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Mar/Apr 2011 • Volume 3 Issue 2


Real Women • Real business • Real Life • Real Women • Real business • Real Life

Celebrating real women in business and life

Stiletto Woman m a g a z i n e

A ntoinette S ykes See how this marketing executive bounced back from two layoffs

Brand Building Essentials Use these quick brand building tips to grow your solo business

Dr. Connie Mariano The White House Doctor


Real Women • Real business • Real Life • Real Women • Real business • Real Life


Vo l u m e 3 Issue 2 M a r/a p r 2011

Copyright Notice:

Copyright © 2009-2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, online, or mechanical including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.

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On the cover

K. L. Wallace

Teresa Bowman

Mary Ann Shea

Disclaimer: Stiletto Woman and its editors have made every effort to provide accurate and timely information. The publisher, contributors, editors, and other related associates do not assume responsibility for information that is incorrect or omitted. Stiletto Woman disclaims neglect, liability, and damages as a result of erroneous information. We do not express endorsement or validity of any company, website, or blogsite. The content provided is solely for informational purposes.

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Website Address: Volume 3, Issue 2 (2011) ISSN: 1947-9999 (Print) ISSN: 1948-0008 (Online)

Zoe (Chic & Sassy)

Teresa Bowman Leslie Walker

T. Hardiman Janet Allebre Amy Barnes Nicole Greer

Susan Porter Kimberley Hostetler Maureen Francisco

Dr. Connie Mariano

From t he Pu bli s her In this issue our correspondent, Maureen Francisco, has a one-on-one conversation with Dr. Connie Mariano; the first military woman to become the White House Physician to the President of the United States. Dr. Mariano talks about her transition from the White House to her new role as author and founder of the Center for Executive Medicine (CEM). Additionally, you’ll be inspired by an up close and personal conversation with Antoinette Sykes, a marketing executive who experienced two layoffs. In spite of adversity, she’s been able to bounce back! As we transition to the next season and settle into this new economy, we’re delighted to share these women’s reposition strategies and triumphant stories of success. Take time to assess where you are, and adjust accordingly to make your dream reality.

Karlena L. Wallace

Celebrating women in business and life.

Real Women • Real business • Real Life • Real Women • Real business • Real Life

Stile t t o Wo m an



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DR. CONNIE MARIANO: Journey to the White House and Beyond Interview by Maureen Francisco BOUNCE BACK WITH ANTOINETTE SYKES Interview by K. L. Wallace

FAB TO FITNESS WITH AMY: Set Your Goals... Stick With Them by Amy Barnes



Dr. Connie Mariano: The White House Doctor

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by K.L. Wallace

MEET MEGAN ANDRUS: My Accessory Business


Stiletto Woman

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❤ ❤❤ Made hand

Photo Credit: Hea r tWo rk s by L o r i 3 Website: h t t p : / / w w w. e t s y. c o m / s h o p / h e a r t w o rk s by l o r i

❤ ❤❤ Lori st a r t e d m a ki ng je welr y in 1990 w hen s he became wear y of paying s o much money i n t h e s t o re s f o r c o o l s tyles. She is classically self-educated in the ar t of je welr y making t h ro u g h f e ro c i o u s l y re a d i ng volumes of books on the subject and through the labor intensive m e t h o d o f t r i a l a n d e r ro r. Lori’s sole intention is always to craft something that is so uniq u e a n d s o e mo t i o n a l l y e vocative that each woman who wears her je welr y would immediatel y c a t c h Lori’s a e s t h e t i c visio n and m ak e it her own.

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ccording to the National Bureau of Economic Research, our modern day recession began late 2007. During that time, it’s been reported the United States lost approximately 8.4 million jobs—an astonishing number that left many families devastated. Today, families are continuing to struggle, while the economy slowly recovers. Additionally, small businesses have suffered greatly as well. In 2010 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a net loss of 96,000 companies with fewer than 100 employees, which was down from 2009, with the loss of 400,000 companies. There’s no question, families and communities have been overwhelmingly strained with this disparaging climate and in many cases, businesses and careers haven’t survived. Antoinette Sykes is no stranger to the conditions of this new economy. She was an executive and marketing professional who faced the same uncertainty after experiencing two layoffs. Antoinette, now a business owner herself, shares her bounce back story, and gives advice to those facing the same challenges.K.

