Embrace Every Chapter.
Love the Skin You’re In!
We’re inviting all in the Pittsford community to enjoy next-level aesthetic services, a best-in-class experience and a promise for real, remarkable results. Visit Chapter Aesthetic Studio in Pittsford to bring your best self to life.
But don’t just take our word for it...
See what our guests have said about how Chapter made them feel:
“The best I have in years.”
“Comfortable and refreshed”
– Lori L.
– Ashton M.
SPECIAL FEATURE MICHAEL BERRYMAN
THE INFLUENTIAL WOMAN
MANIFESTING YOUR TRUE PURPOSE
SHERYLANNE DIODATO, PH.D. ‘93, MERCY’S NEWEST PRINCIPAL.
Our latest cover woman breaking glass ceilings in the cannabis world, and is leading the insdustry in NYS. She is one of the “Power Women of Cannabis”, a mother & wife, entrepreneur, and so much more! She is influencing other women to take control in a male dominated industry, and we are so excited to tell her story first! Read all about Britni Tantalo starting on page .
PLUS, you won’t want to miss our special feature on actor,and author, the incredible Michael Berryman. He get’s “raw” in his interview with writer Tammy Vreeland in this exclusive about his book just for Rochester Woman Online!
Did you know Rochester Woman is so much more then just an online publication? We host events, provide branding and marketing for clients, do LIVE video showcases and more. We are all about providing our community of women everything they need to be successful!
Know someone who would be perfect for a cover, a feature, or a spotlight? Do you have a business that is you want tot promote to an audience of over 100k? CONTACT ME TODAY at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KellyON OUR COVER
On the May 2023 cover, we have the “Power Woman of Cannabis”, Britni Tantalo photographed by Julie Oldfield on location at Honest Pharm Co.
“A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.”
Help give human trafficking survivors a second chance
Miss Julie's School of Beauty is working to open a cosmetology school to offer vocational training to survivors of human trafficking, helping them build new skills and find fulfilling careers in the beauty industry. But we need your help to fund this critical work Your support can make a real difference, helping impact the lives of those who have suffered and eagerly desire to build a new life
Join us in our mission to positively influence the lives of survivors of human trafficking. Together we can open our doors and provide these survivors with the tools and resources they need to thrive
CREATIVE DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGN
Marisa Zeppieri & Christine Piacentino
Dr Tunya Griffin
Denise “Karma” Clifford
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR
WEB DESIGN & MANAGEMENT
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 email@example.com. Download our current media kit at www.rochesterwomanonline.com
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.
A CONTEMPORARY EVENT1900 EMPIRE BLVD #630, WEBSTER, NY 14580
AND PERFORMANCE VENUE
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
BRITNI TANTALOBY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
Who is Britni Tantalo? Well, Rochester Woman Online has had the opportunity to follow this Rochester native, mother of two small children ages 3 and 5, a wife and owner of multiple businesses within the cannabis industry for over a year now. We have had the pleasure of not only watching her grow professionally, but also as joining her as she is breaking the glass ceilings of the cannabis world to become one of the “Power Women in Cannabis”.
Britni attended the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and received her bachelor’s in Finance with a focus in economics and her MBA from St. John Fisher University in accounting. Her professional background actually started in corporate as she worked in various financial positions and as a public tax accountant. For the past decade she have actively pursued business ventures in the cannabis industry and is one of the top females in New York State in the industry.
We sat down with Britni and asked her some questions we thought our audience would be interested in knowing. Here is what she had to say.
How did you get started in Cannabis?
Personally, I’ve been a cannabis user since my teens years. I have always seen cannabis as a healing plant as I experienced severe anxiety as a young adult and it helped me to mitigatePHOTOS BY JULIE OLDFIELD
that feeling. My quality of life was much better due to my cannabis use. Fast forward to 2014, I found myself very unhappy in the corporate world. The inequalities that existed regarding women and men in the workforce were apparent and it was very difficult to navigate. It was clear the glass ceiling existed and that my success was not
throughout the country. In 2021, my husband and I opened Flower City Hydroponics in Fairport, New York, a retail indoor/outdoor grow store. We provide all equipment and supplies needed for indoor/outdoor home or commercial cannabis cultivation. We are both also a NYS conditional adult use retail dispensary woman minority applicant, Flower City Dispensary. We hope to obtain a license in the finger lakes region of the state. Most recently, I am also the co-founder and CEO of the New York CAURD Coalition. We are an organization that provides access to resources and a direct channel of communication across the entire supply chain within cannabis for free to ensure an equitable, sustainable and thriving industry.
necessarily determined by my own merit. Looking for a way to pivot, my husband and I decided to start our first business within the cannabis industry MetaVega Corporation. MetaVega Corporation manufactures and wholesales indoor growing equipment and supplies to hydroponic stores and smoke shops
The real question is why not cannabis? I wake up everyday knowing that I am helping others. At Flower City Hydroponics I am able to provide access to cannabis cultivation equipment and supplies to help medical patients grow their medicine. This medicine provides them with a better quality of life whether it be from physical, emotional or mental aliments and/or conditions. I’m working so hard to obtain a retail dispensary license as Flower City Dispensary to bring safe, lab tested, regulated cannabis to our community. This will provide career opportunities, tax revenue for
The cannabis industry empowers women here in New York because the MRTA was written to allocate at least 50% of all licenses within the cannabis industry to women and minorities. There will also hopefully be
to build a specific women’s committee that focuses on helping women to transition into legal cannabis. It also provides women the opportunity to build relationships with other like minded women that are already in the
We as women in this space tend not to be asked to share our stories or are given the platform to do so. There needs to be more emphasis on the contributions of women in the space.
“We as WOMEN in this space tend not to be asked to share our stories, or are given the PLATFORM to do so. There needs to be more emphasis on the CONTRIBUTIONS of women in the space. ”
What are the healing benefits of your path?
Healing is a huge part of why I have cannabis be a part of my life and why I hope to help normalize it’s use. It has been scientifically proven that the cannabis plant offers many medicinal benefits to our bodies. There are many components such as CBD, THC, CBG and CBN that all offer an array of medical benefits from reducing anxiety to helping curb nausea and even reduce inflammation. I believe it’s super important that we focus on alternative medicines that removes us from the use of big pharma drugs to help provide relief for others to achieve a higher quality of life.
What are some major roadblocks you have had to face?
Some of the major road blocks that I have had to face within the cannabis industry are access to capital, equal representation and equal access to resources. Raising capital in any industry is difficult for women as statistically we are less likely than men to get a loan to start a business. This rings true in cannabis as well. Most if not all other women CAURD have had issues obtaining capital to fund their business from outside investors. Also having fair representation is difficult for women across the board in cannabis as we tend not be highlighted or brought to the front as our male counterparts. Most stories that are told or that the media covers are not those of women in the space. As well as the lack of leadership positions that are held by women in cannabis. These factors impact our ability to be seen in the space. Lastly, access to resources has been difficult as the number of women to be licensed within the first two rounds totaled less
than 10% each round. The resources that are being provided to CAURD license holders are not being made as accessible with such low licenses being issued to women. We must break down these road blocks so that women have the same equal opportunities as men within any industry you are in.
How has the Cannabis industry shaped you as a female leader?
Cannabis has helped me to better understand myself and other women at the same time. Navigating a very infant and volatile market is challenging all on its own but, when you add in being a woman and/or woman minority you begin to see and experience the repression that exists within the space. You realize it’s hard to relate or gain stability until you link with other like minded, powerful, remarkable women who want to strategize, build and uplift other women. To the contrary of what most might believe there are so many women out there that believe in this ideology. This is what cannabis has amplified for me. I’ve always been a person to believe in true sisterhood but being in this industry has shown me to take it to another level. It’s important we have representation in various spaces of the industry and we must work together to ensure this happens. Women must collaborate over complete so we can continue to thrive and achieve wealth by creating strong networks and trust for one another.
What keeps you going as a leader in Cannabis?
What keeps me going as a leader in cannabis is my family and the cannabis community. I’ve been very lucky to be
a wife to my amazing husband Jayson as well as, have two beautiful small children with him. Everyday is about them and that’s what truly fuels me. Also it’s the amazing people that I have had the opportunity to get to know and work with that compel me to not give up. Their journeys have truly touch my life and have taught me so much. Being the co-founder of the New York CAURD Coalition has been a blessing to my life because it allowed me to better understand the big picture of what New York legal cannabis should look like or be. I am forever grateful.
What are some words of advice you have for other women who want to enter into the Cannabis industry? Advice that I would give other women entering the cannabis space is that make sure you do your research on everything as this market is so new and it changes fast (especially regulations). Make sure you are connecting with other women in the industry. Make sure you are attending cannabis events and become a part of cannabis organizations. Be aware of predatory actions as it exists in cannabis just like any other industry. Lastly, be ready to work hard, get no sleep, to be all in and fully committed to taking the risk of entering cannabis. It’s not an easy road or for everyone but the opportunities are endless.
What have you learned along your path that you want to pay forward to the younger generations?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that empowered women empower women! We must breakdown the horrible mentality of division and competition amongst one another. The younger you
“Navigating a very infant and volatile market is challenging all on its own but, when you add in being a woman and/or woman minority you begin to see and experience the repression that exists within the space.”
tare to recognize this the better off all women will be. We must begin with changing our own actions and then teaching our daughters and the next generation of women entrepreneurs the same. We are truly stronger together.
What do you want to leave as your legacy?
I hope to leave as my legacy that I was a woman who gave back to my community. That I was someone who helped many other women along my own journey to achieve their dreams as well. That I was able to create opportunities for women that did not exist before. That I was able to at least make the road a little easier to travel down for those that come after me.
Despite starting off on the right foot,
the cannabis industry has proven to be no different than other industries in that it is difficult for women to get ahead. How has is especially been working in NYS?
What is the best part of being a woman pioneering the cannabis industry? One of the best parts of being a women pioneering the cannabis industry is that I am able to help build and shape what cannabis will look like for women years from now. Although it’s an ever changing industry it’s neat to think so many fundamental changes will occur from the foundation that I’m helping to build. My contributions to ensure that women have access to resources, access to capital, fair representation, access to a network of other women, etc. are what so many other amazing
women will continue to build off of long after my time here on this earth.
Who inspires you to keep going, even when things aren’t easy?
When things aren’t easy in my life I draw my inspiration from my mother. I unexpectedly lost her about a year and a half ago. This moment was the most devastating moment of my life. She was my best friend, my biggest fan and gave me an unconditional love that could never be measured. She was a remarkable women who lived her life with integrity, intelligence and she always believed in helping others. She taught me everything I know and guided me to be who I am today. I watched her overcome tremendous struggles as an immigrant from South Korea. She had to navigate an unknown culture as well as
“The cannabis industry empowers women here in New York because the MRTA was written to allocate at least 50% of all licenses within the cannabis industry to women and minorities.”
try and build a business in construction based off of my fathers professional trade skills. I watched her break glass ceilings in the male dominated industry of construction. She grew from a small residential construction company to retiring as the leading woman minority contractor for the federal government at that time. I aspire to be a fraction of who she was as she leaves behind a legacy of hard work, tenacity, success and giving back to her community. This is how I know I can make it through when things aren’t easy, her strength will forever be instilled in me.
Tell us 3 words that describe you and why.
Family - Because it’s the most important thing to me in this world. Everyday I live for them and they drive me to succeed in whatever I do.
Integrity - I believe it’s crucial that your actions are that of honesty, trustworthiness and of high morals. Whether it’s my personal life or business life I hold myself to a high standard of integrity.
Community - The community you are a part of is a part of who you are. I believe it’s important to always ensure that the community you are a part of thrives and that we must do our part to contribute to it. In all my businesses community reinvestment is at the heart of it. Through educational pathways, access to resources, workforce development opportunities and tax revenue reinvestment I am able to help rebuild my community.
How do you feel you play a role in evolving the cannibus industry for women?
I believe I play a few different roles in evolving the cannabis industry for women. The main role I play is that I am one of the few first ever women minority conditional adult use retail dispensary (CAURD) applicants in New York State. Being one of the very few women to have a cannabis conviction and also show two years of profitable experience shows how my role will be a part of evolving what a cannabis dispensary owner would look like or be. These were the two main requirements to qualify for the CAURD program in NYS which would potentially allow you to be first to market to open a dispensary in your selected region. My participation and the other few women that also participated ensures we as women have a seat at the table to ensure future evolution of our presence in the space. The second role I play is as the CEO and Co-founder of the New York CAURD Coalition. Myself and fellow woman minority CAURD applicant and coalition member, Venus Rodriguez have started a women’s committee within the organization that will provide representation, access to resources and a network of other amazing cannabis women to work with. This is how we help women to evolve, we invest in them, we guide them and we provide roads to opportunities for them.
If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say?
Five non-intuitive things you should know to succeed in cannabis are:
-Understand cannabis regulations and compliance. Most would think this is a given but the truth is regulations
are complex and hard to understand so most avoid them but they are very important to the success of your business in cannabis.
-Know your local municipalities stance on cannabis.
-The free services that are made available locally for cannabis businesses through organizations such as the Business Insight Center in downtown Rochester.
-Know who your local government officials are within the cannabis industry to create an open dialogue for the impact you want to have in your community through cannabis.
-Build a relationship with your community by helping to educate them on cannabis and the consumption of cannabis. This in turn will create a normalized and safe cannabis industry.
What have you found to be the best platform for getting your business and industry out to the public?
Honestly, it’s really been social media and engaging with my community by speaking on panels or attending other women events in my community. It’s about showing up and networking to let people know who you are and what your doing. You have to put the work in to know your audience and once you know it you go full force in showing them who you are.
How have you had to get “creative” in your marketing approach and has it worked?
It’s important to be creative for sure when it comes to marketing but it’s also
“It was clear the glass ceiling existed and that my success was not necessarily determined by my own merit. Looking for a way to pivot, my husband and I decided to start our first business within the cannabis industry MetaVega Corporation.”
equally important to be authentic. For me, I have always just remained true to myself and that has served me well. I believe if your message remains authentic then people will receive it the way you intend it to as well as really understand what your business is trying to achieve.
Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5years?
In the next 3-5 years I see myself and husband running one of the first ever women minority owned recreational cannabis dispensary’s in the finger lakes region of New York. I see us providing career opportunities to women in our
local community. I see us reinvesting back into our community through the tax dollars our dispensary generates. My hope is that economically our communities benefit from the newly emerging cannabis industry.
“The real question is why not cannabis? I wake up everyday knowing that I am helping others.”
