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The core purpose and mission of SBB Life Coaching is to inspire and empower individuals to believe in themselves, harness their personal power, and master their ability to create positive progressive changes in their lives.

YOUR LIFE YOUR CHOICE YOUR TIME TO SHINE Are you ready to embrace your life and make empowering choices that allow your essence to shine through and change the world forever? SBB Life Coaching would welcome the opportunity to assist you!

SERVICES AVAILABLE • One-on-one weekly coaching sessions in person or phone (one month minimum) • Small group coaching sessions • Strategic planning • Speaking opportunities, workshops, personal development trainings

SAWRIE BECKER, MSE Personal Life Coach 716.479.5011

Contents January • February 2019

Owned & Operated by Women’s Association, LLC Mailing Address: PO 3908 Suwanee, GA 30024 Editorial Editor: Dalana Morse 817-405-4058 Contributing Writer: Jennifer Sussman 973-979-6169

The Sweet Spot

PR and Social Media: Shannon Polvino: 716-597-5188 Website Design: Brittney Dullin 716-320-0501


Art Director: Hannah Mong 716-262-8148 Circulation/Subscriptions: LUFW Management: Colleen Biggs: Partner, Membership & Content Strategist 480-241-3708 Sabina Ramsey: Brand Strategists and Creative Leader 716-308-6208

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Founders Corner Lead without permission Editors Note We exist to provide the tools and resources to help women grow personally and professionally.


8 10 11 30


Advisory Board Code of Ethics Industry News 10 Tips on Balance


David Corson: Operations Manager 404-931-6569 Lead Up for Women General Inquiry: 602.730.5121

18 Creating a pipeline of female leaders in the plumbing industry

22 Born to make a difference one date at a time

26 Perserverance in the face of adversity

Lead Up for Women


Founders Corner

Lead without permission We are beyond excited for what’s to come for Women leaders and for Lead Up For Women in 2019. We are super excited about the first issue of our magazine and blessed to have our dear friend Connie Dulay Alfonso on the cover as she exemplifies we all have the potential to reach any dream we may have through focus, perseverance, balance, and serving others. We are hard at work every day spreading the word about what Lead Up means to us with everyone we meet. We presented on leveraging influence over title and inspired the attendees on the meaning behind Lead Up at the 2019 Commercial Construction & Renovation Summit in Biloxi, MS on January 16th. Our curriculum outlines the cornerstones of what servant leadership is all about. Not long after that, we were interviewed in the studio of Voice-America and are proud to announce that our radio show interview will air on February 15th! We are passionate and focused on what we can do to Connect, Influence, And Lead. Every woman wants to belong and have a community that accepts and celebrates all of our identities. We have worked diligently to create an organization for you and for all women looking to lead without permission, be the badass leader that you know you are, and gain the courage through our 4

Lead Up for Women

strong womanhood to live your best life. If that means stepping out and starting the business of your dreams, we’re here to take that journey with you. You are the only you there is and you are the only you that will ever be. 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. We are ready to offer you a vehicle to leading your best life and the journey starts now. What are you waiting for? Join us.

Colleen Biggs

Sabina Ramsey January-February 2019

Specializing in management consulting services & outsourced business development

Reach the next level in your business Connections







Your Trusted Partner in Business For more information contact: Gina Marie Noda • • 609-661-9636 Let’s CONNECT Today!!!

Editor’s Letter

We exist to provide the tools and resources to help women grow personally and professionally. Welcome to the first issue of Lead Up for Women! Lead Up For Women is much more than just this magazine – it is an organization committed to empowering and encouraging women to become successful leaders and entrepreneurs, no matter what business they are in. We believe that communication and information are critical components to keep you on top of your game, so we provide monthly newsletters along with this bi-monthly magazine to highlight industry news, upcoming events, job listings, industry links and more. We are dedicated to keeping you in the know and making you known. Our annual conventions, workshops, retreats, luncheons and other events held across the United States create the necessary networking opportunities for personal and career growth for all of our members. These events help you and your business increase visibility and grow partnerships because let’s face it, nobody can do it all on their own! Additionally, our radio show that launches March 28th at our New York City Luncheon will provide an additional platform for existing and future members, as well as female listeners. This radio show will provide motivational stories of women who are not just heroes, but everyday women. They have overcome adversity, learned through taking risks, and have chosen to Lead Up from anywhere and everywhere. In studio radio interviews, live luncheon coverage, and opportunities for additional sponsorship, we align seamlessly with our mission to connect, influence, and lead. Our mission is to provide women with all the resources to live their best lives, whether that be rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, launching their own business, or gaining strength through many other women from leadership and inspiration, regardless of her qualifications or achievements. If you have a compelling story or know someone that does, or if you just want to see something or someone featured in the magazine or online, then I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to send me your thoughts on our first issue as well. It’s not a one-sided street. Together you can help us grow, evolve and be better for you. We are happy to be a part of this team. We are here to help.

These women have overcome adversity, learned through taking risks, and have chosen to Lead Up from anywhere and everywhere.