L. Wallace: In this economy, many people

Bounce Back with

Antoinette Sykes Interview by K. L. Wallace

have experienced a layoff, and are having trouble rebounding. Can you share your layoff experience with us? Antoinette Sykes: The first layoff is always a shock to your system—no matter what—you’re

never truly prepared for that. When I was made aware of the layoff, I was escorted out the exact same day—to be frank with you it felt more like a firing than it did a layoff because we were not counseled; there was no forewarning whatsoever. I’m sure they [employer] did what they thought was in the best interest of the company. That being said, a lot of the time, we [employees] rely on our employers to treat us like family, like human beings. We expect respect and understanding, or openness for that matter . . . especially after you’ve served some time there, and you have a good working relationship with your colleagues, leadership, and those on your staff; and that was the case for me. It wasn’t just me being laid off; it was my entire dept, and so as a leader I did not have the chance to say “Hey the company is going through XYZ, and there’s a strong possibility that we may be outsourced.” I never had a chance to console them to ensure my people were okay. We were all notified at the same time, and that’s a hard thing, extremely hard.


KLW: How were you able to adjust from your layoff? What did you do?

KLW: As a coach, how do you help those looking to advance in their careers or businesses?

AS: My head was spinning, but then I came out of the fog. I’m the type of person who’s not going to wallow in it too long. I gave myself 24-48 hours to reflect—but also another part of me was like: I have always wanted my own business! In fact, I had my own business while I worked full-time, but of course, you have the safety net, so you don’t necessarily pursue it completely unless you’re pushed into it. I felt like this was my chance to step out there on my own. So for the first part I was in review mode, if you will; reviewing what happened, and then truly trying to come up with a plan of what’s next—that also included looking back over what the company offered (counseling, resume writing, etc) so I could use every resource available to me at that moment.

AS: As a coach I help professional women stuck in that mid career and those who want to grow, or women looking to transition into their business. For those growing in their career—today employees are asked to take on additional responsibilities without the pay increase, which can be disheartening because not only is your role already maximized, but now you’re taking on the role of someone else who may have suffered a layoff or cutbacks. So now you’re picking up slack, yet they [employer] don’t offer any monetary increase. When that arises, if it’s something you want to do, then grab the bull by the horns and take it because it will pay off in the long run.

KLW: What strategies have you used to bounce back, and which ones may be good for others. AS: Once you start to review your situation—where you are and take inventory, have a true reality check with self. What are you looking for? Then build a plan. Unless you start to write some things down to formulate a pathway, you won’t be able to pull yourself out of the fog. Sometimes we get stuck in that paralysis.

When you sit down with the individual offering the role, make sure you have a frank conversation about other ways you can be compensated right now; that can come in terms of negotiating more benefits, more vacation, or change in title so it’s reflected on your resume. As a result, when the time comes for you to exit the company; sure you may not have had the monetary increase, but you do have the experience and that title, and that will go a long way in catapulting yourself to the next level. I like to tell my in-career transition people, it’s very important to sit down and talk about some type of leverage—nothing extreme—do it within means. However, you want to make them [employer] aware that you’re valuable and an asset to the company. And they do recognize that; if not, they wouldn’t have asked you to take on this additional role. It’s a win-win for the employee and the company to maintain

Take a moment  Build a plan  Start taking steps each day.


some level of camaraderie and morale in the company given the economic climate. For those transitioning out of corporate America—by all means stay put at your job as long as you can. A lot of people want to jump ship, but it’s a lot of work mentally and monetarily. Work your plan, and while there, save money. Get a realistic budget of what it’s going to take to start a company. From there, you can look at your current income and begin budgeting and setting that money aside. Start constructing a business plan. People often shy away from the business plan, but I tell people it could be a one pager, a two pager—the next two years, the next five years. Then rank things in order of priority; what needs to take place next as it relates to leaving the company.

1.) Stay put 2.) Develop a budget 3.) Construct a business plan KLW: Do you have any advice for women wanting to start a business in this new economy? It’s such an exciting time right now. Take advantage of free resources. Social media is fabulous. You can network with your audience and clients like never before. You can spread your marketing message, and take advantage of those opportunities. Take stock of the budget. It can be exciting to have the freedom, but you must have a realistic perspective. Personally, I don’t start businesses as hobbies. I’m in the business because I want to make money as well—I love it, but it’s not a hobby. Let’s be smart. Let’s plan accordingly, so we know the numbers we need to make at the end of the day. Get a website. In 2011 there’s no reason to not have a website. Today the first thing we do is Google, to see if a business comes up. It’s the bare minimum—the standard. Start small and then grow out. We put our trust and money into big corporations and they have failed us miserably, and the smaller companies are paying for it today. I believe it’s going to be the smaller businesses that will thrive and bounce the economy back. The conglomerates have failed. The small business is the pulse of the community. We deal with businesses we know, like, and trust. It’s that human touch that’s missing. So even with all the technology, there’s still a way to reach out and be human.