YOU ARE ENOUGH.BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
As I have mentioned in several of my previous interviews, attending a con (a convention with a theme in which we, the patrons, get a glimpse of stars we know and love) can be such an amazing moment in time!
There’s the anticipation as you wait in line beside people who add to your nervous excitement while waiting for their own turn. Then you have the intense focus of your attention to absorb as much as you can from the other’s interactions with the star you love ahead of you!
Before you know it, it’s your turn to bask in this soft shine from the star you came to see in daylight! But what will you do with your brief time?
As you approach the table and the euphoria overcomes you, your mind races as you try to figure out what to say or ask that hasn’t already been said or asked before!
You desperately want this star to see you and shine down on you and only you! A moment in time you will always treasure. A story to brag about to your friends and family later.
However, sometimes we may forget this brilliant star in front of us, as talented as they are, is human too. Have friends and families of their own. And yes, they have had their own trials and tribulations.BY TAMMY VREELAND
I have always been a firm believer that a movie or TV show does not define an actor. Even though we may try to identify with their character in our own lives, is it not what the actor has brought with them that actually attributes to their character?
given this opportunity, lets you see a glimpse of his essence. And let me tell you, the shine that he bestows on you will never dim or fade! His smile is beautiful and contagious. It’s as if he charges the shine we all have inside us!
Let me introduce you to Mr. Michael Berryman. You will know him from his roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Hills Have Eyes, Star Trek, and The X-Files, to name a few.
At the latest NJ Horror Con in AC, I was determined to meet Mr. Berryman! I had the very same nervous anticipation as others around me. My turn came, and as I looked down on his table and saw all these wonderful headshots from the movies and TV shows I grew up with, the one thing that drew my attention the most... was a single hardback book entitled “It’s all good!”
I knew then exactly how I wanted to spend my precious moments with him! Little did I know, that book would reveal more about him than I could have ever dared hope for!
Personally, I love to spend my precious moments with these stars, trying to get a glimpse of their essence. Not so much the stories they were cast in, but what makes them shine so brilliantly as a person?
This next interview I have for you, which is such an honor for me to be
Let’s let him give you a glimpse of his new book, “It’s all good!”
Tammy - Thank you, Michael, for giving our readers a chance to know more about you. We have so much to cover! Speaking of cover, let’s talk about the cover of your book “It’s
“Thank you, Michael, for giving our readers a chance to know more about you. We have so much to cover! Speaking of cover, let’s talk about the cover of your book “It’s all good!””
I have to say, it intrigued me right from the beginning! Can you tell us about the cover and why you chose it?
Michael - At first I had planned on doing a head shot, but I wasn’t really happy with that idea. I started going through family photos I had inherited and I came across this photo of my sister, my father, and myself. Knowing how I wanted to portray my story, seen through the eyes of this small boy, it fit.
Tammy - I think it’s perfect! You can just feel the love it emits. Your father is so handsome, strong, and protective. While your sister and you look so happy and loved. A picture that so many of us may have of our own.
Already we feel ourselves identifying with you, but this time not as a character in a movie or TV show. But as a sweet, innocent child with a full life ahead of them!
I opened your book, and your very first sentence is (and I quote) “As a story has a beginning, so do our lives.” I love that! A perfect way to lead in to telling your story!
But before we get into your story, I’m curious: did you write this book yourself?
Michael - Every word! When I had to dance the dance with the literary agent and co-writer, it got to a point where it was obvious to me they were going to change the narrative.
They were going to change the feel and perspective of the young boy’s life. They wanted a movie star story.
After going back and forth over a year, I said no. I am taking full control over it. I wrote every word myself.
Tammy - I am so impressed that you did! Too often, stars have ghostwriters write their books, and though they still may be interesting, having a star write their own book lets us actually see it through their own eyes!
Michael - That is correct. That is exactly the way I describe in the beginning. I invite you into the young boy’s mind. I want you to be comfortable in a theater chair inside his head, experiencing through his eyes, so you get the emotional context, not content - context.
Tammy - And it’s raw.
Michael - Very raw.
Tammy - Let’s talk about the beginning of your life.
Michael -My father was at ground zero in Hiroshima. The reason he was there was to see the effects radiation from nuclear weapons would have on people.
Ironically, he found that out, in a bittersweet manner, by having a premature son with multiple birth defects. He soon realized my skull was fused; I would go blind and soon die.
My first grade class room was having my skull reconstructed so I could survive.
Tammy - You discussed the medical issues you had as a child in the very first chapter. You lay it all out for us to see. Heart wrenching! Not only as a person who is trying to wrap our minds around all that you went through, but also as a parent!
And I think even more so because your parents were so hands on with your treatments. Your father is there for you as a neurosurgeon, during your own surgery! Your mother there as a nurse caring for you not only as a patient but as her own child!
Most parents come in after their child is all cleaned up and taken care of, but they were there with you for all the stages of these amazing medical procedures that allowed you to be with us today. I can’t even imagine their pain of seeing you going through all that you did!
I mean, just look at this little boy on the cover. How could they not? That beautiful care free smile. It just makes me want to scoop him up, protect him and give him the most I can and they did! It’s obvious through your smile from then and now!
Michael - My mother had the emotional burden of giving birth to a premature child. My father, the idea during surgery, is my child going to live? They were wondering, I’m sure, one how to proceed? Two,
“After going back and forth over a year, I said no. I am taking full control over it. I wrote every word myself.”
“Already we feel ourselves identifying with you, but this time not as a character in a movie or TV show. But as a sweet, innocent child with a full life ahead of them!”
I know they were trying to deal with not just grief but responsibility.
Responsibility went beyond the family realm. Its axis painted a picture of a war. A horrible, terrible war. My father brought home pictures of vaporized shadows that used to be humans. This touched him deeply. We had many conversations about that.
Tammy - And yet, the outlook you had as a child, through your eyes, is so uplifting, innocent and inspiring! My heart ached for you, but your tone was just as you titled the book,
“It’s all good!”
I have to know, was there any time you were angry to why this happened to you?
Michael - I was never angry about my situation. I never felt that I was cheated. I never felt like I was being punished. I never felt resentment. Because I knew that there were people who also had syndromes that were challenging.
I mention Billy in the book. Billy had polio. I mention how I was
angry not that he had polio, but I was angry at the people who were ignorant, disrespectful, and mean. At a very, very early age, I was repulsed at insensitivity on purpose.
Things happen and you have to ask yourself, are they doing this out of ignorance and what they have been taught, or are they doing this out of spite and to cause harm?
Those ethics came with me at a very early age from my mother, my father, my nana Sophie and my aunt Peggy. Compassion and walk a mile in their
‘ Your upbringing is so commendable! For you to have the ability to question people’s motives before you assume… it’s admirable!”
shoes became a precept and a theme for me.
Tammy - I admire that about you! Because you are able to be reasonable, forgiving, and understanding of one’s actions. Your upbringing is so commendable! For you to have the ability to question people’s motives before you assume… it’s admirable!
You proceed to tell us about your school life. We all know how hard childhood can be, even without adding medical hardships to it. But your school life was unlike the public school life I had grown up in.
Giving some of us even more glimpses of a life style we may not have known about. Unusual rewards, in forms of graphic cards for such a tender age, to physical punishments.
Did this school life that was chosen for you seem normal to you as a child, since you had nothing to compare it to? Or did you sense or have an intuitiveness that it may be different from what other school environments were like?
Michael - I describe how I witnessed in the classroom and the nuns, striking children with wooden pointers. Graphic Holy cards in grammar school. I started seeing a sense of hypocrisy.
Tammy - This next subject was hard for me to read and, I’m sure, even harder for you to reveal. And yet you did. I am so proud of you for doing
so, and I admire you for revealing something so personal to help and protect our children.
You call it “betrayal”. And yet, I don’t think there is one word that exists that can encompass all that you endured. The fear, the unknown, being trapped by an upbringing of being respectful but still sensing the situation was wrong.
Then to reveal the incident in hopes of trying to understand all those feelings, only to be punished. And yet, you were forgiving and tried to understand the reason for the reaction of the reveal.
What would be your advice to parents when a child reveals to them such a traumatic event?
Michael - Honesty. Protection. Not retaliation. But take the person to the pulpit, so to speak. It’s like watching someone being attacked and everyone is gawking and no one is intervening.
Those are the type of scenarios that I could never not engage in. I try to assist, to save others. That would be more important to me than trying to save myself.
I knew my lot in life would be forever different, and I didn’t know how to protect or save myself. I just knew that the humanity that is in all of us. Some of the things I learned in Catholicism stuck with me as bright gems of truth. But the Dogma is the evil entity.
Tammy - ‘The Dogma is the evil entity’. Honestly, and I am showing my naivety here, I had heard Dogma referenced before, and sort of knew its meaning from context, but I really didn’t know for sure what the word meant.
So, I looked it up. I’m not lying and I’m not ashamed. I really wanted to know what it meant. And I’m glad I did because when you said that sentence to me, just now, you said it with such conviction! So much power and feeling went into that sentence from you!
Dogma’s definition is (for ones who may think they know but aren’t sure): a principal or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly (not able to be denied or disputed) true. Then I instantly knew what you meant!
I can’t thank you enough for sharing. The innocence of childhood should be protected at all costs, and knowledge gives us the power to do so. Your resilience amazes me!
Not only were there major medical challenges for you to overcome.
There was an ideology that encompassed you and your family. A horrific war you grew up knowing about while most of us growing up, were sheltered from until much later in life for a brief moment in a history class!
Then to be thrown into theology,
“I knew my lot in life would be forever different, and I didn’t know how to protect or save myself. I just knew that the humanity that is in all of us.”
where you miraculously to this day can still find bright gems of truth from. All of this and you still have half a book left to go!
Without revealing too much more, I wanted to talk about your adventures at the beach. The incredible things you experienced in the ocean. Your ability to see beauty in the surrounding nature.
Unfortunately, too many of us get caught up today with the economy, stress of mortgages, bills and ‘stuff’. And yet, I think we forget the age-old saying ‘the best things in life are free’.
What are your thoughts on how people can see the beauty that you do?
Michael - You should be childlike. Not childish. And childlike to me is a description of almost a virgin mind experiencing something majestic for the first time. It has an effect on you.
The effect has an affect. By that I mean an appreciation of why does it make you feel the way you do? If it does not make you feel, it’s not a why, but a question of how do you embrace this experience? You embrace the experience if the experience is not contrived.
And that is how nature is. Nature is not contrived. We are part of nature. That being said, it’s like a touch stone that we should always remember that we are a part of.
Spirit, body, mind and the physical
body. They all work together, but anytime I had doubts about behavior, so to speak, I would always reflect on nature and how they do things.
For instance, if there is a pack of animals and one of them is born different, they don’t send them off to die. They are still part of the pack. There is no physical perfection in this life.
Tammy –I have to say I feel childlike around you right now! I find you so very interesting! And your intellect, honestly, is challenging to me but refreshing. And I mean that in the highest complimentary form.
I truly feel I could be a sponge right now, soaking this all up! I know that was a bit random and I apologize. However, I want our readers to realize these are your words you are speaking to me right now.
It didn’t take a staff of writers and several re-writes. I had the honor of having you speak to me here for thirty-six minutes and every minute was powerful, intelligent, and raw! That is exactly how your book reads!
There are so many more things I would love to go over with you that are in the book, but I’m a firm believer in not revealing spoilers. Even though we did reference items in your book, I believe it will merely whet our audience’s appetite to want to find out more about this precious little boy’s life!
Thank you so much for giving me a front-row seat. It will be something I will always cherish!
I’m sure our readers are anxious to know where they can purchase this amazing book and get their own front row seats! Mind giving us the details?
Michael - It is on Amazon. Currently being processed into Barnes & Nobles and an audio version is in the works. They can also find me on FaceBook and TikTok as well.
Tammy – I have read the book “It’s all good!” by Michael Berryman, and as I said at the beginning, I had no idea there was a book out there that satisfied my thirst to know more about this star I grew up with at the movies and on TV.
I was pleasantly surprised to be able to read it, knowing it was in his own words, and to see his life through his eyes as he grew into the icon we all know and love.
I encourage all of you to pick it up, but know this: it will be hard to put down! It will tug at your heartstrings but inspire you in the same breath.
It gives you a new perspective on your own issues, and in the end, you realize, “It’s all good!”
“I have read the book “It’s all good!” by Michael Berryman, and as I said at the beginning, I had no idea there was a book out there that satisfied my thirst to know more about this star I grew up with at the movies and on TV.”
Embark on Your Longevity Quest: Myths and Facts About Anti-AgingBY LISA IRELAND
True or false: Human beings can live forever.
You may be familiar with the tale of Nicolas Flamel and the philosopher’s stone. His desire to live forever earned him a reputation as an alchemist. While today’s anti-aging pursuits are far more science-based, living longer remains a core human desire. We can’t live forever, but the longevity field is helping us live longer and better.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
Longevity science is a steadily growing field of research and development. As we integrate new technologies, scientists are closer than ever to longevity breakthroughs. Navigating the longevity space can be difficult. Here’s a quick overview of myths and facts to support your longevity journey.
Myth: Extending the human lifespan is impossible.
Scientists worldwide are exploring human biology to understand why and how we age. For example, medicines are in development to return “aged” cells to a younger state. This is called cellular rejuvenation.
We’ve already made tremendous progress in anti-aging efforts. Basic sanitary guidelines have already extended the human lifespan considerably. Think of polio vaccines, handwashing, and antibiotics. Living past 40 was a big deal for people 150 years ago. Similarly, science and technology will continue supporting tomorrow’s life expectancy.
Fact: Longevity researchers believe longer lives are attainable. Predicting the added years is difficult, but antiaging breakthroughs are within reach. Myth: Living longer is the only goal of longevity researchers.
Longevity is a diverse sector. We understand the art world to include sculptures, street murals, digital galleries, and more. Longevity is just as broad. To start diagnostics help detect diseases earlier. New blood tests and AI tools can identify illnesses before they reach severe stages. Better treatments with fewer side effects are also essential.
While longer lives are desirable, these added years should be healthy ones.
Myth: Scientists are working on a pill that will make everyone live five years longer.
As explored above, longevity involves a lot more than just life extension. There will be no “silver bullet” cure for aging because all bodies are different. We all have one-of-a-kind genetics and biological profiles. If you’ve ever taken an at-home DNA test like 23AndMe, you will know how unique your background is.
