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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Rita Herperger Social Work Owner and Therapist of Orenda Healing 1 Women of Distinction 2 Women of Distinction Rita Herperger Social Work Owner and Therapist of Orenda Healing Stockholm Saskatchewan Canada 3 Women of Distinction R ita Herperger has been a Registered Social Worker with the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers since 2003 the same year she earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Regina (Regina Saskatchewan Canada). She is described as an empathetic compassionate nonjudgmental and caring woman who has taken these qualities and expanded her knowledge to address the needs of all by participating in trainings workshops and university classes all designed to enhance her skills and abilities as a social worker and counselor. Rita even earned a Certificate in the Studies in Violence in the Family in 2001 (also from U of R). The skills knowledge and practices developed through these continued education opportunities aid her in her work with almost all client issues. The holistic approach in her practice helps her to help others build from a foundation of self-love growing and experiencing life from a more positive perspective. For the past 12 years she has counseled children youth and their families. This background helped Rita start her own business Orenda Healing in order to provide individuals families and communities with support and guidance toward healthy healing healthy living and renewed spiritual awareness in all areas of their life. ORENDA is a word with its roots in the Iroquois language most specifically it is a term found within Iroquoian spirituality. According to Iroquoian spiritual belief Orenda is a force present in all objects or persons and when invoked is the power of human will to change the world around us. Orenda is a summoning of personal strength to change one s own life and by doing so affect change in the world. It is considered to be the spiritual force by which personal accomplishment is attained. I chose this as the name for my business because I strongly believe in the ability of each person to make positive change in their life take back their power and control live for their divine purpose and choose the path of happiness and peace. The energy of this positive change has nowhere to go but outward. Her professional journey was inspired by two people. The first is Sheila Brandick (MSW RSW) a private counselor in her own practice and former instructor in the School of Social Work at U of R. Sheila was controversial in her beliefs especially with some of the students she instructed but this is what a social worker does if they see a need for change in social policy or ideology. She held strong to the code of ethics and principles of practice in social work and made huge contributions to the field. Sheila also became a personal friend one I could call to direct me as a new social worker as well as receive validation that what I was doing was right She always told me that I had what it took to get where I want to go. I was the only one holding me back The other person who motivated Rita is her baby sister Bonnie Wirth. Bonnie was well-established in her management position within a school division when she made the decision to quit and follow her heart. It caused her some difficulties with the people closest to her. She lost some friends but held strong. Her success is huge and her level of happiness and gratitude for all she has is infectious and truly inspiring Bonnie is an empowerment speaker a best-selling author life coach and radio show host. I came to realize by watching her transition what real happiness is and how much control we have over every aspect of our lives. Over the years Rita has had the opportunity to be a practicum supervisor to many strong and gifted social work students. Social work is not something you enter into in order to make lots of money it is something you enter into to make positive changes. I enjoy helping people it s as simple as that. When I can see that my clients begin to move through and overcome their issues I feel so much gratitude that I was a part of their lives and progress. Rita is involved in every aspect of the business. Orenda Healing is so much a part of who I am that I put 100% into it. I ve been told by clients that they can feel that when they come to me to help guide them through whatever it is that brought them to me. I attend to everything including all the ordering website creation counseling and program planning and development. 4 Women of Distinction Rita enjoys reading in her spare time but also loves music preferably rock and heavy metal from all decades. People find it really difficult to believe this about me but I m a huge fan of Korn Disturbed Ozzy Osbourne Aerosmith Pearl Jam and many others. I listen to it loud but I m also a huge fan of the blues and anything by Led Zeppelin. I ve been lucky enough to have seen many of my favorites in concert with my family who are also huge music lovers. She lives with her family in a small town and has a huge yard that was great to have while raising her two children son Garrett (21) and daughter Taylor (24) with her husband of 28 years Kerry. Kerry has worked for 21 years at the Mosaic Potash Mines at Esterhazy Saskatchewan for subcontractors hired to control the influx of water into the mines and prevent flooding. Garrett is employed with PSI Technologies and is also working at the Mosaic Potash Mines. And Taylor resides in Toronto Ontario. She studied Music Business and Live Studio Production at Metal Works Institute and is now employed at Warner Music Canada. They are the loves of my life Rita believes that everyone has a story and when she looks back on some of her own chapters they are not all filled with love gratitude or good choices but she brings her life experience professional skills and the needs identified by community members employers and employees to her work while sharing the lessons that she has learned. I really do love and care about people and life I am a spiritual woman not necessarily religious but my spirituality guides my work and as I grow it spreads into every facet of my life. I have come to realize that my connection to the Divine is my own and I do not need to justify or explain this connection to anyone She doesn t claim to know it all but she does have a lot to offer. We are only limited by our beliefs not by those of others. Knowledge is ongoing learning is continuous and if I am to get where I want to go I have to remain open to all possibilities. Rita wants Orenda Healing to be her legacy as the holistic perspective that is its foundation is important to the effectiveness of the work being done. Orenda Healing is about people flourishing and if it can be a small part in the life journey of the people who use this resource then I know I have done what I can to help create love and peace. 5 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How does your approach differ with regard to services for adults teens and children A One of the foundational practices of social work is to always begin where the client is. I always try to keep this at the forefront of my mind a client s life experiences factor into shaping their coping skills and resiliency. Understanding the developmental stages of human development is a key component to developing one s approach with any client group. Additionally working with children is often a long-term service as adults and even teens are already in a place to be effective in their application of the skills and tools I offer them if they are truly ready for change and therefore may not require the same time commitment. Q Counseling is often addressing negative experiences in someone s life. How do you stay healthy within your own life in order to do what you do every day A Burn out vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are all very real concerns for any counselor and one should never consider themselves immune to them. I ve had to deal with these throughout my counseling career and unfortunately I didn t see them coming until I was already spiraling down. Establishing strong professional and personal boundaries prioritizing responsibilities and dedication to a strong self-care regime are vital defense mechanisms against these crippling conditions. I have also opened myself to nurturing my spiritual side having developed a closer and more fulfilling connection to Creator and my Angel team and have incorporated spiritual activities into my life such as Yoga and meditation. I never present my clients with anything that I have not done and with which I have not found personal and profound success. I believe this also supports the authenticity of my work and my approach. Q What do you believe to be the biggest barrier to the services that you provide A There is a huge stigma attached to mental health and wellness and mental health counseling. Many people are afraid of being judged ridiculed and labeled both by society and the profession (e.g. DSM-V diagnosis). Furthermore it has been my experience that people who seek out mental health services hold a self-perception of being weak or just lacking. I want to change this limiting and destructive idea. We will seek out medical attention when we break our arm but when our hearts or our spirits are breaking we let our ego guide us and we refuse to do anything about it and suffer through Q What is Orenda Healing A Orenda Healing is more than a professional service for mental health and wellness it is my passion and dream come true. I ve spent many years helping people within the structures of other s policies mandates and expectations often feeling limited and unchallenged within my roles. Orenda Healing is my opportunity toward self-actualization empowerment and truly feeling that I m serving people from a universal and holistic viewpoint with everything that I am and all that I have to offer. Q What is it you offer that differs from others in your field A My approach and ability to connect to the people with whom I come into contact is one of the biggest differences. The tools strategies and treatment modalities (such as but not limited to Cognitive Behavior Therapy Family Therapy Existential Psychotherapy Rational Emotive Behavior and Client-Centered Therapy) I choose are all supported through research however my approach does not highlight this. People already know my academic credentials that I ve studied and have acquired the appropriate skills and techniques they don t need me to bring this forward. I have conversations with people and have removed the clinical feel to my practice. I believe that this approach allows clients to relax especially within the counseling environment thereby ensuring the creation of a strong therapeutic relationship. Q What have you developed in your life that you feel enhances your abilities A I have spent a lot of time and energy studying and enhancing my counseling skills but I ve focused on myself in the past couple of years and realized the importance of developing my spiritual side. There s so much healing and peace that comes from doing so and this is what I want to bring to the wellness aspect of Orenda Healing. I am currently working on developing AlternativeTherapies into Orenda Healing. This includes such things as but not limited to Meditation Training Angel Therapies BARS (energy healing) Tarot reading. I want to be able to present people with options to move through their life journey with purpose and fullness. I am also in the process of studying for certification as a Health Coach as well as Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level I and II clinical training. Currently co-facilitating a monthly Breast Cancer Support Group and will be offering support groups in the very near future for bereavement grief parents with sick children and food issues. 6 Women of Distinction Ana Hnat Education Spanish Instructor Houston Community College - Northwest Houston TX 7 Women of Distinction I f Ana Hnat hadn t dreamed of traveling she probably still be in her hometown wondering what the world outside was like. Ana was born in Saltillo Mexico. Growing up in 1950s and 1960s women weren t encouraged to pursue a lifelong career. Though women could earn a college degree if they wished to marry they were expected committed solely to taking care of their families. There were a few exceptions. But inspired by her mother Ana took the road less travelled and became an educator. My mother as a divorced woman who lived with her parents was very limited in her options Ana recalled. She took care of my sister and me worked in her brothers business to have money for our school and other expenses. She led a boring life. She used to tell me don t do as I did. Ana s passion for learning began at an early age. She always enjoyed attending classes as a young girl at the Instituto Plancarte in her hometown. Literature and history were among her favorite subjects. It was during that time Ana fell in love with languages especially English. Until May 2015 Ana was in charge of the World Languages Department at the Northwest College of the Houston Community College System when college was divided into five independent colleges. Ana s duties besides teaching included hiring new instructors ordering textbooks and reviewing the syllabus periodically through the Discipline Committee. In the summer of 2015 five colleges became one and Ana went back to teaching exclusively at the college. Ana s most important endeavor is to be a good teacher. She has an open-door policy at HCC and educates students of a wide range of experience and intellectual backgrounds. I enjoy working with young people and I love to teach them about my language and my culture Ana said. They keep me young with their dreams hopes and enthusiasm about life and the future and I try to help them achieve their dreams by instilling intellectual curiosity in them and a desire to explore the world and come in contact with many different peoples. Every day I teach is pure pleasure and I get paid on top of that. Ana has contributed greatly to the advancement of her industry. She has presented papers at several conferences throughout her career. Her former students opinions have earned her inclusion in Who s Who in Education three times. I recall the amazement that those readings awakened in me people who spoke English not only expressed themselves in a different language but their ideas beliefs values view of the world were very different from those in my world she said. I felt I was Christopher Columbus discovering a new world. Most of Ana s friends from high school went on to pursue careers that they knew they were never going to practice as middle class women were supposed to be educated but the man was the breadwinner of the family. Instead Ana set out on her own path after high school. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Education from the Universidad de Coahuila. It didn t take long for Ana to decide to become a high school Social Science teacher. In 1970 she and her sister moved to Mexico City and she found her first job teaching English and French at a language school called Interlingua. She stayed there until 1972 when she married an American engineer and moved to the United States. From there Ana earned her masters degree in Spanish Language from John Carroll University in Cleveland Heights Ohio and a Ph. D. in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Houston. She went on to teach at private schools in Cleveland Ohio and Houston Texas. In 1988 she took her current position as a Spanish Instructor at Houston Community College Northwest. I am very happy that I had the courage to leave everything I knew to follow my heart she said. I believe this was if not the most important decision in my life one the most defining ones. My greatest contribution to my college has been the rapport I have with my students as well as my knowledge of my subject matter and my ability to simplify Spanish grammar for them she said. It is their evaluations to my courses that have given me the most satisfaction. Today Ana s life as a professor for HCC is coming to an end. She is a member of the Texas Community College Teachers Association. She is also a member of the board of the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston a non-profit association aimed at disseminating the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking countries through scholarships for students interested in learning Spanish. I would like to leave in the minds of my students a positive feeling towards learning that will encourage them to be curious about the world in which we live and thus make more informed decisions in every area of their lives she said. 8 Women of Distinction Anna M. Waggoner R.A. LEED AP BD C Architecture and Construction Architect Owner and CEO Anna M. Waggoner Architect and Waggoner Construction LLC Indianapolis IN I have a passion for architecture and most importantly good design. The prospect of every new project and the design process still excites me. nna M. Waggoner R.A. LEED AP BD C began her career drawing houses for Grainger Indiana s Township Assessor Joyce Joswiak in 1974. Anna recalls going property-to-property and measuring buildings for correct size on the property tax records. She remembers being frequently met with distaste or an occasional riffle as some owners didn t want the assessor in their business. Anna learned early on that it s very important how you handle people and you needed to be respectful of their positions. When I was in college there were only four or five women who graduated in Architecture when I did in 1983. Breaking new ground was never easy and the profession was largely male dominated when I started my firm but today it has more diversity. Today Anna is in charge of managing her company and bringing new projects through the door. However she is also involved in every aspect of her business right down to swinging a hammer and cleaning the office at the end of each business day. Anna knows her business functions best when everyone in the company is actively participating. She knows that everyone has a value and place where they fit perfectly. Anna has also taken the steps to incorporate green sustainable design practices into her business and its projects. A As an avid fan of basketball Anna is a season ticket holder for the Indiana Fever the women s professional basketball team. She also enjoys spending time with her four Yorkie s and is currently learning to play the guitar. Anna loves all kinds of crafts creates stain glass projects and is passionate about gardening in the summer when she grows her own organic vegetables cans the tomatoes and freezes many of the vegetables for winter consumption. Anna remembers her mother canning food to conserve resources and feed their large family in tough times. To this day I admire her efforts to keep our family together it wasn t easy for her to raise six kids alone largely as a single parent while my father served for 20 years in the United States Air Force. I ve always wanted to give back to those less fortunate because I feel personally indebted to all those who have helped throughout my life and helped me become a better person. My mentor Catherine Cournoyer has kept me true to myself and helped me to find happiness in a tough world. I will never forget my high school basketball coach Kathy Hahn -she was always encouraging and she always told us to act like a lady in all we do. I have always remembered that advice has a certain amount of grace and civility to it and I try to echo that and be a professional in all I do. I feel that it s absolutely critical that we build sustainably and take care of mother earth. It s our obligation to future generations and we must be good stewards of what God entrusted to us. 9 Bambi Thompson The Mind Whisperer B Self Development Success Coaching Anxiety Transformation Transformational Speaker and Brain Coach - Bambi Thompson LLC Bath ME ambi Thompson has studied holistic healing since she was 18-years-old because she was born wired to worry . While she is an occupational therapist by training her own personal experience with debilitating panic disorder and realizing that she still had all the triggers living inside her after getting off Paxil (an antidepressant used to treat depression anxiety or other disorders) led Bambi to start using energy medicine and positive psychology on herself. I m always creating other revenue streams like my Xocai Healthy Chocolate business which supports my clients brains and bodies nutritionally. Xocai is extremely high in antioxidants and fights the inflammation in the brain (that results in foggy thinking and anxiety) caused by stress. Since I m all about peak performance and success for my clients having them use the chocolate as part of their visualization daily energy hygiene protocol is a no-brainer . The amazing transformations that Bambi sees in her audiences and clients keep her motivated and having fun. The feedback I get from my tribe makes me aware of how important and life-changing these tools I teach are. Bambi was the producer and host of the Power Me Up radio show on the Amazing Women of Power Network and coauthored Dare to be Authentic . She has also created numerous products and programs including the Stress Busting Resiliency Homestudy Program The Money Mojo Mastery Program a healing meditation CD and a Success Acceleration Mind Mastery Program for entrepreneurs and network marketers. Bambi even has a Body by Chocolate weight release and empowerment program that is about to be launched. I discovered I was a powerful healer not only of my own panic disorder but of others anxieties so I started helping friends with cancer. One of them said I needed to make this my career as I had a gift that the world needed. So in 2009 Bambi became a non-medication anxiety specialist . After getting myself some very high end business coaches I discovered I loved working with entrepreneurs and successoriented individuals and helping them break through to higher levels of success. Since 2013 she has been presenting herself as a motivational speaker and brain coach for success acceleration and anxiety transformation. People call me The Mind Whisperer . My work combines neuroscience energy medicine success strategies therapeutic healthy chocolate spirituality healing music and law of attraction. I re-wire beliefs and create an energy of success in my client s body. Then we use strategies to accelerate our success using the Law of Attraction. Bambi is always shifting and growing her skill set allowing her to stay creative and excited by creating new programs and products. She incorporates her own healing music into as much of her work as possible which is her trademark tool . I walk my talk and have been the poster child for my business. I even homeschooled my two daughters for 12 years and taught them everything I know. They actively employ these tools and are now very successful. 10 Women of Distinction Beverly Hoffman Erickson Drama and Writing Playwright and Author for Feather Fables Productions Lompoc CA book for Winston-Derek Publishing entitled Skipper and Jade A Love Story. Instantly well received the true story inspired by Beverly s childhood pet parakeet named Jade was featured in the Sarasota Herald Tribune article entitled Story started in Childhood to be Published. A ward-winning author and playwright Beverly Hoffman Erickson launched her professional writing career in 1993 with the release of her first children s Upon moving to Florida in 1983 she had own pet business with tropical birds. There she became a member of Executive Network and was President of the Lemon Bay Bird Club. For her efforts Beverly received the Golden Gavel Award for the Lemon Bay Bird Club the Joe Poss Award for Excellence in Volunteer Work involving pet birds writing awards from the musical group The Lettermen and a Petsmart Writing Award. Additionally she was the secretary of Vapor Trail Vettes for three years is a member of The Reel Cowboys in Los Angeles and is active with the Happy Trails Foundation (founded by Dale Evans and Roy Rogers.) Beverly is married to a retired Professional Photographer Cliff Erickson. She has one daughter Paula Lynn Robinson and four grandchildren that live near her home in Lompoc California. She also has a stepson and step-granddaughter in Arlington Virginia. In her free time Beverly enjoys spending with her grandchildren attending concerts and plays and swimming. The experience inspired Beverly to found her own Publishing and Photography Company in downtown Venice Florida -- Business Images and Feather Fables Publishing Company in 1994. She successfully edited and published other author s pieces but eventually wanted to return to California and concentrate on writing original work. Today Beverly has five books to her name -- A Flower for Iggey (a musical play) Parakeet Magic Toy On Top of a Christmas Tree Cockatoo Capers and Gardner McKay Is My Adventures in Paradise. Her love for animals specifically birds is a continuous source of inspiration for Beverley. She previously worked as a secretary for the South Bend Community School Corporation and later as a technical typist at Notre Dame University. With a lifelong love of publications she also delivered newspapers in the 1970 s and worked for the South Bend Police Department. 11 Women of Distinction Cindy L. Bonick Home Warranties Account Manager - Fidelity National Home Warranty Denver CO T hrough her work as a Sales Executive with Fidelity National Home Warranty ( Cindy Bonick is dedicated to helping Realtors and homeowners acquire warranty services for homes. Cindy began working in her current industry in 1989. She had been looking for an outside sales position as she desired to go out and get her own business instead of sitting behind a desk. She applied for a position with Warranty and Inspection Services of Colorado and having no prior knowledge of the industry landed a job with the company. Despite her lack of field experience Cindy helped increase the organization s sales by 58% in her first year. In her current role of Sales Executive with Fidelity National Home Warranty Cindy visits real estate offices has one-onone appointments with Realtors participates in trade shows and teaches a CE accredited class called Troubleshooting Home Warranties to real estate agents. She has also previously created a 4-hour course on Home Warranties and home inspections. I m dyslexic stuttered as a child had low self-esteem ADHD was sick all the time and had trouble focusing on tasks and conversation especially academically. It still amazes me that I enjoy teaching and any kind of public speaking for that matter I even competed on the regional level when I belonged to Toastmasters. I was told I was clumsy and accident prone yet I ride a 1 200lb horse over jumps. I share this as an encouragement to others -- do not give up. For leisure Cindy enjoys horse jumping skiing hunting hiking with her Doberman Coey and spending time with her friends and family. Cindy is currently penning a novel that she envisions becoming a feature film in the future. Cindy has been an active affiliate member of the South Metro Denver Association for 25 years. Realtors jobs are hard enough as it is. If I can be their Home Warranty Coach and make my piece of the transaction go smoothly I feel I have done my job. I truly enjoy relationship sales and the opportunity to educate Colorado Realtors about home warranties. My advice to those starting out in this industry is to stay organized and efficient but be flexible your priorities can change with one phone call. Maintain a great sense of humor. Most importantly always take the high road and travel the extra mile. There are no shortcuts to building successful relationships. 12 Women of Distinction Deborah Livingston Renewable Energy CEO Smart Homes Smart Energy LLNH INC Peachtree Corners GA W ith an entrepreneurial spirit Air Force Veteran Deborah Livingston always aspired to become a business owner in the Renewable Energy field. In early 2015 she accomplished her goal founding LLHN INC a multifaceted renewable energy company. As CEO Deborah is responsible for carrying out the company s mission as well as training and inspiring her specialized sales and marketing team. Since its inception Deborah has facilitated a partnership with Power 3 Technologies INC another Air Force Veteran owned business with more than 24 years in the field of electronics eco-housing construction and renewable energy systems design and installation. Her efforts have lead LLHN to become a leader in innovative renewable energy solutions and eco housing. Offering Total Renewable Solutions LLNH provides design and installation services to Grid-tie and Off-Grid RESG customers in the United States French West Indies the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Mexico. Deborah draws on her extensive professional background to propel her company forward. She previously served in The United States Air Force as an Accounting and Finance Specialist assisting the Budget Office on the Air Force Base. She later became a licensed Realtor in the State of Washington for and has spent 20 years in the Software Quality Assurance Field for both the Real Estate Industry and the Power Industry. A strong supporter of humanitarian projects Deborah works to improve the quality of life of those in need by networking with non-profit organizations to provide training and RESG infrastructure to disadvantaged communities in the USA and abroad. She accomplishes this through the 501C3 portion of LLHN called Ambient INC. The company is currently partnering with the Tiny Home Community and providing support for off-grid sustainability solutions in the Atlanta area. Deborah is the single of two adult children both whom play an instrumental part in LLNH INC. Q&A Q What makes more sense fossil fuels or renewable energy A Renewable Energy. Fossil fuels are a limited resource and can continually fluctuate by supply and demand. Renewable Energy is energy that is generated from natural resources that are continuously being replenished. Q What is different about your company A We are not just a solar company seeking to populate your roof with solar panels. Our mission is to assist our customers by providing premier energy efficiency solutions and renewable options as an alternative to 100 % reliance on traditional utility power. Q Why choose LLNH INC A LLNH INC is proud to be a 100 % Veteran Owned company providing training and employment opportunities in the renewable energy field to those who have honorably served our country. Q Are there companies out there that provide a total solution to an eco-housing home A There are many companies that specialize in one or two areas of renewable energy but LLNH INC provide a Total Renewable Solution to your eco-friendly home from Solar Panels Back-up Generator Solar AC LED Lighting Monitoring Smart Home Gadgets Built- in Car Chargers and Media Home Solution. 13 Women of Distinction Donna M. Gobbi-Egan Retail Fitness Active Wear Owner President - All Around Active Inc. Boxford MA s Owner and President of All Around Active Inc Donna Egan has been sharing her passion for fitness and fashion with the world through her business for over 23 years. After receiving her Degree in Fashion and Design from Bauder College of Fashion Design and Merchandising in 1988 Donna came across an entrepreneurial opportunity that changed her life. She started selling leggings for a friend s family member and then moved onto designing them. Given the success of selling fitness apparel she decided to open up her own company and continue to offer USA made garments despite the challenges of manufacturer s closing and going overseas. She opened her first E-Commerce Online Store in 1999 which has now revolutionized the way we shop today. She operates and continues to sell women s fitness wear and team sportswear apparel made in the USA. A Take the negatives that come your way and turn them into positives. Learn from everyone you meet listen to their suggestions and always think things through while keeping an open mind. Make sure the final decision is best for you and your company. Never give up and never stop believing in yourself. Always remember to be kind to one another. Donna has provided deliverables to many organizations including Planet Fitness the Special Olympics St. Jude Children s Organization Women Run the World Alzheimer s Association of Boston MA National Cancer Organization Title 1 Boxing Club USA Hockey Boys Girls Crunch Fitness Centers and many YMCA fitness centers in the New England area. I love life and appreciate every second that I m here. My family is the most important part of my life and I love being a mom. Being healthy is very important to me. In her leisure Donna enjoys painting boating participating in various fitness activities and spending time with her husband and two sons. She also volunteers for a number of community services and participates in fundraisers and charitable walks for multiple causes including Multiple Sclerosis. I have a passion for fashion and fitness. These industries are always changing so I never get bored and I m always challenging myself to be more creative productive and innovative while still keeping active and enjoying life. These things are an important part of who I am and have kept me motivated to live a balanced lifestyle. In her role of owner and president Donna oversees all of her company s daily operations including marketing and advertising sales design and financing. It s up to her to remain creative and positive while having the final say on all of the decisions made within her company. My legacy is for my story to continue with the same passion enthusiasm and pride for generations to come. 14 Women of Distinction Elizabeth Dodson Consumer Technology Co-Founder HomeZada El Dorado Hills CA fter graduating from Stevenson University in 1992 Elizabeth Dodson started working at a hardware technology company that provided value to the commercial construction industry. During this time she went on to obtain an MBA from Loyola University to increase her skills while also increasing her knowledge of the industry. From there Elizabeth joined a young software company (a start-up) in the same industry. This start-up was changing the way that construction was managed. At this time software was just starting to take off and I wanted to be a part of these trends. Being part of a company that was changing and improving the way processes were being managed and making it easier for companies to review data was exciting Elizabeth and others within the company helped make their solution the worldwide market leader. Working at this company came with excitement and hard times 9 11 and the economy had a direct impact on our company but the skills we learned early on helped our teams stay focused and committed to maintaining our competitive edge and providing value to our customers. After the company was sold Elizabeth and most of her team continued to work for the acquiring company but she wanted to continue to provide value to a new set of customers. It was time to take her existing skills learn new skills and take risks again to start another software company HomeZada. A I m responsible for introducing the world to HomeZada and the concept of digital home management through social media PR and other marketing avenues to help them understand how HomeZada can provide our users value. With my previous experience I also manage our partner programs and activities. The HomeZada business has a lot of partner opportunities so it s important to communicate each type of opportunity and value to the specific partner. She has a strong passion for technology and loves how the right technology can make us (as humans) efficient and knowledgeable. Technology can provide us visibility into how we live how we work and how to improve our situations. I started HomeZada with my co-founders to provide value and visibility to people who may not have had it otherwise in order to make intelligent decisions. It gives me a sense of pride to know that someone can manage portions of their life a little better with my solutions. Elizabeth would like more visibility for women in business for others to follow in her footsteps as an entrepreneur. My mom taught me that you can achieve anything if you work hard and stay true to yourself so now is the time to take some chances. Our goal is to empower consumers to save money improve value and be organized in managing their home which is typically their largest asset. We do this by bringing together applications content and data in a single portal to help consumers manage their insurance maintenance remodeling financial smart device and marketing data aspects of their home. Elizabeth s primary roles are focused on marketing and partner management. 15 Women of Distinction Heather J. Sell Travel and Entertainment CEO and President - ShoutOUT Enterprises Inc. Indian Rocks Beach FL I n 2009 Heather J. Sell started sharing her personal travel experiences and excursions along with photos on her personal Facebook page. She would also post about events and businesses that she found exceptional or upcoming things to do that intrigued her. I personally know how difficult it can be to find something fun and unique to do especially over the weekend. I soon discovered that others were excited about what I was posting and found that lots of people were responding to my posts as well as sharing their own experiences and suggestions for places to check out and things to do so I decided to create a separate Facebook group in 2010 launching it as ShoutOUT Tampa Bay and it quickly snowballed with a trademark and the creation of ShoutOUT Enterprises Inc. ShoutOUT offers a forum for marketing professionals event organizers businesses and public relations people to ShoutOUT about their events or upcoming opportunities that the community might be interested in. It also suggests additional resources and other opportunities that the reader might find useful hosts giveaways and offers banner and sidebar advertising calendar space for events ambassadorships and sponsored post opportunities. After all if you don t know you can t go Being CEO and President of ShoutOUT keeps Heather busy. As a one person show I m not only in charge of ensuring that content is fresh but also researching connecting marketing and finding time to attend events all while juggling a full-time job in information security. Her goal is to discover and share unique and exciting places and things to do as well as writing about and photographing experiences tastes sounds and the people we meet along the way. Heather works with event coordinators marketing directors PR firms businesses and individuals to help spread the word and entice readers to plunge into and experience the unique events savory foods and remarkable businesses locally and nationally. It s so rewarding when someone posts a thank you for sharing their event or even better someone who found something new to do. Meeting people is the most fascinating part of what I do. Yes the events are pretty amazing too but the people behind the scenes are extraordinary. I ve found that learning about the people who orchestrate these events and seeing it from their eyes lends an incomparable voice and insight to the experience. Heather is a proud single mother with a 21-year-old daughter who is currently working part-time while pursuing a degree in sociology and would like to leave a legacy that her daughter will be proud of her for. I want her to look back and say My mom kicked butt conquered her fears and pursued her dreams. However I m still working on crushing my fears and pursuing my dreams. To connect with Heather you can contact her via the ShoutOUT website s contact form found at http shoutoutinc. com contact or e-mail her at contact 16 Women of Distinction Jamie Rogers Public Education Junior High Pre-AP English Junior High English 8th Grade English Teacher - Ousley Junior High Arlington TX will burn out quickly. T teaches. hrough her work as an 8th Grade English Teacher at Ousley Junior High Jamie Rogers takes pride in helping her students develop a passion for what she I love teaching and what has kept me in my career for so long is not the tangible but the intangible rewards. Nothing makes my day more fulfilling than to see the light bulb dawn on a student when he or she finally comprehends what I am trying to teach them. Former students who return and thank me are another reason I continue to teach. Jamie started her teaching career as a substitute teacher in 1984 which sparked her passion for a career in education. After graduating with her BA degree in English in 1993 she went on to teach 7th grade English for 4 years 8th grade English for one year and 10th grade English for 2 years. Jamie then worked at Nimitz Middle School for 12 years before accepting her current position at Ousley Junior High in 2013. As an 8th grade English teacher Jamie teaches her students both regular and Pre-AP English preparing them for statemandated assessments as well as for college. Her specific tasks are to plan lessons and to collaborate with colleagues to help students perform at their highest capacity. Regarding her education Jamie received a BA in English from Our Lady of the Lake University in 1993 and a M.Ed. with an emphasis on Literacy from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2013. She also earned a Teacher s Certificate for grades 6-12 in 1993 Pre-AP certification in 2002 Gifted and Talented certification in 2002 and English as a Second Language certification in 2014. In her leisure Jamie enjoys traveling to foreign countries to do missions work reading writing poetry crocheting and spending time with her family. She is involved in missions work with her local church North Main Church of God and has traveled to a number of countries in order to teach Kids Crusades and Women s Conferences. I am a devout follower of Christ. My father was an ordained bishop in the Church of God and my mother was and is the person I look to the most. She organizes and takes missions teams into Romania to work with the gypsies and I go with her whenever possible. I want people to remember me for being a woman of integrity who cares about others both as a teacher and as a Christian. For those planning to enter education understand that it s not a career where you will get wealthy but it is a career where you will make a difference in the lives of your students. Teaching isn t a 9-5 job but when the work day is over leave your job there go home relax and enjoy your time with your family. Otherwise you 17 Women of Distinction Jessica Tookey Fine Art - 2D Art Artist and Art Instructor with CJ s House of Art Boise ID J essica Tookey began drawing and painting as soon as she could hold a tool to create with. I think I always wanted to be an artist as I ve always felt the need to draw or paint something. Jessica had her daughter Kaitlin two weeks before her high school graduation so all of her adult life revolved around providing a good life for her. She worked multiple jobs at once and went to college part-time to earn a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. During this time Jessica began teaching art and did some commissioned work on the side. She met her husband Chuck in 1999 and he encouraged her to create. However it wasn t until Kaitlin graduated from high school in 2014 and she became an empty nester that Jessica decided to really pursue her art career. I completed my degree in 2004 and began teaching at Kuna High School in 2005. I also decided to join a networking group called the Local Impact Zone. Through this group I received a ton of encouragement and confidence. And of course my husband continues to support me in following my dreams. Today Jessica creates art in any 2D form for a variety of clients. She has a What is Beauty exhibit that shows the beauty of young ladies that aren t your typical beauty not the perfect models you see in magazines but just as beautiful. Through this exhibit I encourage people to not judge one another based on their looks and also to be kind to one another because things you say can hurt worse than physical bullying. Jessica is combining this with her Faces of Suicide images into a Words Matter exhibit that will be on display at the Initial Point Gallery in the Meridian City Hall in 2016. The Faces of Suicide portraits will show bright happy and confident looking people but you ll read that because of internal darkness or external bullying these beautiful people took their own lives. I feel the need to do this exhibit because suicide is running rampant in our society and people are afraid or even embarrassed to talk about it. I hope that this exhibit will remove the stigma of suicide thus making it easier to talk about. Ultimately Jessica hopes that her art will encourage kindness and love. I m a realist but focus on the beauty in life not the ugliness we see all around us. I ve been told that my portraits capture the light of lost loved ones. I love the feeling of bringing that back to grieving families. I m also inspired by things I see all around me whether it be a photo I saw or just a memory. My head is full of ideas waiting to be released. I want to leave people thinking about their daily interactions how they treat one another. How we treat strangers should not be any different than the way we treat loved ones. We re all beautiful creatures regardless of our race or culture. 