To learn more about Antoinette Sykes, visit her at To listen to the recorded interview with Antoinette, log on to


Website: Photo credit:





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h. j.

g. 4

a. $50.00 b. $40.00 c. $55.00 d. $77.00 e. $36.00 f. $69.50 G. $69.00 h. $54.00 i. $44.00 j. $129.00

Brand Building Essentials for New

Solopreneurs by K. L. Wallace

Business has changed—especially for the solopreneur or micro business owner. In today’s economy, many are forced to create their own oppor tunities, and in many cases, new careers. So when launching a business in 2011 and building your brand from the bottom up, keep these quick tips in mind. 1. Brand Message

Your brand message goes beyond how you look on paper, and what your content implies. Your brand is your voice. Think about the message you intend to send out. Are you planning to meet a specific niche and have an authoritative voice? Do you plan to build your reputation through well-nurtured consumer or business relationships? How do you want the public to feel about your brand? When visiting your site, or coming into contact with your company, what should be the initial takeaway? Oftentimes, we forget about our true purpose—the bottom line of why we’re in business. When a solopreneur doesn’t have a defined method of connecting with their intended audience, it becomes difficult to meet consumer needs. As a result, one must determine the message — perfect it — and keep sending it out consistently across all mediums.

2. Brand Identity

As a visual society, some judge the value of a company, product or service from an external perspective. By nature, we are attracted to the way things look and the manner in which sources are brought together. Brand identity is a critical step in executing your brand message. When developing your website, blog, logo, brochures, business cards, postcards, etc, the look and feel has to coincide with your core values and overall vision. Therefore when launching, do so cohesively. This relates to colors, typography, imaging, and style of design. Think about a few of America’s top brands: Nike, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and Ben & Jerry’s. Each label has a distinct style that’s easily recognizable; when mentioning these names, an image, and perhaps even, an emotion materializes—ultimately that’s what happens when a good message and identity merges together well.


1) A general online presence 2) A business identity   3) An interconnected professional image

3. Social Connection

How will your business relate to its network of supporters? In our social environment, you must find a way to directly reach those who’ll benefit from your service or product. You need to select a social vice and determine how to best communicate within those mediums. Are you a Twitter person who enjoys the quick exchange? Are you more into Facebook where you’re able to reach the market better? What about LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, Tumblr, email campaigns, Ning, and local networking groups? Remember, your social activities don’t have to be all-encompassing. However, choose one or two areas where you engage openly and regularly. A good social connection adds to your authenticity and builds brand loyalty.

4. Strategic Execution

Create a strategy that realistically outlines your growth and market goals. Along with your business and marketing plan, establish a summation of tasks that focus specifically on execution— actionable steps. The business and marketing plan charts your vision; conversely, an execution plan outlines implementation dates, times, places, coordinators, vendors, etc. With this approach, you review tasks from a project management standpoint and allocate timeframes and tasks tactically to achieve your objective.

5. Get Brand Visible

People want to know who they’re dealing with, who they’re trusting, and where they’re investing (both time and money). You control how your business is perceived. Is your venture cool and funky, earthy and holistic, modern and chic, traditional and conservative? The public should get acquainted with your style. Start by establishing the following:

1) A general online presence (Where you’re located online, and how people will find you and connect) 2) A business identity  (What is communicated, what is of value, and how you’re unique) 3) An interconnected professional image (How you’re representing the brand) Collectively these elements help propel new businesses forward. Consumers should know where to find you engaging the audience. These destinations may be varied; however your intrinsic voice should be the same across the board. The main objective to remember: develop your brand like the “big boys”. Have a consistent way of managing customer relationships, communication and language, systems and documentation, and overall design. When consumers think of your company, an immediate image will come to mind—you are a key influencer of that perception.


Don’t miss the next issue!

Stiletto Woman in Business Awards 2011

Nominations begin

January 17, 2011

Nominate yourself or other amazing women in business today! Nominations start in January 2011. Check our website, newsletter, and Facebook to get the updated details on entries, awards, categories, and deadline dates.