Age-related diseases play a significant role in the longevity sector. Treating illnesses like Alzheimer’s will maintain patients’ quality of life. Mental wellbeing is also an industry priority. New treatments will support mental health and provide valuable insights into brain health and aging.
Fact: Longevity is more than just added years. The longevity field includes areas like diagnostics to support healthier lives.
Instead, living longer will combine lifestyle adjustments (sleep, diet, and exercise), medical treatments, and monitoring with a physician. Treatment plans will depend on your health history and personal goals. New research and treatments will empower you to make decisions that support your ideal longevity.
Fact: There is no “cure” for aging. Longevity treatments will focus on personalized care and working with your unique health history.
Myth: There is no way to tell how an individual is aging.
The longevity space may seem complicated because it is hard to know how our bodies age at a cellular level. While birthdays help us track
“Fact: Organizations like the Longevity Science Foundation are making longevity accessible. Everyone deserves more happy and healthy years.”
physical age, our internal age is not as easily readable. Luckily, physicians can monitor it using simple tests. Measurements like cholesterol, heart rate, and sleep quality all offer insights into physical performance. Programs called aging clocks analyze these metrics to generate a single numerical score. Your physical age could be 45, while your biological age is 52.
Aging clocks will be valuable resources in testing potential longevity treatments. Researchers can compare aging clock results pre- and post-intervention to determine the impact of a medicine or lifestyle change. They also offer insights into personalized preventative measures. You can easily see what areas to focus on, whether through regular testing to monitor progress
“Fact: There is no “cure” for aging. Longevity treatments will focus on personalized care and working with your unique health history.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Who is Jennifer Savastino?
I was born and raised in Syracuse NY, and I am a graduate of West Genesee High in 1990 and received my Bachelor of Science and my MBA from Lemoyne College. I’m a mom of three boys, one biological and two bonus and are all grown men now. Colin is one of our lead technicians at Gannon Pest Control, Daniel is Autistic and living his best life at home with me, and Joshua (my baby), is enjoying life in the US Navy out in California. I enjoy spending time with my family, my longtime partner Greg, and the many amazing people I am blessed to call friends. I am a Director with Syracuse Challenger Baseball, the largest Special Needs Baseball league in the country, on the Board of 100 Women Who Care of CNY and provide help and assistance with many other amazing not for profits in the Syracuse area.
How did you become the owner of Gannon Pest Control?
In 1997 my stepfather was the city fireman in Syracuse and he also worked as the pest control technician with another firefighter named Eddie Gannon who owned Gannon Pest Control. At the time Gannon Pest Control was a small company with just a couple of technicians that was run out of the back of Eddie’s house. When Eddie was retiring he asked my stepfather if he wanted to buy it
and Billy asked me if I wanted to do it with him, so we bought Gannon pest control and moved into the back of my parents’ house in Solvay in December of 1997
What does the word “hustle” mean to you?
Hustle has taken many different definitions for me over the years.
let’s take it has taken of. Tell us a little bit about your vision for your business, and what it means to you to be a female entrepreneur. I think my vision is exactly what we’re doing; we provide an excellent service to our community both residential homes and commercial businesses; we have an awesome staff that has become like family that we provide a good wage to and a comfortable place to work. I’m not looking to expand or be the best pest control company in the world or the biggest or anything like that, I think we have a great little business surrounded by amazing people in our little corner of the world.
Who are some of the strong women that you feel have inspired you throughout your career?
When I was younger hustle was all about being everything to everyone and doing everything for everyone. If I didn’t do everything, or I said no, I felt like a failure. Over the years as I have learned that a you can’t be everything to everyone or you will crash and burn hard and that not everyone is worth being everything for; hustle has become doing the best I can for the things that bring me passion and those that I love so
Hmmmm, I have met many amazing business women throughout my career, but my inspiration comes from the strongest women I know, my grandmother and her sisters, my mom and my Aunt Sally. These women were not business women, but they taught me how to handle most situations with grace & dignity, how to make sure everyone you love know they are loved, and to always stand by your family. I am who I am today because of these extraordinary women. I no longer have my Grandmother, Great Aunts or Mom in my life but the lessons they taught me will never leave me.
“I am a Director with Syracuse Challenger Baseball, the largest Special Needs Baseball league in the country, on the Board of 100 Women Who Care of CNY and provide help and assistance with many other amazing not for profits in the Syracuse area.”
What do you feel is the real key to women empowering other women?
I think the biggest key to empowering women is just being there. Too often when someone comes to us with their struggle or a problem, we try to fix it. We try to offer advice on what they should do; but I don’t think that’s what most of us need. Most of us need someone who is there to allow us to vent and work through ideas and find a solution on our own. So empowering women comes from being there, supporting them and giving them the space to be their own person and to make their own choices good or bad.
When and how did the entrepreneur bug bite you?
I really do not know, the opportunity to purchase Gannon Pest Control just fell into my lap and, in the beginning, I really did not have any intention of it becoming the size it is today. I just saw it as a side hustle while I worked my corporate job. But once I saw it growing and the impact we could have, I was hooked.
How do you juggle the hectic schedule and balancing your professional life with your family life?
The one thing I’ve learned about work and family over the years is there is no balance. Either you are focused on the kids, the business or losing sleep! Which the latter is what mostly suffered when my kids were growing up. I was fortunate that we have always had an excellent staff so that I could be home to get my kids off the bus or not be concerned about
snow days or sick days and I could bring them into work with me if I needed to. I would catch up with work at night after they went to bed. But that’s how the balance happens if you want to be there for your kids and be that mom; either your work is going to suffer or you’re going to find different hours in the day to get your work done. I will never complain or feel bad about any of the choices I made as my kids were growing up and I was growing my business because I was very fortunate that I had that flexibility with the business so that I could be the mom I wanted to be. And I will fully admit that I miss those days of the craziness!
What are some of the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, especially in a male dominated field? The cons have definitely decreased in 25 years! As a 25 year old woman entering the pest control field, not many took me seriously. There were even times when someone asked if I had to check with “my husband” for permission! But, I think the biggest “pro” is the element of surprise. For those that make assumptions about my lack of knowledge or ability because of my gender, it is always fun to prove them wrong.
What do you feel sets you apart from others in your business and makes you so successful?
I definitely think it is our people. From the person that answers the phone, to the technician that does the service, our team cares about our customers. They are dedicated to the
mission of Gannon Pest Control and always take the extra step to ensure that everyone is getting excellent service.
What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten?
Surround yourself with talented people.
If you had to pick one service that you offer that you would consider your “specialty” what would it be and why?
Our Spring exterior services for homes. This product is definitely our most popular as it gives homeowners the piece of mind that if they get a stinging insect nest, ants or spiders, we come back and take care of it at no additional cost. Most of our products are designed as “prevention” instead of “reaction”. This allows families to know what their pest control costs are for the year (in most cases) rather than being hit with an unexpected large bill.
What’s the most important risk you ever taken? How did it play out for you?
Besides buying a pest control company at 25 years old with no experience in the business??? Seriously, I think that is the most important and the best risk I have ever taken. When we bought the company in 1997 it had $75,000 in sales on the books and 2 employees. Today we have over 20 employees on average and over $2 Million in sales.
“In 1997 my stepfather was the city fireman in Syracuse and he also worked as the pest control technician with another firefighter named Eddie Gannon who owned Gannon pest control.”
What’s the most important risk you ever taken? How did it play out for you?
Besides buying a pest control company at 25 years old with no experience in the business??? Seriously, I think that is the most important and the best risk I have ever taken. When we bought the company in 1997 it had $75,000 in sales on the books and 2 employees. Today we have over 20 employees on average and over $2 Million in sales.
How do you continue to constantly grow both personally and professionally? What have been some things that have worked well for you, and some that have not.
By following the advice I received in the earlier question. I surround myself with good people; both professionally and personally. Professionally I belong to the Syracuse Chapter of the Women Presidents Organization, this organization and the women in it are an amazing support group that reminds me every month that I am not alone and; regardless of business size; we all have the same concerns and issues. I also feel the work I do with local non-profits helps to keep me grounded and always understanding that everyone has their own story or journey and we cannot judge.
Personally, I have an amazing and diverse group of friends and family.
I am thankful that I am surrounded by those that support me and cheer me on (even when my opinion or choice might be different than theirs)
What have you found to be challenging in your business especially during the past few years? The supply chain issue hit our industry hard. We had to do a lot more early or bulk ordering of products or trying new or different products because we could not get a lot of the items that were readily available. That and staffing; we hire seasonal staff for the spring and summer and that has been significantly more challenging the last couple of years.
“So, empowering women comes from being there, supporting them and giving them the space to be their own person and to make their own choices good or bad.”
What is your vision for the future?
Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years? What about 5 years? I am only 50 years old, probably doing the same thing as today but with a little less hands on in the business. I am learning to be better at delegating and I have an amazing Operations Manager; Courtney, that I hired 5 years ago and she is taking over much more of the day to day of Gannon Pest Control. Greg & I are talking about a house somewhere warm that we can visit throughout the year… who knows??
What do you think is the biggest problem facing young entrepreneurs, especially females today?
I think the idea that they need to look or act a certain way. Young women need to find their own truth and stay true to that. If those around you do not agree or expect you to change, then it is time to find a new circle. We live in a time that women can literally be anything they want to be but yet it seems that more & more they want to follow the crowd and be like everyone else. We need to teach our daughters & nieces that it is totally ok to be an individual and speak their own truth.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
See the answer to the above question. Stop trying to please the world; especially at the expense of your own happiness
Does your family support you and your business journey?
We are a family business so yes. My step father is still involved, my
What has been the most successful form of referrals for your business?
Word of mouth and personal recommendations.
How do you stay ahead in the industry?
A lot of reading, listening to customers and constant communication with vendors and product manufacturers. Our technicians that hold Commercial Applicator licenses are required to obtain continuing education credits but we also have our apprentices and office staff sit in on a lot of those trainings in order to enhance everyone’s education. Tell our audience something people may not know about you?
I recently started Yoga Teacher Training and will be a Certified Yoga Teacher in June of this year.
brother, cousin and son are all involved and even my sister in law (different brother) is now a part of our team. Greg, my long time boyfriend, is also an entrepreneur and he “get it”; it is wonderful to be with someone that understands the responsibilities and stressors of owning your own business.
“I have met many amazing business women through my career but my inspiration comes from the strongest women I know, my grandmother and her sisters, my mom and my aunt Sally.”
YOU ARE ENOUGH.BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I have been a single mom for 38 years. I have a 45-year-old son, 39-year-old daughter and 5 amazing grandchildren. I started college at age 32. Went on to become a teacher, principal and worked in Private education at the college level.
How were you introduced to UR Worth It products?
A dear friend of mine was always checking on me during my cancer journey, She called me up last March and told me of the amazing progress her husband was having with Vitality. He was on disability for migraines and because of this product he was getting off disability!
I knew I had to try it and she sent me some samples in the mail.
Tell us a little bit about them, and how they made you feel. Why did you decide to use them?
UR Worth It offers 5 products. The flagship product is Vitality, then there is Zingaburn, Energizer, Slumber Party and UR Illuminating skin serum. The proprietary ingredient in these products is Mito Prime. Mito Prime protects the total cell from the full array of damaging agents. I started taking Vitality based on my friend Laura’s recommendation. At this point I couldn’t walk without a cane or a walker, I was very weak, and my balance was way off from
the radiation. I started to notice a difference almost immediately!
Who are the strong women that have inspired you on your journey? I have been blessed with some incredibly strong women in my life. My mom Clara was a single mom and worked 3 jobs to support us. My mother-in-law Rose came here from Ireland and had to get acclimated to an entirely different culture while trying to raise her 5 children with the values that were important to
they are very well educated. Kate is a marathon runner and has run in the Chicago marathon. Kate inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and to try new things! You can teach an old dog new tricks. These 4 women have made me more than I ever imagined I could be.
Tell us about a time in your life that changed you and your perspective on life.
The first was when I became a single mom, and my focus was to support my children the best I could while still being able to spend time with them. This period was survival mode. The second was when I was diagnosed with cancer. Going through that journey taught me how to live!
What has been your biggest hurdle since starting with UR Worth It?
her back in Ireland. My dear friend Barb who promised Rose she would be there for me after my Rose died. Barb loved unconditionally. She was very opinionated and blunt to a fault. The woman who has inspired me most is my daughter Kate. She lives life on her own terms. She is a vegan and she and her husband are raising their children Vegan. Her children do not have iPad or cell phones and do not watch TV. Kate and Mike do activities with their children, and
My biggest hurdle was getting over the mindset that I was too old to do this! At 66 I am just getting started.
Tell us about some of your goals and dreams you want to achieve in the next year.
I have been working out with Rick and Kevin at Brighton Personal Training and have seen huge improvements in my strength and balance. I would like to continue getting healthier and stronger every day. I also want to achieve financial freedom with
“I am done wasting time on BS and drama. I am making my future the best part of my life.”
KATHERINE HENNELLYPHOTOS BY JULIE OLDFIELD
“I help people believe that anything is possible. I have great Faith and live each day as a reflection of that Faith! I genuinely care about people and want to help them reach for their goals. “BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
my UR Worth It business. I want to take my kids and grandkids on a family vacation.
What is the one thing people don’t know about you?
When I was in school, I was painfully shy! I NEVER talked! My nickname was Chatty Kathy because there was no chatting going on. One of my friend’s brothers continually asked if I was OK. People who know me would find this hard to believe.
If you could do one thing you have never done, what would it be and why?
I would love to have my own talk show. My show would focus on inspiring stories of woman that have overcome obstacles! The reason we don’t do the things we dream about is because we let fear keep us from realizing our dreams.
What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten.
My mother-in-law Rose would always tell me to not wish my life away. How many times have we said, “I cant wait!” for something to happen, to be a certain age. She wanted me to understand that we had to live each day God gave us and appreciate gratitude for the present moment.
Whets the most important risk you have taken. Would you do it again?
The biggest risk I have ever taken was going to college for the first time at age 31. As a single mother I realized
I wasn’t going to get far waitressing and bartending. I now have more degrees than a thermometer and have set a great example for my children that hard work pays off. I would do it again in a minute.
How do you continue to grow both personally and professionally? What are some secrets to success?
Now that I have beat cancer, I want to continue to grow and sustain my good health. I want to foster loving relationships with my family and friends. I have learned to create and stick to boundaries. Professionally I have always been a fan of personal development. Some of my favorites are Tony Robbins, Eric Wore, Matthew McConaughey, to name just a few. Every day I work on my mindset and know that positive energy is much more beneficial than negative energy in all areas of life. Some of the secrets to my success is that I will never quit. One day I asked my daughter what my Superpower was, and she said persistence. I also believe in doing the right thing in all situations I encounter personally and professionally.
