a first place award for an abstract painting in a required art class which inspired to keep moving forward with her talent. After receiving more praise for her work Adrienne received a card regarding studio space that was for rent. The owner of the studio became impressed with Adrienne s work thus starting her serious journey in the art industry. Throughout her life and career Adrienne s biggest inspirations have been her parents Thomas and Mary Lovingood who have taught her perseverance. She has also been inspired by friends mentors and fellow artists including John Tuchillo Myra Branch Cheryl Dean Rebecca Doyle Barbara Millacio and Preston Jackson. My advice for others is to go to school. Pursue your passion but have something to fall back on. Don t give up your passion even if you re discouraged. Failure keeps you grounded it s humbling. As an artist Adrienne is represented by Exhibit A Gallery in Peoria Heights IL. For custom work she charges 0.75 per square inch for drawings and 1.75 per square inch for painted portraits with commissioned work depending on the job. Adrienne also works in an art class with children in grades K-4. Along with her work as a portrait artist and teacher Adrienne also does illustrations in books. She has been featured in many fine art shows and gallery showings in her area and plans on appearing in more out of state galleries. I m very in tune with God s love and grace. My passion for art will always be there. I wish I could say my life has been easy but it hasn t been and I wouldn t change it. If I didn t go through certain things then I wouldn t be where I am today. I do not limit myself in my work. God has given me the mind to rise above any problems. Regarding her education Adrienne received an AA in Elementary Education from Illinois Community College in East Peoria. In her leisure Adrienne enjoys going to church spending time with her family and volunteering with Senior Corps. She also paints on Periscope and plans on possibly doing subscription-based painting classes on YouTube in the future. I want to be remembered for my gift and my time spent trying to help others. I ve always followed my heart as an artist. I would continue painting even if my work didn t sell. I hope that the paintings I ve sold have blessed the lives of those who bought them. Donna Sowards Hutto Flower Mound TX www.montessorischoolflowermound.com info montessorischoolflowermound.com Excellence Award Recipient Owner Director - Montessori Rainbow School and Childcare Inc. Falling in love with the Montessori Method while working as a Teacher s Aide during the 1993 academic school year to help pay the cost of her daughter s tuition Donna Sowards Hutto would up remaining in the field. In fact within just a year s time she founded Montessori Rainbow School and Childcare Inc. in Flower Mound Texas serving as the school s Owner and Director. I am so passionate about teaching young children Donna said. They are our future and we are the ones instilling in them the values that will help them become the strong adults that mold our world. It s been more than 20 years now and Donna couldn t be more proud of how far she s come. A very persistent and hardworking individual she usually works anywhere from 50-70 hours per week is usually one of the first ones to arrive at the school each morning and almost always the last one to leave at day s end. She even drops in on weekends when need be. Thankfully she has a wonderful support system at home and her husband in particular is the one who handles the building s maintenance issues. She couldn t imagine not having him at her side to help. I oversee everything from hiring new staff driving the school bus and changing diapers Donna said laughingly. I don t feel there is any job beneath me or too mundane. I try to lead by example. Donna has trained many Montessori teaching interns over the years many of which have gone on to teach in area schools. Serving as a role model for young teachers she believes is just as important as teaching her students. Although Montessori Rainbow School and Childcare Inc. has been running like a finely tuned motor for many years now it wasn t that easy when she first got started. Donna recalls spending about double the amount of time and money she had initially budgeted for. Starting up a new business can be tough and learning how to overcome hurdles can be tricky. Luckily she stuck with it and the school is a great success today. Her current and former students are proof of that. Donna earned her high school diploma in Vernal Utah in 1975 attended the University of Utah for several years where she studied business completed her teaching internship in 2000 and earned her Montessori Teacher Certification at St. Nicholas Training Center in London England that same year. She is also a former Member Secretary and VicePresident of Business of Professional Women s Club. Born and raised in Vernal her great-grandfather was one of the first settlers in the town and the very first sheriff and representative of the Territory of Utah. Her grandfather was a school teacher before becoming the school district superintendent. Her mother was a registered nurse who had six other children while her father was a cattle rancher and state representative for Utah. Donna is the second to the youngest child in her immediate family of nine. Janet L. LaBerge Pembroke MA www.dirtydeedscheap.com www.gooddeedsstore.com Dirtydeedsddc04 hotmail.com Owner - Dirty Deeds and Good Deeds Moving is difficult but Janet LaBerge is dedicated to making the process easier through her unique business model. As owner of Dirty Deeds and Good Deeds clients receive the best of both worlds when transitioning to a new living arrangement. Dirty Deeds is a full-service junk removal service. The dedicated staff cleans out client s homes and transports any unwanted gently used items to Janet s thrift store Good Deeds. To maintain a competitive edge she has learned to approach the business differently than most men would. Her top priority is customer satisfaction. As such Janet places great emphasis on treating clients and their belongings with dignity and respect. Top-notch customer service is not the only attribute that makes Dirty Deeds and Good Deeds a cut above the competition. Janet has developed a give back program which has donated more than Many people work long hours and don t have the 52 000 to various local charities since its inception. strength desire or time to do the hauling them My goal is to keep useable items out of the selves. I enjoy being able to help our customers. We provide excellent service and it s very reward- landfill to help our environment to sell good ing to help someone who is feeling overwhelmed quality items at inexpensive prices to our thrift store customers and once the expenses of our by the task of cleaning out their home of many store are covered to give the proceeds to charity years. to help our community. Janet is a graduate of Keene State College where she earned a B.A. in Psychology as well as a MEd A dedicated community member Janet also serves on the Board of Directors at Bay State Community in Counselor Training from UMASS Boston. Prior to opening Dirty Deeds and Good Deeds she spent Services the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Council on Aging Board more than 20 years as a case manager at the Department of Mental Health in Massachusetts. With an for the Town of Pembroke. A loving wife and mother Janet s ultimate professional goal is to donate extensive background in human services Janet developed an exceptional sensitivity for assisting people 250 000 to charity through the give back program. through the process of letting go of their belongings and moving on to a new situation. Being a woman who owns a junk removal company in a male dominated industry can be a challenge Janet admits. Dorothy Lee ThaggardSanders K-12 Education Specialist (Retired) Author Sacramento CA www.dorothyleethaggard-sanders4Jesus.com dorothysanders4jesus yahoo.com Through Christ Jesus of Nazareth her Savior and Lord and the sovereign will of Jehovah God Almighty Abba Father Dorothy Lee Thaggard-Sanders spent the latter half of her entire career shaping the young hearts and minds of the community as a K-12 Education Specialist inside the four walls of her classroom. As a child playing teacher was a source of joy for her. The dream of becoming a teacher was an imbedded dream that she truly believed she did not possess the ability to achieve. Over the years Dorothy finally earned her BA in Business from Methodist College (now Methodist University) and worked in the business arena. Years later after being drawn to Christ Jesus and receiving Him as her Savior and Lord Dorothy began to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him and went on to earn her Master s Degree in Education at Fayetteville State University and began to live out her childhood dream of teaching. Dorothy is a Certified Education Specialist through California State University in Sacramento. As a teacher my role was to ensure that every one of my students was able to learn and that not one single child was ever left behind Dorothy said simply. The secret was in taking the time to assess my students to find out what their present levels of performance were from the very start. That was the only real way to fill in the gaps. Dorothy is a devout follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who has come to believe always believed that all things are possible through Him. This devout love for Him was combined with her love of teaching. Some laughed and said no way she said when sharing her dream. But it was Christ Jesus who enabled me to pass the National Teachers Examinations to the total surprise of my friends. Teaching for approximately 20 years in both the public school system and in charter schools Dorothy has served as a special education teacher special day-class teacher mentor teacher and resource specialist. Often tested herself as a teacher by her peers more than her special needs students Dorothy s teaching skills and abilities demanded a lot of patience kindness and perseverance. She was so blessed by Abba Father at what she did that according to the testing administrator s words to her at the end of a particular year many of her special education students scored higher on tests than the regular education students. Dorothy gave and says she will always give all of the credit to her Savior and not herself knowing that without Him she could do nothing. Dorothy also took great measures to treat each and every one of her students as if they were her own children. Students know when we genuinely love them and have their best interest at heart she noted. It is only then that they will delight to comply with classroom rules and enjoy the teaching and learning process. Dorothy s advice to every teacher is to be able to honestly and truthfully answer yes to the question Can you in truth and love teach every single child every single day as if he or she were your very own child so that no student is left behind This is the power of truly being a great teacher. At the age of 35 Dorothy had made the decision to try and take her own life. Burying her pain for much of her life she was sexually abused rejected and hurting for much of her life beginning at the age of five. Finding the strength to live on she said There is no sorrow hurt pain abuse evil or wickedness that can be done to us that the love of Abba Father Jehovah God Almighty cannot heal and I am a true testament of this. Memories may come tears may yet flow but His grace is truly sufficient. Today the mother of four and grandmother of three resides in sunny Sacramento California. Dorothy has devoted the remainder of her life to intercessory prayer witnessing the Gospel of Christ Jesus and is in the process of joining a prison ministry team as part of her volunteer efforts. Dorothy said this includes teaching any inmate who desires to become a fluent reader how to read. Dorothy has written a non-fiction book entitled Talks With Abba Father Meditations From the Prayer Closet and is eager to share it with the world. The book is a result of meditations from