Rochester Woman Online January 2024 Edition

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WOMAN WHO INSPIRES Jordan Betts Sahr Tere Marie



























INTRODUCING Kewana McDonald & Living Mulch









144 242 236 210 218









16 COVER STORY Katy Ebert

34 QUEEN OF ARTS Teagan Ward


46 WOMAN ON THE RISE Jessica Stahl



{ FROM THE PUBLISHER } Dear Rochester Woman Online community, As we embark on a new year, I am thrilled to introduce our cover woman for the January 2024 edition, Katy Eberts. Despite facing immense challenges after a life-altering car accident last year, Katy’s resilience and strength are truly inspiring. Dive into her incredible journey starting on page 16 and discover why she is #katystrong. In this edition, we are excited to feature a special section highlighting some of our amazing sponsors and vendors for the upcoming “New Year, New You” expo on Sunday, January 21, from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Holiday Inn downtown Rochester. Join us as we showcase the talents and offerings that will make this event unforgettable. Our lineup of incredible women (and a few men) includes the talented musician Teagan Ward, who happens to be a bandmate and 18+yr friend to our cover woman Katy Eberts, and we are honored to present Michael MacArthur of All Access CBD as our influential man. Explore stories of empowerment with our “Woman on the Rise” and one of the youngest car dealers on the Northeast coast, Jessica Stahl and be inspired by remarkable individuals like Jordan Betts Sahr and Tere Marie. This edition is a celebration of strength, resilience, and the vibrant spirit of our community. Thank you for being part of Rochester Woman Online, and here’s to a fantastic start to 2024! Sincerely, With gratitude and inspiration,

Kelly Breuer

Publisher, Rochester Woman Online Magazine

T T ON OUR COVER Our January 2024 cover woman, Katy Ebert, along with her husband were photographed in studio by the fabulous Chrisom Beebe with makeup by the talented Jessica Marie.








Kelly Breuer Marisa Zeppieri Kelly Breuer Chrisom B Photography Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell John Schlia Robyn Baty Michele Ashlee Meade Images-Photography Oh So Pretty Photography Katy Eberts Dr Pam Denton Lisa Ireland Nicole Doyley Michael MacArthur Kelly Wahl Karen Messina Jessica Stahl Teagan Ward Dr Pam Denton Robin DeWind Lisa Wagner Karen Messina Christine Piacentino Denise “Karma” Clifford Lori Bruton Karen Putz Bonnie Floyd Kelly Metras Kim Fischer Kaitlyn Vitozzi Sheryl Vega Kelly Breuer


Network Rochester


Network Rochester

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 Download our current media kit at The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2022 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.



In the heart of Rochester’s music scene, Katy Eberts stands as a testament to resilience and strength. As the keyboardist, and vocalist of the Fleetwood Mac tribute band Seven Wonders, and Teagan and The Tweeds, she has not only graced the local stages with her musical talent, but has become an inspiring figure through an unforeseen chapter in her life. Last year, Katy faced a lifealtering car crash that left her severely injured, challenging her in ways she never imagined. In our exclusive cover story interview with Rochester Woman Online, Katy opens up about her remarkable journey since the accident—a story of courage, determination, and triumph over adversity. Beyond the melodies of Seven Wonders, Katy shares her experiences of overcoming the odds and reclaiming the ability to walk. Her conversation with RWO delves into the depths of her passion for music, the influences that shape her artistry, and the profound significance of being #katystrong. Join us as we unravel the layers of Katy Eberts’ life, from the stage to the personal milestones that define her indomitable spirit, with her huband, family and friends cheering her on. Could you share a bit about yourself, your upbringing, and your family background? I grew up just outside of Canandaigua, the daughter of a business owner and a “Mr. Fix It”. My little sister, who is eight years younger than me, took after our father’s artistic talents and I took after our mother’s baking skills. My father had an eclectic taste in music 16


and a vast collection of records. He really contributed largely to my love of music. My feisty, artsy little sister taught me how to be a role model. She was spunky and outspoken, stubborn and strong and I idolized her for all those qualities. My mother owned a very successful bakery and restaurant where I eventually learned how to cook and bake alongside her. When the bakery first opened, she paid me $5.00 an hour to wait on tables. At age 13, I had more work experience and better people skills than most of my classmates. And I had enough money to buy my own hacky sacks and hippie dresses. My mother truly was my best friend so when she passed unexpectedly at age 49, that was the first time my world got turned upside down. My family was supportive of my interest in music and encouraged me to make sure I put in all my required practice time. My mother would be in the kitchen doing the dishes from dinner and I’d hear her call out to me “Great job, Kate! Play them all again.” I was elated to think she actually wanted to hear them all again. Now what most people don’t know is that my first instrument was actually the clarinet. I had been begging for a piano but my parents weren’t convinced I was going to be committed to learning it. They weren’t about to sacrifice space in our dining room for a large, expensive piano so they forced me to join the band at school to prove to them I was truly interested. I reluctantly took up the clarinet and to my surprise, I really enjoyed playing it. My parents finally caved and found me a free, spinet style

piano. Its keys were chipped and yellow and wildly out of tune. It was love at first sight. When did your passion for singing begin, and when did you realize you had a special gift for it? Well, I always enjoyed singing but my passion was really as an instrumentalist. I prided myself in my ability to pick up a new instrument quickly and adequately. I was never as confident in my vocal abilities. I think the first time I felt like maybe I could sing a little bit was in fifth grade. There was a chorus for any and all students and then there was a smaller group called “Select Chorus”. You had to audition to be in the “Select Chorus” and only about 20 kids were selected. I was thrilled to not only be selected but to also be chosen to sing a solo line in the Elton John favorite, “Crocodile Rock”. I definitely didn’t think I had a “special gift” at that time but I at least thought that was proof enough that I could carry a tune. I didn’t discover a real passion for singing until my senior year in high school. I was writing a lot of poetry and decided I’d like to put it to song. I bought my very first acoustic guitar and started practicing during my study halls and after school. My classmates would sort of congregate around me to listen and I realized then that people actually liked the sound of my singing voice. That’s when I decided I wanted to start singing more often. How did the concept of the band “Seven Wonders” originate? It was really just meant to be a one-off for a residency night at Three Heads













“To wake up and not feel the lower half of your body is absolutely terrifying, but the hardest moment was being told it was unlikely I’d ever move the lower half of my body again.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

s Brewing back in February, 2018. The band was put together to play the Rumours album front to back. Some of us knew each other and some of us didn’t. We had a few short weeks to pull it off and only one or two full band rehearsals. To our surprise, the evening sold out. It ended up being one of those magical performances that’s hard to put into words. Everyone in the room got all the feels and goosebumps and the energy was tangible in the air. To this day, that performance is one of the top five performances I’ve ever done. There was no reason not to let the magic continue so we decided to make it official and become a cohesive group.

The accident was a very serious rollover motor vehicle accident that involved five of the seven “Wonders.” We were travelling along I-90, on our way to a gig in Syracuse when our van and trailer went off the road, hitting a tree and winding up hovering over an embankment. Once I realized something terrible was happening, I shut my eyes and my body went into protective mode. I don’t recall the accident itself at all. I don’t recall the rolling over or the tree or the embankment and I am grateful for that. I do recall coming to at one point and feeling the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. This was the second time my world got turned upside down.

Could you tell us about your relationship with Teagan Ward and how you two met? It’s unbelievable to think that Teagan and I go back 18 years now. We were so young and new to the Rochester music scene. I had just moved to the city and Teagan was barely out of high school. I had this cool apartment above the newest coffee shop, Boulder Coffee. I was managing the coffee shop and running an open mic there on Wednesday nights. I had to get people to come to my open mic so I started scouting fellow singer/songwriters and I came across Teagan at another open mic. She had one of the most unique voices I had ever heard. I introduced myself to her and invited her to my open mic and the rest is history.

I’m going to tell you something deeply personal. At that point when I felt that pain, I thought I was going to die. In my mind, I had no idea what had happened, but I knew it must’ve been bad if I was in that much pain. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate. I felt sad that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my husband. I allowed my body to go limp and I thought to myself, “At least I will be able to be with my mother now.” In that moment, I felt no pain anymore. Then suddenly, the most miraculous, unbelievable thing happened…my mother came to me. She was beautiful and healthy and smiling down at me. She said: “No Kate, it’s not your time yet. It’s not your time.” And as fast as she appeared, she was gone. Like a light switch, I came to once again and felt that excruciating pain. Only this time, I heard voices. Help. Help was coming and I knew

Can you share with our audience a little about the accident you were involved in and what your diagnosis was?

it wasn’t quite my time. Again, I let my body go limp but with the hope I was going to be saved. Reflecting on the past six months since your accident, could you share some of the hardest moments and struggles you’ve faced during this time? There have been countless moments where things have gotten difficult or even dark. To wake up and not feel the lower half of your body is absolutely terrifying but the hardest moment was being told it was unlikely I’d ever move the lower half of my body again. I couldn’t comprehend those words. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to tell the rest of my family. That was the worst day of my life. Then there are all the moments of despair that follow. The ones where I’d think about all the things I used to be able to do that I will never be able to do again. The loss of control and independence. The moments where just the sight of a stranger walking past would make me burst into tears. How unfair it felt that I would never be able to use my legs that way again. All these moments were much harder to cope with than the physical pain I was working through. Ultimately, I think the defiance and unwillingness to accept this new normal, led me to where I am today. What have been the most memorable moments for you during this journey of recovery? Whenever my body does something I had no idea it could do. For example, the first time I stood on the parallel bars. When I conquer a fear like getting ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2024 2023 21 21



“In my mind, I had no idea what had happened, but I knew it must’ve been bad if I was in that much pain. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

into the harness over the treadmill or learning how to transfer into the car. Those are the moments that energize me to keep working hard. The moment I took my first upright steps almost made me too emotional to keep standing. The “Concert for Katy” event in September was another monumental moment for me. It was my first full day home after nine weeks in the hospital and there I was, venturing out into public for the first time and taking to the stage as well. The moment I was wheeled up onto that stage and I could see the amount of people who were there in support of my journey was a moment I will never forget. How has the support from your husband, family, and friends influenced and aided in your recovery process? Listen, my husband Brian is the real rock star here. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life and now he has become my caregiver. He and I have navigated this entire journey together and I would be lost without him. He has spent every day since the accident, by my side, helping me get back on my feet again. He is truly special. I’ve always thought I had a great circle of family and friends, but this accident has shown me my circle is much bigger than I ever realized. My support group is big and strong and my people have been there for both Brian and I to lean 22


on. And trust me, we have leaned in hard sometimes. They have proven to be unbreakable. I feel unbelievably lucky to have the support that I have and I am so very appreciative. I know for certain I would be in a very different place without them all. Who are some individuals that inspire you, and why do they inspire you?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many but the one that really stands out is my mother. Although she is no longer with us, her spirit continues to inspire me daily. She had the most outstanding work ethic I have ever seen and she was not one to give up. She was tougher than tough and when she wanted something, she went for it. I’d like to think I inherited some of those traits.

Do you have a favorite music artist? If so, what draws you to their music? My current favorites can change depending on what I’m listening to at the time. Sometimes I’ll be introduced to a new artist that I love and they’ll be my favorite for a little while. I love finding new artists to listen to and pull inspiration from but I have my old standbys as well. One of my all-time favorites is ELO. Jeff Lynne knows how to write a hook and I’m a sucker for a good hook! “Mr. Blue Sky” makes me smile every time I hear it. Then there are singer/ songwriters like Patty Griffin who just know how to tell a story so beautifully. Having a favorite is hard since so many artists have played a role across the timeline of my life. What significant lesson have you taken away from your journey since the accident? Put out what you want to get back. Be the positive change you want to see. Smile…it’s your face’s way of helping you and everyone around you feel better. Book the expensive trip to the islands. Eat the cake. Do all the things and don’t put them off. And most importantly, love hard and stand by your people. Chronicling your journey and keeping everyone involved is commendable. What motivated you to share your journey openly with others? I realized very quickly that documenting my journey was something I wanted to ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2023 22







“Being in THERAPY has been the best routine for me. It gives me a REASON to get out of bed and ready for each day. That includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and MENTAL HEALTH therapy.


{ {SHIFT+CONTROL COVER STORY } } “I want to promote change and raise awareness and I want my reach to expand as far and wide as possible.”

do. My husband and I talked about it and both agreed that it was an important thing to do. Mainly for two reasons. One being that I wanted to be able to keep looking back as a means of measuring my progress. The second being I wanted to open the doors for others to be inspired and motivated to help themselves and others. I wanted people to see that despite being dealt a crushing blow, you can still find ways to be happy and kind. And you can overcome anything if you just want it bad enough. What are your plans for your singing career in the future? I hope to get back to performing at some point but it will come when my mind and body are both ready. When the accident first happened, all I could think about was how soon I could get back on stage. Then I quickly realized I needed to narrow my focus and prioritize my health. I wasn’t getting back on stage if I couldn’t lift my arms. I learned it’s okay to have big goals for the future but that being in the present is much more important. What have you discovered about yourself through these challenging times that you might not have realized before? I had no idea I could be so vulnerable. I’ve realized that being vulnerable opens the doors to becoming stronger. I’ve had to let myself fail to prove to myself I can come out stronger on the other side. How do you manage to stay motivated and positive during tough moments in your recovery? 26


The support of the community has played a huge part in this. They have been rooting for me the whole way. I sometimes go back and read through the cards and messages I’ve been sent and feel re-energized. I have also been blessed with some of the most capable therapists and dedicated hospital staff. I have an entire crew of people invested in my recovery. When things get tough, they are there to push me and make me prove to myself that I can do anything if I just put the work in. I have been lucky enough to have gained some lifelong friendships from my stay in the hospital. These people have seen me at my worst and yet, always have faith in my ability to get back up and do better the next time. What advice would you give to others going through a similar recovery process? Never give up. You can change the statistics. Be the one that throws a wrench in it all. And most importantly, know the power of a positive mind. A positive mind makes you unstoppable. Could you share a pivotal moment that shifted your perspective during your recovery journey? The moment I wiggled my toes for the first time. Before that day, I had laid in a hospital bed for over six weeks without any movement in my lower extremities at all. My legs and feet just felt like stone, like I was carrying around two pillars of poured cement. I tried to keep a smile on my face but I was broken. It was both a mental and a physical struggle with my legs every day. When I realized I could voluntarily wiggle some of my toes and then also push my legs in a downward

motion, everything shifted in my mind. I finally started to believe that maybe I was going to begin breaking barriers. I spent the whole day wiggling my toes and moving my legs for fear of losing the ability. I jokingly asked anyone who came into my room: “Do you want to see my new trick?” And then I would show them what I could do. It was the hope I had needed for so long. Have there been any surprising or unexpected sources of support during your recovery? The fact that I have an entire community behind me has been surprising and completely unexpected. I would not be where I am now if it weren’t for the support of this community and specifically, the Rochester music scene. I have never been prouder to be a Rochestarian. I’ll admit, at times it was all too overwhelming. I would just break down in tears of disbelief and wonder why I deserved so much love. Love from friends, family, strangers from all over the country. It’s not something that’s easy to put into words. And then there was this shocking surprise from the one and only, Gloria Estefan. She too suffered a severe spinal cord injury on her way to a gig in the Syracuse area. The similarities of our accidents were uncanny. Unbeknownst to me, a friend of a friend had reached out to her to see if she might be interested in the story. Then all of a sudden, a very generous donation in her name appeared on the GoFundMe page. A few days later, on the morning of the “Concert for Katy” event, I received a phone call from her. We have remained in contact ever since.






“ I have always joked about one day writing a book, stating that even people who aren’t celebrities have interesting lives. I believe now more than ever, I was meant to write that book.” How do you balance your personal life and career aspirations amidst your recovery process? To be honest, my main focus has been on healing. I realized very quickly that pretty much everything else was going to have to be on hold for a while. I’m still very much dependent on Brian but every day I work on regaining my independence. I have been trying to get out a little more because that does seem to bring a little normalcy back to daily life. I enjoy getting to see people I haven’t seen and I especially love meeting people who have been following the story and supporting me in my journey. I love when people approach me in public because it gives me the opportunity to thank them in person. Personal life balance has been a little tricky but when I need to pull back and take a breather, I allow myself to do just that.

Are there specific routines or habits that have helped you cope with the challenges post-accident? Being in therapy has been the best routine for me. It gives me a reason to get out of bed and ready for each day. That includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and mental health therapy. Each have played an important role in my healing process and all are equally important. I’ve also gotten into the habit of reading a lot more, specifically in the mornings. I have always loved reading but I would usually do it at nighttime once I’ve gone to bed. The problem with that is I’m out in five minutes and it takes me a year to read a book! I try to devote at least 20 minutes of reading time every morning. I find it peaceful and a great way to take my mind off of any pain or stressors. Looking ahead, what aspirations or

goals do you have for yourself outside of your music career? I want to write a book. I have always joked about one day writing a book, stating that even people who aren’t celebrities have interesting lives. I believe now more than ever, I was meant to write that book. I also want to advocate for others who are wheelchair bound in making public spaces more accessible. Going out in public should not feel so intimidating. There is always the worry that the bathrooms won’t be appropriately outfitted or that there might be stairs at the entry site. Or maybe there is just not enough room for one to wheel around comfortably without having to ask someone to push in their chair or move their table entirely. I want to promote change and raise awareness and I want my reach to expand as far and wide as possible. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 29






TEAGAN WARD Surrounded by musci & art, this muscian has created two amazing bands, Teagan and the Tweeds and The Seven Wonders. Seh is also one of the closest friends and bandmate to our cover woman, Katy Eberts. Rochester Woman Online is excited to be able to feature our latest “Queen of Arts”, Teagan Ward.





“My mom is a musician and when I was young she would perform regularly. I grew up watching her gig and rehearse and would often sing along.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

Could you share a bit about your background and journey in music leading up to the formation of Teagan and the Tweeds? I have been surrounded my music and art my whole life. When I was in high school I started playing guitar and writing. Soon after that I started frequenting open mics and making friends with a core group of the Rochester music community. Eventually a few of us started a band that soon became known as Teagan and the Tweeds. When did your passion for singing start, and what motivated the creation of Teagan and the Tweeds? My mom is a musician and when I was young she would perform regularly. I grew up watching her gig and rehearse and would often sing along. Singing came very natural to me then, but I really started to focus more on it once I matured a bit. After I picked up the guitar and started writing, it was clear to me that the next step was to form a band, and that is when Teagan and the Tweeds was born. What particular music genres or styles do you enjoy singing the most? I love signing blues music. Janis Joplin has been one of my biggest influences, especially as a performer. What prompted the transition from Teagan and the Tweeds to the band Seven Wonders? The Seven Wonders is a Fleetwood Mac Tribute band, we got together for the love of the Rumours album

and it took off from there. Teagan and the Tweeds is still performing as well. The lineup of each band is slightly different. Beyond music, what activities or hobbies do you engage in during your free time? When I am not playing music I play a good amount of pickleball. Among all the instruments you play, which one holds a special place in your heart, and why? I play guitar and a bit of piano but I really hold a special place for singing the most. Is there a particular genre or style of music that deeply inspires or moves you? Blues music inspires me the most but I also love a strong story-telling songwriter playing folk or americana. What has been your favorite venue or location to perform, and why does it stand out for you? I have been lucky to perform at a wide variety of beautiful venues around the region. My favorite venue currently in the heart of Rochester would be the Theatre at Innovation Square. The Seven Wonders will be back there again on February 24. Can you share some memorable moments or experiences from your musical journey? There are so many stories to tell playing throughout the years but one that stands out was the time that I warmed up the stage as a solo act for

Senator Bernie Sanders. The crowd was surrounding a small stage that was placed right in the middle of a sea of people. There was a press box in front of me with every national news outlet broadcasting the event. I also had the opportunity to play music prior to a set that Tommy Cash (Johnny Cash’s Brother) was playing in Nashville, TN. Afterwards I had a great conversation with him over a drink. It was surreal. How do you approach the creative process when writing or composing music? I wish I had a formula or exact process, but it happens differently every time. I have gone through phases where I start at a piano but most of the time I sit down with my guitar and a notepad. Are there any artists or musicians who have significantly influenced your musical style? As I mentioned before, Janis Joplin has been a huge inspiration to me but so have some of the other greats like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Stevie Nicks. As a songwriter I have been fascinated and inspired by a women named Lori McKenna who started her career as a solo artist and became one of the best hit songwriter crafting many of the country radio hits that we have all hard over the past decade. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians, particularly women, entering the music industry? My best advice it to go out there ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 35










“My personal life is jam packed full of the best family and friends, a lot of them also happen to be musicians or lovers of music.”

and do your thing. Try your best to perform in front of anyone that might be willing to listen. That is the best starting point. Once you start, you have to constantly hone in your skills and presentation. Also it never hurts to surround yourself with the best musicians you can find, they will elevate you and push you. What do you hope your audience takes away from your music and performances? Every night that I am on stage my goal is to provide the best high-energy and engaging live performance that I

possibly can for the people that came out for a show that evening. Being on stage brings me an incredible amount of joy and I want to make sure my audience knows that and feels it themselves. How do you balance your personal life and music career demands? My personal life is jam packed full of the best family and friends, a lot of them also happen to be musicians or lovers of music. I do find time to carve out time off from everything though. It is all about balance.