What is your favorite thing abbot what you are doing?
My passion in life is helping others. Through my UR Worth It business, I am helping people to feel better and be accountable to their own good health. I am helping people supplement their incomes which enables them to pay down debt and take away some of their financial burdens.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently in the last 10 years. I would have planned better in case of emergency events happening in life. I would be better prepared for retirement. I would have taken better care of myself. Better late than never!
What is your favorite product in the UR Worth It line and why?
My favorite product is Vitality. I don’t take any other vitamins. Getting rid of the inflammation in my body. No more aches and pains in my joints, more energy, better sleep, better skin. What is not to love!
How did battling and beating cancer change your outlook on life, business and future?
When my doctor called and told me I had cancer my life was forever changed for the better! No one wants to hear those words. At first, I fell down the rabbit hole, then I made myself climb out. I promised my family I would do everything I could to beat this disease. Did I mention I am incredibly stubborn? Cancer has made me a better person. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I am grateful for each day God gives me. I am done wasting time on BS and drama. I am making my future the best part of my life. My UR Worth It business is the perfect vehicle to share my story and help others with health issues.
What strategies do you find the most beneficial for promoting your business?
“Reject the diet mentality. Restricting doesn’t work.” YOU ARE ENOUGH.
“Now that I have beat cancer, I want to continue to grow and sustain my good health.”
“The biggest risk I have ever taken was going to college for the first time at age 31. As a single mother I realized I wasn’t going to get far waitressing and bartending.”
The best way to promote my business is talking to people one on one or a group of folks in the comfort of their living room. Social media is also a good way to promote my business. The owner of UR Worth It, Chris Atkinson always tells me I need to be out speaking to people. He is right. It is hard to convey my enthusiasm over social media. Once people start using these products and see how well they start feeling they either decide to become involved themselves or refer people to me.
How do you feel you inspire others?
I help people believe that anything is possible. I have great Faith and live
each day as a reflection of that Faith! I genuinely care about people and want to help them reach for their goals. It’s about taking the first step and many people are letting fear dictate what is happening in their lives.
Where we see you next?
I want to continue to grow and develop my UR Worth It business. I also want to start a support network for people going through cancer. The group would consist of people that have battled and won against all kinds of cancer. We would find every resource available to help people through this challenging time. This would be where people would have
someone to listen to what they are going through and be there with a big hug. At times the family is not the best support system as they are trying to deal with their own trauma from finding out their loved one has this disease. We would also have resources for the family. And don’t forget my own talk show!
IN THE BUSYNESS OF A TRADITIONAL DAYBY JOANNE RYAN
YOU ARE ENOUGH.BY NICOLE HEROUX WILLIAMS I PHOTOS BY NSP STUDIO
In the busyness of a traditional day, we navigate our world through increments of time. From the moment we wake up until we sleep again, we face duties and deadlines and use time as a metric for our every move. Even though time passes at a constant rate, the experience of it may drag (think of a long checkout line), or race (Vacation is over? But we just unpacked!)
When you are young and/or healthy, time feels abundant. Minutes are often taken for granted. As we rush out the door for the day, get the kids to and from school, race to the grocery store, or complete a work project; we plan, we execute and we move through an abundance of minutes, 1,440 per day to be exact. Minutes arrive and fade away without us paying close attention. Small and fleeting, and seemingly never-ending.
But at Ronald McDonald House Charities, we experience minutes very differently. Because when your child is fragile or critically ill, time feels limited. We see time through the eyes of our families, and in their worlds, minutes become precious milestones. It’s the minutes waiting for test results, minutes until or between treatments, minutes until surgery begins or ends, and when it all goes well…minutes until discharge. For each family in our care, minutes become the metric that they live by.
Last fall, I had the privilege of getting to know one of the remarkable families
in our care. They were with us for 4 weeks, a young boy and his dad who had traveled halfway around the world for outstanding care here at Golisano Children’s Hospital. His mom remained at home caring for his three siblings. Because of his rare diagnosis, this family learned very early how important minutes are and measured them differently. This boy’s dad explained to me that over nine years, they had experienced many miracles. This was their 4th son and the second youngest, and he had been born with sight only to lose it shortly after his second birthday. A miracle procedure restored it—but then only a few years later, his vision was again lost. The boy went through a second procedure and miraculously his sight was restored again. And then, again, sadly, it was lost. This boy and his father came to Rochester from halfway around the world for sight-saving miraculous surgery in the hopes of having permanently restored sight. The last time he was in our care, he celebrated his 11th birthday with us. Sadly, he left for home without his sight. However, even now they are hopeful that in a few years, he will return and be a candidate for a permanent sight restoration procedure.
I cannot even imagine how you begin to prepare your child to transition into a world of darkness. The joy of being your child’s first teacher, first protector, and then becoming their eyes as they navigate their world. And, how challenging it must be to have sight restored with newfound independence only to lose it again. I
have often thought of this family and their countless minutes on a plane in anticipation of their visit and unknown outcome, those minutes must have been long and arduous, racked with uncertainty and anxiety. Yet each time this father and son came to stay at RMHCR, there was peace and calm that resonated between them as they accepted whatever would be. His dad shared with me that they were grateful for every minute his son saw the world, saw his mother’s face, navigated independently, and played with his brothers. In his world, and his family’s world, every precious minute of his sight has been treasured because it was likely temporary.
I am grateful for their willingness to share their story. They have profoundly touched my heart and deepened my respect for the little miracles that happen every day. Although I initially focused on the heartbreak of parents watching their child go from a world with sight to a world without, their remarkable courage and gratitude for every minute of this child’s ability to see opened my own eyes to the important power of minutes.
When any family returns to the house for multiple stays, we have the privilege of becoming part of their journey. We are always inspired by their strength and courage. We watch babies grow into toddlers, toddlers into young children, young children into young adults. We watch and we meet them where they are on their very personal journey. The relationships that form between my team and these families,
“When you are young and/or healthy, time feels abundant. Minutes are often taken for granted.”
and even with myself in my two years as President and CEO, are profoundly impactful. We walk a journey together, and it is always joyful when a family who has stayed with us can leave with their child’s full health restored. We celebrate these minutes every single day. However, for the families that come back time and again, because of a chronic condition or a profoundly complex health outcome, we also witness the highs and the lows, the uncertainty, and the preparation for the worst. These are the families that reinforce for us the importance of time. No matter how long or short
their time can be with their child, they have a profound and personal wisdom about the preciousness of each minute.
We recently lost a 17-year-old whose family had stayed with us multiple times over the past 10 years. It is his life—and the lives of all the children who in RMHCR’s history have passed through our doors—that galvanize why we are here. I am so grateful to my team for their skillful way of helping a family manage the exhaustive journey of a child’s illness, by simply being present. Most of the time there are no words,
so no words are spoken. Sometimes the grief is so profound that no acts of kindness can eliminate or reduce the suffering, but the moment is real and is honored. Without fail, this team provides both a shoulder and an arm for support and lifts families wherever they are on their journey. This a true testament to our team’s commitment, compassion, and respect for the power of each minute.
“When any family returns to the house for multiple stays, we have the privilege of becoming part of their journey. We are always inspired by their strength and courage.”
Help Keep Families Close
MEET MICHAEL SLUSSER
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and about Key Performance Property Management.
Born and raised in Honeoye Falls, NY. Graduated from Honeoye Falls Lima in 2002. Graduated college from University at Buffalo in 2006 with a B.S. in Business. Was in the world of IT sales till 2008 during which I had the opportunity to live in Los Angeles for a couple years. Once I moved back to Upstate NY, I was longing to be in a different type of sales industry. After a long search, in 2011 I obtained my NY Real Estate Salesperson license. After a few years of getting settled in and loving everything I was doing I decided to go and obtain my NY Real Estate Brokers license which I did in 2017. Key Performance was officially formed in 2021 when I decided to separate the real estate business from the property management business. Today, Key Performance Property Management manages 216 units which run from Hilton, NY to Geneva, NY.
When did you start your business, and what made you decide on the property management industry?
I started the business officially in 2017 as part of my real state offerings
once I obtained my NYS Brokers License. In NYS, to manage property for owners third party you need to have your Brokers License. My team and I were “thrown” into property management by one of our amazing
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
The variety of tasks, problems, challenges and wins of everyday. As they say, “variety is the spice of life”. I am not one for boring or the mundane. To wake up each day unknowing of how the day is going to unfold gives me a rush of adrenaline and ready for whatever may come my way.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
After working for different industries, different sales positions I sat down and thought about what I truly wanted. I didn’t like the fact in most positions there were restrictions to how high you could go or company quotas that didn’t make sense or only “one way to do things” mentality. I wanted more, I wanted to be able to set my own goals, set my own path and have the “sky as the limit” to anything I set my mind to. As I said earlier, I am not one for the boring, mundane, same thing everyday type career. I wanted a challenge!
Tell us about someone who inspires you and why.
permit management, property governance, and HOA association management (up to 100 units)
My father, John. To people that know me, know my father is the most important part of where I am today. He is the true definition of a father
and an entrepreneur unlike I have ever seen. He is, some might call, a workaholic, but what I saw was drive, determination and persistence to be the very best in his chosen industry. Which lead to great success later in his life. But even with working as much as he did, after every long day he made the time to be there, so me the ropes, teach me things and instilled how even when challenges present themselves to overcome them and keep going. One of his many famous “sayings” to me was “Be Big, Be a Builder”. I don’t think either of us knew it at the time but that manifested into my desire to become an entrepreneur. Be big in what or builder of what was entirely up to me. Today he is still showing me how to look at life differently, challenges differently and to continue to always press forward. I am truly grateful he is my father and indebted to him for all his guidance and advice.
Where do you see your business in the next year? What about 3 years?
I see the business continuing to grow and evolve. Our business is constantly changing due to New York State regulations, the overall rental market, and owners that either continue to invest in New York or divest from New York. As always, I would like to see our partnerships with owners and real estate agents continue to grow, our units under management grow and our amazing staff grow.
What do your clients say is the number one benefit of having you as their property manager is?
Number one benefit we are told all the time is that we are their “front line”. Meaning they appreciate us being there, as their partner, to make sure their properties are safe and sound, their properties are up to code and following NYS regulations and that their tenants are happy with their unit.
What is the worst thing you have experienced with your job?
Life challenges with tenants. Unfortunately, because we are in the people business, we must deal with life challenges of our tenants such as drug addiction, child protection services, crime, suicide and death. I would say these things are the hardest events or situations we deal with.
What have you found to be your biggest challenges in Property Management? How did you overcome them?
I can’t name just one challenge as everyday there are variety of challenges (building challenges, tenant challenges, municipal challenges, etc.). Every day when a challenge arises our team meets, or we get on a phone call, and we break apart the challenge into pieces. We look at the challenge from all angles, the outcomes of each available solution and what is in the best interest of the owner, the building, and the tenant.
What do you feel is the most important role in property management is?
Being a partner to our Owners and
Real Estate Agents. What I mean by this, is be there and be present for anything they need. Managing investment properties, tenant relationships and all the regulations that surround it is a very interesting environment that is everchanging as the state and world change. We are here to be that partner, advisor and sounding board for our owners and real estate agents to make sure our owners are making money, our real estate agents are helping their clients purchase the right properties and that our tenants we place are happy.
What do you feel is the best way to market your business to potential clients?
Advertising in local magazines and publications is a good first step. Our referral (word of mouth) is and has always been a strong way to get the word out on how we do management differently. In the last 6 months we have also been playing around with Facebook ads, Google pay per click and SEO on our website which is seeing some great results in getting the word out about our firm.
How many rentals can you handle at one time?
There is no limit. The company expands as the unit count grows. We have metrics in place that at certain numbers of units under management the company adds certain types of staff, certain types of processes or certain types of additional support to make sure our clients are always
“As they say, “variety is the spice of life”. I am not one for boring or the mundane.”
getting the very best service and guidance.
Do you have to hold a special license for property management?
Yes, to be a property manager in New York and manage 3rd party assets (manage property you do not own) you must hold a NYS Real Estate Brokers License.
How do you decide on the rent?
It’s all based on comparable properties or units in the area based on condition, location, features and or amenities (off street parking vs. on street parking, etc). We also are consistently watching fair market value data that is provided by Dept of Housing and Urban Development.
What was the best business advice you have been given?
To never give up under any circumstance. When a challenge presents itself break it apart and analyze it from all angles and work towards getting three solutions. While you hope all the solutions are positive to move you forward, there may be some negative solutions or hard truths that will make you take a step back before you can move forward. Don’t be afraid of those and instead embrace them as in the end it will work out!
What advice would you share to someone looking to get into the property management field?
Make sure your systems and processes are in place and rock solid. This
business is an incredible business where let’s just say you are part matchmaker, part therapist, and part problem solver. Without a solid footing or foundation in place it will make your job exponentially harder than it needs to be. Remember everyone needs housing and you are there as the bridge to help your owners or yourself find your next amazing resident!
“Our business is constantly changing due to New York State regulations, the overall rental market, and owners that either continue to invest in New York or divest from New York.“
KIMMY ERIN OF LUMINOSITY BODYWORKPHOTOS BY JULIE OLDFIELD
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am a Rochester, NY native who traveled the world as a flight attendant, residing in NYC and LA before circling back to my roots here in Rochester. Massage therapy has been a transformative piece of my own mental and physical healing process for over a decade. I wanted to pursue this calling and pay it forward from the other side of the table, but timing and finances kept delaying the process. At the onset of the pandemic, I was laid off from the airline and found the perfect opportunity to finally pursue my dream.
How did you start Luminosity Bodywork?
I knew before I even started massage school that I wanted my own practice. As soon as I earned my license, I started down this path. I wanted to further my education, so I certified in several specialized modalities before I even opened my doors to the public.
I truly lucked out finding the perfect studio space in Pittsford. My mom and I sourced and designed everything. Every detail from the aesthetics to treatment tools to the pens in my office were chosen mindfully.
In the earliest days, I went door to door asking businesses to allow me to post flyers announcing my Grand Opening specials. The purpose of this was to force myself beyond my
comfort zone, because I’m naturally pretty shy. I decided I was going to do things that scared me.
Business was slow at first. People eventually saw me, were happy with
supported and worthy. Having a space that feels safe for self healing is very important to me. There’s a quote on the front page of my website:
“Ask yourself what makes you come to become a massage therapist?
