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CENTRAL NEW YORK’S PREMIERE WOMEN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE

PLUS...

- THE FIRST LADY OF SYRACUSE: LINDSAY WALSH - UNSTOPPABLE WOMAN WITH PAM DENTON - WOMEN WHO INSPIRE: TONI NATALIE TAMMY VREELAND NIKKI WILLIAMS RANETTE RELEFORD

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS MARION RAMSEY

Sharon Owens

A CONVERSATION WITH THE DEPUTY MAYOR


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COVER STORY 14

SHARON OWENS: THE DEPUTY MAYOR OF SYRACUSE

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{ TABLE OF CONTENTS }

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-march

{ TABLE OF CONTENTS }

REGULARS

REGULARS

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WOMEN WHO INSPIRE TONI NATALIE RANETTE RELEFORD TAMMY VREELAND NIKKI WILLIAMS

180

UNSTOPPABLE WOMAN

190

WOMEN WITH GIFTS

72

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS MARION ANDREWS

196

BE FREE

78

FOR A GOOD CAUSE SARAH’S GUEST HOUSE

82

THE ANIMAL CARE SANCTUARY CORNER

92

ASK ROBIN HERTZ

98

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS CHRISTIAN HEYLIGER

102

WOMEN OF STRENGTH

110

VISIONARY MINDS SHERRY GENGA SABINE MONDESTIN

118

POSITIVE ENERGY

126

GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

130

MIND MONEY

138

IN HER OWN WORDS LE ANNE LINDSAY

144

WOMEN IN FASHION

148

TRACY TALKS

152

SINGLE DOPE BLACK CHICK

138

IN HER OWN WORDS LE ANNE LINDSAY

160

A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

167

TIME TO FLY LADIES

170

WHO IS... NIKKI O

178

GOT A MINUTE?

118

204 WOMEN MAKING AN IMPACT

AA’MANI DENNIS

210

WOMEN WITH A PURPOSE

212 ICONIC MOMENT 226 6 PILLARS 236

KURVY KORNER

240 HOW I DID IT

SPECIAL FEATURES 26

CNY’S FIRST LADY LINDSAY WALSH

34

IN LOVING MEMORY DONNA REESE CHARLENE GAVIN

HEALTH & WELLNESS 122

MENTALLY THINKING

154

HEALTHY WOMAN

186

CAOCHING WITH KRISTIN

222 MIND, BODY & SPIRIT 230 ASK THE DOCTOR 232 PARTNERS IN A JOURNY

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{ FROM THE EDITOR }

“One of the lessons I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.” -Michelle Obama

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This Women’s History Edition of Central NY Woman Online Magazine will highlight remarkable history being made by women all over the country.

We are pleased to be able to not only cover the Greater Syracuse area and all of Central NY, but we love to showcase women from beyond our region who are making major moves. Triumph, victory, and determination define these many women in our community. The First African American woman Deputy Mayor of Syracuse Sharon Owens is gracing our cover in this edition, along with the First Lady of Syracuse, Lindsay Walsh. Starting on page [14], you can read all about Sharon Owen’s amazing story, followed by the First Lady on page [26]. See what they are bringing to the community, their roles in leadership, and being women in such important positions. CNY Woman was lucky enough to be able to sit down with these incredible women for a little Q&A session that we are now bringing to you.

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ON OUR COVER

Inside you will also see a tribute to a Central NY Activist/ Advocate and Icon Donna Reese who passed away in January 2020. Our issue will reflect legacies being written and legacies that will live forever. It is with great honor that we are dedicating this edition to Donna, my amazing mother.

On our all new Feburary-March cover of Central New York Woman Online, we have Syracuse’s Deputy Mayor, Sharon Owens photographed by Jennifer & Plus, enjoy so many amazing, empowering, and incredible Pat Tellier of Tellier Studios on location throughout Syracuse and in the Deputy women and their stories throughout this edition as we celebrate women’s history and so much more to come! Mayor’s offices.

Thanks for joining us again. If you would like to be a contributing writer contact networkrocqueen@gmail.com or tammycnywoman@gmail.com. Thank you for your continued support ! Enjoy !

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{ A LOOK AT OUR TEAM }

PUBLISHER CO-PUBLISHER CREATIVE DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGN PHOTOGRAPHY

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

ADVERTISING SALES SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR WEB DESIGN & MANAGEMENT

Kelly Breuer Tammy Reese Kelly Breuer Tellier Studios Charlene Mann Ford New York Institute of Dance & Education Austin Smallwood Tammy Reese Toni Natalie Kelly Breuer Kierstyn Zaykoski Rebecca & Danielle Peplinski Devon McLeod Latoya Jones Dr. Pam Denton Michelle Dibernardo Robin Hertz Ellen Feldman Larry Peshkin Alana Cahoon Renee McCaffrey Tammy Vreeland Sherry Genga Angela McGhee Gary Ariel Washington Tracy Simone Aa’Mani Dennis Jessica Lewis Amelia “Ameliaismore” Moore Taniqua Owens Tifah Johnson Kelly Breuer & Tammy Reese Visionary Minds The Next Design

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at networkrocqueen@gmail.com. Download our current media kit at www. rochesterwomanonline.com. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.


BATAVIA BRIGHTON CARTHAGE GENESEO GREECE VICTOR

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{ COVER STORY }

A CONVERSATION WITH DEPUTY MAYOR SHARON OWENS BY TAMMY REESE I PHOTOS BY TELLIER PHOTOGRAPHY

City of Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens’s story leading up to her lifelong journey as a public servant begins with how she was raised. She had a mother who believed that when God blesses you, you have to give back. Her mother also believed that one has to give to return on their blessings which can be considered an investment. One has to decide and strive to really be all in and be the best person that they can be for the people around them.

Her journey has had a lot of different stops along the way so far. At each stop, she has gained experience. Being the deputy mayor is another stop along her journey that she is learning so much from. She doesn’t know where her journey will take her next, but she knows it’s

Sharon: Thank you ! I don’t see myself as a politician. Government is about service to me. I’m more focused on getting the work done for the people, but politics does play a role in government.

Deputy Mayor Owens is huge on mentorship. One of her favorite opportunities during her career has been mentoring the next generation. Sitting down with them so they can pick her brain and learn from her experiences. She especially enjoys mentoring young, black women in professional fields who may often times be the only women of color in the room they enter. She loves helping those women navigate being in executive or management positions in order for them to progress.

Tammy : Besides being Deputy Mayor, what other career positions have you had that have made an impact?

“We start in certain places, but it doesn’t mean we will finish there.” -Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens Owens says “Be true to who you are .” As young professionals grow and develop in their personal and professional lives, they are being molded into the kind of person who will be able to do the things they are most passionate about, in the place that they’re supposed to do that work.” 14

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first cover feature. Timing didn’t work out, but I am so glad we are sitting down and having this interview now. I think you are one of the most inspirational women in our community. There may be people who aren’t into politics , may not know everything you do or all of what goes on at City Hall, but for me, seeing a woman like yourself, having accomplished much, who can make change and looks like me, is powerful.

going to be good. Every step she has ascended is because she, too, has been mentored. Tammy : When we launched CNYWO Magazine, I wanted you to be our very

Sharon: I worked for Home HeadQuarters in the homeownership center. I was in a position that helped people at a very critical part in their lives. When we think about generational poverty, we think of financial stability as the first step toward home ownership. This is how generational wealth is passed along: you acquire property, whether it be land or a home, and you leave it for your descendants to inherit. I run into individuals whose parents still own the homes they were raised in. Those moments that I was able to help make are great.


{ VISIONARY MINDS }

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{ {SHIFT+CONTROL COVER STORY } }

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{ {SHIFT+CONTROL COVER STORY } } “We start in certain places, but it doesn’t mean we will finish there.”

Other positions I have had included working for Mayor Stephanie Miner. I’ve also worked at the Southwest Community Center, making an impact in providing services through one of the critical institutions in the community that I believe I was destined to be at. I was able to help stabilize the center financially. Helping to increase both the budget and programs.

her she has to find a balance. She has great family support, especially from her Husband. Carving out time for family is how she recharges. Tammy: Why is it important to celebrate both Black History and Women’s History Month?

Whatever role one has, whatever the calling is to one’s life, it should be their mission is to improve. Whether you stay at an organization or not, the next thing to focus on is always to be a better person.

We began to discuss our take on the Harriet Tubman film Harriet, and the impact Tubman has on Central New York. We won’t give spoilers, but we highly recommend people see the film if they haven’t.

“I am so optimistic and excited about the future of our community,” says Owens. When I asked Deputy Mayor Owens who some of the women has she learned from currently or in the past are, she didn’t want to get into listing names, but off the record she listed many women from all races, ages and walks of life in Syracuse who she feels are extremely talented. She also shared that those women are making a mark in the community and that she is proud to know and have learned so much from them. Taking on the role of her job, being a mentor, a community advocate, and a wife and mother, her friends remind

contributions because the history of this country hasn’t done that in a significant manor. To be able to think about Black History Month and Women’s History Month is indicative of where we have come from, what we are doing, and where we are going . Central New York plays a huge part in the history of women and African Americans. Take a minute and pause to think about it.

Tammy : What do you want your legacy to be? Sharon: I don’t want it to be about titles , titles mean nothing! I want my legacy to be about people who can look back and be able to say “When I needed something, I could call on Sharon to help me find my way.”

Sharon Owens: We should be celebrating the contributions of everyone, all throughout the year. We also have to take a moment to stop and pause, and recognize individuals of different demographics and their

When you are called to do something that’s beyond you and your capacity, you have to rely on God. I can’t do anything on my own. The time for the city of Syracuse is promising, but at the same time there are a lot of people hurting. The burden of that can be overwhelming, CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ COVER STORY }

COVER STORY } } { { SHIFT+CONTROL

“I am so optimistic and excited about the future of our community.”

unless you understand that you are not doing it alone and remain humble. You have to be empowered by God. God has put me in a position and I will be held accountable. I’m not 20

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elected, I am appointed. It’s about service. I am here to help people. I am thankful I am working with a mayor who listens to my opinion. I bring a perspective that is unique. If the position you are in doesn’t scare

you a little, you aren’t in the position you were meant to be in.


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

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{ SHIFT+CONTROL }


{ IN HER OWN WORDS }

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{ CNY’S FIRST LADY }

LINDSAY WALSH BY TAMMY REESE I PHOTOS BY AUSTIN SMALLWOOD

Lindsay Walsh grew up in Hilton, NY, a small town outside of Rochester. She attended Ithaca College, earning a B.S. in Health Services Administration. She currently works as a Provider Relations Manager at St. Joseph’s Health where she’s worked for the past 13 years. She resides in Syracuse with her husband, Mayor Ben Walsh, their two daughters, and the family dog. CNYWO: What does women empowerment mean to you?

women in leadership, as well as in many other areas within the organization. It is inspiring to see how they support one another and lift each other up. CNYWO: Who are some women who inspire you? Lindsay: My mom, of course for her unwavering love and support. I also feel as though my girlfriends, my motherin-law and the women in my family

Lindsay: When I think of women e m p owe r m e n t , immediately I think of my mom, the values she instilled in me as I was growing up and how they have shaped the woman I am today. I also think about my daughters and how I try my best to instill in them the values my mom taught me. My mom raised me to believe that I could do anything and she taught me to never allow gender stereotypes to deter me from being true to myself. She stressed the importance of education and being able to stand on my own two feet in this world. She also taught me to have respect for all people no matter what.

provide moments of inspiration on a regular basis. My greatest inspiration comes from my daughters. I learn from them on a daily basis and they inspire me to be the best person I can be. I try to lead by example, showing them the way to be the best version of themselves. They drive me.

At St. Joseph’s Health where I work, I am lucky to be surrounded by strong

CNYWO: What are your hopes for emerging women leaders of Central NY?

Lindsay: For any women aspiring to lead, my hope for them is they to support others and to lift each other up. I encourage all women to be open, honest, and respectful, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. CNYWO: How can the women of Central NY give back to their communities? Lindsay: Our community is very fortunate to have so many organizations to get involved in. Find something that interests you, that rings true to you and see what you can do to make a difference. Big or small, every little bit helps. CNYWO: What is a meaningful experience you witnessed by a woman leader in Central NY? Lindsay: My friend, Kate Gillen, is a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration to me. When she puts her mind to something, she makes it happen. As an example, several years ago she came up with the idea to start a food tour in Syracuse. For most people that’s as far as the idea would have gotten but for Kate, she made it happen within a matter of months and it is still going CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ COVER STORY }

{ {CNY’S COVER FIRST STORY LADY} }

“Everything we do, we do together. We’re a team. That’s the way it’s been since the beginning and neither one of us would have it any other way.”

strong today. More recently, she learned about the Wings for All program and decided we needed it here in Syracuse. Again, in short order, she brought all of the right people together and pulled off a successful event that everyone has agreed to do annually going forward. She’s a power house! CNYWO: What are some words of encouragement you want to convey for women who aspire to become leaders, be successful or give back to their community? 30

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Lindsay: There will be bumps in the road but don’t let them get you down. Learn from your mistakes, grow from those experiences, surround yourself with a great support network and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being a leader doesn’t mean you know everything, it means you surround yourself with a great team who can bring different strengths to the table and together, you succeed.

busy schedules but we make sure we let them know that they are number one and they always will be. Family is the most important aspect of our lives. We’re just normal people and our priorities are clear. Even with Ben’s job as Mayor, those priorities have not changed. We make sure the girls are able to experience everything their friends do, living normal lives.

Both Ben and I work full-time but much like other parents, we try to make it to all of the girls’ school events to support our daughters. We have fairly

Everything we do, we do together. We’re a team. That’s the way it’s been since the beginning and neither one of us would have it any other way.


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{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

DONNA REESE BY TAMMY REESE

Donna Reese, loving Wife, Mother, Sister, Grand Mother, Friend, Community Leader, 58, passed away peacefully surrounded by family January 31st 2020. Donna was a Disability Rights & Civil Rights advocate, long-time community activist and a Syracuse Icon. Member of the CENTRO Board of Directors, she was the first AfricanAmerican woman who is also Blind to hold this position.

were raising her three children which she was so proud of and loved very much. Other achievements included facilitating a monthly Vision Loss Support group at Aurora where she was a valued, hardworking and passionate outreach specialist. Her work with the mentally disabled at Hutchings Psychiatric Center laid the foundation for her later advocacy

Reese was a native Syracusian and married to Duane Reese Sr. for 30 years, together for 45 years. Duane and Donna together raised three children Duane L. Reese II (Paula) , Tequila Pease, and Tamara Reese (Joe), 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Donna was the youngest of seven children born and raised in Syracuse’s South Side by parents James and Betty Jane Warren-DuBose. Donna is predeceased by her parents and siblings Patricia DuBose, Rueben DuBose and Bernice Sheard. She is survived by her siblings Margaret ‘Peggy’ Chappel (LeMichael), Andy DuBose, Betty DuBose, Patricia McIntyre, Janice Thomas and special friends Jean Kessner, Barrie Gewanter, and Peter Cappuccilli. With a host of nieces, nephews and friends. Donna always credited the influence of her parents for the strong sense of family that she had with her husband Duane and always said her proudest achievements 34

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Queen Donna dedicated her life to years of hard work standing up, speaking out and making change in the community for social and racial injustice. A mentor and advocate for Aurora, helping people in the various stages of their vision or hearing loss acclimate to the lifestyle changes that come with sensory impairments and disabilities, Reese was also a valued committee member for the annual Americans With Disabilities Act Celebration. Most importantly though, she maintained and spread a calm levity to buffer the chaos of blindness, both for herself and her mentees, by walking by faith and not by sight every day. Among the many awards Donna received some honorable mentions are: -Central New York ACLU Community Service Award -New York State Fair Director’s Award of Achievement

that transformation into a full-fledged community activism. Between her work at Hutchings, Donna served as a two-term President for the Syracuse Chapter of the NAACP from 1998-2002. Being the 1st woman in CNY to hold that position. During her terms as President she became Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member of the Pan-African Village at the Great New York State Fair.

-Southside Business Committee Outstanding Community Service Award -Syracuse NAACP President’s Award for Public Service -National Council of Negro Women Community Service Award -Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Sorority Marjory Dowdell Fortitude Award -People’s A.M.E. Zion Church “Women on a Mission” Achievement Award


{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

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{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

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{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

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{ IN LOVING MEMORY } “So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?”

-New York State Association of I.B.P.O.E Women of Achievement Award -Awarded in 2019 with a Proclamation from City Hall Common Councilors Donna will be truly and dearly missed by many!

THE DASH

the poem by Linda Ellis I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning... to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth 38

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and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars... the house... the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can

be rearranged. To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile... remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash? © 1996-2019 Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

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{ IN LOVING MEMORY }

CHARLENE GAVIN BY MICHELLE DIBERNARDO

My Mother, Charlene Gavin lived a life full of faith and believed in the power of God for 60 short years. On January 6th, 2020 my Mom was taken on what she called her next journey. She was the strongest woman I knew. She struggled so many times with Cancer that she beat the battle over and over again but this time she just wasn’t able to beat it. I had the joy of taking care of my Mother for the last months of her life, as her primary caretaker. On November 2nd my Mom called me in what seemed to be a normal conversation but as the conversation was ending she told me that she needed to tell me something when I got home from Albany. I knew then and there something was wrong and I had to get to the bottom of it on the phone. She knew I would be hurt and probably freak out as I always would. As I continued to dig she had told me the Cancer was taking over and there is nothing they could do. My mind told me differently as I pleaded with her to give it one more try with a round of chemotherapy. It seemed to be such disbelief for me as my Mother had Cancer so many times and survived. For some reason though this time when she told me about the Cancer, I believe it was around August it felt different in my gut. However, my mother was a fighter and always liked to hide it from her family of what was really going on. She didn’t hide it to hurt us, she did it to protect us. If you’ve seen the “Survivor” show produced by myself, Tammy Reese and Charles CJack Jackson then you would have seen that my mother reached out to support groups to cope so we, the family didn’t have to deal with it. Sometimes it hurts that she hid things but I understand. So when I got back that weekend it was a Sunday, November 3rd, 2019, I went over to my Mother’s with my kids. As we sat at the table my Mother started to prepare me for something that I didn’t even realize was going to be the biggest 40

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nightmare of my life. Although she was a very distracting, smart woman.

whatever she needed. The days began to get harder as her meds became almost hourly.

I have to thank my Mother so much for guiding me through that process. So we laid a list of things that we needed to do because we knew that my Mother was going to go on Hospice eventually and was going to be dying in the comfort of her home. The list was something that you never want to see or deal with whenever someone is so close to you. The list consisted of calling the funeral home, picking a casket, flowers, prayer cards, writing an obituary, picking a cemetery plot, learning her bills, all of her passwords, etc. So the next day we started to go through the list as we prepared. I’ll never forget the day that we went to the grave to pick the cemetery plot in North Syracuse.

She ended up with Terminal Delirium, probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever watched my Mother go through. I will say the bond that we formed during that time was so powerful. January 6th, 2020 changed my life and ended my Mother’s.

I thought I was going to freak out so bad going in but as we got out of my Mom’s car and it was getting harder for her to walk, she said: “damn I’m not ready to do this!” My only choice was being the strong one for her. We continued to prepare everything. Thank God for all of that. Eventually came and I got a call from Dr. Scalzo’s office that my Mother would be starting Hospice on November 24th. I thought to myself this can’t be happening. My nights were consistent with waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air to the reality that my mother was going to heaven.

Onto growing into an adult to her being in the room for both of my children’s births, bringing her to NYC countless times to meet the stars of All My Children, to the graduation of my son, her being at the launch of DiBernardo Productions and so many more countless memories that will live eternally thru me. If you have the opportunity to drop your life and take care of your parents on Hospice do it. T

At our meeting with Hospice, I signed on to what my mother and I called the “Circle Of Life”. See our Mothers bring us into this world and don’t get me wrong so do our Fathers but it is our job as children to help them go out. So many feelings I had to push aside and remember that I could not be selfish. I really didn’t cope as I was taking care of her and watching all of the stages of death. My focus was to take care of my mother and give her all the needs that she needed: whether it was feeding her, helping her with going to the bathroom, helping her walk, giving her sponge baths, painting her nails, administering meds or

“Don’t grieve for me, for now, I’m free. I’m following the path God laid for me, I took his hand when I heard him call I turn my back and I left it all.

You never know what real pain is until you lose a parent. My Mother lives within me and that’s something I have to accept and understand. Those childhood memories: lighting candles, turning 80s music on and at the time playing cassette tapes dancing in the living room, to those times cuddled up on the couch watching TV in her lap or that time I baked her a cake and used Crisco for frosting.

he experience I got with my Mother is priceless. I want to end with a scripture that my Mom chose for her prayer card.

I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way. I found that place at the close of the day. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief. Don’t link that it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share it with me. God wanted me now, he set me free.” In Loving Memory of Charlene A. Gavin May 3, 1959, to January 6, 2020.


{ IN LOVING MEMORY } “Don’t grieve for me, for now, I’m free. I’m following the path God laid for me, I took his hand when I heard him call I turn my back and I left it all.”

charlene gavin

donna reese

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{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } }

TONI NATALIE BY TONI NATALIE & KELLY BREUER I PHOTOS BY CHARLENE MANN PHOTOGRAPHY

Last fall, Rochester native Toni Natalie published her memoir, The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM. In it, she shared her harrowing story of living with and - the relentless pursuit from the man that the world would one day come to know as Vanguard, the leader of the sex cult, NXIVM.

theft, and production and possession of child pornography. Q: Tell us, Toni, how did you meet Keith Raniere?

Q: So, Keith was claiming back then to be a genius? A: Yes, that was his calling card, and he used it well, right up until the day of his arrest. The thing that people forget today is there was no internet back then. This was the early 90s. I know it’s a really hard thing for people to wrap their minds around, especially today, given the fact that we all walk around with little computers in our hands. But it’s true. There was no Internet, the way that you determine whether or not someone was being forthcoming was through an introduction and looking into someone’s eyes. And, Keith was very unassuming, he looked like a geek.

Natalie, born and raised in Rochester, spent years with Keith Raniere, as business partners and as a couple. When she finally left him, he threatened, “the next time I see you, you will be dead, or in jail.” Until his arrest in March of 2018, he did his best to make that a reality.

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Q: Was it based in Rochester? A: No, it was based in Albany but there was a group in Rochester.

But when she met him, in the early 1990s, he wasn’t Vanguard, yet. It would be decades before he would order his followers to burn his initials into their skin. He was still just a promising young entrepreneur with bright blue eyes and what was thought to be, a brighter future.

Over this past summer, Raniere stood trial for crimes ranging from sex trafficking to forced labor in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. Toni attended each day of his sixweek trial, including the day he was found guilty. In less than five hours the jury found him guilty on all seven counts, charging him with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy; forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. The racketeering offense included predicate acts of extortion, identity

smartest man in the world with a 240 IQ. Consumer’s Buyline was a membershipbased organization that saved consumers money on goods and services.

A: My ex-husband had an interest in multilevel marketing and was told about this man, Keith Raniere, who had a buying company called Consumers’ Buyline, Inc., And Keith, as we were told was the

Q: And you trusted him. You would eventually move with your son to Albany. You had what you thought was an exclusive, serious relationship with Keith. You worked with him at Consumers Buyline, and you even started a company with him. This was before he started his cult. What was dating him like? A: You know there were some good times. You don’t stay with someone that long and have all of it be horrible. My mom used to say in order for Keith to be with


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“Last fall, Rochester native Toni Natalie published her memoir, The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM. In it, she shared her harrowing story of living with and - the relentless pursuit from the man that the world would one day come to know as Vanguard, the leader of the sex cult, NXIVM.”

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{ WOMEN { SHIFT+CONTROL WHO INSPIRE } } “There was no Internet, the way that you determine whether or not someone was being forthcoming was through an introduction and looking into someone’s eyes. And, Keith was very unassuming, he looked like a geek.”

me, he had to be normal, or pretend to be normal. He tried until he just couldn’t do it any longer, and, that’s when he found his “next” step to becoming Vanguard, Nancy Salzman, now one of his convicted co-defendants. Q: You left Keith in 1999 after nearly eight years. And toward the end of your relationship, Keith had become abusive emotionally and sexually. You knew you wanted to leave, so what was the final straw? A: The final straw was so ridiculous. I called and ask him to help out with some laundry, I was at work. I asked him to move some things into the dryer, but not my black sweater, because it would shrink. When I got home the sweater had made it to the dryer, it could have fit my Maltese. I said, “Keith, I asked you not to put the sweater in the dryer, and he started screaming at me, ‘I’m the smartest man in the world’ as he backed me into a corner with spit coming off his mouth, screaming at me to apologize, and say I was wrong, claiming with his 240 IQ, and total recall, he was right, and I was wrong. Q: You left him, and then from that point on Keith was determined to make your life a living nightmare. Suing you multiple times, twice he tried to get you thrown into prison, along the way

bankrupting you and your mother, and sabotaging any hope you could have for a normal life. And this went on for almost 20 years. A: Keith had access to unlimited amounts of money. He was backed by the heiresses of the Seagram fortune, Clare and Sara Bronfman. With unlimited money and resources, he was able to put a lot of time into trying to destroy not just my life, but

A: I don’t know if I was surprised but sickened by hearing just how many people knew about the things that were going on, and, how long they knew. I was just shocked at the number of women in that original early inner circle that were aware, especially about the underage girls. Yet no one did anything to stop him. Q: The Keith Raniere story is a story of one enabler after another. A: Very much so, yes. Keith is lazy. If I said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times, he’s lazy. He’s not capable of doing any of these things on his own, he uses, or buys the people around him to do his dirty work. With that kind of money at his disposal, as you will read in The Program, he was able to get a lot of things done, a lot of very scary things.

many people’s lives. That money bought him power, and with that power he bought lobbyist, attorneys, and politicians.