Has the accident affecting your bandmates influenced the thematic direction or style of your music? It is hard to say right now. The accident was one of the worst things each of us has ever had to experience. To be honest we are all still processing and working through that day and how to navigate through it into the future. Katy’s strength has been an inspiration and brings us hope every day. We are looking forward to the day that she can jam with us and play music again, and I believe that will be sooner than later based off the immense effort and fight that she






“Being on STAGE

brings me an incredible amount of JOY and I want to make sure my AUDIENCE knows that and feels it themselves.




“I have been surrounded my music and art my whole life.”

What upcoming projects or performances can fans look forward to from you and your band? Teagan and the Tweeds is continuing to write songs, we hope to get into the studio soon and put together something to share with our fans in the near future. The Seven Wonders

has been booking and performing more and more working on bringing fans a show paying proper homage to the timeless music of Fleetwood Mac. Tell us something that people don’t know about you. I am not sure this is something that

people don’t know, but I absolutely love to travel and have had the opportunity to see a huge portion of the world. I am a believer that we should collect experiences and stories while we are young and able.




Introducing Jessica Stahl, a dynamic force reshaping the automotive landscape at the mere age of 33. As one of the youngest car dealership owners in the northeastern United States, Jessica’s journey to success is nothing short of remarkable. Seizing the reins of Moyle Chevrolet, a longstanding dealership, she fearlessly transformed it into Jessica Chevrolet, marking the dawn of a new era. Prior to this groundbreaking endeavor, Jessica honed her skills as a district manager for sales and service at Bob Johnson Chevrolet, showcasing her prowess in the industry. Her ascent to prominence continued with the takeover of the Honey Falls dealership, solidifying her status as a trailblazer in the automotive world. Jessica Stahl exemplifies the epitome of a woman on the rise, embodying resilience, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. We are excited to be able to share our interview with Jessica with our audience in the hopes of inspiring other young entrepreneurs. What is it like not only being one of the youngest owners of a GM dealership but also being a female in a very male-dominated field? It’s definitely different but if you don’t focus on it it’s not a negative. You can’t control what others think so I try to focus on what I can control and work hard to overcome any obstacles that 46


may come my way. When did you know that you wanted to become an owner? When I became one! I always thought I could do it and would enjoy it but didn’t know I actually wanted to until the opportunity presented itself. I prayed a lot about it and although it made me nervous I knew it was the right choice and I’m so glad I took the risks to be where I am now. Who are some of the people that inspire you in your journey to ownership?

Definitely my Dad, John Love, and my Brother, who are all owners themselves and people who I look up to very much. Rob Scott, Peter Montante, and John Thompson have also been key managers in my life and working for them has taught me so much about business and life. My mom, many friends and coworkers, especially people like Chris Codd who believed in me before I believed in myself, have helped me on this journey. Can you share some of the key lessons you’ve learned during your 15 years in the automotive industry?

Everything comes down to caring about people and building relationships. I’ve learned that sales is all just about listening to people and trying to help them. Be a good person, do the right thing, and keep showing up. There’s ups and downs in life and business and you have to ride the waves of change. What motivated you to pursue a career in the automotive industry in the first place? I grew up in the car business and there is truly no other industry like it. It’s fun and competitive and fast paced. There are also a ton of different directions you can take within the field so it gives you an opportunity to find the position that is best for you. Could you describe yo u r v i s i o n f o r Jessica Chevrolet and how you plan to differentiate it in the market? Our main focus is customer service. In a world that has sometimes lost touch with putting the customer first, I feel like that’s something that’s important to bring back into focus. We want to have a true family feel and lean into the small town atmosphere which translates into the customer’s experience. As a young entrepreneur, what are some of the challenges you’ve encountered, and how did you overcome them? It can be a challenge to feel that being young could be looked at as













“Every day so far has been different. One thing I make sure to do every day is walk around and check in with everyone.”

inexperience. To overcome that I just remain confident in myself and I also show respect and that I am open to learning from my elders that have had different experiences than I have. What does your typical day look like as the owner of a GM dealership? Every day so far has been different. One thing I make sure to do every day is walk around and check in with everyone. I want to be as involved as possible and make sure it’s known that I’m here to help. I enjoy talking to the customers in sales and service and want everyone to feel important. There’s a good amount of calls and meetings with the factory and vendors. Essentially you’re listening, problem solving, and taking the day as it comes for the most part. Could you tell us about your experience working alongside your father, Greg Stahl, at the Bob Johnson auto group? Working with my dad is the best part of all of this! I wouldn’t be the person I am without him. He is my hero and I look up to him more than anyone in the world. He treats people so well and is so knowledgeable and hardworking. He’s had such a positive impact on everyone around him and I hope to follow in his footsteps and live up to the name. What advice do you have for young women looking to enter the automotive industry? I would tell them not to shy away from the automotive industry. It is changing every day and they bring a

special difference to the field. It doesn’t feel as male dominated and there are plenty of opportunities for you. In the process of acquiring the dealership, what were some of the most significant obstacles you faced? I didn’t realize in purchasing an existing store that it would need so many improvements. We had to install a whole new network, wifi, and get new computers and phones. It’s important for the business to be set up for success so we overcame a lot of unexpected expenses with the long term vision in mind. We also had some hiccups with the factory that slowed us down. It will be fun someday to look back on how far we’ve come since day 1 with zero cars and no wifi! How do you see the future of the automotive industry evolving, and how does Jessica Chevrolet fit into that vision? I think it’s going to continue to get better as far as inventory availability goes and the factories seem to be listening to the dealers a little more. I also think they are going to keep improving the EV options and we are excited for a future that includes both gas and electric vehicles and we will definitely be a part of that future. What are some of the unique features or services that Jessica Chevrolet offers to its customers? We will pick up or deliver a vehicle to make things more convenient to the customer. We have special auto awards and rewards for loyalty. We also, can start helping you with a purchase

before you make the visit to the store. However we can make the experience easy for the customer we will! We also have a dealership dog haha! How do you plan to foster diversity and inclusion in your dealership and the broader automotive industry? We are inclusive and want to continue to foster a safe space for anyone to work or shop without judgment. We believe that everyone should be treated with equal respect and love and do not discriminate in any regard. We are proud to set an example for the rest of the industry. What are your long-term goals and aspirations for Jessica Chevrolet? Our goal is to continue to grow but never lose the small town family feel of the dealership. We want to increase sales and have the reputation of the best customer service around. Can you share any personal hobbies or interests that people might not know about you? I played college softball growing up and as an adult started to really enjoy fitness and nutrition. I do a mix of strength training, barre/pilates, and yoga. I like to read and do crossword puzzles or word games. I’m super family oriented and I have a golden retriever named Moses. Who are some of the strong women that have empowered you through the years? Anne Lakis is one of the strongest women I know. She’s been in the automotive industry since I was a baby



down to caring about people and building RELATIONSHIPS. I’ve learned that sales is all just about LISTENING to people and trying to help them.






“You can’t control what others think, so I try to focus on what I can control and work hard to overcome any obstacles that may come my way.”


and I’ve been so lucky to have her in my life ever since. She is an amazing mom and friend and she’s a loyal employee and coworker. She keeps her head and expectations high and is always a fighter for what is right.

of movement whether it be a training day or a just light walk and I try to wind down at night and get quality sleep. I am a pretty disciplined person and that helps me maintain balance at the same time.

so we’d love to meet you. Give us an opportunity to take care of you and your families and friends. We won’t let you down! I’d also say thank you for being so welcoming to us so far, we really love being here.

How do you balance the demands of being a dealership owner with your personal life? I have always believed if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of others. I start the day with some sort

What message would you like to convey to the community and your customers in Honeoye Falls? Come visit us!!! Just stop by and say hi. We have a lot of the same familiar faces and added on some new ones




MACARTHUR From world known saxophone player to entrepreneur and creator of the All Access CBD brand & All Access Labs, Fairport native Mike MacArthur is definitely an “Influential Man” to know.



{ INFLUENTIAL MAN } “All I can do is position myself to be ready to pivot within the industry and continue to provide the best quality products and service possible.”

Could you share a bit about your background and what led you to become the influential figure you are today? I grew up in Rochester, NY and by the time I got to high school I knew I was going to be a musician. After college and through my 20’s, I was leading my own band which gave me the experience I needed to work with people and have a vision of what I wanted. Through both music and business, I learned that you can’t do anything alone. Treat people right, provide opportunities, take chances and work hard. With a solid team of people respecting each other and on the same page, anything is possible. How has your connection to both Florida and Rochester, New York, shaped your life and career? After graduating Fairport High School in NY, I went to Florida State University to study Jazz Performance. My family moved to Florida at the same time and that became home base. I eventually realized that although FSU was a wonderful music school, I wanted to be closer to the action and moved to NYC to attend Manhattan School of Music. People are everything and no matter where I end up, Rochester will always be home to me. That is where my musical life started. As an internationally recognized saxophone player, when did your

passion for music first ignite? High school for sure. It actually started while in middle school. Bill Tiberio and Fairport High School gave me the tools and opportunities to explore music as far as it would take me. I am forever grateful for FHS and Bill. Among the musicians you’ve performed with, who are some of

teacher and for over 30 years now, one of my best friends. Every artist I have played with over the years is special in their own way. Some are just entirely about the music while others are a good mixture of the show factor as well as the material. The greatest artists to me are the ones that can do both well and not sacrifice the integrity of the music for the “show”. What drew you to choose the saxophone as your primary instrument? I saw the Geneseo College jazz band at a young age. Family friends Bob and Bill Lewis played trombone in the band and my parents would take me to the concerts. I just fell in love with the sax players and knew that’s what I wanted to do!

your favorites, and what made those experiences special? After college I was fortunate enough to tour the world with jazz trumpet legend, Maynard Ferguson as his tenor sax player. That gig led to others including Diane Schuur, Frankie Valli, Rick Braun, Brian Bromberg, Rick Derringer, Gino Vannelli and many more. I always made it back to Rochester to perform with Bill Tiberio. Bill was my high school jazz

Managing a CBD lab and stores in two different states is impressive. What inspired you to venture into the CBD industry? It actually started with me opening up a Vapor store selling electronic cigarettes and e-liquid. Basically I wanted a business to keep me at home while my daughter grew up. I didn’t want to witness all the “firsts” of a child from a hotel room on the road. After years of that industry doing very well, I transitioned into CBD as I saw how much it can change peoples lives.







“Through both music and business, I learned that you can’t do anything alone. Treat people right, provide opportunities, take chances and work hard.”

What challenges have you faced, particularly in New York State, while establishing and running your CBD stores? A lot. The industry is not well defined yet and until that happens, we will be on a bit of a roller coaster ride. All I can do is position myself to be ready to pivot within the industry and continue to provide the best quality products and service possible. Can you share an individual or a moment that significantly influenced your musical journey, and how did it impact you? I actually started with guitar lessons when I was really little. My guitar teacher was not going to be teaching anymore and if I couldn’t take lessons with Mr. Ralph, I didn’t want to play guitar anymore. On the way home from that lesson, my Dad asked what I wanted to do and at that moment, the sax solo in the song Heart Of Rock And Roll by Huey Lewis and the News was on the radio. I simply said to my Dad…I want to play that!! How do you balance your time between your musical career and your CBD-related businesses? It was hard at first. Business during the day and gigs at night. Lots of hours, but always working towards a goal. Now with the amazing team of people I have at All Access CBD, I am able to have time for both… and family. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to make a mark in the industry? 62


It’s all about people, the music and following your heart. Play music you love, learn music you might not love but learn to appreciation it and most importantly, be humble and grateful for whatever opportunities that come your way. You never know who will play a part in your life down the road. How do you perceive the current state of the music industry, and what changes do you foresee in the near future? I plead the 5th on this one. Haha. There is just so much amazing music and so many incredible artists out there, just enjoy it and more importantly, support it by going to live shows. What motivates you to continue evolving and exploring new avenues in your music career? At this point, I am able to just enjoy music more than ever because I have the stability of my businesses. It is more about the quality of both the music and the people that I look for now. I just want to have a blast every time I pick up my saxophone. In what ways do you think music and CBD intersect, if at all, in terms of their impact on people’s lives? They both heal in their own way. Some things work for some people and some don’t. Find what works for you and go with it. Could you elaborate on a particularly memorable or impactful performance you’ve had in your career? Since I was young and especially as a

sax player, Tower of Power was a band that was my dream to play with. After years of working hard and meeting so many awesome people on the road, I had the honor of being asked to sit in with the band in February of 2022 in Clearwater Florida. If I never played a note after that night, I didn’t care….I played What Is Hip with Tower of Power and I was on cloud 9….and still am!! As someone engaged in both creative and business endeavors, how do you maintain a balance between artistic expression and entrepreneurship? They both have a lot in common. The creative side fuels the excitement for moving forward and the business side allows me to be smart about how I will actually get it done. I think a lot of musicians and artists don’t even realize how good they can be at the business side of things simply because they just never looked at it the right way. Booking a gig, getting hired, playing recording sessions… that’s business and artists do it all the time! Have you encountered any misconceptions or stereotypes about CBD, and how do you address them in your stores and lab? All the time. As I mentioned earlier, the industry is still evolving and we all work hard at All Access CBD to inform and educate our customers the absolute best we can. Until there is some solid regulation and consistency with the industry, that’s the best we can to to self regulate.






“The creative side fuels the excitement for moving forward and the business side allows me to be smart about how I will actually get it done.” How do you approach innovation and staying ahead in an industry that’s continually evolving, such as both music and CBD? I never really think about it. I feel that wether I am dealing with either CBD or music, it is most important just to be real…period. Follow your

gut and work hard, the rest will come. Lastly, what are your aspirations or goals for the new year, both personally and professionally? My goals are pretty simple. I want All Access CBD to continue along the path we are on. I have an absolutely

amazing team of people that allow me the time and support to always be looking ahead. Taking care of my team is what it’s all about. I love and respect them while they show me the same in return. Music will always be what I do. These days, I am simply enjoying it more than ever:) ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 65


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Embrace Change and Catapult Your Business in 2024 with The Collective Mind In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the year 2024 has brought about opportunities for immediate change. The new year is an opportunity for businesses to reassess their strategies and embrace change by cultivating a team growth mindset. It is in this transformative time that The Collective Mind emerges as a revolutionary approach to business growth, leveraging the power of collective manifestation and team synergy.

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4. **Authentic Leadership:** Enhance teamwork and collaboration within the organization.



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The Resistance to Change: Change is a constant force in life, yet human nature often resists it. The recent global events served as a stark reminder of the fragility of our established routines and systems. And those who recognized the winds of change as an opportunity for growth and innovation set the stage for a remarkable transformation. Positive Evolution Consulting was created out of the need to connect and strategize how we approach business from a evolving perspective of leadership team synergy and growth mindset. The Birth of The Collective Mind: In response to the challenges faced by businesses worldwide, The Collective Mind was created as a groundbreaking methodology for exponential business growth. At its core, this approach is founded on the principles of neuroactivated leadership, aligning leadership teams along eight

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A Chill Guide for Entrepreneurs





“Close your eyes and picture it – your business hitting all the right notes, clients lining up, and you basking in the glow of success.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

Alright, let’s talk about making magic happen in your business as we dive into the New Year. It’s not just about resolutions; it’s about getting your vibe right, hustling with purpose, and turning your dreams into real-deal successes. Here’s your laid-back guide to manifesting, entrepreneurship, and kicking it in the New Year. Getting Real with Your Intentions New Year, new vibes, right? So, what’s your game plan? Skip the resolution drama and lay down your intentions for your business. Where do you wanna see it by the end of the year? Be real, be specific, and let those intentions be your north star in the entrepreneurial galaxy.

turning those dreams into reality. Positive Vibes Only: Because Pessimism Is So Last Year Negativity? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Entrepreneurship is a wild ride, so buckle up with a positive mindset. Believe in your skills, your vision, and the crazy journey you’re on. A positive mindset is like a secret weapon; it turns challenges into opportunities

Networking Vibes: Connecting with Your Cosmic Crew Entrepreneurship is like a galactic party, and you’re on the guest list. Network with the cosmic crew – mentors, peers, dreamers like you. The New Year is the perfect time to expand your entrepreneurial orbit. Who knows what epic collaborations and game-changing connections await? Rolling with the Punches: Because Plans Change, Right? Change is the name of the game in entrepreneurship. Be ready to roll with the punches. The New Year isn’t just about resolutions; it’s about being a shape-shifter in the business world. Stay flexible, adapt, and let your manifesting powers guide you through the twists and turns.

Dreaming Big with a Movie Montage Moment Close your eyes and picture it – your business hitting all the right notes, clients lining up, and you basking in the glow of success. Yeah, it sounds like a movie montage, but that’s the power of visualization. Let your mind be the director, and your business the star of the show. Make it a blockbuster. Hustle Time: Turning Visions into Reality Now, let’s get down to business. Manifesting isn’t just about good vibes; it’s about pairing that vibe with some serious hustle. Break down those big dreams into doable steps. Small wins lead to big victories, and each hustle move gets you closer to

wins – big or small. Gratitude is like entrepreneurial zen; it keeps you grounded, resilient, and ready to face whatever curveballs business throws your way.

and setbacks into comebacks. Gratitude: The Secret Sauce of Entrepreneurial Zen In the hustle, don’t forget to throw in a dash of gratitude. Take a breather, look around, and appreciate the

Taking a Breather: Reflect, Refine, Repeat Pause, reflect, and take a breather. What worked last year? What needs a tweak? Use this downtime to fine-tune your game plan. It’s like an entrepreneur’s spa day – a little reflection, a bit of refinement, and you’re ready to conquer the world. Building Momentum: Let Success Be Your Wingman Manifesting is an ongoing thing, not ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 109


“New Year, new vibes, right? So, what’s your game plan? Skip the resolution drama and lay down your intentions for your business.” a one-off event. The New Year is your launchpad, and each success is jet fuel for your entrepreneurial rocket. Let that momentum build, snowballing into bigger dreams and wilder business adventures. Manifesting is like a secret sauce; it keeps the wins coming. Conclusion: Manifesting Like It’s 110


Nobody’s Business So, as the clock strikes midnight, toss the confetti, sip your drink, and declare to the universe that this is your year to manifest. Entrepreneur, magician, dreamer – it’s all you. The New Year is the canvas, and you’re the artist of your entrepreneurial masterpiece. So, kick back, manifest

like a pro, and let’s make this year the most epic chapter in your business story. Cheers to the chill vibes, wild dreams, and manifesting wins like it’s nobody’s business!