Dalana Morse is the editor of Lead Up For Women magazine. You can reach her at (817) 405-4058 or by email at 6

Lead Up for Women

January-February 2019

Advisory Board

Marilyn Brennan

Sawrie Becker

Dr. Tammy Bialek

Marilyn Brennan’s success throughout her career is based largely on her ability to connect with people quickly and deeply on multiple levels. Though much of her career has been based in the project management area of business, it is always about understanding others needs and becoming an asset to the business relationship that almost always becomes a long lasting professional and personal connection. Currently, Marilyn is the Associate Director of Business Development for American/ Interstate Signcrafters, a multi-location National Sign Manufacturing company. Marilyn’s core background in project management within the sign industry allows her to connect with clients through shared knowledge of the challenges within that area of business. Marilyn never felt sales was an avenue she would have chosen, with a degree in Elementary Education and most of her work experience in project management, however, being able to utilize a strategic selling method of relationship building was a perfect melding of her core strengths and beliefs.

Sawrie Becker is the founder and owner of SBB Life Coaching and the Director of Development for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York. As a professional life coach, Sawrie works with individuals and small business owners to achieve personal and business success. Throughout her life, Sawrie has been a dedicated community leader with a genuine commitment to empowering women. She has served as the Commissioner of Public Advocacy and Executive Director of the Commission on the Status of Women for Erie County where she has led many successful efforts on behalf of women in the areas of pay equity and domestic violence awareness. Sawrie is a past-president of the Junior League of Buffalo and the Tennessee Coaches Alliance; a presenter to the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Bejing, China. Currently, Sawrie is a member and past-president of the Advisory Board of the Women’s Business Center at Canisus College.

Dr. Bialek is a native of Buffalo, New York. She received a B.A. in Dance from the State University of New York at Buffalo and had a professional dance career abroad in Guam and Japan. It was her own experience as a chiropractic patient that inspired her to receive both a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from Logan Chiropractic College in St. Louis, M.O. Dr. Bialek empowers her patients to be able to make strong healthcare decisions, addressing the most prevalent health concerns today. She is passionate about working with families throughout WNY, helping to improve their health and well-being. Dr. Bialek is an Instructor for Activator Methods as well as an Advanced Proficiency Rated Provider. She is a member of the I.C.P.A. {International Chiropractic Pediatric Association} and is Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique Certified. Dr. Bialek has lectured for HAWNY, Audubon Library Lecture Series, West Seneca School District, and for many other businesses throughout the WNY area. Other memberships include NAWBO, Niagara Business Associates and Amherst Chamber of Commerce.

Isyol Cabrera Isyol Cabrera, originally from Venezuela, is a visionary, creative professional, and architect by trade. She has been working with Carvel since April of 2013 and is currently working on the share services team of design and construction for the snacks group within FOCUS BRANDS. As a Director, Isyol’s experience includes over 10 years of store development, design, construction, and project management for different companies, including Starbucks and Church’s Chicken. Isyol is responsible for overseeing the store development phase of a project from initial concept design through construction and store opening. Isyol ensures that the brand’s image and operational standards are upheld to reflect Carvel’s current design guidelines and standards. 8

Lead Up for Women

Kristen Corson Kristen is a mother, sister, aunt, leader, restaurateur, and dog rescuer who has engaged in sales and marketing, mortgage finance, wholesale jewelry and accessories, and now in residential & commercial interior design as KLC Interiors. January-February 2019

Aly Chally Aly Chally is the Manager of the Store Planning and Design team at Aaron’s, Inc. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA and has a BFA in Interior Design from the Illinois Institute of Art. When she is not traveling, either for work or pleasure, she is continuing her work to receive her MBA. She hopes that she is able to motivate others with the telling of her story and owning her truth to achieve their own greatness. She is grateful for the opportunity to help influence and inspire other women to reach their goals and touch their dreams. She is excited to be involved with Lead Up for Women and can’t wait to see what great surprises this year holds.

Rebecca Easton

Jennifer Grieser

Gina Noda

Rebecca Easton was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, where she was a proud graduate of both Salpointe Catholic High School and the University of Arizona. While she ultimately found a position she loved after graduation, Rebecca felt she could do something more. It was her desire for something new and challenging which took her to Denver, Colorado for law school. Rebecca attended the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, graduating in 2011. She is now admitted to practice law in both Colorado and Arizona. Having gained experience in finance, collections, foreclosure, compliance analysis, and community association law, Rebecca stepped out to form Easton Law, PLLC in July, 2018. Through her practice she assists families, creatives, and business owners through estate planning and outside general counsel.

Jennifer Grieser, is the senior Solutions Manager at Projectmates. Jennifer has proven successful in developing processes and procedures resulting in significant time and costs savings. She has led numerous projects that streamline operations and increase productivity. Jennifer has consistently demonstrated her expertise in: project management, strategic planning, employee development, contract administration, analytics, and software implementation. In addition to her “hard skills,” Jennifer’s commitment to integrity, combined with her excellent “soft skills” in communication, problem-solving, and process-oriented mentality, translates into a history of driving a unified vision ensuring successful team communication and cooperation. Her career in Development began at Brinker International almost 20 years ago and over time she has worked for: restaurant organizations, a general contractor, a facility management company, and most recently, for a nationwide retailer. Jennifer’s personal goal is to share her knowledge and success by mentoring women into their personal best-self.