Order Stiletto Woman Magazine conveniently online

Photographer: Scot Woodman,

Makeup Artist: Katie C,

Beauty i s in th e E ye of the B eh ol der

Model: Anna Lark Makeup artist: Katie C. Photographer: Scot Woodman

C ove r S to r y

“treat ever y patient as though he or she were the President of the United States”

She’s a pioneer

The White House Doctor

Dr. Connie Mariano was destined for greatness early on. Being named valedictorian in high school and graduating cum laude from University of California, San Diego’s Revelle College was simply the beginning. Dr. Mariano went on to be the first military woman to become the White House Physician to the President of the United States, the first Filipino American in US history to become a Navy Rear Admiral, as well as the first woman director of the White House Medical Unit—to say she is a woman of influence is an understatement. She is a pioneer. Today Dr. Mariano is the president and founder of the Center for Executive Medicine (CEM) in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) and board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine since 1987. She has been a diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners since 1982. Dr. Mariano’s highest position in medicine was held as Physician to the President for President William J. Clinton, from 1994-2001. She has also held the title of Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University School of Health Sciences and the Mayo School of Medicine. Dr. Mariano served at the White House under Presidents George H.W. Bush, (Bill) William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. An expert on the care of VIPs, celebrities, and world leaders, Dr. Mariano is a frequent guest speaker at international conferences, and participant on media specials such as CNN’s “The Health of the President.” Approaching thirty years in the medical profession, Dr. Mariano has taken care of patients both in the military and private sector. She brings to the Center for Executive Medicine her unique experience and passion in providing the highest standard of care to all her patients. Correspondent Maureen Francisco and Dr. Mariano shared a leisurely conversation over lunch. The doctor talks candidly about her new book, The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents (St. Martin’s Press, 2010)


Inter view with Dr. Connie Mariano

to the White House and Beyond


Maureen Francisco: It’s so nice to meet you. Dr. Connie Mariano: [Smiling] Same here. MF: You’re the first Filipino American in U.S. history to become a Navy Rear Admiral and White House physician. What inspired you to share your story? Dr. Mariano: I have been interviewed by many authors and journalists since leaving the White House. Several have gone on to write their books. One of the authors who asked me to help him with his book is best-selling author Dr. Michael Palmer, who contacted me when he was writing “The First Patient” in 2006. During our work together, Dr. Palmer told me that he thought my writing was excellent and encouraged me to write my memoir. MF: How did you make time to write your first book, “The White House Doctor”? Dr. Mariano: It took a year to write it. I wrote it in the evenings, on weekends and on airplanes when I would travel to visit my then-boyfriend/fiancée John Weber, whom I married in June of this year. MF: Congratulations! Dr. Mariano: Thank you. One of my sons gave a toast and said, “He can’t be too bad since he [John] has a house in the Aspens.” [Laughing] MF: [Laughing] Your relationship with your sons improved when they became adults, right?

hundred countries. Each trip was unique and enabled us to represent America. MF: When you left the White House, you became an entrepreneur by establishing your own medical concierge clinic for executives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Is there any advice that you’d like to share with our readers who also want to be their own boss? Dr. Mariano: It is a “leap of faith” that you go out on your own and create your own business. Believe in your product and yourself. Aim to please your client/customer/patient. My motto for my practice is “treat every patient as though he or she were the President of the United States.” MF: What’s next for you, Dr. Mariano? Is a political or military career something you foresee in your future again? Dr. Mariano: I already completed my military career by serving 24 years in the U.S. Navy. I don’t have any political aspirations. I would like to continue to practice medicine for a good many years because I love taking care of patients and am fascinated by people. And, I would like to continue writing books. My publisher wants me to work on a second book. I’m thinking of naming it “Ten Secrets Patients Don’t Want Doctors to Know,” based on my thirty years of medicine observing patients (and presidents) who hide secrets from their doctors, fearing judgment, scolding, embarrassment. If a patient reveals these secrets, the doctor potentially can help this patient and maybe even save his or her life.