Could you share a bit about your background, upbringing, and how you ventured into the salon industry? As a child, I was taught to serve others, it’s in my DNA. It’s part of who I am, the need to serve and care for others. Believe it or not, I was the kid with a huge knot at nape of my head, always. There was never a reason, in my mind, to ever care about what my hair looked like. I spent my time outside in the woods, riding 4-wheelers, or using my pocket knife to carve. The hair industry was just something that fell into my lap and instead of questioning it, I ran with it. I trusted it. Once an old teacher from my high school looked me up and down after I became a hairstylist and said, “You’re the last person I would have ever expected to be a hairdresser.” I went to an art show at a local salon in Rochester and a stylist there said to me, “I think we should schedule you for a haircut!” I never grew up paying for my hair to be done, our family babysat the local hairstylist’s son so we traded services, lucky us! My whole outlook on this industry changed when I experienced my first cut in a higher-end salon. I was working at a photography studio doing their marketing and graphic design at the time I was laid off from a job I adored. I called my hairstylist and told him I needed to cancel my hair appointments moving forward, his response changed the game for me. He told me to come and get a haircut anyway, even though I couldn’t pay him. I call it my pity

haircut. That was the visit he told me to go visit the cosmetology school and see what it’s all about. About a week later, I was enrolled in a local beauty school. I ended up working at the same salon which changed my viewpoint on this industry. What motivated or inspired you to establish Need + Co. with its unique business model? Because of the experience I had at

the high-end salon, I knew there was something more to the beauty industry. There is an emotional and psychological side to this industry that is so untapped. I knew that a haircut was so much more than simply a cut, it could be a healing experience, one where folks could celebrate themselves in their way. A way to take their power back and experience genuine love. I’ve been in business for

over 13 years now, being an employer was one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences in my life, but all good things come to an end, so they say. This current business, Need + Co., was established to survive. We became a space for independent stylists who are ready to make their mark in this industry and need a little help on the way. When Need + Co. was developed, the concept was focused on teaching folks about the big picture of business and understanding the 12 parts that make up their Full Circle Service, the deeper part of providing services. Value, Vibe, Community, Service, Anticipation, Branding, Intention, Expectations + Boundaries, Environment, Experience, Effectiveness, and Education. Some call it a residency, others may call it an internship, and many have described us as an incubator. Are there lesser-known aspects or anecdotes about yourself that you’d like to share with our audience? I hit burnout a few years back. It was awful. The pain, the despair, the wtf is happening... I’m an empath who didn’t know how to put a cap on her compassion. The universe will keep sending you lessons until you can learn from them. I began to set boundaries and expectations and the folks who were using and abusing didn’t like that very much. My whole world flipped upside down. My mom always told me, “If you don’t find time to rest, God will give you a reason and you won’t like the way he does it.” She was right, I just kept giving and giving ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 113

{ WOMAN WHO INSPIRES } “What I do know is I’ll keep pushing forward with my personal healing and giving myself time to rest and heal, to allow myself to truly hear my heart and learn how to release the trauma and pain.”


and giving without receiving, and before I knew it, my inner bank was in a major deficit. My real bank was too, to be honest, I just kept giving folks chances because I could financially handle it. I didn’t want to fire anyone during Covid because I had savings that could keep folks employed. Let me tell you that was the wrong decision. Do not under any circumstance, trade yourself for the comfort of others. Folks will take and take and take until you no longer have anything to give, they’ll kick you a few more times once you’re down and walk away like you are the scum of the earth. I’m telling you this because we need to start talking about mental health and we need to stop being so afraid to admit that we aren’t strong all the time. Trust every flag and every single feeling your body is trying to tell you. Even though I went through all this crap, I let it happen to me again... y’all I let it happen AGAIN! Two more times since my burnout. You’re involved in supporting small businesses and initiatives like the Miss Julie School of Beauty aiding survivors of sex trafficking. What drove you to join and support this cause? Around six years ago, I attended a conference in Chicago and had a chance encounter with a man running a beauty school in Cambodia for victims and survivors of sex trafficking. At that moment, I turned to my husband and said, “I’M GOING!!!!” However, my plans took a detour when I learned that volunteering required a six-month stint abroad, so I decided to postpone this idea until my daughter was in college. Fast forward four years, Miss Julie, 114


the driving force behind Miss Julie’s School of Beauty, reached out to me. She was in the process of establishing a cosmetology school for survivors of sex trafficking right here in our hometown. My husband, aware of my longstanding desire to get involved, had shared my contact information with her. This meant I could now join the fight to dismantle sex trafficking without having to leave my family behind, I jumped in! Human trafficking is a major issue in our country, especially in our state, where New York ranks #4 for human trafficking in the US. Many people are unaware of the proximity of trafficking to their lives; it’s a harsh reality that often goes unnoticed. Our casual reliance on cell phones has made our youth even more vulnerable, and we must raise our voices to shed light on this issue that exists in our immediate communities. Do any of your family members participate in or support what you do professionally? My family has been there for me from the very beginning. My daughter has jumped in to help run the salon as well as taking all the education she can regarding human trafficking. When I chose to pivot in my salon career, my biggest fear was that my family would look at me differently. It can be daunting to consider making a change and heading in a different direction, especially when your loved ones helped you build everything you have. I remember thinking, what if they’re pissed that they did so much over the years and here I am saying, ehhhhh not sure this is for me anymore. I vividly

recall calling my sister and expressing my uncertainty, saying, “What if I don’t want to do this anymore?” Her response was simple yet powerful: “None of us care what you do, as long as you’re happy.” People often say that those closest to you might resist your evolution because they prefer to keep you in familiar territory. However, as I went on this journey of personal growth, delving into mental health and altering the way I spoke, my family became even more of my anchor than before. They not only held me together but also held space for me, supporting every step I took for my well-being. I feel incredibly blessed to have a family like mine; without them, I’m unsure if I would physically still be here today. What marketing or promotional strategies have been most successful in promoting your business, Need + Co.? Face-to-face marketing is by far the most effective form of marketing, still to this day. So many businesses focus on social media being their main source of branding and marketing but what they’re not realizing at this point is with the increased amount of content being created every day, our business’ message is getting diluted. It used to be that a business would need to get in front of someone 6 times before they would turn into a customer. Now, it’s over 20 times before a potential customer will trust a business. We can drastically reduce the amount of times someone needs to see our business if we stand tall in person, tell our story, and shake a hand.







“Many people are unaware of the proximity of trafficking to their lives; it’s a harsh reality that often goes unnoticed. ” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

How do you balance the unique aspects of your business model with the changing landscape of the salon industry? It’s all about being heart-centered. If I continue to be still, give myself time to hear what my heart is telling me, and follow my inner-truth, nothing else really matters. We all have the answers to the changes we need to make and the path we should be taking, we just need to slow down enough to listen and trust. We all know what we need to do... Could you share a standout moment or experience that significantly shaped your career or business approach? Losing an exceptionally significant project, one that held a profound personal connection, was a heartwrenching experience. This project, which served as a manifestation of my journey through burnout, was stolen right in front of me, and what stung, even more, was the realization that it happened at the hands of someone I considered a friend. Oracle cards woven with the threads of my struggles and triumphs, a testament to my resilience were taken and publicly displayed without my story. I poured my heart and soul into this project as a gift to folks going through their Dark Night of the Soul only to find I wouldn’t have a chance to share them in the way I had hoped. In another chapter of this tumultuous period, a connection of over 8 years unraveled before my eyes. What made this loss particularly bewildering was the

fact that it crumbled because I chose to stand up for myself and my business. It’s surreal to find oneself at a crossroads in life, recognizing that the foundation of a supposed friendship was, in truth, built on a one-sided dynamic. Discovering that the bonds were contingent upon my silence and compliance, added a layer of disillusionment to the heartbreak.

These losses showed the fragility of relationships, where professional and personal spheres can intertwine in unexpected ways. Unraveling the threads of these connections forced me to confront the disheartening reality that what seemed substantial was, in essence, a delicate facade. Yet, in every lesson, there’s an opportunity for growth, learning, and the redefinition of personal

and professional boundaries. How do you envision the future of Need + Co., considering the evolving trends in the salon and beauty industry? At this moment in time, it’s all about trust. Trusting that what I put out into the universe with my words, thoughts, and feelings will show me what direction I need to take in this industry. Life is evolving right now, expectations are evolving, and folks are growing. I’m excited to see what this world becomes as more and more folks begin evolving. What challenges have you faced while establishing and growing your business, and how did you overcome them? I did everything I could for everyone, I sacrificed time with myself, my daughter, and my passions. I gave away my savings, I worked through the night, and I didn’t take care of myself because I was raised to do everything for everyone else and never think about my own needs. I fell into the trap of self-sacrifice for the comfort of others. I realize now that is a coping mechanism and a nasty one at that. Looking at the reflection in the mirror one day, I didn’t recognize myself; spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. Who the F* was I?! I was a slave to the system, I did everything I was taught to do. The only problem is, that those rules are all lies to keep you suppressed. As I said earlier, each time I spoke my truth, I would lose someone who I thought was dear to me or I thought I needed. Someone once said, don’t ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 119



“This current business, Need + Co., was established to survive. We became a space for independent stylists who are ready to make their mark in this industry and need a little help on the way.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

give away what you have in your cup until it’s overflowing with abundance. Everyone has been given the same cup, it’s not our fault they chose to drink theirs before they asked for yours. We can love and we can care for others, but not at the expense of ourselves. Keep your cup open to receive but don’t give from your cup until it’s overflowing. Can you highlight a particular aspect or service offered by Need + Co. that sets it apart from other salons? As we transitioned to Need + Co., it became clear that embracing love and gratitude remained essential. Our environment fosters a culture where individuals can confidently embrace their authenticity and prioritize themselves without apology. Empowering our independent business owners by affirming their significance, irrespective of circumstances, is a cornerstone of our mission. We are dedicated to demonstrating how to construct businesses aligned with one’s chosen lifestyle while unwaveringly safeguarding our peace – no exceptions. Are there specific values or principles that guide your business operations and decision-making? I have chosen to move forward with Heart-Centered Business practices. It’s about discovering your inner truth, finding yourself, releasing what no longer serves you, and building a community. Speak your truth, follow your purpose, and build your community. If someone doesn’t like your business, that’s okay. One of the things that has helped me grow my business is realizing there are over a million people in this city 120


and surrounding area, so if I piss off a thousand of them, it doesn’t matter. The most important principle is being true to yourself. In what ways do you foster a sense of community or collaboration within your business or among your clients? We are always connecting with local organizations and small businesses to bring awareness to the needs of our community and city. We align ourselves with organizations that mean something to each of us at Need. Our most recent project was for Angels of Mercy, where our team and community helped us donate over $2,000 of professional products to women in need. We started the ROC Braid Bar years ago where we would move forward to donate thousands of dollars to local organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer, Al Sigl, Willow, etc... We are currently aligned with a multitude of nonprofits in our area with our two main organizations being Miss Julie’s School of Beauty and Rochester Hearing and Speech. Could you elaborate on the role and impact of being a community liaison for Miss Julie’s School of Beauty in aiding survivors of sex trafficking? I started working with MJSB by supporting and consulting Julie during her moves through the city and the industry. It has since evolved into many roles and projects but currently, I am working on developing programs that will be key parts of student placement and mental health awareness within business. What’s most exciting about his role is the trust that has been given to me to develop programs with meaning,

programs that will be nationally taught. It’s truly an honor to be given this opportunity. I also speak to the public multiple times a month presenting folks with the truth about sex trafficking. In the future, I will be helping our school expand into new cities and states across the US once we get our Rochester doors open. Who knew this is what I’d be teaching! If you’re interested in learning more or having me come do a talk, reach out, and let’s find a time for us to come speak with your business or organization. How do you maintain a balance between running your business and contributing to social causes and initiatives? We talk about balance a lot, but what we don’t talk about is harmony. There is no such thing as balance in business and life, but there is harmony. Balance is something we set out to attain, it’s the line where our boundaries and expectations truly shine. With everything in life though, there is an ebb and a flow, an up and a down, a give and a take. Harmony is the acceptance that at some points in our life and our career we will be working harder at one or the other and there will be compromises and sacrifices to honor expectations. A simple example would be that of wanting a good work-life balance. So we set a goal of working a certain number of hours a week on our business and spending the rest of our time doing what we love, following our passions, and taking care of ourselves. That balance may be there during a typical season, however; harmony comes into play during your seasons of growth.


“I knew that a haircut was so much more than simply a cut, it could be a healing experience, one where folks could celebrate themselves in their way. A way to take their power back and experience genuine love.” Where that 40-hour week turns into a 60-hour week for a month or two or you simply can’t work and you must rest for days on end. There’s nothing wrong with the ebb and flow, just be sure to honor the personal time you need to rest. Sacrifice going out that week or going to a networking event, but by all means, do not sacrifice your self-care and self-love time. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the world of business? We’ve all been taught to build a business based on what it can do for others, instead build your business to support the life you want. I look around and see so many business owners in a similar 122


spot as me, switch that narrative and ask what is business going to do for you? I’ve read hundreds of business books and they’re all the same, written through the guise of making money while helping others. Instead, we should be looking at what our truth is, our purpose, and building a business that supports our life, not our life supporting our work. What upcoming projects or developments can the audience expect from you or Need + Co. soon? I’m not quite sure where I stand right now in this journey, healing from burnout and the attacks I have experienced, unfortunately, may take years. What I do know is I’ll keep pushing forward with my personal healing and giving

myself time to rest and heal, to allow myself to truly hear my heart and learn how to release the trauma and pain. I plan to speak loud and proud about my journey, the things that happened to me, the way I reacted, and how I’m learning to respond instead. I want to share with folks how nature heals, how our bodies have the capacity to heal themselves, and how much power we all hold. Our thoughts, our feelings, and our words create, it’s time to share with folks that we can manifest the life we want simply by letting go of the details and trusting that the universe, the divine, or our God has our back.





TERE MARIE Can you share a bit about your background and journey that led to founding Cycle Alchemy? It was through my own pregnancy and childbirth journeys that I became deeply connected to my body and found my path to purpose. These birth journeys were very different, my first being an ecstatic, orgasmic birth attended by a midwife. The second was a journey of trust and acceptance. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, we found out the baby was missing a major brain structure, and we became a high risk birth, with potential infant mortality. Everything turned out ok in the end, and I began my sojourn into motherhood, and a whole new era of my purpose. Shortly after the birth of my second child, I became a Birth Doula, and began to witness the magnitude of women in their true power. It was here that I learned how to hold space for women, and deepened my understanding of the spiritual connection to the body and mind. Over the course of a decade, this work has taken me into a deep understanding of the biology and energetics of the menstrual cycle, and how profound it is on ALL aspects of a woman’s life. As women, we aren’t taught how important our cycles are. Did you know that your cycle is quite literally a canary in the coal mine, or, your internal barometer

of your overall physical, emotional well being?! After anchoring into the wisdom of the menstrual cycle, I began to notice that there were all sorts of cycles that we experience that, if we become aware of and understand, will help us be more sovereign, connected, purpose filled, successful and satisfied women! What inspired the concept of Cycle

Alchemy being the intersection of spirit and science aligned with the menstrual cycle? Since I can remember, I’ve been a hands on person, interested in learning about the natural world, feeling most at home in nature, with a desire to explore. I loved both the arts and hard sciences. I am inquisitive, always wanting to know ‘why’ and ‘ how’ things in the natural world

work. I spent HOURS outdoors as a kid, making ‘potions’ and mud pies, collecting bugs, salamanders and interesting rocks. I ended up getting my Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology, which set the stage for SO MUCH of what I teach in my work today! I was very intuitive and was interested in spiritual studies from a young age. I spent a lot of time in an Evangelist church as a kiddo. I learned about ‘being of service’ in the world. I learned about being a ‘good samaritan’, and the power of prayer. I saw others deeply committed to studying and living their spiritual practice, and while I don’t necessarily agree with or align with all of the stories and values I learned in the church, it certainly set the stage for living a spiritual life. As I grew into a teen, I became more interested in studying other lineages of spiritual practices. What I found, from pursuing both the Sciences AND the Spiritual Sciences, is that BOTH are required to have a full breadth of knowledge in EITHER. Understanding the HOW and WHY of an area of study is foundational. How can we understand if we don’t look at the biology, the physiology, the anatomy, the structures, the basic functions of our subject? What I’ve found, however, is that, often, Science can only take us so far with explanations. ..And where science leaves off, “Spirit” (or ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 127



“It was through my own pregnancy and childbirth journeys that I became deeply connected to my body and found my path to purpose” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

(or ‘‘faith’) takes over. Where they intersect is where we find the ‘special sauce’ Could you elaborate on what it means to align with the menstrual cycle to live one’s best life? As women, we experience an ebb and flow of hormones that express themselves as four distinct phases of our monthly cycle. Each of those phases lasts about a week, and has a very individual ‘flavor’ or ‘feel’ to each week. Some weeks, we are more active and expressive, some weeks, we are more internal, and reflective. We quite literally have four different avatars each month. Living in a patriarchal society, women are expected to move through life as men do, however, men and women operate in a very different manner. Men are linear. Women are cyclical. Our cultural norms and expectations reflect that of man, or that of a man;s hormonal cycle. For example, we are expected to work 9am-5pm, 5 days per week, 52 weeks a year. No deviation from that schedule. This is because men’s hormonal pattern is a flat line. Men have a slight blip in testosterone in the morning, which dwindles onwards in the evening hours. But its the same, day in, day out, 365 days a year, However… Women’s hormonal cycle runs on (approximately) a 28 day cycle, and consists of a beautiful orchestra of ebbs and flows of hormones. We have days where our hormones give us the proclivity for public speaking, 128


and days when we are more inclined to stay home and closely examine the minutia in bookkeeping. We naturally have times during the month where we are more inclined to complete tasks, as opposed to times during the month where we would be better served resting. I often find that women who are experiencing ‘symptoms’ whether those be PMS type symptoms, depression, inflammation, or whatever health or wellness issue they are facing, when they turn towards caring for their cycle, the rest of their health follows suit. For example: Stress is one of the most detrimental ‘toxins’ to our bodies. The body will ALWAYS prioritize survival before reproduction, so many women who are under high stress (whether that be physical or emotional stress), loose their monthly cycles (amenorrhea). Amenorrhea is an indicator that something is amiss hormonally (stress causes estrogen supply issues). If we treat the cycle issue, we are also treating the lifestyle issue (assessing stress factors and applying lifestyle shifts to reduce stress). If a person was experiencing stress induced amenorrhea, they might not schedule stressful events or deadlines in the last two weeks of their cycle. They might begin a yoga class, or journaling practice, or incorporating therapy into their month to help reduce stress. They might schedule harder physical workouts for the second week of their cycle, rather than the last weeks, when they

need more rest. So, being aware of our cycle, and treating the lifestyle issues that are causing the cycle issue is going to help a person align with their cycle. Simple scheduling of tasks that are more in alignment with the phases of the cycle is the simplest place to start ith this! If only we were taught about the wisdom of our cycles, and paid attention to the whispers of our cycle, before it turned into SCREAMS for help, we would be in a very different place today! What are some of the specialties and unique services offered at Cycle Alchemy? Working with me isn’t just a session, or a class…It’s an EXPERIENCE. I offer a range of services and levels of investment. One of my favorite current offerings is “Dance Floor Church”. In this Somatic Movement ‘ceremony’, we explore and befriend our nervous systems, access and embody sensation and emotion in the body. Educating the community on menstrual cycle awareness and sexual health are definitely my sweet spot. I’m one of very few certified Holistic Reproductive Health Educators in our area. I teach classes for women, teens and men on anatomy, physiology, cycle awareness and, and how to put it all together to optimize body spirit and mind.








“I spent a lot of time in an Evangelist church as a kiddo. I learned about ‘being of service’ in the world. I learned about being a ‘good samaritan’, and the power of prayer.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

Be on the lookout for “The Garden: Sex Ed for Grown Ass Women” series coming this winter. I’m super excited to offer a class specifically for men in this series as well, “Body Literacy for Bros” is a men-only class, where we will go over anatomy of reproduction AND pleasure, how the cycle works, and where to use this knowledge with partners for better relationships! In January, I’ll begin offering in person, monthly “Composting” sessions. These workshops are a time to share and process what is on our hearts with a combination of group support, astrocoaching, emotional release, shedding conditioning and transformative movement.

each of the P’s, and how you can apply the wisdom contained in them to live a more sovereign, deeply satisfying, authentic and pleasure filled life! Through the mentorship, we will unpack your birth chart and learn how to track the current planetary activity to move through life with greater understanding and preparation for what’s to come. We will take a deep dive into female anatomy, physiology at your cycle, how you can connect with plants and the natural

I offer spiritual astrological consultations to help folks understand their current reality, unpack their past, and walk into their future with a bit of preparedness. Your website mentions a program called “Reclaim” - could you detail what this program is about and what the “four P’s” represent? RECLAIM is my small group mentorship program that will run February to May 2024. In this program, we meet virtually for an indepth exploration of the 4 P’s- Planets, Plants, Pussy and Personal Agency. These are the main pillars of my work, the three main cycles (astrology, the menstrual cycle, and plants/ natural cycles) and the most important aspect to personal growth- PERSONAL AGENCY. Over the course of four months, and working very closely with me in supportive community, we work through

world around you to create the life of your dreams. Our goal is to find your most expressed, authentic, favorite self and anchor in! How do you envision Cycle Alchemy contributing to the empowerment and wellness of individuals? This work is just that… EMPOWERMENT! The most important aspect that I ‘teach’ is how to become your own best medicine.

You learn to trust yourself. You learn to believe what your physical, spiritual and emotional bodies are SCREAMING to you. You learn to shed the cultural conditioning. You learn that you are the person steering your own ship, and that at any point on your journey, you can turn towards your inner wisdom, your power of discernment to anchor you into your own best reality. What kind of transformations or changes have you witnessed in your clients through your programs and services? I see women have better periods.I see women become more themselves. I see women connect with their partners after long periods of disconnection. I see women leave toxic relationships. I see women address traumas that they previously could not access. I see women become more successful in their goals. I see women re-orient their goals. I see women feel more confident, and more liberated than they ever have before. I see women forgive themselves for their choices. I see women dance freely. I see women begin to trust other women again. I see women heal themselves. Could you discuss the importance of honoring and understanding the menstrual cycle in modern-day life? In short, honoring the cycle is about honoring phasality. It’s honoring that we are not the exact same, cookie cutter person day in and day out. Understanding and honoring the cycle mean living in tune to your own internal seasons, and being conscious of your energy levels, inputs and outputs. It means making ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 131



“Living in a patriarchal society, women are expected to move through life as men do, however, men and women operate in a very different manner. ” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

small adjustments to your calendar, to how you answer the call to service, how you care for yourself that are in tune with your cycle, and not some arbitrary schedule that some old dead white guy made. It means honoring seasonality, and knowing that what comes up, must come down, that we are always SOMEWHERE on the wheel, and that we will return to stasis once again. It means being present, in your own body, and able to honor it’s fluctuations. How do you tailor your approach to suit the unique needs of each individual who seeks your guidance? This work is most definitely tailored to the individual. While we can apply broad strokes to discuss the systems and cycles that are so deeply a part of this work, the details are highly specific. While the function and biology of the menstrual cycle are the same, how it is expressed in the individual is very different. This is why I teach folks to track their cycles using the pen and paper method, and NOT to use femtech or period tracking apps. Similarly, astrology is a system of signs and omens that we assign a language to. While everyone has the same planets in their birth chart, how those planets are expressed in the individual are VERY different. This is why I teach folks the importance of learning how to interpret your own chart personally. Are there any misconceptions about menstrual cycles or womb healing that you aim to dispel through your work? I’d love to dispel the misconception that our cycles are burdens, a ‘curse’ or unnecessary. Our cycles are in fact, our 132


SUPERPOWERS! We just haven’t been given the proper education, or cultural constructs to appreciate them for what they are…A incredible indicator of our overall physical and emotional wellness, AND a great system to organize and structure our lifestyle! What advice would you give to individuals who are just beginning to explore connecting with their menstrual cycles for better well-being? DO NOT USE PERIOD TRACKING APPS!! They are inaccurate, and actually serve as a way to further disconnect you from your body. Most period tracking apps rely on an algorithm to generate their predictive data, AND, they often mine and sell your personal information to third parties (yuck). I suggest learning about your cycle, and tracking your cycle through the Fertility Awareness Model (or FAM), and using the pen and paper method for the tracking. Taking the time to learn about, and connect to your body is the MOST important part of learning into the wisdom of your cycle, so, why would you outsource that to a computer?! Could you explain the importance of community and support in the work you do at Cycle Alchemy? Community is crucial in this work! Many of the services I offer incorporate community sharing and witnessing as an important part of the work. There’s nothing more powerful than being seen and witnessed in a group of supportive women. The benefits are myriad, such as accountability, support, relatability and normalization of our experiences. There’s so much wisdom in community,

and I always encourage participants to keep the work going outside of our sessions or workshops, either through personal connections, or, in our online community. Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives within Cycle Alchemy that you’re particularly excited about? I’m most excited about “The Garden: Sex Ed for Grown Ass Women”- This is the anatomy and physiology class you’ve NEVER had! We learn all about the female anatomy for reproduction and pleasure, how the cycle works, and how to optimize your biology for a delicious life! I’m even offering a very special, men’s only edition of the workshop, called, “The Garden: Body Literacy for Bros”. This class covers the same topics, tailored for the male gaze. Finally, what motivates and inspires you in your mission with Cycle Alchemy, and what do you hope to achieve through your work in the future? Seeing my clients liberate themselves, heal themselves, and step into their most empowered versions of themselves… That’s what most inspires and motivates me! I truly believe that the closer we are to our true natures, our favorite selves… The more beautiful this world becomes! I’m here to see paradigms shift to more compassionate, powerful, self lead model!