Q: How does Keith do that? We now know he doesn’t have a 240 IQ. He’s not particularly charismatic. How did he get control over all of those people?

Q: You were at Keith’s trial last summer. And you heard vivid details of many of Keith’s crimes. I imagine that there is little left that could surprise you, but did anything come out during the trial that you weren’t expecting to learn or to hear?

A: Keith is an amazing listener. He learns about your strengths and weaknesses; he listens for your vulnerabilities and then he uses them against you. Using your strengths, and weaknesses, convincing you that you owe your strengths to him, and without him all you would be left CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ WOMEN { {SHIFT+CONTROL COVER WHO STORY INSPIRE }} } “Using your strengths, and weaknesses, convincing you that you owe your strengths to him, and without him all you would be left with are your weaknesses. There’s a genius there, an evil kind of genius.

are your weaknesses. There’s a genius there, an evil kind of genius. And it’s so slow, very slow, like any coercive control relationship it’s done overtime, like a pedophile grooms their prey, by the time you realize what’s happening, you’re so far into it, all you feel is trapped. Many people don’t have a support system, it’s something groups like this look for. I was lucky, I had my mom and dad, and he was early in the game, they got better at it. There is a shame many people feel within groups like this, it’s like a bad marriage, you stay in for your children. Many people stay because they brought their friends and family in, and don’t know how to get out. Isolation is a key component in groups like this.

Q: Other than the guilty verdict of course, what was your favorite part of the trial? A: Watching Moira Penza, the lead prosecutor, take him apart bit by bit. Keith always felt that he had so much control over the women around him, and there was this beautiful, powerful, brilliant woman who he had no control over. And she got it, she understood how Keith operates, and she used that understanding to put him in prison, hopefully for the rest of his life. Q: Your book, The Program: Inside The Mind Of Keith Raniere And The Rise And Fall Of NXIVM is out, and I know there are other projects in the works. What would you like people to learn

from your story? A: That you can survive, and I have survived, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. One person can make a difference. You have to know your truth, stand in it, and be strong enough to recognize that regardless of the story that anyone else is telling, you have to be the person that defines the ending of your story. Q. How can people find you, and what you’re doing next? We have a website called TheFallOfNXIVM. com, we can also be found on Twitter and IG @TheFallofNXIVM.

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“With unlimited money and resources, he was able to put a lot of time into trying to destroy not just my life, but many people’s lives. That money bought him power, and with that power he bought lobbyist, attorneys, and politicians.”

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have survived, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to . One person can make a difference. You have to ow your truth, stand in it, and be strong enough recognize that regardless of the story that anyone e is telling, you have to be the person that defines the ending of your story.”

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RANETTE RELEFORD BY TAMMY REESE

Ranette Releford, Administrator of the Syracuse Citizen Review Board which conducts investigations into allegations of police misconduct. The board reviews complaints against Syracuse police and makes disciplinary recommendations to the police chief. She is also a 2018 40 Under Forty Award Honoree and an native of Syracuse, NY. Ranette decided to apply for the position as a way to give back to her community. In her previous work at Bousquet Holstein PLLC, she was the Litigation Paralegal that assisted the late Harrison Williams, Jr. when the Citizen Review Board filed a lawsuit against the City for failure to adhere to the current legislation. Therefore, she knew the challenges the CRB faced with the City and the need to have oversight for the community to seek redress when they were concerned about the interaction they personally had with the Syracuse Police Department (“SPD”)or what they witnessed occurred at the hands of the SPD. Tammy : Who are some women role models in your life and why? Ranette: I have many women role models from the likes of Maya Angelou, Zora Neal Hurston, Deborah Phifer (my mother), Lori Williams (Aunt), Gloria Williams (Aunt), Cynthia Williams (Aunt) and so many more. These women have inspired me with their words and 58

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their deeds. I find the strength to pull through life’s trials and tribulations because of these women. I am inspired by my favorite Maya Angelo quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” My Soror, Zora Neal

Cancer Awareness; Domestic Violence; Birth Injustice for African American Women; Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System; The School to Prison Pipeline; The Impact the Glass Ceiling has had on African American women. Tammy: What are some obstacles you have overcome to inspire others? Ranette: Throughout my days in Corporate America, attending Western Kentucky University, and Shaker High School I had no choice but to learn to be comfortable being the only African American and only African American woman in the room. I am now quite confident in these situations because I know that I have the power to change or enhance a person’s perception about my culture. Tammy: What are some highlights of your life & career so far?

Hurston, encourages me with her words: “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it, Those that got it, can’t hide it.” Tammy: What social issues do you think is vital for women to speak up about today? Ranette: Police Relations;

Ranette : I am proud to be a Thyroid Cancer survivor. I did not allow the diagnosis to keep me from pushing forward with my goals. I learn something new about myself and the world everyday as I attempt to remain teachable. I transitioned from one career with the hope of having an impact on my community. I know that it sounds cliché, but I would really love to “heal the world, make it better place, for you and for me and the entire human


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“Learning to find the bright side of all situations and take heed to the lessons life teaches you without becoming bitter or discouraged.”

race.” I really connect to the lyrics of the Michael Jackson song “ Heal the World.” I have had many little victories that let me know I have grown over the years and the best is yet to come.

purpose, and potential. Inspirational Story: I was very proud to attend Western Kentucky University on a Track & Field

Tammy: W h a t does women empowerment mean to you?

At this point, I had to reinvent myself and hone in on the other qualities and skills that I built over the years. I previously experienced an injury while running track at Henninger High School, but through hard work in physical therapy and training, I was able to get back to running.

Ranette: Knowing and believing you are “enough” despite your past, the naysayers, and the your current circumstances. Learning to find the bright side of all situations and take heed to the lessons life teaches you without becoming bitter or discouraged. Tammy: What is some advice you would give women who may not know which roads to take in their life? Ranette: Do not allow people to rent so much space in your head. Spread your wings to fly with the Eagles rather than settling with all the chickens in the coop. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to with a plan, 60

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running career. I was heartbroken and devastated. This was the first time I would have to reconsider my identity as a student athlete. Running was always my get away from what was going on around me and my way to deal with the loneliness I felt as the only child at home.

Scholarship. During my senior year of college, I was hit by a car and was not able to finish the rest of my collegiate

Ultimately, I had to come to terms that this injury would end my collegiate track career and my hopes to try out for the Olympics in the future. This experience taught me how important it was to never take your health for granted, listen to your body, and to always have a backup plan. What I envisioned for my life did not come to fruition, but I was able to reset, reflect, and create another plan that I am very proud of.


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TAMMY VREELAND BY TAMMY VREELAND

I was born in 1966 in Indiana. I grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock movies and a classic soap opera called Dark Shadows. In High School, I loved Mary Shelley, Stephen King and V. C. Andrews. I then advanced to Clyde Barker. I was fascinated with horror, reading horror gave me a chance to escape. I always felt that no matter how bad I thought I may have it, the poor people I read in those horror novels always had it so much worse! Which in turn, made me realize my life wasn’t that bad.

in full costume, with my fairy helpers and props. Children love it! And honestly, being able to connect with the children, has been such a rewarding experience for myself! My Unseen Beauty series became a symbol to me, due to my past. Unfortunately, in my past, I was not given encouragement or even acknowledgement of my own unseen beauty. I had always seen it in others and once I traveled outside my environment, saw it throughout the world. And yet, my past, kept blocking what was within myself.

In 1985, I married and we moved to Chicago. We lived there for five years, then back to Indiana for five years and then finally to where I am now, New Jersey. Moving to Chicago and New Jersey was a real eye opener for a small town girl like me. But one, I am so happy I was able to experience! Chicago introduced me to a whole new world and New Jersey simply added to my growth as a person. Unlike a small town, I was exposed to a melting pot of different religions, races and politics. Settling in New Jersey when both my boys were just starting school, also gave them the chance to get the same exposure. Which in turn, gave them the flexibility of acceptance that I did not have growing up.

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Only through encouragement from the people in my present, did I begin to chip away at my insecurities. To realize, the past could no longer have control over me. I had finally broken free of its ugly grasp!

I started writing horror stories 16 years ago. This last year, due to a charity event, I tried my hand at writing a children’s book. Something, I had never planned on doing but have thoroughly enjoyed!

With my Unseen Beauty series, my goal is to reach as many boys and girls as I can, to make them realize no one should have the power to keep their own unseen beauty hidden. Even if it seems that all the people surrounding them are trying to suffocate it, abuse it, destroy it, it WILL prevail!

So much so, I do readings for the children

It will burst out and it will blind all those

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who doubted them, controlled them. It will make the ones doing the emotional abuse to try and reach out and bask in it, take credit for it but it will always be just a ray of sunshine away. For no matter what, once you own your unseen beauty within, you will become untouchable! I had tried writing in the past but when I finally got the nerve to show it to the people in my life at that time, they laughed at me, belittled me and that was the end of it. When I met my current husband, Paul, I came across my story while moving in with him. Taking a big leap of faith, I read him the story. He loved it! Was curious how I was going to end it. Encouraged me to end it! For the first time in my life, I had someone who believed in me. Which in turn, allowed me to believe in myself. Paul and I have been married 15 years. A year and a half ago, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He was given 2 years to live. I was devastated, he is literally my heart and soul. It was and is a dark time we have dealt with and are winning. He is clear! They call him their miracle. Although, it could come back at any time it all looks clear and very promising, so we are only thinking positively! I have to admit, it was an eye opener. Paul and I have always deeply loved one another, two halves making a whole, but since we have had to face this we appreciate life even more. We live, love and laugh as much as we can. Making as many memories, as we can. Because the community, friends and his family were so supportive during that dark time, I have been trying to give back as much as I can. The children’s book has helped me accomplish what I want to contribute.


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{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “My Unseen Beauty series became a symbol to me, due to my past. Unfortunately, in my past, I was not given encouragement or even acknowledgement of my own unseen beauty.”

My son is in the Coast Guard, so I have donated books to the families of active duty personnel. My husband and I participate in motorcycle runs (yes, I ride my own Harley which I named Bling) for the POW and other charity events. Although we are not members of any clubs at this time, we prefer to be able to do multiple charities. I also donated my books to Kenya. Which I am very excited about, a friend of mine traveled to Kenya and took my children’s book there for a new community building that was opening. They not only loved the story but they listen to my reading of the story I had posted on Facebook, from the Renaissance Fair, so they can follow along and learn English. One day, I would love to go there in person and read to them.

in the series contains 13 short stories, along with a main story tying them all together. My first six horror stories published, are full length novels and stand on their own. Messages I try to convey through storytelling in my horror genre is, I try to make my story one that allows the reader to identify with the story but more importantly, escape from everyday living. I put a lot of research into my horror novels. Not only to make the story more credible but if a reader comes across something they may question, they can look it up themselves and feel satisfied. How many of you, after seeing a movie or reading a book, wonder if that really happened? Then you look it up, out of curiosity, which in the end prolongs the story in your mind.

I love contributing to libraries. In the small town I grew up, there was no library. We had to wait on the Book Mobile to visit once a month. In which, I was limited to what I could read. But I am proud to say all of my books are in the new library back home in Indiana, library here in New Jersey, Alaska, Oklahoma, Dominica Republic, Nicaragua, and Paris. Believe it or not they have signed copies of my books in a Russian Library too! Who would have ever thought a country girl from Indiana would have her books in a Russian Library? (Full credit to friends I have met over the years!)

I also look for a fear factor. That being, something that can scare all readers. My goal is to take the reader and place them in a situation they may be able to identify with, in their own lives.

I am an open book, hopefully my past will inspire other women to believe in themselves. The only reason I list my age (53) is to show the different era I was raised in and that it is never too late to start believing in yourself. I am not ashamed of my age.

The first children’s book explains what unseen beauty is and how to look for it in others. The second book helps with finding unseen beauty within. The third book is a vacation book, allowing the child to realize unseen beauty is all over the world. I then have a children’s Halloween book explaining spooky verses scary. My latest children’s book is on how to make a friend. A story set in the winter with the “making” of a snow friend out of snowballs.

I am currently working on my ninth horror book, the next in my series White Noise – Volume 3. I plan on there being a total of four in the series. The White Noise series is my first collection of short stories. Each book

For my children’s books, I try to have a moral that doesn’t look like a moral. A subtle way for a child to learn something without them realizing they are learning. Fun easy stories with a catch, to get them to want to pick up the book more than once. I have five children’s books published, all dealing with the concept of “unseen beauty”.

I created my children’s books as “gender less” stories. I do not use “he or she” throughout the books. My main character is named “Ani” which can be a boy or girl’s name but also if you spell it “An1” can be “Anyone” allowing the reader to be anyone. I use “Ruler” verses a “King or Queen”. I did this for the child so they can easily put their selves into the story. Growing up in a society where there was a definite stigma gender based agenda, I wanted to create new stories where there are no gender characters. Where while reading the story, a child can feel like this story relates to them or even the person reading the story to them. Allowing the child to feel that the story is unique for them. Growing up one of my favorite writers was Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Not only was it amazing that she wrote a horror story in her day and age but also her political views were way ahead of her time! Unfortunately, in the past there are very few examples of where women were allowed to express their selves, political or otherwise. And yet for a woman today, those women can become an important role model, even though they are from the past. In this day and age, there may not be just one woman’s name that will come to mind in the future. Not one woman’s political idea or belief but instead, a generation of women with different beliefs and ideas all coming together. And that is a wonderful thing, for we all have different beliefs and ideas but acceptance of all, is where we will gain our greatest strength! Some obstacles I try to overcome during my career is I find cyberbullying to be a concern. It is a very fine line to walk. On one hand, you want the freedom of expressing yourself, whether it be for good CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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bad. On the other hand, there has to be a responsibility attached to that expression. You have to ask yourself, are you using your comments on line for a personal vendetta or a legitimate complaint? I find it frustrating when so many jump to criticism verses complimenting. Someone’s life long hard work can be diminished in a paragraph from someone who has no idea what it took for that person to even put their selves out there. Perhaps as a society being kinder to one another, while still expressing ourselves, would help us all grow.

Advice I would give to anyone who wants to become a writer is, I think the first step is simply believing in yourself! Today there are so many tools you can use to your advantage. The internet alone, will help you find a wealth of information to help you enhance your story. Personally though, I do think sometimes we overload ourselves with rules and techniques on how to write. So much so, that you are almost terrified to write that first sentence! Writing can come easy to some, no different

Types of feedback I get for my books are, for the most part, people seem to enjoy my stories. One of the more common compliments I hear, is how easily the reader can relate to my characters in a story. For example, in one of my horror stories, I have had several people say how well they can identify with this one character. They go on to say, “He reminds me of my boyfriend, husband or even a neighbor”. Curious, I always ask them what the person looks like that they are identifying the character from the story to, surprisingly enough it looks nothing like the character I had in mind! Why is that? Well, we all might know an asshole but they may not be fat and balding! My point is, I think sometimes writers do not give readers enough credit. Readers have placed their precious time, in our hands. As a writer, we need to allow readers to think for themselves and be able to relate to characters we have created. Readers have wonderful imaginations, let them use it! Don’t get caught up in the details, sometimes letting the readers fill in the details will make the story more individualized to them. 66

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Writing about something you know or are passionate about, is always easier to write. However, do not pigeonhole yourself into thinking it has to be something you have experienced personally. It can be an experience from another that was relayed to you as if you lived it or even a dream. A dream may not be real but it still is something we have experienced, you can draw from it. Besides that, the most important thing that I cannot stress enough is, do not write for the idea of making money. Writing is a priceless gift that you give to yourself. If others enjoy your story, that is great! If you make money from your stories, even better! But believe me that first time you read or hold a story you created in your hands, is the most satisfying gift you can give yourself! Each and every one of us has a story to tell. Will you be able to tell it the way you see it or feel it? Only you, will know if you did! It doesn’t matter if others may not see it or feel it the way you did, it’s not their story. It’s not their creation.

than painting for an artist. My suggestion is to simply write, when and where ever you want. You don’t have to be structured, you don’t have to have a quota of words like steps we want to get in for the day. I find if you force yourself to write, it can become harder to write. Also, write the way you like to read. Meaning, if you like dialogue write dialogue or if you like first, second or third person, write it that way. Next suggestion is a classic, the old saying ‘write what you know’ is great advice!

Create and own your story! A story has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Just like life. Although this life you are creating, you have control over and that gives you power! Power to help others, power to help yourself, power to scare or comfort, power to express yourself, and power to even question yourself. Writing is the power to take others to a different place, if even for a short time, use that time to tell your story. To contact Author Tammy Vreeland Email : tvproductions4u@yahoo.com www.tammyvreeland.com


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NIKKI WILLIAMS Hello I’m Nikki Williams I am 26 years of age and I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Harlem. I started taking dance classes as a young child age 7 at my school PS 154, Harriet Tubman Learning Center. I started my dance life off with just swing and African dance. I then moved to Syracuse after foster care and I was only 15 when I had did my first official audition for the Kuumba project dancers where I was so blessed to have trained with Miss Cheryl Wilkins Mitchell at the East Genesee Folk Art Gallery.

soon coaching again. I currently have emerged myself into the art world where I also make designs on fabrics and shoes. Making a whole lot of craft projects for my brand Yours Truly that I am hoping to get off the ground by the end of next year. Some of my other long-term goals are to be able to someday open up my own

I have participated in a summer intensive program Summer Fame at Lemoyne College and coached young girls on a team. I am looking forward to someday

There are some real strong people in my life that I really look up to and has inspired me to be a strong woman and keep pushing artistically. I really look up to Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. I admire their strength and how raw they come off in their art forms. I really appreciate when someone isn’t afraid to be themselves truly from the inside and let it show on the outside. That’s what I also tend to teach the youth to not follow a crowd , but to be the leader of your own.

At that time I was taking Lester Horton modern technique which was a dance technique studied by the amazing Alvin Ailey himself. I also took ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical movement through this wonderful program. I was blessed with a lot of traveling opportunities through this program as well. I’ve been to Philadelphia to take a mock audition with the Philadanco company , to New York City to take master classes by Alvin Ailey’s Dance Company’s artistic directors Troy Powell and Sylvia Waters. I have also traveled to Dallas Texas for the International Association of blacks and dance conference where I’ve took hip hop class from world-renowned Rennie Harris an African class from The Amazing Bubba Chuck.

the energy and the pain and use it to build character. So not only am I now learning from my lessons I am building.

Growing up in foster care was a very challenging time in my life for me. I was bullied and made fun of, called names like orphan and other names and that can really pull at your self-esteem in a negative way. I had to learn through this experience that what others have to say doesn’t really matter especially when they don’t know a thing of what I’ve been through. I don’t regret it because the experience made me a stronger person and also taught me that it is okay for people to be entitled to how they feel and their own personal opinions. Studio where I can inspire the youth to get off of the street and into something positive. I have a strong drive to do what I do because I have never been the one to want to give up and I’ve learned through the fight that it is worth it when you work for it. I’ve understood that through the years life gives you lessons and instead of feeling hurt by those lessons, I take

We were all born differently and that’s okay. We all have our up and down days, but keep pushing because a bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. With that I have accepted the cards that have been dealt to me and I’m still a working progress, but I love and appreciate the growth and the strong beautiful woman that I am today. In my CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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“My advice to you is to stay focused, stay strong, stay aware, and even if you’re having a bad day do your best not to take it out on anyone in the negative way because life will throw you it’s curveballs. ”

own personal opinion I feel as though our community is suffering from lack of love and leaders. I feel as though with more women empowerment and strong women we can make our community stronger for our youth for our future for the sake of mending broken hearts, broken spirits, and broken homes. It starts with us it starts with you! Women empowerment is to let someone else feel accepted the same way you would. Most of us were born alone but put amongst others. 70

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Who are we not to share in what we are gifted in instead of putting other people down for their differences or their gifts. Any advice that I would like to give to a woman or young lady is just try to make your mark on this Earth. My advice to you is to stay focused, stay strong, stay aware, and even if you’re having a bad day do your best not to take it out on anyone in the negative way because life will throw you it’s curveballs. You got to not give up and roll with the punches, move with grace, and keep making goals for yourself.

Don’t ever underestimate your abilities even if you feel like others don’t agree. If you know you can do it stay true to yourself self. Love is Everything and one motto I like to live by is if you can’t be loving be nothing.


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS }

MARION RAMSEY BY TAMMY REESE

LOOKING BACK ON THE PAST & LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE Marion Ramsey is an Actress and Singer born in Philadelphia, PA now in Los Angeles, California best known for her role as the squeakyvoiced Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy movie franchise. Central NY Woman Online Magazine Co Publisher and Editor Tammy Reese sat down for an interview with Marion to discuss the past, rise to fame and the future. Marion Ramsey day dreamed of being a star at age four. Who thinks of that at age four? She did. Many friends made fun of her because she would sing so loudly that the neighbors would hear and make cat calls like wolves. Marion thought someone would hear her sing and say “where did that voice come from” like in the movies when they say “I have to find that girl” . She admired her oldest brother who had a wonderful singing voice. He was an multitalented artist. Marion wanted to be just like him. Her brother started 72

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a male singing group and would let Marion sit in on the rehearsals as long as she behaved her self. Her brother would tell the group to sing, but he was the only one who could sing well. When Marion turned nine she wanted to start her own girls singing group of four. She told the parents of all the girls who all lived on same block that rehearsals would be on Saturdays. All the parents agreed including Marion’s mom. Just like

her brother she too was the only one in the group who could sing well. After a while the girls began to come late or not come to rehearsal at all. That along with the other girls not being able to sing well as she did Marion dissolved the group. Others encouraged Marion to keep going, but she was disappointed no one took the group as serious as she

did. Still Marion knew one day her dreams would come true. Years later Marion auditioned for a high school musical and sang the Lord’s Prayer acapella. The director insisted that he speak to Marion’s parents right away. She thought she did something wrong. The Director just wanted to express to her parents how great and talented she was and that she really needed to pursue this as a career. Marion’s mom who was a cook at the school during that time eventually got sought out by the Director who stated one day Marion is going to be a star ! As time told he was absolutely right! She sang many songs as lead in school plays which made her get better and better as an Actress and Singer. After high school her friends got jobs, but Marion didn’t know what she wanted to do. She wasn’t thinking about being a star at this time because there was family pressure for Marion to find work instead. Everyone was bragging about their kids with jobs. Her parents couldn’t because she didn’t have a job yet.


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{ SOMETHING { SHIFT+CONTROL FOR THE SISTERS } } “Marion Ramsey day dreamed of being a star at age four. Who thinks of that at age four? She did.”

Marion now a teen newly out of high school would kill time down town and dress up as if she was looking for a job. Eventually landing a job shipping orders for a manufacturing company. Memories Marion has being new to the work force were having to knock out lots of work by her self when a co worker was out with the flu.

was discovered by a Goldwin (Yes MGM Goldwin) and was referred to audition for the Police Academy film. Marion created a tiny scared and squeaky voice for one of Police Academy fan favorite characters Officer Laverne Hooks from hanging with Michael Jackson for a hour she mimicked his voice into the character. When Marion told me that story I was blown away. How cool!

Getting opportunities to go NYC for the first time for auditions her Boss said if she didn’t show up to work she would be fired. Marion’s mom said “what ever she decided would be the right choice”. She had a strong family support system. Ma r i o n d e c i d e d to go to NYC an indulge in those new opportunities then came back to work and was let go. One of the first lessons of having to choose a job vs having a career you desire or are destined to have. Many other roles and auditions took place through out the years including commercials, musicals, tv pilots, touring stage shows and more . Marion became a member of Actors Equity Union and Screen Actors Guild. By sticking with her passion and never giving up Marion

than the budget. They are legendary pieces of work . Tammy : What are you working on now ? Marion: I’m Working on creating several things now . One being a TV show concept which is in the works for talent who are known and undiscovered who need a leg up or haven’t gotten the right moment yet that they need to be seen on a platform and get exposure. I will be hands on with this including apart of the casting. There are way too many overlooked people. Stay tuned. Tammy : What is some advice you would give anyone wanting to get in the film industry but may feel discouraged?