Dr. Mariano: Oh, yes. MF: In your book, you talked about the demands it took to take care of the First Family. As a result, what happened to the family you created? Dr. Mariano: I spent more time with the president and First Family and was rarely home for my own family. Being torn between the obligations of your career and your duty as a wife and mother is the struggle faced by many professional women, especially career military women who are stationed overseas for an extended period of time. MF: Since you spent more time with the presidents, which one became your favorite and why? Dr. Mariano: They were ALL my favorite presidents; I’d like to say diplomatically! Whoever was president at the time was my favorite. President George H. W. Bush reminded me of my parents. He was of the same generation; very dignified, respectful, kind and humble. President Bill Clinton was more like my rock-star big brother. I am closest to him since I took care of him during his entire eight years at the White House. MF: What was your favorite memory during your time in the White House? Dr. Mariano: Traveling with the president [Bill Clinton] on Air Force One around the world. We visited close to a


To learn more about Dr. Connie Mariano, visit her online at Her book, The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents is published by St. Martin’s Press, and is available wherever books are sold.

About the writer

Maureen Francisco is a contributor for the #1 reality show website, and a featured guest every Thursday regarding reality shows on Valerie’s New York. You can listen to her on She is also the CEO and founder of MoProductions, LLC., which gives her the creative outlet to host, produce, and write in various media.










lizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was born to sharecropper parents, George and Susan Coleman. As one of thirteen children, Coleman didn’t allow barriers to hold her back. At 18 years old she enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now Langston University). Her college days were short-lived however, after running out of money and being forced to return home. She eventually moved to Chicago with two brothers and got a job as a manicurist in a barber shop. It was there that her dream of becoming a pilot began to materialize. However, to others it was an unlikely incident, because up to that point, there had never been an African-American or woman of any race accepted in American flight schools. She was encouraged by [then] founder of the Chicago Defender to study abroad. Coleman secured financial backing from a banker and the Defender to help pursue her newfound passion. On June 15, 1921, Coleman became not only the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license, but the first African-American woman in the world to earn an aviation pilot’s license. In September 1921, she became a media sensation when she returned to the United States. “Queen Bess,” as she was known, was a highly popular draw for the next five years. Invited to important events and often interviewed by newspapers. She was admired by all races.

Text credit:,,


Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934)

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926)

loria Marie Steinem is a feminist, journalist, lecturer, and activist. In the 60s and 70s, she was best known for her work as the spokeswoman for the Women’s Liberation Movement. Steinem was a columnist for New York magazine and co-founder of Ms. magazine. When the first regular issue of Ms. magazine hit newsstands in July 1972, its 300,000 “one-shot” test copies sold out nationwide in three days. It generated an astonishing 26,000 subscription orders and over 20,000 reader letters within weeks. However, it was her article “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” that brought her national attention as a feminist leader. Steinem actively campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, in addition to other laws and social reforms that promoted equality between women and men; helping to strike down many long-standing sex discriminatory laws, such as those that gave men superior rights in marriage and denied women equal economic opportunities. She also founded/co-founded many groups, such as the Women’s Action Alliance, on which she served as chair of the board throughout the 1970s, the NWPC, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Ms. Foundation for Women, Choice USA, and Women’s Media Center. As a writer, Steinem has received many awards including an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Women’s Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations. Currently she resides in New York City, and is working on her next manuscript.


Set Your Goals . . . Stick With Them



to fitness with Amy

amy barnes, fitness expert & personal trainer health and wellness columnist As we strive to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to answer two questions: What’s my goal? Where am I in my quest? Many people are in the beginning stages of making a positive, healthy lifestyle change, whether it’s to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or reduce other health risks. This is always an exciting time because the prospects of the end results—such as feeling healthier or boosting your energy is invigorating. It’s important, however, to start your adventure on the right foot. Here are my tips for successfully making a healthy lifestyle change.

Step 1: Commitment The first step is making a real commitment—crossing over from “I’d like to make a change” to “I’m going to do this and no one can stop me.” This means you’re fully committed. It helps at this point to be verbal about your decision with your close friends and family, so they can support you and not unknowingly sabotage you. It’s tough getting to this stage, so don’t become discouraged. Once you feel that conviction, you can take the next steps to keep yourself moving forward towards a healthy lifestyle.

Step 2: Identify Your Goals First, identify your long-term goal. For instance, do you want to lose 10 pounds, or would you like to lower your blood pressure? Then set some short-term goals: I want to be able to run one mile; I want to add five servings of fruits and veggies to my diet each day. I always say that every journey needs a map, and setting out to change your lifestyle is no

Fab Fitness continued exception! Having a vague idea of what you want for yourself and how you want to get there won’t get you far. Write your goal down so you can see it each day as you embark on making changes. Keep checking your road map and make sure it’s updated by routinely reevaluating your course. Life may force detours, but with a sound strategy, you can stay on course. I also encourage my clients to take baby steps and grow into their change. Remember it takes approximately 60 days to change a habit, so stay realistic. Unrealistic expectations set you up for failure and frustration. Despite what society tells you, there are no quick fixes when it comes to living healthier.