Tell us a little bit about yourself, and Rose Cleaning Co. I’m Meghan Rose Johnstone, I am 34 years old and I own Rose Cleaning Company. In our first year of business we achieved six figures in sales, and our goal for 2024 is to (at least) double that. On the side, I’m also a local stand-up comedian! What made you decide to be a female entrepreneur? My dad is an entrepreneur and taught me the ins and outs of business growing up. I always loved learning about it. Then, about a year and a half ago, I realized I was putting 40 hours a week into making someone else rich and I could be putting that energy into my own brand. That’s when I decided to pursue my dream life of working for myself—no limits, just growth. What inspires you? My parents inspire me daily. My dad’s my biggest fan and mentor! He is always there for motivation and business advice. My mom has achieved every professional goal she has ever set for herself and continues to work on new ones every day. I am so proud of her! Their resilience motivates me. How do you stay motivated, especially in such a crazy time in the world? It’s tough to stay motivated consistently. On off days, I remind 136


myself of my end goal and why I want it. It puts the harder days into perspective. For example, I am working long hours day in and day out because I want to have the best commercial and residential cleaning company in Rochester, New York. I also work hard so I can treat myself, my friends, and my family. My family and close friends deserve the world, and I am going help them get it!

two weeks. There were a couple times I wasn’t sure if I would ever leave. That’s when I decided it was time to live a healthier lifestyle and go after my dreams. I started by abstaining from alcohol and going to the gym. After three months, I started Rose Cleaning Company. Three months later, I started doing standup comedy. My life is 1000% better because I am going after my dreams.

What are some of the challenges you face regarding being a female entrepreneur and how have you overcome them?

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

I feel that female entrepreneurs need to work harder to be taken seriously. I just make sure to stay true to myself and my mission with every interaction I have. The right people will gravitate towards me. I have had clients in the past who did not take me seriously and we’ve parted ways because of it. I didn’t mind because when you respect yourself and your business, the universe will send you people and clients who respect you too. What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life? My decision to go after my dream life has been scary yet rewarding. I always knew I could be successful and live my dream life, but I was scared. What if I failed? I thought I couldn’t fail if I didn’t try – not realizing that was failure too. In January 2022 I was diagnosed with covid and pneumonia and they put me in the hospital for

Sleep! Haha. And anything else that “refills my cup”. I.e. work out, read, hang out with my family and friends etc. I also love watching comedies with my two cats Nova and Haze. What did you do before owning your own business? I worked as a legal assistant in different law firms and gained valuable insights on running a business at Ronzo Associates, an accountant’s office. This was my favorite job as I worked with the most amazing people. This work experience prepared me for owning my own company. What is the best advice/information you have ever been given? Thankfully, I have been given a lot of great advice in my lifetime, but the best was my dad’s lecture #1255 (lol) “how to take a negative and turn it into a positive”. The short version is sometimes people experience negative situations in their lives. After this,



“My dad is an entrepreneur, so growing up I learned a lot about what it takes to own a business and the benefits of working for yourself.”






“I feel that female entrepreneurs need to work harder to be taken seriously. I just make sure to stay true to myself and my mission with every interaction I have.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

you have a choice. You can either let it define you by dwelling in it and projecting it onto others or you can let it motivate you and become a stronger and better person because of it.

We believe having a clean space can improve your mental health and reduce anxiety. Our commercial clients know a clean and sanitized workplace is essential for the well-being

Is there anything you want our audience to know about you?

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?

Rose Cleaning Company is now accepting new clients for commercial and residential cleaning! We love cleaning homes, apartments, restaurants, bars, vacation rentals, workshops, offices, medical buildings, t u r n ov e r c l e a n s , daycares, banks, etc. If you can dream it, we can clean it! Call or text 585.736.8269 for more information.

I have a couple exciting accomplishments including owning a successful cleaning company and pursuing my dream in comedy. My company hit 6 figures in sales within its first year of business (so thankful). For comedy, I have been on some amazing shows in the Rochester and Buffalo area, produced two of my own standup comedy shows and co-wrote my very first sitcom pilot with my business and writing partner, Grace Turner! This was all in the last two years. I am looking forward to see what happens next! What do you enjoy most about what you do? What do you find the hardest part about it? Owning a business is amazing and I am obsessed with it but can be challenging at times. I love that my company contributes to making Rochester a cleaner community.

hardest part about owning a business would be the long hours and never taking a day off but I love growing my business and I love working so it’s worth it to me!

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

of their employees and clients and I’m thankful my company provides that for them. I also love that my team saves our residential clients time and energy so they can focus on what matters most to them. The

I feel like my personal and professional life are one in the same. I am always working, w h e t h e r i t ’s m y cleaning company or comedy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I learned early on that it is important to take time for myself because its hard to pour from an empty cup. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 141


“My decision to go after my dream life was the scariest yet most rewarding one I’ve ever made thus far.”

Where do you see yourself in the next three years? five years? In three years, I see myself having the best cleaning company in Rochester and being known nationally for my Rose Cleaning Co brand and for my 142


comedy. In five years, I want to expand my cleaning company to California and Florida. I also want my brand to sell its own products like office and cleaning supplies. Life is so exciting if you make it!

Contact us at www.meghanroseco. com if you are interested in a quote on cleaning both commercial and residential.

DEFINING LONGEVITY Living Longer, Better Lives with AI Leveraging Deep Learning for Health and Lifespan Optimization



{ DEFINING LONGEVITY { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “The pace at which AI is developing is both exciting and scary. It gives rise to various concerns like the propagation of misinformation, job displacement, security, power, money concentration, and other problems related to ethics and regulations.”


Introduction. AI has become a transformative force, permeating anything from aviation, security, banking, HR to automotive industry, scientific research, and social media. No longer a technological fantasy from science fiction, artificial intelligence proved itself as an indispensable tool, contributing to advancements across various domains. In my professional sphere, and that of my colleagues, AI seamlessly integrates into our tasks: even when writing this text I resorted to tools like ChatGPT for error-checking, coherence, and visual content creation (Fun fact: The CEO of ChatGPT personally invested a whopping 140 million dollars into a longevity biotech start-up that aims to add ten years of healthy lifespan). The pace at which AI is developing is both exciting and scary. It gives rise to various concerns like the propagation of misinformation, job displacement, security, power, money concentration, and other problems related to ethics and regulations. Under a constant flow of information, journalists can sometimes fail to add clarity, instead spreading unease with hyperbolic statements and colorful remarks, making a nuanced discussion all the more critical. We’re here to demystify AI and examine how it plays a role in our quest to achieve longer, healthier lifespans. The text below is my modest attempt at delving into this intriguing overlap and illustrating some of the successful attempts at utilizing AI to optimize our health and tackle biological aging. Targeting Aging with AI

Biological aging is an ideal target to address: it is the primary catalyst for major diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Therefore, a shift in focus toward biological aging promises more progress in promoting healthy longevity compared to the prevailing disease-centric paradigm. As individuals age, the likelihood of developing one or more chronic conditions increases, leading not only to diminished health outcomes but also imposing a substantial economic burden on our societies. Looking at aging trends at a global scale, it becomes apparent that the notable increase in lifespan due to medical breakthroughs, improved hygiene, vaccinations, and antibiotics did not go hand in hand with a corresponding enhancement in the quality of life for aging adults. The “silver tsunami”, coupled with declining birth rates, skyrockets our healthcare costs and presents fundamental challenges to our societies. Directing our efforts towards understanding and mitigating the biological aging process is therefore not only logical but imperative. But to do so, we need to analyze enormous amounts of complex patient data and identify valuable patterns that define both healthy and unhealthy aging. This is a challenge in which, expectedly, AI outperforms human intelligence. AI enables us to pinpoint and track millions of variables across genetically diverse patient cohorts over time. The AI’s capacity to analyze large volumes of information empowers researchers to look at the processes happening at different biological levels of organization,

gaining insights at cellular and molecular levels. Deep reinforcement learning has already yielded unprecedented results, supporting scientists and medical professionals worldwide. AI-Powered Longevity Care and Personalized Medicine How exactly do doctors and medical institutions incorporate AI into their practice? Enter Longevity Medicine an AI-powered and data-driven branch of medicine. Traditional medicine approaches biological aging as a normal physiological condition. It takes the fight to the manifestations of particular age-dependent pathologies. In contrast, longevity medicine looks at aging as a condition for treatment and focuses on prevention, geroprotection and healthy longevity. Practiced by world-renowned physicians, such as our esteemed scientific advisors Dr. Evelyne Bischof and Dr. Andrea Maier, it represents a highly personalized approach where professionals look at tens of biomarkers and diagnostic categories, conducting a deep anamnesis and gathering as much relevant data as possible. The conventional medical approach benchmarks health within reference ranges for age groups; AI allows longevity physicians to work relative to the upper limits of their patient’s physical fitness and health, lifting the patient to the best version of themselves rather than adhering to generalized statistical inferences. Moreover, AI aids doctors in identifying optimal interventions to bridge the gap between a person’s current biological age and the desired one. Human Longevity, Inc. is one of the companies that applies this AI-based methodology in its clinics, collecting ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 145


“AI is a crucial component in the fight against biological aging. Our goal at the LSF is to finance cutting-edge research at the intersections of AI, therapeutics, personalized medicine and predictive diagnostics.” 150 GB of patient data in the very first appointment with the patient. A different, Hong-Kong-based venture called Deep Longevity deploys AI to provide industry partners with biological age monitoring and prediction tools, allowing customers to develop detailed reports and personalized suggestions for their patients. Longevity medicine is a growing field, with longevity clinics emerging globally. For the most part, longevity medicine remains accessible only to those with deep pockets. Addressing this disparity is a clear objective for our team at the Longevity Science Foundation (LSF): we are committed to democratizing longevity treatments and care, aiming to bridge this gap. The initiatives of Dr. Bischof and Dr. Maier are particularly inspiring as they lead the way in launching the first longevity clinics in public settings – Sheba Longevity Center and the Longevity Clinic at Alexandra Hospital, respectively. AI-based drug discovery 146


Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based longevity biotech unicorn, found its niche by applying AI algorithms to discover and select drug candidates for clinical trials and subsequent approval. The target-to-market journey for drugs is both extremely costly and lengthy, typically spanning a decade or more. By using artificial intelligence and deep learning mechanisms, Insilico introduces remarkable efficiency to the process. In 2022, Insilico announced the beginning of Phase I clinical trials for the first AIdiscovered and AI-designed drug, which was developed in less than 30 months. This is a genuinely monumental result, and it speaks volumes to AI’s ability to exponentially improve otherwise exceptionally burdensome processes of identifying promising drug targets and predicting clinical trial outcomes. Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, leads two of the aforementioned companies: Insilico Medicine and Deep Longevity. Alex and Evelyne Bischof pioneer AI implementation in healthcare practices. Together, they help shape longevity

medicine and redefine our understanding of patient care by shifting the focus from disease prevention to predictive diagnostics. We encourage you to learn more about their work and the expertise they bring to the Longevity Science Foundation (LSF). AI is a crucial component in the fight against biological aging. Our goal at the LSF is to finance cutting-edge research at the intersections of AI, therapeutics, personalized medicine and predictive diagnostics. We work closely with our Scientific Advisors and Board of Directors to identify and support innovative projects, bringing us closer to a future free of debilitating diseases. Join the LSF on our quest and let’s make a difference together.



Can you provide an overview of what EquiCenter, Inc. is all about? EquiCenter is a premier accredited member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), and a 501(c) (3) non-profit facility serving those with disabilities, Veterans and at-risk youth. EquiCenter uses the therapeutic power of nature and animals to help people feel whole. Our beautiful 200acre property enables us to provide a wide range of programs for people of all ages and abilities. These programs encourage healing, both physically and mentally, and give all who come here a safe place to feel a sense of purpose. How did EquiCenter get started? What inspired its creation? EquiCenter began in 2004, when the love of horses and providing opportunities for people with disabilities collided. A program that started with 4 participants and 2 horses has grown to not just include horses, but to include nature, horticulture and other outdoor experiences given the beautiful surroundings and natural resources of our 200 acre property. What is the primary goal and mission behind EquiCenter’s work? EquiCenter fosters growth, wellness, and educational opportunities for 150


people of all ages and abilities through the power of equestrian, horticultural and outdoor experiences. Could you share more about the specific populations EquiCenter serves, such as individuals with disabilities, veterans, and at-risk youth? Initially, EquiCenter worked to serve individuals with disabilities but soon

found that we had something to offer for everyone! Adding opportunities for at-risk youth and then Veteran programming and even creating a unique program called Mission Mustang through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. We pride ourselves on our wide range of programs.

What are some of the programs that EquiCenter offers to these populations? We offer a wide variety of programs including adaptive riding, unmounted horsemanship, Mission Mustang, 1 day or multi-week field trips for youth from schools in Monroe and Ontario Counties through our Horticulture and Equine Active Learning program, Veteran cooking classes, as well as therapeutic horticulture workshops and educational opportunities. Do your riding instructors and volunteers require special certifications and backgrounds to work with both horses and riders? Our instructors are all certified by PATH Intl., a federally registered 501(c)3, which leads the advancement of professional equineassisted services through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education. We are a Premier Accredited Center, meeting the highest level of standards for safety and program management. Volunteers do not need any previous experience, we provide training for all volunteers! How do EquiCenter’s activities support the community through diverse means?













“EquiCenter uses the therapeutic power of nature and animals to help people feel whole. Our beautiful 200-acre property enables us to provide a wide range of programs for people of all ages and abilities.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

A portion of all produce grown on The Farm at EquiCenter Farm throughout the year is donated to hunger relief organizations in the community. We hold community work days on the farm that are open to the public where we harvest some of this produce. This past spring, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Farm at EquiCenter donated 2,000 transplants to 26 community gardens across the city of Rochester. This collective effort was meant to support and strengthen these community gardens in their mission to provide accessible and sustainable food sources for the local population. What is the main goal of the services and programs provided by EquiCenter? Our purpose through all our programs is to foster the personal growth and achievement of all we serve. Can you describe the impact EquiCenter has had on the lives of those it serves? Everyone who experiences EquiCenter is impacted in their own unique way. Many come here searching for something outside of themselves and leave feeling fulfilled. Are there any success stories or testimonials you could share from participants or families who have benefited from your programs? I came to this place at the lowest point in my life. I was unable to

work, I was failing school, all my relationships were on the edge and my overall health and quality of life were almost gone. I even tried to end it all. But horses freed me! Working side-by-side with the mustangs really gave me that adrenaline fix that as a war veteran I tried to fill with so many other things. I can walk into a high-tension situation at home now, and just breathe. Horses and the whole community at EquiCenter helped me and my family find our passion. We recently adopted our first of many mustangs, NorthStar, and I now work part-time here at EquiCenter. School is much easier, I got married, my health is good and my quality of life is at its best. Thank you to all the horses and thank you to the amazing EquiCenter family. - Phil Wytrwa (Afghanistan War Veteran, Mission Mustang Participant, EquiCenter Equine Care Specialist) How does EquiCenter collaborate with other organizations or partners in the community? There are a multitude of ways that EquiCenter collaborates with organizations/partners in the community. For example, we have donated more than 25,000 servings of fresh produce from our farm to local hunger relief efforts this year, including more than 2,000 lbs of produce to the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County. What are the future plans and aspirations for EquiCenter’s growth and impact? Our future is exciting! We have

plans to build a brand new arena this year which will allow us to serve more people in the community and reduce our current wait list of 150+ people. Our expansion will allow us to continue to grow our programs and serve as many people in the community as possible. This year, we are offering the opportunity to book your very own Pony Party and we are piloting a First Responder’s Program, being taught by an active RPD Officer, who holds an ESMHL PATH certification. In addition, we intend to grow our 2024 summer program which includes hands-on horse time and is open to all ages and abilities! EquiCenter will continue to grow and change as the needs of our community do. Can you explain the role of therapeutic riding and horsemanship and its benefits for participants? EquiCenter is deeply committed to fostering collaboration with a wide array of community organizations. We recognize that by working together, we can better serve the diverse needs of our community. Our strategic and extensive collaborations encompass human service agencies across the region, providing essential support to participants with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. EquiCenter also partners with various Veteran-focused organizations, including the two major VA systems in Western New York. In addition, our youth educational programming benefits from close working relationships with teachers, administrators, and BOCES in the ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 155


“We promote growth, wellness, and education for individuals of all ages and abilities through unique programs like horseback riding, gentling wild mustangs, cultivating nutrient-rich foods, and outdoor experiential learning.”


region. These collaborations enable us to tailor our programs to meet the unique requirements of the populations we serve. Whether it’s offering outdoor educational experiences to economically disadvantaged youth or creating a safe and supportive learning environment for Veterans dealing with the effects of PTS, EquiCenter’s commitment to collaboration ensures that our services reach those who need them most and evolve to address their evolving needs.

and raised garden beds for ease of access.

What kind of accessibility and accommodations do you provide to ensure everyone can participate in your programs? We offer various programs for people of all ages and abilities. Some examples of our accommodations that ensure comfort and safety are our ADA-accessible bathroom, Hoyer lift, wheelchair ramps,

You can also support our mission by becoming a corporate sponsor, being involved in our events, or making a donation! We truly appreciate your support.


How can individuals or volunteers get involved with EquiCenter or support your mission? Volunteers are a necessary part of our organization - making up about 86% of our staff. Without them, our lifechanging work would not be possible! Visit to learn more about how you can become a volunteer.

Are there any upcoming events or fundraisers that the community should be aware of?

Paddles for Saddles is coming up on Saturday, March 2nd! It is one of the region’s largest premier doubles tournaments, hosting all levels of paddle players in fun and competitive venues across Rochester, NY. All proceeds support EquiCenter. We are open to sponsor support and donated raffle items. What values or principles guide Equicenter’s approach to serving its diverse community? We have something for everyone. We strive to keep an inclusive environment providing a safe space promoting growth, wellness, and education for individuals of all ages and abilities through unique programs like horseback riding, gentling wild mustangs, cultivating nutrient-rich foods, and outdoor experiential learning.




LIVING MULCH WITH KEWANA MCDONALD Can you start by telling us a little bit about Living Mulch LLC and the services it offers? Living Mulch LLC is a business operations consulting firm. We offer fractional COO services to small business owners who are not ready to hire a Chief Operations Officer in-house. We also offer support staff for some of your operational needs. What inspired you to start your own business, and how did the idea for Living Mulch come about? I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My mother was a serial entrepreneur and I’ve learned a lot from her journey. I fell into operations management because I always wanted to help my mother run her company so that she wouldn’t overwork every day. I was inspired to start Living Mulch specifically because of a call that God put on my life. God even inspired my company name. The principles that I use to help my clients come from the scriptures. Can you share some insight into your background and what led you to the field of consulting? I naturally have a strategic brain. I’m always strategizing solutions to problems. This started in my home life as an older sister who managed two younger sisters. When I realized that consulting allowed me to freely use my strategic mindset and earn a living doing so, I was floored.