How did you come up with the name?
Prior to this career shift, I went through and overcame some dark situations. Luminosity is a reflection of what it feels like to have that sparkle come back and live in my purpose, doing what I’m called to do and naturally excel at. I realized I have a lot to offer. The world needs kindness.
I want everyone who walks through my doors to feel cared for, seen,
My soul craved purpose, authenticity and connection. It is impossible to connect on a meaningful level with 100+ people in a plane or airport when we’re all just trying to survive from point A to B. I also wanted a more stable lifestyle that supported my mental and physical health.
When I was a flight attendant, I never would have believed I had it in me to start or run a successful business when in fact those years are exactly
“ Prior to this career shift, I went through and OVERCAME some dark situations. Luminosity is a reflection of what it feels like to have that sparkle COME BACK and live in my purpose, doing what I’m called to do and naturally excel at. I REALIZED I have a lot to offer. The world needs KINDNESS. ”
what prepared me. I credit my work with the airline for training me to handle any situation with grace, deliver impeccable customer service, multitask and accommodate requests and schedule changes. I learned to maintain composure and efficacy in a high-pressure environment. My worldview expanded. I’m very grateful for that era.
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
It is my greatest joy and honor to be
trusted with facilitating a person’s healing process. We often see results right away; people walk out glowing differently than when they came in. It’s such a special gift to be part of that.
My work also keeps me fully present and focused in the moment, which is something I struggle with outside of the treatment room. Giving massage is a form of meditation and healing for me. It is also a creative outlet.
What are some of the services you offer that are different from
traditional massage therapists?
I offer a holistic, personalized experience that is collaborative but ultimately led by the client. I’ve trained in a half dozen specialized modalities and pull from my “toolbox” to curate a treatment plan for every unique goal. Almost all of my sessions cost the same amount even if a session comprises more than one technique. Some of what I offer isn’t widely available elsewhere.
There is also no overlap between
“I want everyone who walks through my doors to feel cared for, seen, supported and worthy. Having a space that feels safe for self healing is very important to me.”
sessions. I am the only therapist. Every client enjoys a private and exclusive experience.
I am board certified and dual licensed on NY state and national levels. I am committed to the highest standard of excellence and take every opportunity to evolve and learn.
What made you decide to open your own business rather than working for someone else, or a bigger corporate business?
Running my business is a lot of work but it never feels like work. It is an extension of myself. It feels like home. I am living my truth in everything from interior design/ambiance to treatments and approaches to serving clients goals.
When working for someone else you’re building their dream; not your own. You’re bound to their practices and protocols. Being self-employed is not an easy road, but in my opinion, authenticity is worth every bit of time and sacrifice.
What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is so difficult you have to absolutely love what you do.
Allow the process of knowing what you want, why and how much you want it become fuel to pour on the fire of valuing yourself and your vision, even if no one else does initially. Take small steps every day toward your dream. Never turn down any
opportunity no matter how seemingly small - you never know where it might lead. Embrace things that scare you. Fail and stand up again – never stop doing this. Study entrepreneurs you admire.
You should be talented at what you do/your product, but don’t necessarily assume that if you have no experience running a business, that you can’t or won’t be good at that end. There are management tools, graphic design sites, and apps that help. There are creative ways to market that don’t always involve spending a lot of money. Passion, intelligence, willingness to learn, work ethic and confidence took me a long way.
I was very fortunate to have enough savings from my previous career to support me through the early stages. I also remained employed as a flight attendant so there was a safety net on the back burner. I would recommend having a source of capital before you completely jump in whether that’s a second job, savings, loans or grants.
Try to describe yourself in 3 words only.
Resilient Passionate Empathetic
What are your top 3 websites or podcasts you can’t imagine your day without? Why those three?
Massage business mentor, Masterclass and any spooky podcast. The first two help me in business, the third
is a mental break from it all.
You help others with stress, but how do you manage your own?
I spend time with my cat – she’s my source of peace and healing. I also enjoy float sessions and infrared sauna. I like being outdoors, near water, swimming or horseback riding. I enjoy creative outlets - right now I have a candle line that I work on in my free time.
How do you prevent burnout?
Preventing burnout is tough! I remain attuned to my purpose and when I feel my bandwidth weakening, (try to) rest and partake in the above activities as well as receive massage myself. I remind myself that if I’m too fatigued, I can’t give my best and that’s what motivates me to take time for self care.
I rarely book morning appointments. I live off coffee.
How do you manage your work-life balance
I’ll be honest - I don’t. Ninety percent of my time is devoted to developing my business or working with clients. Luckily this is what I live for!
There are a few things that make up the other 10 percent. Theatre, in all forms. Catch me at every show that comes to town. I also love nature, especially the fall season, and spooky/ Halloween-related activities. I do have fun sometimes.
“Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
What do you enjoy most about entrepreneurship? What do you find the hardest about it?
Entrepreneurship is absolute freedom. Every decision and move are my own. I answer no one except my clients. I love living authentically.
I love the creative aspect of designing studio aesthetics and customizing treatment plans. I love deciding my office hours and having the ability to format my schedule in a way that allows me to function at my best. I love utilizing a diverse range of tools and techniques. I love connecting with people, hearing their stories and sharing mine. I love representing my business and introducing clients to modalities they may not have seen or experienced.
The hardest is anything numbers related. I am not great with math or organization. Thank goodness for bookkeepers, accountants, management services and finance tracking apps.
What’s your definition of success?
Success has been finding my tribe. Every day I get to work with likeminded souls who value their health, are passionate about their goals and careers, people who survive
and overcome. They have that same sparkle. My clients inspire me every day.
Success is having the belief in myself to make all of this a reality. That has
has been turning my own pain and rejection into the inspiration and fuel behind my business. Instead of shutting down, I decided to help others feel valued. I decided to value myself even when others didn’t.
Every step it took to change the trajectory of my life, every failure, and obstacle overcome helped me realize what I am capable of. To have created success when every odd was stacked against me makes me proud beyond belief. Miracles happen in my professional life every day but I don’t think there is a single one greater than that.
Where will we see you next?
Catch me at several vendor events with the Influential Women’s network this summer. I also plan on enhancing my practice through continued education.
solvent enough to continue.
What has been your most satisfying entrepreneur moment to date?
For most of my life, I was the last pony anyone would have ever bet on winning. My proudest moment
I’m only nine month in but opportunities beyond my wildest dreams have already crossed my path. So stay tuned. The best is yet to come!
“It is my greatest joy and honor to be trusted with facilitating a person’s healing process.“
ALL FOR THE LOVE OF HUNTINGBY CHRISTINE PIACENTINO
This month I’m delighted to introduce the Rochester Woman Online Community to Ann Marie Reitano. She started her own business to help the disabled community enjoy the outdoors. It all started, so her son could continue to enjoy hunting with his father.
Please share a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Ann Marie, and I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and the proud owner of Outdoor Accessibility of New York, LLC. (https:// actiontrackchair.com/dealer/ outdoor-accessibility) I have three adult children, two daughters and one son who has DMD. Growing up, I had two brothers who also had DMD. This experience helped shape me into the person I am today. I cherish spending time with my family, whether watching movies, playing board games, or simply hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.
Could you tell us what inspired you to start your business and what it is all about?
After my son fell out of his power wheelchair and broke his femur while hunting with his dad, he hesitated to go hunting again. I searched the internet for a solution that would allow him to get back out into the woods, and that’s when I discovered the Action Trackchair. After researching, I found that it was safe and reliable equipment. We fundraised for it and eventually bought
it. However, he had a stroke before the New York salesperson could deliver it. The Pennsylvania salesperson provided the chair and told me about the New York salesperson’s situation. He also mentioned that only a few people knew about the Action Trackchair. I knew this equipment needed to be made available to the public, especially when I saw
plow driveways, sidewalks, or even paths.
How did you feel when your idea for your business came to life?
Despite having little capital to start my business, my motivation and drive to empower the disabled community to enjoy life and the world around us has made it all possible.
What does the phrase “Tough Mother” mean to you?
To me, it means persevering through difficult situations and becoming a mother of a disabled child. It doesn’t necessarily mean being strong but being there for your children, supporting them, and advocating for them.
What skills do you believe are necessary to become a successful female entrepreneur?
and founded Outdoor Accessibility of New York, LLC.
The Action Trackchair and the Action Trackstander are all-terrain “wheelchairs” designed to help the disabled community get outdoors or return to work. These chairs allow people with limited mobility to navigate through snow, sand, mud, or grass. They are perfect for fishing, hunting, and taking on trails. Farmers can also use them to care for their livestock,
Confidence, passion, integrity, persistence, motivation, patience, and the willingness to take risks are just a few of the skills that have helped me along the way.
What are your most significant personal and professional strengths as a businesswoman?’
My personal and professional strengths are my persistence and desire to help others.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your mission so far?
The people I meet through my business, especially those to whom I have delivered an Action Trackchair and see the excitement and adventure in their eyes, inspire and empower me.
What would you do differently if you had to start over from scratch?
Knowing what I know now, I would not do anything differently.
What drives you to do what you do?
Knowledge is power, and I started this business to help people learn about the Action Trackchair and how it can
young man and his family who wanted to purchase an Action Trackchair for him. Sadly, he passed away not long after receiving it, but his family found a new owner for his chair, a young female veteran. It was fulfilling to keep the young man’s spirit alive and help another family.
What has been your most effective form of promotion, and which platform do you prefer?
The manufacturer’s website, Facebook, Google, and demonstrations have been the most effective forms of promotion for my business. I don’t have a preferred platform.
What are your plans moving forward?
My plans include purchasing an Axis model of the Action Trackchair, but as a small company, it cannot be easy to house all the different models. Currently, I offer the ST and TR models.
What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorites is by Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
GRACE JANIKASBY MAYA MCNULTY
Grace Janikas is an inspiring woman who has dedicated her life to helping others through her organization, Grace’s Closet. Her journey began after volunteering for several organizations and realizing a significant need in her community. After sending an email to friends and family for donations, she received an overwhelming response, which led to the establishment of Grace’s Closet as a 501c(3) organization. Since then, the organization has helped thousands of people in need, including victims of abuse, homelessness, low-income families, single parents, and those who have lost everything due to natural disasters. The organization relies on donations from the community to provide support to those in need. Grace’s Closet is a true testament to the power of community and the impact that one person can make. Grace Janikas’s selflessness and dedication serve as an inspiration to us all to do our part in making the world a better place.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I had a memorable childhood growing up playing in open fields and the woods in a small country town from sunrise to sundown in Cobleskill, NY. My older sister and I used to play in silos, hiding under bales of hay and gallivanting on horseback. We spent most days working by our parents’ side. Whether it was shoveling the driveway, mowing the lawn, or taking care of our many outdoor animals, we had a strong work ethic
instilled by our parents. We didn’t always have a lot, but we managed. My family always found creative ways to adapt. I vividly remember pumping an old well to drink water as a young child. I have fond memories of walking up the hill with a tin can to buy fresh milk from the farm for $1, boiling water and washing clothes by hand. I enjoyed church and worshiping God. My upbringing is the cornerstone of my desire to help others and advocate for my community. One of my favorite things about my childhood is that I had the opportunity to grow
At age twenty - four our marriage spiraled downwards. I went through a terrible divorce. My dreams began to tarnish. As a newly single mother emotionally broken, and financially compromised there were many times we didn’t have enough money to eat, electricity one flipped away from disconnected and barely holding onto a place to live. These were hard times. I can remember a baron living room on Christmas morning and not having a Christmas tree. I turned to my faith and helped me to discover my meaning and purpose in life. I felt so grateful to be embraced by families who helped and provided essentials I needed for myself and my kids, such as clothing, monetary donations, and emotional support.
up in Cobleskill, NY close to the city. My family often traveled to the city to visit with my cousins on weekends and spending summers in Puerto Rico was a blast.
Tell us about your life before your traumatic experience or life changing event?
As a military wife at nineteen I had envisioned having my own family in the suburbs with a white picket fence where our twin boys could run and play daily.
I had always wanted to help others, but it wasn’t until I personally went through life’s hardships that I could fully comprehend the meaning of the word HELP. Through my own sadness, sacrifices and struggles I found myself realizing there was more to life. I started to internalize that I needed to change. I wanted to win my life back! I was a new mother with twin boys trying to go to school and working 2-3 jobs. I prayed, worked hard and continued to persevere. A highlight moment that brought me to my knees was when I purchased my first new couch at age 26 and thought, “wow, I did that.”
It was such a huge accomplishment and all the proof needed to empower myself. I’ll never forget that feeling of pride. I felt unstoppable and my love for myself and boys amplified. This pivotal moment gave me all the fuel I needed to continue fighting for a better life.
Fast forward twenty two years and dating a wonderful man. I am a loving mom of 4 wonderful children. I am currently working towards becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor while operating Grace’s Closet.
My health took a downward turn after being diagnosed with Covid-19 early November, 2021. Three hospital stays in 1 year and battling with an ample amount of debilitating health challenges. I could barely walk and barely lift a paper towel roll. By the end of that year, my diagnosis with Long COVID put the icing on the cake. Causing unforeseen health challenges. It was another reminder that all of us take air for granted, until we do not have it. I spent a year and a half living in survival mode. Despite all of this, I had to learn how to keep going. My children were my motivation. Each time I wanted to give up, I thought of God. How “He” had guided me through many times before. I thought this can’t be the way my story ends. My children were my fuel and purpose to keep on fighting. Grace’s Closet was another driving force. My time helping others was not over yet. Something told me to keep pressing forward. To never stop believing. One day as I was laying in bed, that same resurrecting voice said, “Get Up.” That was the first day I got up and started lifting two pound weights. By the end of six months I was lifting ten pounds.
There were days I would literally crawl, and as painful as it was, I knew it was the beginning of the last time I would ever feel sorry for myself again. I believe if I couldn’t see that big picture, if I gave up, or didn’t trust that God had “His” reasons, I’d still be mentally in the same
place, unable to walk, or function daily.
What challenges did you overcome and what did you learn?
As a single mom, I had to learn how to live a balanced life, handle emotional struggles, and deal with financial difficulties. I had to learn how to overcome losing friendships, feeling betrayed, feeling judged, and still hold my head up smiling. As for my health, everything changes and it can come crumbling down in a flash. Not only can it be physically challenging, but mentally exhausting. Knowing you could no longer do the things you did before can easily spiral into anger, depression, or self pity. You begin to feel powerless, hopeless, and worse guilty. The combination is the perfect storm, which can wreak havoc on you and the ones closest to you . That’s how I can best explain the feeling of isolation and loss of one’s independence. There were many weeks that I struggled with confidence. I knew there was no time to waste and needed to show up my children. I fought relentlessly despite having a chronic illness. I had two choices, I could crumble, give up and allow my children to see me in despair, or I could get up and fight tooth and nail, day after day and night after night. I chose the latter.