Gina Noda is the Founder & Principal Consultant of Connect Source Consulting Group, LLC. (CSCG) - Connect Source CONNECTS the retail world’s suppliers and various consulting companies to retail corporations across the country, specializing in Management Consultant and outsourced Business Development Services, helping individuals and businesses get to the next level. Her company is based on the foundation of Conscious Capitalism, doing business with her heart to elevate all of humanity. Every contract that she receives she donates a portion to something that is near and dear to her heart. She has a true passion and love for connecting with people on a deeper personal and professional level. Her mission is showing others not only a better way to do business, how to lead from within and do business from your heart, with purpose to help others, but also a better way to live life consciously all the way around; the way life was intended for us to live! She is a proud and active member of: RCA, ICSC, RDI, CCRP, Pipeline for Women, Pink Petro, Lead Up for Women.

Shannon Polvino Shannon Polvino is the PR and Account Manager at Insight International LLC in Buffalo, NY. She graduated with her B.A. in Public Communication from SUNY Buffalo State in 2014. She has practiced public relations for more than four years on regional and national levels, serving clients in Buffalo, Miami, and Washington, DC. Shannon has worked with non-profits such as Change MS Wellness Foundation and Devin’s Message and has always enjoyed helping the community.

Lead Up for Women


Code of Ethics

“THE CODE” of Professional Ethics

Our “Code” lays down the standards of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality by which all members of the Association shall be bound by. As leaders, we are responsible for uplifting supporting women through our words, actions, and all our dealings at work and in our communities. We each believe that inspiring others through servant leadership earns us the right to become true leaders because we all have the power to reach the impossible. As we continue to influence those around us, we elevate women in the workforce, welcome them back, and provide a solid foundation for all of 10 Lead Up for Women

the young women that follow. We are the leaders of the future for our daughters, our granddaughters, and for those that look to us for guidance. Leading without permission not only revolutionizes how women lead, but increases the number of women leaders and entrepreneurs in the workplace. Believing in each other, treating others the way we want to be treated, and influencing our way to a more passionate world is achieved through our strong community of women that believe the vision is possible. Lead with love, love with intent, and build up other women through the power of praise. January-February 2019

Industry News



Wins in boardrooms and at the ballot box In the business world, women earned leading positions in 2018. Check out these job announcements. • Heineken named Maggie Timoney as CEO, breaking the glass ceiling in the U.S. beer industry. • Betty Liu joined the New York Stock Exchange as an executive vice chairman. Her appointment came just a few weeks after Stacey Cunningham was named the first female leader of the NYSE. • Dhivya Suryadevara became the first female CFO of GM. With CEO Mary Barra, the multinational corporation now has two senior leadership members who are female. • Katie Haun became the first female partner of venture capital firm Andreessen

Horowitz, a step in the right direction in an industry where women have struggled to reach the top. • Land O’Lakes named Beth Ford as its president and CEO, making her one of 25 women running a Fortune 500 company. Ford will also be one of three openly gay Fortune 500 CEOs and the only openly lesbian CEO. • J.C. Penney, the department chain that has seen better days, has appointed Jill Soltau, CEO of fabric and crafts retailer JOANN Crafts and Hobbies, as its new CEO to breathe life into the company’s stagnating sales.



Meet Britannia Leo of BikeOrBar How do you inspire women to better themselves at BikeOrBar and what message do you like to promote? I think BikeOrBar in general has a strong “girl gang” vibe. From the owners being women (my mom and myself), to our female dominant staff, to the clientele, which is predominantly women. Personally, I have gained a lot of my own confidence though fitness, so I like to see that for other women that come into our studio. My hope is that they can own their badassness with no apologies! What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do at BikeOrBar? I truly think the most rewarding part of this gig is seeing the progress that clients make. I’ve seen countless transformations not only physically, but mentally. I have watched members go from not being able to plank, to doing pushups on their toes with no problem. I have also watched, women in particular, go from closed off and insecure to happy and beaming with confidence. It’s insanely rewarding to see these transformations and know you had a place in that journey.

Flotek announces leadership changes Flotek Industries, Inc. (“Flotek” or the “Company”) announces changes among its executive leadership team.

Flotek is pleased to announce Elizabeth T. Wilkinson has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Flotek Industries, effective December 28, 2018. In this role, she will serve as the senior executive responsible for the Company’s financial strategy, planning and reporting, as well as investor relations, treasury and corporate development functions. She will be based in Houston, reporting directly to Flotek’s Chief Executive Officer, President & Chairman of the Board, John W. Chisholm. “Elizabeth is a strong and experienced executive who has served in diverse leadership roles for E&P, energy service, and midstream organizations, ranging from CFO to controller to vice president-investor relations and treasurer,” said Chisholm. “We welcome the tremendous strengths she brings to help deliver value to all of our stakeholders by expanding our market penetration through differentiated chemistry technology, strengthening our balance sheet and managing general and administrative costs to deliver positive operating cash flow.” “I’m truly honored to join the Flotek team. One of the most exciting aspects about the Company is its maturity as a business, which is underpinned by its strong, proven technology. I look forward to collaborating with the team on developing and executing the Company’s strategy and rationalizing cost structure to deliver value to shareholders,” said Wilkinson. Lead Up for Women