Prior to founding Living Mulch LLC, what was your career and educational background like? I have always had an interest in business. I got a high school award for taking every business elective available at my high school. I also went on to earn my Bachelor of Science Degree in International Business from Stockton University. I then went and earned my Global MBA from Kean University. Recently I was honored with an Honorary Doctorate in Christian Leadership and

Business from Higher Place Christian University. My working career before starting Living Mulch is very short. I didn’t quite fit in as an employee. For example, One of my first big jobs was as an assistant to the President of a white-label Vitamin Company. Every month they conducted reviews for the factory workers. My job was to gather all the reports and data for these reviews. It was a monthly project. This task would take 40 hours to do. Well, I learned the task and then I created a way to make

the process more efficient. I turned a 40-hour job and made it 3 hours. Although my boss was ecstatic, he fired me shortly after. I was told that he felt threatened. Things like this happened a few times to me before I realized that if I were an outside consultant they wouldn’t fire me, I would get repeat business. How did your experience in obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) contribute to your skills in business development? Getting my Global MBA opened my eyes to the power of diversity in the workspace. I believe that when you have a diverse employee staff, your company will expand tremendously. Also being a part of a diverse community allowed my mind to expand into other ways of solving problems. The truth however is that my formal education is nothing compared to the education I received following those that have done in the past what I am now doing. Learning from experiential experts is always something more valuable to me than learning from someone who has never walked in my business shoes. What are some key lessons or experiences from your MBA program that have been particularly valuable in running your own business? One key lesson is, you can always learn from someone that is totally different from you. Do not be afraid of diverse opinions and perceptions. I’ve also learned how to be culturally ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 159








“One key lesson is, you can always learn from someone that is totally different from you. Do not be afraid of diverse opinions and perceptions.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

sensitive to everyone so that we can work well together. L i v i n g Mu l c h e m p h a s i z e s Operations Management · Business Process Improvement · Business Development? Tell us what this means to your clients. It means everything for their success. Many small businesses do not make it because their business structure is not streamlined. They aren’t optimizing their operations so their expenses are probably more than they should be because their company is leaking money. These areas are key to building a sustainable and successful business. What sets Living Mulch apart from other business consulting companies in the Rochester area? We use the newest technologies like AI, we also use ancient business principles locked away in the Bible which has brought our clients tons of success. We marry old successful principles with the newest technologies. Lastly, we coach teenpreneurs which positively affects the socioeconomic status of many households. Can you tell us about some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman entrepreneur over the past 4 years since starting your business? There have been times when I have dealt with unequal treatment because I am a woman. My biggest challenge, however, has been that many people believe that I am a teenager when they see me and so I always have to compensate for that. 162


We noticed you coach teen entrepreneurs. Could you share more about your involvement in mentoring and coaching young business enthusiasts? As a homeschooling mom, it was important to me that my girls learned important business skills. Their high school curriculum includes starting and scaling their business to 6 figures before they graduate school. Soon, my daughters’ friends were interested in my program and this mentoring and coaching arm of Living Mulch grew organically. Now we have a full-blown coaching program. I teach and coach teens on how to start and scale their businesses to 6-figures before graduating high school. Pretty much everything that I do to scale businesses is what I teach and share with the teens in my program. What do you believe are the most important skills and qualities for a teen entrepreneur to cultivate? A successful teenpreneur must have a serving spirit. The more you serve others the more potential money you can make. Skill development is also a major part of being a successful teenpreneur. When you serve others, you must serve at a high level to gain more clientele. Are there any standout success stories or memorable moments from your work with teen entrepreneurs that you’d like to share? One memorable moment from my work with teenpreneur came from someone on staff. One of my staff members was helping with my business

and would come to every one of my classes because they assisted me in running the program. I recently found out that they not only were taking great notes but they were inspired to start their own business and even landed their first major contract. I know what I am teaching works, so I am excited to see what the teens will do in my program. How do you balance your roles as a business owner, mentor, and community advocate? I don’t think I balance anything. I do what I need to at the appropriate time. I take off the time that I need to. Being a business owner, mentor, and all of my many hats to me is just serving. I serve as much as I can on any given day that is before me. Could you share some of your future goals and plans for Living Mulch LLC? I’ve hit my 7-figure business goal in less than 7 months of restarting my company. I am now reaching for 8-figures this year. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses? Find a coach who is doing what you want to do and doing it very well and jump. Follow the system they have and do whatever they tell you to do in your business. Learning from someone who is doing what you want to do is the best advice I can give.




“We offer fractional COO services to small business owners who are not ready to hire a Chief Operations Officer in-house.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My mother was a serial entrepreneur and I’ve learned a lot from her journey.” 164








“The ultimate goal would be to have my products available on the shelves of local/national stores and employ a team to meet that demand.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

Can you share a bit about yourself Ka’Mari, and what inspired you to venture into entrepreneurship at such a young age? My name is Ka’Mari Heath. I am 14 years old and in my freshman year of high school. I am an avid dancer and serve as the co-captain of my dance team. In the summer of 2020 I ventured into entrepreneurship at the suggestion of my mom. That summer I was unable to attend summer camp. So to help keep me occupied my mom strongly suggested that I think of something that I could make and sell in order to start my own business. How did the idea of Butter Me Up body care come about, and what’s the story behind the name? When my mom asked me what I wanted to name the business the first thing that came to mind was Butter Me Up because at that timeI was just selling body butter. The original name of the business was Butter Me Up by Ka’Mari. I decided to change the by Ka’Mari part of the name to simply Body Care when we filed as an LLC in 2022. I felt that Butter Me Up Body Care, LLC sounded more professional and more comprehensive as I continue to expand my product line. With your mother serving as the CEO, could you describe the roles both of you play within the business? As the founder, my primary role is to make the products. All products are handmade by me. I process and package the customer orders. I decide on new

scents, product offerings and pricing. In her role as CEO, my mom handles all the backend stuff such as ordering, recordkeeping, marketing, shipping, delivery, the website, etc. Could you highlight a few of your signature products and what makes them stand out in the market? My top three signature scents in both Whipped Body Butter and Body Oil are Spring Rain, Velvety Vanilla and Lavenderiffic. These scents are the ones that are purchased by customers the most.

Among your range of products, do you have a personal favorite? If so, what is it and what makes it special to you? My current favorite product is the mini pack I recently came up with. Each mini pack contains a 2 oz body butter and 2 oz body oil of the same scent. These smaller sizes are the perfect travel size and meet TSA requirements unlike my full size body butter which I have personally had to throw away before when going through airport security. What motivated you specifically to focus

on skincare products and moisturizers when starting your business? When my mom suggested that I start a business my first idea was lip gloss. My mom wasn’t too fond of that idea because she felt that too kids sold lip gloss. She provided some other suggestions and together we decided on body butter. It’s a product that can be used by anyone because everyone has skin and keeping it moisturized is vital to skin health. Could you share some insights into your vision for the future of Butter Me Up body care? One thing I’d like to do is to continue expanding my product line. In addition, I’d like to expand sales beyond the local market that I currently have. The ultimate goal would be to have my products available on the shelves of local/national stores and employ a team to meet that demand. How do you navigate the challenges of balancing entrepreneurship with other commitments as a young person? A lot of scheduling is involved which my mom helps me with. My first priority above all things is my academics. I’m unable to do anything else if I’m not doing well in school. Thus, I make sure to get my school work done, seeking out additional help when needed, so that I can maintain high honor roll status. During a typical school week my time is divided between school and dance practice. Throughout the weekend I typically fulfill orders that have come in during the week. Adjustments to the schedule are made when needed. There ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 167

{ { YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR { SHIFT+CONTROL } }} } { LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT ONE TOUGH MOTHER “When my mom asked me what I wanted to name the business the first thing that came to mind was Butter Me Up because at that timeI was just selling body butter.”

are times when there are competing social, business, and/or dance events that require me to make a choice of what I want to do. What lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur that you believe are important to share with other young individuals interested in starting their own businesses? One important lesson that I’ve learned is don’t take criticism to heart. Both positive and negative feedback from customers is intended to help you grow as a young business owner. Take this information, reflect on it, and make any necessary tweaks or improvements that you see fit. What strategies or approaches do you use to keep your brand unique and appealing to your target audience? Customer feedback and recommendations are the biggest strategies. In the beginning I had to tweak the body butter formula because customers said it was too oily. Body oil was added to the product offerings due to a customer suggestion. We look at what scents are selling and which are not and retire and add scents accordingly. The scents we add usually come from customer suggestions. For instance, during a September vendor event, a repeat customer asked if we’d consider the scent of green tea. She went on 168


to say that it was one of her favorite scents of body butter that she was only able to find from someone who is no longer in business. In November, the scent Green Tea-na was added to the line up. Named after the customer who suggested it. In a competitive market, what marketing tactics or techniques have worked best for promoting Butter Me Up body care? I’d have to say that currently our

best marketing is word of mouth and the vendor events that we sell at. The marketing department is definitely an area in need of growth for the business. Can you discuss any special ingredients or formulations used in your products that set them apart from others? To this I will just say that all of our

products are made with all natural ingredients that provide a variety of great benefits for your skin. Our products also provide long lasting moisturization. What role does sustainability and ethical practices play in your business, if any? Sustainability and ethical practices have not been something that we have actively focused on. In fact, I had to look up what that meant when I read this question. From the information I obtained we operate in an ethical manner and do our part to care about the environment and provide positive effects to society by using environmentally safe products. Butter Me Up Body Care products are made from all natural ingredients and are packaged with recyclable materials. Could you share a notable success story or moment that stands out in your journey as an entrepreneur? ` A moment that stands out to me is when I was recognized by a CEO. We had a career day at school and the CEO of Sayhii was one of the speakers. During the Q & A portion I said, “What are ways to expand your business because I have my own.” Her response was, “Spread the word as much as you can.” She then asked me for my business name and when I replied, “Butter Me Up Body




“In her role as CEO, my mom handles all the backend stuff such as ordering, recordkeeping, marketing, shipping, delivery, the website, etc.” Care”, she said, “Oh my, I’ve heard of you. You are a very talented young lady.” It felt great to be recognized by a CEO whom I’ve never met before, especially in front of my peers. She gave me her business card and told me I could reach out to her for business advice or help any time. 170


How do you stay updated with industry trends and evolving consumer preferences to keep your products relevant? As mentioned before, I mainly rely on feedback and recommendations from customers. Customers’ emails are collected both in-person and online at the time of purchase. About two

weeks after purchase, customers receive an email inviting them to complete a feedback form. CUstomers also provide suggestions in person at the events I vendor at.





Contemplating Progress and Possibilities for 2024 Have you heard the myths about selfreflection and adaptation in business? Some common myths include adaptation means sacrificing core values, selfreflection is a waste of time, and adaptation is only for big corporations. The truth is that self-reflection and adaptation are crucial for personal and professional growth and can lead to increased resilience in business strategies. Are you ready to discover the truth and unlock the potential for growth in your business? Join BOSSY’s Kelly B and Kelly M to set a goal to heal this year- the world went through a collective trauma, and even though we are a few years in, business owners haven’t had time to heal while trying to navigate the plethora of changes. This is the time to reflect and adapt to what has changed. Give yourself grace. Take time for yourself. Heal. And let’s take on 2024. This is going to be a big year. We as a society are working way back to “normal” both physically and emotionally as the roller coaster that began in 2020 starts to slow. There is an election, which can always affect small businesses. Interest rates are ridiculous, which affects the middle class and small businesses the most (you have to have extra money to make money on interest!). People have less money to spend and items across the board still cost more to produce. So, what can we control to grow and gain more loyal consumers? Overcoming small business challenges Leave 2023 with an emphasis on the

importance of overcoming small business challenges. Tie up the loose ends left from the year. This includes being open to feedback, recognizing and adapting to changes in the market, and acknowledging the impact of global occurrences. Make insights actionable and transform obstacles into learning opportunities. Before the end of January, make sure your mission, values, and vision align with the steps you are taking- this will give you the insight to easily navigate challenging situations. Cultivate transparency and accountability Transparency and accountability are business trends that cannot be ignored. Open communication, honest representation of business actions, and the readiness to be accountable contribute to increased trust among consumers. In this current business climate, customers value and seek principled businesses, making accountability and transparency practices more relevant and impactful. This includes eco-friendly trends as well as social responsibility. And show it off- be transparent and let people know the work that you are doing outside of the product you sell. Embrace self-reflection and adaptation Self-reflection and adaptation are highlighted as crucial elements in the successful running of a business. By heavily investing in introspection and willingness to change, strategies can be finessed, leading to improved results in tough situations. The ability to reassess, adapt, and implement novel strategies not only strengthens the business but also positions it to weather future uncertainties. This is

something easier said than done. You must heal to reflect and adapt. Heal through achievable goals. Therapy, meditation, movement. Therapy may not mean a therapistmaybe it means that once a week you go into the woods, write, walk, or sit and listen to nothing. Same with meditation- you don’t need an app; you just need to allow yourself to clear out the crap getting in the way of your amazing ideas. Movement is parking a little farther away. Taking the stairs. Go for a walk. Small things lead to big things. Ensure to be fortified for 2024 to allow the natural growth that happens afterward. Businesses can only be as strong as what is in the mirror. Find your people. Your people are those you work with as well as those you socialize with. Surround yourself with a team that picks up what you don’t need to be doing. Take back your time to do the things that make your business the best it can be. Join groups like BOSSY that will support and uplift you while teaching you additional skills to achieve new goals. Whatever group you try out, remember that you will only get what you put in- if the group doesn’t feel right or beneficial, leave, even if your membership is paid for until a later date. “Your people” cannot exist unless you show up as your authentic self. Everything is reliant on strong relationships, and those relationships cannot grow from fake soil. So, take a deep breath, walk in, and show the world what you are capable of. Cheers to 2024: Let’s heal, adapt, focus, and fortify. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 173





Donna, could you share a bit about yourself and your journey with ALIGN and its products? I would be happy to share a few tidbits about myself and my ALIGN journey in particular. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt and a friend. My years as an administrative assistant have allowed me to work in the film industry in NYC, corporate America in NJ, and finally in a local school district in the countryside of Rochester, New York.

more importantly connecting with women (mostly) in ways I had no idea we needed to be connecting. It brought me a level of self-confidence that I had no idea that I didn’t already possess. I had something to offer that was much more than whatever I was selling ... it was a chance for my audience to focus on themselves while enjoying connecting with and supporting their friends. It became more about the experience than the sale ... but that sure did bring the sales!!

Who knew I would also become a lover of the social selling industry in general, and ALIGN in particular. ALIGN is a brand new social selling business focused on bringing “Mid-luxe, Modern and Minimalist” bath, body and beauty products and technology to those seeking a simple skincare routine that offers the highest quality ingredients at a very affordable price. In fact, all of ALIGN products are EU compliant, which brings them to the forefront of an industry that is known in the US market to allow much less stringent ingredient standards to be used in product formulation. For those who care about the products that they are applying to the largest organ of their body, being EU compliant is like the gold standard.

I have had the opportunity to mentor others as a leader while consistently improving my own game, learning from others at the top of their industry.

My social selling journey began 13 years ago as a side gig to give me something to do when my youngest son graduated from high school. Little did I know how much I would enjoy this platform for earning some extra money, but

Enter ALIGN ... a company focused on changing the way the social selling industry does business. ALIGN is women-owned and committed to a hustle-free culture that enriches the lives of its Ambassadors and customers.

Because I knew of these three founders and their amazing successes from previous ventures, and listening to their dreams and plans for a new venture, I was ready to join forces with them and ALIGN. They launched in March 2023 with just a handful of skincare products and a tool that would begin to change the way we view our skincare routines. Their sound business plan allows them to run lean while introducing one new product at a time to their eagerly-waiting new audience of customers. Skincare should not be complicated, and great skincare products should be available to everyone. As of this writing our ALIGN product offerings are two cleansers, a serum, a moisturizer, pod masks, a red light therapy wand, healing hand cremes, a magnesium body butter, a scalp & body scrub and some fun little extras. ALIGN body products are fragranced and “aligned” with the elements ... water, earth, air and fire. In 2024 we can look forward to expanded product offerings, but always keeping in mind that keeping it simple is the main focus. Red light therapy has been used in dermatology and esthetician practices for over ten years, but it was actually NASA that discovered the healing properties of red light in 1993!! More recently the Hollywood set has become enamored with red light therapy .... cue an industry shift to accommodate what would quickly become a much soughtafter addition to home-based skincare when beloved Hollywood stars such as Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Hudson ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 179

{ CHECK IT OUT SPOTLIGHT } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “The Align Red Light Wand features soothing micro-current massge, warmth and light therapy to improve the texture and appearance of your skin.”

and Jennifer Aniston touted their new love of red light therapy and the awesome results they were experiencing. What inspired ALIGN to create the Red Light Wand, and how does it function as a photo rejuvenation tool using red LED light therapy? Actually ALIGN is not the original creator of the red light wand ... it has been around for over 30 years, just not an at-home use product at this quality and price point!! The Align Red Light Wand features soothing micro-current massge, warmth and light therapy to improve the texture and appearance of your skin. This wand boasts high frequency vibration at 13,000 times per minute and warmth at 100-107 degrees. The Red Light Wand may reduce the appearance of aging, improve skin tone and texture while gentle heat and microcurrent massage provide a luxurious spa-like experience at your fingertips. It may also amplify the effectiveness of your skincare products such as serums, facial oils and moisturizers. In my personal research on red light therapy as a tool for rejuvenation I have discovered that it is a pulsed light treatment that targets the signs of premature ageing and pigmentation spots, as well as reducing redness and inflammation on the face and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Could you highlight some of the key features of the Red Light Wand that make it stand out in the market of red light therapy devices? In what ways does the Red Light Wand differentiate itself from other red light therapy tools available? ALIGN’s Red Light Wand is a stand out 182


in the industry because of the quality of their product at a price point that is not otherwise available. Red light therapy devices are available in many forms and sizes, ranging from red light panels (small and quite large), masks and wands that are at least four times the size of my Red Light Wand. They are also used in dermatology and esthetician offices where treatment costs are usually out of reach for our average customer. My favorite story is from a woman I met at a vendor event. She was very intrigued with my Red Light Wand and shared that she had recently spent $3000 for a wand (quite a bit larger than mine), and it just wasn’t practical for her to travel with. She also shared that she is very limited as to the frequency and amount of time she is able to use her wand. When she tried my sample wand, found out she could use it for approximately five minutes every day, and the cost is only a fraction of her larger wand, she scooped one up for herself to use when she travels, as well as in between uses with her larger wand. How perfect is that??? Have you personally experienced positive results from using the Red Light Wand? If so, what improvements have you noticed in your skin? I have become quite a “poster child” for my ALIGN Red Light Wand. My personal results have been incredible, as you can see from my “before and after” photos. Tremendous reduction in deep skin folds, much reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and even lightened pigmented spots on my forehead are improvements I am wearing very proudly now. The texture and tone of my skin has also been greatly improved, but of course,

some of that is also attributable to my wonderful ALIGN skincare products such as cleansers, serum and moisturizer!! While I continue daily use of all of my products, including the Red Light Wand, the length of time between the first photo and the third photo in my before and afters is a mere four months. Imagine if I had actually been using a skincare technology tool like the Red Light Wand much earlier in my life!! Shifting focus to the Renew Serum, what makes it a unique and essential part of ALIGN’s product line? Let’s chat about Renew Rejuvenating Serum ... doesn’t that just sound like the perfect companion to a photo rejuvenating red light therapy wand?? Serums are light, easily absorbed liquids for skin with higher concentrates of unique ingredients for a specific purpose. Renew features ingredients like ginseng root extract, glycoproteins, carrot root extract, shea butter and aloe that target fine lines and the signs of aging, as well as improve skin texture. Renew may boost hydration, improve skin tone and improve skin texture. It is truly a perfect pairing with the Red Light Wand to refresh your tired and dull skin. No matter what other products you may be using, Renew Rejuvenating Serum should become part of your new skincare routine, applied to a clean face and followed by your moisturizer to lock in all of the goodness you just applied to your skin. Most people don’t realize that a serum penetrates the skin on a level that a moisturizerdoes not; hydrating v. moisturizing ... both are necessary. Could you elaborate on ALIGN’s mission and how it aligns with the creation of the Renew Serum and Red




{ CHECK IT OUT SPOTLIGHT } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “ALIGN is women-owned and committed to a hustle-free culture that enriches the lives of its Ambassadors and customers.”