I learned to trust God completely. In the trials of these tribulations, I learned how to pursue happiness, trust my gut while leaning on God. I’ve learned that prayer is not only powerful but essential. That most things are temporary distractions. When you are going through any of life’s challenges, you realize how precious and fragile your time is. Those little detours are minor hiccups and not as significant.
What’s your biggest takeaway?
This might sound cliché, but each time you go through something, you really become wiser. There will always be challenges to overcome, but I think the key is to learn how to roll with whatever life throws at you. Taking the time needed to comprehend that these challenges are only seasonal tests. Learn from these challenges, walk through them gracefully, find the silver lining in ALL things, every obstacle prepares us for the future. When I was struck by Covid I discovered that worrying only subtracts from your life and being happy adds years. When you fight the good fight of faith, you WILL overcome anything. I’d also like to extend one more remark, be kind, learn to love and support strangers. Don’t be selective with compassion, you never know what someone is going through.
What does it mean to be a resilient woman?
I am a woman of valor, persistence and selflessness who radiates strength and builds character while giving myself grace. A resilient woman is unbreakable, the light at the end of an ominous tunnel. She knows that the seasons will come to pass, she will not cave.
What’s next for Grace’s Closet?
We are always looking for ways to expand and improve Grace’s Closet. One of our goals is to increase our outreach efforts and connect with even more people in need. We also want to continue to partner with other organizations to maximize our impact and help as many people as possible.
“As a single mom, I had to learn how to live a balanced life, handle emotional struggles, and deal with financial difficulties.”
Additionally, I am currently working towards becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I believe that mental health is equally as important as physical health. I want to be able to provide support and guidance to those who need it.
In conclusion, Grace’s Closet is a testament to the power of community and the resilience of the human spirit. Through love and empathy, we have been able to help thousands of people in need, and we will continue to do so for as long as
we can. It is my hope that our story will inspire others to take action and make a difference in their own communities.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord, she should be praised. “ – Proverbs 31
Maya McNulty is a successful business woman, author and patient - led researcher. Her tenacity for advocacy, passion for travel and outdoor adventure allows her to speak
on global stages and experience different cultures other than her own. A positive mindset and attitude are the cornerstone to Maya’s resilient lifestyle. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, WebMD, Medscape, Healthline and many more.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ mayamcnulty/
“Grace’s Closet is a true testament to the power of community and the impact that one person can make.”
“I’m a survivor, I’m not going to give up!”
BY HANNAH MCGOFF
“The next thing I knew, I was in a box, then in a car, then there I was arriving at ACS’ door!”
SENECA’S SEARCH FOR A WARM AND COZY PLACE TO CALL HOME
I’m a survivor, I’m not going to give up!
Hello readers, my name is Seneca! I may have had a rough start, but I’m a fighter and I’m so grateful for the wonderful people who saved my life. I was brought to Animal Care Sanctuary by a kind-hearted person who found me in a bad state. When they found me, I was in a cold barn,
shivering and terrified. When I saw them reaching to grab me, I was scared as ever. The next thing I knew, I was in a box, then in a car, then there I was arriving at ACS’ door!
Once I arrived at ACS, the clinic took me in and evaluated my health. I was so cold, the thermometer couldn’t even get a read on my temperature. I was visibly sick and dehydrated, but the clinic got me back to health right away! According to the team, I am just around a year old now! I still look like a tiny kitten, and that
may be because of my circumstances in the first year of my life.
I am a staff favorite here now, and I love to play whenever someone is willing to play with me. I am a little shy at first, but the second I warm up to you, I want your full attention! I want to thank all the kind people out there, just like the one who brought me into ACS, for continuing to care for animals day in and day out.
With love, Seneca
“I am a staff favorite here now, and I love to play whenever someone is willing to play with me. ”
“L” IS FOR A LARGER VISION AND LOVEBY LORI BRUTON
Today, I am going to talk about the “L” in The LORI Factor; Have a LARGER vision of yourself beyond your circumstances.
That includes LOVE.
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Remember that Tina Turner song? All of us have the need to be loved and accepted. Without love, what’s the point? That doesn’t just mean love from the opposite sex. It’s more than a relationship between a man and a woman.
Experiencing true love from the One who loved us first makes all the difference. God loves you with an unconditional, everlasting love. There is nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you. Whether or not you believe in Him, He believes in you. He designed you perfectly as you are.
Value and Accept Yourself
Do you feel unlovable? What do you see when you look in the mirror? How you see and perceive yourself determines the kind of relationships you will have. A healthy relationship with yourself attracts healthy relationships with others. Otherwise, you may find yourself in toxic relationships.
When I felt unlovable and didn’t value myself, I ended up in a toxic relationship, but I didn’t know it for many years. I was completely captivated and drawn in by him.
Once I chose to love and accept myself, I was able to let go and let God. I learned to value and take better care of myself
with a newfound attitude. I finally felt attractive and healthy when I made myself a priority. For me, it is a journey to develop a better body image at whatever size and feel good in my own skin. I credit Kurvie Kulture for assisting me with new fashion experiences. Thank you, Latiffany. Thank you, Kelly, for the referral.
Surrounding yourself with people who have mastered loving and valuing themselves can mentor and encourage you to see yourself in a new light. You may also want to smell some Acceptance essential oil and try on new clothes. Clothe yourself with Agape love, it will look good on you.
Love Yourself First
It is essential to love yourself. Neglecting self-care can lead to feeling anxious and burned out. Have you ever heard the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” It’s nearly impossible to run a home and a business, take care of a family, or even be a great friend if you are running on empty. Taking care of yourself first gives you the energy and love to be able to best support your kids, your partner, your friends, and your colleagues.
Anything you do to nourish your physical, emotional, and mental health is considered self-care.
Be Your Own Best Friend
Yes, you always have a friend in Jesus. You also need to be your own best friend. If you’ve ever found yourself saying or thinking things about yourself that you’d never dare say about another
person, it’s time to implement positive self-talk. Replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones.
Easier said than done, right? To help you get started, write down a few things you love about yourself and read them every day: several times a day, in fact. Add in words of gratitude. Speak those words out loud and smell or diffuse Young Living essential oils, like Believe, Valor, Stress Away, Transformation, Gratitude, Grounding, or Motivation, for example. Remember that not everyone will love you, but that’s okay. What others think about us is none of our business. You are unique. God designed your genes and gender specifically to fit you. You have a divine purpose.
Rest Your Brain
With endless to-do lists and demands on your time and attention, it can put your brain on overload. Take a few minutes to stop, pray, and meditate on God’s Word. Let God fill your heart. Allow His peace, strength, and love flow in and through you.
Taking time for this has many benefits, you will be anxious for nothing, which will boost your mood and reduce stress. Even if you find it difficult to calm your racing thoughts at first, just sitting and taking a few deep breaths will do wonders to help you relax physically and mentally.
Take Time to Travel
Vacations are an important part of selfcare, but have you ever come back from one and felt like you needed another vacation to recover from it? If you often
experience travel fatigue, travelling at a slower pace may be just what you need. An alternative to traditional tourism is to relax and immerse yourself in experiences that will fill you up, not burn you out. For example, instead of cramming your itinerary full of tourist spots, slow down and get a taste of what day-to-day life is like for the locals. Stay in a home with character; eat at small, family-run restaurants; and spend time exploring your surroundings without feeling pressured to document it on social media. You can post for fun but remember to be present and enjoy each moment.
Be mindful and let self-care guide your itinerary, you’ll come back from your
is by, in, or
vacation more refreshed and ready to share your best self with your friends, family members, and the world.
As I write this, I will be travelling to Cancun soon. If you want to know how to travel better without breaking the bank, including daily, local perks, check out this wholesale affiliate option. My favorite place to be is by, in, or on the water. Reading and writing poolside, swimming, or kayaking brings me serenity and fills my cup.
Remember to pack these essential oils when you travel: Peppermint, Valor, Purification, Peace & Calming, Lavender, DiGize, and Thieves; those are some that
I recommend. On one flight, I put a couple drops of peppermint oil in my hand, breathed in it, and also held my hand up to the air vent. It also helped the lady next to me no longer have discomfort in her head and stomach. I am thankful it helped me and those around me by implementing that example of self-care.
No matter what you do, take time for you. You are worth it.
Reach out to me to learn more about self-care resources, classes, and ideas.
Much Love, Lori
“My favorite place to be
on the water. Reading and writing poolside, swimming,
kayaking brings me serenity and fills my cup.”
IT’S A LOVELY DAYBY DR TUNYA GRIFFIN
“Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.” These words stated by Nelson Mandela could not ring any truer for our woman boss highlighted today, Attorney Lovely A. Warren.
Lovely Warren made her first major mark by becoming the youngest and first female Mayor of Rochester, NY in 2014, serving the citizens of the community for two consecutive terms. But over the last year Lovely has pivoted her focus. “I had to learn to rebuild from scratch. I leaned on my understanding of the law and all of the experience that I gained through my years of governmental service.”
Warren’s transformation into the leader she is today started with a life-changing moment when she was a young girl. While in the 2nd grade her grandfather, Cecil McClary was shot, and although he survived Lovely’s strong sense of justice started there. “It was that feeling of hurt, anger, and wanting justice that fueled my desire to become a lawyer and practice law in this community.” So, as we travel through the life of Lovely Warren let’s do it through the lens of what she said made her a strong and empowered leader.
Belief in Yourself
When Warren obtained her undergraduate degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School, she already had a specific vision in mind for her community. Once she entered the political field as a
member of the Rochester City Council in 2007 and President in 2010 Warren says that, “black women often face[d] a double bind, where they are judged based on both their gender and race.” She credits her first step towards empowerment with believing in herself and her abilities. “You have to recognize that you are capable of achieving your goals and dreams without anyone telling you otherwise.”
problems, and pursue your goals with confidence.” Education on diversity and inclusion has been at the forefront for Warren. She believes that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion levels the playing field for people of different races and orientation, to work in spaces that they would ordinarily be excluded from.
Upon her entry into the political field in the early 2000’s Warren discovered that many community leaders remained eerily quiet when it came down to what was right on behalf of people of color in Rochester, NY. “Being a minority woman who challenged the status quo, demanding change for my people hindered me. I was not the quiet one in the room and never afraid to say what needed to be said. I demanded that things change on behalf of people of color.” As Warren continued to champion the rights of her community, she also continued to shatter the glass ceiling of her colleagues’ status quo.
Build a Support Network
This lens could be doubled down with the understanding that knowledge is power. “The more you learn, the more confident and empowered you become,” states Warren. Reflecting on her career she says, “Having knowledge means being informed and aware of the world around you, as well as understanding your capabilities and limitations. It allows you to make better decisions, solve
Lovely Warren’s journey could not have been complete without the mentors that guided her and the family that inspired her. Upon completion of law school Warren served as Legislative Aide, Counsel and Chief of Staff to Assemblyman David F. Gantt for many years. He became her mentor and confidant and someone she learned deeply from. With his sudden death Warren reflects by saying that, “It was very hard for me. It was as if all hell broke loose after he died. I didn’t have a chance to mourn his death.” This was an extremely difficult time that
Warren had to overcome, ultimately shaping her into the woman she is today. When asked what motivated her to keep moving forward even within difficult times she talks about losing her mother.
“My mother died in 2021 from COVID. Before she went on the ventilator she said to me that I would overcome whatever challenge was placed before me. Specifically, to keep my head held high because I had so many young girls including my daughter that looked up to me and she didn’t raise a quitter.”
As Warren continues to build her support network today she says that her daughter ignites her hustle and desire to make a difference in her community. “My faith and family give me strength. I got where I am today through prayer, hard-work, and dedication.” Faith, love, and family have been Warren’s core reason to persevere.
Lovely Warren continues to take action beyond the realm of politics. In 2022 she opened her own law practice which currently focuses on General, Criminal, and Family Law. In addition to owning her practice she is a partner in a consulting company, WSUITE LLC, which seeks to educate, empower and rebuild various communities.
We asked Warren where she sees herself in the next 3-5 years. “I see myself as a successful author and business woman with a thriving podcast “Love and Light Podcast” in partnership with City Councilmember Willie J. Lightfoot and powered by 103.9 WDKX .” Her drive and determination to survive against all odds has made her into the thriving and successful “Women Boss’’ that she is today! But an integral part in this journey for Lovely has been
realizing when to take the time to say no, prioritizing self-care in her life.“I had to learn that if I can’t help myself I can’t help anyone else.”
As Lovely brings our journey with her to a close she gives us one last piece of advice. “Everyone’s journey is unique and we all have challenges as we navigate our life path. It’s never too late to start pursuing your goals with renewed focus and determination.”
With empowerment, confidence, and action Lovely Warren has shown us the steps to a ‘Lovely Day.’ Breaking glass ceilings and pioneering the voices of her community and people! May we all take these keys of empowerment with us to create a ‘Lovely Day’ wherever we are.
“The more you learn, the more confident and empowered you become.”
JOURNEY is unique and we all have our life path. It’s never too late to start pursuing your goals with renewed focus and DETERMINATION.
STAGING STORAGE AREASby suzanna dutro
“There is nothing worse than showing a beautifully staged home and then opening a closet
Another common question when preparing your home for market is should I bother cleaning out the closets? The answer is yes yes yes!! While prospective buyers will not open personal cabinets they will look in your kitchen cabinets, clothing closets, storage spaces and garage!
Why does this matter? It matters because we want to keep the overall perception of your home elevated! Storage spaces are meant for storage and not meant to be show pieces however; an organized clean overall effect impacts the confidence of the Buyer. Clean and organized translates to the Buyer as this house has been
a beautifully staged home and then opening a closet to find a hidden mess! Logically you would think this would not impact the Buyer. In reality the Buyer is absorbing an overall global assessment of the house adding and subtracting as they go along in terms of value, perception and confidence in putting in a high offer. The goal of staging is to reduce if not eliminate anything that detracts from value. A messy non-intentional storage space, closet, garage or area does affect your value as it subtracts worth from the global picture! Details matter! A few quick tips to remember:
• Clear the floor of closets and storage
areas. Having the floor clear makes
• It’s okay to have things stored in storage areas but they need to be stacked neatly! Bins are wonderful way to store and stack Up!