Connie Dulay Alfonso


Lead Up for Women

January-February 2019

How Connie balances the joys of being a wife, mother, and entrepreneur of Sweet Cocoa Flour Give us a snapshot of the Sweet Cocoa Flour brand. Sweet Cocoa Flour is a business I started because of my love for baking. I’ve been baking ever since my dad bought me my very first cookbook, Mrs. Fields. I started baking in elementary school, then on and off during high school and college. When my husband and I moved to Arizona, I became a stay-at-home mom and decided to turn my passion into a business. I try to create different kinds of goodies that can appeal to different audiences. Tell us about what makes the Sweet Cocoa Flour brand so unique? I think every business brings something to the table. What makes my brand unique is that I try to incorporate different flavors into my baked goodies. For example, I add cayenne pepper into my double chocolate chip cookies. It is supposed to give you that sweet taste

at first bite and then a spicy cayenne pepper kick at the end. It gives an extra layer that one may not expect. What type of consumer/ client are you targeting? Customers of all ages with a sweet tooth who are willing to try unique flavors. Lead Up for Women


What strategies have you implemented to become successful in your company? I work hard to make sure my baked goods reach different audiences. I travel to different shops around Maricopa County to inquire about their interest in having some of my products sold there. I try to cultivate potential relationships with local businesses and community members. What hurdles have you overcome as a woman in business? As a woman participating in this industry, I personally feel that the hurdles I had to overcome were making business connections in Maricopa County. Not being a native to Arizona was definitely one of my first challenges, as I had to build relationships from the ground up. Even after being here for eight years, I am still figuring out the area and learning to create connections. I want to be able to network with other women in business. Another challenge is balancing life with the business. While I have two children, one of them is autistic and can divert some time and focus. What do you do to give back? I try to participate in my community’s events as much as possible. I want to give back to the audience that helped me get to where I am right now. What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead? My main purpose is to have my business lead a successful journey while providing baked goods for family, friends and clients. I want my unique recipes to leave an everlasting impact and for others to follow suit. I plan to write cookbooks in the near future and hope to publish them. I also hope to further connect with clients and fans, perhaps through blog articles, to empower them and show them that they can succeed as well. 14 Lead Up for Women

January-February 2019

“I give myself 15 minutes to do yoga stretches, get ready, eat breakfast, then check my emails and social media.” What is your method to stay connected with other women in business? Interacting with them through their business social media platforms. I personally believe social media and meet ups are important when making connections. What mentors, sponsors, or coaches have played an important role in your success? My family plays a crucial role in my success. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without my husband, kids, and other family members. How do you stay current with today’s trends? I always do my research online to keep up with what other bakers and businesswomen are doing to help their business grow. What is your growth plan? Expanding my business by reaching out to other businesses and cultivating new relationships. Networking is key for me.

What's the biggest item on your to-do list right now? Continuing to work hard and hopefully succeed in my career endeavors for Sweet Cocoa Flour. What’s the most rewarding part of your career? Being able to provide goods for friends, family, and my community. Baking has always been a passion of mine, and building a career out of it has made its purpose more enjoyable. Describe a typical day. A typical day for me consist of getting the kids ready for school in the morning (except during the weekends). I give myself 15 minutes to do yoga stretches, get ready, eat breakfast then check my emails and social media. After breakfast, I prep for my next day orders. When I don’t have any orders, I usually look through my cookbooks and check to see what kind of baked goods I could test out. After I pick up my daughter from school, I make her lunch; that’s the time

I usually spend time with her. After that, I start baking the orders for the next day. Depending what orders I get, it usually takes me three to four hours to bake, pack, and clean the kitchen. Around 5 pm, I start cooking dinner for my family. I usually cook every day when I’m not busy baking. Sometimes we do take-out if I have a big order the next day. After dinner, my husband gets the kids ready for bed while I wash the dishes and clean the kitchen and living room. Once I’m done cleaning, I write down the activities that I need to do for the next day. I go upstairs to check up on the kids, then check my emails and social media one last time. Before I sleep, I read a book for 30 minutes. The next day is a new day! What is your secret to success? The secret to success is perseverance! No matter what obstacles I have to go through, I have to keep reminding myself not to give up, but to keep continuing on what I love to do in order for me to reach my goals.

Sweet Cocoa Flour Menu: • Banana Bread • Chocolate Zucchini Bread • Ube Crinkles (Purple Yam Cookies) • Chocolate Chip Cookies w/Maldon Sea Salt • Chocolate Espresso Sugar Cookies • Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies • Snickerdoodle Cookies • Brownies • Cookies & Cream Mallows • Chocolate Mallows • Coffee Mallows • Chocolate Cake pops • Vanilla Cake pops Orders can be placed anytime through email, phone, or Facebook messenger. Cell: (323) 383-2220

Lead Up for Women


One-on-One with... Connie Dulay Alfonso Owner, Sweet Cocoa Flour

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

Tell us about your family. I have a loving husband and two fantastic kids. My husband takes care of what I need while I’m working and my kids motivate me to keep going.

How do you balance your health, family, and career? My family comes first before anything. I try to spend as much time as I can with my husband and kids when I’m not baking. As for health, I attend fitness classes in our community whenever I get a chance. Lastly, having a small home based baking business allows me to do whatever I want. I don’t have a boss to answer to and I don’t have the typical Monday through Friday eight hour work day. There are also times that I need to take a step back and reassess where I’m at in the moment. I always try to focus on the present and what I can do that day.