OUR MISSION: “ALIGN exists to bring alignment, inclusion and abundance to the lives of really good people through really good products. We believe that everyone deserves to feel confident and empowered in their own skin. By creating high-quality skincare and self care products that cater to diverse needs and all genders, we aim to foster a sense of unity and belonging within our community. Our commitment to excellence ensures that our customers and brand ambassadors receive nothing but the best, allowing them to embrace their unique beauty and thrive in all aspects of their lives.” The Red Light Wand and Renew Rejuvenating Serum, as well as other “core” products, ensures that the substance of our mission is always upheld. Among the ALIGN products, do you have a favorite? If so, what makes it your top choice? Do I have a favorite ALIGN product? Absolutely ... every time a new product is introduced I have a new favorite product ... and by the way, that is approximately every one to three months!! The Red Light Wand and Renew Serum were the first products I purchased with the launch of ALIGN in March 2023. Imagine beginning my new skincare journey with a technology tool and serum! While I would generally not consider using another cleanser and moisturizer now that I am blessed with ALIGN, I suppose I could if I had to, as long as I still had my Renew Serum and Red Light Wand. A truly favorite body product would be the Magnesium Body Butter ... magnesium and mango seed butter unite to provide rich hydration to any dry skin from head to toe. Squalane promotes skin’s youthful appearance

while cloudberry extract helps shield skin from harmful free radical damage. Magnesium is the most perfect remedy for those tired and achy legs at the end of the day and helps promote a restful night’s sleep for me. For those new to red light therapy, could you explain its benefits and why it’s an effective skincare method? Paired with my cleanser, exfoliator, serum and moisturizer, red light therapy is the cherry on top of an amazing skincare routine. My one regret regarding the Red Light Wand is that I was not aware of this type of skincare technology ten years ago! I am in love with the results I have achieved this past year, but if I had the advantage of using red light therapy as a much younger woman, it is very likely that my skin would not have appeared to “age” to the point that it had. My best advice ... don’t wait. Build the Red Light Wand and Renew Serum into your skincare routine today ... help prevent signs of aging before they appear or get to work repairing some of those signs of aging now. Are there any special tips or techniques you recommend when using the Red Light Wand or applying the Renew Serum for optimal results? Red Light Wand tips and tricks 101!! Just get started. If you already own a serum, great; use it with the Red Light Wand. If you don’t own a serum, consider Renew; it is just so good. Apply your serum to your clean face, gently rubbing it in and allow it to dry for a few moments. My Red Light Wand has a head that you can turn gently to the right (and ONLY to the right) for a second position option to use the wand. There is not a spot on my face that I do not use the

wand on. If there is any benefit to be gained, I am going to get it. The warmth and the vibration just add to this very relaxing spa-like experience. After a few uses you will find your Red Light Wand groove and be on your way to your best skin ever. The recommended time for each use is 3-5 minutes, and you better believe I am using it for the full five minutes. (Note, out of an abundance of caution the ALIGN Red Light Wand is intended only for use on your beautiful face.) How does ALIGN ensure the quality and efficacy of its products, particularly concerning the Red Light Wand and Renew Serum? Quality and efficacy at ALIGN ... let’s just say no product launches until it has met every expectation the founders have set for each product. Ingredients, fragrance (or lack thereof), packaging, etc.; all must meet and/or exceed all measures. If a product has not met those expectations, it will not launch until it does. It’s just that important. To quote a message regarding ALIGN standards: “ALIGN embraces minimalist real beauty — no filters, no overdone glam, no elaborate skincare routine that ends up sitting unused on the counter. Our product philosophy is to offer really good products for really good people. You don’t need 11 steps in your routine to look and feel your best. Each product added to the ALIGN portfolio must provide an incredible product experience with clean and safe ingredients. The most effective products are the ones you use everyday. Skincare can be simple. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 185


“ALIGN exists to bring alignment, inclusion and abundance to the lives of really good people through really good products.” Our products are formulated for real people, real bodies and real skin. We believe that great personal care products are for everyone. Our products and packaging are designed to be inclusive and affirming to all genders and identities. Anyone can find the sign and scent they ALIGN with and use it from head to toe. We believe in using the best ingredients from around the globe to create amazing bath, body and beauty products. Aside from our cutting edge beauty tech category that is manufactured overseas, our bath, body and beauty products are manufactured in the U.S.A. and meet 186


EU beauty compliance guidelines.” As we conclude our discussion on ALIGN skincare and the Red Light Wand specifically, I want to extend an exclusive opportunity to you, my audience. Embrace the chance to revolutionize your skincare routine and join ALIGN in our mission to redefine the way we think about the simplicity of skincare. Discover the transformative power of our cutting-edge products and technology, backed by science and crafted with care. Elevate your skin care journey and seize the opportunity for radiant, healthier skin. If this all sounds amazing to you, and you’d like to join

me here at ALIGN, don’t miss out on this incredible business opportunity ... become part of my ALIGN skincare revolution today with your very own ALIGN business. Contact: Donna Mehlenbacher 585-703-7096

Come, Vieni. ...find yourself at our estate, nestled in the conservation corridor of the Bruce Trail, atop the Niagara Escarpment, where our wines are meticulously crafted from the fruit of vines cultivated on the rolling hills of the Vinemount Ridge. As our name suggests, we welcome you to experience our compelling range of award winning wines and spirits and join us in celebrating this distinct Canadian wine region.

wine & spirits. hospitality centre. bed & breakfast







“After two decades of searching, buying, selling, rehabbing, and renting properties, becoming a real estate agent felt like the most natural and logical next step.” BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

Could you share a bit about your background and how you ventured into the real estate business? Over the past 20 years, my journey into the real estate business has been shaped by a series of unique experiences and personal circumstances. Between 2002-2022 I had to move 14 times. Two of those moves happened when I was 9 months pregnant, and on two other occasions I had a newborn to care for during the move. These challenges fueled my determination to create the best possible living spaces for my family. Before I became a mother, I pursued my passion for art and music at St. Bonaventure University, graduating in 2002. In 2005, I earned a Masters in Education at Medaille College. I worked as a teacher of art and music and managed a photography studio in Buffalo. I still maintain an art & photography studio where I live today. With four children and a creative mind, I always found ways to immerse myself in house projects, constantly flipping and renovating the houses we lived in, regardless of how short our stay there might be. Through these experiences, I taught myself a multitude of practical skills, such as framing rooms, installing drywall, refinishing hardwood floors, re-designing spaces, retiling bathrooms, building custom furniture, and constructing chicken coops. I viewed each space not just for what it was, but for its untapped

potential. For me, having the means to bring these visions to life was not enabled by financial resources but pure effort and imagination. After two decades of searching, buying, selling, rehabbing, and renting properties, becoming a real estate agent felt like the most natural and logical next step.

Looking back, it all makes perfect sense. Not only am I helping people buy and sell real estate, but I have taken it a step further. I have created an environment and a process that helps people to learn about making money in real estate and building their own portfolios. I am with them every step of the way, and I love every minute of it.

What motivated you to pursue a career in real estate, particularly in Rochester, New York? Having a real estate career in Rochester holds special significance for me. After going through 14 relocations over the last 20 years, mostly due to job changes by my husband at that time, Rochester became the place I could finally call home and be surrounded by family. Rochester provided the stability and roots I had longed for. Working in real estate here allows me to establish myself professionally while reconnecting with loved ones on a deeper level. Being part of this community brings fulfillment and purpose as I contribute to its growth. With my personal journey of multiple moves and property experiences, I empathize with clients seeking stability. Rochester offers unique opportunities and challenges, and I use my experiences and understanding to provide tailored guidance and support. Having a real estate career in Rochester is more than a professional choice; it’s a deeply-rooted connection to my personal journey and the desire to help others find their own sense of stability and belonging in this wonderful city with its charming towns and villages. Considering the recent market trends, what have been the significant challenges you’ve faced as a real estate professional in Rochester over the past year? And how do you adapt your strategies to the ever-changing real estate landscape in Rochester? ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 191








“Rochester offers unique opportunities and challenges, and I use my experiences and understanding to provide tailored guidance and support.“ BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO

The recent changes in the real estate landscape have presented unique obstacles that require me to constantly stay informed and adapt my strategies. One of the most crucial aspects of my role is ensuring that my clients and anyone considering buying or selling in the current market fully comprehend the do’s and don’ts. What may have been perfectly acceptable in the real estate market 10 or even just 3 years ago can now have detrimental effects on a deal. This dynamic nature of the market demands a continuous learning process, enabling me to stay one step ahead and guide my clients effectively. Even in the difficult market of 2023, where transaction volume had decreased significantly, I was able to help more clients find new homes and investments than during the simpler year before. The ability to learn and adapt has been fundamental to my success and professional journey. I recognize that the real estate market is seldom stagnant, and this constant evolution drives me to continually update my knowledge and refine my strategies. By staying well-informed about the latest market trends, regulations, and best practices, I position myself as a trusted advisor who can provide valuable insights to my clients. In a rapidly shifting market, this adaptability is a valuable asset. I am committed to understanding the nuances that arise in response to market changes and translating that knowledge into tangible guidance for my clients. By doing 194


so, I empower them to make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of the current market landscape. What do you believe distinguishes you from other real estate agents in the Rochester area? I’m often told that my approach to client relationships goes above and beyond. I truly understand how important these transactions are to people’s lives, and the relationships we establish in each journey are the key to mutual success. Here are a few examples of my unique perspective on the process and what I provide to all my clients: • Create an environment for learning: I host a weekly meetup called “Cocktails and Cashflow,” where investors come together to learn, network, and inspire each other, fostering growth and knowledge exchange. (Follow me on Instagram @athomewith_julie, Facebook Group: Cocktails & Cashflow ) • A diverse skill set: With my background in art and building, I approach properties creatively, envision their potential, and help clients recognize their true value. After closing, I also present every client with a hand-drawn and painted house portrait to commemorate the transition. This is something that I’m proud to say is truly unique in the field, and as an artist at heart it always makes me happy to present these gifts. Follow my Art Studio on Instagram @ eternally_inspired_rochester_ • Dedicated support and a passion for the work: I bring enthusiasm and dedication to every relationship and transaction. As

the Director of Acquisitions & Marketing for JZ Home Management LLC on Park Ave, I provide dedicated support to clients throughout their real estate journey. • Extensive personal experience: With two decades of hands-on experience in real estate, I bring a wealth of knowledge to help clients navigate transactions effectively. Outside of your professional life, what passions or hobbies do you pursue? Outside of real estate, my passions include spending quality time with my children and helping them pursue their own creative endeavors. It brings me great joy to teach them that there are no limits to what they can achieve and to support them in exploring their interests and talents. Whether it’s painting, writing, playing an instrument, or creating something from scratch, I am in constant awe of what they can create and I take seriously my role in their lives as an unending support. I have also learned the importance of self-care and personal growth. Taking care of both mind and body is crucial for well-being. I am constantly seeking inner peace and clarity, which I believe is so important to navigating life’s constant challenges with a sense of calm and purpose. My routine includes ice plunges and sauna sessions, which are invigorating and provide many health benefits. I like to push the limits beyond my comfort zone; I believe if we get too comfortable, we tend to stop growing and learning. At 45, I find myself increasingly drawn






“This is a simple answer: there is no balance. Everything blends together and we all do the best we can.” n to the beauty and wonders of nature. I aim to lead a purpose-driven life, continually learning and appreciating the things that matter most. Whether it’s listening to my oldest son play the marimba, celebrating my youngest daughter’s nightly illustrations before bed, watching my other son (15) effortlessly animate characters, seeing my 13-yearold daughter light up the stage or soccer field, enjoying the sound of my partner picking and strumming on the guitar, or seeing my parents eyes twinkle with joy when we are together to share and laugh, I am grateful that I can experience and embrace the beauty in these simple moments.

I also love white wine, good food, jiu jitsu, power tools, woodworking, and thrifting! How do you maintain a work-life balance while being an active real estate professional? This is a simple answer: there is no balance. Everything blends together and we all do the best we can. We weren’t meant to be 100% amazing at everything. The real estate business is flexible enough to let me determine my own schedule and that’s its own reward; I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have it any other way.

Besides assisting clients in finding their dream homes, what other services or activities do you engage in to support the Rochester community? I cantor at the Church of the Transfiguration in Pittsford, and help build sets and props for their summer school as well as the Victor Indoor Percussion Ensemble. I hold weekly real estate meetups at my office called Cocktails & Cashflow, which is free and open to anyone. I am constantly working on commissioned pieces of art for those in the community as well as other real estate agents for closing gifts.







Solo travel for women has evolved beyond a trend; it’s a powerful avenue for selfdiscovery, empowerment, and personal growth. In a world that constantly calls us to explore, embracing the spirit of solo travel is a transformative journey waiting to unfold. Here’s a comprehensive guide for solo women travelers, unlocking the doors to empowerment through meaningful exploration. Choosing the Right Destination: Selecting the perfect destination sets the tone for a transformative journey. Choose places that align with your interests, values, and comfort level. Whether it’s the lush biodiversity of Costa Rica, the ancient wonders of Peru, or the cultural richness of Italy, choose a destination that resonates with your soul.

Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the local culture for a truly transformative experience. Attend local events, try authentic cuisine, and engage with the community. This not only broadens your perspective but also enhances the depth of your journey, leaving you with rich memories and newfound insights.

Technology as a Tool: Leverage technology to your advantage. Stay connected with loved ones through messaging apps, use navigation apps for seamless exploration, and document your journey through social media or a travel journal. Technology acts as a bridge between the solo traveler and her support network.

Mindful Travel Planning: Plan your itinerary mindfully, allowing for a balance of structured activities and spontaneous exploration. Factor in moments of solitude and reflection. Whether it’s a quiet morning by the beach or a leisurely stroll through a historic district, give yourself the space to absorb the essence of the destination.

Self-Reflection and Growth: Solo travel offers a unique opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Embrace the moments of solitude, confront challenges, and celebrate victories. As you navigate the world independently, you’ll discover newfound strengths and capabilities within yourself. Partnering with Empowering Travel Agencies: Consider collaborating with travel agencies that specialize in empowering solo women travelers. Agencies like Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency prioritize creating transformative experiences, ensuring that every journey becomes a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment.

Safety First: Prioritize safety without compromising the sense of adventure. Research extensively, familiarize yourself with local customs, and stay informed about the current political and social climate. Trust your instincts, keep copies of important documents, and share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Solo-Friendly Accommodations: Opt for accommodations that prioritize solo travelers. Hostels, boutique hotels, and women-centric lodging options provide safe and welcoming environments. Engaging with fellow travelers in communal spaces can foster connections, turning your solo journey into a shared experience. Small Group Tours for the Unfamiliar: Consider small group tours, especially when venturing to destinations with unfamiliar customs or languages. Traveling with a small group offers the security of companionship and the expertise of a guide, allowing you to navigate seamlessly through diverse cultures and languages while still enjoying the autonomy of solo exploration.

Empowering Activities: Consider activities that empower and inspire. This could include wellness retreats, skillbased workshops, or volunteer opportunities. Engaging in such activities not only adds a purposeful dimension to your journey but also connects you with like-minded individuals. Connect with Locals: Build meaningful connections with locals to enhance your travel experience. Engage in conversations, join local tours, or participate in community events. The genuine interactions with people from different walks of life contribute to the richness of your solo adventure.

Embarking on a solo journey is not just about the destination; it’s a voyage into the depths of oneself. By embracing the principles of mindful exploration, cultural immersion, and self-discovery, solo women travelers can unlock the transformative potential of their journeys, empowering them to navigate the world with confidence and purpose. For those seeking an extra layer of support, small group tours emerge as an excellent option, especially when venturing into destinations with unfamiliar customs or languages. Beth Aust Registered Nurse | Holistic Health | Professional Life Coach. ASTA Verified Travel Agent. Your Mindful Travel Alchemist Founder, Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency LLC ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 199



A few months ago, my son Jonathan wrote a piece in the MDA Quest Magazine titled “ How I’m Navigating Life After College.” You can access his article Here: https://mdaquest. org/jonathan-piacentino-how-imnavigating-life-after-college/ Reading this piece made me wonder how much being independent and making his path occupies his thoughts. Doesn’t he realize how much he has contributed to the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy community and society? His views on what makes a contributing member of society are always a little perplexing to me. I am astounded when I pause and think how much he has accomplished. It always makes me wonder why he doesn’t see what he has done as accomplishments. I’ll start with his congressional advocacy efforts. Since Jon was in high school, he would travel to DC with me to meet with our congressman and senators to lobby for the MDCare Act, appropriations dollars to the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense from Muscular Dystrophy Research. These efforts not only helped the Duchenne MD community, but all patients diagnosed with one of the almost forty forms of Muscular Dystrophy. This lobbying helped fund the six Wellstone-Centers for Muscular Dystrophy research. One of which is at the University of Rochester. These 200


efforts have triggered the CDC to create specific Duchenne Standards of Care. New York State was one of the pilot surveillance programs called MD-Starnet. This is the only research program designed to collect health information on everyone with muscular dystrophy living in specific areas of the United States. Most muscular dystrophy research programs collect health information only on people with the disease whom specialists at specific medical clinics treat. In contrast, MD STARnet

contains this information from medical clinics and other sources, including hospitals and birth and death certificates. The New York State Department of Health collected this information on 21 counties in Western New York. In addition to his MDA Quest Article, Jonathan participated in a research paper published in the Contemporary Clinical Trials magazine. The paper is titled: “Watching time tick by…”: Decision making for Duchenne muscular dystrophy trials.” He has

also been a peer-review participant for the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research Program (DMDRP) under the Congressional Directed Medical Research Programs. The CDMRP originated in 1992 via a congressional appropriation to foster novel approaches to biomedical research in response to the expressed needs of its stakeholders- the American public, the military, and Congress. The CDMRP fills research gaps by funding high-impact, high-risk, and high-gain projects that other agencies may not venture to support. While individual programs are unique in their focus, all programs managed by the CDMRP share the goal of advancing paradigm-shifting research. These solutions will lead to cures or improvements in patient care or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit. The CDMRP strives to transform health care for Service Members and the American public through innovative and impactful research. The CDMRP published his consumer story titled “Don’t Stop Fighting.” PTC Therapeutics has recognized Jonathan as a remarkable person. Over the past 25 years, PTC Therapeutics has focused everything they’ve done: every study, every experiment, and



{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } } { ONE TOUGH MOTHER { LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT “In addition to these achievements, he has participated in a clinical trial for 15 years and has been a massive advocate of the benefits of the drug he has been trying.”

every investment is made first and foremost to change the course of rare diseases for the lives of our patients. Jonathan has been selected to participate in panel discussions at Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and BioNJ Conferences. He has also presented awards at BIO NJ dinners. BioNJ is the life sciences trade association for New Jersey, representing close to 400 researchbased life sciences organizations across the healthcare ecosystem, from the largest biopharmaceutical companies to early-stage start-ups, for nearly 30 years. Because Patients Can’t Wait®, BioNJ is dedicated to ensuring a 202


vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed, and Patients Have Access to Lifesaving Medicines. In addition to these achievements, he has participated in a clinical trial for 15 years and has been a massive advocate of the benefits of the drug he has been trying. He has presented at the FDA’s patient advisory meeting and wrote an article for The Mighty. Jonathan has done newspaper and television interviews to raise awareness about drug trials in general and what it’s like to live with a rare disease. He became an Eagle Scout and has served on PPMD’s Adult Advisory

Committee (PAAC). The PAAC amplifies the teen and adult voices of Duchenne, Becker, and carriers as an extension of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD). The PAAC takes a holistic approach to advocacy by addressing care, community, and quality of life. We work together to elevate the lives of individuals living with Duchenne and Becker through mentorship, outreach, and education. As my son ages and needs more needs, the future becomes a little more uncertain, but he will continue to navigate his life after college with tenacity.




{ THE ANIMAL CARE CORNER { ANIMAL CARE CORNER } } “Poppy and four others took a long journey to Animal Care Sanctuary transported by The Humane Society of the United States. These dogs and many others were rescued from an illegal South Korean Dog Meat Farm.”

Dog - Poppy Poppy and four others took a long journey to Animal Care Sanctuary transported by The Humane Society of the United States. These dogs and many others were rescued from an illegal South Korean Dog Meat Farm. Unfortunately, their experience left them scarred, scared, and uneasy around humans. When Poppy and the others arrived in our care, we immediately stated to work with the dogs in the capacity they allowed us to. Practicing Fear Free, we were mindful of their recent endeavors and allowed the dogs to tell us what they were ready for and what we should wait on. Poppy is resilient and we could see the hope in her eyes for a better future. We were pleased to see Poppy was the first of the four dogs to be adopted by a wonderful woman who understood the importance of the patience and love it would take to allow Poppy to feel secure and safe for her to blossom into the dog she once was. Each time an animal is moved from one place or person to another, it can be incredibly scary and stressful. When Poppy first entered her new home, she shut down completely. As we continued checking in with Poppy and her adopter, she was slowly making progress and building trust with her new family. Poppy has a long way to go but we are so thankful for our community that’s willing to provide

the much needed tender loving care these souls need to thrive. Newsletter Cat + Rochester Cat - Lynn Lynn prefers a home that allows her sassy attitude to not only be tolerated but celebrated! She has a strong personality and is particular in her likings. Even with all the sass, Lynn is capable of showing her sweet and affectionate side. Coming to Animal Care Sanctuary as a rehoming intake, Lynn was welcomed with open arms. With her beauty we

anticipated she would be a quick in and out. However, that wasn’t the case. Lynn stayed with ACS for a long year and seven months. Shelter stays for animals are tough on them, especially for those staying as long as Lynn did. We pay special attention to our long stays, ensuring they receive the best possible welfare to reduce the chances

of them deteriorating before finding their new homes. Lynn is resilient. She is tough and opiniated. We appreciated this about Lynn because she was clear in letting us know what she needed. We listened to her and learned she is thrives best when alone and values one on one time with her people in a quiet and uninterrupted space. Lynn had her own special communal she got all to herself where she felt most comfortable. We provided her with daily enrichment by offering her puzzle toys, play time, offering her time to roam the entire cattery floor to her desire, quality pets, and of course various platforms for her to explore with in her living quarters. Lynn is a stunning cat that just seemed to be overlooked and passed on regardless of the efforts we put in to help her be seen and increase her chances of being adopted. We would bring interested adopters her communal, we advertised her on our various social media platforms, we even took her to the WETM Elmira news station where she got 3 minutes of fame all to herself. Nothing happened. However, we persisted and kept encouraging Lynn to hang on. That she would find her home eventually and until then, we will be her home in every capacity possible. We are so excited to share, Lynn was adopted just after Christmas of 2023 giving her and ACS the best gift possible. This loving ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 205

SHIFT+CONTROL } { THE {ANIMAL CARE CORNER } “Lynn is a stunning cat that just seemed to be overlooked and passed on regardless of the efforts we put in to help her be seen and increase her chances of being adopted. ”

couple understood what Lynn needed and desired. We will continue to support Lynn as we do every animal that leaves our care as they enter and live in their new homes for as long as they may need. Happy New Year to Lynn, we are so excited for you! Lynn Facts: • Rehomed due to her previous family bringing a puppy into the home. Lynn did not take well to the puppy and the family felt it was best to bring Lynn to 206


Animal Care Sanctuary so she could find a new home. • Lynn was a part of our cat behavior modification program helping her learn strategies to self-regulate her stimulation highs and lows. • Prefers to be pet in between her ears and the top of her nose and does not welcome belly rubs. • Although Lynn gives clear warning on her mood, we determined a home

without kids, cats, or dogs would best. • Has piercing green eyes and stunning markings. A true and beautiful Tortishell. • Energetic and playful that has a mischievous streak and can be quite audacious at times. • Came to ACS on 5/24/2022 and stayed at ACS until she was adopted on 12/30/2023. • Estimated to be around 8 years old.