• Eliminate at least half of the contents in closet and cabinets to give a neater feel.
• Don’t forget to stage the pantry. Here is your shining moment to alphabetize your canned goods!! Or, at least make it look intentional! Every home is beautiful in its own way! Happy organizing makes for happy offers!!
ARE YOU FUELING
your PAST PAIN and making it your IDENTITY?
How does this happen? Fueling your pain?
We fuel our pain by hanging on to what hurt us.
By pulling it back into our lives over and over. (Don’t drag your past around like a heavy purse)
Why do we do this? How do we do this?
It happens without really realizing it is happening.
It becomes our identity over time and this happens because we are stuck in victim mentality.
Let me explain.
We sometimes find ourselves saying that “everything in my life is bad or not working out for me” OR “I just can’t catch a break” because of other people and other things.
Do you find yourself blaming the outside world or outside circumstances for you being stuck in a space in your life that makes you unhappy, that you just don’t want to be in? Or that you can’t get ahead? Or you can’t be who you want to be?
Does everything feel like it is happening around you or TO you? And that’s a good one, “everything happens to me all the time”
Then you have your internal dialogue that helps to keep you stuck:BY KAREN MESSINA
I am not good enough mentality. “I can’t keep up with what is happening, everything and everyone is in my way.” Or “You have no idea how busy I am and I’m doing the best I can, with what I’ve been handed in life.”
We especially love to blame our family or friends who don’t agree with us or blame them for saying things that don’t agree with our victim mentality.
Stay with me now.
Let’s look at some things:
• Can people NOT rely on you?
• Do you show up late more times than not?
• Do you have trouble following through with things?
• Do you really believe that you are the victim of the circumstances?
• Are you very defensive and reactive?
Do you find that you always have excuses for things that YOU are doing or situations that you are creating, that cause you to be explaining your behavior all the time?
Or it is never your fault? You can ACTUALLY identify the people that you think are at fault whether they are or not.
This is the victim mentality.
Without knowing this, you are creating a pattern.
So remember, everything in your life is comprised of patterns and habits. We
have learned them over time. Everything we do comes from a pattern or habit.
When this happens, we tend to seek out and find people who will agree with us and we shut out the people who don’t.
Then it becomes a group identity. You found “your people” and you spend most of your time with them because they are fueling your fire. And guess what? That feels so good. Almost too good because those become your people and they actually help you FUEL YOUR PAST AND YOUR PAIN.
It is called commiserating and getting stuff off your chest and you feel validated by them. Who doesn’t like that?
But the problem with that is, you are being validated by people who are just as unhappy as you.
But you have stuff in common….. negative energy that fuels your cause.
And your cause is to prove to the world around you that you are broken and a victim. You want them to know the train wreck that is your life.
That your behavior is not your fault. It is always someone or something else’s.
The other problem is, you are pushing people away that actually care about you. They may not know what to say or how to say it, but deep down they care.
Family and friends are simply not equipped to understand what you went through and how it is showing
“ One piece of advice would be to find a few mentors to surround you with positive energy, advise and coaching. It takes a village.”
up in your life now. So please please please remember that.
But you find yourself so mad at them and finding ways to make them the problem.
It is also the way that you are protecting yourself from anymore pain. It is a familiar space and to you, a safe space. “If I do what I know and hang on to my past patterns and not step outside of the box I have created, I can’t get hurt. I can keep my guard up and the wall around me and push away anything that feels scary.”
What is scary you might ask? Well, like someone trying to tell you to stop being angry and to try something new or different.
That is super scary because it is a risk. It is a risk you are taking that might fail. Failure is the enemy, right?
WRONG. It is your friend. So what do we do?
First you have to take responsibility for how you got to where you are today.
If you take responsibility it gives you power and control over YOU.
You may not have had any control over what happened to you in the past or the thing that created an emotional wound, but you have power and control now. You actually do.
People, hear me now. This is a gift. You
can finally be free of the outside world.
OK I stole some of these from Stacey Boehman who is an amazing coach who I follow.
Get your pen and paper out.
1. You can no longer allow yourself to use outside circumstances as an excuse.
2. You can no longer use the inner dialogue that you are not good enough.
3. You can no longer shame yourself for your behavior or let others shame you.
4. You need to slow down and start putting a plan in place for your goals and future life.
Listen when I promote my coaching, I use this language “do you want to be in control of your outcomes?” “Do you want your power and control back”
You can have that but you need to get serious about what you want.
If you are actually tired of feeling unhappy or sad or like you are never good enough, than you are absolutely, 100 percent in control of changing all of that.
Start with those 4 steps. And move on from there. As I always say, baby steps. Trying to do too much too fast will absolutely cause you to fall and put you right back into the “proving you were right” mentality of how nothing ever works out for you.
Start looking at people that you admire and that are success stories. That you want to be like.
Maybe you need to shed the people that
are only fueling your negative energy and find ones that will fuel your success energy and fuel your dreams and goals.
You will be amazed how much better that feels …. than the one time hit you get from someone validating your past and that you are broken.
When you really think about it, how does that help you move forward.
Listen, It is like drugs or other bad habits, right?
You feel bad or sad. So you drink or do drugs or eat a whole cake or you call your people, and those things will make you feel better but only for the moment.
Oh yes, those things will make you feel better right then and there, but then what?
What happens the next day and the day after that? OR
You feel bad or sad so you take massive action toward a solution. You seek out and find answers to how you can reach your goals and be in control.
I can 100% help you get there.
I am here for you…. I always have been. Just reach out. karenmessina.com
“Maybe you need to shed the people that are only fueling your negative energy and find ones that will fuel your success energy and fuel your dreams and goals.”
TIME TO FUEL YOUR PASSIONBY KAREN PUTZ
The “In-Between”: Finding Unexpected Time to Fuel Your Passion
I recently found myself with a long layover after my connecting flight was delayed. I was on my way home to Rochester from Nashville–and I had left for the airport at two. I would not be arriving home until 12:30 in the morning.
A long day.
I turned the layover into a delicious one (really!) by having a long dinner and using the time to write and create.
Many times, the “in-between”-those unexpected gaps of time in our tightly-wound schedules–can either become massive time wasters or fuel for our dreams.
I have four books that I’m working on plus a coaching business that is growing. The “in-between” often becomes my bonus time. I’ll throw in an extra meditation session, paint with alcohol ink, take a long walk, or create a new freebie for my website. Some of my most creative work has come from the “in-between.”
I recently became a Mindvalley Certified Coach and one of the concepts taught at Mindvalley is to actually schedule your “in-between”
time–time on your calendar that is set aside for absolutely nothing planned–so that you can use the time as you wish. For busy families, that time may be after the kids go to bed or it may be early morning time before the kids get up. The point of having “in-between” time with no agenda is that it allows you the freedom to tap into the energy that you’re feeling at that moment. Space to breathe. Space to think, dream, and do.
I recently started painting during lunchtime. The desire to paint came one day during a heavy work day. I was itching to paint and I had no “in-between” time that afternoon and had coaching sessions into the evening. So I grabbed my paints and did a quick session while eating lunch. The paints moved in wondrous ways and soothed my soul right then and there. The next day, I did it again. Lunchtime painting became a fun “in-between” activity for me that turned into a regular calendar date. I started sharing my paintings on Facebook and my friends started eagerly waiting for the next painting to post. This, in turn, spurred me on to paint even more.
So rather than seeing your day as one long “To-Do” list, carve time into your day to tap into your passion. When you create the space and the time for the work
and experiences that you truly love to do, life becomes passionately magical. Life becomes intentional instead of reactionary.
The “in-between” time also shows up as space between a transition–such as quitting your job to start your business, moving from one place to another, or your oldest child graduating then going off to college. The energy of the transitional time is usually different–there’s a feeling of shift and change.
When you find yourself in the “inbetween,” take this opportunity to live with more intention and to be present to the shifts that are happening, This is where you may find your next brilliant idea or find the peace that you need to enjoy the pause of life.
Karen Putz is known as “The Passion Mentor.” As a certified Mindvalley Life Coach, 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. yourpassionschool.com.
NEUROPLASTICITYBY BETH PARRY
USING EXERCISE TO BUILD AND STRENGTHEN THE BRAIN
At one time, scientists thought our brains stopped developing after childhood. New studies have shown that the brain is constantly changing through a process called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change and adapt via neuron connections and pathways.
The processes of neuroplasticity allow us to learn new skills, change our mindset, create new memories, and change our habits. The brain’s gray matter controls everything from muscle control, memory, seeing, hearing, speech, emotions, decision-making, and self-control. The white matter connects the regions of the gray matter together.
Neuroplasticity builds new and strengthens old neural connections, even with injuries such as stroke or traumatic brain injury. This means we can rewire the brain to work in a new way!
Not only does the brain adapt to change by strengthening neuron connections, but it also kills off weak neuron connections. The saying “Use it or lose it” is a real thing. So, how do we maximize the benefit of neuroplasticity? Repetition, repetition, repetition!
Let’s talk about the best ways to nourish the brain and build newer, stronger neural connections. Now that we know how neuroplasticity works, what are the best ways to nourish
the process? One of the best ways to improve your brain is through Exercise. Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain and can stimulate and strengthen neural connections in the brain’s cells. Some studies show that Exercise increases the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the body’s chemical messengers, allowing the neurons to communicate. Endorphins are the most common neurotransmitters released during Exercise. Endorphins have an analgesic effect, meaning they block pain perception and create a feeling of well-being. Additional neurotransmitters include dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are your body’s natural happy pills. The release of these neurotransmitters is beneficial in those with the Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis by slowing the disease progression and making new neural connections. It has also been shown to improve fine motor coordination and may protect against cognitive decline. Exercising at least 150 minutes a week may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. So what type of Exercise is the best for neuroplasticity?
Cardiovascular Exercise is definitely in the top runnings for better brain health. Physical therapy is also a great way to improve your brain health. Specialty physical therapy can improve your cognition with specific exercises. These exercises can improve your balance, motor planning, and daily functional movements. We all know that Exercise improves your physical health and improves your mood.
You can now list your brain health as a benefit!
Another way to improve your neuroplasticity is by learning something new. Most learning involves rewiring or making and strengthening connections between neurons. Learning new skills increases your brain’s ability to adapt to change. You can challenge your brain by doing puzzles, brainteasers, taking a new route, learning a new language, etc. The more you repeatedly practice a new activity, you strengthen the brain’s neurons. “Cells that fire together wire together.”
Now let’s discuss how to support new neural connections. Sleep is essential for supporting your brain. Sleep is the only time that our bodies heal and recuperate. It is also time for our brain to rest and organize what it needs to do to prepare for the following day. REM sleep is essential for motor memory consolidation. This is when the neural connections become more stable and concrete.
Without appropriate sleep, the brain can not create or maintain the ideal level of neural connections. It is essential to know that the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. Most adults need seven or more hours of sleep to gain the proper brain function. Many factors, including medication, sleep disorders, schedule, stress level, and more, can influence sleep quality. There are many ways to improve your sleep quality to ensure the appropriate rest for your brain.
1. Prioritize your sleep. The best way
“The processes of neuroplasticity allow us to learn new skills, change our mindset, create new memories, and change our habits.”
to prioritize your sleep is to get a sleeping schedule. Going to bed each night at the same time, weekends included.
2. Set the stage for a comfortable atmosphere. You can do this by keeping a cool room temperature, keeping your room free of electronics, and keeping your room dark. The darker, the better.
3. Exercise. Here it is again, Exercise. It not only strengthens your neural
connections but improves your sleep quality.
Neuroplasticity is excellent news for everyone, including those with an injury or diagnosis impairing cognitive function.
Incorporating Exercise, especially forced intensity, can bring blood to the brain, release neurotransmitters (chemical messengers), and form new and strengthen old connections in the brain. We can support the process by
getting good quality and appropriate quantity of sleep. Physical therapy is a great place to start if you are looking for the appropriate types of Exercise to improve neuroplasticity in your brain.
Wellness 360 physical therapy and massage specializes in neuro-rehab, focusing specifically on post-stroke and Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis. Check us out at www.wellness360fitness.com
LIFE IN BALANCE: PRANAYAMABY KAITLYN VITOZZI
What do you think of when you think of yoga? Tight pants? Hot studios? Bendy ladies? There are Eight Limbs of yoga, all of which require zero physical flexibility, and my past few columns have started to explore the limbs that are less popular in the US. Why? These limbs are extremely important to our Human Flourishing.
This month we’ll explore pranayama, but here is a list of all eight in both their Sanskrit and English names.
Yamas – Ethical Restraints
Niyamas – Ethical Observances
Asana – Posture
Pranayama – Breathing Techniques
Pratyahara – Sense Withdrawal
Dharana – Focused Concentration
Dhyana – Meditative Absorption
Samadhi – Bliss or Enlightenment
The word Prana means energy, breath or life force. I once had a teacher that asked us to look at a live tree vs. a dead tree. What’s the difference? The prana.
Prana-yama translates to breath control. Why does breath matter? Not only does it keep us alive but it is central to our relaxation and stress response. The ancient practice of yoga might not have included modern technology but anecdotally they could see the impact breath had on people. There are countless modern studies published on the impact of breath. I encourage you to do your own research or schedule a session with a yoga therapist or breathwork practitioner to take a deep dive – but if you incorporate even just one of the
techniques I am outlying below on a daily basis I would bet you would see some improvement in your stress levels. That being said if you have any respiratory, gastrointestinal or cardiac sensitivities you should check with your doctor before incorporating a daily breath practice in case there are any contraindications, you may also want to avoid these after eating a full meal the first time as the lungs are closer to your stomach than you may think. Unless noted, start with a practice of one minute and build up to ten, as many times during the day as you need.
Breath awareness – Truth be told, we often take our breath for granted until we are sick or our breath escapes us. I recommend a practice of tuning into your natural breath and just becoming aware of that.
Physiological Sigh – This technique has been getting a lot of media attention lately as some research has backed this as a quick fix to stress, which is why I am including this up so high on the list. Take a full inhale through your nose to fill up your torso with breath, then take in another quick inhale through the nose, then exhale it out the month. No need to do this more than twice.
Extended Exhale – If you feel tension building up, pay attention to your inhale and exhale. Focus on extending your exhale to assist in relaxation. For example, if you inhale to the count of three, try to exhale to the count of five.