Tammy : How would you sum up your experience working on Police Academy 1-6 which are all still iconic films to this day? Marion: The little engine that could. The studio didn’t believe in the movie at first and wanted another film to be a hit . The films banked more

Ma r i o n : T h e r e will always be discouraging things, but it’s how you handle it. There were friends who once told me I’m over with. They only want blonde hair and blue eyes , or a Midwestern look not a ethnic look. Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor came out with Silver Streak it changed everything. So don’t worry about the naysayers. Be yourself, remember a pen mightier CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ SOMETHING { SHIFT+CONTROL FOR THE SISTERS } } “Marion created a tiny scared and squeaky voice for one of Police Academy fan favorite characters Officer Laverne Hooks from hanging with Michael Jackson for a hour she mimicked his voice into the character. ”

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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { FOR A GOOD CAUSE

SARAH’S GUEST HOUSE BY RENEE MCCAFFERY

A HOME OF CO M F O RT A N D H E A L I N G THROUGHOUT A MEDICAL CRISIS For more than 25 years, Sarah’s Guest House, located in the former convent of Most Holy Rosary Church in Syracuse’s historic Strathmore neighborhood, has provided a warm and welcoming home away from home to nearly 19,000 patients and their families from all over the country and the world. As the first, and still the only, adult healthcare hospitality house in CNY, thousands of guests have been able to receive medical care in our community due to the lodging and other amenities Sarah’s Guest House offers guests at a time when they need it most. Each of their stories and journeys are unique -- but the common thread is that all who stay at the house are either coping with a medical challenge themselves, or tending to a loved one experiencing a health crisis, serving as caregiver and loving supporter. Lynda Young, a resident of Auburn, NY, is but one of those inspiring stories -experiencing a medical crisis of her own this past year as she battles an aggressive and potentially terminal cancer of her brain and lungs. Her treatments began this past summer at Upstate Cancer Center, requiring numerous rounds of chemotherapy and specialized radiation 78

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treatments which were not available in Auburn. Because the treatments are daily and very draining, the travel to and from Auburn day in and day out would have proven too taxing, both physically and emotionally. Enter Sarah’s Guest House as a place for Lynda to rest her head, relax, eat daily home cooked meals prepared by volunteers, and have a stress free “home base” minutes from the hospital throughout her ordeal. “Being able to

be so close to the hospital and come back and lay down in peace without the worries of a usual home life means everything,” said Lynda. Calling Sarah’s Guest House a “place of tranquility,” which she believes “is helping me flight and heal as best I can,” she said. Lynda has stayed at Sarah’s Guest House numerous times throughout her treatments and follow-up tests. Her daughters, Alyssa and Julia, have also stayed several times to care for their mother -- Julia all the way from Australia

and Alyssa from nearby Auburn. Their company creates an intimate atmosphere among the other guests, who also form a family-like bond -- a typical occurrence at the house with guests supporting one another throughout their shared experiences. Thanks to the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation’s $10,000 grant to Sarah’s Guest House this past year, Lynda’s entire stay is fully funded by their grant which covers all costs for patients with cancer, a cause near and dear to the Boeheim’s hearts. While donations of $25 are suggested for house guests, no one is ever turned away for an inability to pay. Grants like this and our annual fundraising initiatives help to support all lodging costs. Thanks to the generosity of our community through individual donations and corporate sponsorships of our various events including our annual springtime “A Gala of Giving” (our largest fundraising event of the year), we’ve been able to offer our home to so many wonderful people throughout our 25+ year history. Lynda is one of our many guests whose strength and resilience has graced our house. “Sarah’s Guest House has provided my mom with a supportive and loving environment,” her daughter Julia told us.”She’s not alone here,” she said, “and that puts me at ease.” For more information or to attend their April 17, 2020 Gala at Embassy Suites Destiny USA, visit sarahsguesthouse. org or call (315) 475-1747.


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{ THE ANIMAL { SHIFT+CONTROL CARE SANCTUARY } CORNER }

HONORING THEIR ROOTS AND EMBRACING THEIR FUTURE BY ANN LEWIS

Founded in 1967 by Lesley Sinclair, Animal Care Sanctuary is one of the oldest and largest no-kill sanctuaries for companion animals in the nation. Their life-saving mission envisions a community that promotes turning compassion into action for dogs and cats by adopting healthy animals into loving homes, promoting the human-animal bond through outreach, education and advocacy, spaying and neutering to end the suffering of over-population and to improve public health and the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals.

The current community medical clinic in East Smithfield is in an aging 20-year old mobile home that is too small and located a distance away from the kennel and cattery. The ACS sanctuary animals, even sick animals and surgical patients, must be transported outdoors to the clinic, often in inclement weather. The lobby of the clinic is very small. Owners and patients often have to wait outside because the lobby is full. There is only one examination room which

The three pillars that guide their work are animal rescue/adoption, community collaboration and education. Located in East Smithfield and Wellsboro Pennsylvania, they have a total of over 190 acres and on any given day some 200+ cats and dogs are in residence. Having a veterinary staff on site enables them to run two busy community medical clinics which provides accessible, affordable vaccinations and spay-neuter surgeries for pet owners in the community. In 2019 alone, they adopted 980 animals, performed over 2,800 spay/neuter surgeries and held over 2,600 community clinic wellness visits. T H E I R N E E D F O R A N EW COMMUNITY MEDICAL CLINIC AND KENNEL 82

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limits the number of appointments that can be scheduled and only a single holding room which limits the number of animals they can accommodate. Their surgery prep room is part of the surgery room, making it difficult to prepare the animals for surgery. In addition, their original kennel was built in 1982 and at the time was considered state-of-the-art. In the 30+ years since it was built, they know more about the needs of shelter dogs and have seen the kennel

continue to deteriorate. The building was unequipped to provide a healthy environment for the animals. There was poor air exchange, poor sewage disposal, porous housing materials and excessive moisture. The infrastructure itself was in need of expensive repair and provided a very difficult working environment for staff and volunteers and didn’t provide a positive experience for visitors. Animal Care Sanctuary is in the process of rebuilding its kennel and community medical clinic – as this is directly tied to their growth. This is also about their future and honoring founder Lesley Sinclair’s legacy and vision. The goal of the construction is to make the facility a place where employees and volunteers feel positive and the public enjoys visiting for pet adoption, pet re t r i e v a l , p e t owner education, community medical clinic and other animal services. Most importantly, the kennel must house dogs in the healthiest, least stressful manner. They worked with Shelter Planners of America on the design of the kennel and the goal is to have both the kennel and community medical clinic completed by late spring of this year. The benefits of this new space are vital. For the animals, the new space will be


{ THE ANIMAL { SHIFT+CONTROL CARE SANCTUARY } CORNER } “Animal Care Sanctuary is in the process of rebuilding its kennel and community medical clinic – as this is directly tied to their growth. This is also about their future and honoring founder Lesley Sinclair’s legacy and vision”

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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } CORNER } { THE ANIMAL CARE SANCTUARY “The three pillars that guide their work are animal rescue/adoption, community collaboration and education.�

healthier, soothing and low stress. There will be separation between healthy and sick animals through a sophisticated HVAC system. There will be a high degree of fresh air to minimize disease transfer and there will be indoor/outdoor covered runs designed for optimal health, comfort and efficiency. The noise level will be dramatically reduced. Staff and volunteers will have a positive, well-designed work-pace to increase efficiency and lift morale.

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And lastly, the community will benefit. The housing of animals will be among the best in the nation, reflecting a community that truly cares about the needs of its animals. Adopters will have an overall better experience, and the new kennel will enable more adoptions, which will bring more people to the Sanctuary, which will help the local economy. The new clinic will enable their veterinary team to provide greater service to the community pets. While the construction is expected to

be completed late spring, Animal Care Sanctuary is still trying to raise over $700,000 for the project. If you are interested in donating or learning about naming opportunities, please contact Joan Smith-Reese at jsmithreese@ animalcaresanctuary.org or 570-5962200 x106. You can also check out their website for more information at: https://www. animalcaresanctuary.org/honoring-ourroots-embracing-our-future/


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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } CORNER } { THE ANIMAL CARE SANCTUARY

THE ACS INTERN PROGRAM BY ACS INTERNS

Studying or want to study pre-veterinary science, animal science, shelter medicine/ management or related field? Then the Animal Care Sanctuary’s Pre-Veterinary Internship Program might be for you and don’t take our word for it. “This summer has been the most amazing one of my life so far. I love Animal Care Sanctuary and wish I could stay here longer. I have grown more as a person than I thought I ever could. I have met so many amazing people and animals ….I have become not only a better student and learner, but more importantly a better person because of this internship.” Elizabeth, Summer Intern 2019 Animal Care Sanctuary is one of the oldest and largest no-kill shelters in the United States and is the only animal care organization of its kind in the country that offers pre-vet internships with housing on-site. Their lifesaving mission envisions a community that promotes turning compassion into action for dogs and cats by adopting healthy animals into loving homes, promoting the human-animal bond through outreach, education and advocacy, spaying and neutering to end the suffering of over-population and to improve public health, and the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals. The three main pillars that guide their work are animal rescue/adoption, community

collaboration and education. The ACS Intern Program is designed to give students the experience in all facets of shelter and sanctuary management. It provides opportunities to develop skills in a variety of areas involved in animal care. Interns are given the opportunity to work with 200-300 cats and over 35 dogs to provide quality care, enrichment and

socialization in a facility designed for optimum animal health and well-being. The program consists of a 12-week rotation through their cattery, canine care, low cost spay/neuter and wellness clinic (working with their vet team), and the adoption office to experience all aspects of the sanctuary. Students get education on the non-profit model and board governance. Students are also part of their Alternative Housing program in which they foster and

train shelter dogs who require behavioral modification training (BMT) to increase their adoptability. This program has been very successful in decreasing a dog’s length of stay. During the time with the interns, the dog’s stress level decreases living in a homelike atmosphere while their BMT increases. Here is an overview of Kayla’s recent internship experience:“Every rotation gave me a much better understanding of shelter medicine operations and helped me build skills that are essential for success while pursuing a career as a veterinarian… Probably one of the best highlights of the internship for me was the foster experience. Allowing us to handle and work with dogs that are in need of behavior modification really demonstrates the trust ACS is willing to put in the interns… The vet clinic team at ACS was always excited to be able to show me interesting medical cases and really wanted to give me as much hands-on experience as was possible… Overall the team at ACS is dedicated to the care of their animals. I’m proud to be able to say that I got to be a part of this team and I am excited to be able to point people in the direction of ACS because I know just how much time and energy they put in towards the care of their animals.” – Kayla, Summer Intern 2019

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{ THE ANIMAL { SHIFT+CONTROL CARE SANCTUARY } CORNER } “The ACS Intern Program is designed to give students the experience in all facets of shelter and sanctuary management.”

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In addition, ACS has 6 intern positions annually, reserved specifically for those pursuing a degree in shelter medicine or shelter management or for pre-vet students who have an interest in this pursuit. These interns qualify for a stipend provided by The Bronson Scholarship in Memory of Frederick M. Gerhard & Edythe Gay Jennings.

Since 2014 ACS has hosted over 30 interns from various schools across the country, including, Penn State University, NYU, Cornell University, Purdue University, University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University.

The Sanctuary typically has 3-4 interns between both of their locations (East Smithfield and Wellsboro, PA) during the Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall sessions.

Even if students choose a path in private practice or a specialty, it’s the hope of ACS they still play an active role with a shelter in their own community.

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There is housing on-site at both Sanctuary locations for the students.

They are in the midst of renovating their

intern housing and would love some donated furniture or donations towards purchasing new furniture! Please send an e-mail to info@AnimalCareSanctuary.org if you are interested in donating furniture or if you want to make a donation: https:// www.animalcaresanctuary.org/donate/ If you are interested in learning more about their pre-veterinary intern program check out their website, https://www. animalcaresanctuary.org/programsservices/pre-vet-internships/ or send an e-mail to info@AnimalCareSanctuary.org


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

ANIMAL CARE SANCTUARY

CAN SIA COUNT ON YOU?

MANY WAYS TO SUPPORT OUR NEW KENNEL AND COMMUNITY MEDICAL CLINIC! DONATE A BRICK ($100-$200) ITEMS NEEDED: Furniture for our adoption and clinic lobby, stove and rerigerator for clinic

NAMING OPPORTUNITIES from $1,000+ For More Information: Contact Joan Smith-Reese: jsmithreese@animalcaresanctuary.org 570-596-2200 x106

DONATE NOW:

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{ GLENNA’S { IN HER OWN CBDWORDS CORNER} }


{{ ASK SHIFT+CONTROL ROBIN HERTZ }}

EXPLANTING THE BOOBS UPDATE! BY ROBIN HERTZ I SPONSORED BY GLENNA’S CBD BEST OIL

It’s been 8 weeks since I had surgery to explant my breast implants. Thought I’d share what’s been going on. There are so many levels and areas that are effected. Physically I have smiley face incisions under my breasts where Dr Feng went in and skillfully removed the implant along with the capsule in one piece. Not as easy as youde think because the capsule adheres to ribs and chest wall when under the muscle. They had ad to be scraped off the ribs. Ouch.

want a safe place to go with all of it except calling the nurse at the surgeons office. I sobbed at times quietly to myself. My neighbor…. ok are you ready for this, her name is TiTi. I know….. God has a sense of humor! She would come over and help me with the simple things. TiTi…. really? So funny! I was mad I even got implants in the first place, yet I loved them at the time and now I couldn’t look at my body much and felt alone inside myself.

women that they don’t need to be replaced. That is NOT accurate! And encapsulation means there IS a problem! Pain means there IS a problem! Just make sure with any replacement or removal that all capsule is taken out. I immediately felt and looked better. Everything except my chest looked better anyway. The first month consisted of my entire body changing including my brain. I was thinking clearer, my eyesight cleared up, dry eyes went away, head he is had for a month was gone, the white of my eyes got bright and white again. My skin tone and clarity changed and is still changing dramatically. My acne is cleared almost all up! The puffiness in my face and body is almost all gone.

Then I had my muscles repaired so my anatomy is back to where it was prior to implants. Ouch again. My entire chest wall was opened, searched, excavated and repaired. After while all vanguard up, I had to keep my arms tied down by my sides for 2 weeks so I wouldn’t tear my newly repaired muscles. I did not have a lift so yes just like you would think my once sexy girlie boobs were now ugly and deflated. This bring me to the emotional part. It’s scary and honestly ugly! Makes me feel insecure and actually sad in many ways. I kept a lot of my emotions inside. There

Now comes the health part! After explant I was told what I already knew. My right side WAS leaking or seeping out of the outer layer. (Shell). By the way the shell is made up of toxic silicone and chemicals on all implants. By 6-8 years they ALL start to break down. Mine were 13 years old. Many Drs tell

I feel strong again internally. Can make decisions again and don’t feel wishy washy. I realized I was living in a fog for a long time. I was concerned explanting would change my intuition. My knowing. Well it did. It’s SO exciting! Everything is heightened and faster. Downloads of CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ ASK ROBIN HERTZ } “If you or a loved one has implants and health issues reach out to me. I can see by looking at the face and especially eyes if breast implant Illness is causing the problems.�

information come in quick and clear. I could almost say louder if that makes sense.

Finding humor and trust was big during this time!!!

My hair stopped falling out and the texture is changing before it was dry and just plain weird.

Everyday there is a little more bloomage and I can look at them again with joy.

My aches and pains are gone. My body feels calm and not buzzing and stressed.

My daughter saw me for the first time during the holidays and hugged me closer than ever. She said she loves my new figure‌

Oh, my heart palpitations are gone! Swooshing in my ear and head gone. My libido is back. My thyroid doesn’t feel inflamed and my eyebrows are getting a little thicker.

I get emails or calls almost daily regarding this topic.

If you or a loved one has implants and health issues reach out to me. I can see by looking at the face and especially eyes if breast implant Illness is causing the problems. The toxins and continuous inflammation is causing liver heart and kidney problems. Even cancers and serious auto immune diseases.

My sleep is getting better and my mood is just happier! My tongue is thinner. I know that sounds weird but I suppose those 2 foreign objects in my body made everything inflamed and go haywire.

Please take this seriously!

So now I’ve been healing.

according to her the leaner natural look is in. đ&#x;˜‚

I embraced my breasts and even named them. Ivy and Violet.

In a weird way I feel more beautiful! More confident!

Decided to become friends with them. The names happen to be of plants that grow. I didn’t plan it that way tho but I do find it funny!

And every time I hug a loved one it’s closer to my heart. Feels comforting in a beautiful way.

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One friend had no idea she had textured implants until they were removed!

Education is key here. Women are not being told the truth. Sadly so many women after going through Breast cancer get implants during reconstruction and after a few years realize they don’t feel good. Few Drs know what to look for or even suspect it could be those 2 giant toxic objects places in their already compromised immune system. Hurts my heart for them.

I expected more ups and downs as I’m naturally detoxing implant toxins especially since I have the double MTHFR gene but my symptoms are so minuscule when they show up and then I know what to do to flush them out.

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Women that were very sick. Really sick and they don’t know why.

I show my photos! I’m not embarrassed! I’m empowered.

My fatigue and energy level is normal. I want to do things again!

I was chemically and food sensitive! Now much doesn’t bother me.

I’ve saved a few lives because of this journey.

I’m here to help! AskRobinHertz@gmail.com I’ll be updating again in a few months. With Love Robin


{ WOMAN { SHIFT+CONTROL ENTREPRENEUR } }

CHRISTIAN HEYLIGER BY CHRISTIAN HEYLIGER

Instead of writing a traditional article. I would like to write and letter to myself at certain turning points in my life. I will write a letter to my 19 year old self, my current 28 year old self, and the future me.

there a minute longer than you had to be. If no one else ever says it I’m proud of you!

Dear 19 Year Old Christian,

Can you please do me a favor and stop being so hard on yourself. Being a single parent, and trying to get your

19 should be fun but for you, but it’s not. You’re sad all the time, and nothing makes you happy. The army has you talking to a counselor, but you don’t think anything is wrong. You’re just sad. Then to top it off 4 days from being discharged from the military you find out you’re pregnant and I know you’re super scared. So scared that you called that clinic and made that appointment for a Tuesday afternoon. My current self thanks you for not going. That little human growing inside you will save you, and you both will show each other a love like you’ve never seen or felt before. So you’re going to be ok. It won’t be easy but you’ll be ok. Often times we forget to acknowledge, celebrate ourselves for the things we’ve overcome. My current self would like to celebrate 19 year old me. Getting pregnant so young wasn’t easy but you did it baby girl you did it! Yes I know being at the family homeless shelter for a month wasn’t part of your plan, but you pushed through and weren’t 98

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Dear 28 year old Christian or should I say current me,

small business off the ground is hard. It’s hard ,but not impossible. So keep going! Your gifts will make room for you I promise. Let’s not forget how you went and received help for your depression last year and have been kicking it’s butt ever since. Think about it love, you received the first depression diagnosis at 19, but suppressed it and never dealt with it. So I’d like to congratulate you on your past year in therapy. It has made you be a better

person and mom. It takes a lot to say I need help and to reshape my mental. The work you put in day in and day out is phenomenal. Being able to identify your own triggers, toxic traits, and being in tune with your emotions was huge. What’s even better is that with the tools you have been given I see you working on yourself day in and day out. Thank you for taking care of you because it has also allowed your son King to thrive in school and at hope. Your pride and joy is your son and everyone knows it. He’s a sweet, funny, kind, thoughtful, and well behaved. Thank because of the work you put into yourself. Continue to remind him who he is as a young black male. Trust he will always remember he is a King, he’s kind, he’s smart, he’s a leader not a follower, he is loved, and that no matter what he or anyone else does they can’t take away what God has for him. Christian you have come a long way. Dear Future Christian, The work you did in the past set you up for today. Despite every obstacle you kept pushing. All because you knew that you had a bigger purpose in life. Everything you said you wanted out of life you have now, peace, money


{ CNY BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT }

{ WOMEN WHO I

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{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE } “Future Christian needs current Christian not to give up even though right now as you write this things have gotten hard.”

to be comfortable, and continued stability. Future Christian needs current Christian not to give up even though right now as you write this things have gotten hard. That promise you made yourself at 16 to not work for anyone else forever, you have fulfilled. Just know that God’s plan for your life will workout. You and King will be more than ok. I just need current Christian to keep creating no matter if you have the money to bring the vision to life. Please stop worrying all the time I know it’s hard but don’t give up. Also, 100

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forgive yourself for the things you don’t speak about because you’re not ready. Forgive your 19 year old depressed self. She was hurt, lost, and confused. Stop carrying her around she’s dead you are no longer what she was so let her go. One more thing I know you’ve always felt misunderstood so much it’s even tattooed on you. The people that are meant to understand you some are with you know and the rest are in the future waiting on you.

Writing this letter to myself at certain points of my has been therapeutic. I would like to thank Something For The Sisters Online Magazine for thinking of me. I know my article isn’t written in a traditional way, but I still hope and pray the letter to myself can inspire just one person.


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE }

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MINDY DOUGHERTY I was born in New Castle, Delaware in a hospital December 8, 1976. I grew up with a single mother raising my brother and I. My father was not around as he was addicted to both his job and his drugs. I was a scholar athlete in high school and part of Phi Theta Kappa in college because I kept my grade point average above a 3.5. Since I was 5, I could remember watching brain surgeries and wanting to be in the medical field, so I joined the Army 4 days after high school. My first duty station was in Illesheim, Germany. I was a combat field medic and my military occupation study (MOS) was called 91B for short. It was at my first duty station that I would be sent to Bosnia by a train to Tazar, Hungary then a humvee convoy to Tuzla West, Bosnia where I had contracted appendicitis and pancreatitis at the same time due to a parasite eaten at one of our meal times. Due to the severity of the illness, I was flown back to Germany, and my appendix was taken out in a small German Hospital called Bad Windsheim Krankenhaus. Had I showed up 5 minutes later, the doctors told my friend who carried me in, that I would have been dead. I struggled with pancreatitis for 8 years and despite all of the procedures, steroid injections in the spine for pain, taking portions of my pancreas out 1 section at a time, nothing worked. I have had multiple surgeries to attempt to correct the pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) called peustow, whipple, then finally a pancreatectomy to where the doctor took out my full pancreas, and duodenum while 102

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rewiring my intestines which had been rewired with the two previous pancreatic surgeries. During my 8 years of pancreatitis, I went to nursing school to make a difference, despite being sick throughout. I wanted to help others get a better

understanding of what they are going thru. Especially those with similar medical issues. I learned how to properly ride a bike and would go on to train for a 65 mile and 100 mile ride called Tour De Cure. It was a group of riders that have Diabetes riding for a cause to find the Cure. In 2014, I suffered a bilateral ankle fracture along with a tibia/fibula fracture. When I went into the Veterans Administration Medical Center Hospital in San Antonio, Texas I was tortured for four months by

the Orthopedic staff and surgeon. I went from 137 to 107 lbs in a very short time. I called some friends of mine to help me out, and they drove 16 hours straight to get me, from Colorado, and they drove straight to Texas. One of the nursing assistance warned me about what was going to happen, and advised me to leave immediately. I had been blessed with their knowledge, and they called their own family members, and friends to help me pack as quickly as possible to leave my brand new house that I had just bought, my relationship that had recently fell apart as we had been together for 3 years with his child that I had grown to love from the age of 2-5, and leave to go to a new city that I knew nothing about to start over. When I first arrived to Colorado, many doctors would not look at me because once a Veteran is taken care of at a VA Medical Center, civilians do not want to take the leftovers because it makes them responsible once they have taken over the care. So I called a friend of mine and paid for her flight to come get me and helped me drive to Oregon where I would finally have the metal taken out, received proper physical, occupational, speech, pelvic floor exercise, and stem cell therapy, in addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a disorder known as the “Suicide Disease� because of the constant neurological burning that starts at my foot, then travels up my brain, and causes sweating, severe pain, and sweating, as well as neurological changes. I am also a published medical researcher and find it both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. I have been forced at this


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point to put nursing on the back burner as I am starting a new career in acting and modeling. I have been in three movies so far two with speaking roles and 1 without, any speaking lines that are set to come out in 2020. The first one is called 1 Dead Dog, next was I Need You Dead, then Bridge of The Doomed. I am also the owner and creator of Feed My City which is teaching people how to grow from a seed which transforms into a plant feeding them with knowledge and comfort by learning how to grow from the inside out. Feed My City will have its first

plot in Bend Jail this summer 2020. My goal is to teach prisoners how to grow and care for plants and trees, which ultimately will feed others as well. Organic produce will be grown and provided. What if it is the diet that is making us all crazy? What if it truly changes behavior? I believe it is worth a try. After breaking my ankle, I could not walk for over 3 years, so I became a Watsu Practitioner, which helps with PTSD, and other orthopedic issues by providing massage in warm water. Currently, I am in the process of writing an autobiography, and plan on traveling while speaking to high school students about suicide awareness,

anti bullying, and what to do in certain situations causing depression, anxiety, and displaced feelings, such as anger and why we start projecting it on others. My goal is to use my book as a platform to reach many who want to experience just one ounce of hope. What I realized through my journey, is that with no hope there really is nothing to look forward to. With a single ounce of hope, it propelled me to be where I am at today. I am thriving with Diabetes and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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SHERRY GENGA BY TAMMY REESE

The Shattered Oak, Overcoming Domestic Abuse and a Misdiagnosis of Mental Illness,” by Sherry Genga is published by Safe Goods in Sheffield, MA is based on a true story. It is an open and honest reflections of personal experience with domestic abuse, the profound realities of recovery, and a startling, and ultimately triumphant, resolution. This book is a valuable resource for those in need of help and reveals how one heroic soul faced extremes of abuse and trauma with love, and with determination recovered her life. Can suicide be in your family’s future? With suicide you never know what thoughts are racing through the saddened mind. Sometimes we are unable to fathom why our friend, sibling, mother or father committed suicide. People around them assumed they were so happy, always laughing and smiling, never revealing signs that they were so depressed. Look at Robin Williams the famous comedian, who was always passing a joke. I feel suicidal people wear a mask and rarely share their true self or feelings. Whether they are ashamed of their depression or feel alone where they cannot trust anyone, they keep their thoughts a secret. Maybe some suicidal people want their privacy and don’t have the courage to ask for help when their mental state manifests the thoughts of choosing death? They may feel like they are in a vacuum, with darkness slowly seeping in. Can suicidal minds feel blurred and even upside down, bringing them to the brink of insanity? In successful attempts, their demise is silent and not very forgiving. I know first-hand as a family member experienced several suicide attempts. As I described in the book, The Shattered Oak, the victim was a recipient of domestic abuse from her husband. She took solace under the strong oak tree in her front yard. As she 110

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sunk further into mental illness, the oak too became distress and ill. In Barbara’s case she was lucky because she survived three suicide attempts. As we know some people aren’t so lucky. I think most of us do occasionally struggle with depression, but most filter it out and let it go. Sometimes struggling makes us stronger and gives us perspective to let go of our past and absorb our mistakes

along the way. Many of us struggle with self-worth issues, but normally we rise to the occasion and succeeded. Depression can intervene in the thought process and cause us to focus on the negative. Psychologists continually try to understand why a person’s negative view of their situation

outweighs their desire to live. Clinical studies have shown that stressful situations can bring on a form of mental illness where the person is not totally in control of their decisions. For the families of those victims many questions go unanswered. Surviving suicide attempts and addressing mental illness can alter our viewpoint. Life is meant to present choices from our experiences that often change us for the positive. Barbara recovered after living through heartaches and burdens that transformed her future. Even those of us who live relatively normal lives, can learn that we have the sole capability to make beneficial choices in life. It’s how we elect to see, digest and live our lives that matters. The survival of the victim and her family in The Shattered Oak inspires us and reminds us that if we are struggling from thoughts of suicide due to domestic abuse, there are resources available. Family members should watch for the warning signs and prevent the victim from distancing themselves from everyone. Suicide is on the rise and it is time we looked more closely at stress as a primary trigger for a variety of conditions including domestic abuse. Unfortunately, in the The Shattered Oak story, Barbara did not share her thoughts of suicide with her therapist. She kept them secret by choosing the “silent path”. From my perspective, I think many times people wear a “mask” and don’t always reveal their true feelings. I do feel it is normal to struggle with depression, if we can filter it, then release it, and then let it go. I also feel that as we learn from our struggles, we embrace important life lessons. This gives us our strength and creates our independence, and because of this, allows us to release our regrets. This powerful word, “independence”, can help us heal, when we let go of our past and embrace the fact that our mistakes give us strength along the way. As described in The Shattered Oak, Barbara’s


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{ VISIONARY MINDS } “The Shattered Oak is a top selling book alongside of bestsellers and is a must read for yourself or to share as a therapeutic inspiration for others.”

life was not unlike many. I always knew her story needed to be told. She experienced a dysfunctional childhood of physical and mental abuse. and rolled into her marriage that was filled with domestic abuse and alcoholism. In addition, she had to deal with verbal abuse making her feel “less” than worthless. As years went by, she was able to find the courage to get a divorce thinking all her problems would be fixed. She thought she would be happy but instead she became severely depressed and full of confused feelings of self-deprecation. All her problems felt magnified and she became emotionally drained losing her ability to focus. She became depressed and in a downward spiral towards a nervous breakdown. Because of the strain of being a single mom and shouldering the house responsibilities she found herself becoming more isolated distancing herself from her children and because of this she becomes further aware that she is slipping away from herself and her children. As outlined in The Shattered Oak, growing up as a child, Barbara’s life was filled with abuse and neglect, similar to her husband’s broken childhood. This similar pattern manifested in a relationship of love, fear and intimidation. Because of this, Barbara was put in a vulnerable situation, half loving her husband and the other half fearing for her life. I think many women find themselves in the same situation as Barbara. They overlook warning signs that start early in a relationship. Jealousy, possessiveness, showing an angry temperament, or using a raised voice are all toxic behaviors. For Barbara, it was when prior to her marriage her fiancée showed uncontrollable rage when she was talking with a male friend. Barbara choose to ignore his signs of toxic behavior because of his charming personality and the deep love she felt for him. This prevented her from having a clear mind, not realizing that missing these warning signs would have a 112

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negative effect on their entire marriage. Since this is a true story, you can relate to her private thoughts, fears and regrets. Because of her deep religious faith and the profound love that she had for her children, she found the survival skills to power through her web of chronic illness. A metaphor reveals the “spiritual” connection Barbara has with the vibrant old oak tree in her yard. As Barbara slowly weakens from her husband’s verbal and physical abuse, her oak tree also deteriorates, dying from the inside out like Barbara’s slow emotional demise. Relating to the story line in The Shattered Oak will inspire you to choose embracing a positive outlook on life creating hope, self-worth and gratefulness. This old oak tree became a symbol of strength throughout her deepest darkest times. I am a firm believer of the principle that everything happens for a reason. The more I share Barbara’s story, the more I see the need to heal the delicate minds that are so unbalanced. If I knew I could not fail, I would spread the word on paper and post it on every oak tree, every bulletin board and talk to every ear willing to listen. I have learned so much about writing Barbara’s story and feeling her emotional pain that I have mapped out my own path for a more positive life. Our visions need to stay clear and only reflect on what is important, without focusing on the negative. Valuable knowledge can be extracted from our past by absorbing our mistakes along the way. Life is meant to grasp at our experiences, learning how our impressions can change us for the positive after living through our heartaches and burdens that transform our future into proud accomplishments. I have experienced trauma myself first-hand by growing up in a house full of domestic violence but thankfully ended by the salvation of divorce when I was seven.

Since writing this story, I have learned that I have the capability to make my own choices in life. It’s how I elect to see, digest and live my life that matters, realizing laughter and smiles can inspire us to get through our deepest darkest days and free our souls from depression. Domestic abuse, suicide, and mental illness all can be managed with the right resources if we are all willing to help inspire those who are in need. Barbara needs her oak tree to stay strong through the story. Just like her, I find my peace and serenity in nature. The calmness in the air helps me to understand how I can respect myself by discovering my clever spirit along the way and unearthing my inner peace. I hope you as a reader of The Shattered Oak, can benefit from the story to help you survive your own life’s journey. Some would say there is strength in numbers. Reach out to those who you love and provide comfort and protection. Seek shelter with friends if you are struggling from spousal abuse. Fear alone can take from one’s innocence. Fearful of your next attack can weaken your soul. Remember, some stories are meant to be a secret, and some stories are meant to be forgotten. Some stories need to be heard, to help the survivor live. May you all find comfort and peace in your voice that must be heard. May your prayers and your strength heal your life misfortunes. I wrote The Shattered Oak with the intention of empowering hope and strength to those who need help with domestic abuse, depression, suicide or mental illness. Reassuring them all that they are not alone in this situation and that there are resources available. I am currently married with two beautiful children residing in my hometown and am at peace. If you enjoy a book that you can “experience” then The Shattered Oak is for you. The first-person narration without any doubt, creates a sense of pronounced visions that come alive and create emotion deep down


within your subconscious mind and soul. Barbara’s is a powerful story to treasure about survival, perseverance and a depth of love only a mom with her faith can endure and conquer. The Shattered Oak is a top selling book alongside of bestsellers and is a must read for yourself or to share as a therapeutic inspiration for others. The Shattered Oak ~ A once vibrant oak tree in her yard began dying. Voicing cries of help through the dead leaves and moss-covered branches. Inside the house Barbara too was in crisis, the recipient of her husband’s anger and rage. As time passes Barbara can no longer stay strong. While she deals with her own demons, the oak too weakens. Based on a true story, this woman takes us inside her emotionally charged existence, letting us

feel the anguish of domestic abuse, divorce, attempted suicides, and incarceration in a mental institution. A savior finally unravels the mystery surrounding her dysfunctional mental state and leads her on the path to recovery. This book is a must read for anyone going through domestic abuse or depression, or family members who are trying to make sense out of the situation. “This is an excellent book. We as physicians, must always question that the obvious answer may not be correct. Medicine is a career of learning, unlearning, and learning anew as new diseases and cures are discovered. We should never avoid questioning a diagnosis or treatment as was well demonstrated by this book.” - Mark Tuttle, MD.

the book in the mail, opened it, glanced inside to see how it begins. Did not move until I finished it. Definitely the author’s narration is hypnotic. It is taking some time to return to my normal state of mind. This may sound weird, but I am describing as best I can what I have just experienced. I have been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and I have written several selfhelp books. And I have read many, many more. Sherry Genga’s The Shattered Oak is like nothing else I have read with the one exception being the novelist, William Styron. This book is only 120 pages. Regardless of your motivation, I suggest that you read it. -Thom Rutledge, author of Embracing Fear. Tennessee

Amazon book review:

If you are interested please visit Barnes and Noble website, Amazon, Safe Goods Publishing or www.theshatteredoak.com

“This book possessed me” I just received

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SABINE MONDESTIN BY TAMMY REESE

ACTRESS, SINGER, WRITER, DIRECTOR A N D P RO D U C E R AT M Y D E S T I N Y PRODUCTION From a young age, Sabine showed an interest in both the theater and writing. At the age of nine, she played different roles on Stage, Commercial and Television Shows. Her greatest success came when she interpreted the role of Cleopatra, whom she played for four years.

sold out and acclaimed by the media. Sabine shoes blog gets thousands of visitors every month and gained popularity exponentially. In 2014 Sabine Co-Created OWTFF (Open World Toronto Film Festival)Film Festival that help aspiring and established Filmmakers gain exposure and recognition. “The Importance of Smiling”

More than an actress, Sabine was a columnist for the TV show “Noir de Monde” and a freelance researcher for national Radio and Television stations.

She wrote over 22 TV/Movie scripts and is managing multiple projects with budget ranging from $1000 to $5000000. In 2014 Sabine stared in a lead role in “The Vagina Monologues” play, all nights were 114

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In Her Own Words: Sabine: I am a film lover and a filmmaker myself .I wanted to create a glamorous film festival that would be accessible for everybody. That is why the event is free or by donation I wanted to connect new filmmakers to the world. So far the highlight sin my life are my festival and my production company. I am happy to be able to create my own content. I love writing and the fact that I can write and produce my own stuff is just amazing. The major obstacle in my career is usually funding it’s really hard to fund my project. I usually work really hard and put money on the side to have the freedom to create. I don’t know if it’s inspiring for others but I know that I never wait for the phone. I know that you can not wait for other people to believe in you. Do it yourself even if it means to work 24/7. Another obstacle is you need to surround yourself with people who understand your passion.

Ms. Mondestin also founded and owns the production company, “ MyDestiny Production“, with which she Produced, Directed, and Wrote the Web Series/Movie ”13 Witches”. She received several awards including the ”Outstanding Producing for a Sci-Fi Horror Series” at the Prestigious LAWEB festival in Los Angeles. Another Sabine success story is the Short Movie “Insanity” which is an Official Selection of many 2014-15 Film Festivals. In addition to writing, acting and directing, Sabine is also a singer. She recently wrote and interpreted the lyrics for “Let Them Hate”, “Une Mangeuse d’hommes” and “I Just Want My Chocolate” three songs produced by Steve Lareau.

the road of my life will be a hard one.” – Sabine Mondestin

When I was born my mother use to tell me that I used to laughing for nothing .I was in my cradle and i was staring at the ceiling and I used to laugh and laugh for no reason …When I looked back I guess I was laughing because I knew that I will have a hard childhood and I better laugh now” – when I am still cute. I probably knew that I better be happy now because

Women need to remember that they deserve a seat a the table. Don’t wait until everything is perfect to do something just do it. Don’t ask for permission just do it .I used to be like that and it did not help me in my life. I know now that we can be ambitious, nice, and successful but never wait for permission. To contact Sabine email sabinemondestin@yahoo.ca Or visit her website https://sabinemondestin.com/


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{ VISIONARY MINDS } “Women need to remember that they deserve a seat a the table. Don’t wait until everything is perfect to do something just do it.”


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POSITIVE ENERGY BY KIMBERLEY ROSSI

As a Public Relations specialist, Kimberly Rossi often finds herself behind the scenes. Aligning herself with good people and good projects. Coming from humble beginnings gave Ms. Rossi this foundation. Her mother’s family fled Latvia during WWII just to be caught by the German Army. For 6 years they lived in a German refugee camp. Finally… arriving in America, they had a strong will and a determination to succeed. These influences from her mom laid the foundation for her life.

to me.” Kimberly who was married at the time, spent the next 9 years having and raising 4 children as a stay at home mom. “I love when kids are little. It’s fun to watch them learn, take them on adventures… and they just want to be with mom!” As the children got older… Kim got bolder and had more time to re-discover who she was…. her passions. A second awakening occurred and her next birth came with Indigo Productions. “I was a music major

Kim didn’t grow up with much, but her drive always provided momentum for a better life… for herself and those she loved. “If I didn’t know how to do something, I figured it out. If I saw an opportunity, I’d go for it. When I needed money, I found work.” At age 12 Kim became an entrepreneur walking a lawn mower miles down the side of a busy road to earn income. In her 20’s Ms. Rossi climbed the rungs of the corporate ladder, starting at first as a sales rep at a specialty contact lens company, then quickly becoming the Canadian Sales Manager. Setting the bar higher, she moved onto a high tech company in Silicon Valley where she handled top key accounts, and managed sales reps. It was the beginning of the .com boom and Ms. Rossi was smashing every goal she ever made for herself. Then 9/11 occurred. “After 9/11 it was as if a reset button was pressed on my life. I saw things through a different lens and family was most important

in college. I always had this voice inside of me but pushed it away. I was so focused on raising my kids that I lost a bit of me in the process. It was so easy to listen to other people and take the path of least resistance. Indigo forged the way to a new Kimberly Rossi.” Learning how to build websites, utilizing her sales skills to book bands and reaching out to every network and media outlet… Kimberly got noticed. “I hit the ground running.” Soon Ms. Rossi was representing

artists like The Ripcords who she booked and handled media for. Irv Lyons Jr., GPL (Grupo Pagan Lite) and Dave Porter jumped on board as clients which later would form the most sought after open mic in CNY which Kimberly promoted, hosted and booked for. Kimberly was the exclusive PR agent in CNY for Mrs. New York America 2015 and 2016 and has worked with Oren Lyons. Stepping stones paved the way from one opportunity to the next. “I have to be careful not to take on too much.” Rossi is the kind of person that sees a hole and fills it. For 7 years straight she’s handled promotions for Dr. Laura who offers free dental care to Veteran’s on Veterans Day. Ms. Rossi has worked or donated her time to countless events and fundraisers assisting with PR and publicity for: Stage of Nations festival, Lilith Flair, One Song For Peace, Indigenous Rowing Club (IRC), Music for the Mission, Vera House and Clear Path to name a few. Kimberly also started a Songwriter Series with her man, Irv Lyons Jr. A very successful singer, songwriter and guitarist from the Oneida Nation. “Irv has so many creative ideas. He often comes up with a concept and I help to make his visions a reality.” Original music is deeply personal to both of them. “Songwriting is an art form, a skill… it’s a person opening their heart and soul. Musically and lyrically, songwriting deserved to be acknowledged.” Cover-cuse, as CNY has become known, was given CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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“ If I didn’t know how to do something, I figured it out. If I saw an opportunity, I’d go for it. When I needed money, I found work”

the name due to band after band, and event after event replicating others work. The songwriter series gathered so much awareness, that many other events started forming and helped to bring the focus towards original music. “I’m happy these other events popped up. We need to lift one another up. So many artists came out of the woodwork that never had a space or place to perform. I love seeing this continuing to grow and receive acknowledgement.” Kimberly, K-Ro or Indigo, as some of her followers call her, found her own voice through these life lessons and chances. She has performed as a member of the Diana Jacobs Band and is a regular member of Irv Lyons Jr. & The Light, a group that has received 120

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national recognition. Perhaps the performance most cherished is in Dickens Christmas with her children. For the last three winters, her son John has performed as Tiny Tim and Kimberly as Mrs. Cratchit. (The first year all of us performed together.) “I love how the whole village of Skaneateles becomes our playground. These are memories we’ll cherish forever.” Back at it again, Kimberly has volunteered to handle PR for Skaneateles Middle Schools production of Beauty and the Beast which 2 of her daughters are in. “As a single mom, I truly enjoy activities we can do together.” All of these events and publicity caught the attention of Carl Byrne, who hired Kimberly to manage media at Byrne Dairy

where she has been the past 3 years. “I truly believe in buying local and supporting local establishments.” And these beliefs are leading her in a yet a new direction…. To follow Kimberly Rossi and all she supports and does, follow her @indigocny or Indigo Productions on Facebook and Instagram.


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ALONE IN A CROWD BY ANDREA PARMAR

*This guest blog was written by Andrea Parmar. Andrea is a registered psychiatric nurse and an eating disorder survivor. She has written a well-loved book about her experience with an eating disorder called, “Alone in a Crowd.” She is always striving to create a better understanding of mental health stigmas and eating disorders.

knowledge and work experience, I could not help myself. My own psychiatric struggles continued to grow and manifest themselves in my life. Fast forward to the present. I am now a happily married woman with two beautiful

ALONE IN A CROWD In a crowd I’m all alone A smile I show To set the tone

Looking back to my adolescent years, I can now recall experiencing instances of anxiety as early as eleven or twelve years old. At the time, I didn’t know where those anxious feelings were coming from or why I was feeling them, however, the symptoms were undoubtedly the early onset signs of a mental illness that would grow and last a lifetime. My peoplepleasing ways and self-doubt continued to grow throughout my teenage years. Although I was clearly struggling with mental health issues, ironically, I clearly saw myself having a future in the counseling field. My body image concerns began at the age of fifteen and dangerously spiraled into a bulimic eating disorder soon afterward. I completed the psychiatric nursing program in 1994, and despite the exhausting stressors of an eating disorder, I graduated from the program with top marks in my class. I was successfully able to hide my eating disorder from my co-workers, my family, and my friends by pretending everything was “just fine” and portray a bubbly, talkative personality. In my role as a psychiatric nurse, I truly could relate to others struggling with a mental illness and offer them sound advice and comfort them. Yet, despite my professional 122

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continue to care for my mental health on a daily basis through self-reflection, yoga, and prescribed anti-depressants. I have bad days like anyone else does which makes me human. With a shift in mindset that took many years of self-reflective journaling and counseling, I no longer feel Alone in a Crowd:

Words are spoken Which I don’t hear I nod to agree To avoid the fear I worry about things I like to hide To tell the truth Would disturb the tide This was my way For many years And the feelings inside Have brought many tears But now I am present When I’m in a crowd To talk and laugh I am finally allowed My journey continues With each waking day One step at a time Has become my new way boys. I have been bulimic-free for over fifteen years and recently published a book called “Alone in a Crowd” in order share my experiences and road to recovery to help others struggling with mental illnesses, especially eating disorders. Although I no longer practice binging and purging, I

Just as mental illness does not discriminate I learned that one’s physical health can sometimes be unpredictable and uncertain. Physical ailments can also catch a person by surprise much like my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in February 2016. Presently I am trying to manage my symptoms, which


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{{ WOMEN MENTALLY { COVER WHO STORY THINKING INSPIRE } }} “In some ways, my MS diagnosis was a positive in life. Not at first of course, as I was devastated by the neurologist’s words.”

is sometimes difficult as I continue to fulfill my passion of helping others … as a nurse, and now by sharing my story. In some ways, my MS diagnosis was a positive in life. Not at first of course, as I was devastated by the neurologist’s words. As the months passed, however, I was able to come to peace with my newest physical hurdle. I became more motivated than ever to complete my journaling process that I began a decade ago and eventually gained an overwhelming desire and passion to transform those thoughts in a memoir to help others. So, what’s my message? My message is no matter what walk of life we come from, we

are all candidates for mental illness. People do not choose to be mentally ill, much like nobody chooses to be physically ill. However, society often says, “Why don’t you just suck it up and toughen up” or think that it should be as simple as “mind or matter” to make these choices in life. In my experience, I was not able to make these “better and healthier choices” to improve my physical health, until my mental health improved through self-reflective journaling, meditation, counseling, and in-patient medical care. This may sound strange, but my eating disorder behavior was the last thing to go. It was not until the negative self-talk lessened,

that was continually going on in my head, that my disordered-eating behaviors began to decrease. Therefore, breaking the cycle of bulimia requires professional help even if you have the medical knowledge that I possessed. We all have our unique set of challenges in life, so asking for professional help, much like I did, is not only okay but necessary. In retrospect, getting the medical help I needed to overcome my eating disorder has made me a stronger person. So, three steps forward and occasionally one step back has become my new way … and that I no longer beat myself up over the steps back. Respectfully, Andrea Parmar CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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BUNDU BASHING & MAASAI RAPPERS BY JODI MORRIS

Global travel isn’t an escape from my life, but an extension of it. I didn’t travel outside of the U.S. until age of 23. My boyfriend and I traveled to pre-EU Germany, spending time with his friend from college. It taught me that traveling internationally can be much less expensive than in the U.S. and that personal connections upgrade a vacation to a life experience. Five years later, I took my first trip to Asia. Venturing to Thailand on my own, I was lonely in Bangkok, got scuba certified on the beaches of Krabi, and joined a mountain bike trip outside of Chiang Mai. It’s there that I connected to the Thai people, and pondered the ways we each defined family, career and societal roles. Two years later, I took a brief sabbatical from my investment job and traveled to Africa. I connected a hodgepodge of experiences—volunteer work in Ghana, a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, safaris in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and holiday with friends in South Africa. In those seven weeks, I was constantly out of my comfort zone. I experienced every emotion. I took in countless stories. Along the way, I found mine. Over the next 20 years, I continued to expand the ways I traveled. Trekking adventures pushed my physical limits and taught me the value of asking for help. Traveling with portfolio managers heightened my curiosity and global investment mindset. Knowing the impact education had on my life, I couldn’t help noticing the educational barriers for many children—especially girls. Giving

everything I can to advance the education of girls in developing economies became part of my life mission. Immersive travel experiences helped me find what I truly care about and how to advocate for it. Purposeful travel connects us as people. Travel is something most of us already do, and aspire to do more. But in the era of how-many-countries-have-you-visited apps and Instagram-worthy photos, I worry we’re losing the purposeful part.

It’s why I began curating Global Leadership Trips. Our focus is connecting people and ideas across the globe. We step outside of our comfort zone and are introduced to people who surprise and inspire us. When they share a facet of their life that conflicts with what we know, it challenges us. Our perspective begins to shift; we change the way we think about the world and our place in it. As trip leader, I have the privilege of watching

this happen during and after the trip. Participants make small changes and big decisions—to have kids, move across the country, change careers, step back from leadership roles, return to school. The decisions don’t happen solely because of the trip. But when you pull yourself out of your comfort zone and engage with curious-minded individuals with no tie to your daily life, you consider major decisions with a fresh perspective. For me, the connections I’ve made through purposeful travel are life highlights. Two years ago, I invited a Tanzanian musician named William “Maasai Prince” to join one of my groups for dinner in Dar es Salaam. I was in awe of his talent, grit, empathy and humanity. Post trip, our friendship blossomed. One day, he started our conversation saying there was something he wanted to tell me about his younger sister. William told me of his Maasai father’s plans to take his 14 year old sister Juliana out of school in order to be married. I couldn’t shake my wanting to do something. I sent an email to anyone who might be able to help. Through my network, I found a school in Tanzania called SEGA which could accept Juliana on scholarship. A week later, through a logistics plan I’ll never fully appreciate, William dropped Juliana off at SEGA wearing only the clothes on her back. She didn’t know a word of English, the school’s language of instruction. As months passed, I received periodic updates. Juliana’s progress was slow, but she was committed to the work. “You just wait,” the head master told me. I then embarked on one of the most purposeful trips of my life—I visited SEGA CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ GLOBAL CONNECTION } “ Giving everything I can to advance the education of girls in developing economies became part of my life mission.”

school. I couldn’t wait to meet Juliana. I expected her to be a shy young woman who’d nervously smile with eyes cast down, softly answering questions asked of her. An exceptionally tall girl walked towards me. Juliana greeted me with a warm smile and hug. She escorted me to the pavilion where I joined her and fellow students for lunch. To my surprise, she was quite the conversationalist. Juliana showed me around her campus and we talked about how excited we were for the next day. Her brother William “Maasai Prince” would perform a concert for the entire school; their mother Sabrina would also attend. Sabrina was gorgeous, wearing colorful 128

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Maasai cloths and beads. With language failing us, we communicated via smiles and selfies. Maasai Prince was mesmerizing in his performance, but my favorite part was watching him with the teenage girls afterwards. He taught them dance moves and answered their questions—“Who are the musicians you most admire? What do you love most about performing? What advice do you have for us?” He espoused the wisdom of a caring older brother— something many of the girls probably didn’t have. It was one of many special moments over three decades where the world felt smaller and I saw my part in it. Through social media, we’re more connected

than ever before. Yet we’re connecting less. Purposeful travel can better connect us to our true selves and our fellow global citizens. On that same trip to Tanzania, I happened to sit next to an Africa travel writer on my group’s last night in Zanzibar. To my surprise, our meeting and conversation became part of her article. She found my “anecdotes about bundu bashing in spice forests and meeting Maasai rappers completely enthralling.” Here was a woman I just met on a teahouse rooftop on the other side of the world. Yet if I had to write my own epitaph, it would read something like that.


Spirituality: Spirituality: The Missing Link In Mental & Emotional Wellness Join Beth Lynch for a passionate discussion on Spirituality, Mental Health from a Spiritual perspective & ways to heal, live & love from your Highest potential. You will be guided into a meditation followed my messages from Spirit: What is the Spirit world trying to teach us about mental health? Why is the relationship with our Soul important in the human experience? How have we become a fear based society? Let's make the shift now individually & as a group! Lynch has written 4 books on the subject including Donald's Journey Childrens Audio & Book. She is passionate to speak on Spirituality & more to educate all ages on Meditation & Spirituality. Beth Lynch is a Spiritual Medium, Meditation Teacher, Intuitive Consultant & Author. She has written & recorded 4 books on Spirituality & Meditation. Lynch is a graduate of Delphi University at Patricia Hayes School of Metaphysics and Arthur Ford School of Mediumship. She is certified under Mark Irelands distinguished group of professional Mediums. For over 2 decades has helped families understand & heal grief. Her sensitivity to connect to loved ones crossed over has inspired & helped many understand life, death & all that is in between.

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{ MIND MONEY }

SPEND WITH INTENT TO CAST THE RIGHT VOTE BY LORRI ALLISON CRAIG

A century has passed since the 19th amendment was ratified by Congress, granting American women the right to vote and forever cementing their place as advocates for a better world. Plenty has changed in the hundred years since the “Silent Sentinels” burned Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and suffragists pounded the streets, too: Women have gone on to travel in space; decide if and when to have children; fly solo (in more ways than one); defeat male sports champs; serve in the armed corps and on the Supreme Court; become the Speaker of the House, the U.S. attorney general, and the COO of the world’s largest social media platform, and hold a slot for a major political party on the presidential ballot. W.E. B. Du Bois didn’t just have it right when he said “there is no force equal to a woman determined to rise”—he nailed it.

What is mind money, you might ask? It’s spending with intent—and furthering our long-held desire for a better world. Think of it this way. We cast votes, really, on a daily basis. We vote for our health when we pass on the donut and opt for

In my 23 years as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, I’ve helped countless people identify these blunders. And though I may have grown a start-up into a $50 million merger opportunity in under five years and managed the wealth of some of our nation’s top executives, my real accomplishment has been showing women how to make savvy and socially-conscious investments and conquer limiting beliefs about themselves, their earning potential, and finances in general.

But a hundred years is a long time—so much so some women have become inured to the fact that we can vote (which, on one hand, is a good thing). And in an increasingly inscrutable political climate, even more may feel that our votes don’t have the meaning they once did. Nonsense, I say. The power of our votes is as potent today as it was a hundred years ago, because now we have the opportunity to vote for far more than just candidates. Only now, the onus is on us to ensure we’re casting those votes in the most beneficial direction—and inspiring others to do the same. Decades ago, our grandmothers carried around “mad money”—that stash of extra cash in case an emergency befell them. Now we can carry around—at least metaphorically—what I’ve taken to calling “mind money.”

All of which is well and good, but a key element of our life is frequently missing from the equation: Finances. Financial matters tend to be aimed at solving problems, which requires us to be past or futurefocused—correcting an error or preventing a mishap. And unless we’ve been financial saints since adolescence, both may trigger negative emotions, particularly for we women, who have historically been underpaid or not remunerated at all (hello, stay-at-home moms). In turn? We over-spend to compensate, or fail to invest out of fear, thereby rendering true financial wellness that much more elusive.

the apple. We vote for a sustainable future every time we buy locally, or recycle, or walk in lieu of driving. Now, it’s time to consciously and consistently extend those votes to our purchases and investments. Most of us associate mindfulness with our eating habits, self-care, and relationships.

One of the most common hurdles I see—even in my most financialfluent female clients—is their treatment of money in general. For many, it’s something to confront once a month, or pushed onto the back burner until they have no choice, or carelessly spent. But what if they—what if we— gave our finances the same amount of deliberateness and attention as, say, what we put into our bodies, or how we communicate with our loved ones? Meaning, what would happen if we treated our finances as a CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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“Every day we make decisions on how to spend our money. When we mindfully spend— when we think of each dollar we hand over as a vote—we are positively altering an egregiously-imbalanced economic power system, one that has long been fueled by a surplus of masculine energy.”

practice as meaningful and regular as yoga or meditation? It would become automatic but smart, profound but seamless—even, dare I say, easy. I came to all of this the hard way. When my husband was delivered a cancer diagnosis and the “ten days to live” that went with it, I had to call upon the yogic advice I’d been spoon-fed since toddlerhood to not only get through the crisis with some sanity, but also figure out a way to pay off the crushing debt I didn’t realize we were in. I was thrown into overdrive, worked insane hours, and lived like a peasant. My husband’s cancer went into remission, thanks in part to the diet I gave him, and I went into the next phase of my life’s purpose: Hammering home the fact that money issues shouldn’t be addressed only during emergencies, but given thought and care on a daily basis. That a man is not a plan. That what we spend our money on is a microcosm for how authentically and happily we’re living. And that as women, in a progressively femaleconfident world, and as the primary buyers of our family’s needs, we can use our money to make a statement. Every day we make decisions on how to spend our money. When we mindfully spend—when we think of each dollar we

hand over as a vote—we are positively altering an egregiously-imbalanced economic power system, one that has long been fueled by a surplus of masculine energy. And when we treat money as a pleasurable, ongoing experience instead of something to ignore, abuse, or fear, we make choices that boost ourselves, our communities, and our planet.

We remind the world why we women have long been avatars of change. One of the most promising things of all is that mind money is simple to adopt. Check in with your body before making a purchase. Identify what’s a need and

what’s a want. Read ingredients to ensure you’re eating a wholesome, ethical meal. Guarantee that your products, from lipstick to laundry detergent, are eco-friendly. Vote for companies that practice transparency and integrity. Simplify your life. Unplug the consumer machine. Treat yourself and your family members without having to reach for your wallet. And spend from a heartcentered, mindful place, where, like the amazing women before us, we know what we deserve as consumers, what we want to hand down to our granddaughters, and what we know is necessary, right, and true.~ Lorri Allison Craig i s a C E RT I F I E D FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, MBA with over 23 years of experience in the financial field—an industry that had less than 10% of women when she entered it. A subject matter expert for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, she’s an internationallycertified Kundalini yoga instructor and integrative nutrition health coach. In addition to providing financial consulting, she’s dedicated to empowering both women and men with the tools they need to flourish physically, spiritually, and financially in a radically-changing world. For more about her consulting services, courses, upcoming retreats, and more, please visit lorriallisoncraig.com.


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{ IN HER OWN WORDS }

EDITOR/BLOGGER/FILM CRITIC BY LE ANNE LINDSAY

TINSEL & TINE My name is Le Anne Lindsay, and I’m the Editor/Blogger/Film Critic for Tinsel & Tine. I am a native of the Philadelphia suburbs of Abington, single, no children, no pets – no strings. Philly has always had a thriving professional theater industry, and this is where I was fortunate enough to begin my career, working my way up from Receptionist, to Assistant to the Artistic Director, to Literary Manager, to Assistant Director for an outreach program, to Casting Director. And then I brought my career to a screeching halt, when I let fear get the better of me and steer me off course. I was young and afraid of success. It was time to spread my wings and try New York or LA, but I feared those places would eat me alive. Yet, at the same time, I felt stagnant where I was. So, I stepped away from theater for what was supposed to be a brief hiatus but turned into a 12-year struggle to re-find my confidence and re-direct my career goals. Part of this search led me back to school to hone my computer skills. This led me to a Data Communications class, where one of Professor Fedeli’s assignments was to start a blog. This

was 2009, when blogging had taken root, but was still new enough territory to allow a “Wild, Wild West, anything goes, throw stuff out there and see what sticks” type mentality. Most big publications were still in print, and online magazines were just beginning to see the beckoning light of the World Wide Web.

But let’s back up. My love of blogging was not immediate. I was at first so disdainful of the assignment that I named my first blog Suck My Pretty Toes, my posts were scathingly written about my pet peeves - I got an A. Assignment completed, only I wasn’t done with blogging. My disdain turned to passion for the medium.

What a great way to be able to express yourself: not quite a diary, not quite a newspaper editorial. But should I continue with pet peeves? During my search for my confidence and “the meaning of life”, I did quite a bit of studying on the powers of the Laws of Attraction. Scoff if you will, but there’s something to this whole vibration, frequency, karma thing. What you put out there returns to you, the Universe does listen. So, I thought, what could I write about that would be positive and wouldn’t get old? Common sense should have brought me back to theater, but instead I chose movies. Growing up I was an avid old movie watcher, starting with Cary Grant. Falling in love with this debonair clown shaped my adolescent mind for better or worse - Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Indiscreet, His Gal Friday, I Was A Male War Bride... But I hadn’t really been keeping up with contemporary cinema, at least no more than the average person. That could be my hook, rediscovering the movie industry, a fresh take from an outsider. Or, upon graduating from high school, I attended a chef apprenticeship/ restaurant management program for a year. Perhaps I should delve into the Philly restaurant scene? In the end, I decided it could be both CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ IN HER OWN WORDS } “What do I see for the future? Ideally, I’d like to navigate away from being a critic/ reviewer and instead represent one or two production companies in a promotional capacity. I’d also like to be on the jury panel for a prestigious film festival.”

and thus Tinsel & Tine was born. The name is a takeoff of Tinseltown, using the tines of a fork. However, even from the beginning, T & T tends to be a main course of the film industry, and side dish of the food industry.

featuring their films and stories. I was voted into the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, and returning to my theater

What do I see for the future? Ideally, I’d like to navigate away from being a critic/reviewer and instead represent one or two production companies in a promotional capacity. I’d also like to be on the jury panel for a prestigious film festival.

This January 2020, Tinsel & Tine turned 10 years old! I feel proud to have kept it going all this time. Especially considering my track record. Finding sponsors and maintaining other means of income, while keeping the site current, is challenging. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a success. I’ve kept a steady and loyal audience, and traffic to the site. I was a weekly contributor to a radio show for 3 years. I guest on podcasts and panels. I’ve been able to form relationships with PR agencies, which have given me access to interviewing directors and celebrities and invitations to restaurant openings. I get to see an inordinate number of movies for free. I support new and up and coming filmmakers and actors by 142

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year attending the Sundance Film Festival, supported by my friends and followers who have generously contributed to my Facebook fundraising and GoFundMe campaign. So, I feel rich in many ways!

roots, I am currently a Barrymore Nominator, (the TONY awards for Philly). Not to mention, I am usually approved for press credentials; this

On the personal front, my mindset of feminism, activism and volunteerism was a big part of my younger self, but on this side of the hill, I’ve come to a mindset that striving for personal happiness is not a sinful thing. Happiness for me is beautiful surroundings, mysticism, fantasy, fashion, good cigars, good food & drink, good friends, the beach and shooting craps. I’m trying to manifest these things into my life as often as possible, in Divine Order.


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{ WOMEN IN FASHION }

SHERIDONNA FIONA WILSON BY TAMMY REESE

FOUNDER SHERIDONNA DESIGNS LLC Hailing from Syracuse, New York-Jamaican native Sheridonna Wilson is an all-out creative dedicated to engraving her place in the fashion industry! Upon graduating from Syracuse University’s Visual and Performing Arts College in 2013, Sheridonna was positively acknowledged for her talent and awarded the opportunity to showcase her senior collection “The BluPrint” in New York City! Offering an “ultra-feminine, sophisticated, glamorous, edgy, and sculptured charm”, Sheridonna launched her latest collection “Opulence” in 2015 during the Syracuse Fashion Week gala. Sheridonna has an innate desire and passion to make everyone feel beautiful through her unique gift of fashion design and will not stop until she has impacted the lives of millions!

Students learn how to use Math, English, and Social Skills such as the 7th Value of Human Relations which include Communication, Self Respect, Self Awareness, Self Disclosure Group Dynamics, and Motivation. Students are given the opportunity to have an outlet to express themselves through the Arts. Sheridonna Designs gives back to the community by offering local college students

When her teachers in college approached her to go into fashion design she took flight. Sheridonna Designs LLC is a women’s wear company known for beautiful fabrication and architectural inspired designs with impeccable attention to details. In addition, to being a International Fashion Brand, Sheridonna Designs also provides Educational Classes and Online Courses that revolutionize teen girls perspective and give them the experience to learn and develop new life skills to last a lifetime. Fostering creativity to thrive in life using the arts. Providing workshops which include, Fashion Illustration, Pattern Making, Tailoring, and Sewing classes for the youth ranging from Seven to Fourteen years of age. Located in the Burtonsville, Maryland and serving the DC Metropolitan area.

internships to learn more about the Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship. Sheridonna is very passionate about design always looking for new things to do and learn about. What makes Sheridonna unique is she is proficient in Photoshop, Illustration, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word, and Powerpoint which are the skills to be a Fashion Designer, Teacher, Event Coordinator, Motivational Public Speaker, Model, Humanitarian, Writer and much

more. As a Fashion Designer she oversees the day to day operations including creating seasonal collections, ordering fabrics, pattern making, sample making, scheduling, graphic design, manage social media accounts, manage booking and sale inventory. After being divorced she knows she has the power , talent to achieve every goal in life. A man or judgement doesn’t define that. By manifesting everything she wants to be. Being proud of her self for not giving up. Through the trials and tribulations she is destined for greatness. Sheridonna wouldn’t change anything that ever happened in her life. She knows everything is divine order. She is learning to be patient with herself and love on herself. With no longer having her father she had scars and now being able to make her scars heal. Her podcast “Sheridonna’s Diary of A Fashionista” is a healing outlet. Speaking on various topics such as fashion and music. She loves music (her dad was a musician) . The podcast also includes interviews, current events, relationships, hair tips, self-love, family, education and more. The podcast is available on these platforms (Anchor, YouTube, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, SiriusXM, Pocketcasts and NPR). Advice Sheridonna has for women to uplift is: Listen to your inner self. Live with passion, don’t listen to the crowd. It’s ok to have a mentor, but trust your inner gut. Everything will fall into place. Because she is living with passion she has everything she wanted to have.


“Listen to your inner self. Live wit It’s ok to have a mentor, but trust into p


th passion, don’t listen to the crowd. your inner gut. Everything will fall place. �


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HAVING CLEAR VISION IN 2020 BY TRACY SIMONE

So, it just happened again. Another year has somehow passed, and we have no idea where the time went. This is when people look back and see where they are, compare it to where they thought they might be, and then make plans for better health and finances. This time, it is not only the start of a new year, but also a new decade. Let’s decide to raise the bar on ourselves and have our best lives this year across all fronts. It’s not about making resolutions, but better choices. Let’s make it about each of us having true health and wellness.

heave ho. Check out a local farmer’s market. Cook more at home from scratch. Get a good cookbook if you need to and start rattling those pots and pans. If you aren’t a fruit and veggies person, throw them in a blender and enjoy a smoothie…. either way, get them in!

Welcome to the year 2020. Let’s take it literally and make it the year for clear vision. Let’s make this be the year when we stop settling for less. Let’s see things for what they are and have 20/20 vision. First things first….we need to tackle our physical health. Nothing matters if we don’t feel well. We all know what we should be doing, but this time, make sure to do it. Go ahead and work more fruits and veggies onto your plate. We said we are stepping up our game this year, right? So, let’s make sure those foods are organic. We will never know if all the labeling is correct and true, but we do know that what we have been eating up until now is not good for us. We have things in our environment that are clearly making us sick. So, when we get a chance, let’s swap out junk and fast food for the good stuff and also give the GMOs the 148

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We already know that there are people and corporations just looking to make money, mass produce food, and maybe even kill off a few of us along the way by putting artificial chemicals in what we eat and drink. We know also that consuming them causes a lot of health care costs on the back end. So, take

control this year, eat better, and reduce the future medical bills. Since we are using our 20/20 vision, let’s look for our sneakers. We need to get out into nature. Yes, it’s nice to have internet access, microwave ovens and cell phones, but understand that we are actually meant to be in our natural environment and that is when we are our healthiest. All those screens and cell towers that are everywhere are messing us up. Go for walks OUTSIDE and leave the electronics off from time to time. We can do this. (By the way, you get undivided attention from children if you turn off the wifi). Next, let’s focus on our finances. Sure, it’s great to improve our physical health, but we will also feel better if we can put away a few bucks here and there. Do we really need all those shoes, bags, and meals out or that daily cup of coffee from the coffee shop on the way to work? What if we bring our lunch to work or school once in a while and pocket the money? Put some away for a rainy day….it always rains when we least expect it, right? So, let’s be better prepared for that future car repair, unexpected illness, or tax bill that was a little too high this time. With each paycheck, consider directing some into a health savings account. Then, when you or someone in your family needs new glasses, braces, or a trip to the emergency room that isn’t


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{ TRACY TALKS } “This time, it is not only the start of a new year, but also a new decade. Let’s decide to raise the bar on ourselves and have our best lives this year across all fronts.”

fully covered by your insurance, you will already have some money put aside. Same thing for college. When we have our little bundles of joy, we also have a good 17 to 18 years to save some dinero towards school….or to help them get started in their young adult lives….. but, only if we think ahead and save as they grow up. 150

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Social Security is a nice start, but make sure that you are saving too during your career because time really does fly and hopefully, you will get to retire comfortably. A 401(k) with a company match is always nice for those who can have them, but anyone can open an IRA (individual retirement account). Do not depend on someone else to handle

your finances. Each of us should learn about money and how to manage it. Let’s keep our vision and goals sharp throughout 2020 and beyond. Happy New Year!


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{ SINGLE { SHIFT+CONTROL DOPE BLACK CHICK } }

THE QUEEN CODE BY TIFFANY NICOLE

For those of us who are single, we are often told to focus on ourselves and healing from the last relationship. While this is true, friendships during our single days play a significant role in the next part of our journey. Seems odd I’m sure, but there is a need for the right friends in each facet of life. It is great to have single friends to share the same road with you because they know exactly how you feel and what you’re experiencing; but it doesn’t just stop there. We need married friends, divorced friends, engaged friends and dating friends. Each one of them offer a different insight in this thing we call love. They are able to share from experience what it truly means to be in each specific role. Certainly, most do not go into marriages with the option of divorce on the table. Yet that divorced friend can share what NOT to do in marriage, how to handle the rough patch in relationships without totally giving up. The married friend serves as a role model and living example of what we can expect in a marriage, although every marriage is not the same. You can get a general idea of what it would be like. The married friend’s role subconsciously helps you to prepare for married life while waiting for your husband. Most of us have gotten accustomed to it just

being us and not having to consider someone else in our decision making. The engaged friend can be tricky because she’s super excited and may get a little annoying, but she gives you hope as to what is to come during this stage of your love life. She gives you a front row seat in the preparation not just for the wedding but as a wife. She is the example for the uncomfortable conversations that needs to take place, the roles each

person will play in the household, the marriage counseling, and plans for a future family. Every intricate detail is planned and discussed giving a person insight on what to do in preparation for that day and new stage of your life. The engaged friend also gives you the fears of what life will be like as a new wife and the small insecurities she may share about stepping into that role. Then there’s the role we know best, the

dating friend. This is the role we can very closely relate to. Why? Because we are choosing to date someone based on our lists, preference, and past relationships. The dating friend serves as a mirror for us. It shows us what areas we can work on as far as emotionally, mentally and financially. This friend acts as a reminder that we are still single and we shouldn’t be committing or being loyal to a partner that has not CLEARLY made intentions on being solely committed to you and only you! So often we find ourselves playing the committed role without even knowing it. Being faithful to words without actions and so freely giving our bodies away without having them prove to be worthy of that access. The dating friend also reminds us to be free and vulnerable and not afraid of vulnerability with the right person. However, even if the person isn’t the right person, vulnerability teaches us a valuable lesson, it teaches us how to open up as well. That opening up is a freeing experience that teaches us how to set boundaries and stick by those boundaries when we’re dating. Each friend serves a significant purpose in our life and give us important advice and lessons if we choose to be the student. Tiffany Nicole is a full time blogger and founder of The Diary of a Curvy Girl. She also owns a custom shoe business, Couture Creations and is the co-founder of the radio show, The Queen Code on 100.9 WXIR. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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MYTHS OF MAMMOGRAPHY BY NANCY WAYNE

A screening mammogram is an important step in a woman’s preventative healthcare routine. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation regarding screening mammography and breast cancer. Below are the most frequent myths I encounter when dealing with my patients. Dr. Lisa Paulis, Elizabeth Wende Breast Care MYTH Annual screening mammography is only important for patients with a family history of breast cancer.

abnormal on initial imaging but represents normal tissue on subsequent studies. False positives can generate additional testing in order to determine a true result. In mammography, false positive results can mean anything from additional mammographic views, after which most patients will not require further workup, to ultrasound or minimally invasive biopsy procedures. Out of every 100 women who have a mammogram; 95 will be told that their mammogram results are normal, and 5 will be asked to

THE FACTS Seventy-five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have NO family history of the disease. In the general population 12% of women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and 42,000 Americans will die from breast cancer this year. Women who are at a higher than average risk due to personal or family history, prior atypical biopsy results, certain genetic factors etc. may benefit from additional screening (ultrasound, MRI) and/or genetic counseling. However, the absence of risk factors should not prevent a patient from pursuing screening imaging. In our local patient population only 4% of the patients we diagnosed last year had a known gene mutation. MYTH Screening mammography should not be performed in younger patients (ages 40-50) due to false positive results. THE FACTS A false positive is an area that appears

return for additional mammogram and/or ultrasound testing. We feel strongly that women should be aware of these statistics to make an informed decision on how they weigh the risk of being one of the women who potentially needs additional workup versus the risk of not screening. Of note, 12% of the cancers we diagnosed in our community in 2018 were in their forties. MYTH Mammography is ineffective in screening for cancer in women with dense breast tissue.

THE FACTS Breast density is determined by the proportion of fat and glandular tissue in the breast. The more glandular tissue a patient has, the more “dense” the tissue is graded. Each patient is assigned a breast density classification on their mammogram which ranges from entirely fatty issue to extremely dense glandular tissue. Small breast cancers can be harder to identify on traditional mammograms in patients with dense tissue, however a newer technology called tomosynthesis (3D mammography) spreads out the tissue to improve detection. Additionally, screening breast ultrasound provides another way to “see through” the density and find small masses. Mammograms remain the most accurate tool available to diagnose ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS which can be the earliest form of breast cancer we can identify. In patients with dense tissue, consideration should be given to screening mammography accompanied by ultrasound to offer the most comprehensive benefits of imaging. Major health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, as well as our local imaging community continue to recommend that women should be screened annually beginning at age 40. For more information go to mammographysaveslives.org and talk to your healthcare provider. As the first dedicated breast clinic in the US, Elizabeth Wende Breast Care has been serving the greater Rochester, NY area since 1975, with the latest technology and experienced breast imaging professionals.

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{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE }

TANGIE ROSEBORO BY TAMMY REESE

Tangie Roseboro lives in Gaffney, South Carolina where she has lived all her life with her 5 children (all grown now) and grandchildren. After going through so much in life and almost giving up and throwing in the towel, Tangie found her true passion, she enjoys motivating and inspiring others to reach their goals and dreams in spite of life adversities and challenges.

• The Women of Strength Honorary Award Movement Who are some women role models in your life and why? Tangie : Women role models in my life are my mother Gladys Mayberry and my aunt Frances Littlejohn. My mother has

Tangie is a well-known motivational and inspirational speaker, she believes in giving back and making a difference in the lives of others, even at her own cost; She will tell you that going through her own ordeal of domestic violence at the hands of her now ex-husband, pushed her to want more out of life, she was a 10th grade high school dropout, and a single mother who now has her GED, an Associates of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies, a Bachelor’s of Social Work Degree, a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She’s currently attending school for her Masters of Social Work Degree. Tangie is a self-published author of 5 amazing fictional and nonfictional books; she was chosen as the main host and speaker for the Atlanta Full Figure Fashion Week 2016 Fashion Show in Atlanta, GA and was chosen as the Keynote Speaker for the 2018 Adult Education Graduating Class held at Gaffney High School in Gaffney, SC. Tangie is the Founder Of: • Pain 2 Purpose Lyve TV Show in Atlanta, GA at Status Network Broadcasting • The Pain 2 Purpose Magazine • The Tangie Roseboro Empowerment Show • We Girlz Rock Nonprofit Organization

been an inspiration in my life since I was born. From the entertainment side, I’d have to say Jennifer Hudson and Taraji P. Henson are my role models. I chose Jennifer Hudson because of her strength, to lose an entire family and still be able to keep going in life speaks volume, I only pray to be that strong one day; and Taraji, well she believed in her dreams, pursued her dreams in spite of what others said, and now she is living her dreams. I know that it’s important for me not to quit in the process, and that one day my dream of being a professional motivational speaker on a major platform for a major company will one day come true. What social issues do you think is vital for women to speak up about today?

seen her shares of life struggles, trial and tribulations, but yet she still rises above them all, so I gained so much strength from her, because through her life, it taught me how not to quit when life gets hard but to keep rising. As for my auntie, well she’s one of a kind, I truly feel like I mimic her a lot because I do a lot of the same things she does like riding motorcycles and traveling. My auntie also has a heart of gold, she’s

Tangie: I think that one vital issue for women to come together and speak about are the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse. I personally don’t think either of these issues are spoken on enough, a lot of time we as women keep the mindset of what goes on in the home stays in the home, and to an extent that is true, but when there is violence of any kind going on in the home, someone needs to know, why? So that women like myself can collaborate, and execute a plan to put a stop to this type of silent but seen abuse!!! As a DV survivor myself, I understand the importance of sharing my story to help other women be freed from the same abuse I endured, I understand that by sharing my story and speaking on the topics of DV, I’m shedding light on a situation that has been kept a secret for years. Women from all types of life need to know they are not alone, they need to know someone cares about their safety and well-being , they need to know that it’s important to talk about their abuse. In


{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “I think that one vital issue for women to come together and speak about are the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse.”

order to bring healing to a broken issue is to bring it to the light, and that’s why I feel this type of abuse should be spoken on more than it is. What are some obstacles you have overcome to inspire others ? Tangie: I’m the mother of 5 children and 9 amazing grandchildren; I quit school in the 10th grade to raise my oldest daughter, not realizing how important having my education would be for me later in life. While out of high school, I had 4 more children, making my life seem very dim, a single mother, no education and living in the projects, oh yes, I thought my life was over; My baby son was hospitalized in intensive care for over a year at Spartanburg Regional Hospital in South Carolina due to being born prematurely, during this same time my middle son had to have open heart surgery in Charleston, South Carolina, and he too was in intensive care fighting for his life as well. In 1997, I found myself in a very abusive relationship with my ex-husband, being beaten for things still unknown to me; My ex-husband ended up going to prison for armed robbery in 1998 and served a 10 years prison sentence. I lost everything I had in 1999 and found myself homeless with my children living from house to house, even in a barn where people store their lawn care things for shelter with my children. My oldest son was charged with double murder he did not commit in 2011 and lost 4 years of his life for something he didn’t do. This was the hardest thing in the world that I had to endure as a mother, I became very weak and wanted to give up on life, I even tried taking my life, because the pain of losing my son to the 164

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system for something I knew he didn’t do was just too unbearable for me; however, I knew that giving up was not an option for me, I had no other choice but to fight for my son’s freedom. I was broke, and didn’t know how I was going to do it or get through it, but I knew I had to trust God! In April 2015 all my son charges were dropped, Hallelujah! It was only because I pushed through all that pain and those obstacles and many challenges to reach my destiny of having my son set free! My Faith in God was my solid rock! And I knew quitting was not an option! As you can tell, my life has definitely been rough for me; but I never turned to alcohol or drugs for comfort, instead I found God in the midst of what I will call my hurricane with a twist of tornado. From all my pain, hurts, fears and tears, I found the strength and the passion to go back to school at the age of 30 to better my life and be an example to my children and all other’s who felt like life had dealt them a bad hand. I received my GED in 2001 from the Adult Education Program in Cherokee County, South Carolina; I graduated from Limestone College in 2008 with my Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and in 2009 with my Bachelor of Social Work Degree. I earned my Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Capella University on March 18, 2016. In 2014 I became the Founder/CEO of my own nonprofit organization called “We Girlz Rock” where I worked diligently to empower young girls ages 4 to 17 for better living through positive change. I am the Founder/CEO of The Women Of Strength Honorary Award Movement,

where I travel the East and West Coast hosting award events to honor women and few men for their own strength of not giving up when faced with life obstacles and challenges. I am a self-published author of 6 book, the Editor-In-Chief of the Pain 2 Purpose Magazine, the former Founder/Host of the Pain 2 Purpose TV Show on Lyve TV in Atlanta, GA via Status Network. I am a Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, and a Transformation Coach where I to teach other how to create and possess effective life skills for a brighter and better future for themselves. I am known to many as the Motivational Queen!!!! This is my story, and it built me for my PURPOSE! What is some advice you would give women who may want to be a business owner or run a organization or start a movement like you have ? Tangie: I would tell them that if it’s their goal to have their own business or nonprofit to never stop until they obtain that goal no matter how many people may say it’s impossible. I would encourage them to do their research, and connect with someone else who may be able to help them reach their goal. The Bible instructs us to write the vision and make it plan so that when other’s see it they run with it, so I would advise them to write their vision and work on bringing the vision to past. To contact Tangie please email tangie0426@hotmail.com


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BELONGING. BY DEVON MCLOED

I’ve been thinking lately about belonging. It’s something humans search for intrinsically, a sense that we are wanted or needed (preferably both) in a space. A sense of belonging can be hard to describe with words, but most of us can agree that we know how it feels when we find it. Like a puzzle piece, you fit naturally with no extra pressure needed. The word “belonging” comes up a lot when we start to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, referred to as (DEI) especially in corporate environments. When I’m working with the DEI initiative at New York City Ballet, we spend hours discussing how we make the organization not only diverse, but a place in which the people who contribute to that diversity all feel like they belong. It is a key word for anyone who has ever done DEI work, and for good reason. Belonging used to be a lot more cut and dry in this country. There were laws that said where you belonged based on your identity. White men belonged in positions of power. White women belonged at home, having babies and running a household. Black men and women belonged in chains and in the fields. There wasn’t much (really any) room for anyone other than white men to decide where they belonged and what a sense of belonging felt like. Then years and years went by and slowly (and I do mean slowly), these rules of belonging became less easily codified. Slavery was abolished, white women gained the right to vote (women of color joined them years later). Fast forward to today and we have started to move towards being a society that allows all people to belong everywhere. However, most of the population is still left feeling like there are many places they don’t belong, for so many reasons. I could write an entire book on all of those reasons, but since I have a finite amount

of space to chat with you, I’m going to put down my hypothetical loudspeaker and talk about myself and my journey towards belonging. Some of us are lucky enough to have found our first place of belonging among our families at home. I know that there is really no place I feel like I belong more than in the arms of my parents or my siblings. Whenever I meet someone new, when I start a new job, or go to a party, I immediately (without really thinking about it) assess whether I feel “at home”, or like I do when I’m with my family. When I was growing up in Auburn, NY, especially once I got to high school, I can remember how difficult it was to ever feel like I truly belonged. I know that doesn’t make me special. Who does feel like they belong in high school?? However as I got older, I have realized it usually wasn’t my fellow students who made me feel like an outsider. It was mostly the people in positions of power, teachers, principals, and the dreaded guidance counselors. In an attempt to not go insane, I used to brush off the microaggressions that left little marks on my mind and soul everyday. The teachers who stared me down when we read Huckleberry Finn, waiting for me to break down at the mention of the “n-word”. The counselors who tried to tell me numerous times that I was “reaching” with my application to NYU Stern School of Business, that not having a back up was a very bad idea. By the time I got to my senior year, I had perfected the coping and survival mechanisms I’m sure many of you also use. I numbed myself to the conversations with the people in power who, mostly subconsciously, created a space of turmoil instead creating an environment of belonging and invitation

to prosper for us students, which would’ve bred confidence and the sense of self that would help us to succeed. Without realizing it, I had become a code-switching master, changing my tone and pace of speech depending on the people I was surrounded by, so no one could point me out as an outsider. The days following my graduation, I felt so free. I knew I’d miss my classmates who I had spent so much time with over the years, but the weight lifted off my shoulders that came with the feeling of having no choice in the environment I was put in was so noticeable. I told myself that going forward I had a choice. I would find places where I belonged and not change myself in order to do it. Obviously, life doesn’t work like that. Change is inevitable and often being in places where you don’t feel like you belong is essential to survival and growth. NYU was four of the best years I could’ve asked for in a university experience. Our campus around Washington Square Park felt like home in a way I never thought I could find away from my family. But I still had to reconcile my feelings of belonging in all the places I went on that campus. NYU is a self-proclaimed liberal campus and often, especially in the spaces I was in like my MLK Scholars seminars, there was a lot of unpacking of identity and how each identity makes up an individual. Your race, ethnicity, gender expression, socio-economic background, the list goes on. It all makes up You. For me, my race was my most salient identity, the trait I identified myself with the most. I’m biracial, both Black and white. I didn’t expect that being at NYU would so deeply shake my sense of belonging within my own biracial identity. I sat in Black Student Union (BSU) my first week on campus CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ {TIME TO FLY LADIES} } SHIFT+CONTROL “A sense of belonging can be hard to describe with words, but most of us can agree that we know how it feels when we find it. Like a puzzle piece, you fit naturally with no extra pressure needed.”

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and listened to a few members call white people demons, colonizers, rapists. The absolutism shocked me and crushed me. I remember leaving that meeting and sitting in the park and crying. I thought I would find belonging in that room but I felt more alien there than I had in most classrooms in Auburn. I sat there and thought about my family, my mother’s family who were immigrants in the late 1800s and who were not part of the slave trade or the colonization of this land. But yes, they are people who carry the bounties that come with white privilege. They aren’t identified as Italian and Irish immigrants anymore but as White Americans. All of this is true at the same time. But I didn’t feel like I had the space to discuss that in that room, neither did I have the courage to create it. I never went back to another BSU meeting and to this day I regret it. I know now that if I had stayed, I could’ve at least seen if there was a space that I could belong there.

As I mentioned earlier, I currently work at New York City Ballet. As a dancer and a business person, you’d think there wouldn’t be a place where I felt more belonging! I do in many ways. I have people to talk to about the art that is central to my life and I have amazing coworkers who see me and accept every part that comes with this package that is Devon McLeod. However there was a point about six or seven months after I started that I felt so alien. I had gone from being at NYU, where I was almost never an “only” in the room to again looking around and seeing so few people who looked like me. I thought I’d be better prepared to feel that way again, with so many tools and way more life experience than I had back in high school. But I was wrong. I was too aware, too “woke”, too conscious of my otherness even in rooms full of people I loved to be around. I wanted to leave. I wanted to find a job at NYU, back where I knew I felt like I belonged.

Over my four years, I became very close friends with many members of BSU and I know so many people in that room would’ve been open to that discussion. But because of my fear and my snap judgement based on a few voices, I didn’t even give the people in the room that chance to open their arms to me or not. As I write this, I realize I did the same thing at times to the people in Auburn High School. I focused hard on getting away from that building and finding spaces where I felt like I was safe and in control of the narrative, but not as much on finding ways to find belonging through courageous communication. I’ve attempted to change that tactic in the last few years.

But the regret of never going back to another BSU meeting, of how I handled my time at Auburn High, it came roaring back. I knew I had to find how to belong, how to exist with a sense of peace and joy. I constantly talked to my manager about the diversity and inclusion initiative I knew was happening in the artistic division of NYCB, saying how important that work was to me. I ended up being asked to sit on the committee when the initiative was brought to the administrative division. I doubled my efforts to stay close to my NYU friends, many of whom were facing similar situations in their own workplaces so we could talk about it and not go crazy trying to untangle our feelings on our own. I found the

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courage to join conversations with my colleagues around things like hair, not shrinking back when they talk about their hair choices for gala events but instead jumping in and talking about how one day I want to get Senegalese twists but I’m afraid of how long it will take because I hate sitting in salon chairs for that long! Never once have I been shut down or turned away from conversations like that. Today, my office at NYCB feels like home. It feels like sitting on the Washington Square fountain looking at the Empire State Building. It feels like the chorus room of Auburn High School. It feels like laying in my living room with my family. It feels like I belong, because I made myself do the work to create a space of belonging and to allow the people around me to prove that I was right to not run away. I’m not saying that’s possible in every space. Some places truly will never let you feel like you belong. They can cut you down and make you forget what safety and home feels like. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your sanity and heart is to leave. And that’s ok. I’m passionate about pushing the world in the direction where there is no space that anyone feels like they should not be. Some might call it overly idealistic, the idea that all people deserve to feel like they fit in as naturally as a puzzle piece wherever they decide to be, whether it’s a coffee shop, their place of employment, or a department store. And they’re probably right, it is idealistic. But Ladies, what’s wrong with that?


{ {TIME TO FLY LADIES } } SHIFT+CONTROL “I know that there is really no place I feel like I belong more than in the arms of my parents or my siblings.”

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{ WHO IS ... }

NIKKI O BY TANIQUE OWENS

Taniqua Owens aka Nikki Owens is the epitome of the hard working woman. Born and raised in Bronx , New York, Nikki was forced to fend for herself during her third year of high school. Nikki has faced the harsh realities and the overwhelming joys of parenthood. While many may think that this would deter many people from completing their dreams it did not stop her. While being a teenager mother was difficult she never gave up. Nikki graduated High School and went to college. While in college with 2 babies her grandmother fell sick. So Nikki dropped out to take care of her Grandmother ( her Mother’s Mom) and children. By honing her craft in the church choir, performing in school plays, and her community to plant the roots that her Grandmother (Father’s Mom) and her Great Uncle (Father’s Uncle) who toured with the Commodores had taught her. At the same time she worked to provide for her children and make sure they had a stable home, food and know that they are loved always. After the passing of her Great Uncle Nikki was 170

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inspired to begin her musical journey professionally. With six children and a dream she sought answers through her associates and friends in the industry with this thought in her head . “If no one is going to fund me, I will find myself”. Through her journey she

“Get With You” produced by Obrian music is a female empowering girlmeets-boy anthem where she confidently turns the tables on courting. After her 7 year hiatus, a sacrifice she made for the love for her family Nikki Owned returned with a special re-release of “Get With You” as well as the reintroduction of Nikki Owens and a new single called “What If “. In this phase of her life she emerged as an Actress with her most notable role as Farah on the This is 50 web series Lips (Love Inside Prevails), which Nikki was nominated for Best Female Actress. Other notable performances include NYFW 2019, the 2019 Giveback for Shawn concert, the 2018 New York Music Festival, and Sephora’s Cancer Awareness Event.

learned and built from her experiences with notable artists and songwriters. She linked with notable vocal coach Conrad Robinson who managed the likes of Alicia Keys and more. During this journey they started penning the road that became her debut. Her debut single

She then continued to play various roles in other web series, plays and independent films . Nikki continues to work on her music with hopes of releasing her debut in 2020. Giving back to her community yearly for the AMG cares Thanksgiving food drive in Brooklyn. She believes giving to the world will bring back positivity in return.


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“ I want w bring peop inspire then very best selv is the l


what I do to ple joy and n to be their ves. The sky limit.�


{ WHO IS ... } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “ I want what I do to bring people joy and inspire then to be their very best selves. The sky is the limit .”

While doing all of this Nikki is not only a Mother , but A Grandmother of 3 who works 2 jobs. She leaves out very early every morning and comes home late at night after staying in the studio or working on something that will help her children and grandchildren achieve their successes both academically and in life. Nikki

is a prime example that hard work and determination pays off. With 1 daughter who graduated college, 3 children in college (2 playing college basketball), and 2 children in high school Nikki continues to grind and be a great example for her family . Nikki says her family is very important to her and she is proud of the fact

that her children are following their dreams also. The undying love for her children and grandchildren is her real inspiration. She always tells her children to work hard and to be better than her. Her children have accomplished things that she didn’t get a chance to. She is blessed and so proud of them. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ GOT A MINUTE? }

UNBELIEVABLE GO GETTER BY KIERSTYN ZAYKOSKI I PHOTO BY KIP MURRAY

Got a minute? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’ll say it one more time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This article is going to run a few weeks after we as a nation celebrated a national holiday in his name. If you were with me for our last article, I challenged you to “start shaking the very foundation of oppression that America was built on”. I took this challenge to heart myself and looked internally and how I could make more change, starting with me. As we get older, it becomes more difficult for us is to actively learn, make changes, and speak up, because we have started to become settled. We have things, partners, families, and responsibilities that those in their teens and twenties don’t have to worry about, all with seemingly less time. But this “Got a Minute” I reflect upon a quote I heard while I tour in Philadelphia this past week that is continuing to push me to action. “If a process is always stuck in the seeding stage, and never the harvest, then all you maintain is hunger.” - Sean McLeod Have I been so worried about the potential future moments, that I have stopped harvesting what ‘now’ has brought me? Am I so focused on the easy ability to fall into complaining that I am actively starving myself and those around me from a joyful and productive experience? For every thing I felt was going differently than I wanted, what was I willing to fix, and what was I willing to acknowledge was beautiful inspiring, and generally good right now? At 23, I was an unbelievable go getter, that is how I got to be where I am today. I, in short form, politely pestered Sean and Devon McLeod and the NYIDE team, via email and Facebook, after a workshop I had participated in, because 178

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the information I had learned in that one weekend was so profound, I had to know more. After finally getting an invitation to take a class, I shifted my schedule, and drove 4 hours round trip 5-6 days a week, in order to make sure I could harvest the abundance of information that was being presented to me. Now, seven years later, I am the Director of Operations for the New York Institute of Dance & Education, Reaching for Higher Ground Consulting, and soloist in the Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre, who is able to travel the globe, teach, dance, perform, and so much more than I ever thought was possible - all because of this persistence to harvest the information that was put in front of me. However at 30, I have recognized a change, and I am looking back at that 23 year old me realizing that some of that go-get-itness has quieted. I can speak for myself in saying that sometimes the now was overwhelming to me - I would almost shrink myself as if I was a mouse and wait for the next thing to do to be given to me, because I was scared I could lose the very thing I had attained, if I somehow did it wrong. I get it. Don’t we all? I fear at times, I had gone so far as to stop my own voice when there was ample space to speak up, in lieu of people in the room potentially being my friends afterwards. But, untested friendship is but an appearance of commonality that can leave you just as starved if you cling to unproven realities. So it has been like a light switch going off since our last time together in CNY Woman Online Magazine, and I am so excited by it. Clearly I have realized I am not immune to becoming complacent, because I like where my life is. Even as someone who gets to do what I love on a daily basis, I could find a place to

complain. Society has trained us that complaining is the accepted form of communication, and as long as it looks good on social media it is working. But we all know that isn’t the truth. So it is up to us to flip those switches. Rather than have an impulsive negative reaction to work that must be done, we should just recognize it is simply just work, our job, and how we react to it is our choice. The butterflies in the stomach when you speak, that simply means that something is worth saying and you care how it is received. Be open to the lessons in the space. I myself have gone back to writing more about what I have learned, and reflections about the experience. As you do that, it makes you reflect on your day. It feels like every open lesson, you are able to find meaning and ability to implement it into your life. They don’t necessarily have to be new lessons, or words you haven’t heard before, because where you are in your life now is different than when you last heard the words, therefore it will sink in exactly how it needs to, and words will find a different meaning to you. I am allowing life to sink in for me and that is why I am excited and joyful. What comes next will be by my hand, by my act if you will. I will help make it happen, harvest the good, and live a bountiful life for myself and those around me. Until next time, be sure to ask yourself, “Got A Minute”?


{ GOT A MINUTE? } “I am allowing life to sink in for me - and that is why I am excited and joyful. What comes next will be by my hand, by my act if you will.”

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NEW FEMINISM BY DR. PAM DENTON I PHOTOS BY KATRINA GRADY BRAND STORYOGRAPHY

THE CONFIDENCE TO CREATE THE FEMALE FORM OF LEADERSHIP Feminism gave women the space to be heard, be seen, and begin to feel valued. It was the rise of women together, feeling empowered that began to change the world. And now we have to fully accept the feminist courage to stand strong and continue to excel as women leaders in the masculine world that is still very limited in perspective, but shifting.

masculine world so we can transform these issues. In order to change, there are things that women do every day that have to be acknowledged and celebrated. We are the creators of the planet. We

In New Feminism I propose that women share confidence and come together as an evolving collective, leading with a heightened awareness of the new form of leadership, the female form of leadership. We need the confidence to lead in ways that help us rise to the top and lead in a female way, the female form of leadership must be honored and valued. And it is in the next wave of feminism that we will demand that the systems that no longer serve us are shifted and changed and we are integrated in a new way that values the Female Form of Leadership.

The world as we know it, in many cases, does not take into account alternate methods to accomplish the similar goals that come more naturally to women. It is my assertion that these methods are valid and must be embraced. Women have a valuable and real contribution to the business world, institutions, and politics. Feminine intelligence needs to be expressed, respected, and honored. Statistics show that women – more than ever – are in pain, suffering, sick, under paid, raped, shoved in a box, turned off, tuned out, and stifled. This is a huge problem, and it is not just an American problem: it is global. We must gain the confidence to share our viewpoint and be honored by the

our power back and carved out the path to our professional and personal rights. We stood up for diversity and asked for our power to be legalized. Feminism paved the way for women to step out into the workforce and ‘man up’. But it did not at all give us equal respect, pay, or rights. The women who have come before us paved the way to ‘equality’ but we have not made it yet. We are not fulfilled or in balance. In many cases we live in fear and old paradigms still govern us. We still lack confidence to embrace the female form of leadership.

manifest life. And our simple act of being female is the power that can set us free from lack and empower us to lead in new ways. Why is New Feminism so important? In the first phase of feminism we took

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“How can I contribute to the female form of leadership? What is my value? Together we are unstoppable. ”


is restored for the betterment of humanity. And we must become abundantly rich in our power and stand true to our feminine values without backing down. Feminism is unstoppable power and it is the future leadership. We are the creators and the change-makers and in the new form of feminism we must stand beside the masculine model, process through our anger, move beyond our leadership blocks and begin to lead with the patriarchy in ways that restores integrity to our governments, institutions and families.

In New Feminism we are going to build a feminine model of leadership that includes your voice and calling. This model is collaborative, community based, win-win, intuitive, vulnerable, transparent, nurturing, natural, unfolding, flowing, connecting, creative, open, allowing, pleasure filled, and abundant. Ask yourself today, “How can I contribute to the female form of leadership? What is my value?� Together we are unstoppable. Access to confidence means we are willing to shine together no matter what! To

speak up and command the changes we seek as important. That we will continue on with our unique and authentic voice making sure that the world transforms with our vital input. Dr. Pam Denton, author and speaker on the Female Form of Leadership and Superpower Success in the Modern Age. Her latest book release, She Means Business: Activating the New Leader is available on Amazon and talks about the shift in women as business leaders and the necessity to reevaluate how we lead as feminists in the workplace. For more on Pam’s events visit her at www.pamdenton.com


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FLEXING GOAL SETTING MUSCLES BY KRISTIN BAUER-GROSS

MAPPING OUT YOUR 2020 MODEL AND ACTING YEAR As a model success coach for small market models and actors who are getting started in the industry or ready to take their modeling and/or acting to the next level, one thing I notice similar among my clients is they have a dream or goal they are trying to reach. Their enthusiasm fuels my enthusiasm to reach their goals! But life gets busy, roadblocks pop up, our thoughts get jumbled and we end up not reaching goals we dream of achieving. Get set up for success in 2020 by mapping out your goals through this journaling exercise. Below are 3 steps for reaching goals through mapping out your year. 1.) Get Clear on Your Why: What is it you’d like to do or create this year? Think about the reasoning behind that goal. Getting clear on our “why” helps us keep going for our goals even when things get hard or we face challenges. Write down

your why for 2.) SMART GOALS: There are 12 months and 365 days in a year. Breaking dreams into specific realistic goals for this year. Setting big vague goals leave us feeling frustrated if the goal is not met. Journal prompt: write down your big dream then

M – Measurable – How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? Make the goal quantifiable to easily track progress A – Attainable – set a goal that is realistic and that you have resources and tools to attain R – Relevant – Goal aligns with who you are and your values or mission T – Timely – Assign your goal a deadline

use the SMART GOALS to make it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Re-write the goal into a SMART GOAL. S – Specific – focus in on a specific goal that is direct, detailed and meaningful

3.) Break the goals into baby steps. Write down the steps and then assign each baby step a block of time into your calendar. Break each mini-goal into even smaller baby steps by writing down all the things you’ll need to do to accomplish this goal. If it is hard to know what all the steps are at least come up with the first actions. This might even be researching, planning, building confidence, saving up the money for the goal or finding a teacher, mentor, expert or coach who can help you figure out the steps to reach the goal. All of these are still steps towards the goal.

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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { COACHING WITH KRISTIN } “The program gives aspiring and experienced models and actors training modules and a focus each month to reach your talent goals and dreams.”

Next, write into your calendar blocks of time to work on this goal. If this goal is a priority it may mean saying no to other commitments or goals. We can do it all. We just can’t do it all at the same time. Creating a habit around a goal can be helpful to reach it. Such as planning to work on the goal a little every day or week at the same time, having a monthly session with a coach or teacher, or scheduling phone calls with a friend who can be your accountability partner and you can help one another stay on track. My online program ACTION designed for small market models and actors to learn, connect and 188

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succeed launched successfully in 2019! In this program accessible from a smartphone or computer I teach a monthly training and have a monthly expert with time at the end of each call for questions and laser coaching with me. The program gives aspiring and experienced models and actors training modules and a focus each month to reach your talent goals and dreams. Best of all if you miss any of the live components you can watch later in the membership portal. Many busy people even do it completely as a self-study although research shows people have the most success in online programs when they show up live at least part of the time.

Special for RWO readers get 50% off your 1st month of the ACTION program by using code: HALFOFF1STMONTH Learn more about ACTION and sign up here: www.KristinB.com/actionprogram Attend my next FREE Masterclass: https://linktr.ee/kristinbauergross Tune in for my IGTV show “Model Tips” on Instagram @KristinBauerGross


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{ WOMEN WITH GIFTS }

ANGELA MCGHEE BY TAMMY REESE

Angela McGhee is a British Psychic Sleuth. She is one unassuming lady, a mother of four, and a unmistakably a highly respected Psychic Medium whose ‘visions’ have been publicly acclaimed by Chief Police Officers of the UK, acknowledged by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and has recently been tested to success by scientists. Her ‘visions’ have become an investigative tool that can bring clues or new evidence to lines of inquiry’s. Angela has been brought into unsolved ‘cold’ cases when all traditional methods have been exhausted. Nothing really warrants the fact that she is called the ‘Psychic Detective’ other than the results her mind produces in such circumstances. The ‘visions’ produced have played a key part in the gathering of evidence. Details of such events may otherwise been left unnoticed and as for the perpetrators of such crimes, amazingly, she has been able to build a detailed Profile of such individuals in question, noting such details as life story events and personality traits. Angela does not solve crimes as such, the Police do. Her ‘Gifts are considered a ‘key tool’ in the proceedings to gather clues, evidence and confirmation of lines of inquiries to say the least. Sometimes soul-wrenching accounts of her involvement in such cases and more importantly the life experiences which led her to the work she does today. Those crucial experiences that

have helped to mold a unique pathway, to developing and understanding the ‘Psychic’ Gifts ‘which she now says in hindsight, was blessed to be born with. Angela believes her ‘Gifts’ have been developed most, during life’s struggles. Angela Describes her herself as a survivor. As a child she fought against poverty neglect and isolation during time spent in a

Life never actually ‘broke’ her. it ‘woke’ her. Angela was still able to ‘give’ to people people after her ordeals as she spent most of her working life in the caring profession as a Child Abuse Provention Officer officer where she also established a Domestic Violence support group and has been a facilitator in many fund raising causes, using and demonstrating her Gifts of second to help in situations. She found purpose in her ‘lessons’ Angela states she was given the greatest ‘insights’ to the supernatural power of the universal God Energy force, to not only help and enable her, but to give help to the millions of people she has ‘touched’ with her ‘gifts’ to date. Her work is a real eye-opener for the most skeptical of people and for those who are seeking the knowledge of the Afterlife and its power to seek justice, help and understanding.

Children’s Convent care home, many life’s lessons would follow, such as, domestic violence homelessness and cancer to name but a few . She was driven to depths of despair but she declares the strength gained during those times was through pure Divine intervention.

This remarkable life and experiences undoubtedly makes Angela McGhee one of the world’s leading ‘Psychic Detectives’. Angela is renowned for her spine chilling appearance in the worldwide Classic US TV series ‘Psychic Investigators’. She is also a successful Author,Columnist and has guested on many programmes in the Media worldwide. She has toured the UK/ Europe, and has embraced the USA recently . She stars she is Spirit lead . Angela presents her unique CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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“ A woman who helps Police on Murder cases! You ALL KNOW how skeptical I am. BUT Angela is fascinating. She told all my production team things about their private lives which left me questioning my blatant disregard of people who claim to speak to spirits!” -Nick Conrad, BBC Radio/TV Presenter


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{ WOMEN WITH GIFTS } “ A very special Lady whose insights and visions I could not fail to recognize or justify” -Detective Chief Inspector Bob Poole. West Midlands Police

‘Psychic Detective’ workshops’ talks,seminars and ground-breaking Demonstrations of Mediumship in a warm compassionate way and not without humour.

‘God loves a tryer ‘ so I believe...

Angela feels humbled when she says she is ‘just ‘an ordinary woman with extra- ordinary Gift ...who is just trying her best to put light and hope into broken people’s lives but

It seems all that has gone before her, was the spiritual training ground to what she does today Her ultimate dream is to to put her remarkable inspiring life on screen but not

Angela’s clientele is a ‘melting pot’ of people from all walks of life from the very needy to high flying celebrities.

without a little help from her ‘friends’.Angels, and spirit Ali’s of course.

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{ BE FREE }

BE FREE & REMOVE THE BLANKETS OF DENIAL BY AMELIA “AMELIAISMORE” MOORE

We as women many times are told that we are the protector of the family. That it’s important for us to hold it all together. That we are sugar and spice and everything nice. That what we feel and what we think isn’t as important as it is for us to uphold our duty as the woman of the family unit . We are the ones that hold it all together including ourselves. Yet “keeping it together” is the biggest lie we can ever tell ourselves. “Keeping it together” is the thing that begins our journey down the rabbit hole. The journey of denial. I call it the “blankets of denial”. It’s the things we tell ourselves to warm our hearts and mind from the cold facts of what we are hiding from ourselves that traps us in a life that is not ours. We numb ourselves from the truth to make certain that we are “keeping it all together”. Yet who and what are we keeping it together for? That is the question. Especially as a black woman we are told that we are strong, brave and resilient. Yet the truth is most of us wear a good mask. We hurt, we are scared. Most times we want to quit and give up, but instead of telling ourselves the truth we talk to ourselves and ask; “How will it look?” The Jones’s and what they will think of us many times is more important than us facing our own pain and truth. So we cover it up and begin to live a lie. Funny thing is that we don’t realize the so called truth we are telling ourselves is a lie. Instead we tell ourselves it’s OUR truth. We say, what others who really care about us tell us about ourselves they don’t know our truth. Ladies and anyone reading this I’m here to tell you... THEY ARE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH! The person who dares to tell you the truth knowing by doing so you could eliminate them from your

life are the ones that really care. The ones that tell you what you want to hear, you shouldn’t listen. They are not helping they are enabling. Instead you need to face the truth. That is the only thing that sets you free from EVERYTHING! The lies you tell yourself as well as the lies that are told to you by others trap you in a life that all you do is continue to tell

will not longer be the focus. The truth is you are hurt. Either it’s something that you are denying because it’s painful to admit or something that happened that you either didn’t forgive yourself for doing or have not faced because the fact is, it hurts. I won’t lie to you when you face the facts and truth about yourself instead of living a lie it’s painful. You have to admit your shortcomings and the many lies you either were told and believed to be true or the ones that you told yourself to live another day. As a result you face the fact that you wasted a lot of time living a lie. The good news is once you face that fact and accept it; you are FREE. You are living THE TRUTH which is also YOUR truth! You don’t have to hide anything or care about what anyone thinks because finally you are at peace with you and nothing else matters. As someone who was psychologically abused I lived most my life saving face and living a lie. Once I faced that fact and forgave myself I became free and at peace.

yourself lies. You know the lies. They are the ones that you blame others saying it’s their fault when something isn’t working right in your life or not going your way. Here’s the thing...its NOT about fault. That is a lie. Instead it’s about facts. Focus on the facts that got you into the situation you don’t like or feel you can’t get out of and you will quickly see that focusing on the facts helps you face the facts and fault

Psychological abuse is hard to admit and accept because there aren’t any bruises or cuts yet the pain is the same. It’s living a slow death. You become so numb that you hear and feel nothing. You just live. You tell yourself if you do this or if you do that things will be better. The fact is it won’t until you set yourself free. It’s not you nor your doing. The fact is it’s your acceptance of something you know is not right. You don’t want to accept that it’s not right because that would mean that you would have to accept the fact you made a wrong decision for yourself and are living a lie. Yet I’m here to tell you say; “ Yes I am


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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { BE FREE } “You have to admit your shortcomings and the many lies you either were told and believed to be true or the ones that you told yourself to live another day.”

abused!” Don’t deny the truth. Set yourself and everyone who truly loves you FREE! It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It takes work. As a woman who just recently received Schneps Media NY Power Woman in Business, Author of my first book SheEO vs CEO and also a recipient of a Letter of Recognition from NYC Mayor DeBlasio I am living proof it’s 200

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possible. YOU are NO DIFFERENT than me! You can and should liberate yourself! Trust me you will have a love for yourself that no one can ever take away. .Here’s how.. Stick to the facts, dismiss fault and most important remove the blankets of denial that are holding you captive from the life you dream and deserve. Face the facts of what is stopping you from being

truly you and meet the real you. Love her, embrace her and everyday let her know she is beautiful and she deserves the best! Peace


WWW.HAIRCR


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{ WOMEN { SHIFT+CONTROL MAKING AN IMPACT } }

AA’MANI DENNIS I attended Rutgers University - New Brunswick Campus where I received my Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Biological Sciences. My interests at that time were Medicine and Forensic Pathology, which focuses on the medical causation of why someone died. It was not until I pursued my Masters degree in Biomedical Forensic Science at Syracuse University that I realized my passion for women’s health. I am currently an Intervention Specialist at Syracuse Community Connections for a program named J.E.W.E.L.S. (Journey to Empower Women through Everyday Life Situations). It is an HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention program for young women of color in Onondaga County. I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on young women in the community through interventions, mentoring, and counseling. It is an honor to do this work because I realize that many of my peers and the younger generation are trying to find their way and just need a little guidance. Some of my hobbies include poetry and dancing. I sometimes share my spoken word pieces at a open mic events. My preferred style of dance is a mix between dancehall and hip-

hop. I am currently in the planning stages of starting a youth Caribbean dance troupe to educate the Syracuse community about Caribbean culture and keep young people active and involved.

One obstacle that I struggle with to this day is being told “No” and accepting that rejection. I remember being in high school and being rejected from a job position I really wanted. It crushed me, but I applied an additional two times before I moved on and found

another job. Another time, I had to learn to accept rejection was when I was rejected from a Masters program at my dream school. I cried for two days straight before applying to the program at Syracuse University. My most recent encounter with rejection was from some of my top choices for medical school. Although I received acceptance to one, I was still disappointed that it was not my top pick. However, I found that rejection is the most humbling experience because no matter how much I thought I deserved something, God showed me just why that blessing was not my blessing. It was so difficult accepting that there is something in store for me other than what I planned for myself, but that was learned through growth and maturity. I have quite a few goals. I want to own a few properties, start a dance studio, and start my own business. However, my professional goal is to become a physician, specifically a Gynecologist and Obstetrician and serve underser ved minority communities. My ultimate life goal is to inspire every individual I encounter, especially women; whether it’s to inspire them to strive for that dream career, leave that abusive relationship, be an advocate for their own health, or simply believe in themselves. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { BE FREE } “I thought about the questions I had when I was a teenager and saw that many adult women had those same questions. I thought “why not put myself in a position to provide them with answers?” That is how my journey began.”

creative young people used fashion to depict present issues in their community. The event educated the community about health and social issues and allowed the participants to challenge themselves to learn new things and explore new talents. I am also proud that I had the opportunity to create J.E.W.E.L.S. and build the program to what it is today, a source of confidence and solidarity. I was inspired by my own lack of knowledge to pursue women’s health. 208

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I thought about the questions I had when I was a teenager and saw that many adult women had those same questions. I thought “why not put myself in a position to provide them with answers?” That is how my journey began. Women’s health is regulated by a patriarchal system that doesn’t acknowledge that each woman has a different voice and that voice should be heard as it relates to her own case. I am striving to add more girl power to this field of research so that women are adequately informed and can make

decisions based on their own case. My advice to any women interested in the field of HIV human service, women’s health, medicine, and science is to persevere. These are fields where women, especially minority women, often go unrecognized or unacknowledged, but we should not back down. These fields desperately need us to make those policy changes we want to see. We have to advocate for ourselves.


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{ WOMEN { SHIFT+CONTROL WITH PURPOSE } }

YOU FEEL THAT? BY TIFAH JOHNSON

Put your hand over your heart. You feel that? That’s called purpose. I first read that quote on Facebook back in 2013 after I came out of an unhealthy relationship. At that very moment alone in my secret room I actually did put my hand over my heart and I felt my heart beating and I heard an inner voice that said Tifah, I got you sis. I remember the tears streaming down my face and in that instance, I knew that I will survive this because that quote saved me from a path of destruction and despair.

haven’t accomplished their own goals in life and they see me and try to abort my mission...BUT GOD! Years ago, I was in an unhealthy relationship and attached to that unhealthy relationship was “cult like” behaviors coming from a community that I grew up in. This community

I’ve always been the wild card. I’m a walking Black Disney Princess that loves horror movies that’s from Brooklyn(laugh). Ever since I was a young girl I’ve always been in my own world. I never really was a follower or a leader but I’ve always been Tifah and I dance to the rhythm of my own drums. I may dance a little off beat from time to time, but hey I’m still dancing (laugh). I have always been at peace in my own happy place inside of me and because I have that happiness that lives inside of me there is a flip side, of the people who see my happiness and seek out to destroy it just for their own personal gain and amusement. There are people that are unhappy and because they’re in their own misery they want to see me unhappy with them and to make themselves feel better they treat me like a joke but... I’m not laughing. Unhappy people that I’ve come across are stuck in the makings of their own traps they created and they 210

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was living in a world of make believe and I even heard untrue rumors about me being spread in this “cult like” community one of them being that I was a whore because I was pursing acting. After months of psychological abuse and gas lighting I became fed up and I excommunicated myself from that ‘cult like” community and I got out of that unhealthy relationship. It wasn’t an easy decision because these were also the people that I grew up around. I felt so isolated and alone and I felt that I wouldn’t get through it but with each second I got through it. I pushed past the pain and the betrayal of feeling like I did something wrong in that unhealthy relationship . I didn’t nothing wrong and it wasn’t my fault. The thing is, I needed that isolation to become who I am and to that I say “Thank You” because not only did I not become an Actress, but my first major appearance was on Law and Order: SVU and it’s funny because that same community that laughed at me and spread untrue rumors about me are my main supporters now(laugh laugh laugh) and again to that I say “Thank You”.

not only tried to control not only my unhealthy relationship, but ME as well. It was like being in a relationship with a whole community watching and commenting every other minute nonstop and I’m like Umm I didn’t sign up for this. I was told by this community that my dreams of becoming an Actress will never come true. I was told that I

God, the universe or whatever you believe in will give you something to minister to your heart at the right appointed time and place. That quote was meant for me at my time of isolation. I don’t know who this is for but I’m passing it down to you “Put your hand over your heart. You feel that? That’s called purpose. You got this and you’re going to get through this.


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WELCOME TO PHOTOMANIA BY GARY ARIEL WASHINGTON

Welcome back readers!! Happy new year, welcome to 2020 a brand new vibe, decade, and opportunity to make new ICONIC MOMENTS! If you have become one of my faithful & loyal readers I want to thank you! If you know me, support is massive with me so thank you! Also if you know me you know, I define all “ICONIC MOMENTS” as moments that are wanted, needed, and deserved. This type of moment can be made in any variance or degree, it just depends on your goal and the steps you need to take towards making it reality.

Photography and capturing “the shot” just like everything else in life has grown and evolved. Each opportunity in front of the camera is a new opportunity to challenge yourself and showcase something new. For the lead up to any pageant each contestant releases a series of photos we call “promos” which range in variety from the “professional shoot” to “everyday shots with a smartphone” to the various styles of the in-between. One instant reminder I must say right now, each

One of the best suggestions I recommend to everyone especially starting the year off right is by taking new photos of yourself. Taking a photo or investing in photography has evolved from just a basic headshot to truly Avant Garde moments to the selfie culture. Taking photos has more meaning than ever before and in an age where social media and popular culture reign supreme, your photos will determine your success and reach to others. As a reminder, social media is our silent judge and pictures must be worth more than a million dollars in order to have impact. For the pageant enthusiasts your photos hold weight especially towards the lead up towards your contest or during a reign. These photos are what create your legacy and backdrop of memories that will last a lifetime. No matter what division of pageantry you’re involved in, your photos must captivate the audience. In order to gain the spotlight needed not just for the audience but to spark the interests for the judges your photos must match. Every photo is an opportunity for those looking at you to actually seek a silent understanding towards the person you are. In this opening article for this year, I will walk you through in two parts on photography and understanding on how to capture the right image.

One last random reminder is that reigning a title no matter what level is a job, you have to always showcase yourself in the best light at all times this includes a photo. When researching for this article I wanted to find the most commonly expressed reminders that we can use towards capturing the right shot. In my research specifically these reminders are also something to consider throughout your preparations towards your pageant preparations, I am sure you will create a stronger profile for you as a contender in keeping all things in mind. Disclaimer the following tips regardless of how you implement them are extremely necessary towards the proper photo quality. In that regard, it’s never about the actual camera that you’re using but more to do with the camera settings you use from lighting to the composition, to the overall styling. Again these are tips that hopefully give you a strong foundation moving forward to make each shot count.

shot has a silent power that only you can unlock and truly embrace. Now Gary Ariel, what is that power you’re speaking of? For pageant professionals our photos has power that will showcase our reign which allows our fans, followers, and sponsors access as to why they choose us to champion. These photos we take no matter what has to be relatable, eye catching, and truly the mark & measure of who you are no matter what.

Tip #1: Getting candid, is honestly one of the most important tips you can remember. When I speak of being candid, I am talking about creating a shot that is totally in the moment. Every emotion and feeling is captured in real time should leave something for the viewer to resonate with. This is important for social media posting specifically because nobody resonates with heavily staged poses. The whole point of a candid shot also are also to have moment that you can remember. These moments that you remember will also create content that is relatable for your viewers. Every candid shot should be truthful, straightforward, honest, and present in the moment. Tip #2 is knowing your pageant history. I have talked pretty extensively in previous articles about knowing the pageant. Knowing the expectations and what they want. Every pageant system has a preferred visual image CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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{ ICONIC MOMENT } “Also if you know me you know, I define all “ICONIC MOMENTS” as moments that are wanted, needed, and deserved.”

scheme that they feel best describes their “brand, mission, or theme.” That doesn’t imply that you need to change your look and who you are. Instead I am suggesting, it means you need to understand or take heed to the “look” of the pageant system and how they express that look through your headshot. Invest some time in analyzing the headshot of the current titleholder, previous titleholders, and see what you can incorporate. Tip #3: Choosing the appropriate background is crucial towards getting the right shot. A common mistake for many is becoming consumed with the lens of the camera and forgetting the overall picture. Often when not paying attention to the background allows for a distraction which could diminish the visual appeal of the image. If you often wondered why some photos are blurred in the background it’s for that reason. Some backgrounds depending on the goal of the photo can be way to safe/ boring or complex/heavy for the eye. By that, I mean regardless of a white wall to a street alley the background needs to have some connection to you in the shot. Often times for pageantry it’s in your best interest to select a solid background. A solid background enhances who you are and showcases the shape of your soul through the lens. Often times the winner of photogenic is the person in one single glance takes your breath away. Specific backgrounds also run the possibility of hiding the person in the photo, and taking over the shot where it no longer is about them. You never want your photos to be about anything other than you. However, if you choose a background make sure it has the proper substance and depth which will allow for a more successful shot. Keep in mind that whatever background you choose should truly represent you and create the proper message for the viewer.

Which lends itself to Tip #4: Poses and props and how to successful intergrade them into your photos. Now your most likely thinking why is this so challenging? Answer: to get the best results you must become challenged even in a photo. Which is why there are different categories where your photos can fall into. Category one is centered the pageant. This specifically focuses on their applications, photogenic submission, and or all promotional material used in promoting thyself for the pageant. For submission images, the photo needs to be representative of how you truly look in person. The judges & fans will see these photos before meeting them which we call pre arrival photos. If the photo are overly retouched to the point that you are unrecognizable that will detract from the over general impression. Furthermore, it can change how you were viewed post arrival which can hinder you in the pageant. All submission photos should be posed naturally with sharp focus towards accentuating your best features. Whether your best features are great teeth, hair or expressions highlight that. You want to accentuate yourself in the best light which will create an image that is beautiful. You want more than just a headshot, but also one that is a true reflection of who you are is and what you look like. For titleholders specifically reminder we add our sashes, medallions, pins, scepters and crowns. It can be a little tricky to work with props like these without making the image look cheesy. Often time using your regalia can take over the shot because of how eye catching they are, you’ll develop your own style on how to make it work. Category two is social media submissions. In contrast to submission photos, social media submissions can show the diversity of the person. In these photos concentrate on her features, but add more of varying

expressions this can range from sexy, fun, creative, to all things in-between. These are the photos where incorporating elaborate backgrounds are highly encouraged. From scenic destinations to charity galas to graffiti walls to sitting in your bedroom window these are the submissions where having a background is vital. Reminder whatever you’re good at, interested in, or offered to pose for (within reason of course) go for it. The silent judges watching will be able to make a distinction if they relate or not offer the possibility. The only caveat which I always have to remind everyone is to know the difference between what is appropriate. We know for the teen division or younger to not look too sexy or push adult type content, while more mature contestants can be a bit more provocative and creative in narrative. Your social media submissions are meant to create buzz and excitement about who you are and the interests you share. Also find poses that really work for you and only for you! Experiment with at home with your family, friends, and test shoot! This will help you can see which positions and angles work. You never want your face, body, or anything to look less than stellar. So if you end up with a pose you like, but feel that it’s not quite the one take a few more pics based on that pose, adjusting the tilt of your head, expression in your eyes, smile and other aspects of the pose. Learning how to hit a great pose will Also this will help create the right conversations needed during pageant time, you can definitely play up the fact you’re a content creator. Any way to find selling points within your photographs, take full advantage of it. The more talk around your photos the better it will be. Tip #5: Setting the appropriate mood towards getting your photos shoot done in the most appeasing yet comfortable way. We know having the right mood is important


{ ICONIC MOMENT } “Photography and capturing “the shot” just like everything else in life has grown and evolved. Each opportunity in front of the camera is a new opportunity to challenge yourself and showcase something new.”

it, creating an environment where feeling at ease and comfortable. Often times the ones who say they are not photogenic are those who can’t relax in front of the camera. When you’re uncomfortable it projects through the body language, vibe, and more importantly the face of the person. We must find each time in front of the lens what will make us feel at ease so are best qualities can be appreciated. This can be achieved by establishing a connection with your photographer. In my next article, I will talk about the role of the photographer and that process since that can be its own challenge. I think utilizing music is a massive key to mood-setting. It’s always amazing to watch how quickly the right music can bring people into the right mindset and drastically change the expressions. On pageant shoots focused on submission based photos, upbeat music with a hint of sexy in it, is the best. On other varied shoots, depending on styling which I will talk about next my best suggestion is pair the vibe to the look. Prior to even getting on set, take a second get into character. Each shoot you take on should be a new version or extension of who you are as a person and titleholder, so embrace that vibe. If you know you struggle with keeping your energy up, utilize pixie sticks or jump around. If you’re a person who hates smiling, listen to a comedy record or watch a funny TV moment prior to going on set. Before I go on set, I stretch and warm up my body. I sometimes can come across stiff and to loosen up stretching helps me. Also, for the adult readers I will say off record consuming an adult beverage can also help set the mood. I am not suggesting to get drunk, but sometimes one cocktail or shot can release tension. If you are under the legal age of consummation, juice or soda can work equally well. My final tip #6 I want to suggest for you 218

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is focus on your styling. In addition to my previous steps of setting the mood, choosing the right background and feeling comfortable, your styling must also work into your planning for the photo. In order to feel confident, beautiful/handsome is you must like what you are wearing in the shot. This doesn’t always come easy for the pageant community. Often times we have to pick garments that will grab attention but isn’t always our normal everyday style. For on stage competition having that strategic planning of your wardrobe is a must. However in your photos you are given leeway as an added way to make sure you feel as the way you need to. For some who can afford a glam squad which includes: hair dresser, makeup artist, and stylist it’s their job to help make the vision reality. Your glam squad is also meant to keep you focused, calm, candid ensuring that what your statement is with the picture is set. Getting the right squad is key, also trial by error. Don’t feel discouraged if you have to utilize a few people to get the right collaboration. Also don’t feel limited to having just one person either. If you can trust in someone who can do it all then go for it, you’re lucky! But keep in mind having multiple people can also accommodate your goal depending on schedules of your team or date of the shoot, specific looks/skills needed can play a role so plan accordingly. Generally speaking, contestants look best in solid colors for their headshot, with one or two pieces. Unless you’re doing a cultural look that requires multiple layers of jewelry or prints then it’s ok. I say watch patterns that tend to be busy or distract the eye. Again your outfit should be noticeable so that the judges notice you, your face, and authenticity. If you’re not sure about which colors you should wear take pre photos with your smartphone in the looks. Most likely those that make you stand out in the photo

are the ones you should select. Remember, you can take multiple outfits with you and it’s highly encouraged. That way, the photographer your squad, and team can help you select the colors that represent you. Take time to choosing flattering outfit, outfits that will challenge a creative narrative, and is an important to you. Only way to obtaining a fabulous headshot is trusting everything is working as it should. Last note, your garments also should not be anything less than photo worthy keep that in mind. Remember, your pageant headshot creates a distinct impression with the judges. Make sure you take the time to prepare and so that you can make the most of your photo shoot. Wow, that was quite a lot for the first article back. I hope whether you’re getting ready like I am for my next pageant or just taking shots for yourself. Use this tips to help you make the best out of your time in front of the camera. Next month, I will explore choosing the right photographer and taking that into consideration towards making your image the best. Please stay focused and positive for 2020, and if you want to know more about me please contact me at @gromance0804 on Instagram & Facebook.


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{ MIND, BODY, SPIRIT }

THE SACRED ART OF GRATITUDE BY ALANA CAHOON

Is your glass half empty? Or half full? Some of the time? Or all of the time? The practice of giving thanks will fill your glass to overflowing. Every time! I asked a few gals around Grow 2 B U Studios what they were thankful for. Here’s what they shared. Abigail Clark, DJ “The courage and spirit to keep on trying in new ways!” Thank you, Abi for reminding us to never give up, especially on ourselves! Her alias, Abi Rose shares more uplifting thoughts on air at WXIR 100.9 FM on her segment of Reclaiming the Narrative - Art Blooms.

her. She sees them all as opportunities to cherish, not to be taken for granted. Thank you, Kathy. Nicole Corso, Yin Yoga Teacher “I am grateful for gratitude because it is both a gift giving gratitude and a gift in receiving gratitude. Namaste beautiful sister” Namaste Nicole! The practice of gratitude is to be thankful for! Kellie Adami, Advertising Agency Director “I’m grateful for my friends and family

Kathy Jackson, Real Estate Agent “I’m grateful for the chance to take care of family, including my mom and grandson, for good business, beautiful nature around, ….life.” Kathy comes full circle as she takes care of her family; grows her business; and wonders at the natural environment surrounding 222

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Begin each day with a message of self love. Self nurture. Value. Compassion. As we treat ourselves with loving kindness, so will others. Joy Kravetz, Yogi-Dog Walker “I am grateful for my health and the health of my family and friends! Hard to narrow down just one thing but that was the first thing that came to my mind as I read this just after leaving the gym.” Joy’s comment points to our health. Not just hers but everyone’s. This may have been inspired by her workout at the gym or her yoga practice at the studio!

Caitlin Coleman, Occupational Therapist “I am grateful for my loving and understanding friends, many of whom I do not spend enough time with (and desperately need to).” Caitlin reminds us how important it is to not only have friends but to spend time with them! Call a friend today. Thank them for their friendship. Then do something wild and fun together! Or just catch up.

friends and family, it’s just as true to nurture our selves. We need to fill our love reserve before and after sharing our compassionate nature with others.

always—but something new—I’m grateful for taking charge of my life and finally realizing how important self love is.” OMG Kellie! I’m so glad to hear you say it. May this be everyone’s new mantra: I’m Grateful for Taking Charge of My Life & Finally Realizing How Important Self Love is While it’s true to value our loved ones,

My mother used to say she was grateful for her health all the time. I didn’t get it. I was born with excellent health and just assumed that everyone else was, too. I wanted her to be grateful for something else. At that, she would say she was grateful for me and my siblings. Boring! I thought. But now as an adult and mother who’s had her share of illness and injury, I get it. Min Chiou, Engineering Executive “I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore who I want to be. I’m grateful for being surrounded by good people and influences to guide me on my way.” What a gift! The opportunity to gain insights on your own way of being. Self discovery has become a thing only because our true selves have become hidden! Conformity vs


authenticity may have assisted in moving society forward in a swift and structured manner. But what has been lost? 1. Creativity in the design of services and products a. When you are true to your self, your thoughts flow freely. You are uninhibited and willing to share creative ideas. 2. The soulfulness in execution a.When you are being your self, you’re more likely to be fully engaged in whatever activity you’re involved in. 3. Unique expression of diverse personalities a. Different people need different things. I may like sweet and salty. You may prefer sharp and tart. One may feel more comfortable working with technology while others with people. The ocean breeze may bring one person joy while a snow-covered mountain may suit another. Thanks, Min, for allowing us to receive wisdom about ourselves through coaching, 224

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mentors, and advisors. May we all open to our true nature! What are you grateful for? Every day as you wind down and prepare to sleep, review your day and give thanks. Consider the natural environment such as the weather, the sun, the flowers and trees. Appreciate your accomplishments. We tend to ignore the small steps toward big goals. But without them, we may never move ahead! Feel the warmth or coolness of your home. Its four walls of safety. The hum of electricity or sounds from an open window. Offer appreciation to your loved ones near and far. Give praise to your highest self, your spirit guide, your creator. Give thanks for your beautiful body as it is at the present moment. Affirm that you will take care of her or him as you would your best friend.

Admire that amazing mind that is reading these words and making sense of them. Love the lively spirit within you. Wonder at the colorful emotions you get to explore every moment of every day. Go to the gym and strengthen your body. Take a yoga class. Mediate to clear the mind and calm the emotions. Practice Mindfulness on a daily basis. This will help you to not only bring attention to your health, but offer you the awareness of the beautiful world around you. Appreciation becomes an effortless practice. And your glass becomes a glass half full. Alana Cahoon is the founder & creative coach of Grow 2 B U, LLC; guiding women and men to self discovery and business formation. Grow your business. Expand your mind. Heal your soul. www.AlanaCahoon.com


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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS BY ERICA CUMMINGS

Now that we’re one month into the new year, it’s to time create long-lasting habits rather than unrealistic resolutions. Enter self-care’s often neglected sister, financial wellness. Each year, reports show that money is a leading cause of stress, impacting our health, wealth and happiness. Financial self-care is about learning to connect with our money in a more conscious way so that our thoughts and actions begin to add to, not subtract from, our well-being. As with any other area in our lives, wellness is the result of awareness and the practice of making healthy choices. As a financial advisor, I have observed that too often women neglect their financial well-being. Women who are willing to invest time in yoga, Pilates and other forms of self-care, may not realize how financial stress can undermine everything else. Our finances can influence our career choices, our ability to spend time with people we care about, whether we can afford to join a gym, how much we can spend on food or healthcare, and ultimately how we define our self-worth. Our finances are an integral part of our total well-being; yet so often they are ignored, put to the side, or handed over to someone else. Nowadays, women play a key decisionmaking role in managing family finances, and have a powerful impact on building the family legacy. You have the power to take control of your money and flip the script on your finances, and you can begin doing it in 2020. 226

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THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Strength in Numbers is a self-care approach to financial well-being, which develops attitudes, education, and activities to prevent stress and disease, improve overall health, and enhance quality of life. Through the Strength in Numbers women’s network, a program of the Harmony Financial Wellness Group, our goal is to help you create a healthy practice of financial wellness by replacing limiting beliefs and bad habits with positive ones to begin or enhance your journey toward total wellness.

4. Put your oxygen mask on first. You cannot be the superwoman you’d like to be, without engaging in moments of self-renewal, taking time to recharge your battery. 5. Seek contentment over perfection. It is easy to go from hero to zero in our role as family caregiver. Support and honesty from each other enable us to counteract the illusions of perfection on social media, so we can be content in what’s right for us.

Through knowledge, support, and advocacy, our hope is that women in our network are inspired to achieve balance in their financial, physical and emotional lives. Because strength is so much more than physical health, exercise, and nutrition.

6. Design your own career path. There are no right or wrong answers in our decision to work or not to work, nor is it easy to navigate the professional world as a woman. We benefit from actively seeking insight from our sisters, strengthening our confidence and owning the decisions we make at the right time and for the right reasons.

THE SIX PILLARS OF STRENGTH 1. Discover your purpose. Purpose means being present and fully involved in all aspects of living. It also means taking steps toward what you want to accomplish and removing anything that does not serve your purpose.

We developed the Six Pillars of Strength as tool to create harmony between our financial, physical and emotional wellbeing. I encourage you to read them often, as a reminder that you deserve time to focus on yourself, with each pillar as a form of self-care.

2. Demystify your finances. By asking good questions and avoiding the common mistakes, you can understand and take advantage of the most important drivers of long-term financial success.

START YOUR FINANCIAL WELLNESS JOURNEY TODAY  Subscribe to the Harmony Financial Wellness Group newsletter, providing a wealth of career, physical health, financial and retirement resources on a monthly basis.

3. Protect your health. The extent to which you make protecting your health a top priority is unquestionably one of the most important financial – yes, financial – investments you can make during your lifetime.

 Stay in touch with the Strength in Numbers women’s network through the Harmony Financial Wellness Group website, Facebook page, and LinkedIn.


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 Interested in bringing Strength in Numbers workshops to your organization? This no-cost, twopart educational program provides women with the information and tools necessary to connect with their financial lives in a more intentional way. Reach out to us for Strength In Numbers workshop availability. Let’s learn from one another, and embrace financial wellness in the new year, and beyond. 228

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Erica Cummings, CFP has nearly twenty years of experience as a Family Wealth Advisor, and serves as Senior Vice President-Financial Advisor with the Harmony Financial Wellness Group at RBC Wealth Management. Erica helps her clients and their families focus on the connections between the people, goals and values that matter most. She helps clients develop holistic plans for their financial future in hopes of reducing the burden and stress of finances. In 2016, Erica

created the Strength In Numbers program as an educational resource for women, to strengthen the bonds between their financial health and their physical well-being, and to encourage stronger health, wealth and happiness.


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FIBROMYALGIA BY DR. LARRY PESHKIN

Fibromyalgia, although often misdiagnosed and misunderstood, is the second most common musculoskeletal disorder behind osteoarthritis. The condition affects nearly 12 million Americans and is ten times more common in women. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made when a certain set of symptoms has been present for at least three months. The most common symptoms include wide-spread muscle and joint pain, achiness or sorenessespecially in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Your muscles may constantly feel overworked and tired. Some patients have trouble sleeping and feel as though they are in a “brain fog” most of the day. This can lead to fatigue or mood changes, like anxiety and depression. St re s s i s a k n ow n contributor to fibromyalgia, and patients should seek ways to de-stress, including yoga or meditation. Fibromyalgia patients should minimize their caffeine intake, as this is a known stimulant for nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Breathing exercises are sometimes helpful. Although your sleep may be restless, you should try to establish a bedtime routine that gives your body the best chance for recovery. Try to avoid late night electronics, like the television or computer. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Be sure to take time for yourself each day for relaxation or to do something you enjoy. Combat “brain fog” by carrying a notebook or a phone to make notes for important things. Some patients report decreased muscle tightness by applying moist heat or a taking warm bath. The American

Pain Society recommends conservative treatment, including chiropractic, along with moderate aerobic exercise. In our office, we treat fibromyalgia with spinal manipulation, deep tissue massage, nutritional counseling and educate patients on therapeutic exercise. At the initial visit, an examination is performed to assess the patient’s joints, muscles and nervous system. Often, even when just performing normal, daily activities, joints can become “stuck” and stop moving properly. This places extra strain on the surrounding muscles and they can become fatigued and painful. Treating

the joints and muscles of a patient with fibromyalgia often significantly reduces pain. In addition to treatment in performed in our office, there are other things people with fibromyalgia can do to help manage their symptoms. Water exercise is one form of exercise that has been shown to be helpful for those suffering with fibromyalgia. “Water aerobics” simply means that you are exercising in the pool. Water exercise adds resistance but reduces the effect of gravity, and is usually less stressful on your joints. Water Aerobics are better tolerated

by people who have joint problems like arthritis. You do not need to be a swimmer to exercise in the water - most classes are held in chest-deep pools. Meditation is also known to be helpful for treating and managing fibromyalgia. Meditation promotes physical relaxation and calmness while enhancing your overall health and well-being. Meditation helps you slow down in a busy world and find joy in the simple pleasures of your world. Meditation is an excellent way to start your day with a clear and emotionally calm state. Although there are many types of meditation techniques, most share three common elements: a quiet location without distraction, a comfortable position, and focusing your attention on a particular thought or activity, like breathing. Ta i C h i a n d Q i Gong are exercises that combine slow, deliberate movements with meditation and breathing exercises that can be helpful in managing fibromyalgia. The techniques are sometimes described as “meditation in motion.” Tai Chi and Qi Gong aim to capitalize on the benefits of meditation and breathing while improving flexibility, balance, and strength. Some styles of Tai Chi and Qi Gong incorporate “pushing hands” movements, which when practiced quickly, can be a form of combat or selfdefense. Tai Chi and Qi Gong sessions are typically led by an instructor, who will guide you through various postures and gentle movements while focusing on breathing and relaxing.

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A COUPLE’S JOURNEY OF LOVE AND ALZHEIMER’S BY OLGA MONACELL

FROM THE KENYAN HIGHLANDS TO THE ANDES MOUNTAINS TO THE FINGER LAKES

Bob and Lisa Grabman moved to Geneva, New York, from Washington, DC in 2017—more than 30 years after Bob left his hometown to go to college. I visited them recently at their beautiful house with a gorgeous view of Seneca Lake. Following his graduation from Notre Dame in 1981, Bob joined the Peace Corps in Kenya. Around the same time, Lisa was volunteering with the Peace Corps in Zaire. The two briefly met at the end of their respective assignments in Africa around 1984. Although Bob and Lisa didn’t keep in touch following their brief encounter, they were destined to meet again. A few months later, their paths crossed on the campus of Ohio University. Having completed their graduate studies at Ohio University, Bob and Lisa got married and embarked on another overseas trip. This time, they both interned at the U.S. Department of State in Kenya and then stayed in Africa as Peace Corps volunteer trainers. Bob and Lisa spent the following 30 years building successful careers in international development and raising two children, Jesse and Sarah. The Grabmans lived and worked in Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Washington, DC and traveled to work in other countries as well. In 2014, Bob was working at Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, Maryland, when he began experiencing memory issues. “Every afternoon, after lunch, I would feel tired and 232

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confused. I would write a to-do list for the next day. In the morning of the next day, I would write another to-do list. I would have two identical to-do lists but could not remember writing either of them. I knew what I needed to accomplish at my job, but didn’t know how to start a task or get it done,” said Bob. He shared his worries with Lisa. At the time, Lisa was caring for her mother who lived with Alzheimer’s disease. At first, Lisa attributed Bob’s memory issues to

exhaustion. One day, Bob drove Lisa and her mother to a doctor’s appointment in Washington, DC. He dropped them off at the entrance and then parked the car on the street. After the appointment, Lisa and her mother were waiting at the same entrance while Bob was getting the car. “He didn’t return for about an hour,” recalled Lisa. When he came back, Bob told Lisa he couldn’t find the car. Lisa hailed a cab and the three of them drove through the neighborhood until they found Bob’s car. “After this incident, I grew concerned about

Bob’s memory. He couldn’t remember where the car was parked and he couldn’t retrace his steps,” said Lisa. What was happening to Bob resembled her mother’s condition. However, Bob was much younger. It was hard to imagine that he would get the same diagnosis as his mother-in-law. In 2015, Bob was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. He could no longer perform his work duties and resigned from his position. His colleagues were supportive and understanding. Bob was able to get Social Security Disability Insurance based on his diagnosis. In 2017, Lisa’s mother passed away at the age of 82. Meanwhile, Bob’s disease was progressing and the couple decided to move out of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Since settling in Geneva, the Grabmans have made new friends. They entertain guests in their house, go to concerts, explore the Finger Lakes region and volunteer with community groups. Lisa works remotely, as an organizational development consultant. As Bob no longer drives, he likes to walk in the downtown area and along the lake. “Bob has been very open with our friends and family about his diagnosis from the very beginning. My mom wasn’t. She didn’t want people to know and it was a real issue for a while. Bob and I want to help people realize that it is okay to talk about Alzheimer’s with us,” said Lisa. Bob keeps in touch with friends from around the globe and documents his disease progression in a blog. Last fall, he appealed to his friends, “It feels like my memories are fading away at an accelerating pace. I’m losing the story of my life. I really have had a wonderful life…I just wish I could


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remember it. Please help me remember.” Several friends and colleagues responded, sharing their memories. “Working with you at Save the Children was a real privilege for me. You and Lisa brought the greatest number of skills to the organization. I think the period when you were in Bolivia was what I would refer to as the Golden Era of the Bolivia Office,” wrote someone from the Bay Area. “I would love to share some of my dearest memories of working together for Save the Children! We worked in Addis Ababa on the Horn of Africa Crisis. Amidst the chaos, the long working hours, and all the internal politics, you were the one person who always had the time for a joke and always kept your calm. Everybody 234

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loved working for you,” wrote someone from Norway. The couple is connected to the Rochester and Finger Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, participating in its education and social engagement programs. Bob shared, “Recently, Lisa said, ‘I think that I’ll go to the support group.’ I said, ‘That’s nice of you, who are you supporting?’ Lisa answered, ‘You. I’m supporting you, it’s the Alzheimer’s support group.’ Oh yeah, I forgot,’ I said.” Lisa added that she enjoys the support group where she meets other spouses and adult children who care for their loved ones.

Alzheimer’s dementia is not just a disease of old age. Younger-onset Alzheimer’s affects people in their 40s and 50s who are often at the height of their careers and caregivers themselves. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 people live with younger-onset Alzheimer’s in the United States. If your loved one has symptoms of dementia, call the Alzheimer’s Association helpline 1.800.272.3900 or visit alz.org.


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If you care for someone with memory loss or dementia, you are not alone. We are here to offer support and education. Set up a free care consultation today. Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Caregiver Institute

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THE NEW WAVE OF SELF CARE BY LATIFFANY ANDERSON

You all know I am a firm believer in selfcare. Self-care for each woman is a different experience. My self-care includes yoga, writing poetry, listening to music, taking a drive alone and bubble baths. For years my self-care experiences have been aided by the amazing products from Your Goddess Glow and dancing the stress away during Soca with Yana. Candice Simmons began Your Goddess Glow as a way for her to combat the struggles of postpartum depression. Candice has an array of products such as sea salt body scrubs, bath bombs, lotions, candles, and much more yet the first product produced was the herbal bath tea. Candice started with the Herbal Bath Tea because bath time was her sacred moment to reset her mind from the often unspoken stress of a newborn. Candice added her newest form of stress stemmed from being a new stay at home mom, that had a gap between her children of 13 years. In order to keep sane and productive, as well as contributing to her household “Your Goddess Glow” was created. As a woman in business Candice has found it hard to find those who take her seriously. She has discovered that many feel like her business is just a hobby. She plans to use her amazing products and her passion to change the ideas of the naysayers. Candice adds a tip for any woman who plans to start a line.” Be sure to get great pictures, be consistent in your social media posting, 236

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try to get into vendor opportunities as often as possible”. In the near future Candice would love to see her products distributed internationally. She is manifesting visions of “Your Goddess Glow” on the shelves of Ulta Beauty, Target, and Walmart. Candice is using her love for her children as motivation to achieve her goals. She says “It brings me the most joy to know that I have a tangible, real-life example

of taking something very difficult to deal with and turning it into something amazing that helps so many other people heal.” Your Goddess Glow has been progressing for two years, and is now located at 510 state street. These incredible products can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy. If you’d like to exert some energy, have fun and bond with women in a loving, stress free environment head over to Wukk out with Yana. Yana is the instructor of

her class Soca with Yana. Yana has been dancing since the age of three. Yana is a trained dancer who has experience in Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and west African dance as well. By day Yana is a nurse but modeling and dancing are her passions. As a child, because of her size. Yana was overlooked by her dance teachers. With the support and advocacy from her mother, Yana was eventually put into dances at her school. After the experience of being body shamed, Yana decided that no woman or child should be ashamed to participate in activities that they love. The drive for a change of societal norms, and her love for dance drove Yana to create “Soca with Yana”. “Soca with Yana” provides a comfortable environment, in which you can experience a new form of exercise and also loose weight. Yana mentioned” The purpose of my classes is to promote body positivity among women with a little Caribbean flava.” Classes are held at 250 Cumberland street Suite 218 on Tuesdays from 830pm- 930pm and on Saturdays from 10am- 11am. In order to stay updated on class information follow “Soca with Yana” on Facebook. Yana also is currently a dance instructor at the YMCA. Although her class is increasing in size and had gaining interest Yana has an obstacle to overcome. Yana is searching


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searching for a space to accommodate her class and capture her vision. This will not hinder Yana from continuing to pursue her passions. Yana’s motivation comes from her son who cheers her on as she creates new routines. Yana is motivated by her best friend who pushes her, and has believed in her when she doubted herself. Yana’s support is unmatched, she adds that she has an incredible “Sister Circle” that shares her 238

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flyers, donate funds and brings others to her classes. Yana plans to her have class in its own building and providing an outlet to young ladies who would like to dance. Yana plans to continue to promote body positivity across the globe Caribbean style. We have been conditioned to put ourselves last. There is nothing wrong with taking a hour for yourself to

regroup,and relax. I encourage you to challenge yourself to taking an hour a day for you. Take a moment to pick up your goddess glow products and join a Soca with Yana class. You will not regret it. Always remember self care is not selfish.


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WARNING SIGNS BY CHASTITY SINGLETARY

It wasn’t easy you know. As soon as my daughter’s father went to jail that night, the very next week I was packing up to leave and never look back. I knew I had to. If I didn’t, I was going to lose my life! It started when I first laid eyes on him. He was everything that I thought I liked in a man. Which currently wasn’t much. Good looks and a decent conversation. There was so much more that I should’ve been looking out for, but I just didn’t know. There were so many warning signs that I never took seriously. At first and now it was “cute” for him to say things like “Where you think you going dressing like that.” Or, “Girl you’re never leaving me, you are not going anywhere.” The first time the abuse started I’d found out I was pregnant. I was four months pregnant. He came in the house angry and irate. He wanted to have relations, but I was so tired from working all day. When I didn’t give in, he’d put his hands around my throat so hard that I passed out. When I came to, I looked around and realized that I was alone and in the dark. My pants and panties were to my ankles and I’d been raped. I knew then that I had to do something to get away from my abuser. I was now in danger. I feared for my life and no matter what I did, he always found a way to get back in. I made a police report and he saw my name on the statement and came back to my home and retaliated. This was the point I just felt I was stuck, and I was never going to get out of my situation. Until one day, after eight police reports, several disturbances and being held hostage in my own home for 3 days, I’d had enough. I jumped out the window when I was six months pregnant. Landed right in the snow. I was only wearing a short shirt and underwear. No shoes or socks.

I jumped headfirst and ran for my life. I needed to be free. When I ran, I started yelling and screaming for my life. I saw my daughters’ father behind me chasing me. My adrenaline began rising as I kept running and running for my life in the snow and barefooted. I was done being afraid. I was done being raped and bullied and held against my will. I needed to break free to save myself and save my daughter. Back then I was six months pregnant. When he was caught, he was finally sentenced three years in prison. During that time, I

past nor my upbringing. I am defined by what I put out there forth in my present and future. So now here I am a mother, a Victim Advocate for Rape and Domestic Violence, a Certified Hypnotherapist and Certified Reiki Master. I now have self-published 2 books and completed my dual program. Masters in Metaphysics and PH.D. on Metaphysical Psychology. Want to know how I did it? By NEVER giving up on myself. I wanted to raise my daughter with a life that she can be proud of from her mother. I wanted to be an example for her as well. It’s very important to keep pushing. When you feel that things in your life has traumatized you to the point that you feel you cannot go on, there is nothing wrong with getting the help you feel you need to get mentally healthy. SAVE yourself and SAVE your future. I worked hard. I currently have six upcoming events from Sexual Assault Awareness Symposium to having an event called “Girl-Time Pillow-Talk.”

packed up and moved. I was able to move and start fresh. I went into counseling and even parenting classes. I fixed all of the issues I know I needed in order to have a great upbringing for my child. I then went on to go to school. I worked my way from my Associates degree in Human Services to my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. I wanted to learn everything I could and take advantage of every free opportunity I was now able to do. Some people let obstacles, trials and tribulations hinder them to the point they cannot see past anything but the hurt that they have been through. I wanted to be MORE than my past and MORE than my tribulations. I am not defined by my

This event will get in depth with what are a woman’s hurts. What is hindering you from accomplishing your goals and dreams for yourself along with many other great events. One message I’d want to share with everyone is this. Never look at yourself as being a product of your environment. I was one there unable to see past the pain and trauma in my life, If you are able to get the help you deserve and need, you will be able to set yourself free. No one can help you but you. If you have any questions or interested in my future events please contact me at www.hopebeginshere88@gmail.com OR go to my website and book an event www. lifecoachconsult.com. Thank you for your time. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020

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Profile for Rochester Woman Online

CNY Woman Online Feb/March 2020  

Welcome to the Feb/March 2020 edition of Central NY Woman Online featuring the Deputy Mayor of Syracuse, Sharon Owens on our cover. PLUS you...

CNY Woman Online Feb/March 2020  

Welcome to the Feb/March 2020 edition of Central NY Woman Online featuring the Deputy Mayor of Syracuse, Sharon Owens on our cover. PLUS you...