Achieving Your Goals in Midlife Introduction: Life is a journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected detours, but it is never too late to pursue your goals and dreams. As you navigate the midlife phase, it is a perfect time to reflect, reassess, and redefine what success means to you. This post aims to inspire and encourage you to embrace your potential and achieve your goals, no matter your age or circumstances. Let’s embark on this empowering journey together! 1.Believe in Yourself: Midlife is a period where doubts may creep in, and you may question your abilities to reach your goals. However, it’s crucial to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Take confidence in your life experiences, skills, and wisdom gained over the years. Recognize that your age brings a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge that can fuel your journey towards success. 2. Set Realistic Goals: Setting goals is essential for success, but it’s equally important to make them realistic and achievable. Take the time to evaluate your passions, interests, and aspirations. Define what matters most to you and set measurable goals that reflect your unique desires. Remember, your goals may be different from others, and that’s perfectly okay. Embrace your individuality and design a path that aligns with your values and aspirations.

3. Break It Down: Sometimes, big goals can be overwhelming, especially when you’re starting later in life. The key is to break them down into manageable, bite-sized steps. By focusing on smaller milestones, you’ll build momentum, increase confidence, and remain motivated along the way. Celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small, as they all contribute to your overall success. 4. Seek Support: In pursuing your goals, remember that you are not alone. Seek support from loved ones, friends, mentors, or even online communities. Surround yourself with positive influences, people who believe in your potential and can provide guidance and encouragement. Collaborate with like-minded individuals who can offer insights, share resources, or serve as accountability partners on your journey towards success.

and appreciate the present moment. Cherish the process, the lessons learned, and the personal growth that comes with pursuing your dreams. Each day is an opportunity to make progress, regardless of how small. Embrace the journey, find joy in the pursuit, and celebrate the person you are becoming. Conclusion: Midlife is not a barrier to achieving your goals; it’s an opportunity for you to unlock your true potential. Believe in yourself, set realistic goals, seek support, and embrace challenges with resilience. As you embark on this inspiring journey, remember that age is just a number, and your dreams are timeless. Embrace the power within you, and let your achievements in midlife be a testament to your determination, courage, and unwavering spirit of accomplishment.

5. Embrace Challenges & Learn from Setbacks: Throughout your journey, setbacks and challenges are inevitable. Embrace these experiences as opportunities for growth and personal development. Failure does not define you; it strengthens you. Learn from your mistakes with humility, adapt your strategies, and persevere. Remember, resilience and determination are key ingredients in achieving your goals. 6. Embrace the Now: While it’s important to have goals and aspirations, don’t forget to enjoy ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 211






Cheers to 2024! Congratulations on making it to the “Year of Abundance.” Numerologically speaking, 2024 breaks down to an “8” cycle, symbolizing various forms of abundance in all aspects of life: wealth, health, love, light, joy and overall well-being. This year promises the fruition of all the hard work, soul-searching, healing, acceptance, and letting go. However, the magical transformation into abundance didn’t happen overnight as the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2024. Reflecting on the past October eclipse season through the first 10 days of January, it brought forth unresolved issues, challenging us to confront the dragons of our past hurts.

new life, or a new chapter. It encourages us to act on our thoughts, assured that we are Divinely guided and protected. The Universe has your back! Take inspiration from Capricorn, the sea goat, the mythological creature with the body of a goat and the tail of a fish. With his masculine energy, he has the ability to navigate between both the physical and emotional realms, Capricorn is an expert at fusing, his hard work with his intuition. Think of the dreamer, who is a leader, because of his certainty and his own self confidence. The New Moon is the time to plant your seeds of intention, to cast your wishes upon the stars, ultimate manifestation, trusting

The recent Sagittarius season urged us to evaluate our eagerness to move forward mentally while holding onto emotional arrows, fearing missing our mark. Embracing the archer’s wisdom, we learn that releasing what holds us back equips us for future successes. So what’s holding us back? Fear, perfection, self doubt: bottom lineourselves! As we put away the holidaze decorations and face the empty living room, we stand at a crossroads—stick with traditions or embrace change? The call of 2024 is to dare to try something different, even if it’s a subtle shift. Remember, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten.” The symbolism of the first new moon on 1/11 is powerful. In numerology, One’s (111) signifies an awakening, a

As Aquarius season begins, the spotlight is on the individual. The Aquarius sun and Leo moon illuminate the conflict between personal expression and collective involvement. The ebb and flow of life, represented by the water bearer, reminds us to find balance. Much like an infinity symbol, what we put out is what we get. The full moon signals the time to trust the Universe to fulfill our wishes. It prompts us to reflect on whether we’ve nurtured seeds of our intentions or allowed weeds to take over. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not where you want to be. That alone should be your motivation. The new moon occurs every 28 days, providing opportunities to get closer to hitting your mark. Keep your head up, breath and believe in the stars as they continue to shine upon you. Kelly Wahl, “vessel for Spirit”, is a generational intuitive medium, motivational speaker, healer, and best-selling international author.

that what is meant for you, shall not pass by you. Capricorn inspires us to believe that we can achieve greatness. Now is the time to go out and do it. During the moon phases, from New Moon to waxing moon and eventually to the full moon, we are guided to do the work, surrender, and trust the process. The full moon in Leo on January 25 emphasizes the fire element, focusing on relationships. It prompts us to assess if we honor ourselves in relationships, set clear boundaries, and strike a balance between romance and friendship.

She brings you this astrological forecast focusing on the energy of this time combined with astrological aspects. To connect with Kelly for your own personal session, follow her on social medias: K Wahl • healing arts or, as well as events with Rochester Women Online / The Influential Woman. All readings, messages, and forecasts are for entertainment and inspirational purposes only and in no way replaces proper legal, financial or medical advice. You are responsible for the choices you make in your life. Therefore, choices / actions made by you based on your reading are solely your responsibility governed by free will. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 213






“Word of the Year” posts have been all over social media. Instead of the old-school promise we annually make to lose weight, exercise more, or drink less, we must now come up with one word, phrase, or mantra that serves as our inspiration for change. It is annoying to me. How can one-word sum up a year? ‘More,’ ‘worth,’ and ‘possibility’ all came to mind. More love and growth, the possibility of true transformation, and feeling worthy enough to accept my value. Sounds like a good year. something still did not feel right. Those are important words, but they did not match up to how I was feeling as I unloaded the dishwasher, shopped for groceries, or laid in bed at 3 a.m. tossing and turning. There was a “word” nagging and nudging me that I kept trying to brush off. As a single woman, parent, and business owner, it has been tough for me to get out of survivor mode. Dreaming about the future feels out of reach sometimes when the present steals so much of my attention. It was a recent milestone birthday that made me realize, that time was running out. Choices matter now more than ever. I was forced to fess up about my “word” when my retired neighbor invited me to her annual Christmas breakfast. I have attended this gathering every year where we walk around and admire her many trees decorated with ornate Santas and snowmen. We eat quiche and muffins over coffee and juice and lose the morning in neighborhood gossip. It is lovely. But this year, the gathering occurred on a morning I had planned to sleep in and go shopping. I begged off, without much guilt. My word came to my mind again after buying a pair of boots I saw on TikTok that

I did not need. And when my dog insisted that I take him for a walk, I pushed it off on my daughter so I could finish watching my Netflix show. These small inconsequential decisions were getting my attention. A shift was happening. I wanted my “word” to be – Selfish. Selfish: “Being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking, or concentrating on one’s advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. Concerned with one’s profit or pleasure. Thoughtless, insensitive.” Not quite a feel-good post for Instagram. I have spent most of my adult life being accountable and thinking about other people, putting their needs first. I have loved being a mother, daughter, sister, friend, and professional, and I value the life I have created. But for too many years I have been avoiding my own needs, and it is leaving me tired, resentful, and maybe a little lonely. I am not planning to spend this year being a selfish jerk, or a martyr. But I will frame my word choice like this: I want to be inspired not obligated. I will always try to be kind and thoughtful to others, and to the people I love. But we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves. Sometimes that means saying no, establishing boundaries, or letting go of the guilt. The year is still fresh and new, but I am trying to “stay selfish” at work and home. Here are some ideas. Relish the Selfish You in Smal Ways Prioritize a good night’s sleep, so your brain and body are ready for the new day. Take those 10,000 steps for your health and bones, while listening to inspirational podcasts, rain, shine, or snow. Dismiss the

guilt if you miss a day or two. Buying something luxurious without panic or remorse. Do not respond immediately to every text, email, social post, phone call, or invite. It is ok to wait, think, and reply when ready. Allow time for cozy candles, comfortable throws, and soft lights. It is amazing how calm you will feel. Selfish Makes You Fearless at Work A client who recognizes your talent and experience will pay you, retain you, and value your input. Never be humble about your worth. Speak up if you can help make something better. Going along to get along at work is a waste of time and money. Be an expert at what you do best, and do not be afraid to share your knowledge. Sign off, stretch, walk away, get some air. Work is not a 24/7 proposition. Go out and experience a few minutes of life. The company will survive if you take five. Set boundaries around work hours and share your work-life balance so co-workers understand that you value both sides of your life. You can be Selfish and Selfless Remember that when you get on a plane, you are taught to ensure your own health and safety first. Put on your oxygen mask before trying to help someone else. We need to look after and take care of ourselves so we can help others later. Cheers to a selfish 2024, a year to spoil and treat myself to what I need most: sleep, time, and peace.



JERTAKER INTERNATIONAL Jertaker International: A One-Stop Shop for High-Quality Everyday Essentials Jertaker International is a sales and marketing company that specializes in selling premium everyday essentials mostly at a lower price/better quality. or quantity than its competitors.

Benefits of Buying from Jertaker International • Save money on top-tier premium products • Get access to a wide range of products in different categories • Better customer service • Opportunity for free shipping with rewards program

The company’s target audience is huge, as it offers a wide range of products in categories such as health and wellness, beauty, cleaning, vitamins/supplements, sports nutrition, energy drinks, and more. What sets Jertaker International apart from other companies in the industry is its unique selling proposition: to provide customers with top-tier premium products for a better deal, with a focus on environmental friendliness and health alternatives. Jertaker International accomplishes this by partnering with major corporations as an independent contractor, leveraging support/supply type models to maximize income potential. The company also works with many retailers and brands to help them transition sales online instead of traditional brick and mortar storefronts. This saves the companies money because they don’t have to rent out shelf space, which allows Jertaker International to pass on the savings to its customers. 216


• Support an environmentally friendly company. • Obtain optimal health with safe, pure and traceable products. How to Buy from Jertaker International To buy products from Jertaker International, you can contact the company directly. Jertaker International offers a variety of shipping options to make it easy for customers to get the products they need. Also the

opportunity to get free shipping using their rewards program. Jertaker International is so confident in the quality of its products that it offers a 180-day (half a year) money back guarantee. This means that you can try any of its products for 180 days and if you are not satisfied with the results, you can get a full refund. This guarantee shows Jertaker International has commitment to customer satisfaction. These companies want to make sure that their customers are happy with the products they buy, and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that happens. Conclusion Jertaker International is a company that is committed to providing its customers with the highest quality products at the best possible price along with amazing customer service, while also being environmentally friendly and having healthier alternatives. It is ensured that all customers have access to the best products and support, including a 180-day money back guarantee on all of its products, showing its commitment to customer satisfaction. If you are looking for a company to buy your everyday essentials from, Jertaker International is a great option. It offers a wide range of products in different categories, many at a lower price than its competitors. The company is also committed to sustainability and environmental protection. Message Jertaker for more info at





{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { COACHING WITH KAREN “ We very often don’t even realize that we are holding trauma in our body and that we invalidate it.”

We very often don’t even realize that we are holding trauma in our body and that we invalidate it. Let me share the list: • Bullying • Infertility • Chronic illness • Emotional abuse • Burnout • Witnessing violence • Infidelity • Undiagnosed mental health issues • Break up or divorce • Abuse from authority figures • Financial insecurities • Multiple losses • Being unemployed Bullying - This is when things get started in our lives. Being bullied is so damaging. Once you have been bullied as a child and never have that emotional wound healed, it stays with you and resurfaces into adult bullying. You may allow your friends to bully you into doing things you don’t want to do. Maybe it is your family members that bully you, in an attempt to make you feel guilty about not doing something they feel you should do. Being bullied is being abused. Then we invalidate it by saying things like “well, lots of things happen when you are a kid, you just need to forget about it.” Infertility - this is so painful emotionally. You may have dreamed of having children your whole life. When you are finally in a position to start of family and you find out you are unable to, that is soul crushing.

Your life is forever changed. Every single thing that you planned for you future is now altered. This pain will attach itself to your soul and create feelings of pain, loss, emptiness and probably a host of other feelings that will effect your current relationships. How you look at your life going forward feels different. We begin the process of trying to forget about it and move on. You simply can’t forget and invalidating it is what causes the emotional wound that will stick with you. The invalidation sounds like “well this happens to a lot of people so just move on from here.” Chronic illness - this is just so depressing for a person. Never feeling good, always on medication or seeing a doctor, nothing ever really working. When all you really want to do is feel like you did when you were young or when you were healthy. This is so scarring. You feel labeled and always less than. You have a physical trauma that causes an emotional wound. We don’t see it as an emotional wound, because we tend to invalidate it by saying “this is just what happens to some people” or “lots of people have this condition.” Even though you are trying your best to DEAL with it, the chronic nature of your illness is causing emotional pain. Emotional abuse, Witnessing violence, Abuse from authority figures These are all very painful and scary. Especially if you have never had to deal with them in your past. Being with a partner that is abusive, starting a job with an abusive boss or witnessing

a violent incident, what ever it may be will definitely create an emotional wound. Man those things will stick with you forever. It is HOW you dealtwith it after that matters. How did you react and how you kept it inside you? What you did after is what matters and is the difference between becoming your past experiences or creating new ones to invalidate the old ones. Burnout - Who hasn’t experienced burnout. In today’s society, we are being pushed to limits to do more, give more and produce more every single day. Whether it is in your work life or home life. Home life is easier to control because there you can set boundaries. Work life is completely controlled by the organization you work for so unless you find a company with great work/life balance, you may feel triggered by the control placed on you by a boss. Infidelity - this one will make you feel gutted. You give your heart and soul to someone and they toss it away like it never mattered. Can you imagine the kind of scar that will leave and the trust issues it creates? Break up or divorce creates the same end result and emotional wound, even if you generated the break up. It is the grieving process that has to happen because you are grieving the loss of years you put into a relationship or time lost on the relationship. Undiagnosed mental health issues Financial insecurities Multiple losses ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 219

{ COACHING COACHING WITH WITH KAREN KAREN }} “One way of dealing will send you down a negative spiral and the other way will start the healing process and move you forward into a life that puts you in control.”

Being unemployed All of these things happen to people all of the time and that is why we dismiss them so easily and in turn Invalidate them. We see it everywhere and start to get used to it, making it the norm. 220


But even if it is the norm, it is how people deal with it AFTER that makes the difference. One way of dealing will send you down a negative spiral and the other way will start the healing process and move you forward into a life that puts you in control.

If you want to be on the upward spiral and in control of your life, please feel free to reach out to me at Or visit my website at





Moving Back into A State of Flow Winter solstice and the new year naturally bring us into a time of recharging and reassessing. We get to contemplate our upcoming year and if we are aligned to our past year’s goals and purpose. It can also bring with it a creative funk and stagnation of flow state. Feeling down and at a loss of direction can be an overwhelming state of being but is also common during the winter. It can also last well past that unless we find ways to jumpstart creativity. The term, “flow state,” refers to a time when you can tune out ego and just go with your gut. You find creating anything to be effortless and can even feel as though someone else worked through you to create a beautiful and meaningful design. I’ve been fortunate enough to have made entire paintings while in this state of flow and wondered who made that when I finish. They are by far and away some of my best works. Why would that be? Speaking from my own experience, I felt led and free because I didn’t need to make a single decision myself. All of it felt as though it were being made for me in ways that were what I had deemed beyond my own capabilities. So how did I prepare myself to get into this state of being? I love to start my creativity practice with a quieting meditation. Deep breathing and asking for guidance from forces that are beyond me have always put me at ease while making me feel supported and loved. It’s as if the heavens are rejoicing that I am about to partake in making something meaningful and beautiful. Like they’ve been lying in wait for me to finally show up in my studio or to begin writing. They feel especially present while I teach 222


others how to achieve this state of being during their lessons. Have you had days where you knew you were meant to be doing something but just can’t find the gumption within you to begin? You are not alone there. Last year, after my mom passed, I was in a funk. I was happy she no longer had to suffer and honestly, I have the best relationship I’ve ever had with her right now. It’s like she finally “gets me.” But the guilt of that was weighing heavily on me as a mom and grandmother myself. Guilt can feel like slogging through a dense swap of emotional baggage. Until we remember that our loved ones and our ancestors want to watch us soar and live at our highest vibration. When we get up and dance with life again, they rejoice loudly and with unbridled enthusiasm. We get our own cheering section! One of my mentors, who is inherently filled with joy is Lynn Whipple. I took an online class through Carla Sonheim Creative* several years ago of hers, (which I highly recommend). I remember her saying something that was so simple yet profound that I refer to almost daily. She said to “just move your hands!” I even bought a poster of hers that has that slogan to hang in my studio where I see it each day. I hear her voice happily reminding me that the key to doing your art is to just start. Once I begin following her advice, I instantly feel better. It’s as though the sun starts to shine again. Music is a wonderful tool for getting into the right mindset. Create playlists with your favorite dance tunes or ones that contain happy memories. I also like to play my classical music list if I’m having trouble concentrating and have

either detail work or desk work that needs me to be laser focused. Somehow, it works to keep me on-track and get my dreaded accounting work done a lot quicker with less mistakes. Knowing that work I don’t love doing and keeps me from my art is done and I’ve now created space for painting time, opens me up to more of that fabulous flow. Another great way to get back into our real essence as inherent creators is by doing something tactile and has fun movement during the act of doing said fun thing. Personally, I love to get out chalk pastels and just put them on paper with no plan or agenda. I just want to get some on the paper and mush it around with my fingers. It reminds me of being a kid and using sidewalk chalk. We didn’t care what it looked like or if it got washed away in the rain. An entire afternoon could fly by without us noticing and we felt as though we had created a pretty masterpiece. Cooking, repotting a plant or weeding can be the same way. I love to walk barefoot through the grass in the summer to feel grounded and centered or stare up at the sun while I lie in it. As I allow the earth to support me and run my hands through the grass, I feel a huge sense of gratitude. Mother Earth wishes to help us transmute that which no longer serves us and recycle it back into loving energy for you to relish in. Make a snow angel and then lie quietly, lavishing in that bit of peace. You deserve it. It also creates more love and peace in the world through that simple act of just being. We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they






{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE } { MANIFESTING YOUR TRUE PURPOSE } “Winter solstice and the new year naturally bring us into a time of recharging and reassessing.”

y move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~Mother Theresa When all else fails and you’re still feeling uninspired, try to take inventory of what you have and, of that, what can you bless and release. Organizing and cleaning out our space is a cathartic activity that moves us towards doing this on a personal level, too. Asking ourselves if our “things” continue to give us joy or whether we will use it in the next few months or years is a great guidepost. This is a skill I’m still working to perfect. We artists own every art supply ever invented. It’s amazing but also a bit overwhelming when it comes to storing all of it. The same can be said about activities or relationships we are involved in. Do they add or take away from your energy? Tighten up that which we will now allow to stay within our personal space because that which then remains feeds our souls and makes us brighter and better. All else can be allowed to fall away as we bless it on its own journey. When we declutter all areas of our lives and find new order, it gives us some true breathing room to settle into. One final suggestion is to go out on a limb and try something completely new and scary. Especially if it is something you’ve always wondered about or had secretly wanted to try. Or maybe a completely different vocation because your current work isn’t fulfilling or is only adding stress to your life. What have you got to lose? I love to try new art mediums that I haven’t felt comfortable with or am attracted to for some reason

I can’t quite pinpoint. This year, I’d really like to try to do more portraiture work because it’s my Achilles heel. I always figure if I’m not good at something I clearly need to give it a bit more attention to see what it has to offer me. Plus, it certainly can’t hurt and will only improve all my other work. If I’m not happy in a circumstance, job, or relationship, I really like to ask for guidance from both my angels and from my therapist. Is it something I need to improve with my own attitude or misgivings? Or is it something I’m not at all aligned with anymore?