Box Breath – Inhale to the count of four, hold it for the count of four, exhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four. As you get more experienced you might start to lengthen the counts, to 5, 8, 10, etc. Three Part Breath – An excellent practice in breath control. Inhale fill up your belly, then your ribs, then your chest, then exhale it all out the mouth.
Breath of Joy – Want a more active form of Three Part Breath to get you moving? Inhale fill up your belly with breath and extend arms out in front of you (think Frankenstein), inhale fly arms out to the side (think T-Shape), inhale stretch arms up to the ceiling and then exhale out the mouth with bent knees, letting your arms flop down toward the floor.
Grounding Breath – This was given to me by Reiki Master Jessie Knight from Healing Spirit Reiki. I try to personally do this a few times per day. Inhale and envision air coming down through the top of your head. Exhale it out your feet.
Buzzing Bee Breath – Gently put your fingers on your tragus of the outer ear. Inhale through the nose with lips closed. Keeping lips closed, exhale as if you were breathing out your mouth so you’re creating a humming sound. Really feel the soothing sensation of your own hum. Try to keep the inhale and exhale fluid but of course take breaks as needed.
Alternate Nostril Breathing – My
“Meditation. Practicing meditation teaches us to slow down and focus.”
personal recommendation is to blow your nose first. Try a full inhale and exhale out the nose to warm up. With your thumb, gently press your right nostril closed (pressing the ala to the apex) and inhale through your left nostril. Then close the left nostril and exhale out the right nostril. Repeat by inhaling through the right nostril,
closing it and exhaling out the left nostril.
Questions on any of these? Email me at Kaitlyn@tozziyoga.com. There are absolutely other pranayama techniques to explore, so don’t think that these are the only ones!
Kaitlyn Vittozzi, C-IAYT is a Yoga Therapist and owner of Penfield Yoga Therapy. For more information on yoga therapy sessions and classes, visit PenfieldYogaTherapy.Com
“Prana-yama translates to breath control. Why does breath matter? ”
SHOW ME THE MOTIVATIONBY ROBIN DEWIND
It was a quiet Sunday and I decided to clean my house with the TV on. I stumbled across an old favorite movie, ‘Jerry McGuire.’
Almost thirty years later I started watching with a different set of eyes. McGuire, played by Tom Cruise became disgruntled, despite being a hot-shot sports agent, with plenty of money, friends, and power. He wanted something more out of his life and career and dared to share his disgust, writing a 25-page mission statement that he printed and mailed to the entire office.
We wrote a suggestion for the future of his company. The importance of remembering the simple pleasures of the job, serving clients, and the key to business: personal relationships matter.
Powering down my Dyson it occurred to me, Jerry was ahead of his time. In 1996 when I watched for the first time, I was in the “show me the money” phase of my career.” It was all about ladder climbing, goals, and salary.
This time around, McGuire’s heartfelt manifesto, “Things We Think, But Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business” struck a chord with me. In today’s world of clicks, likes, and shares, face-to-face conversations matter and so do relationships in business.
Jerry McGuire withstands the test of time.
After a performative standing ovation, for daring to call out the corporate culture, Jerry is fired.
He forms his own little company with only one client; an undervalued, constantly complaining wide receiver who is simply looking for more money. This is where Jerry’s small business journey begins.
Fewer clients and attention to detail are at the heart of any solopreneur’s ambition to go it alone.
When I started my business, I would have been thrilled to have Rod Tidwell or anyone who wanted to sign on. All it takes is one.
Despite the risk of going solo, I knew deep down something was missing from my current work-life balance. There is this gnawing feeling when you know something is about to end or change. I could have done more but was left uninspired. The television news business is tough, and I had lost my edge and desire to play along, and it showed.
Sports agent, a broadcast journalist, name your job or position. Can you have real success, self-respect, or honor when you no longer have passion for what you are doing?
As Jerry wrote, “We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business.” I am guessing many people are feeling lost in the work-life shuffle.
Isolated and scrolling for inspiration but too afraid to take the leap.
I stopped cleaning, to sit on the couch. Jerry’s climb back to the top, on his own terms, is a lesson for all of us.
People not Prospects
Customers, prospects, vendors, buyers, clients. Why not use words like people and partners? Names, family, and personal lives matter and it makes it a whole lot easier to have consideration, empathy, and tolerance. During a two-day high-end video production, I became embarrassingly ill. Some sort of stomach bug. I barely finished and went home. Refusing to jeopardize the expensive production, I returned for the second day, still feeling awful. My biggest worry was how my new client would feel about having a pale on-camera host. To my surprise he greeted me with a bag full of saltines, tea, and Tums, thanked me for my work ethic, and let me take the day at my own pace and performance. It nagged at Jerry that the human connection to his business was lost to larger profits. I will always remember this man’s priority that day, kindness over cost.
Be who you are. I provide a variety of services, but a client or business is buying me. My brand, reputation, and experience. Never pretend to offer something you cannot deliver, in service or in attitude. I was pursued by a firm that was interested in doing business. I met with them several times, and eventually they requested a
video proposal. After several meetings and conversations, I knew our ideas were not in line, but I submitted what I thought was professionally needed. I never received a response or a ‘thanks but no thanks.’ They were not the right client for me, and I was not the person for this job. As Jerry learned the hard way, honesty can be uncomfortable, but it sets you on the road to creating work that aligns with your core beliefs.
If the heart is empty, the head doesn’t matter.
I am fueled to work harder when I am at my best personally and can focus on my business. Family, life, and the daily grind makes it tough some days. But as Jerry’s mentor Dickey Fox says, “I love getting up in the morning, I clap my hands and say, this is going to be a great day!” I did not finish cleaning my house,
but I did clear my mind of the stress, doubt, and anxiety that comes with every Sunday when you decide to bet on yourself. It has been almost ten years for me.
Jerry reminded me of how I got here in the first place, and how far I have come. If your business model is passion and people, the profits will come.
“We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business.”
I could have done more but was left UNINSPIRED. The television news business is tough, and I had lost my edge and DESIRE to play along, and it showed. ”
CREATING LOVING WAYSBY LISA WAGNER
TO BE GENTLE WITH OURSELVES... SYSTEMS THAT CAN BRING YOU PEACE
Being gentle with ourselves, especially as women, can be challenging and occasionally nonexistent for long stretches of time. Society has taught us that the “ideal woman” is quiet, tough, nurturing multitasker who moves through life without complaint. We clearly know this is far from the truth, yet we easily can fall back to the way we’ve been conditioned to see ourselves as flawed and not enough. So, how can we create a more loving way to be gentle with ourselves? To see the real “me” that is wanting to burst forth and feel a peaceful knowing that we are exactly who we should and were always meant to be?
Think about first and foremost how many times a day you use negative self-talk? We punish ourselves for not being our best even during difficult life circumstances or as a motivator to “do and be better.” The mental berating and self-sabotage bring us unrest, pain, anxiety, and/or depression due to feelings of never being enough. We forget that when we choose to live in that space of fear that we are not only punishing our adult selves, but we are also speaking that way to the child within us. We damage them every time we say, think or believe negative thought patterns and ruminate on them. We give them energy to swallow us whole if we get lost in them.
When you have those low moments, can you imagine yourself instead speaking to your 7-year-old self? How must she be feeling when you say detrimental,
unkind things? As a child, I used to have people in my life that weren’t always kind to me, and I felt damaged and unlovable. There was a feeling of never being safe or held. I yearned for that deeply and promised myself that my children would always feel a sense of safety and peace in our home. (No pressure there.) What I forgot along the way was that I still needed that for myself, especially as an adult.
The psychotherapy model of Internal Family Systems* states that their goal is [to help] “people heal by accessing and healing their protective and wounded inner parts.” They maintain that our core “self” (which I call my truest essence), is what should lead our thinking and steer the other parts of our subpersonalities “to achieve balance and harmony within the internal system.” That core self is where creativity, calmness, curiosity, compassion, confidence, connectedness, courage, and clarity are traced back to and where we feel the most centered when we wholly tap into them.
My greatest tool to remember how to come out of this darkness is to not only imagine my inner child but also my kids and my five-month-old granddaughter. How could I ever speak to them that way? I never could nor would I even dream of it. I shower them with love, compassion and acceptance while creating a safe place for them to be their authentic, most beautiful selves. I see them for who they truly are-perfectly enough and more. It’s powerful and takes me out of the ruminating about the big lie that says how I wasn’t enough or worthy. I can get off the gerbil wheel and take deep breaths while I picture their beautiful selves in front of me. What
am I modeling? How is my behavior not only hurting me but deeply hurting them and misshaping their self-identity? Talk about a positive motivator!
While amid pain, try switching your dialogue to asking that sweet little girl what she needs right now and how can you be there for her? I like to tell her she’s enough, beautiful, smart, funny, and safe. That I will always be here for her, and she no longer needs to hide in order to feel secure. I’ve got her back. It’s incredibly healing and deeply loving not just for her but for my heart. Being of service to ourselves in this way grants us to lead the way for others to do the same self-loving practices. It’s a joyful ripple you are consciously creating for all beings. That is profoundly powerful and needed today. It also gives you the power to change and shape the hearts and minds of those seven generations before and after you in a way that is healthy and positive. Seven generations!
Becoming mindful about our thoughts, actions and words can also support our self-love rituals. Taking deep breaths or taking that split second to check in and see the next right action should look and feel like. Answering an irritating or hurtful text/email once you have quieted your mind instead of immediately replying creates space for you to come from a place of love and curiosity. Not from anger or agitation. Simple actions like this can grant you the ability to calm yourself and operate from a higher vibration. It diffuses not only your initial fight or flight responses but also acts as a buffer that creates a kinder space for all parties to navigate more lovingly. You create the change you want to see in the world and become a light in the
What is the greatest gift you can give yourself? It is to fully understand your boundless value. You have been created in God’s perfect image. You are infinitely loved and supported in every trauma, joy, and accomplishment. It’s okay to lean in and allow them to hold you when you can’t find the strength to take one more step. They await your requests with only love and a deep desire to walk alongside you. They wish for you to use the gifts you’ve been uniquely given without fear or apology. It is what you are meant to do and be; your highest and most loving self. Being of service to yourself opens you up to standing alongside others that now can no longer continue without loving guidance and a soft place to fall. Getting aligned with love by checking
in with what it is your soul values and following that path opens your heart to growth and healing. Give yourself what you need and live fully alive each day in whatever capacity is available to you. Even small loving actions are triumphs.
Decide today to begin a journey of gentleness. Try any or all the above steps, baby step by baby step and journal how it is beginning to change your vision of who you are. Share with a trusted person what you are doing and ask them to come along for the ride (if you feel comfortable with that). Have them gently hold you accountable when you use negative terms about you or something you made a misstep on. Let them help cheer you on and create a safe place for you to
grow and flourish. Have fun and use creative means to get there. Take a fun art class, learn something you’ve always wanted to know how to do and dive in. Find what works for you to feel as though you are steeped in inexplicable joy. Then repeat. Add on. Expand that practice as you begin to grow. You will then be able to stand proudly in that light knowing you stepped up and did the work to find yourself again to feel the peace it brings to your heart. You’ll never want to leave.
“What is the greatest gift you can give yourself? It is to fully understand your boundless value.”
Localy Hand-made Soy Candles
Wire Wrapped Crystal Jewellery
Handmade Chains & Jewellery
Crystal Forms and Crystal Novelties
DEALING WITH REJECTIONBY BONNIE FLOYD
Rejection is an undisputed fact of life. We all face rejection, in one form or another, throughout our lives.
Some of us may face more episodes of rejection than others. Obviously, those of us who are hypersensitive are more likely to encounter more frequent periods of rejection. If we tend to overpersonalize neutral events in our lives, we will also be more likely to interpret them as incidents of rejection.
We feel rejection when we face the loss of something that we deeply valued or wanted. Rejection has been defined as the act of pushing someone or something away.
There are many possible explanations for why we encounter rejection in our lives. It’s important to remember that, many times, rejection is unrelated to who we are. However, it may reflect that someone else does not accept a specific type of behavior that we have exhibited.
Rejection is painful because it violates our fundamental need to belong. Experiencing rejection is so painful because it destabilizes our basic need to be a member of a social group. In fact, experiencing social rejection activates the same brain pathways that are activated when we experience physical pain. It is “hard-wired” in us to belong to one another, to need each other in meaningful, reliable ways. When this fails to happen, it hurts.
Those of us who have secure attachment styles are more likely to be resilient after
facing rejection. Attachment styles refer to those models which form the patterns of how we view relationships in our lives. These attachment styles are typically provided by our parents, or primary caregivers.
Personally, I’ve recently been challenged by rejections in my personal and professional life, neither of which was pleasant to deal with at all. After only having met with me for one session, a teletherapy client chose to transfer to another therapist. I was never informed about the reason why. Perhaps she didn’t like my theoretical orientation, or maybe our schedules simply failed to line up. I try to focus my energies on working effectively with those clients who do choose to work with me, rather than to waste my resources on trying to figure out why I’m not a good fit for someone.
Also, I recently decided to reach out to a college friend, someone whom I had not been in contact with for thirty years; he chose to not respond to me. I decided to graciously wish him well, and simply let this issue go. Again, I have decided to direct my limited energy towards those individuals who have expressed interest in maintaining an ongoing, bidirectional friendship. Life is far too short to focus on those who fall away along the way, in my humble opinion.
How we choose to respond to rejection is incredibly important. Healthy responses to encountering rejection involve the following steps: 1). Fully acknowledge that the rejection has occurred (don’t
try to deny it); 2). Attempt to learn something valuable from the experience (no experience need ever be wasted in our lives, even if painful); 3). Process your emotional reaction to rejection (feel sadness, anger, and/or anxiety); 4). Practice self-compassion (be gentle with yourself, and acknowledge that rejection means that you were willing to take a risk); 5). Engage in healthy practices (eat healthy, get enough sleep, exercise, and hydrate); and, 6) Be willing to risk taking another chance in the future (don’t assume that a previous experience of rejection will inevitably be repeated in the future).
One essential means of buffering one’s self against rejection involves improving your self-esteem. Doing so will help you to become more resistant to feeling upset when others fail to include you in valued events or activities. Make a list of your positive attributes, your valued personality traits, your meaningful contributions, etc. Doing so will help raise your self-esteem, as well as potentially reveal deficits to work on remedying.
Although we rarely recognize it immediately after it takes place, sometimes rejection can be the very best thing that could ever possibly happen to us. That’s because it redirects our path in an entirely different, but ultimately better, direction.Bonnie J. Floyd, Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychologist