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Above the Rim

NBA marketer Ashley Austin on getting outside your comfort zone


Ashley Austin Marketing Manager, Phoenix Suns



Contents July • August 2019

Owned & Operated by Women’s Association, LLC Mailing Address: PO 3908 Suwanee, GA 30024 Editorial Contributing Writer: Kate Pittman 214.558.0295

Above the Rim

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Founder’s Corner You can Be, Have and Do anything you set your mind to


To Ohio with love Old German Village hosts the ladies of Lead Up

Advisory Board

28 30

Make Manifestation Your Dream Life; Your Mantra


Philly panelists delivered sound advice from “The Vault” Insights from the City of Brotherly Love

Lead Up for Women in Boston Step Up, be a Badass and write your story!


22 How to Awaken and Nourish Your Dreams

10 Tips to Strengthen Your Manifestation Power



24 The makeup of an athleteturned-beauty queen-turnedbusiness powerhouse

26 How living with Fibromyalgia can be pain-free

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Founders Corner

You can Be, Have and Do anything you set your mind to We are traveling the country educating women of all diversity, race and culture about Lead Up for Women, and how our community of strong women and powerhouse leaders are now thriving. How did they do it? They did it through realizing that with purposefully supporting each other for what we all need and what we can all offer is the greatest community of all. We are hard at work every day spreading the word about what Lead Up means to everyone we meet. 4

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If you are stuck in your business and need advice on how to move forward, gain clarity, momentum or want to make more money, reach out to one of our experts to guide you. I know we all struggle at some point in our life. That is why Lead Up for women was formed. You do not have to struggle alone anymore. If you feel sadness, let stories from our survivors lift you. If you are stuck in your business and need advice on how to move forward, gain clarity, momentum or want to make more money, reach out to one of our experts to guide you. Reach out to me directly to coach you one-on-one. We are stronger as a community and you are not meant to figure out life alone. We have unlimited platforms and communication opportunities for you to achieve what you are seeking through our community. We have been blessed to touch so many women’s lives through our monthly luncheons, which have been held in six states to date. We have three more cities to visit and many more lives to impact left this year. We are hard at work planning our next Luncheon in Nashville, Tennessee. We are looking forward to bringing our “Mastermind Retreats” and annual conference to hundreds of you in the coming months and years. In June, we launched our webinar series—#Teaching Tuesday—as an additional resource for our members. RSVP now to join us for one hour, one day a month, to learn from one of our member experts. Did you know that as a Lead Up for Women member you can market your business and talents to other members

via a Zoom Conference Call? What better way to give back through your teachings of what makes you so uniquely awesome? Have you tuned in to our radio show—”Lead Up for Women: Speak Up to Lead Up” yet? It is already VoiceAmerica’s fastest growing new segment, leading the way for their “Women Series” on the Empowerment Channel. Each week, we interview the bold “Corporate America” survivors, influential women leaders, entrepreneurs and those who can teach us how to laugh and love ourselves for exactly who we are. We invite you to be inspired to lead without permission through the inspiration of our guests’ stories of overcoming adversity, how they win in business, and their celebrations of life in their community and personal lives. If you missed a live show, no worries, we stream live on our Lead Up for Women Facebook page. Every show is “On Demand” because we realize that as women, we are busy, so listening on our terms and on our time is a must. We are passionate and focused on what we can do to Connect, Influence and Lead every woman and know we all long to belong and to have a community that accepts and celebrates our identities. We have worked diligently to create an organization for you and all women looking to lead without permission, be the badass leader that you know

you are, and gain the courage and confidence through the strong support of our group of women so you can live your best life. We are here to show you how to tap into your greatest power—you. You are the only you who has ever been and the only you who will ever be. Be you and be strong, because you are brilliant and the world needs you. We align with this so much, but it means nothing if you don’t hold yourself accountable on a daily basis through concrete daily actions. Those choices make or break us. All of the members of Lead Up for Women are here to offer you support and sisterhood to leading your best life and the journey starts today. What are you waiting for? Join us.

Colleen Biggs

Lead Up for Women


Advisory Board

Lauren Albrecht

Marilyn Brennan

Strategic Account Specialist LATICRETE International, Inc.

Associate Director of Business Development American/Interstate Signcrafters

Founder SBB Life Coaching

Dr. Tammy Bialek

Isyol Cabrera

Aly Chally

Founder Bialek Chiropractic

Director of Design and Construction FOCUS BRANDS

Manager, Store Planning and Design Aaron’s, Inc.

Rebecca Easton

Jennifer Grieser

Gina Noda

Founder Easton Law, PLLC


Founder & Principal Consultant Connect Source Consulting Group, LLC

Sawrie Becker

Shannon Polvino PR and Account Manager Insight International LLC


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Rebecca Easton

Easton Law, PLLC 9221 East Baseline Road Suite 109 #412 Mesa, Arizona 85209


I've owned my own firm in Eastmark since July 2018, and I practice estate planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney), and work with small businesses and non-profits.