* Check out all Carla’s fun courses here. There are so many to choose from and a wonderful community of people that are supportive and kind. Plus, it’s for all levels of creativity. PS: Lynn Whipple’s classes are a fun place to start! Lynn’s website: http://lynnwhipple. com/

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. ~Neil Gaiman So, what will you be doing to move yourself forward and back into creative flow? You deserve better than packing it all up and wallowing in your sorrows. There is a creative solution to working through your discontentment and stuck energy. You aren’t meant to sit in it. This challenge is here for your growth, and you have everything you need to move into a more loving space for your mental and physical wellbeing. Make 2024 Your Year. The year your pivoted away from self-sabotage and into a loving way of being. I’m so excited for you and your new journey of self-discovery as you move along to your true rhythm of life. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 225



What happened to women? Wasn’t there once a movement that wanted to celebrate ourselves, our history And our future? It seems of late somehow here in the great USA, we women are not only NOT being celebrated, yet we are being canceled as a whole. I am not a cis woman, I am a woman. I don’t care what you as an individual would like to identify as, whether or not I agree is irrelevant. And you do not get to reassign me an identity, based on your own insecurity with self. I will say it again, I’m a woman. Matt Walsh has been trying hard to get the answer, and it blew my mind how many ignorant individuals now have no clue what a woman is. Matt, I have the answer. It’s me, and many other women like me. Maybe we were tomboys and were confused once upon a time as many young people are. We may not have fit into society’s labels of women based activities, and so we learned how to catch balls, turn wrenches, drive manual vehicles, and get down and dirty alongside the boys. We were still girls though. Maybe it’s the girl who likes other girls, but didn’t know why yet because sex and sexuality aren’t for children to learn about. And so at puberty she recognizes and embraces she is a lesbian. Maybe it’s the little girl seeking attention anyway she knows how, with outbursts and attitude. It’s true in life as young adults we all have identity crises and may not be comfortable in our own skin, but god dam, that doesn’t mean we get to change our identity and gender. We embrace it, and level headed normal adults who aren’t grooming would support this. A woman comes out of those awkward 226


years like a warrior and should wear her womanhood as a right of passage. Women have to “become a woman” first and foremost when it’s announced to the world when she has that first bleed. And this is not the grand announcement any young woman wants. Nobody wants this or dad to come bounding into the house after work announcing his little girl is now a woman because she stained her underpants. A girl doesn’t want you calling all your friends or announcing it on FB. And especially the late bloomers who don’t want the entire family asking everyday, “are you a woman yet?” And when it happens, it’s just the first milestone that we as women face. Being a woman means cramps, and mood swings and cravings. We have the means to make a whole other human inside of our body, yet some women may not be able to, for whatever reason yet they are also still a woman. Complications because of genetics or environmental flaws doesn’t take away a woman’s identity. We have traveled through obstacles which bring us to the woman hood that best suits our needs. Our entire childhood is based around finding role models and shaping the woman we will be. Throwing in evil adults who like to groom children is a sick piece of society. An adult who believes they can change gender, is a personal adult choice, and one that should be left out of a children’s thought process. Little girls look up to adults for advice and giving a tomboy the illusion it’s ok to switch genders is nothing more than child abuse. I’ve written about it before in “no, you cannot be a boy.” As you may have guessed I was a tomboy and if I was told at 8 by adults I looked up to I could switch

genders, I would have trusted them. But that’s a whole other story that you can go back and read, and thankfully my mother had the good sense to direct me in activities that shouldn’t be labeled only for boys. I was taught it’s empowering to embrace being a girl who can compete alongside boys, and to be proud of my gender. I want to know why now are we canceling women? Why are people ok with this, especially us women? Point blank women should compete against women, unless the sport is coed. It’s unfair to women who have trudged through the trenches to get the right to vote, to work, to be recognized in positions of power, and to compete athletically. Why are men winning women’s beauty pageants? Why are men in magazines as the face for women’s products? This isn’t normal, and men aren’t women, the end. I refuse to stand back and let men rule again and women be pushed aside. Wearing a dress, changing your name and taking hormones will never make you a woman, so stop canceling us real women of the world. Be a drag queen, not a child predator in a dress. There’s a difference. Drag queens are performers, trans groomers are evil dressed up with lipstick. Like the wolf in LRRH. To be a drag queen is to perform and entertain, not replacing a woman, but embracing them. A woman stands her ground, and stands up for the rights her ancestors fought for. A woman doesn’t take on the word “cis” to justify a man’s identity in a dress. A woman has the ability to grow life within her, she is connected to her past and her future because of the life cord between mother daughter



KARMA SPEAKS }} { COACHING WITH KAREN } {{ SHIFT+CONTROL “? It seems of late somehow here in the great USA, we women are not only NOT being celebrated, but we are being cancelled as a whole”

and the next daughter. Real women find strength in other women and rise to whatever cause to keep women from being eliminated. Canceling women would cancel the human race. It’s science, not preference. 228


And for those who disagree with me, you are part of this problem. I refuse to see children being groomed and be ok with it. I refuse to accept men in women’s sports, I refuse to sit by and watch men retake what women fought so hard for just because they have

convinced a small majority their mental disorder should be the norm. I refuse to accept the term cis…identify me correctly. In all my strength, weaknesses and pure emotions. I am a woman!








Welcome to 2024, a year for Opportunities and Open Doors. I talk to entrepreneurs every week, and I am always being asked about opportunities. The right opportunities change lives. What are your goals and dreams for 2024? Where do you want to go? What would you like to accomplish? Allow yourself to dream. Unlock the power within and embrace new choices. “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” ~Woodrow Wilson Reflect on what drives you. What defines you? Don’t allow your circumstances or your past to define you. How are you going to show up in life? We can achieve more in what we haven’t yet explored. One of my favorite opportunities I am involved in is travel writing. I can explore and expand my horizons and I get to write about them, produce published articles, and show others how to do it too. My press trip to Outer Banks, NC, was a treasured adventure. Ocala, Florida, is my next travel writing retreat and press trip where I get to experience the World Equestrian Center. Their

refined quarters include a spa and restaurants in an upmarket hotel within an equestrian center, plus a pool. Pool and horses? Count me in. I spent half a million dollars on personal development, events, coaching, referral networks, business ideas, and business opportunities. I have some exciting opportunities, services, and programs that I want to share with you. Do you want to understand how to overcome challenges in life? There is a LORI Factor for that. Do you want to understand how to create more opportunities? There is a LORI Factor for that. Invest in opportunities where you invest in yourself and your business. If you invest in events, coaching, marketing, or book projects then we need to talk. If I were to get presented with another co-author book opportunity, I look for certain things and if it didn’t include what I wanted, I would not join that opportunity or I would ask about adding that in. The co-author book project I just launched was an amazing success. They delivered on all their promises. What a wonderful collaboration. I enjoy inviting others to join that project as well. I created a process of how I look at opportunities now. I spent half a million dollars on personal

development, coaching, referral networks, business ideas, and business opportunities. I created an asset where I mapped out a list of opportunities where I gave my feedback and notes and outlined what was promised and delivered. Do you want access to it for free? Text me 585-371-8328. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on what I do, personal development, coaching, book projects, guarantees, strategies, and marketing, and different opportunities. I can give you my experience on that; the type of opportunities I’ve invested in and did they work or not, and how I rate them, what was promised and what was delivered, and which ones were valuable to my business. I’m putting together a referral network of my favorite entrepreneurs for 2024! Want your business included? Also, I would love to see if you have opportunities that I can promote to my network. Who am I looking for? You quality if you have a high-ticket offer, do business with entrepreneurs, and have success stories. I want to know your biggest need. Do you want to get on more podcasts, write a book, become a published author, get on more stages, get into media, get PR, get more clients and increase your revenue? That is why I created The LORI Factor referral program. I have a service that brings you opportunities, referrals, and potential clients. I help entrepreneurs find good opportunities ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 233


“Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. We have the ability to create wealth and enrich lives.” I have a FREE gift for all of you. You’re going to get access to my process of how I find opportunities, what I look for and what are the red flags. Text me and I’ll send you the link so you can access the opportunities that I have been mapping out completely free so you can see how I find good opportunities. I am constantly talking to entrepreneurs and I can’t do business with all of them, but they all have specific needs. If you have anything that could benefit entrepreneurs in some way, I want to talk with you. If you match what I’m looking for, I can promote your business and your opportunities. 234


There is a VIP option available. I have opportunities that I don’t share publicly (have a separate private list of opportunities) because they are very exclusive. They are limited and only a few people get to access them. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. We have the ability to create wealth and enrich lives. Get Real Results with The LORI Factor. It’s as easy as ABC. Have conversations with people who will support you, encourage you, and equip you to Achieve, Believe, and Conceive the desires of your heart. You can dive deeper with The LORI Factor 90-day program if you need specific guidance

on what you want to accomplish and create. What’s holding you back? Is it selfsabotage and self-doubt? Let me help you bust through your obstacles and get clarity and the courage to discover a part of yourself you didn’t realize was there. Start living life on your terms and have the courage to seize opportunities. I never knew launching The LORI Factor would evolve and continue to expand like it is. Let’s soar together in 2024 and beyond!




How many of you have ever struggled with perfectionism at some time during. your lifetime? Although it’s praiseworthy to high standards for our performance, it’s ultimately self-defeating to insist on pursuing consistently flawless outcomes. Regardless of how hard we try, perfection is not ever a truly attainable goal. Repeatedly trying to reach such an aspiration is a futile exercise, and one that proves to be hopelessly inefficient. It simply wastes our valuable, finite resources of time and energy. Furthermore, consistently trying to obtain perfection undoubtedly produces additional stress in our lives. Consequently, our ability to engage in creative, divergent forms of thinking is further diminished. Given that perfectionism is so unrealistic, why do so many of us still insist on trying to obtain this goal? Several hypotheses have been proposed: 1). Cognitive distortions; 2). Parents or caregivers with unrealistically high expectations for our performance; 3). Desire to avoid failure or harsh judgment; and, 4). Equating our self-worth with our performance. Procrastination is frequently linked to perfectionism. An individual may put off starting a project if he/she believes that they are incapable of executing it without any mistakes or flaws. After all, if you take zero action, none of your actions can be deemed less than perfect. Conversely, procrastination is sometimes actually linked to a fear of success. You may delay expending effort due to the strong belief that your success will inevitably lead to further expectations for your performance. Not infrequently, perfectionistic behaviors begin as a response to trauma having been experienced in an individual’s life. Trauma, of course, involves a dramatic loss of control in one’s life. Perfectionism is an extreme form of attempting to exert control.

Women may be especially vulnerable to perfectionistic tendencies about their physical appearances. Our frequent scrolling through social media, along with engaging in ongoing teletherapy sessions, has heightened our awareness of our every flaw. Ironically enough, the very filters that are used enhance one’s appearance in social media profiles distort one’s actual appearance. For example, an adolescent female who is raised in a home with a parent struggled with alcohol use disorder is exposed to repeated trauma. She may be highly vulnerable to developing an eating disorder, since it allows her to exert an extreme degree of control over what she places in her body, despite being unable to control what is happening in her family environment. This may be combined with perfectionistic tendencies, further cementing an eating disorder. I like to label myself as a “recovering perfectionistic.” It has taken me more years than I care to admit, plus my own involvement with receiving therapy, to learn that very good is indeed, “good enough.” Taking a watercolor class, approximately thirty years ago, proved powerfully instructive. I quickly learned that perfection is the enemy of the good when working with this artistic medium. If you attempt to fix a minor error when painting in watercolor, you merely end up defacing the paper upon which you are painting. Therefore, good has to be “good enough.” As my career as a clinical health psychologist has unfolded during the past two decades, I’ve happily learned that the world hasn’t stopped spinning because I’ve failed to submit less than perfect progress notes, psychological reports, or other forms of assessment. Of course, the increased demands of establishing a private practice forced me to have relatively less time for

the luxury of obsessing over how perfect my documentation might be on any given day. I soon learned that timeliness and efficiency were critical factors for my overall success as a practitioner. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be an effective therapeutic intervention for individuals who struggle with perfectionism. Essentially CBT is posited on the basis that our cognitive distortions are responsible for eliciting uncomfortable emotional states. By challenging our maladaptive thought patterns, we have the power to directly alter the moods that are triggered by our thoughts. Of course, this form of therapy doesn’t yield immediate results. Most of us have acquired faulty thought patterns over periods of many years, even decades. Still, it is incredibly exciting to realize that engaging in CBT can yield results that are comparable to those achieved in individuals who take antidepressant medications. The most recent research supports that individuals who struggle with perfectionism will greatly benefit from reception of CBT. Psychotropic medication may also be necessary, if an individual who displays perfectionistic behaviors meets criteria for either an anxiety or depressive disorder. It is generally accepted that the gold standard of treatment is for an individual to receive medication, plus psychotherapy, given that this combination yields synergistic results to either treatment pursued independently. Please remember, if are truggling with perfectionism, help is possible. Receiving psychotherapy can help you challenge unhealthy though lt patterns about needing to be flawless in order to be valuable.




“Any stage in life can be an exciting time with many opportunities or a dreary time of confusion and entrapment. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can decide that the circumstances won’t dominate you. You do have choices.” ~Dan Miller

zone.” In the great old movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddle is told by his sister to forget his passion for running and to return to the worthy family missionary ministry. I still get goose bumps when I hear Eric reply, “God made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure.”

Today, I learned that a dear mentor of mine is dying.

I sat there pondering that passage. And with a start, I realized the same thing: When I water ski on my bare feet, I feel His pleasure. I’m “connected” and “in the zone.”

Dan Miller, author of several books, including my favorite, “No More Dreaded Mondays,” announced that after 17 years, today would be his last podcast. Dan was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and the doctors didn’t give him much time. He was planning to spend his precious time with his family. My heart sank at this news. Years ago, I took a workshop with Dan and what I learned from him basically set me on the path of having a memorable life. From Dan’s estimates, about 70% of people do not like the work they do. Dan has spent his life helping people to tap into their passion and create a life they truly love.


And it was the same thing every time I sat down to write. I put the book down. My mind was racing far too fast to read more. I started writing down ideas and random thoughts. I sat for a long moment and asked myself questions from the book: what did I learn in the last several years that I could share with others? What are my gifts? What are my abilities? What does success mean for me this year? How did I want to be remembered?

Dan taught me the concept of SWISS– Sales While I Sleep Soundly. It’s the concept of doing the work once, and selling it over and over to help more and more people. It’s the reason why I’ve written over 20 books and have plans for many more.

In the process of answering those questions, an idea came for my next book. Never mind the fact I had three books already in the works, the urge was so strong to start this next book: a simple guide for the competitive aspect of barefoot water skiing. So I wrote. Every now and then, I took a break and dove back into Dan’s book and was inspired once again. I was determined to finish my own book in 48 days.

I was on a train heading to a speaking gig years ago when I read a paragraph in Dan’s book, 48 Days to the Work You Love: The fulfilling path is usually discovered right under a person’s nose. Normally there are recurring themes in life--moments of recognizing being “connected” or “in the

When I arrived at the Coaching with Excellence workshop and met Dan, I handed him my printed book. “You wrote this book,” I said with a smile. Yes, thanks to the 48 Days book, I published “Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor.”


Another thing that I learned from Dan is the importance of asking yourself this one, valuable question when faced with adversity, challenges, or life turns:“What does this make possible?” There is always a lesson, a gift, or a gem in the darkest times of our life. Every year, at the end of the year, Dan would reflect back on the year and remove the 10% of “stuff” that wasn’t serving him anymore. When you remove something from your life, this gives something else an opportunity to show up. You now have time and bandwidth for something new. When I wrote my book, Unwrapping Your Passion, I was just about to hit the button to self publish the book. I had sent it to Dan, and he reached out to connect me with a publisher. When I had my first book signing at Barnes & Noble, Dan and his wife showed up in support. Dan shared his own wisdom about passion in support of the book: Some fear that following our passion is a selfish pursuit, in opposition to serving others well. I believe digging deeply to find our own unique passion opens us up to our greatest opportunity for making the world a better place, not through trying but by being authentic. On the topic of bucket lists, Dan told me that he didn’t really have one. He was already living his life full out and doing things that he enjoyed immensely. Whenever he had an idea or urge to do something, he simply went for it. That’s what happens when you’re living a life in line with your passions--you’re doing what you love and being fulfilled in the process. And “retirement” wasn’t even a word in his life. Dan planned to continue doing exactly what he loved to






{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE { THE PASSION MENTOR { SHIFT+CONTROL } } } “That’s what happens when you’re living a life in line with your passions--you’re doing what you love and being fulfilled in the process.”

do–except now, he is close to the end. He has almost no regrets as he looks back on his life–it was a life well-lived. And…Dan has a message, and it is a message he wants to get out to many others: TAKE ACTION. “People wait too much,” said Dan. “Take action! Give yourself exposure to new ideas and new opportunities. Procrastination is the friend of failure. Many people are losing by living under their potential. We need

to change that.” If you can take away just one lesson from Dan’s life story, it is for you to go into 2024 knowing what it is you want with clarity–and to not put off your own living.

Karen helps midlifers create more joy, adventure, and fun so they can enjoy the second half of life. Grab the 22 Lessons to Live YOUR Passion at www.

Karen Putz is known as “The Passion Mentor.” She is a certified Mindvalley Life Coach and Passion Test Facilitator. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 241




{{ SHIFT+CONTROL LIFE IN BALANCE } “No matter when your culture’s New Year is on the calendar, it is a time for reflection and hope in the start of something new.”

No matter when your culture’s New Year is on the calendar, it is a time for reflection and hope in the start of something new. So often this turns into something demanding, rigorous, and short lived. What if we applied a more balanced approach for sustained resolutions? While many folks in the USA think of yoga as just exercise, the postures are just one of yoga’s eight limbed approach. The first limb of yoga is the less known Yamas or ethics. There are five of them, here along with their English translations: Ahimsa: Non-violence Satya: Truthfulness Asteya: Non-stealing Bramacharya: Energy Moderation Aparigraha: Non-grasping While the Yamas are nonlinear, at yoga’s core, non-violence should always be held in the highest regard. If you are reading this article odds are you likely don’t intend to harm your another person, but what about the negative self-talk we impose on ourselves that we HAVE to be different instead of letting ourselves be enough? The thoughts that we are too fat, too thin, the wrong shape? If you find yourself creating a new restrictive diet each year that doesn’t nourish you, or is bound to fail – is that really health and wellness? Much of it comes back to the yama of truthfulness. This is why often I recommend February resolutions – take January to reflect on what really matters to you. To paraphrase an Instagram

post from Gary Vaynerchuk, think about who you trying to impress. Is it the people who fill you up, or some made up societal norm? For me, when I realized much of the life I was creating was to stick it to ex-boyfriends, things changed. I was able to form a health and wellness routine that I liked, even enjoyed! So if you are prone to a less balanced approach of health and wellness, take a few different classes, visit a few gyms, cook and takeout some vegetarian and some meat dishes. Do some self-study on what resonates with you and how your body responds. If your body doesn’t respond well to the mediterranean diet, it’s okay! Don’t force yourself into it. Apart from learning to love oneself a little bit more, a lot of what I see in my yoga therapy practice this time of year is a lack of energy moderation. Over exercise or overly repetitive exercise that causes injury. Or swapping out sleep for exercise. We all really only get this one body, this one earth walk. Be kind to yourself, your muscles, your joints. If you need to slow things down and pick up less weight initially to get your form correct in strength or cardio classes, take it. The same way a house needs a safe foundation, so does your movement practice. If you are exhausted, be easy on yourself those days – either take time to rest or if there’s something that fills up your spirit about moving that day, move gently. Nongrasping can also be translated to nonattachment, and this time of year we need less attachment to the outcome. Hopefully if you do take

some time to reflect on what your true why is for building a healthy routine your longings will be satiated. But if the goal is to lose weight and you find yourself building muscle instead, are you going to spiral into a negative headspace? Punish yourself? Instead, be open to what arises. Maybe you start going to the gym and you don’t lose that extra weight but you might make new friends, hear new music. Try to be present to what is here, it truly is the journey not the destination. Years ago I was at the gym on New Year’s Day in the weight circuit room. I was 21, super fit, and had super type A personality. The gym was closing at 1 PM. It was about 12:50 and in my head I HAD to get my three sets on the adductor machine in so I hopped on the machine to get my workout completed. Well I was so focused on checking it off my list that I didn’t notice the woman next to me who wanted it, which resulted in her yelling at me and also feeling so upset that I didn’t get MY perfect workout in. Remember, 80% is perfect – be willing to shift and adjust. Maybe one day’s run becomes a walk, or a meditation turns into a yoga practice or an apple turns into an orange or string cheese. Be flexible. That brings me to the last Yama, nonstealing. Enjoy the process. We often find ourselves stealing from the present moment for our future self or upset with our past self simply by letting our mind wander. What if you tuned into how good it felt to be outside in the cold, (or inside in the heat) in the moment? If your body is craving a stretch, why are you forcing it into a run? ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 243




{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE { THE PASSION MENTOR { SHIFT+CONTROL } } } “This is why often I recommend February resolutions – take January to reflect on what really matters to you.”

Does this feel like it just threw your new routine out of whack? Don’t let it, anything is a worthwhile experiment as long as the Yamas apply. Here are some good places to start: • Build a morning routine • Carve out time for rest and play • Consult a physical therapist to check

in with any muscles or joints that bother you • Reach out to a dietician who practices HAES (Health At Every Size) • Seek out joyful movement • Practice self-massage and body oiling (or book a professional one!)

article to get back in balance? Visit to schedule a free phone consultation. By Kaitlyn Vittozzi, C-IAYT

Feel like you need more help than this ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY EDITION 2024 245

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