Being vocal about decisions that can affect my family or me, being strong-willed, and having passion for what I pursue! The traits that inspire me from other leaders is that they mean business. They don’t joke around when it comes to business and they are passionate about what they do.

How are you mentoring/sponsoring others? When it comes to mentoring others who want to become entrepreneurs, I always tell them that success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when you don’t give up on what you are trying to build and surrounding yourself with positive people.

What book are you reading now?

The book I’m reading right now is The Secret.

What are your favorite hobbies? When I’m not in the kitchen, I love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, shopping, trying new restaurants and bakeries, and attending fitness classes, yoga, or pilates.

What motivates you everyday?

How do you like to spend your down time?

Not what, but who! My family keeps me motivated to become a successful business/woman.

Relaxing whenever I get a chance, watching Food Network, listening to inspirational music and reading cookbooks

Who inspires you?

What was the best advice you ever received?

My family gives me inspiration to keep doing what I do.

What inspires you? Seeing entrepreneurs I follow make it in the world!

What’s the best thing a consumer/client ever said to you? They enjoyed the baked goods they ordered and can’t get enough of it.

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Everything takes time, and a person needs to WANT to make their dream happen, then take the necessary steps to make it happen.

What does “Lead up” mean to you? To me, “lead up” means not to just be a leader, but a pioneer. I want to help bring women leaders from the next generation to the forefront.

January-February 2019


Creating a pipeline of female leaders in the plumbing industry How Audrey Monell has broken barriers, established herself as a leader, and paid it forward for other women in the plumbing and HVAC industry Audrey Monell

By Erica Fetherston

18 Lead Up for Women

Audrey Monell is not one to let gender stereotypes hold her back. Over the last eight years, she’s been making waves as the President of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, a family-owned business based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area since 1961. Since taking over the family business that her grandfather started, Audrey has broken boundaries and overcome enormous challenges as a young woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry. January-February 2019

when a new technician joined Forrest Anderson but avoided talking to Audrey whenever possible. Audrey soon found out her new employee thought she was closed off and unapproachable. This news shocked Audrey and made her re-evaluate how she presented herself in the workplace and interacted with employees. Audrey now makes an overly conscious effort to be open and inviting with every employee and customer, while maintaining her professionalism.

Deciding to Go into the Family Business As a championship barrel racer, Audrey earned a rodeo and academic scholarship to Texas Tech University. However, Audrey soon realized the best opportunity to make a difference was back in Phoenix, so she transferred to Arizona State University to be close to family while earning her economics degree. “Although I loved what I was doing in Texas, I kept feeling a pull to return back to Arizona and support my family and our business,” said Monell. “The idea of supporting my grandfather’s legacy that he started decades ago was a motivating factor for me.” Audrey paid for school by working as a waitress, veterinarian hospital receptionist, in-home caregiver, and even on a watermelon farm. She earned her B.S. of Economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in 2008, and upon graduating, returned home to run the family business.

Warming Up a Cold Welcome Growing up, Audrey spent many of her early years helping her family at Forrest Anderson in a variety of odd jobs including cleaning the headquarters, delivering parts to job sites, completing administrative tasks, and overseeing projects. However, when Audrey assumed the position of President, she initially faced challenges from some of the male technicians with traditional views. She had one plumbing technician quit right on the spot, saying he would “never work for a woman.” Audrey was disappointed that she had lost a talented plumber, but in hindsight was glad that he had quit straight away instead of keeping his negativity in the company. To avoid further negative situations with employees, Audrey has had to be extremely aware of the tone she was setting and the company culture that she was contributing to. There is one specific situation early on that helped set her on a positive trajectory,

“As a woman in my industry, there are sometimes extra steps that I need to take in order to create a positive working environment for my company and employees,” said Monell. “Some may see this as a burden, but I see it as leading with compassion for the people that I am working with. I’ve discovered I’ve been a more successful leader when I put the wellbeing of others, particularly my employees and customers, at the forefront.”

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To further improve communication with her team, Audrey developed an open-door policy. Her office has no walls or a door, and her desk is out in the open so every employee can feel comfortable walking up to her desk to ask a question, report a concern, or share their weekend plans. Audrey believes in leading by example and prides herself on transparency, setting an example by admitting to errors, accepting responsibility, and taking corrective action.

Leading the Company into the Future In addition to establishing a positive company culture, Audrey initiated several changes to help the company transition fully into the twenty-first century. To help her team be more efficient, Audrey studied daily processes and got creative to remove the barriers that took up too much of her employee’s workday. She introduced new technology including paperless invoicing, mobile payment processing and more. While some employees

20 Lead Up for Women

were hesitant at first, they eventually realized the time and effort they saved gave them more opportunities to work directly with their customers. With these advancements, Audrey has increased revenue by 23% while decreasing costs by 10% in the last four years. “I’ve found that there will always be some kind of resistance to any change, so the key in implementing new strategies and technologies is to help people understand the changes and why they’re necessary,” said Monell. “We took extra steps to help those who were more averse to some of these changes, checking in with them and offering extra training. We discovered that these folks were actually quicker than others in some instances in adapting to new technologies.

Paying it Forward for Other Women The U.S. Census reports only 1.5% of plumbers are women, and far fewer run their own companies. That is why Audrey sees the importance of serving

as a role model and help other women find opportunities in her industry, as well as in any career field. She often speaks to young women about the opportunities for a good career in the plumbing/HVAC industry that does not require an expensive college degree and can lead to business ownership in a short time. In April 2018, Audrey organized a team of women volunteers to host an inaugural “Women in Industry” Workshop to encourage young women to consider career options in specialty trades. The half-day workshop was run by women who worked in the plumbing and HVAC industries who could share their experiences as technicians, distributors, sales, human resources, and business owners. Audrey led discussions about training, career opportunities and overcoming challenges in male-dominated workplaces. She also worked with volunteers to provide hands-on instruction for basic plumbing repairs. It was a great success that Audrey plans to replicate next year. Audrey was also recently named Vice-President/President-Elect of the Executive Women International (EWI) Phoenix Chapter. EWI is a global women’s organization with an equal focus on connections, careers, and community that brings together key individuals from diverse businesses to enhance personal and professional development, and encourage community involvement. Every year, Audrey helps to raise money for two scholarships for deserving women, including adults facing economic, social or physical challenges. “Mechanical industries such as plumbing and air conditioning tend to be male dominated, which inherently create increased boundaries and challenges for female leaders,” said Monell. “I hope that I can use my success to inspire other women within and outside my industry to work towards their goals and know that there are other women and men out there who will help to support them on their journey.” January-February 2019

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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.



Born to make a difference one date at a time Jolene Beaton

By Jennifer Sussman


Lead Up for Women

Many years ago, I helped New York City singles seek out their soulmates, hidden within the cracks of the concrete jungle they called home. As a matchmaker, I was a businesswoman first, but I was also a friend, a confidant, a therapist, and an eternal optimist. I wanted my clients to find love, but more importantly to discover the confidence and strength that was buried deep within them. The Manhattan, “It’s Just Lunch,” office was bustling with so many dreamers looking for their life partner, and we needed help. San Diego beauty, Jolene Beaton, arrived to assist us and changed the lives of every person she encountered, including mine. Her perpetual enthusiasm cracked the stone façades of those who had long since given up hope. She was born to make a difference in this world and it just so happened she was doing it one date at a time. January-February 2019

After seven years of matchmaking, Jolene realized there was an unmistakable deficiency in our otherwise successful company model. She thoroughly examined the negative feedback collected and realized that singles weren’t taking accountability for their own mistakes, and placing blame on the system rather than learning to advance their social skills. In that moment of clarity, Jolene launched the now thriving “Love Coaching” service offered to “It’s Just Lunch” clients. She now spends her days and nights educating over 250 people every month on how to effectively build and maintain relationships. She compels her clients to face their fears and chip away at the emotional walls they have created. People often ask what it’s like to work in such a unique industry, so I asked Jolene to answer some of your burning questions.

Did you actively seek out a role as a matchmaker or did this industry find you? I adore every aspect of dating. Over the years, I loved hearing my friends’ stories and listening to tales of sordid love affairs. And yes, I always had an opinion! But, most of all, I appreciated hearing the narratives from old married couples whose relationships withstood the test of time. When I discovered that you could get paid for setting people up on dates, I was driven to turn my hobby into a career. I sought out one of the largest dating services in the country and began perfecting my craft.

What is the most challenging part about helping your clients navigate the rocky waters of dating? It is tricky to give tough-love to already vulnerable people, but it’s necessary to help them grow. Often times, my clients could gain from some more self-reflection. I tell them kindness and charm goes a long way and

increases their chances of having a better experience. Dating should not be an interview, nor should it be an opportunity to complain about all of the tribulations of your past, especially in the first hour of your date!

What is the most common complaint women have about dating? Women seem largely disappointed by the lack of “spark” on dates. They want to feel more engaged and listened to. They also have expressed some frustration with the men’s overall style, or lack thereof. Come on guys, iron that shirt, and while you’re at it, make sure it’s clean!

A little charisma and grace go a long way. I hear first date feedback every single day and most people are fearful of being honest if they are uninterested.

What is the best piece of dating advice you could give our readers who are out there looking for love? Discover what it is like to truly enjoy meeting someone new. Learn how to be a good date, even in the event you are not interested. Being single today is very different than in the past. Technology has allowed people to put in less effort and they shouldn’t. A little charisma and grace go a long way. I hear first date feedback every single day and most people are fearful of being honest if they are uninterested. Let the person know that you appreciated their time but you are looking for a different connection and wish them luck. Be kind and honest. Lead Up for Women



divorce was highly disparaged. Newly single in her 30’s, she met an extraordinary man, who became an amazing stepfather, dedicated partner and true love of her life. After 20 blissful years, she lost him to cancer. Her mindset at 57 was you only get one love of your life, but she went back out there and hoped to prove the old adage wrong. As luck would have it, she met an exceptional man who took her hand in marriage. For well over a decade, he helped her heal from the loss of her husband and reminded her that a broken heart can be mended with enough tenderness. Sadly, he passed as well three years ago. Instead of letting tragedy dictate her future, she decided to give love another shot. She said to me, “I’m not sure if I can have it a third time, but I’m sure going to try.” That kind of hopefulness gives me the chills and reminds me why I do this.