Lead Up for Women hits the radio waves every week Whomever makes the statement that endless opportunity don’t exist needs to stop limiting themselves by the beliefs that exist between their ears. Our goal with Lead Up for Women is to empower as many women as we can to be the best version of themselves. Having a radio station allows us to do just that. VoiceAmerica™ is the single largest producer of original internet talk radio programming in the world, with unparalleled scope and reach, which is why we teamed up with them. On March 27, 2019, we launched “Speak Up to Lead Up” with Host Colleen Biggs. Are you ready to lead without permission and take the steps needed to live your best life? Whether you want to start the business of your dreams, learn the steps you need to take so you can “love” what you do, or celebrate your present and future accomplishments, our radio show help take you there. Each episode dives into deeper subjects as we interview weekly guests who have already

walked in your shoes. Let the experts guide you for a clearer path to your most successful future. Our show is the perfect platform for all of our members to advertise their businesses, network and hear about upcoming events. We also recap of all of our monthly luncheons around the nation. With millions of listeners, we have the opportunity to pioneer change for women today, as well as in the future. We invite you to tune in to “Lead Up for Women: Speak Up to Lead Up,” as we celebrate the influence of women in business and beyond. Colleen speaks with guests who have stories to share, have faced adversity and are bona fide success stories in business, their communities and personal accomplishments. Join the strong and the brilliant ones and understand that the world is ready for you to be at your best. Listen to “Lead Up for Women” live every Wednesday at 1 p.m. (EST) or 10 a.m. (PST) on the VoiceAmericaTM Empowerment Channel. Visit our website at or visit show/3872/lead-up-for-women-speak-up-to-lead-up to bookmark the show and listen live each week. Do you have someone in mind that you feel would be a great interview on the show? Do you have a mentor, coach or sponsor? Have you been inspired by an amazing leader, entrepreneur, employer or friend? If so, we want to hear from you.

Please submit their name(s), contact information and why you feel they would be the perfect guest for the show to As the world’s largest producer of Internet talk radio programming, VoiceAmerica™ can put your brand in front of millions of active listeners. If you are interested in getting our name out to millions of listeners, contact Tacy Trump, Executive Producer of VoiceAmerica™ or 480.294.6421 for sponsorship package pricing.

Sponsorship Rates Full


» 13-week sponsorship of show series » 30-second spot (production included) played 6 times (3 during live broadcast and 3 during rebroadcast) » 30-60 second video spot (content must be provided) » Banner ad on weekly eCard » Opening & closing billboards on show » One live mention by host » Banner ad on host page » Banner ad on host personal/business website » Possible guest appearance by key person within company (subject to host approval)

» 13-week sponsorship of show series » 30-second spot (production not included) played 2 times (1 during live broadcast and 1 during rebroadcast) » One live mention by host » Banner ad on host page » Banner ad on host personal/business website » Possible guest appearance by key person within company (subject to host approval)


Optional Advertising for Half and Quarter Sponsors

» 13-week sponsorship of show series » 30-second spot (production not included) played 4 times (2 during live broadcast and 2 during rebroadcast) » One live mention by host » Banner ad on host page » Banner ad on host personal/business website » Possible guest appearance by key person within company (subject to host approval)

» 13-week sponsorship of show series » Audio commercial production » 30-60 second video (content must be provided) » eCard banner ad

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Above the Rim NBA marketer Ashley Austin on getting outside your comfort zone Give us a snapshot of The Phoenix Suns brand and industry? I am the Marketing Manager of the Phoenix Suns, a professional sports team with the National Basketball Association (NBA). I manage the advertising campaigns and media buying agency relationship, work on multicultural and inclusion activations, and lead our event strategy, which promotes awareness and engages our fans.

Tell us what makes the Suns such a unique brand? The Suns were the first professional sports team in the valley (the franchise began in 1968) and we are the only team in our (Western Conference Pacific) division not based in California. Phoenix also has one of the original franchise WNBA teams, the Phoenix Mercury, which is a remarkable achievement and shows how much growth has taken place in professional sports.

What type of consumer/client are you targeting? We typically target sports fans and basketball enthusiast in the Phoenix market.

What strategies have you applied to become successful in your company? I strive to always collaborate and be a team player— whether that is within the marketing department or

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I consistently make time to learn more and more about my industry. As technology is changing, the way we market and consume information often. across other departments. And I am always looking to grow and learn more. So I stay on top of the trends in the market by taking courses/seminars and reading up on the business, often through business journals. This allows me to share and help my team grow as well. Attending games often also enables me to look at the games from a different vantage point, to see what catches our fans’ attention outside of the game and other areas that we could improve from a marketing standpoint. 12

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What hurdles have you overcome being a woman in business? Generally, in my career, I would say one hurdle that consistently stands out is being underestimated. In the past, others have doubted my ability to complete a task or fulfill my role and responsibilities on just an average level. Quite often, they would be surprised at not just my high level of performance, but also how I was able to successfully go above and beyond, thereby exceeding their expectations by a long shot.

To insure that I am not put into a “box” of limited expectations, I always make sure that I showcase my skillset outside of the “box” that others have tried to place me in. Providing added value beyond others scope of myself has allowed me to take on additional projects and tasks that I would have otherwise been overlooked to handle.

What do you do to give back? I often participate in community service initiatives with my local July-August 2019

sorority chapter Delta Beta Omega of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I also am a member of Off the Field Players’ Wives Association, where I support our social media strategies.

What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead? Finding the best way to utilize my expertise to serve on the board of a non-profit organization lending my marketing skills.

What is your method to stay connected with other women in business? I make it a point to attend networking events, and attend local industry organizations seminars and discussions as much as I can. I enjoy attending ANA (Association of National Advertisers), AMA (American Marketing Association) or WISE (Women In Sports and Events) local events. I also make sure that I am still staying in contact with others in my network, whether that is catching up over the phone

or grabbing coffee with them as our schedule allows.

What mentors, sponsors, coaches have played an important role in your success? Mentorship has been and continues to be a critical component of my growth and development throughout my career. I can honestly say I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for my personal board of directors. My mother, Paula Davis-Hodgkin, was and still is instrumental to my Lead Up for Women


success, as well as my mentor, Dr. Kimberly Weatherly, who was the Director of Student Leadership & Involvement when I attended Lewis University. It’s beneficial to have someone—or even multiple people— further in their career who can offer advice on how to best navigate the terrain. Regardless of if you decide to work in corporate America or become an entrepreneur, it’s vital to have a group of individuals you can bounce ideas off of and offer a different perspective.

How do you stay current with today’s trends? I consistently make time to learn more and more about my industry. As technology is changing, the way we market and consume information often. So I typically attend workshops, webinars/ seminars, courses and read business journals daily.

Generally, in my career, I would say one hurdle that consistently stands out is being underestimated.

What’s the biggest item on your to-do list right now? There are actually quite a few. Right now, I am mainly planning for the upcoming season and developing media strategies/plans, multicultural and inclusion initiatives along with our street team events that align with our company and league goals.

What’s the most rewarding part of your career? Having the opportunity to see an idea or concept grow and become executed into a full campaign. We have an in-house creative and content team who can create and develop our ideas, which is great to see everything come together. The fact that I can see the work of our team out in the market is exhilarating. There is nothing like driving home on the expressway and seeing a billboard that you placed there. Or watching TV and seeing a commercial you worked on run on your favorite show. Also, having the chance to work for a professional sports team allows you to witness a part of history. 14 Lead Up for Women

Describe a typical day. Every day is different, so it’s hard to just describe a typical day. That’s one of the reasons I love what I do. But I would say I usually talk with our advertising agency on how our media campaigns are performing, attend department meetings, and create marketing/media plans that focus on an upcoming initiative or a specific goal—whether that is focusing on

building brand awareness, ticket sales or a multicultural initiative.

What is your secret to success? I am coachable and have always been willing to grow and take constructive criticism. That, on top of being disciplined, consistent and being a hard worker who is always willing to collaborate with others, has been my secret sauce to success. July-August 2019

One-on-One with... Ashley Austin Marketing Manager

Tell us about your family? A wife, I am married to former NFL player, actor, entrepreneur and FCFL co-founder Ray Austin. We live in Arizona with our dog, Devereaux.

before me and paved the way for me to be able to be where I am today. This includes my mother, as without her or the sacrifices that they made I would not be where I am today.

How do you balance your health, family and career?

What are your strongest traits as a leader? What traits of other leaders inspire you?

I keep a tight schedule, so my planner is my bible, which I live by day to day. Also, I insure that I am present in the moment with wherever I am at that time. So if I am at work, that is where my focus and attention lies. But if I am with my family, I make sure they have my undivided attention as well. To keep my health in order, I primarily eat a vegetarian-based diet. My husband and I also workout every morning at 5 a.m. I also schedule all of our doctors’ appointments and check-ups far in advance, and honor them to insure my health stays in good standing at least within in my control.

I don’t just lead; I serve and listen to the needs and concerns of my team. Also, I pride myself in being honest, a strong communicator and taking accountability.

What motivates you every day? My mother, who passed away last year of cancer. Seeing her deal and come to terms with her life and still kick ass along the way has motivated me to live my best life and to push forward even when I feel like I cannot. We only live once, so I try to make the most out of each day and push myself beyond my self-imposed limits.

What book are you reading now? “Abundance Now” by Lisa Nichols. It’s a great book that I highly recommend.

What are your favorite hobbies? There are a few things that I enjoy. Of course, I love to attend sporting events. But I also love reading, vintage shopping, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.

How do you like to spend your down time? Creating memories through experiences with family and friends. I enjoy trying new things, from skydiving to white water rafting.

Who inspires you?

What was the best advice you ever received?

My mother and my husband. He has an insatiable grind that I have never seen in someone before. From a professional athlete to co-founder of a tech company, Ray, along with my mother, have inspired me to not place limitations on myself and what I can achieve.

What is for you is for you and no one else. So if you’re meant to have or achieve a job, it’s meant for you and only you. Your time to shine may not be the same time as others, and that’s okay. Just make sure you are prepared and ready when it is.

What inspires you?

What does “Lead up” mean to you?

A new opportunity that challenges me and gets me out of my comfort zone. This allows me to grow and broaden my skill set. But what inspires me the most is the multitude of women and people of color who came

“Lead up” represents a movement, to give back and be a resource for women and others. Be a mentor and leave the ladder down for others to come up and have a seat at the table, or help them build their own table.

Lead Up for Women



Lead Up for Women in Boston Step Up, be a Badass and write your story! We had a strong panelist of women at the Boston Luncheon as Lead Up for Women welcomed Marilyn Brennan, Associate Director of Business Development at American & Interstate Signcrafters; Caryl Mix, local Speaker, Life Strategist and Mentor for your mind, body and business; helping you find YOU again and Dr. Lori Monaco, Badass, Life Loving Speaker/Coach, believing in the awesomeness of humans and the need for silliness, laughter & smiles; to share their experience and teach how business and personal success is possible for all women! And they certainly did not disappoint! Marilyn shared how being aggressive in the business world and not backing down when faced with adversity has been a chosen path for her. She encouraged all of the Mom’s in the room to be proud of their accomplishments and remember that being a Mom and being a successful leader in your industry is admired, not frowned upon. Caryl Mix taught how becoming aware of what’s holding you back and develop the self discipline and confidence you need to live your best, productive, and happy life is imperative, and we can’t do it

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alone. She shared that at her darkest hours when she realized she was extremely sick, after not caring for herself, she realized it takes a community of people in your life to help you stay accountable for not only succeeding, but deeply caring for yourself along the way! Pamper yourself ladies! Without you the entire family loses! Finally Dr. Lori Monaco commanded the room with her strong presence and taught how

being a badass is undeniably our duty in life! She was ready to commit suicide when she turned her life around and decide her life’s purpose would be to teach other women how to take life by the horns and create the life of your dreams by transforming your thoughts and mindset! Remember to stop apologizing, talk straight, and be proud, proud to be YOU and start leading without permission. You can find photos

of the event under the gallery tab and the full video for the luncheons are now online at library/luncheon-full-videos/ To become a Member of Lead UP for Women, please visit our website membership and start your journey, as a community to tap into your greatest super power, YOU, and lead your best life!

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Philly panelists delivered sound advice from “The Vault” Insights from the City of Brotherly Love Lead Up for women traveled to downtown Philadelphia to be inspired by an amazing group of panelists, including Marnie Schneider, author and founder of Keep on Playing Foundation, and granddaughter of former Philadelphia

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Eagles' owner and Ronald McDonald House founder Leonard Tose; Sharon Lontoc, Chief Human Resources Officer at Title Alliance Ltd; and Gina Noda, founder and principal consultant at Connect Source Consulting Group LLC.

July-August 2019

The beautiful ambiance and gourmet lunch did not disappoint, as Sharon kicked off things by sharing her story of growing up in a very traditional household, then marrying into the military. She reminded everyone that women separate their identities as wives, mothers and females. Enjoy each identity and remember that you are equally important. Gina shared her story of working in the construction industry at an early age as a newlywed and soonto-be mom. She shared how blessed she was to have entered an industry that taught her the values of hard work and how to stand out. There were not many women in the industry at the time, so she deemed herself to be “Jersey Gina� to be different, just as God created her to be. Her message: remember how unique you are and press forward by leaning in to who you are as a person and find your super powers. Marnie wrapped up the panel with her story about growing up as the daughter of the first female executive in the NFL. She traveled the country with her mother, Susan, and grandfather Leonard, who owned and managed the Philadelphia Eagles. She was so intrigued with the cities she visited that she started writing books about her experiences. She reminded everyone about the importance of recording your memories. You can find photos of the event under the gallery tab and the full video for the luncheons are now online at luncheon-full-videos. To become a Member of Lead UP for Women, please visit our website membership and start your journey, as a community to tap into your greatest super power, YOU, and lead your best life!

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To Ohio with love

Old German Village hosts the ladies of Lead Up

This intimate group of attendees proved to be the very best of what Lead Up for Women has to offer. The group spent the afternoon in "The Kitchen," a very cool part of an old German village in Columbus, Ohio. Our speakers included Erin Joy, founder of Black Dress Circle and Colleen Biggs, co-founder of Lead Up for Women. Together, they shared intimate conversations about being “stuck” in their lives and how to lean on each other for support. Erin shared tips on the art of "calendaring," which can help take control of your day, your time and your mindset. By placing your tasks on your calendar with subjects like “Get ready to leave the office” and “Transform your mindset,” you can ensure that when you leave the office (on-time), you can transfer your mindset to your evening endeavors.

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Other tips included meditating and taking time for yourself to recharge, and writing daily gratitudes of the things you are most grateful for in your life. With many younger ladies in attendance, the exercise was a great way to share common experiences with an older demographic. The group also dove into why having a business or life coach is important at every stage of your career, helping keep you accountable as you tap into your greatest superpowers. For more information on how you can work one-on-one with Colleen, email her at You can find photos of the event under the gallery tab and the full video for the luncheons are now online at luncheon-full-videos. To become a Member of Lead UP for Women, please visit our website membership and start your journey, as a community to tap into your greatest super power, YOU, and lead your best life!

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How to Awaken and Nourish Your Dreams By Keira Poulsen

How often have you found yourself waiting? Waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection? Waiting for the grocery line to move faster? Or waiting to pick up your children at school? All of that waiting can add tension and frustration. How about those times when you are waiting for a dream to happen? Have you been there before? You know—the space between the prayers and the answers. I like to call this the holding place. Waiting is usually an aggravated place for us. I think we automatically get frustrated when we wait for a dream to become a reality. We find ourselves in the holding space far more than in the space of manifested dreams and passions. We want to discount this space of waiting. We want to hurry the dream up, move through it quickly and arrive as fast as we can. I believe this holding place can be experienced in two different ways: 1. You can experience the holding place in doubt, fear, stagnation and being upset. This is where we doubt ourselves; we doubt God, and we even begin to doubt the dream. 2. Or it can be a space of massive growth, nourishment and excitement. Since, we are all pretty familiar with experience No. 1, I want to focus on how we can create experience No. 2. Dreams are like seeds. Sometimes the ideas or insights we have been 22

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inspired to create are just like seeds that take a while to sprout. I have a bit of a fascination with seeds. It started a few years ago when I decided to plant seeds instead of full grown flowers in my garden. I watched with delight as some of the seeds sprouted instantly. Their little green sprouts pushed their way up through the dirt. It was extraordinary. But sadly, there were many seeds that never sprouted. Months and months later, while I was watering my garden, I noticed new buds. I was so surprised because I thought those seeds had gone bad. The truth was when I had planted them it was not their time to sprout. They needed more time for nourishment in the soil. They needed the environment above the soil to be different. And so they waited until the time was right before sprouting and growing. This is the same with our dreams. We need to trust they were planted in our hearts for a purpose, and that they will grow when it is their time—their season to sprout.

Our only job is to keep them nourished. Just like a seed that does not receive water will not sprout, a dream that is no longer fed will not grow. Each seed is different. Just like each dream is different. The seed of a Texas Mountain Laurel flower can rest in the soil for up to 10 years before it blossoms into the beautiful purple flowers. Some seeds are huge and produce smaller plants, while other are tiny and grow to be enormous trees. Just like the redwood trees, trees that can grow up to 350 feet high come from a seed the size of a freckle. That is truly remarkable. It is in the nourishment of the seed that allows the growth and the end result to be possible. This is the very same with our dreams. They must be nourished to be brought to reality. But how do we nourish them? These are four ways to nourish your dreams until it is time for them to sprout. Let’s look at the first step in nourishing your dream.

Breathing life into your dream each day If you were to see a deflated balloon on a table, you would just be collapsed rubber. But if you were to breathe air into the balloon, you will become a completely different object. July-August 2019

When you breathe life into your dream, it changes from an idea into a manifested existence. You do this through visualization. Take a few minutes each day to see it, experience it in your mind and feel how this dream would feel in your reality. Remember what it was like as a child when you would play pretend. Pretend as though this dream has already happened. Let your body feel the truth of this dream. Let your mind see this dream. This will breathe life into your dream in a powerful and profound way.

Speak your dream into existence I suggest creating some sort of morning routine—one that is sacred for you, and allows you to take inventory mentally and spiritually every day. In that morning routine, I want you to speak your dreams out loud. Say them as if they have already occurred. And to add extra power, express how grateful you are for that dream happening in your life.

Share your dream This one is tricky because it is scary to share your dream. There is the fear that it will be mocked or it won’t be supported. Yet, to not share it is to suffocate the dream. You would never plant a seed in a pile of thorns. Do not share your dream with people who cannot hear it. Find people in your life who are a safe and beautiful place to nourish the seeds of your dream. These are the ones who you can share your dream with, allowing it to find oxygen and space with them.

Declare that it is so. Declare that you are a “yes” for it. These are powerful ways to nourish your dreams so that they may sprout when it is their time. Each dream is different. Each insight and inspiration show up with its own time line and its own ability to crack open when ready. This is the same for seeds. There are a few trees, like the pine tree or eucalyptus, that have a strange and particular way they release their seeds. The only way for these seeds to be released is to germinate and create more trees through wild fire. The seeds are sealed up in a resin that can only be released by the heat of a fire. This may sound extreme and intense, yet this supports one my deepest beliefs. The belief is that trauma can be the thing that actives and awakens our gifts, our dreams and our purpose. It is because trauma is our fire. It is the thing that can truly break open some of our most precious and valuable gifts—ones that would not have been able to show up any other way. The purpose of wild fire is for these seeds to crack open and create, while the purpose of our pain is to crack us open and allow our dreams to come forward.

Pain is the activator. It is the releaser. It is the missing piece to manifesting our dreams—if we allow it. So today, when you finish reading this article, look at all the “seeds” you have been given. What dreams have you forgotten? What insights have you lost or ignored? What is your divine purpose—the one you possibly lost hope in? Could you breathe life back into these? Perhaps. Did they need a 10-year rest? Maybe you could use the pain you have been pushing away to crack them open? My hope is that you speak life back into your dreams. I want to help you through the waiting place by teaching you how to nourish the seeds that are not ready to bloom. Most importantly, I hope that this message wakes up hope and faith in your heart. I want to remind you that you are extraordinary. No matter how small you may feel, I want you to remember that the largest trees in North America begin from the seed the size of a freckle. I want you to remember that you have been given dreams that are only for you to create and to birth into this world. I want you to remember that the waiting place is a space of rest, nourishment and excitement for the growth that is ahead.

When you breathe life into your dream, it changes from an idea into a manifested existence.

Declare your dream A declaration is a powerful way to clear out the doubt, the fear and the mess. It is a way to blast light into a dark room. Declare your dream to be true. Keira Poulsen Instagram: @Keira Poulsen

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The makeup of an athlete-turned-beauty queen-turned-business powerhouse Gabriella Bolm’s life reads like an adventure-filled novel. It begins with a beautiful heroine in Hungary. Decades later, she made a transatlantic trek to America where her destiny awaited. In later chapters, her story embraced the fearless attitude of a woman determined to survive and thrive on her fast-paced journey. (Spoiler alert: She absolutely does.)

times even better than—they were capable of performing.” Years of training and travel took a toll so, at the age of 21, Gabriella officially retired and began what she calls a “normal” life—one where she refused to swim or run ever again.

Strike a pose

Gabriella and Carl

When Gabriella was only 8 years old, her dad—a famous Hungarian soccer player—passed away. That summer, she vacationed with her mom and sister at a nearby lake resort. The problem was that Gabriella was petrified of water (she even hated taking baths). The weather was so bad that no one else took advantage of the swim lessons being offered, except Gabriella and her sister. That’s when she fell in love with swimming. Upon their return home, Gabriella told her mom she wanted to take more lessons. By age 12, Gabriella was Hungary’s best swimmer in her age group for the 50,- 100- and 200-meter backstroke. She eventually moved to Hungary’s capitol to train for the Olympics. She has been on her own ever since. At the age of 17, determined and ready to 24 Lead Up for Women

succeed, she tried out for the Olympics 100-meter trials. While she did not qualify, it did not stop her competitive thirst—it just made her take a slightly different road. Gabriella officially retired from her Hungarian team at age 18 and requested to compete in the Olympics, European and World Championships. It was then that she became the country’s only woman to train for the Pentathlon, a three-day long competition comprised of shooting, swimming, fencing, equestrianism and cross country running. “I was the best in the country, but I didn’t have any competition since Hungary was the first country that allowed women to participate,” Gabriella says. “I trained alongside men, challenging myself to be as good as—and some-

Her “normal” life didn’t last long. While in college, her boyfriend secretly submitted a photo of her wearing a bikini to a local beauty pageant. As Gabriella recounts, she had never even used makeup, worn high heels or polished her nails. Her whole life up until that time had centered around athletics. She ended up winning the regional competition and was sent to a two-week pageant prep camp, where she literally learned how to walk and dress. “It was really cool to finally be a ‘lady’ because I had no education about how to even fix my hair,” Gabriella recalls. “I liked the whole process and how you could actually transform yourself.” Gabriella placed second in the entire competition and, after the winner was disqualified, she was named “1991 Miss Hungary.” Becoming famous overnight, she was completely unnerved by the situation. “Now I know what celebrities feel like. I was stalked everywhere I went, relentlessly pursued by companies who wanted to represent me or have me endorse them. I cut my hair and changed it from blond to red so people wouldn’t recognize me. It was a crazy time in my life.” She decided not to sign any contracts. “At this point, all I wanted to do was help others.” So, at 21, Gabriella created the first modeling school and image consulting agency in Kaposvar. She placed an ad in the paper seeking girls 14 and older who wanted to learn the beauty basics, including hair, makeup, July-August 2019

and exercise—things she learned to do at her pageant camp. By the time she was 23, her company was one of the biggest modeling schools in the city. Then life took another major detour.

Come fly with me In 1997, the U.S. Army and Air Force had bases stationed in Hungary due to the Bosnian War. She met an American, a major in the Air Force named Irene, who she conversed with by translator, since Gabriella did not speak English. They exchanged addresses and phone numbers, assuming their paths would never cross again since Irene was heading back to America. A few months later, Gabriella’s mom insisted she call Irene since they had access to a free English translator. Irene eventually invited Gabriella to America. Selling most of her clothes to buy a ticket, she headed to the States with $500 in hand.

A foundation for success On May 12, 1997, Gabriella landed in Irene’s hometown of St. Louis. She started taking English classes and watching news programs to develop better communication skills. She admits now that she was completely overwhelmed by everything in America, especially the malls, which were unlike anything she had ever experienced. “I never saw a T-shirt in 10 different colors,” Gabriella recalls. While at a Macy’s department store, a woman from the cosmetic department approached her about a job with Clinique, which because she thought was in a hospital (clinic), she initially turned down. She eventually relented and landed a position with Dior. “I was extremely excited since I knew Dior very well from living in Europe,” Gabriella says. “I had only been in America for four months and had no idea what an interview was. I remember the saying to the interviewer, ‘I know I am probably not a perfect

candidate but, if you give me a chance, I will make you proud.’ And that was the start of my career with Dior.” From counter manager to account coordinator and account executive, Gabriella continued to advance in her career. By the time she resigned in 2014, Gabriella oversaw 49 stores in four states and generated $4 million in annual revenue. And that’s when her latest adventure began.

Giving—and getting—back Since Gabriella was in the retail industry at Dior, she had always worked on Christmas—a time when shoppers are desperately spending money and trying to complete their holiday shopping lists. She vowed one day to help take care of the less fortunate during the holidays. In 2010, she had a rare Christmas off, so her and Carl drove to downtown St. Louis with 50 sandwiches, cookies and drinks to serve the homeless. It was

Gabriella (left) with sister Krisztina.

Gabriella and Carl in Egypt.

How sweet it is In 2009, Gabriella met her husband, Carl, while traveling. They married in 2013. Since she had focused on analytics and finance throughout her career, he convinced her to work for one of his many companies. For the past five years, she has served as vice president at Cedar Lake Cellars winery, an event venue located on more than 370 acres of land in Wright City, Missouri. While Carl is the man behind creating the countryside wonder, Gabriella is the face of the winery, whether it involves creating special events or driving growth through her strategic financial forecasting. Looking back, Gabriella admits she could never hold this type of job in Hungary, a role she said would only be occupied by men. “I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had throughout the years, particularly the one I have now because I believe I am making a difference.”

gone in 10 minutes so they came back in the afternoon with even more food. And thus began the Bolm family tradition. Today, Gabriella, Carl and friends drive a Christmas Eve caravan of trucks and trailers filled with clothes they collect throughout the year. The goal is to make nobody goes without. Gabriella remembers one year meeting a homeless woman walking with a trash bag that held all of her belongings. Gabriella asked her how she was and she replied, “I can’t complain.” The moment stayed with her. It made her thankful to have a home filled with food, a loving husband, an amazing job and good health. And it made her proud of the journey she has taken.

Gabriella Bolm is VP of Cedar Lake Cellars Winery and Event Venue.

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How living with Fibromyalgia can be pain-free “The event that caused it was just the final grain of sand that tipped the scale.” I think when it happened I would have said it happened suddenly, but looking back with all I have learned about how pain and the body work, I know I missed some warning signs. In fact, it was a slow and gradual buildup. The event that caused it was just the final grain of sand that tipped the scale. What happened changed everything about my life. Only the people remained the same. I had been celebrating a decade of an internet business I co-owned with my husband. I was the host and trainer of a series of video courses, an audio talk show and a membership subscription. My husband was the producer. The business generated an income requiring only part-time hours, which enabled me to pile on too many other commitments, as many of us do. Every day, I drove my daughter, Trinity, on our 45-minute ride to her pre-professional ballet school, where she trained from after lunch until evening. This required her to be homeschooled. Running a business and having a ballet life are hectic on their own. But I am also intensely interested in academics, so I felt driven to design Trinity’s school curriculum, rather than follow someone else’s. I loved it. It was unbelievably demanding. I researched and gathered educational material, conceiving the best possible education I could for every single subject. Next, I administered the classes to Trinity throughout most of the year while running my business. Her demanding ballet life meant we continued school through many holiday breaks. This particular summer, I had five weeks while Trinity was in summer training in D.C. to design an AP course for her science credit for the upcoming school year. I would have to submit the course plan to the rigorous scrutiny of the College Board for acceptance or rejection in order for it to qualify as AP. For five weeks, I held my breath as I bent over a desk piled with books and 26 Lead Up for Women

Noell Hyman in the studio

Noell Hyman and daughter

my laptop from morning until night, plotting a year’s worth of study, tests, labs and fieldwork. I was nearing the end of it, with just finishing touches left, when I became overwhelmed with a sudden awareness that my face was numb. In fact, my arms down to my fingers were numb. It

seemed to radiate from the center of my upper back—my thoracic spine. But it wasn’t just numbness. Somehow with it there was intense pain. Suddenly, sitting was intolerable. It caused an overall sense of complete full body pain, agitation—an un-wellness I could not describe. What I wouldn’t understand until a few years later was that I had Fibromyalgia. What my doctors and I understood at that time was that I had a nerve and neurological illness and some spinal alignment issues. Surprisingly, at that time, I only felt decent while doing yoga. My daily classes were my one hour of relief and part of my physical therapy used principles similar to yoga. In fact, yoga would eventually take over everything. The specialist that worked with me told me I was killing myself with all my work, my stress and my sitting. Yes, sitting. Whatever was going on inside me, he knew that sitting was no longer something I could do for long without breaks. He knew I needed to move my body all the time, that I had to learn how to breathe right, that I needed to learn to be calm and learn what it felt like to relax my muscles. I was never able to recognize my muscles, since I was always in a battle with time, always over-stuffing things I loved into my daily fill of 24 hours, and harming myself in the process. This specialist convinced me that to save my life I had to shut down my business and become a yoga teacher. Truly. And I did. Teaching yoga doesn’t pay much. We sold our house so we could dramatically decrease our expenses. We July-August 2019

got rid of stuff, downsizing from 4,200 square feet to 1,400. We enrolled our daughter in courses at a local community college instead of schooling at home. That AP course? I never sent it in for submission. I found an incredible master yoga training program on the therapeutic aspects of yoga (this on top of the basic training for teaching certification). In the midst of that course, I received my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. This neurological disease has a sort of co-dependent relationship with my spine, which is hyper-flexible and hyper-extended in two areas. My spine and my Fibro play off each other’s vulnerabilities. Fortunately, my therapeutic-focused training has given me the tools to know how to work with the condition, to re-balance things and reduce pain so I can function and incur less pain than others with Fibromyalgia. I have also built myself a career. It has been a process—learning how much I can do and how to avoid overwhelming my sick nervous system. It also has been a process figuring out how to make a little money from a career that is just not very profitable for most yoga professionals. I’m now in my third year of teaching yoga. I teach about 10 group classes per week and run a series of workshops on back pain at yoga studios. But my main focus is working with clients privately and therapeutically. Somehow, clients seem to just show up. I have never sought them out. I think they see that I understand pain and how it works and that I know their situation can be improved because of my own experience. I understand how our fears, our stress and personal pressures affect our body, our breathing, the way we hold our posture, which then affects our emotions and our health. Once you understand this and how it works, you can actually reduce and often eliminate chronic pain. Even if the clinical cause of my client’s pain is different from mine, the process of

Noell Hyman and family

pain is the same, and I know how to work with it. I have an incurable disease. It did not start that day when much of my upper body succumbed to numbness and pain. I had been pushing through the pain since I was a child. That was just the day it took over and insisted I change my life.

I used to do too much. I wanted to do everything. I. have given up many things I love, but I get to do more with something I am wildly passionate about. There is a clarity and joy that comes from focusing on one thing—a joy in having an expertise in understanding something so deeply and helping others in the process. Lead Up for Women



Make Manifestation Your Dream Life; Your Mantra

My mama always told me I can do or be anything that I can dream. It turns out, she is right. I believe she had this outlook on life because she was able to manifest her life of success into existence. She did this by using the Law of Attraction and trusting that nothing is unattainable. Ladies, there is nothing hocus pocus about this, no special training necessary. There is only an understanding of the universal law of attraction—believing in its success is mandatory. By Kate Pittman

My mom was born into humble means in rural Louisiana. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a union electrician. Although she was far from a big city, country club lifestyle (there was not even one near her hometown), she had an ambition and a life of abundance. She found great success as one of the top sales executives within one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. Not bad for a young lady who started in the industry in her 30s and had a hard time with the pronunciation of the “doctor’s speak” that would enable her to confidently sell to some of the country’s leading physicians. She had no special schooling in the medical field (she had a degree in fashion merchandising) or high-power contacts to help her attain the position. All she had was her belief in herself. 28

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I was fortunate to have a great mentor as a mother. Her positive encouragement infiltrated my own believe system deeply at a young age. I first recognized the power that we each hold while on a trip during my high school senior year to “Grad-Night” at Walt Disney World. At the time, a large department store was sponsoring the trip, which had an event attached with it. Any student attending could get a button to wear during the trip, which would give them a chance to be “spotted” by secret spotters on property during festivities. Prizes included free merchandise and prize money. I was intrigued, so I begged my parents to help me get a button so that I could be included. I just knew I would be randomly selected. On “Grad-Night,” I was armed with my button, displayed proudly on my

shirt. Much to my surprise, there were thousands of other students who must have had the same idea. Each one of them was wearing identical buttons. I did not let this sway my determination. A large group of my friends were standing in line for a ride, goofing off. I was toward the back of the group when I noticed two adults approach our group. I had a suspicion that they were secret spotters. My body buzzed with excitement and I readied myself for receiving whatever they were about to give or say to me. At this stage of my life, I was extremely shy, so I kept my back to them, unable to make eye contact. Suddenly, my hunch came true. A lady tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a bright green sticker that read, “I’ve been spotted!” Although I cannot recall the prize, it was an experience worth its weight in gold and has stayed with me throughout life. In that moment, I noticed a sort of magical energy that I was somehow able to tap into and control. I was unsure how it worked, but suddenly the possibility that we can each, in fact, manifest anything into our lives became law to me. I have used this technique ever since. My life has been adorned with numerous blessings using the process of “The Law of Attraction,” including dream jobs, trips, love, and even a house. I have found that there are certain principals each of us can employ to bring our desire into fruition. These principals include: • Determine your ultimate desire • Envision your life with that desire already accomplished • Put your desire into action • Live your life as though you have received it July-August 2019

To some, these rules may sound simple. And they are quite simple and effective to those who have mastered this process. But for others, this process is tedious and impossible because their doubt and disbelief cancels out any currents that may attract desires to them. For some, it is especially hard to “feel” a desire manifested because they are impacted so much by their current state of being. To achieve your desires, you must realize your existence resides inside your own state of mind. You have the power within you to control your own thoughts. This power can change anyone’s life, for better or worse. Think about someone you know who is constantly in a state of judgement. They focus on what is wrong with the world around them and find themselves stuck in a state of misery—maybe it is their job, relationships, health, etc. They never seem to achieve happiness. Alternately, you may also recognize someone else who seems to be a source of good luck. They are constantly overcoming obstacles, attaining success at astounding levels and the joy that they exude for life is magnetic. I believe the ladder individual has mastered the law of attraction. It is true that you are what you put into this world. I have recognized this within my own life. I see that I am able to live a more complete and joyous life when I can tune into the highest possible emotions of success, gratitude and accomplishment. This includes ridding myself of any emotions that may cause hinderances to the desires I am manifesting. These emotions include jealousy, judgment, fear, laziness, control. These emotions come from the most powerful negative root energy—fear. Fear is the biggest opponent to fulfilling your dreams. It will weigh your life down and block desire from flowing your way. In fact, I embrace those fears and laziness by putting the things

To achieve your desires, you must realize your existence resides inside your own state of mind.

I fear the most at the top of my to-do list. Once I have accomplished and moved past these apprehensions, I immediately reap a sense of anticipation of the reward that awaits. The excitement and realization that the hardest part is over (and usually not so bad after all) keeps me moving forward in my goals with gusto. My complete method of manifestation goes something like this: I have found that if I arm my toolbelt (my persona) with a positive attitude about everything—no joke, I try very hard to look at the bright side of everything (even during a time when I had been laid off)—my energy remains at a consistent level, which attracts positive results. I couple this positivity with put-

ting my imagination to work by creating a picture of what my life will look like once my desires are fulfilled. This visual picture sends my emotions into overdrive by experiencing the outcome. I can harness excitement, gratitude, relief, etc. I hold this feeling many times a day by recalling my visual. Next, I put myself into action by taking steps to fulfill that desire. Be careful not to hold onto any negative emotions of fear that may prevent you from moving forward. Get with it and use all resources (skills, network, tools, etc.) at your disposal to propel you forward. From there, I keep an ultimate trust that my desire will happen, on its own time. The important key is to trust— never falter—that the outcome will be revealed in your life. Manifestation is exciting. It has certainly made an impressive impact on my life and I believe this power is available to anyone, regardless of education, status or spiritual beliefs. Therefore, I have made manifesting my life mantra. The essence of the power is within each of you. So take hold of your belief in yourself, put your deepest desires into action and stay true to trusting that those dreams are yours.

Kate Pittman, a former architectural designer, business development director and corporate-ladder climber, is the driving force beyond Amen Sista!, a blog that lends a wealth of inspiration and encouragement. For more inspiration, visit

Lead Up for Women 29

Lead Up Tips



Once you have identified what you are manifesting

1. 2. 3.


Ask for it out loud or in writing.


Become a master at visioning.


Put the dream into action.


Focus only on the result.


Bring the resulting emotion into your daily life as much as possible.


Take any opportunity that supports your vision.

Meditate and/or pray to connect to source energy.

It has been said that, “Prayer is the request and meditation is the answer.� Both are useful. Direct your energy to your desire (with prayer) and listen to the information the universe may send to you about how to achieve your goals (through meditation).

Present your desire to the world by speaking or writing it into existence. Ask and repeat it to yourself every morning and night.

The law of attraction works by attracting like to like. Feelings are the most powerful tool in creating positive energy flow. Envision your desire into existence by daydreaming and vision boarding. Picture the object/occurrence of your desire happening and harness the positive emotions that result.

Get moving on making your dreams happen now.

This important step is key. Do not try and control the how. The universe works in mysterious ways. Learn to trust that your order has been placed and will come to fruition the way that it is meant to be.

Align yourself to the frequency of your desire in any way possible. Rinse and repeat.

Block any hinderances.

Any opposing thought can prevent your manifestation from coming to fruition, so eliminate thoughts that you will not succeed from your mind.

The universe must know you are all in. Keep an open mind and recognize when things are being sent your way. Be open to the unconventional.

Increase your vibrational energy.

To manifest positive things into your life, align your vibrational energy with the same wavelength are manifesting. Positive thoughts equal positive vibrations, and can increase your vibrational energy. Discard any negative vibes, including judgment, fear of failure, etc. Keep positive.

30 Lead Up for Women


Trust that you have already received your desire.

Realize that the universe has your best interest at heart. Trust that your desire will be, in its own time. July-August 2019

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