her prayer closet as she was experiencing the rejection and sorrows that are sometimes a part of this life. Dorothy s book is copyrighted and authored in her pen name in honor her of granddaughter Abigail and first grandson Christian thus Abigail Christian Shout out to Ethan Q&A Q What is your purpose A My purpose in this present life is to be as Abba Father Jehovah God Almighty manifested in Christ Jesus of Nazareth in the Earth. I can truly love and pray for everyone even those who might try to totally destroy me or take me out. The true and living Jehovah God Almighty is love. Q How can your purpose in life be fulfilled A My purpose can only be fulfilled in life as I live in obedience to the Word of Jehovah God Almighty love Him and love all others as He loves me. Q How can you be on Earth what Jehovah God Almighty created you to be A Only when I do all in spirit and in truth that is accepted by Abba Father according to His word. By continuing to love Abba Father with all my heart mind body soul strength in spirit and in truth and all that I know how can I love others as He loves me and be all that He created me to be for His glory. Q How can you be of help and a blessing to those that you meet A This can only be done by being a living example of love towards all people because Jehovah God Almighty is love and I will continue to bless His name at all times and His praise shall continue to be in my mouth. Q What are you portraying and demonstrating if you are not showing towards all others the same love Abba Father has shown toward you A I would be demonstrating that Abba Father Jehovah God Almighty is a liar which would be horrible because it is impossible for Him to lie. Q Why is it crucial and essential to live this life demonstrating a true belief that there is Abba Father the True and Living Jehovah God Almighty to whom all will give an account in that great day based upon truth remembering that He has said that His word is truth and that He and the Word are one A To continue to live otherwise is to deceive and to be deceived. If we are truly the children of Abba Father we will do as He says according to His word. He said if we love Him we will obey Him. Q What do we demonstrate when we do not truly love and do unto others as we would have them do unto us A This is demonstrating that Abba Father Jehovah God Almighty is a respecter of persons and that we do not love Him with all of our heart mind body soul and strength. Again He has stated more than once that He has no respect of persons. We might be talking about Jehovah God Almighty and His word but if not living it out this would only demonstrate that we neither know Abba Father nor are we known of Him because He is truth and He is love. Q Are we truly living this life to live again in a state of love joy peace and happiness for all eternity A Sadly we are living in a day and a time when the mentality of many believers and non-believers has become It s all good. Since all leaves nothing out this deception is growing like a wild fire and that which Abba Father said is evil and wicked has become for growing numbers good. For all of us who are living this life to live again with Abba Father we reject all that which He says is sin and we accept all that which He says is good. If we are in doubt we only need to get in our love letter His word the Bible. Q What has become and is the proof that we are truly children of Abba Father Jehovah God Almighty The True and Living Almighty God A We are no more moved or enticed by carnal and fleshly seeing hearing and feeling. Our living is not based upon or caught up in carnal and fleshly wisdom and knowledge but according to truth and truth is and will always be God Almighty s word. Q If we should die in the next second do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are a child of Jehovah God Almighty in spirit and in truth according to His word and will we hear Well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord A If we truly love Him with all of our heart mind boy soul and strength and if we have truly presented our body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to Abba Father in every way we know how according to His word the answer is Yes Lizette Davis San Antonio TX Owner Occupational Therapist AccessAbility Home Modifications www.AccessAbility1.com Lizette AccessAbility1.com An Occupational Therapist by trade Lizette Davis spent the first seven years of her very rewarding career serving three different organizations Therapeutic Intervention for Kids Warm Springs Rehabilitation Systems and Little Engine Homecare Inc. Taking a leap of faith in 2009 she set the groundwork becoming an entrepreneur of her brand new family owned and operated business AccessAbility Home Modifications alongside her husband. Based in San Antonio Texas her company is an extension of what she was trained in the field to do and a way for Lizette to give back at a much larger scale. Working as an Occupational Therapist in a hospital setting I had no idea how my patients were doing once they were discharged and sent home so I began doing home healthcare. Unfortunately I discovered that many of them had become at risk of falling once they plateaued or their insurance ran out and didn t have access to home healthcare. Many of their homes weren t wheelchair accessible due to narrow hallways bathrooms and stairs. That s when it became my mission to do something more to help keep my patients to be safe and prevent more devastating falls at home. Lizette s new role as Owner of AccessAbility Home Modifications includes performing a free Home Safety Assessment before discussing options with clients. If a remodeling job to widen doorways or hallways isn t in their budget she ll suggest products like transfer benches shower chairs etc. which can make a huge difference in their daily routines. By combining the medical and remodeling worlds together AccessAbility Home Modifications comes with more than 26 years of home and remodeling experience between the two of them. Although I truly miss my hands-on direct therapy sessions with patients I stay committed to my new role because I know that we all can make a difference Lizette added. Although owning a business has come with its share of challenges I only saw the mission of helping patients in their homes. I believe it was this honest determination that allowed others to believe and trust in our goal of making those necessary home modifications. Lizette has an MS in Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Health Science Center. She s the Chair and one of the Founders of No More Falls Coalition spreading awareness and educating the senior citizen population and those with disabilities on safety. She also volunteers as the Vice-President of Operations for the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans and Families helping connect Veterans and their families with community resources. Just an average person with above average hopes and dreams Lizette and her husband are helping one family at a time slowly but surely leaving a wonderful legacy behind for their daughters grandson and future generations to come. If everyone were to offer a simple gesture or a helping hand to someone in need we could spread this kindness worldwide she said. In the meantime I ll continue helping my world of disabilities by trying to keep them as safe as possible. Geralda Etienne Morency Preschool Teacher - Sonshine Christian Preschool Malden MA geraldamoremusic gmail.com Excellence Award Recipient Caring for children is second nature to preschool teacher Geralda Etienne Morency. Many parents would come in and congratulate me for having patience to do my job but that patience is being tested all-day and everyday. If I Compassionate Geralda has a lifelong affinity for were running on just that I would be out of a job helping others. Following the tragic death of her today. If the love for children is missing it would mother when Geralda was only 17 years old she was be wise to consider another field. You would quick to step in and help raise her siblings. The expe- save yourself from great mental anguish and our rience led Geralda into the early childhood education children from more negativity. field. In 1996 she began her career as a teacher s assistant and went on to attend Ashworth College to Blessed with the gift of helping others in more ways become a Certified Lead Teacher in 2008. than one Geralda holds a Nursing Technician diploma and worked as a dietary consultant for Jenny Being an early childhood educator requires Craig from 2000 until 2007 helping others achieved heart she said. I remind myself very often that their weight loss goals. those children that are under my care were once my brothers and sisters that I cared for at one Geralda is the proud mother of two amazing children. point they are my son and daughter who still Her son Jonathan 15 is a freshman at Pioneer need my love and attention. It is an honor to be Charter School of science. And her daughter Dina able to impact those young lives and to be re11 is already an aspiring businesswoman. minded how the world would be a better place if we can each have the humble spirit of a child. I would like to leave a piece of my mind my wisdom and my knowledge behind she said. I As a Preschool Teacher at Sonshine Christian Preheard the voice of God many times in my heart school in Massachusetts Geralda is charged with directing me and revealing great life secrets to teaching the toddler class. She prepares a monthly me. And so now that I m a mother I want to be agenda along with the daily curriculums but perhaps sure that I offer those words of wisdom to my her most treasured role is preparing the class to tran- children. I want to be that role model in their sition into grade school. Geralda encourages aspiring lives and other young people s lives as well. I educators to have an unconditional love for children. missed the guidance of a mother in my young adult years but God had made provisions as He That love will be the foundation to show sympa- always does. And so to be able to guide other thy and understanding she said. Love will also young people would be a great privilege. help to communicate patiently in ways they can understand. Margaret M. Stoch M.H.S CCC-SLP President Owner - Quality Carpentry & Roofing Inc. Speech Therapist - Edward-Elmhurst Health Romeoville IL www.qualitycarpentry-roofing.com stochmt gmail.com Excellence Award Recipient Through her work as Owner and President of Quality Carpentry and Roofing Inc Margaret Stoch is dedicated to providing top level renovation services to her company s clients. She is also a speech pathologist who loves helping children who require her services. Currently we have earned local recognition and respect which makes us very proud. Our customers and their satisfaction power our business and push us to keep going. Margaret and her husband who both arrived in the United States from Poland as teenagers began Quality Carpentry & Roofing in 2007. Margaret had been interested in running a business since childhood receiving inspiration from her mother s business and her husband had spent years displaying his skills in construction which ultimately led to them combining their talents and interests to start their own business. Margaret was also always interested in receiving higher education and began a second career in speech pathology after earning her MHS in 2013. Recently she landed a speech therapy position with Edward-Elmhurst Health. Working in a male-dominated field can be intimidating at times however I found that knowledge has no gender and as long as you know your stuff you can succeed and be respected in any industry. I m a strong advocate of continuing education and professional development. Staying on top of current changes in your industry and general business practices will help you thrive. As President of Quality Carpentry & Roofing Margaret is responsible for all executive decision making bookkeeping human resources marketing advertising and research all of which are essential duties of running her company s day to day operations while ensuring the continuous growth and development of the business. As a speech therapist with EdwardElmhurst Health s Outpatient Rehab she works with pediatric and geriatric patients three days a week. Running your own business is not as easy as it looks and most importantly requires many sacrifices. We want our kids to have a better life than us so they don t have to work as hard as we do but I feel that they don t see us enough. I hope that as we continue to grow and expand our great team we can get to a point where we wouldn t have to work as much. But until then I leave for work every morning with my heart torn seeing my baby reaching his arms toward me as I walk out the door. Regarding her education Margaret received an AAA in Graphic Arts Technology from College of DuPage a BA in Print Journalism from Lewis University and both a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Communication Disorders and an MHS in Communication Disorders-Speech Language Pathology from Governors State University. Excellence Award Recipient In her leisure Margaret loves spending time with her husband and sons at home and enjoys cooking and baking for them. She is a member of NAPW and ASHA as well. Even though I moved to this country at the age of 16 without knowing the language and having to work and go to school at the same time I was able to obtain higher education degrees and build a successful business. There is no limit on what you can accomplish as long as you really want it and have the determination to do it. Toula Argentis Owner - 2B Whole Alpharetta GA www.2bwhole.net gf 2bwhole.net Aiming at being the most dependable supplier of some of the most exquisite tasting gluten-free and allergen-friendly foods without sacrificing a smidgen of taste Toula Argentis Owner of 2B Whole in Alpharetta Georgia first opened the doors to her business in 2014. Her European style organic bakery which not only serves the local community but also ships food nationally began only after she spent years mastering her skills at home. Cooking for her three children who have all had unique dietary restrictions for more than 10 years now led Toula to learn not only how to make foods that were healthy for them but also tasted great. Never wanting them to feel as if they were missing out her new skills in the kitchen quickly became something much greater when she realized that she could take it a step further by creating an amazing business out of it. It s been more than two decades since Toula began making foods for customers with sensitive dietary restrictions and all of the desserts and breads she bakes are soy peanut and dairy casein free. She also takes a great amount of pride in the fact that 2B Whole uses only the finest ingredients that are almost all organic uses as many local ingredients throughout the seasons as possible and never includes artificial sweeteners additives or preservatives. 2B Whole serves up various selections of foods and meal items such as calzones pizzas and sandwiches as well as a huge assortment of breads like apple streusel banana banana chocolate chip banana walnut blueberry streusel cornbread jalapeno cornbread dinner rolls French baguettes muffins. To cater to even the sweetest sweet tooth they are My children didn t have a choice in the foods also well-known for their delectable cookies brownthey were limited to eating and unfortunately ies cupcakes donuts a variety of pies and cakes there weren t enough choices on the market back as well as a selection of paleo items. then to choose from. It took a lot of practice but once I was able to learn what ingredients to It s important to us at 2B Whole that we spread use and how to use them cooking for my kids the word about the importance of what it means became much easier for me Toula explained. to live a whole and happy life by eating clean and My entire family who has since taken on this staying active Toula added. diet which includes well-balanced allergen-free gluten-free foods has made a tremendous difference in all of our lives. It only made sense to want to share my new passion with other families that had the same restrictions as our family did. In doing so 2B Whole recently hosted a Wellness Wednesday on October 5 2016 where they discussed good eating habits and exercise. Keeping in mind Toula s vision of what whole stands for (well happy off wheat laughter exquisite) she hopes to create a movement that inspires people to eat live healthier lives. 2B Whole has a website for online ordering. They can also be found on Twitter 2BWholeBakery and on Instagram 2BwholeGFbakery. Sherrise M. Boyd Daytona Beach FL Support Services Manager Volusia County EMS Witnessing the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina firsthand inspired Sherrise M. Boyd to pursue a career in Emergency Services and Emergency Disaster Management. She was working for Chef Emeril Lagasse in Atlanta when the Category 5 hurricane barreled downed on New Orleans. She watched on as co-workers frantically try reaching their loved ones. In the weeks to follow an influx of displaced people sought shelter at the restaurant. It was then Sherrise accepted the reality that we as a people were not aware or prepared. Sherrise began intensely researching learning the history of manmade and non-manmade disasters methods of preparation mitigation recovery and survival. She volunteered with her local CERT where she trained under they county Fire Chief to become a Rescue Specialist with Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Most recently Sherrise held two highly regarded positions in the Emergency Services and Emergency and Disaster Management industry as an ASC II and Facilities Emergency Response Team member. In June 2016 Sherrise accepted a new position with Volusia County EMS as a Support Services Manager. Moving from Virginia to Florida the transition has been wonderful. My new position offers me many new challenges and opportunities for growth. It allows me to be creative at saving money and institute new ways to serve the communities in the County of Volusia more efficiently. I m excited to be part of such a diverse organization that is supportive of organizational and administrative change Sherrise said about her new role. Sherrise manages a team of four administrative personnel. Together they are responsible for the day to day administrative duties including overseeing the budget of the department. She also serves as the human resources liaison for the department handling the administrative portions in the hiring and interviewing aspects while working with the county s Human Resources Department. Currently working to complete her dual Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management and NonProfit Management Sherrise and expected to graduate in late 2016. Hoping to leave a legacy of inspiring others to protect precious and vulnerable resources she works tirelessly to impart knowledge and the importance of community. Her goal is to develop an EDM program that will influence the future of emergency management. Sherrise previously worked with a team of coworkers and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to have pedestrian signs placed on the local roads where the County s ES recruits train. This earned her a triple nomination for the County s Safety Award which she won. The team also received the County s Employee of the Month Award for the same contribution. Additionally she has been honored two of the County s top three awards for her contributions. I believe we all have some control over of destiny but we have a 100% responsibility to ourselves to the best we can she said. With plans to obtain her PhD and travel to Italy to work with special needs individuals children and school systems on improving and instituting a universal EDM program she hopes to then reach out to other areas where the infrastructure economy and knowledge is that of a developing county. Marcie Olivas Owner - Regeneration Salon & Spa Wellness Services Artistic Educator - Matrix Columbia MO www.salon-spa-regeneration.com Waking up each morning Marcie Olivas heads into work with a positive mind and spirit and a level of energy unlike many business owners. As the Owner of Regeneration Salon & Spa Wellness Services since 2009 she and her team of highly skilled staff members follow in the vision that she set forth in the very beginning Lives transformed through a team with a passion for beauty and a passion for life committed to efficiency excellence and effectiveness transforming beauty to beautiful. Located in Columbia Missouri Marcie s salon and spa offers a host of different services including hair skin and nail design services a blow dry bar massage body treatments makeup and bridal services. They also offer wellness services with trained Somatology Yoga Coaches which are customized yoga sessions designed to meet the needs of every guest. This is not an easy business to be in Marcie said with a smile. You really have to have a passion for it. I make sure that each of my guests are well taken care of while they re here at the salon and that they all feel they found a place to escape from day to day life. I also make sure that my staff is continually learning. Over the course of my career I ve learned that nothing comes to you that you have to work hard and keep yourself open for opportunities. If you aren t looking they ll pass you by. Beginning her career as a Cosmetologist in Biloxi Mississippi Marcie then attended college for general business. Later moving to Colorado to work for Xenon International she also directed education for Pivot Point University. Relocating to Memphis Tennessee Marcie studied under a dermatologist and received the Cidesco International Esthetics diploma. Today as a Matrix Artistic Designer and Master Colorist she has since worked on photo shoots has been published in trade magazines and has done hair and makeup for Miss USA and Miss Universe delegates. She also recently completed Essential Oils Masters training and Cuccio Yoga Somatology training. Marcie enjoys helping people who are starting over in life whether it be due to a divorce an addiction or some other life changing event. Volunteering as part of a domestic violence group she also works with Rainbow House in her local community of Columbia providing free haircuts and goodie bags filled with product samples to each child. Married to Arthur Ray Olivas he is Co-Owner of the salon and spa. When Marcie isn t busy running the business or spending time with her family she loves to destress by repurposing old furniture and creating jewelry from vintage or broken pieces she s discovered. She also loves doing puzzles to put her mind at ease after a busy day. Deborah J. Levine Chattanooga TN www.americandiversityreport.com www.deborahlevine.com www.religiondiversity.com info diversityreport.com deborah diversityreport.com Deborah Levine Enterprises LLC Editor-in-Chief - American Diversity Report Award-winning author and blogger Deborah J. Levine is a pioneer in cross-cultural communication. She is the visionary behind Deborah Levine Enterprises LLC as well as the Editor-in-Chief of American Diversity Report. With degrees in Cultural Anthropology Urban Planning & Policy and Jewish Studies Deborah s dedicates her work to promoting cross-cultural understanding. Deborah s involvement in the Jewish community and interreligious affairs began in Bermuda where she was a member of the only Jewish family living on the island for four generations. Her father who became the CFO of Hebrew Union College and the American Jewish Archives after he retired from a career in retail inspired Deborah s love for history documentation and culture from an early age. expertise and global leadership with a mission to develop wise decision makers who can shape the global village and economy of the future. A former executive with Jewish agencies and the founder of several intercultural and interreligious organizations in 2006 Deborah launched The American Diversity Report. The magazine is the creative resource center for cultural diversity cross-cultural Now recognized both nationally and internationally expertise and global leadership with a mission to deas a Writing Guru Deborah s talents as a wordsmith velop wise decision makers who can shape the global began as a teenager in the 1960s publishing her village and economy of the future. first stories and poems in her high school newspaGiven her extensive background as both an awardper. She has gone on to author several critically winning author and an urban planner today Deborah acclaimed works including Matrix Model Managecombines her writing expertise with her organizational ment System Guide to Cross-cultural Wisdom skills. Through her company Deborah provides expert Going Southern The No-Mess Guide to Success in consulting coaching and editing services to qualifythe South Religious Diversity at Work and Teaching ing authors. Curious Christians about Judaism which received a National Catholic Press Association Award and was An innovator with tactful long-range planning skills taken to Vatican City as a gift for Pope Francis. One Deborah is not only an accomplished author and of Deborah s books The Liberator s Daughter is religious diversity and cross-culture expert she is dedicated to her father and his wartime letters that a sought after communicator and public speaker. inspired her to persevere. Throughout her career Deborah has served as a keynote speaker and presenter at the Southeast Social A former executive with Jewish agencies and the Workers Conference the National Interfaith Unityfounder of several intercultural and interreligious or- Huntsville Convention the BCBS National Diversity ganizations in 2006 Deborah launched The Ameri- Conference and national workshops on Christiancan Diversity Report. The magazine is the creative Jewish Relations -- among others. For her expertise resource center for cultural diversity cross-cultural she also regularly writes for The Huffington Post. Additionally Deborah is the community liaison for Chattanooga s Readers & Writers Fair. She also oversees the Chattanooga Chapter of Lean In - Women GroundBreakers which hosts a storytelling series during Women s History Month. The organization creates videos of the diverse storytellers which are available online for use by women s groups classrooms and worksites at www.womengroundbreakers.com. I passionately want to contribute to cross-cultural understanding in my lifetime and hope that my books continue to inspire others to make a difference in the world when I m long gone. The word for this in Hebrew is tikkun olam - repair of the world. Stories took me to far off lands and into fantasy worlds. In my lifetime struggle with major health issues books have been constant friends whether reading or writing them. They inspire motivate and heal. We learn about others and ourselves through reading and then teach through writing. My wish is for others to also experience the power of writing to make a difference in the world. Q&A Q What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your industry A Write every day but don t rely solely on your writing skills. Create a business plan follow the steps outlined to reach your goals and update it annually. Q What professional challenges have you faced that have contributed to your overall success A When I was first asked to speak about my work and my writing I was terrible at it. My father was in the audience that first time and even he fell asleep. I was determined to communicate through speaking as well as I did through writing. As a natural introvert I have to work on communicating constantly but I have surprised myself by how well I ve done. Q What is the biggest lesson learned that you feel is good advice for others A Passion drives success but it also drives burn out. Appreciate that you are your biggest asset. Take good care of yourself every step of the way. Q What would you like readers to know about you A My love of books began in childhood on the 24 square miles of the British island of Bermuda. Midge Cannin-Schuck MA MPA Licensed Professional Counselor Certified School Social Worker Certified Student Assistance Counselor Certified Court Trained Arbitrator Mediator Retired Crisis Response Counselor Toms River NJ www.njcollaborativeprofessionals.com Licensed Professional Counselor Midge CanninSchuck MA MPA of Toms River New Jersey is also a Certified School Social Worker Certified Court Trained Arbitrator and Mediator and retired Crisis Response Counselor. She has dedicated her entire career to serving others in a capacity that makes her feel that her chose vocation has been worth it knowing that she is doing her part for those who are having difficulty feeling accomplished settled or secure in their own lives. Today as she continues to focuses her energy on work after 25 years she maintains a high level of gratitude for the many blessings she has received in her chosen field. My inspiration as a Professional Counselor came from the myriad of opportunities I have had in observing and in the treatment of individuals who have endured problems ranging from adjustment issues to feeling overwhelmingly hopeless and helpless Midge said. Those who have experienced crisis and needed assistance with bureaucracies such as schooling for children that require 504 Plans I&RS Plans or assistance with classifications and for those either in the hospital need assistance at home after a medical discharge or require more knowledge about hospice service it has always been a pleasure to get up each morning knowing that I am making a difference. She was part of a team of experts that consists of attorneys financial professionals and mental health professionals like herself. The organization s mission is to bring together independent interdisciplinary professionals and to foster the growth of collaboration through shared resources ideas and energy by providing clients with necessary tools to move forward with their lives before during and after a divorce. My role was to provide not only the children in families that were divorcing but also their parTraining to become a counselor Midge says incor- ents with a sense of security as they endured porates both training and the utilization of various this emotional process Midge explained. I also skills and techniques. Working with clients on strat- wrote and continue to write Child Mediation egies that will help them overcome obstacles and Agreements that could be presented to their atpersonal challenges isn t always easy it takes a tre- torneys to help reduce the tug of war that children mendous amount of education time and patience. often feel during the divorce process and I have counseled children experiencing the feeling of Most recently Midge was a member of the Collabtrauma associated with their parents divorce and orative Divorce Professionals. the adjustments that were about to take place. Midge also previously held supervisory roles served as a medical social worker school social worker adjunct faculty for two local colleges and as a court trained arbitrator mediator. Life has many developmental milestones ranging from prenatal to death. Returning to those things that have been instrumental in my becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor comes from my good fortune of having professional work experience in schools and hospitals in crisis counseling congregate services court systems and more some of which were paid and some volunteer based she noted. Midge still volunteers today with the court system in Ocean County New Jersey. When working truancy cases the parents are typically at a loss. My training in parenting skills are most helpful to them if the parents are opening to listening she added. Midge authored her first book in 2007 entitled Multidimensional Strategy Toward Identification and Reduction of Bullying Behavior . It seeks to educate teachers religious leaders and parents how easily a child (or adult) can become a victim of a bully either in the classroom or in the workplace and describes different rearing practices that may produce either a bully or a victim. Midge first received her AS in Science at Ocean County College followed by a Bachelor of Social Work at Georgian Court University a Master of Public Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University a Master of Art in Psychological Counseling at Monmouth and a Post Masters in Psychological Counseling also at Monmouth University. She is a Certified School Social Worker Certified Student Assistant Counselor is Certified in Family Dispute Resolution for the Ocean County New Jersey Court System and is a retired Certified Crisis Response Counselor all through the state of New Jersey. A member of the Ocean County Business Association Midge participates by interacting with those who have businesses that share similar priorities as she which includes taking their particular talents expertise and promoting them as an entrepreneur. Career aside the greatest joys of Midge s life have most certainly been her family. Her husband Joseph Schuck Jr. and she met after he retired as Captain from the Berkeley Township Police Department in New Jersey. Unfortunately just two years after they met and married he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder. For eight years he fought losing his battle to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. While I never had the opportunity to see the strength in Joseph s life as an officer I had the fortune or misfortune of seeing his strength in death she said fondly. I guess we were both heroes Joseph for fighting and myself for staying by his side in our home until it was time for his body to rest. Midge has two amazing children. Alfred her eldest son is married to Suzie and have a son Nicholas and Joseph the younger son is married to wife Kim who also has a son Justin. Rea N. Waldon Ph.D President CEO KDDK Legacy Group LLC Cincinnati OH www.kddklegacygroup.com rea kddklegacygroup.com A successful business coach is a dynamic professional that can challenge and guide clients to excel both professionally and personally. As President and CEO of the notable Cincinnati-based KDDK Legacy Group LLC Dr. Rea N. Waldon specializes in helping business owners grow and expand their companies. Through KDDK Dr. Waldon and her dedicated team of professionals offer business strategy leadership development and highly specialized training programs that are designed to eliminate operational clutter and help executives stay focused on the bottom line. I coach because I want to share my experiences there is a sense of personal satisfaction when I am working with someone and see them implementing what they may have learned to improve their business or themselves. My philosophy is that knowledge is meant to be shared. Dr. Waldon shares five pillars of wisdom for those starting out as business coach Educate yourself -- be knowledgeable about client industries learn to listen to for what is not being said recognize that your role is not to answer the question be very clear about who your customer is reputation and integrity matters in the world of coaching make sure yours is solid. Dr. Waldon has a unique background that allows her to share best practices and information with her clients. She has earned degrees in accounting man- Passionate about advancing her industry Dr. Waldon is actively involved with several professional organizaagement information systems and a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies specifically focused on urban tions. She is currently a Board Member of the Cincineconomics and public policy. Additionally she holds nati Development Fund and the Cincinnati Chapter certificates in retail bank administration entrepreneur- President of the National Association of Professional Women. Additionally she is a former Board Member of ial teaching and non-profit leadership. Her career spans more than three decades and includes working the Women s Business Enterprise National Council as in healthcare telecommunications business develop- well as the Hamilton County Development Company. ment and coaching commercial lending and urban revitalization in for-profit and not-for-profit organiza- When she is not helping others achieve their profestions. Her extensive expertise is transferable allow- sional objectives and giving back to her community ing her to assist business owners and managers in a Dr. Waldon relishes her role as a wife mother and grandmother. She especially enjoys spending time variety of industries. with her four grandchildren whose initials comprise I have a phenomenal background that provides a the name of her company KDDK. great foundation for coaching business owners. I have worked in seven different industries and my role as a commercial lender exposed me to many others. That experience coupled with education and training matters because clients know early on that I can provide them with real value. My legacy is to have lived a life that sets an example for them -- and others -- to know that no challenge is too difficult to overcome to appreciate life no matter what and to think in terms of what you can give and not what you can get. Sonya Mayers Burlington NJ Owner - Footsteps of a Nurse LLC Home Health Aide Instructor Entering into nursing school in 1975 on the island of Barbados Sonya Mayers began her career in pediatrics as a staff nurse. She continued on in the United States caring for children undergoing open heart surgery and kidney and liver transplants. She worked in several specialties including dialysis as a School Nurse for developmentally and physically challenged children in homecare as a Field Nurse Supervisor followed by several years in geriatrics. Sonya also worked for several years in an inpatient hospice unit as a Staff Nurse before ultimately transitioning to managing wellness clinics. The versatility and the many hallmarks of autonomous practices have kept me anchored in my career Sonya said who is also a Home Health Aide Instructor. My early years spent in pediatrics after nursing school contributed to my falling in love with the sick yet brave babies and children and increased my love and compassion for the profession. Today Sonya is the proud owner of a new business dedicated to providing products to nurses that focus on relaxation and time for themselves Footsteps of a Nurse LLC. She is also currently managing wellness clinics in corporations in New Jersey where her responsibilities range from teaching accounting administering vaccinations and making critical decisions in the field. The success of these clinics is contingent on the execution of her tasks. Footsteps of a Nurse LLC is an online business that offers solar power banks that charge devices on the go jewelry customized products and Mayers recently published devotional for nurses. Starting her own business came about after Sonya suffered severe back pain from a bulging and herniated disc which unfortunately ended her very active career working on her feet. I want people to know that I ve never let challenges hinder me from giving my best or causing me to give up Sonya said who also became widowed of 31 years. This is important to know because anyone can rise above challenges if they have enough faith in God. Sonya learned the value of perseverance and hard work and is proud of her accomplishments. A member of Nurse Entrepreneur an online support avenue for nurses Tricia is also affiliated with Healthy Living Ministry through her church providing first aid to the congregation when needed and participating in community health fairs. Sonya makes monthly visits to a nursing home providing spiritual emotional and social support too and has visited several countries on mission trips. Sonya earned her ASN in Barbados followed by her BA in Religious Studies at The United Christian College. She also holds several certifications in her field of nursing. Sonya is the proud mother to daughter Tricia a Master s of Education graduate. Tricia is an Advisor and Adjunct Professor at a community college in New Jersey. Veronica Querales Miami FL www.kohtler.com info kohtler.com Co-Founder President - Kohtler Elevator Industries Inc. With more than 20 years of experience in the elevator industry Veronica Querales has continued to demonstrate her expertise and passion for the business as Co-Founder and President of Kohtler Elevator Industries Inc. In 1994 Veronica began working in her family s elevator manufacturing company while still in high school working in many different positions from cleaner to general manager. Her current role as president CEO and co-founder of Kohtler Elevator Industries sees her take on many responsibilities including providing strategic leadership for the company working with management and employees and establishing long-term goals plans and policies. She also identifies marketing opportunities and participates in educational opportunities and professional organizations. Her company received the certification of Nationals Women s Business Enterprise and the nomination The biggest lesson I ve learned is how to face for the 2017 TOP Entrepreneurial Awards by Miami my fears be grateful and always go for your Chamber of Commerce s. dreams. I now know I can achieve anything by asking questions being creative and working In her leisure Veronica loves spending time with closely with the right people. I love new challeng- her husband and two children and friends remaines -- they re opportunities that will help me grow ing physically active and participating in many of her and learn more. local church s activities. She always puts her family While continuing to work in the elevator industry Veronica obtained a B.A. degree in Business Administration Management and Accounting and an Electrical Engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico along with an M.B.A. degree in Business Administration International Management from the University of Phoenix. Throughout her professional career Veronica s biggest inspiration has been her father. While it was difficult to get over his passing she has faced her fears of overtaking the company and has since become a successful businesswoman by following his example. Kohtler Elevator Industries is exporting their products to all USA Caribbean and Virgin Islands. first and has found the proper balance to maintain her values while successfully running her business. My kids are my world they ve helped me become the best that I can be. I want to create memories with them and I want them to see me as smart fun and the world s greatest mom Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A I believe that the elevator business is essential in our current globalized environment because cities all over the world are growing more every day. Companies need our products for the construction of new buildings high-rises hospitals malls and modern houses. Even old buildings require renovation and therefore implement new elevators all the time. In addition the regulations for Americans with Disabilities Act requires elevators in all medical buildings with one floor or more. We are always looking for new technologies and innovative ideas to ensure that the growing building sector obtains the unique elevators that they need. Q How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors A Our competitors are all very skillful but we found our strongest areas are our dependable lead times and customer service. I took the time to study my competitors focusing on their strengths and weaknesses and my team took the initiative to focus on lead times. My company can provide a faster leadtime delivering quality and easy to install products to our consumers. Our previous experience in the field has allowed us to be acquainted with the best manufacturers of quality products in the industry. Q How do you overcome challenging issues in a man-dominated Industry A I ve come to realize that I should never be afraid to be a part of what is known to be men s work and that I will gain respect based on by knowledge about the industry and my capabilities to do great work. I work hard to learn as much as possible about the industry market customers and competitors. However the most important part is knowing about every aspect about our products because when they I am questioned people can tell I know what I am talking about. Nowadays there are more women working in industries and areas which were dominated by men for many years. As Sharon Handary the former executive director of the Center for Women s Business Research once said Women business owners are changing the face of business both literally and figuratively. The dynamic growth and expansion of women-owned business is one the defining trends of the past decade and all indications are that it will continue unabated. Q What does Kohtler Elevator Industries offer A We offer custom-made and standard elevator cabs entrances and doors of the highest quality in a wide variety of designs structural variations and finishes. An extensive selection of materials such as glass wood stainless steel bronze and others are available to accommodate our customers needs from functional stainless steel and metal cabs to the most luxurious wood and glass designs. We manufacture different types of elevator entrances grout less standard and unistruth with different types of openings single slide center opening one speed or single slide two speeds. All Kohtler s Door Entrances are UL in-plant inspected and labeled certifying compliance with the ANSI A17.1 the elevator and escalator safety code. We also offer Elevator doors Commercial Leveled Grade carbon steel of 14 gauge minimum thicknesses. Doors are rated for 1-1 2 hour fire resistance and UL labeled accordingly and can be clad with stainless or bronze sheet or painted. Q Are Kothler Elevator products certified A All of Kohtler s door panels and entrances are rated for 1-1 2 hour fire resistance and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) in-plant inspected and labeled certifying compliance with the ANSI A17.1 elevator and escalator safety code and OSHA. Q What is the mission of the company A Kohtler Elevator Industries is committed to providing the highest level of service to the independent elevator contractor and design professional always remaining vigilant to produce the highest quality and safest product at the most competitive price with the best lead time Q Does the company have a certain philosophy A For sure Our philosophy is to put our customers first and make sure they feel confident that they are buying a great product. We strive to provide an excellent product that is easy to install by using the highest quality materials with a diligent professional workforce and the latest technology. This product combined with top quality customer services and great lead times makes a winning formula. Q How do you balance all of the demands in your life (being a wife mother professional activist etc.) A It is amazing how slowly I discovered that I could handle everything. I wake up early every morning so that I have time to myself when everyone else is asleep. The first thing I do is pray and ask God for his wisdom and guidance. I make sure I took care of all pending tasks on my agenda write my goals for the day and then head to the gym. After that I take my kids to school and do what I love to do... business When the day is over I spend quality time with the best partner dad and husband and we divide our activities with the kids to ensure that we are present in every stage of my kids lives. I always do my best to make sure I have enough quality time with them and my husband. It is not hard to balance work family and personal time when they are all truly things you love. Renita J. Harris Nashville TN www.methologics.com rharris methologics.com Chief Executive Officer Methologics LLC Growing up in New Orleans Louisiana adolescent Renita J. Harris (Renita J. Cotton at the time) knew she would someday work in the legal field. After earning her first degree Renita worked a decade as a paralegal alongside some of the most prominent and leading AV Preeminent attorneys in New Orleans as well as Nashville Tennessee. Having returned to college to pursue and complete her BS and Master s Degrees the direction of Renita s career pivoted into security and investigations. Earning an AA in Paralegal Studies from Phillips Junior College a BA in Criminal Justice and a MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensics both from St. Leo University a Private Investigator License in the state of Tennessee and undisclosed security clearances with the US Federal Government Renita is deemed one of the nation s top ranking authorities in the field of security and investigations. Today this accelerating double-minority entrepreneur (female African American) is Founder and CEO of her own company Methologics LLC. Blockchain is an irrefutable record of a sequence of digital transactions Renita explained further. The technology allows for transactions to be appended to a chain for anyone to review and verify the transaction ledgers. With a mission to efficiently resolve simplistic and complex matters utilizing smart methods and logic Methologics provides turnkey investigation service solutions within the public and private sectors. Services include but are not limited to employment screenings background checks and verifications Medicare Medicare fraud waste and abuse EEOC counseling filings corporate private investigations and diversity training. Relying on her faith in God family and close friends Methologics the trademarked blending of two words the foundation of Renita s life is built upon faith hope methods and logic is headquartered in Nashville. and trust. With the use of cutting-edge security technology Methologics is expanding its service offerings and Prior to forming Methologics Renita spent time as reach within the Continental United States. a Corporate and Legal Office Manager Paralegal Paralegal Instructor and Special Investigator. She is a As the company s CEO I m responsible for member of Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice ensuring the company is properly managed and Honor Society. scales in pace while cutting costs as deemed necessary and increasing profit margins ReAway from work Renita enjoys spending time with her nita said. In an effort to sustain success we best friend and husband Marc and their children. She keep an eye out for smart people and try out new likes watching pro football and entertainment content technologies that apply to our present and fore- written and produced by Shonda Rhimes as well casted business models alike. traveling reading and cooking New Orleans style cuisines. Methologics is currently in research and development with a new and emerging technology known as Because her life is deemed purpose driven and Blockchain. Renita sees Blockchain as an important planned with an expected end in mind Renita betool method providing clients with more accurate lieves the purpose of her life s work will always predocumentation with regard to smart contracts and vail. digital commerce-based transactions. Michelle Esparza Houston TX www.osnational.com mesparza osnational.com Excellence Award Recipient National Sales Executive - OS National LLC With more than 20 years of experience in the title and settlement insurance industry Michelle Esparza is ready to embark on her new role as National Sales Executive with OS National LLC. In this new role Michelle will be responsible for fostering new business and maintaining existing clients across the US. Prior to joining OS National LLC Michelle spent over 23 years with Stewart Title where she excelled in her role as Director of Lender Services within Stewart s Enterprise Revenue Group. OS National LLC is a nationwide provider of residential and commercial title and escrow services. The company works with national lenders and banking institutions REITs mortgage servicers and investors to protect their interests in real estate transactions specifically in the areas of property title and title insurance. OS National is a licensed agent for most of the country s major national title underwriters with work ranging from single property transactions to multi-million dollar multi-site transactions. Michelle holds an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Banking from Palo Alto Community College. Additionally she has earned several industry-related certifications including a Certificate in Management from the American Management Association a Certificate and Completion of the Mortgage Bankers Association s Loan Origination University and a Certificate of Completion in Statistics from the University of Texas at El Paso. Michelle launched her accomplished career more than 30 years ago. Before joining OS National she worked at one of Texas s oldest and most established banks Frost Bank. She started with Stewart Title as an Executive Assistant and with hard work and determination was consistently promoted with increasing responsibility over her 23-year tenure. The ability to grow personally and professionally with an NYSE company has inspired Michelle. Throughout her career Michelle has benefited from fellow colleagues and industry leaders who provided mentoring and guidance to help her traverse any challenges she faced. I have been fortunate enough to have some fine examples of collaborative team members to help mentor me throughout my career. There have been strong women who helped my personal growth and others who helped me navigate various industry rough patches. Michelle encourages those aspiring to enter the title industry to remain open-minded sincere and driven. I have had some people call me fearless. I have confidence in myself. I m not afraid to take a leap of faith from time to time. My father told me at a young age to always ask for the moon and the stars. The worse thing someone can tell you is no. I am still amazed at how others want to help you succeed. Today Michelle is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Professional Women. For her contributions she was named the National Association of Professional Women s 2012-2013 Woman of the Year. Her unique skill set and expertise have made Michelle a sought after public speaker. She speaks to large audiences on various real estate topics and has been featured on radio programs. Excellence Award Recipient Q Tell about one of your favorite accomplishments in business. A One of my favorite accomplishments was being the first person in management at a young age for a Fortune 500 company. This was followed by a successful sales career. I have enjoyed the distinction of closing the largest sale (at the time) for one company. At another company I was proud of consistently making the top 10 list of sales people month A deeply compassionate person Michelle spends her after month which allowed me to move into my first supervisory position. free time advocating for important social and environmental issues impacting the El Paso area. She is Q If you could change one thing about your career currently working to make El Paso a no kill city for or industry what would it be animals. She also advocates for saving the Castner Range Mountains. She recently voiced support at a local City Council meeting for capping future develop- A I wish I knew then what I know now. My goal is to help pay it forward so others have a launch point ment of the mountains on the northeast side of the based upon my experiences. None of us were put city. on the earth knowing what we know today so we owe it to the next group to leapfrog on our experiences and education. Q&A Q Who is one of your heroes and why A While I hold a deep admiration for many individuals who have made an impression or mentored me I don t hold out to the notion of heroes. My family instilled great values and ethics to me and my sister. Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Our society is becoming more dependent on technology. The title industry strives to provide customers the most efficient use of technology by providing safe secure ways to facilitate a real esQ What do you think is the single most valuable asset tate transaction. However we never forget that real of working in your industry estate is and will always be about people and relationships. And real estate transactions will always be A I have two relationships plus a great work ethic relevant. Real estate will always remain people first systems second. You should always be sincere and find ways to help clients reach their goals whether it is home ownership or growing their business. Q How do you handle challenges and stress A I ve been known to go mow our yard when not traveling or visiting with clients. Marella Bettina Mangum Chakua West Fargo ND altima_91 hotmail.com Fully vested in rolling out her very first invention Marella Bettina Mangum Chakua is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) by trade. And if there s one thing she knows more than anything when it comes to the healthcare industry it s the cleanliness factor. Brainstorming to come up with an idea that would make cleaning more efficient Marella came up with the Electrical Maid a US patented product that she hopes will reach stores in the very near future. Excellence Award Recipient Certified Nursing Assistant Inventor Electrical Maid I currently have a portfolio with InventionHome who works to contact companies on my behalf to try and license my invention Marella said excitedly. By having them reach out to experts for me We need to use our intellect and our voices to that know how to put products on the market it saves me time and money. I m very excited about make this world a safer place she added. We can create exceptional healthcare make automothe entire process. biles safer and improve education and we can First introduced to the autoclave while working toward also make our homes cleaner and safer too. her BS in Biology at North Carolina Central University Recently married to a Licensed Practical Nurse it got Marella thinking. Marella is a new step-mom to two wonderful children. She s also working on becoming a first-time The autoclave is used to sterilize various types of laboratory equipment she explained. I came mom herself. up with the idea for my automatic cleaning device based on this same concept. I thought what if an entire space could be sterilized If hospitals for example could sterilize by using such a device then multi-resistant microbes and nosocomial infections would be a thing of the past. A long and tedious process Marella has learned a lot about the patenting process and becoming an inventor. But she isn t letting it stop her. In fact she s already thinking of how to finance her next invention that would make travel in extreme cold weather like in her home state of North Dakota safer. No longer taking life for granted Marella who suffered a bad accident after being struck by a car while crossing the street six years ago says that life is just too short to sit around and wait for change. Q&A Excellence Award Recipient Q Why is the Electrical Maid needed when various cleaning methods already exist A The Electrical Maid is a better solution for cleaning dirty spaces because it s more efficient and thorough and it eliminates the exposure to harmful chemicals that come from manual cleaning. The Electrical Maid doesn t just clean spaces it sterilizes them. Q Would mold be a problem with the use of the Electrical Maid A No because the chemicals used will prevent and kill mold and mildew. Intense heat is used because a sterilization is being performed with this device. Q Where can the Electrical Maid be used A The Electrical Maid can be used to clean any space that can withstand intense heat water chemicals and pressure in homes hospitals schools and other public places. Rosemary Farina Boston MA www.signaturestaffing.info rfarina signaturestaffing.info President - Signature Staffing Inc. Using her talents in the industry while employed as an Executive Vice-President for a large staffing company Rosemary Farina was a very influential and well-respected employee. Ultimately after realizing that she had what it took to be an entrepreneur Signature Staffing Inc. was born in 2000 which is located in the heart of Boston Massachusetts Faneuil Hill Marketplace. I am the face behind the business the rainmaker I make things happen Rosemary said enthusiastically. Not only do I sit down with clients and prospective candidates but I also oversee Admitting that the field is quite competitive she notes the finances advertising and every other asthat if you don t have both feet in you will most cerpect of the business that a good business owner tainly fail. It s a very tough business. would. I especially enjoy the matchmaking though it s definitely my forte and I love it. Rosemary whom had no prior experience with radio or TV guest hosted on AM TALK serving as a busiOriginally Rosemary worked in sales and retail while ness expert in her field for a segment that aired twice pursuing her BA in Psychology at Boston University weekly. She was then offered her own show Sigbut once she landed her first role in staffing there nature Style where she obtained some esteemed was no looking back she absolutely loved the work. guests and had the opportunity to speak about more Learning from the ground up Rosemary has come personal ventures and experiences like domestic and a long way and she couldn t be more proud of the international travel wine and fashion. Rosemary was business that she so successfully built all by herself. a natural. Signature Staffing Inc. specializes in placing qualified candidates with clients in a number of industries including but not limited to accounting finance banking healthcare information technology and construction. Depending on what a particular client is looking for positions can be temporary temp to perm permanent or contract. Attending charity events and contributing to organizations close to her heart Signature Staffing Inc. is also affiliated with Electronic Space Systems CorporationMassachusetts General Hospital breast research Massachusetts Society for the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals and the Arredondo Family Fund which serves military families. Signature also contributed to an enormous renovation in Boston Medical Center s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit which was recognized on the Channel 7 news and throughout the entire community. When selecting candidates for a role I make sure that are always a perfect fit Rosemary added. I will never jeopardize my reputation or the reputation of a client or candidate by mismatching someone just to fulfill that role. I would Originally from New York Rosemary and her husrather make no matches than bad matches. band spend time travelling the world drinking fine wine and enjoying their dog. She also loves to speak Written about in the Huffington Post for her talents in French take Barre and spend time with friends and the industry Rosemary is proud of the level of excelfamily. lence her business is able to provide and is excited about the coming years. Hon. Melvia B. Green Arbitrator Mediator - Melvia B. Green P.A. Odessa FL melviabgreen gmail.com After retiring from a 22-year judicial career as a Trial and Appellate Judge in Miami-Dade County Florida resolving a myriad of legal disputes in the judicial system the Honorable Melvia B. Green entered into her second career as a private Arbitrator Mediator. In 2009 she established Melvia B. Green P.A. an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practice serving as a third-party neutral. Over the past eight years Melvia has resolved over 150 of domestic and international commercial employment healthcare insurance securities franchise banking and personal injury arbitrations and mediations. By listening objectively without any preconceived notions in an effort to flush out the truth and come to a possible resolution Melvia says only then does she feel completely satisfied with her work. I firmly believe that we are all placed on this earth at a given time for a specific purpose or calling Melvia said in relation to her career and patience and impartiality have both been important to my success as an ADR neutral. And as long as humans inhabit the earth there will always be conflict and a need for dispute resolvers like myself. Completing her BS at Northwestern University in 1975 Melvia obtained her JD at University of Miami School of Law three years later. Becoming an in-house Transactional and Litigation Attorney for a public utilities corporation that same year she was the first attorney of color to be employed for the company. She then became a Federal Prosecutor prosecuting both criminal and civil cases. In 1983 Melvia joined a Miami Florida office of a major national and international law firm until she received her first gubernatorial appointment as the second African American female to the County Court in 1987. When I joined Florida s judiciary in 1987 there were no other African American women on the bench in the entire state. This certainly presented certain unique challenges for me as I was undergoing the learning curve on the job. For example there was a lack of similarly situated judges to mentor me during this process Melvia remembers. But it also led me to becoming one of the more visible members of the judiciary. Two years later Melvia received another gubernatorial appointment as a Judge to the Circuit Court making her Florida s first African American female to ever serve on this Court. By 1994 she was appointed to serve as an Appellate Judge on Florida s Third District Court of Appeals the first and only African American female to serve on this court as well. During her time as an Appellate Judge she authored more than 1 000 published legal opinions. Melvia is a member of the Florida Bar and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Appellate Mediator and Florida Qualified Arbitrator. Currently she serves as an ADR Neutral Panel Member for several forums to include the American Arbitration Association Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and American Health Lawyers Association. She is an active member of the Florida Supreme Court ADR Rules and Policy Women in Dispute Resolution the ADR Section of the Florida Bar and the ADR Section of the American Bar Association and also serves as the Second Vice-President of the Top Ladies of Distinction s West Central Florida Chapter a community service based organization whose primary objective is to serve and mentor teenagers in its Top Teens of America Chapter. Q Once I obtain the proper ADR credentials how do I acquire clients A There are a number of ADR forums to which you can apply to become a member of their Roster of Neutrals American Arbitration Association Financial Industry Regulatory Authority American Health Lawyers Association and JAMS Mediation Arbitration ADR Services. You can also privately advertise your availability to serve as a mediator or arbitrator. Q Why would parties to a dispute seek to have it resolved by a mediator or arbitrator as opposed to a judge in the court system A Many parties particularly corporate or institutional prefer having the legal disputes resolved privately and Married for nearly 32 years Melvia and her husband expeditiously in a cost-effective forum before a qualishare three children. Their eldest son is Dean of Stu- fied third-party neutral. dents at a school in Des Moines Iowa their second son is a recent college grad who is now employed Q Do retired judges have an advantage of being seas an Inside Sales Representative for a medical lected as a mediator or arbitrator device sales company in Warren Rhode Island and a daughter who is still in high school. They also have A While retired judges certainly may be sought out three beautiful grandchildren. as arbitrators due to their background in resolving a variety of legal disputes and have instant credibility with the attorneys who select them the parties may nevertheless seek an arbitrator with industry specific Q Can non-lawyers participate as arbitrators and or knowledge of the dispute. As for mediations some parties and attorneys may prefer someone without a mediators judicial background and proclivity to want to resolve A Absolutely. Sometimes parties to a dispute wel- rather than facilitate a resolution to the dispute. come the opportunity to have third-party neutral with Q Does an ADR career require extensive travel specific expertise or knowledge. Q&A Q How long does it take to develop an ADR career A It can particularly as your practice is developing. Unlike the traditional courtroom setting where the A It varies from individual to individual. When I be- parties bring their disputes there to be resolved by a gan a valued colleague wisely advised to allow 3-4 judge the ADR Neutral may have to travel to a venue selected by the parties particularly in an arbitration years to develop an ADR practice. proceeding. Many times the parties to an arbitraQ What should I do to get started in an ADR career tion clause have already predetermined a site for the arbitration. as a Mediator or Arbitrator A I spent the first year of my practice procuring whatever mediator or arbitration certifications needed to practice in my state. This generally requires attendance at ADR training seminars or webinars which also provide invaluable networking opportunities with other ADR professionals. Robin Mountain Richmond Hill Ontario CAN www.mountaincpa.ca robin mountaincpa.ca Owner - Mountain CPA Professional Corporation If you thoroughly enjoy what you are doing for a living and can appreciate who you are working with or for you will have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that no one can ever take away from you. This is one of the mottos that Robin Mountain has lived by for nearly 30 years while working in accounting. Completing her last year of college in 1988 at the University of Toronto by obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Economics she landed her first full-time position that very same year in banking while simultaneously enrolling in the local Certified General Accountants (CGA) program. Moving out of branch level banking soon after to begin working in the head office accounting division Robin quickly felt very at home. Ten long years and two positions later she finally completed her CGA designation. Well worth the time and effort she invested into working both full-time and studying as well as being a wife and full-time mother to her then nine-month-old son she looks back at that time as both very stressful yet also very fulfilling. Maintaining her small business in Richmond Hill Ontario for just under five years Robin then took on the role of Senior Accountant with D Group from 200207 before taking on the role of Accountant Financial Planning Assistant with Assante Financial Management and later Staff Accountant with Biback Financial Services. In 2013 Robin again made the decision to venture into business for herself by forming Moun One of the main reasons I have always loved tain Bookkeeping Services in Richmond Hill Ontario what I do has everything to do with the flexibility Canada which has been successful ever since. that the accounting bookkeeping industry has evolved into Robin said enthusiastically. With I am the sole owner and employee of my comthe various online programs such as Quickpany Mountain CPA Professional Corporation Books Online FreshBooks and the many othRobin said proudly. I don t want to have employers out there you can literally work anywhere ees or be responsible for others as a manager or you no longer have to stick to the 9-5 in-office in any other capacity. I like to keep it simple. This routine. You can be a stay-at-home-mom and way I get to choose the clients I want to work with still have something to call your own by working and the work that I want to do and I get to enjoy around your family s schedule. Although it isn t it to the max. The variety of clients gives me the easy and it requires a great deal of commitment greatest enjoyment but also poses a challenge at it can be done. the same time. Some clients want me to come to their location while others are fine with my doing An entrepreneur on and off since 1998 Robin first everything online. Some want to do as much of worked for National Trust Company as an Assistant the work as they can by themselves using me as Branch Manager turned Financial Analyst from 1988their back up and others just want to know that 93. She then worked for Sunworthy Wallcoverings as they made money and leave all the details to me. a Financial Cost Analyst from 1993-98 before formEvery day is different I guess that s what I love ing Mountain Enterprises in 1998 as a self-employed about my career the most. Bookkeeper. Affiliated with numerous organizations to include Business Women s Network of York Region Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce and Richmond Hill regional group of the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada Robin previously spent several years serving as a volunteer Treasurer for the local 5th Richmond Hill Scouts Canada and for her children s public school annual family fair when they were still quite young. She has also volunteered with Canada Revenue Agency filling out returns for low income families and senior citizens. These days when she isn t busy working or tending to her family s needs she loves to take time for herself by doing various hobbies such as reading bike riding crocheting needlepoint quilting or photography participating in family events and taking vacations. Family has always been first which has been key Robin noted. Being able to spend time with my sons and assist my parents when they need me has made it all worthwhile. Living in a house full of boys Robin celebrated her 20th year of marriage with the love of her life in the summer of 2016. Their two sons now 18 and 13 in age are full of life and keep family life interesting. Their eldest son started his first year of college and is pursuing a degree in business. Luckily they have a few more years yet before their younger son departs. The family also has a very goofy seven-year-old Golden Retriever named Theo who has enough energy for all of them. As I reflect back I hope that my husband and I have taught our boys well and have given them enough life examples and life lessons to get them through their adult years successfully Robin added. They have always known both of us to be working parents and since I have been so lucky enough to have been able to work from home all these years with my own business they have been able to witness what I do firsthand. They ve even been able to meet some of my clients from time to time. It s been so important that my husband and I instill good values in our children we love them both so much. In 1999 Robin earned her Certificate in Financial Planning. In 2013 she became a Certified Professional Bookkeeper through the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada. Finally in July 2014 she amalgamated in Ontario to becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Robin plans to continue working for at least another 10 years as the proud owner of Mountain CPA Professional Corporation. The business has been good to her and she feels so very lucky to have enjoyed so many wonderful clients through her business that she isn t quite ready to give that up just yet. Lori Palmer Fairport NY www.awakenings.life lori awakenings.life Integrated Energy Therapy Master Abundance Coach Owner - Awakenings I was living the American dream states Lori Palmer who is an Integrated Energy Therapy Master Abundance Coach and the present owner of Awakenings. She had a beautiful home and a wonderful family yet found she was absolutely miserable. Her inability to let go of her emotional baggage ultimately caused her to lose it all. Through her journey of finding herself Lori ran across a few methods of healing that truly changed her life. She knew instantly that sharing this would be her life s passion which led to the opening of her company Awakenings in October of 2013. It has since evolved into something extraordinary and extremely effective in helping people shift from emotional pain to experiencing joy and attracting abundance. Lori loves her line of work. She enjoys the connection she creates with clients and explains that there is nothing more rewarding than watching someone transform right in front of her eyes. As the owner and practitioner Lori created a unique way to approach emotional baggage that allows clients to achieve very specific and timely results based in authenticity and love. She has three very unique services. Integrated Energy Therapy (IET) allows negative energy being stored as cellular memories to be released. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) systematically allows limiting beliefs to be released. Last but not least Authentic Alignment fosters the release of perception and the acceptance of the authentic self. Put the three together and the results are astonishing Anyone who feels like their emotional baggage is holding them back can positively benefit from Lori s services. Lori s practice comes straight from the heart she truly believes that anything and everything is possible if a person can just get out of their own way. What s great about these services is that one can Accept all of who you are and embrace it she release their emotional pain without reliving it. There states. Once you can truly do that you can let go is no need to rehash things out in order to let them of the pain and find a certain peace about the past. go. It s also very often that people are unaware of Then and only then can gratitude and joy follow. just how much their past affects everything they do The positive energy that you will then exude will and every decision they make. Throughout Lori s ultimately allow you to attract the abundance you programs clients learn to embrace their authenticity seek. discovering what is really true for them. Living from this place of authenticity is freeing and empowering. Having seen the hell that emotional baggage can create Lori s personal experience brings about comIn her free time Lori enjoys taking nature walks lispassion and understanding as well as an example of tening to music and spending time with friends and hope. Her favorite most rewarding part of her work is family. She is an active member of Women of Focus knowing that the results have a ripple effect. and Women Ties. She believes that there is an emo When you are miserable it affects everything around you. The same is true for when you are being your best most authentic self. The love and joy you feel for yourself is going to spread and affect everything in your life for the better. tional component to all pain and dealing with it the right way can have a great impact on recovery. We create our own reality so embrace that idea and make it count Karen Pecora-Barbour Westminster MD www.thebarbourgroup.com karen thebarbourgroup.com info thebarbourgroup.com President - The Barbour Group LLC Karen Pecora-Barbour began her career in surety as a Contract Bond Underwriter in 1985 with a Top 10 surety company at the home office level. Soon after graduating from Loyola University Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History she secured a branch level underwriting position for a competing firm and after nine years as a Surety Underwriter she became the first woman surety bond producer in the Mid-Atlantic area and beyond working for two leading insurance agencies until 2002 when she founded The Barbour Group LLC (BG) as President. BG is nationally licensed and known as one of the most knowledgeable and creative brokers specializing in providing a comprehensive suite of surety bonds and commercial insurance risk solutions for all types of government and commercial contractors and Fortune 1000 companies. Located in Westminster Maryland and appointed by leading insurance and surety markets they are able to offer cost effective solutions for their bonding and insurance clients. With an expert internal operations team Karen can focus on production branding diversification and political advocacy. My agency is innovative and capable of deriving creative ways of restructuring financial statements to produce the remedy needed for healing and growth Karen said noting that much of her inspiration comes from helping contractors overcome financial duress and bonding capacity limitations. Karen s expertise in fact led all the clients that she acquired as a producer to support her decision to form BG allowing her to proudly state that she and BG combined have retained clients for over 20 years because she said We helped them when no other bonding professional could. Over time Karen became a political advocate for small business which later led to initiating drafting and pushing legislation for regulatory reform in Maryland and on the Hill much of which is considered landmark legislation. A nationally licensed agency with international reach Karen loves helping contractors grow market share and connecting them with strategic partners for higher growth potential. Although it s still rare to find a female bond producer or female-owned agency focused on surety pushing through this barrier has made me smarter and more understanding of others she noted. Karen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ernst & Young s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Award and the Maryland Small Business Person of the Year by the US Small Business Administration for her pioneering work in breaking down surety bond barriers for minority and women-owned construction firms. She will soon launch the Alliance for Hispanic Commercial Contractors and has a committee helping her spawn her idea for a new national political party The National Small Business Party to give small business a voice in congress. She is also Co-Founder for Party for a Cure that raises funds for children with neuro muscular disease on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Maryland. In November 2015 Karen formed BG Network an uber consulting company with the goal of providing a personalized platform to scale small business and provide them with resources and contacts that are typically only afforded to big business. BG Network is uniquely qualified and able given the vast military political financial and legal backgrounds of its consultants to offer key introductions to uncover coveted contacts and sources for securing work in all sectors of construction. A second generation US born citizen Karen s grandparents emigrated from Poland and Italy. Her father was a sharpshooter in WWII who earned a Purple Heart and two Oak Leaf Clusters. She has two college-aged daughters who both attend college in Maryland. Forecasting profitability for clients continues to be an issue during an election year as the politics in play can delay federal construction spending. Q Are there competitive products to surety bonds A Yes most notably SubGuard or Subcontractors Default Insurance. Given the economic scarring of the recession many large general contractors are opting to use SubGuard rather than require their major subcontractors to bond their portion of work. But only the large brokerage houses can offer SubGuard. I m hoping that my state and others will see the impact it has to small business agencies like mine and to the many small businesses and minority firms that are not able to meet the product s financial rigors. Q&A Q What is the difference between surety and insurance A Contract surety is a three-party contract and typically includes the principal (contractor or subcontractor) project owner general contractor (obligee) and surety. If the principal defaults the surety will step in to complete the job and seek subrogation against the bonded principal if any money is paid out on its behalf. The principal will sign an indemnity agreement which calls for the company to sign and its owners and spouses to sign personally. Insurance is a twoparty contract and the policy holder does not repay the insurance company for any losses it sustained. Q Why does surety exist A In 1894 Congress passed the Heard Act (now the Miller Act). Today the law requires that all contracts 150 000 and higher be bonded if they are federal projects and requires 100% performance and payment bonds to guarantee the contractor will complete its work and pay their subcontractors vendors. Often a 20% bid bond will be required to submit a bid for the project. Individual states then adopted the law calling it the Little Miller Act. Q What is the most important trait a surety bond broker should have A A sense of urgency. Q What are you most concerned about when forecasting your business potential A Economic results for my industry tend to have an 18-month delay given the completion times of most contracts. Many projects we bonded completed satisfactorily with some profit fade. However overall many contractors incurred large losses and the industry in total absorbed a rise in defaults and litigation. Karen Pecora-Barbour President - The Barbour Group LLC