Is there one client's story that touched you the most and why?

My most inspiring client is a 73 year old woman. We joked that she was probably going to teach me more than I could ever teach her. She went on to tell me that she got married young and ended up in a dreadful marriage. Has this job changed the way you look at love and relationships? Being a matchmaker made me see people for more than their resume or physical appearance. I find attractiveness in someone’s heart in a way I didn’t think was possible before. When my career evolved into relationship coaching, I came to realize that finding love is the most important passion project you will ever take on. It’s not just about a destination, but the journey as well. 24 Lead Up for Women

I'm sure many of your clients have found love with your help. What is the most uplifting story you've been a part of thus far? My most inspiring client is a 73 year old woman. We joked that she was probably going to teach me more than I could ever teach her. She went on to tell me that she got married young and ended up in a dreadful marriage. She had wonderful children, but escaped the toxicity of that relationship during a time when

I had a male client that had never been kissed, let alone been in a relationship. He was a great dater because he was attractive and kind but couldn’t figure out how to progress past that. We started working together and he told me that his mother intensely guarded him throughout his youth and he never had to face challenges on his own. He didn’t recognize that those deep-seated issues were holding him back from finding a partner. After a couple months of working together and learning how to face setbacks head-on, he has his first kiss. Shortly thereafter, he met his first girlfriend and they were ecstatic to tell me about their upcoming wedding. (I will be cheering them on as they walk down the aisle).

Do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic? No, I love romance and I believe it can be created in every relationship. We control our own destinies on some level as far as I’m concerned. January-February 2019

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Perserverance in the face of adversity

By Jennifer Sussman

26 Lead Up for Women

It takes grit, determination, and willpower to be an exceptional high school athlete. Sammy Leng personified those characteristics, choosing to resist the lure of parties and chasing boys for a life of discipline, on and off the soccer field. Her hard work paid off, earning her an illustrious spot on Cleveland State University’s Division 1 soccer team. Like most college students, Sammy worked diligently to find a balance between maintaining heavy course loads and athletic prowess. A fall and subsequent foot surgery nearly sidelined her for the season, yet she crawled her way back stronger than before, until the unthinkable happened. Sammy started to feel sick. She felt cloaked in a blanket of dizziness and was relentlessly depleted of energy. She explained it away as most teenagers would, telling the first-rate Cleveland Clinic doctors it was probably a result of her mac and cheese and panini diet. But, as her health plummeted, her desire to find out the root cause intensified. January-February 2019

A previous bout with anemia compelled one of the doctors to run a red blood cell count. Red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen to all the body’s cells. They contain a protein called hemoglobin, which picks up oxygen in the lungs and delivers it to the tissues everywhere in your body. Sammy’s RBC was shockingly low at 3.9. The average Hemoglobin number for women is 12 to 16. Sammy recalled being awoken by her rattled athletic coach insisting that she head directly to the Emergency Room. She said, “I told him I had a physics test and I would stop there afterwards. His words shook me to my core. He said if I didn’t go immediately, he would pick me up and take me there himself.” She knew at that moment that something was seriously wrong but the devastation that lay ahead was yet to be unearthed. The next few hours in the ER were a massive blur; a dense fog filled with blood transfusions, tests, and anxious doctors dashing around comparing notes. Despite their best efforts, she was released the next day with no answers. “The not-knowing was overwhelming and soul crushing. I needed to know why this was happening to me,” Sammy explained. The shattering diagnosis came from the results of a colonoscopy and endoscopy, taken with the assumption that Celiac disease was wreaking havoc on Sammy’s body. When the words, “it’s cancer” escaped the lips of the doctor on call, it was as though the world collapsed under her feet. “I just remember crying the kind of tears that you can drown in.” The details of what came next were filled with elaborate medical jargon. In layman’s terms, Sammy was a 19 year old elite athlete with Stage 3 Colon Cancer and a tumor the size of a large fist. A mere two weeks after being diagnosed, she was in surgery to remove half her colon and ovary. Forced to give up the sport she devoted her life to, she adamantly refused to give up her education too.

Sammy Leng and her husband, Marc.

After meeting her military husband, she decided to put her career on hold and moved to Germany in pursuit of her other dream, starting a family.

Sammy was required to drop out for a semester but was insistent on taking two summer classes and working part-time, even with an infusion pump intravenously injecting chemotherapy drugs into her bloodstream at all times. These exceptionally strong drugs not only take a physical and mental toll, but can also harm the cells in the patient’s bone marrow. To counteract this internal destruction, she was mandated to get incredibly painful injections in addition to chemotherapy. She refused to allow cancer to rob her of her aspirations and delineate

her path in life. So, she carefully hid the chemo pump in a cross body bag, wore high neck shirts to conceal the taping needle and tubing of the port, cut the stringy remains of her hair into a bob and went back to class with her head held high. Sammy kept her diagnosis a secret from fellow students because she didn’t want sympathy. She craved normalcy. We often don’t appreciate the luxury of the ordinary until the concept of routine no longer exists. With soccer off the table, Sammy transferred to Ohio State University and found beauty in life outside of the sport Lead Up for Women



that once defined her. She carved her trail to recovery with her supportive family by her side until senior year, when a standard check-up uncovered an inconceivable finding: the cancer had resurfaced on her liver. A liver resection surgery followed, causing Sammy to work furiously to catch up on missed classes. In typical fashion, she refused to permit her illness from determining her future. Not only did she graduate on time with a degree in Civil Engineering, she was quickly presented with multiple job offers vying for her to be part of their team. “I accepted a position with the top bridge engineering firm in Ohio, paving the way towards my long anticipated goals.” But love had other plans for Sammy. After meeting her military husband, she decided to put her career on hold and moved to Germany in pursuit of her other dream, starting a family. She and her loving husband Marc decided to use Invitro Fertilization (commonly known as IVF) as a means of avoiding passing along the genetic disorder that caused her cancer onto her future children. Sammy had been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, which was the