18 Women of Distinction Joanne L. Barian MSW LCSW NCCAP SAP AAMFT Mental Health & Substance Abuse Holistic Psychotherapy Addiction Counseling Health & Wellness Consulting Holistic & Intuitive Life Coaching Spiritual & Transformational Psychotherapy Addiction Interventionist For Clients & Families Inner Soul Healing and Recovery Solutions Owner President & Founder Milwaukee WI Some professional challenges would include actually going through my own journey of recovery which I began about four years ago. As a result I regained my sense of self through my spirituality. I chose to use my own personal journey to then assist other people going the same struggles of addiction. It has become an incredibly empowering rewarding and enlightening experience to now take my professional training and education and also my personal journey of recovery to assist my clients in a whole new comprehensive way. Joanne holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Carroll University in Waukesha Wisconsin and a Master of Social Work with a specialization in marriage and family therapy from Washington University in St. Louis Missouri. Additionally she is a member of several industry related organizations including The Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy The American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy The National Association of Social Workers The National Certification Commission of Addiction Professionals The American Psychology Association and The National Association of Distinguished Professionals & working toward a new state Certification in Holistic Life & Wellness Coaching. My soul s purpose and life s mission is to teach people new exciting and innovating ways to invoke spirituality into their lives guiding them toward transforming their human experience giving my clients permission to see a new world of enlightenment & awakening beginning to tap into different levels of consciousness & alternative spiritual levels . Her life s mission includes helping people to realize their full potential tap into their creativity & their Authentic Self & to allign with their passion & true spirit. Through the Recovery of the Soul.... the Inner Soul Healing ....the part of you that remembers exactly who you will regain the ability to return to THAT which you were created to be in the first place . It s Never Too Late To Be What You Were Meant To Become . J oanne L. Barian specializes in helping individuals and families survive and overcome mental health and substance abuse through her expertise in Holistic Psychotherapy Addiction Counseling Health & Wellness Consulting and Holistic & Intuitive Life Coaching in addition to Spiritual & Transformational Psychotherapy. She became interested in a career as a psychotherapist when she was 18 years old as a volunteer for a crisis hotline. Early on Joanne had a natural ability to help others dealing with a variety of different mental health and substance abuse related issues such as depression anxiety and domestic violence as well as individuals suffering with suicidal and homicidal feelings. After college Joanne founded Inner Soul Healing and Recovery Solutions where she continues to help others thrive in life after painful personal experiences. Helping individuals has always been my life s mission vision and purpose having a sense of commitment and passion for helping others find healthy and workable solutions in making effective changes in their lives. In a concerted effort with my clients I help them to develop constructive measures of remembering realizing and revealing their soul purpose assisting clients in uncovering their natural born gifts talents & successes. Assisting them in becoming their Authentic Selves by teaching constructive methods of tapping into their potential & assisting in the process of learning to Give graciously receive gratefully believe dearly love deeply & live consciously . Joanne is the sole owner and operator of the business performing all daily operations. This includes managing finances scheduling appointments organizing community events marketing local and national level recruiting and marketing conducting live webinars teleconferences and seminars in addition to working hourly with client sessions -- individuals couples families and groups. While managing this seemingly endless stream of tasks is often a challenge Joanne takes great joy in her work. She draws strength from fellow spiritual mentors intuitive healers spiritual teachers psychotherapists and holistic authors as well as her own personal struggles with addiction and recovery. 19 Women of Distinction Julie Jules A. Armstrong Healthcare Metaphysical Healing Life Coach Soaring Eagles Heal Thy Self Surprise AZ W illing to help those who are sincerely ready for change tired and may have reached the end of their rope Julie Jules A. Armstrong Owner and Life Coach of Soaring Eagles Heal Thy Self says that deep down the one thing clients want most is what they are also most afraid of change. They live in fear of losing everything relationships homes jobs and most importantly themselves when in fact by cleansing and clearing their chakras these issues become healthier Jules noted. Preferring to meet at coffee shops or in their homes Jules also accompanies clients on outdoor nature trips. I truly believe this helps to get that real connection Jules explained. I find that most people are more open and honest about how they feel when in a more natural setting. Jules job is to help clean her clients chakras (energy systems in their bodies) and help them realize whatever is needed to change their lives for the better like setting boundaries walking through fears respecting themselves or clearing the wreckage of their past so they can move forward. Sometimes the biggest thing Jules teaches is to forgive themselves as well as love and how to perceive it. Also an RDCS OBMI registered in cardia sonography for many years Jules says it s a great way to continue helping in the traditional ways of medicine but to also help those in need of a more spiritual approach to healing. Jules is registered in Oregon Board Medical Imaging a Certified Hypnotherapist and Yoga Instructor certified in Basic Life Support and ordained through Universal Life Church. She has four beautiful children two sons-in-law and two grandchildren. Q&A Q What are some of the techniques you use A I teach my clients how to meditate to find the answers within. I also use Hatha Yoga as a daily exercise to keep the mind body and spirit in line with the universe and emphasize journaling because if we write things out it helps us see a situation clearer. Q What role does yoga play A Yoga teaches us patience and helps with depression and anxiety which I find most people go through when their energy systems are blocked. Yoga teaches us breath work with movement. When we learn to breathe properly our mental health improves. When our mental health improves we are prone to make better decisions. Q How does meditation help A Meditation is the way we seek our answers from the universe or belief system. We learn to trust our inner thoughts through meditation. Most people think they re very positive. But when you start to peel the layers of your inner self you may find the motives behind your actions are actually coming from a very selfish negative way she said. Once people understand this they can begin the process of change. Jules business got started after relocating to Flagstaff Arizona from New Orleans Louisiana with Leo her former husband. Leo who read the Tarot and taught meditation at the time initially taught Jules how to find a new path after her 15-year 20 previous marriage had ended. Women of Distinction Kristi L. Houska K Education and Secondary English (Middle School) English Teacher for Grand Forks Public Schools (Schroeder Middle School) Grand Forks ND risti L. Houska is the youngest of five siblings in her family. As a child she couldn t wait to go to school like her big brothers and sisters. Her mother was an elementary teacher who provided Kristi with books games music and a love of learning. After graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1984 with majors in English and Latin and a minor in music Kristi was a substitute teacher in Grand Forks for a year and taught individual piano lessons until 1986. From there she taught English and Latin at various schools in the district but she s enjoyed teaching at Schroeder Middle School since 1997. Kristi taught 7th grade English for 14 years and 8th grade English the last five years. We meet at Schroeder and representatives of that group go to the Grand Forks City Hall for the Mayor s Youth Commission once a month. Our students impact our community beyond the walls of Schroeder. It s inspiring to see the level of involvement and passion from these young people in local government. They give me faith that my community will remain strong in the future. She would like to be remembered as someone who made a positive difference. Kind words and actions when said or done at the right time can bring about miracles. Speaking of miracles Kristi happens to be a breast cancer survivor but diligence and early detection are the keys to making such a miracle happen. She also says that she has been carried by an army of prayer angels and warriors. I believe that studying English is so important because whatever job or career a student pursues he or she will need to communicate clearly. Before signing a contract it s important to read the fine print (or in some cases between the lines) and comprehend what is stated. It s important to be an informed citizen. Reading writing speaking and listening are all essential skills in personal and professional lives. Her students are the reason why Kristi has continued teaching after so many years. Helping and watching them grow and succeed has been quite a privilege. My relationship with them and their families and working with some awesome hard-working and understanding colleagues have been factors as well. Just last year Kristi began advising the Schroeder YORS (Youth gaining Opportunities in Recognition and Skills) a student-centered group. Make sure to be vigilant in taking care of yourself. Going in for my annual mammogram may have saved my life twice. I know many survivors who ve been cancer-free for 10 to 25 years or more because of early detection. American Cancer Society s Relay for Life and local Livestrong classes at the Y Family Center have offered hope and support for me and many cancer survivors and caregivers as well. Kristi and Gary her husband of 34 years have two grown daughters a financial analyst and a third-generation teacher. 21 Women of Distinction Lin Wilder DrPH Writing-Medical Crime Fiction Writer Wilder Books Wellington NV L in wilder is a former Hospital Director and presently a self-employed writer who works from her home in northern Nevada. She finds peace and channels her creativity in the remote valley that offers her just the right amount of silence stillness and solitude. She has written throughout her entire adult life but made the switch from nonfiction to fiction in 2006. I found long ago that the best way for me to understand something is to write about it. Lin explains. Writing helps her to better comprehend even the most challenging subjects. When asked about her favorite fiction authors she names Dean Koontz Lee Child Harlen Coben Ben Coes and Stephen Pressfield among many others. Lin loves what she does but cautions aspiring writers to not quit their day job in this intense marketplace. The fact that anyone can publish a book is both good and bad news in the highly competitive 21st century. Lin feels her line of work should be viewed like any other business advising others In the beginning expect to be in the red. Because she had been published extensively in non-fiction Lin expected the switch to fiction to be seamless but found that was far from the case. Her experience with hundreds of rejections from numerous agents was a painful frustrating period. Wilder believes many although not all of her critics were right once she was able to staunch the emotional hemorrhage and make changes accordingly. After years in the industry she has learned the value of a good editor finding that editing is far more than proofreading. Writing is hard work and requires exceptionally thick skin. Once we decide to publish our work we re in the public domain where others can criticize perhaps even in a hurtful way. Wilder states. Prior to her decision to switch to fiction Lin Weeks Wilder had published over 30 articles a textbook of cardiovascular physiology four self-help books as well as a poetic journey of her conversion to Catholicism. Lin s first novel The Fragrance Shed by a Violet was published in July of 2015. The second edition The Fragrance Shed by a Violet Murder in the Medical Center and the sequel Do You Solemnly Swear A Nation of Law-The Dark Side are available for purchase on Amazon. When asked why she chose to create a second edition Lin quotes Chesterton Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly and explains that the multiple errors in the first edition begged to be fixed. The third in her series A Price for Genius was planned for a spring release but was trumped by a nonfiction account of an unplanned surprise non-fiction book Finding the Narrow Path Patterns Faith and Searching the story of Wilder s return to faith is also available at Amazon. A Price for Genius will be released in late October. Her series of medical thrillers are situated in Houston Texas with many references to the local Medical Center where Lin worked for over 23 years. In her free time Lin Wilder enjoys exercising hiking listening to beautiful music gardening and last but certainly not least reading. She is married to a former Marine and psychologist with 25 years of experience counseling ex- combat veterans. They happily reside in Nevada with their two dogs. 22 Women of Distinction Linda Ramsey Moore Employment Staffing Service Owner President and Director of Operations at Dawson Employment Service Inc. Blytheville AK L inda Ramsey Moore s passion for helping others achieve professional success has kept her in the Employment and Staffing Services industry for more than 22 years. After getting her start working for another staffing firm Linda launched Dawson Employment Service in 1997. As Owner President and Director of Operations Linda wears many hats. Taking a highly personalized approach to her work she oversees her own letter correspondence outside sales bookkeeping and hiring of staff members for both her Blytheville and Osceola offices as well as manages day-to-day operations to ensure the company functions at its highest capacity. I remain in my career because of my love for people and my desire to help people maintain a good life for themselves and their families through quality job placements she said. Why settle for less when you could working with the best at Dawson Employment Service We are changing lives throughout Mississippi County and beyond -- one job at a time. For nearly 20 years Dawson Employment Service has built a reputation on honesty quality and value. Linda has overcome challenges to get her business to this level of excellent. Having been faced with vicious competition Linda made her company a cut above the rest by remaining loyal to her clients and the employees she serves. Aside from owning Dawson Employment Service Linda is also a landlord and owns several rental properties in Blytheville Arkansas. For her tireless efforts Linda was honored by the National Association of Professional Women and was inducted into their VIP Woman of the Year Circle for excellence leadership and commitment to her industry while encouraging the achievement of fellow professional women. Community oriented Linda is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Additionally she is a member of the Blytheville and Osceola Chamber of Commerce The Society of Human Resource Management and the Mississippi County Personnel Managers Association. Dawson Employment Service is a certified Minority Business Enterprise with the State of Arkansas. Through her company Linda provides financial support to dozens of local and national organizations such as the American Cancer Society St. Jude & LeBonheur Children s Hospitals Mississippi County Senior Citizens and the Missco Jr. Football League. For the past 12 years Linda and her husband have been volunteering with the Mississippi County Jr. Football League for young players ages 10 to 12 years old. Her husband is the head coach and Linda is the team mom. In her limited free time you will find Linda spending time with her family attending sporting events with her husband children and grandchildren. The biggest lesson I have learned is that in order for any company to truly be successful it takes team work and in the words of Henry Ford coming together was the beginning staying together is the progress and working together is success Linda said. 23 Women of Distinction Lynn Maynor Food Service Supervisor at The Blue & Grey Cafe Moravian College Bethlehem PA L ynn Maynor entered the industry of food service in the year 1998 when she was just a senior in high school. At that time her intentions were to simply make money to pay for her attendance to her prom and purchase any other necessities that would contribute to enjoying the event. To her surprise she would be in and out of this industry for 20 years She sincerely enjoys what she does and claims to have learned something new each time she has returned. As the current Supervisor at The Blue & Grey Cafe located at Moravian College in Bethlehem Pennsylvania Lynn s role is extremely important. She is responsible for supervising the employees on a daily basis to make sure they maintain the cleanliness of their work stations as well as keeping a close eye during food distribution to be sure the food is properly handled in order to eliminate health risks and provide excellent customer service. Lynn is very understanding and fully aware that her work environment can sometimes be hectic so she gives breaks to the employees as needed and always tries to access any issue by guiding coworkers to see the brighter side of a difficult situation. Lynn Maynor names herself as her greatest inspiration. She explains I strive to continue to take leadership classes and help my manager run a great store. She is constantly learning new things and sharpening her skills even though she already has a great deal of experience in her career. She believes that it is imperative to fully absorb each task when starting a job in the food service industry rather than going in blind. She stresses the importance of comprehending exactly what is expected of a person in her field and encourages them to suggest change if they happen to notice room for improvement. Lynn admits to have been given much more responsibility since she first started at the company and is completely capable of going even further than her current position. Never be overzealous in the work environment. She says. Never have delusions of grandeur. We should always be humble no matter how high you climb on the ladder in Corporate America. Lynn is presently working on several products that she has yet to introduce to the market. She names nutrition as her main focus especially after being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis at the age of 24. The disease caused her to lose weight and eventually all of her organs began to fail. During this life threatening time she managed to launch a publishing company from her bed She read many books about her culture and constantly seeks new ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle body and mind. She has given back to her community by volunteering and donating to local food banks and the Salvation Army. Lynn Maynor s admirable strength and perseverance display to people everywhere that if one is willing to put in the effort they will in fact succeed. 24 Marffa Amezcua M Entertainment and Beauty Marketing Promotion and Operation Manager Real Estate Agent Miami Shores FL arffa Amezcua began her successful career in the entertainment industry as an intern for a radio station while she was studying Communications at the University of Xalapa in Mexico. Recognizing Marffa s natural talents the station offered her a full time job which she worked for three years before embarking on her next career move. Marffa relocated to Mexico City to take a job at Warner Music Mexico in the Marketing Department handling Special Product and later National Products. Three years later she made the decision to move state side and freelance for different record labels in logistics and artist development until moving to Los Angeles where she worked in marketing and promotional planning. After 8 years Marffa returned to Miami where she immersed herself in the beauty and real estate Industry. I really believe that every woman has her own reasons motivations and strengths said Marffa. Our roll is not an easy one but we have the universe gave us super powers to be warriors. Every woman has that special light to share. Our job among thousand of more responsibilities is to be channels of light for the world. As Marketing Promotion and Operation Specialist Marffa is in charge of developing and managing a hair care line. This includes customer service and supervising vendors and outside collaborators. As a Real Estate associate her goal is find buyers the home of their dreams. I think the most important message that anyone can share about himself or herself is the effort and the will to enjoy the process to reach our goal she said. Enough is never enough we are desire so we always have to think that we can have it all but this thought has to come from a sharing place not only from the desire to received from ourselves alone. Marffa believes that we are all connected. That is why she is dedicated supporter and student of Kabbalah. Marffa currently residents in Miami with her husband of 16 years Miguel Garrocho who is the Director of Marketing and Promotion for Warner Music Latin. The couple has two children Marffa 10 and Esteban 8. Q&A Q Why Marketing A To create a desire that doesn t exist. Q Why Promotion A After you created the desire you have to tell the people what to get with repetition. Q Why Business Operation A Without a well-set operation department none business can be productive. Q Why Interior Decorator A To live or work in a well-balanced and pretty environment makes people happy and productive. Q Why Real Estate A In Miami the Real Estate business is booming We have to take the opportunity. Opportunities always appear once. Q Why beauty industry A Life pulls me in that direction I took the opportunity and now I love it. Love to see woman transformations physical and spiritual when they see themselves in the mirror and her entire face smile. 25 Women of Distinction Margaret Ann Williams Life coaching mentoring and Construction Management CEO and President of M&W Professional Coaching Services and Civil Engineering Technician at Army Corps of Engineers El Paso TX M argaret Ann Williams has been working for the US Army Corps of Engineers since July 1986. In June of 2015 she decided to enroll in school to become a certified Life Coach and Mentor and launched her own business. This enables Margaret to run her business parttime until her eventual civil service retirement. My thought process is that I can utilize my coaching and mentoring training as well as the knowledge skills and experience I have acquired to assist others in reaching their fullest potential. She explains. She was thrilled to participate with an organization that was responsible for the design and construction of vital infrastructures maintenance of lakes rivers locks dams bridges and national parks. This gave Margaret the opportunity to hold various jobs throughout her career and to travel all over the world. With every new job came a new challenge a new opportunity and a new adventure. She says. When asked to describe her biggest inspiration Margaret names her mother. I owe it all to her. She always told me whatever you decide to be be the best. Her mother s words gave her the push she needed to excel in everything she has set out to do even presently. Margaret believes that people should be willing to step outside of their comfort zone in order to experience life and truly appreciate all of the wonderful things that the world has to offer. Throughout her journey she has visited fascinating places met a tremendous amount of interesting people and has learned valuable lessons all of which have shaped her into the successful woman she is today. Margaret states Having the opportunity to give back by helping others has given my life purpose and meaning. With the Army Corps of Engineers Margaret presently works as a Civil Engineering Technician. She develops task orders for job order contracting as well as processes contract modifications for an ongoing hospital construction project. When she first began her career she worked on a survey boat processing hydrographic data. Once technology evolved she was moved into construction doing quality assurance. Faced with a possible reduction-in-force (RIF) Margaret knew this could result in a possible downgrade job relocation or complete loss of the position so she elected to volunteer in Iraq. Her decision allowed her to gain invaluable experience and expand her network opportunities. After leaving Iraq she worked in Israel as a construction representative for five years. Being a female and a minority in a non-traditional field such as construction was very challenging according to Margaret but it forced her to work stronger harder and with more determination. She learned to adapt to her new role in a foreign country paying close attention to her surroundings and tones mannerisms and body language of her peers. 26 Women of Distinction Mary Ann Cadorna Real Estate Residential& Commercial Global Holding Incorporated San Ramon CA R aising her family in a home full of love and warmth has been one of Mary Ann Cadorna s greatest joys. Having had a successful 20-year long career in business operations and management in the greater San Francisco area Mary Ann took time away from the office to raise her two young sons. With a hard working nature and lifelong love of learning once the boys had grown Mary Ann knew she wanted to help others find the perfect home to raise their own families and entered into the real estate industry. I knew having a home was key to the stability of a family and on that foundation they could build their hopes and dreams she said. It was rewarding and fulfilling for me to achieve and see the American Dream come true for so many First Time Buyers that it became a mission I was truly making a positive difference and I loved and still love taking their dreams higher which married my need to serve community in what I do. Mary Ann s current role as a Realtor at Global Holding Incorporated is unique as she represents both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. Being able to do both is an asset in itself and that helps me take care of all my client s investment needs I m A One Stop Real Estate Shop she said. Being known for conducting my business with high ethics honesty and high integrity having the ability to achieve and placing my clients in the best position possible by negotiating through difficulty with diplomacy is my benchmark. Furthermore having a genuine love for people and at the same time being a producer are the tasks that help me to uphold and honor my client s my brokerage and my industry. Mary Ann s successful track record has made her a sought after public speaker and contributor in her field. Dubbed the Ambassador for real estate and radio she has hosted her own show since 2005. Passionate about uplifting others in her community Mary Ann actively supports the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland as a member of their events Steering Committee Contra Costa & Solano County Food Bank Disabled Veterans and Children s Miracle Network. A major part of Real Estate is in networking belonging to different organizations within the field. As such Mary Ann is a dedicated member of the Northern California Commercial Association of Realtors as Community Outreach & Public Advocacy Chair Bay East Association of Realtors National Association of Realtors California Association of Realtors and formerly with the Contra Costa Association of Realtors Solano Association of Realtors San Joaquin Association of Realtors and San Francisco Association of Realtors. While her business networking groups include the National Association of Professional Women Chapter President of San Mateo and Business Network International. In her free time you can often find Mary Ann volunteering by singing at assisted living facilities care homes senior centers or Kidsfests teaching Country Western Dancing to seniors teaching Arts & Crafts volunteering at various city town and women s organizations. In her spare time working on her websites posting and blogging taking photos or producing and editing videos which can be view at user maryanncadorna Through out it all Mary Ann always put family first. She and her husband were High School Sweethearts and have been together 44 years married 41 years and lovingly raised two wonderful sons now 27 and 34. The kindest legacies I give and will leave the world are my two sons for they are such good honest standup people and gentlemen Mary Ann said. They live the goodness that I ve given them through my heart and transcended that to all the people that I have helped along with my future aspiration is to teach and help. I want to help as many people and families as I can to have a better life by augmenting their income and net worth through my real estate craft. You see Mary Ann believes the greatest success in the world is not just to achieve it for yourself and your family it s when you can help others to achieve the same for theirs 27 Women of Distinction May Davis Advertising Health and Beauty Broadcast Negotiator Owner Operator EssieMae s Essentials Atlanta GA I n 1998 May Davis earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design from the Atlanta College of Art and worked in the casino hotel industry until finding her first advertising sales job in 2001 where she spent the next five years. After that May moved into the area of media buying as an assistant broadcast negotiator and was later promoted to the position of broadcast negotiator for the same agency. I was there for six years before I tried my hand at working specifically for one client at an agency on the west coast. I worked remotely from home for that agency for a year but was then laid off. However a month later I was welcomed back to my previous agency and have been there since. I always say don t burn your bridges because you never know where your life may lead. As a broadcast negotiator May is the liaison between the client and the television radio stations working to get her client the most advertising exposure for the least amount of money as well as ensuring that the ads run as planned and with as much accuracy as possible. Imagine a performer juggling balls while trying to prevent anything from falling. It can be challenging but with experience confidence and some finesse it becomes easier and very fulfilling. May enjoys the relationship building process and is thankful for the relationships she has developed over the past 14 years. I ve met some extremely kind and successful people ranging from station management to those in client services. Her mother s drive persistence and professionalism have greatly inspired May in her career. She instilled those same work ethics in me as I grew older and has always expressed the importance of being a positive source to those around me and passing down life s lessons to the next generation. May has been a member of the Atlanta Broadcast Advertising Club since 2002. The club hosts annual events to help educate members on new trends and happenings in the industry. In addition we provide mentoring programs for college seniors and employment opportunities for recent graduates. We also have events and fundraisers to help raise awareness and money for the prevention and treatment of many illnesses. Aside from her corporate advertising career May is a small business owner with two companies. The first is her essential oils product line called Essie Mae s Essentials . I have a passion for natural remedy healing and natural beauty products so I make skin care and health care products from 100% natural ingredients things like bath scrubs (sugar and salt) lip balms and natural remedy roller balls for specific needs. These products can be found at http She is also a certified travel agent and can save you money on domestic and international travel. This includes discounts on individual or group cruises hotels car rentals and flights. Please visit http mdtravels.paycation. com for more information. May wants everyone to know that with a lot of dedication and hard work you can make things that seem impossible possible. Even though you may get discouraged or things may not have happened the way you thought they should you should always stay focused on your dreams and passions. 28 Women of Distinction Melissa TalleyPalmer E Music- Jazz Audience Development Community Conversations and Event Planning Administrative Assistant Philadelphia Jazz Project Philadelphia PA ngaging the community in arts and education is Melissa Talley-Palmer s lifelong passion. As Administrative Assistant at the Philadelphia Jazz Project Melissa has the opportunity to share her knowledge skills and abilities to inspire others. Melissa s career in the music and event planning industry got off to an unlikely start. In 1997 she found her way to the Village of Arts and Humanities at the recommendation of her community college counselor. There she met H. German Wilson playwright educator and theater director who hired Melissa to tutor teenagers. Over a fifteen-year period she worked as tutor administrative assistant and program manager with the Village of Arts and Humanities Art Sanctuary and now the Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) a special initiative to increase the awareness of and build audiences for Philadelphia Jazz. The organization has impacted more than 12 000 individuals and artists. The staff has collaborated with hundreds of musicians and vocalists as well as produced dozens of events during the past three years. With PJP Melissa is engaged in all aspects of the organization s work. She is directly responsible for maintaining the calendar transcribing and distributing meeting notes screening and directing all calls organizing meetings supervising volunteers marketing events compiling and managing database contacts printing tickets managing sales assisting with payroll processing and so much more. My advice to anyone starting in any industry is to be a great student she said. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and as you learn and grow you are being groomed for where God would have you go next. Community Arts and Education gives gifts that keep on giving. Know that every relationship is a resource and we can all learn from one another. Melissa is a 2015 and 2006 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grantee. Additionally she was awarded the Youth Angel Scholars Arts & Education Service Award and the Most Ancient Grand Court Heroines of Jericho Inc. - Helen I. Blunt Humanitarian Award in 2015. Aspiring to be a vessel for social change in her community and beyond Melissa hopes to travel the world as a public speaker addressing pertinent personal issues of healing from molestation and the need for intergenerational interaction in families of all cultures around storytelling dance and preservation of history. Although I have been a victim of molestation and involved in abusive relationships I continue to survive she said. I am a survivor and I ve supported so many others in their journey to survival. Thus the title of her Leeway Foundation 2006 Art & Change Grant Project is Let Not Your History Be A Mystery - Breaking the Silence of Molestation. My legacy is for my children to know my story and for the cycle to be broken. Melissa resides in Philadelphia with her husband Floyd Palmer Jr. The couple has two sons Matthew and Mark Palmer. All of who have a passion for the arts as lovers of music and dance that they share together through teaching dance classes at the local library community centers and social events. Matthew and Mark are Bop & Cha Cha partners with their mom while dad plays the music. They all worked together to instruct free Bop & Cha Cha classes at the Greater Olney Library in collaboration with North 5th Street Community District Free Library of Philadelphia and the Olney Youth Arts Festival. Consequently Melissa fulfills her mission to encourage intergenerational interaction in the community. Melissa also organized women over age 50 from Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ family to perform song and dance during her 50th birthday celebration. The women s group is called Sisters of Distinction continues to present performances in the community as a result. 29 Women of Distinction Michelle (Dupuis) McAfee Real Estate Realtor - Florida Realty Investments of Central Florida Orlando FL I wanted to help to make their dreams of owning a home come true. So after moving to Florida in October 2014 Michelle became a Realtor with Florida Realty Investments of Central Florida. In this role she sits down with potential buyers who have already been prequalified to discuss what it is they re looking for. At this stage it s time to listen intently to what the buyers are telling you. This can take a few sessions and some tweaking to their search criteria to narrow things down to what they really want. I call this the exploration stage. Michelle and her buyers then start looking at potential homes. This is exciting to my buyers and to me as well. I love seeing the way their eyes light up when we look at different properties. Once they find a property of interest she puts in a contract. If the offer is accepted by the sellers of the property the inspections begin. There is a general inspection a termite inspection and septic inspections (if there s a septic tank). If all goes well the paperwork begins to move toward the actual closing of the home. At closing is when the buyers actually take over the property keys and all. Michelle has been greatly inspired by her mentor Gayle Stanley. A fter working as an administrative assistant for over 25 years Michelle (Dupuis) McAfee wanted to work with people on a more personal level. She s awesome and has taught me everything I know. I ve even taught her a few things along the way. I think it s important to find a great mentor who will be there for you. Her professional affiliations include being a member of the National Association of Realtors Orlando Regional Realtors Association Tampa Board of Realtors Titusville Board of Realtors Greater Orlando Builders Association and multiple networking groups in Central Florida. She is also a sponsor at One Senior Place in Altamonte Springs FL. In her free time Michelle loves spending time with her family. They recently bought a home in Kissimmee FL. I m been married to my husband Andy for 28 years and we have two sons. Andy Jr. is 27-years-old and lives up in Massachusetts with my daughter-in-law Allie and my grandson Owen (who will be 1-year-old in June 2016). Our youngest son Eric is 17-years-old and lives with us in Central Florida and attends Osceola High School. And my mother Muriel has moved in with us since my dad passed away earlier this year. We also have a tabby tiger cat named Chippy who s seven years old. Michelle would like to be remembered as a very compassionate person who enjoys helping people. I d love to know that everyone I ve helped rent or purchase a home is truly happy with their home and their decision to work with me. 30 Women of Distinction Pat Augustus Gilbert M.Ed. Motivational Speaker Life Coach Motivational Speaker Life Coach Creator of MOYA (Making-Over Your Attitude from the Inside Out) East Norriton PA O ver 25 years ago Pat Augustus Gilbert began her journey towards Motivational Speaking and Life Counseling as a Social Services Worker. She became involved in the education field as a teacher and guidance counselor and has completed her public service career as a school administrator. The central theme of her endeavors has always been person-centered experiences. Along with being a Motivational Speaker and Life Coach Pat works as an Independent Contractor for various agencies to support programmatic efforts. M.O.Y.A. (Making-Over Your Attitude from the Inside Out) is a simplistic plan for making concrete changes in life that will impact a person s overall growth and development. M.O.Y.A. offers people the opportunity to assess areas in their lives that warrant change. By working from the inside out she aids others to internally create the change that will enable them to live both a happier and more productive life. Pat explains that her occupation is one that involves a consistent commitment to the cause. In this field you need a strong emotional constitution. It may not be a career that opens doors for tremendous financial opportunity but Pat finds it to be extremely heart-warming and energizing to assist individuals in living their best life possible. She feels it is most rewarding to be contacted by former clients who indicate that her assistance has positively impacted their ability to succeed. Pat s belief in a person-centered approach when interacting wither clients empowers them to make good decisions and develop viable solutions to life s challenges. She doesn t take for granted her ability to foster change and remains focused and grounded. Pat describes that it is sometimes difficult to come to terms with the fact that not everyone wants to or is ready to make changes despite their circumstances. In order to maintain her sanity she reminds herself that the people themselves must first recognize the need for change and become open and willing to prepare for that change. Pat states I live to serve. I was born to serve. She strongly embraces the concept of To whom much is given much is required . She is a sincere advocate for the underserved and gives both her time and fiscal assistance to numerous local and national causes. She has been acknowledged by the East Norriton Township for faithful service as a member of their Planning Commission and was recognized by the Norristown Area School District for serving on various committees and playing an instrumental role in the district s strategic planning process. She has authored various publications which include training and educational curriculums policies and procedures. She has been featured in media forums and is known for her ability to engage audiences. As a devoted wife mother and grandmother Pat loves spending her spare time with family and friends. 31 Women of Distinction Shanta Jugroo Retail Management General Store Manager Family Dollar Jamaica NY I n the late 1990 s Shanta Jugroo was working as a Pharmacy Technician. Assisting the store manager on her free time to better understand the functions of how the store was run she was intrigued by the process. The learning experience had such an impact on her that she went back to school to pursue her Associate s in Business Management and Marketing. That was in 2001. Two years later Shanta had earned her degree and she was ready to move forward in pursuit of a career in retail. Today she is the General Store Manager of Family Dollar in Jamaica New York her dream has finally come true. She loves the challenges that are presented to her in the field and solving everyday puzzles that are in store for her (no pun intended) whether it be budget scheduling merchandising profit and loss even customer issues. Luckily she relies on her strong will and patience which comes in handy almost daily. I never settle for less Shanta said proudly. I always do my best when it comes to company guidelines and I never take shortcuts. I can proudly say that my hard work and determination stand out especially during corporate visits. Shanta knows the importance of never giving up no matter how difficult the task obstacle or deadline. Even when it seems impossible she continues to work toward her goals to make the impossible possible. For Shanta there are no excuses. In 2014 11 years after completing her AA degree Shanta graduated with her BA in Technical Management Operations. She is also a certified Pharmacy Technician Medical Assistant and is certified in Medical Insurance and Billing. Humble and funny Shanta is single and lives at home. Family is very important to her. When she isn t working she likes share her time with family and friends take walks listen to music and read. Q&A Q Why did you choose to work in retail A I started my career in the food industry but I knew I was capable of more so I made the change into retail to challenge myself. Q Why do you continue to work in retail A As I grown each year as a manager I learn that it take lots of patience in this field but I possess patience it s one of my strong skills. Q Do retail stores have a very demanding work environment A Retail requires employees to be passionate strong willed and have patience due to customer needs especially during the holiday season. Q Customers can be unbearable at times how do you cope A To meet customer satisfaction I always listen then make suggestions and offer extra courtesy behaviors to keep them satisfied even if the company is not at fault. Q How do you stay focused A As a manager I try to always remember the four P s 1) Passion 2) Professional Value 3) Personal interest and 4) Pity to make sure all customers are happy and satisfied. 32 Women of Distinction Stacey Brown Metaphysical Alternative Care Psychic Owner of Black Feather Intuition Morrisville NC S tacey Brown has spent most of her life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Suffering from overwhelming anxiety and frequent panic attacks Stacey a talented singer and naturally gifted clairvoyant often stifled her own abilities -- fearing judgment even her own success since she was a young girl. Living by the rules established by society her parents and her faith Stacey wanted to ensure she was making all the right choices. By doing so she avoided change at all cost and lived in a constant state of fight or flight bracing for the next catastrophe. I squashed the rebel within the true me that was fun creative intelligent highly intuitive capable adaptable resourceful imaginative sexy feminine dynamic adventurous and helpful with something unique to contribute Stacey recalled. In my early 30 s my rebel would no longer be contained and through many challenging and invigorating moments I began to love me. That s when the magic really began I learned that these rules set out by others really didn t work out best for me. In fact in spite of what these rules said I was a better judge of what was best for me. The only things I lost in the process were things that weighed me down (fear) and held me back from succeeding in my own personal goals and dreams. Overcoming these setbacks Stacey found her truth and is empowering others to do the same as the inspired owner of Black Feather Intuition. Known as The Black Feather Intuitive Stacey offers highly personalized Vision and Tarot readings Meditation guidance Empowerment coaching and Spiritual advising in person and remotely through her North Carolinabased shop. Using her Inner Guidance compassionate nature and a dash of humor when appropriate she helps others find their truth. During her sessions Stacey wears multiple hats and draws on her past self-doubt and experiences conquering her fears to encourage others to comfortably share their struggles. Helping others live their truth continues to help me live mine both literally and figuratively Stacey explained. What I ve gained is my life back -- my choices my freedom my purpose my voice my soul and my truth. If I can do this anyone can I became a rebel WITH a cause my cause I believe every situation every experience we have in life is an opportunity a gift. It s about becoming aware of why you make your choices and making ones that feel right for you regardless of the opinions or rules of others. Stacey was not always so vocal about her unique gifts. While she has always been highly psychic and intuitive growing up in a religious family Stacey initially was fearful of her abilities. She remained drawn to the metaphysical and once she left for University she started seeing psychics and tarot readers who encouraged her to enter into the field. I dabbled but approached it from an intellectual headspace rather than from my heart she recalled. I figured I just wasn t cut out for it. I didn t have enough confidence or self-esteem to believe them. I always felt something brewing under my surface but didn t believe I was worthy enough to compare myself to these amazing people with such a divine gift. At 35 Stacey met her now husband who inspired her to continue on her metaphysical journey. Stacey began attending seminars and psychic fairs. There she met her mentor Elizabeth Rouse. 33 Women of Distinction In my first session she had me give her a reading using my clairvoyance and a deck of tarot cards I d never seen before. I was terrified But I figured what have I got to lose When I was finished she validated everything I shared Stacey said. I went home feeling like a kid at Christmas All the experiences I d had in my life up to that point suddenly made perfect sense...everything happened to bring me here to my purpose. Now successful in her field and living her truth Stacey is happily married and residing in North Carolina with her stepdaughters and their beloved dogs affectionately called furbabies Bear and Casper. In her spare time Stacey volunteers for the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship and participates with the OLLI program through Duke University. Passionate about empowering others to trust and rely on their Inner Guidance she presents lectures at the renowned Body Mind Spirit Expo and is the creator behind several guided meditations called the Wings Series. Recently she finished her first book called Teen Superpower IG Demystify your Inner Guidance using Tarot. Most of all Stacey encourages others to pursue their dreams no matter what others say. Q&A Q Why would someone seek out a Psychic for guidance A Having a neutral third party tuned into your inner guidance is like having a key to your subconscious validation for what is already within you. Psychics can help with both the daily and the big life-altering challenges as we give a different perspective for you to work with. Think of a psychic reading as mental mouthwash a tool that once used leaves you with a fresh perspective Q Have you ever had a client that had a bad reading A Yes and no. Yes I have on rare occasion had a person leave my space feeling confused or angry about a message given. Does that make it a bad reading Not necessarily. Psychic readings are subject to the receiver s interpretation of the information. Sometimes people aren t ready to hear the truth They seek out psychics to give them answers they want to hear not the truth. We only tune in to your inner guidance pass along the message relay what we are given. Please don t shoot the messenger Q If you had to do it over again would you have started learning when you were first told you should be doing readings A I believe there is a reason for everything that happens in this life. What we perceive and judge as good or bad can actually be more helpful if seen through the gift filter what is the gift in all of this What is the message or lesson to be learned For me I needed to go through the process of peeling away the layers of fear pain self-doubt lack and beliefs that weren t my own or didn t serve my best interests in order to discover and embrace my true self. Q What do you like best about the work you do A Helping people make sense of the rough stuff and how to channel it for positive change in their lives. Life doesn t need to happen to you. It can happen with and for you. There is value in each and every one of our struggles even though it doesn t often feel like that while you re neck-deep in it. I also enjoy being able to deliver needed messages and information with a loving heart a gentle tongue and a little humour I m deeply honoured to participate in people s lives in such an intimate way. Q If there were one thing you could have readers take away from this article what would it be A Life is a series of ups and downs with roadblocks detours and traffic jams along the way. When you run into these hazards I would encourage you to seriously consider this type of service as another tool to help you get where you want to be Psychics are guides and catalysts for healing providing a valuable service to humanity an untapped resource to give you a different perspective to work with to offer options and choices and help you find your path. Follow your heart trust your intuition. Stacey said. I am grateful for these gifts and I make it my mission to pass along these feathers of wisdom to all who can benefit. 34 Women of Distinction Tamika Gant Hospitality General Manager - Home2 Suites by Hilton- Global Management & Investments McDonough GA T amika Gant has been growing with the Hilton brand in various roles at different properties since 2004 starting with a position as a Front Desk Agent at the Hilton Garden Inn in Colonial Heights VA. She was greatly inspired by Michelle Sarr who hired Tamika to be on her team in 2004 and Michelle is now a Regional Director of Operations. Michelle has been there for me giving me great advice and has supported me along the way. Today Tamika is the General Manager of Hilton s Home2 Suites in McDonough GA. In this role she is responsible for overseeing the operations of the property which involves maximizing revenue accounting payroll ordering supplies interviewing hiring sales and marketing handling guest complaints leading a team to success and providing excellent customer service. Q&A Q How are you able to handle the pressures of work and home A I m very patient and know what I have to do and why I m doing this but having good time management skills plays a large role in handling pressure. Q Does the hospitality field require a higher level of education A You don t need a degree to be in hospitality but it would help because you can find a better position with a higher salary. Q Are there any training courses required to stay in this field A That depends on where you work but Hilton has tons of training classes webinars conferences and online training modules. Your learning experience has no expiration date with this brand. Q Do you see a decline in this field anytime soon A No I don t think there will ever be a decline in this field because people will always need a hotel room to stay in. Q Have you ever met any celebrities who were staying at your hotel A Yes I ve met a great amount of stars. Q Do you receive discounts to stay at other hotels A Yes that s another perk I enjoy as an employee of a Hilton brand. Q Do you see yourself in the hospitality field in five years A Yes I sure do and if I ever get the chance I d like to open my own hotel. Q How many brands are listed under Hilton A Currently there are 13 brands listed under Hilton but there may be more in the near future. I would have to say that the guests and the employees have kept me in my career for so long because you meet so many different people and never know what connections you ll make or how many lives you ll touch. In addition Tamika is currently working on earning a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at Ashford University. For this single mother of two failure has never been an option and she believes that it shouldn t be an option for anyone else either. I would like to be remembered for my willingness to never give up no matter what roadblocks I encountered along the way. 35 Women of Distinction Dr. Tyra Denee Lewis Education - Business Leadership Founder and President of TL Executive Leadership (Tyra Lewis LLC) West Henrietta NY fter an unfortunate experience with a disparaging high school teacher who made her feel useless and unworthy Dr. Tyra Denee Lewis became motivated in 1976 to help others. She told me that I was too stupid to be a teacher and should set my sights on a more realistic career for myself such as waiting tables or working in custodial services. While there s nothing wrong with those careers I had a dream and a passion that came close to being snuffed out by an arbitrary ignorant and insensitive comment from an authority figure who had been charged with helping me to become the best me I could become. This experience propelled me into a yearning to dedicate my life to supporting empowering and championing for the underdog. In my earlier years that role was focused mainly on youth however today I mostly work with women. As Founder and President of TL Executive Leadership Tyra thrives on connecting with others and helping them develop the potential within themselves. A (Tyra followed in her footsteps by earning her Ph.D. in 2009.) Dr. Webb also navigated a bad marriage that ended in divorce leading to her successfully raising three children as a single working mother before this became the norm. She later made history again in 1980 when she was appointed the first African-American Woman to sit on the New York State Commission of Corrections. Her list of achievements goes on to include various positions within professional social and religious organizations such as President of the NYS Migrant Association NYS Board of Regents and Local Councilwoman. I was fortunate to grow up watching how giving accepting loving graceful and humble she is to everyone throughout it all. She is now 84 and continues to be a consummate professional and models the importance of lifelong learning by remaining an active committee member in several organizations and attending workshops and conferences as well as keeping up with her field. Tyra has overcome great challenges and succeeded her expectations of what she could accomplish in life. You have a choice to ignore authority or popular opinion that denounces or belittles you or your ideas as well. I was told that I was too stupid to be a teacher yet years later I stood with the President of the United States being acknowledged as one of the best in the nation. My story can be your story. It won t be easy but there are people such as myself who work tirelessly to be the keeper of your dreams and help you achieve the success that you d like to have. Why Because someone has to be the keeper of others dreams and help make those dreams come to life. Why not me She would like to leave the world with a method for empowering better co-existence with P.R.I.D.E. This is an acronym for Promoting self-reflection and personal growth Reinforcing positive behavior and action Inspiring others to tap into their inherent leadership Developing individual strength and nurturing relationships and Excellence through continuous education. I ve met so many great people who are stuck in a detrimental mindset position or relationship (often with themselves) that limits their ability to move forward and step into their own greatness. Her mother Dr. Katharine Webb has been Tyra s greatest professional and personal inspiration. As an African-American woman born in 1931 Dr. Webb managed to successfully pioneer her way through many professional and personal challenges throughout her life. She was the first in her family to complete high school and subsequently completed a B.A. two M.S. and a Ph.D. degree. Earning a Ph.D. put her in the history books as the very first African-American to receive the highest degree from Indiana State University. 36 Women of Distinction Q&A Q How does coaching help people A Coaching helps people by providing a mirror for reflection a sounding board and support through accountability in order to achieve goals. Q What is the difference between group coaching and individual coaching A Group coaching leverages the time of the coach to provide a less customized and therefore lower cost solution. Conversely individual coaching is a one-on-one proposition with focused attention on the individual and their needs. Q When is individual coaching the best option A Individual coaching is the best option when you re interested in moving quickly from your specific point of pain to a solution or have availability constraints. It s the right choice for individuals who have the resources to not only invest in the coaching but also to implement the solution. It s also the best option if you have sensitive information that you would prefer not to be shared. Q When is group coaching the best option A Group coaching is your best option if you have limited resources for investment and solution implementation. The group provides additional input as well as additional resources that can be pooled to support you as you move forward. Q When is hiring a professional speaker for your live event the best option A Hiring a professional speaker for your live event is the best option when you re aiming for high impact have a medium to large audience and are interested in providing added value to your event through outside resources. Q When is hiring a professional speaker for your virtual event the best option A Hiring a professional speaker for your virtual event is the best option if you re interested in providing high quality content and delivery and increased impact to your audience. It s a smart way to save on economic administrative and environmental resources as well. Q How can you evaluate if your investment in coaching will be a good one A To best evaluate if an investment in coaching will be a good one you need to look at what your current and future costs are for staying where you are and feeling stuck or anything less than happy and content in that place. Q What is the best way to work with you A The best way to work with me will depend on where you are at and where you d like to go. I have various options that include speaking coaching and training. If you re an individual then the coaching or training options will most likely be the best entry level. If you work with a group then having me speak to the group might be the best way to begin our relationship. Either way I do offer complimentary 15 minute get acquainted calls to determine how to best serve your needs. You re welcome to sign up for one at www.tyralewis. com. 37 Women of Distinction Virginia Vaplon Goerger Photography Flower arrangement Owner of Virginia s Photos and Flowers Wyndmere ND irginia Vaplon Goerger owner of Virginia s Photos and Flowers is a talented photographer and flower arrangement designer. At her Wyndmere North Dakota business Virginia specializes in capturing life s most memorable moments at weddings graduations special occasions and community events. Blessed with a keen artist eye Virginia s passion for photography is a part of her DNA. Her father Conrad a farmer by trade founded as part of a group the Lidgerwood Camera Club in 1954. He constructed a darkroom in the family s farmhouse and launched a home-based photography business. Following in her father s footsteps Virginia joined the club in 1958 and began working with him as a teenager. In 1967 she founded her own home-based photography businesses and has since been taking photos of weddings and special events in a rural area covering more than 100 miles. In 1987 she added the flower arraignment component of her business to provide her clients with a complete package on their special day. Virginia credits hard work to the success of her business. While there have been noticeable changes in technology and equipment in the past several decades Virginia s tireless efforts and ability to adapt continue to make her a sought after photographer and flower designer. She encourages aspiring photographers to be patient. Community oriented Virginia uses her talents as a platform to preserve her town s legacy. She keeps the camera club going strong hosting workshops. Over the years she has served as an officer and is now president of the organizations. She has penned three history books about her community which included her photography and has contributed photos to several other history books. Virginia is also a longtime tour guide for the National Landmark Historical Bagg Bonanza Farm and has been a judge for fairs in Minnesota South Dakota and North Dakota for three decades. V Virginia also volunteers her time as a spiritual minister at St. Catherine s Living Center and for the past 30 years has promoted the arts in southeast North Dakota as an officer of a Community Theater. She shares her talents as an educator teaching classes to younger 4-H groups and schools. For her contributions Virginia was awarded the G.K. Haukebo Historic Resource Award the 1989 Community Leadership Award the 1990 4-H Alumni Award and a 1990 Achievement Award for a North Dakota Outstanding Woman-Owned Business. Virginia holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from North Dakota State College of Science. She has three children and seven grandchildren and two wonderful great grandchildren. Q&A Q Is there a challenge for you in photo work A Yes I feel I am not qualified to do computer work to change photos. Q Do you plan a retirement of your business A I feel if I can be of service to the community i will be of service and available Q Would you encourage anyone to do your business A I have given many young people advice in the starting a homebased business. Q Do you need a lot of education to be a photographer and flower designer A No your main education is experience and being a natural artist. Q What makes you stay in business A The flexibility of having home-based work and need in a small community. Q What is the biggest challenge working with fresh flowers A It is a challenge if the customer wants a flower design in certain fresh flower in a short time. Q Where do you get your flowers A I can order fresh flowers from many wholesale places in the USA and I have a local one about 60 miles. Q Have you had to turn down a job A Yes sometimes the order is not possible to fill. I have served the community giving photos for the people and history used in the books of which I was part of making Virginia said. I feel my legacy will be a service to making books of my photos in historical events. 38 Women of Distinction Chelsea Szabo Life Coaching Life and Career Coach CPC Verbal Courage Santa Monica CA s a Life Coach and Founder of Verbal Courage Chelsea Szabo helps professional women get crystal clear about what they want and help them use the natural power of their voice to create exciting opportunities that empower their vision. A Q&A Q Who do you coach and what type of challenges do they bring to you A I coach success career-driven women. These women range from lawyers and physicians to advertising and marketing professionals. Some of the challenges these women experience are centered on confidence life and work balance speaking up navigating a fulfilling career path and building meaningful relationships. Q What is the biggest challenge to someone finding their voice A The past. Typically after a session or two my clients connect their inability to share their truth to limitations their past has created for them. Common threads have been clients learning as children that if they speak up they are being rude or disrespectful. Others were taught to put others before themselves. I give women tools to reprogram their wiring (or conditioned personality) and speak up in a way that respects others and honors their own needs and wants. Q How do you differ from a therapist A I take my clients from functional to optimal versus nonfunctional to functional. wanted to work with functional people and help them become optimal. I don t diagnose my clients I view them as whole perfect and complete. The last distinction is rather than serving as an expert my coaching sessions are about collaboration and tapping into the client s wisdom experiences and knowledge guiding them from that space toward the change they deeply desire. I take clients on a 360-degree journey to heal their voice confidence and sense of self. Additionally my clients experience increase feelings of inner peace and a sense of calm about making clear decisions Chelsea said. It takes courage to create personal change. Lasting courage and confidence requires going deep and freeing yourself from the past. It s a process of revealing what already exists within you versus learning and forcing unnatural and uncomfortable behaviors that don t feel aligned with your values or personality. Verbal Courage is about honest and smart speaking. It s about getting to the core of what clients really want to say and then sharing their message in a way that others feel respected heard and valued. Chelsea s 10-year journey as a sales and advertising pro (with significant health obstacles along the way) and experiences as a sought after personal life coach give her deep insights into the minds and hearts of professional women who are overcoming challenges trying hard to have it all. Receiving her certification through the International Coach Federation accredited training program at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching Chelsea is also a Certified Energy Leadership IndexTM Master Practitioner. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and toddler son who are the center of her world and the reason for her coaching success. 39 Women of Distinction Carolyn Pistone Commercial Real Estate & Property Management President and Managing Director at Clear Blue Commercial Petaluma CA C arolyn Pistone is the Founder President and Managing Director at Clear Blue Commercial located in Petaluma CA. Clear Blue Commercial is a certified woman-owned business and a Bay Area Green Business. Clear Blue received its B-Corp certification and was voted Best Green Business by Northbay Biz Magazine as well as a Community Philanthropy Award. She is a committed Earthling dedicated to saving the planet using her real estate license She is a proud REALTOR EcoBroker and Certified Green Building Professional . These experiences have led her to work to build a supportive innovative and collaborative environment for clients vendors team members and even the planet to thrive. Alongside her talented team and business partner husband Marty Pistone Carolyn applies a holistic and sustainable approach to all facets of the life of a property. She provides the vision directs the overall activities and productivity of her business. For the past three years Carolyn has worked to build Clear Blue Commercial but has been involved in the Real Estate industry for more than 20 years. She believes that she has learned from every step as she studied areas that intrigued her accepted jobs as opportunities were offered to her and lent a helping hand to causes that she deeply cared about. She has strived to create maximum positive impact in her office community and in the lives around her. It is her lofty ambition that Carolyn says has really kept her going. One of the most memorable achievements since opening Clear Blue Commercial occurred in October of 2015 when they teamed up with Daily Acts to organize the largest peaceful lawn transformation on record Mulchstock for which they received a certificate of recognition from the California State Assembly. With the hard work of nearly 150 volunteers along with donations of mulch and materials from local companies Clear Blue was able to transform 64 000 square feet of turf into mulch covered soil making it ready for drought resistant plants. During a time of record-breaking drought this single day of community engagement saved 1.6 million gallons of water Clear Blue Commercial is a sustaining member of Daily Acts and have committed to donating 5 000 over the next five years. Carolyn is a board member of the environmental committee of the Sonoma County Alliance as well as a Monthly Breakfast Facilitator for the San Francisco NAWBO. Through her company s affiliation with numerous community groups she has contributed to changing lives by distributing charitable donations throughout Petaluma to enhance the quality of life. Carolyn is a founding member of REBSEA (Real Estate and Business Social Enterprises Association) an organization which makes it possible for nonprofit organizations to make connections for direct fundraising giving the consumers the choice of engaging in business with Real Estate Agents and businesses who give back to the communities they serve. Carolyn s greatest dream is to lead a life that sets an example to others. She hopes to someday be remembered for her generosity kind heart and patience in all areas of her life as a great friend loving daughter and sister and devoted wife and mother. Carolyn states Life is not worth living without a sense of humor humility and gratitude. 40 Women of Distinction Sandee Jene Retail Jewelry Design and Sales MyCarolAnne Artisan Jewelry Owner Phoenix AZ S andee Jene owner of MyCarolAnne Artisan Jewelry designs and creates jewelry that helps women feel beautiful in casual wear a business suit or an evening out. Her pendants necklaces and earrings are handcrafted using natural minerals and precious metals and can be purchased through her online store www.MyCarolAnne. com. MyCarolAnne was established in February of 2014. The name honors Sandee s two oldest daughters who have passed away. Sandee has been learning her craft since 1998. Passionate about serving her community Sandee is a member of the local Maricopa Lapidary Society where she served as the President for three years. Additionally she is a member of Arizona Small Business Association and the Business & Professional Women of Arizona. She volunteers her time as secretary for a non-profit and a treasurer to two more non-profits -- one local and one on the state level. Sandee regularly shares her expertise teaching jewelry classes and piano lessons. I attended a Gem show in Phoenix and one of the vendors was wire wrapping a cabochon and I stared at him until he ask me if I would like to learn she said. I said a resounding yes and took his three day (8 hour a day) training course. From there I was hooked. I love designing and creating beautiful jewelry. I never get tired or run out of ideas. There are so many more techniques I want to learn and try. I could live two life times and never get bored. Sandee holds an Accounting Degree from Illinois Commercial College. Prior to opening MyCarolAnne Sandee owned an accounting business for five years. I am teaching others the love and passion I have in learning new and different techniques to inspire and challenge always new ideas she said. For her talents and contributions Sandee has been named to the Who s Who Directory earned the Woman of Outstanding Leadership Award from The International Women s Leadership Association the Woman of the Year from the National Association of Professional Women and was appointed Charter President and Charter Board Chair by Women of Today. Sandee s late daughters gave her five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Her youngest daughter her husband and their children complete Sandee s family. GOD gave me my talent but my family encourages me and keeps me going when I run out of energy she said. My professional accounting background has taught me organization and principles for learning Sandee said. I have applied this to the designing and creation of my jewelry. 41 Women of Distinction Women of Distinction Team WDM Jennifer Hardy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Holli M. Narvaez EDITOR LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Mongonia Anne Silar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Helene Kaye Women of Distinction 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 May Davis Advertising Health and Beauty Broadcast Negotiator Owner Operator EssieMae s Essentials 43 Women of Distinction 44 Women of Distinction