Pastor Charles R. Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” catalyst for her cancer. Lynch syndrome, often called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many types of cancer. As a parent, one takes an unspoken oath to protect their children. That pledge often starts at inception. So, Sammy and Marc ventured into the arduous, expensive and exhausting realm of IVF. Genetic testing is not allowed in Germany, forcing them to travel two and a half hours away to the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Months of blood tests and ensuing egg retrievals passed. After two mentally grueling rounds, four healthy embryos were harvested. The hardest part was yet to come.

The first transfer attempt took place and they anxiously waited for two weeks to see if it was successful. Sammy said, “I swore I had pregnancy symptoms. Maybe it was a placebo effect…maybe it was blind optimism.” Time felt frozen, days slogged along as though they were years. When the news came that the transfer had failed, the grief was overwhelming. “Why me, why us? Haven’t I been through enough?” Sammy lamented. Two more rounds of the process came and passed, each with the same heartbreaking update, “You are not pregnant.” Fourteen appointments in Prague, four healthy embryos, three failed transfers, countless stomach shots, pills, and interminable despair. The emotional rollercoaster ended with sorrow. One can read books and listen to stories in hope, of emotionally preparing oneself for the IVF journey but it is unfeasible to adequately safeguard ones heart. As women, we are inclined to analyze our future aspirations and craft a predetermined course towards achieving them. However, sometimes life detonates the foundation of our best-laid plans. And this was the case for Marc and Sammy. One month after their IVF prospects diminished, Sammy became pregnant naturally. Pastor Charles R. Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Instead of spending the next nine months fearing what could happen if their child is born with the same disorder, they have chosen to rise above the panic. They are arming themselves with knowledge about Lynch syndrome, actively participating in support groups and most of all, continuing to stay hopeful. At only thirteen weeks pregnant, the future is uncertain. But, with the genes of a tenacious survivor like Sammy, there is no doubt this child will grow up to be a warrior.

For more information on IVF and fertility, please visit For more information on Lynch syndrome, please visit 28

Lead Up for Women

January-February 2019

Lead Up Tips




Look Out for Number One

Make sure you take care of yourself first and know what your priorities are; what makes you feel good, and what doesn’t. Many women take care of others first and feel selfish for going to exercise classes or enjoying friends. However, all will benefit if women put themselves first. When we are in a happy and healthy place as an individual, we are a force to be reckoned with.


Don’t Get Stuck on Perfection


Create a Self Care Routine


Working Out is a Must


Surround Yourself with Loving People





Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is one of the most difficult things we can do. Often, we break our boundaries because we want to be loved and appreciated by others. We sacrifice ourselves, our passions, and time - sometimes without reward. By listening to ourselves and setting boundaries with others we can hear our own voice and live a life of balance.

Live Heart Centered

People with passion in their heart live purposefully. It is sometimes hard to live a heart centered life when we have other duties to attend to. People rely on us and we don’t want to let them down. Living heart centered - listening to your heart’s desires - gives you that extra push that is necessary to live a strong, healthy and balanced life.

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You are not perfect. Things around us are not perfect. Let go. Perfection can push us forward but it can also hold us back. We need to let go of being a perfect mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend, and colleague. The more we accept the imperfections in ourselves and in others, the healthier we will be. Choose to be compassionate and empathetic instead of a perfectionist.

You might have the best intentions to have a well-balanced day, but a sudden issue will arise and throw you off. It is in these moments that a self care routine is important. Starting off the day with meditation and reflection, walking your dog, or hitting the gym can bring immense value during times of stress. Never sacrifice your self care routine.

Physical exercise is important and must be prioritized if you want to live a healthy balanced life. It can prevent disease, provide immediate and long-term health benefits, relieve stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Even just scheduling an evening walk with friends can make a big difference.

Choose to surround yourself with loving, caring, kind, and happy people. Positive people enrich your life. They will inspire you to be a better person, provide you with the motivation to achieve your goals, empower you to make critical changes, and cheer on your successes.

To truly understand where you are as a well-balanced individual, you must reflect. Reflection is a critical part in addressing your own state of affairs. The right course of action can’t be taken if you don’t acknowledge and assess your own feelings.

What is really important to you? Is it your family? Is it your work or your creative hobby? Make sure your priorities line up not only with your heart, but your overall priorities. Being clear about priorities can help you better decide what to focus on.

Be Your Best Leader

You are in charge of your life. You are the CEO, CFO and COO. You have the power to change your course of action. Be the leader you need to be for your own life. You are worth it.

January-February 2019


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Lead Up for Women - JanFeb19  

Lead Up for Women - JanFeb19