Step 3: Maintenance/Continued Improvement Some of you have already succeeded in reaching your goal and are in the process of living healthy. Bravo! Now you need to maintain what you’ve accomplished and push further ahead. Remember, we live in a world full of temptations and it’s easy to slip back into bad habits if you don’t stay focused on why you made the changes in the first place. I find it helps to take time once in a while to reflect on the changes you’ve made and how they have affected your life in a positive way. For example, remember how hard it was to get moving those first few times and how great you feel when you exercise now. The key to maintaining successful habits is to keep monitoring your progress and not to lose accountability to yourself. You may not be tracking your progress every day anymore, but once in awhile you still need to take inventory of your habits and your healthy lifestyle choices. You need to be honest with yourself and take notice if you see bad patterns sneaking up again.

s s

Additionally, this is a good stage to try new things. Perhaps you never dreamt you could complete 20 minutes of exercise, but now you can. So it might be time to increase your intensity or add a few more minutes. Or it could be a good time to try a new form of exercise, such as Pilates, intervals, or weight training.

e n t

The biggest goal here is to be the best you can be. If you think about it, being mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top. I can reflect back on many changes I made in my life and they all required striving to be something better than I was at that moment.

i F

About the Writer

As a fitness expert and mother of two, Amy understands firsthand the challenges of balancing healthy habits with the demands of a busy life. She is a fitness competitor and lifestyle and fitness coach who’s been featured in various media outlets from Oxygen Magazine to NBCs Today Show. After losing 340lbs, Amy wants to give back and help others live healthier lives.


They marched into the hotel with purpose; toting backpacks, file folders, and attaches. Many were dressed in their best professional attire, and yet others were casual. Their ages seemed to range from 16 to 60. What they all had in common was the serious expressions upon their faces. Unemployment is a heavy issue in Northeast Ohio. Perhaps networking with the right person at the right time this afternoon could change that. I had come to the job fair on the spur of the moment, after reading about it in the Akron Beacon

“Next, Please!”

Journal on the morning of the event. It was advertised in a lost and lonely section of the newspaper.

A Day at the Job Fair: By Caryn Brosky

Upon arrival, I walked through The Sheraton’s full parking lot, following behind a father-daughter job seeking team. We proceeded down a dimly lit corridor which eventually led to the lobby. Tables were set up for registration. Visitors formed lines at the tables, signing the guestbooks. My goal was to find something part-time to stay busy on Sundays, my day off. Because I already work full-time, I almost felt guilty for being at the fair, like I was trying to steal a job from someone who really needed one. There were quite a few booth vendors, but not as many as one might expect. Some had long lines, such as Social Security and Fed Ex. Socially conscious companies like the Hattie Larlham Foundation had the shortest lines. Certain booths were empty, where the representatives had not shown up. Meanwhile, recruiters from local colleges stood at attention while distributing brochures on various programs being offered for new student enrollment. The job hunters waited to hand over their resumes. Some businesses eagerly interviewed people on the spot, and others appeared lackadaisical. The representative from Clear Channel kept his head down and studied his phone intently. He was there to recruit a Ground Assault Street


Team and Road Crew members for local FM rock stations. These positions involve giving away station merchandise, promoting a positive image for the stations, manning booths at events such as this one and setting up and tearing down equipment. This seemed like a lot of work for $7.40/hr. Maybe that’s why it was just as vacant as the Burger King booth. As I made my way around the room, I realized just how hard it would be to find a decent paying job that I would be qualified for and wouldn’t bore me to tears. The older I’ve become, the more my interests have narrowed. However, one company that caught my attention was Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. They were looking for part-timers for the hospitality, admissions, and Manor House interpreter staff. The hospitality staff position includes driving the tram. I could see myself doing that! I picked up an application and completed it at a nearby table. When I returned to the booth, I noticed the effervescent lady I had spoken with earlier was gone; instead a man was now in charge. I handed him my application and he robotically tossed it into a box. He gave me an artificial smile and I moved on.

Believe in yourself— in the power you have to control your own life,day by day, Believe in the strength that you have deep inside, and your faith will help show you the way. Believe in tomorrow and what it will bring— let a hopeful heart carry you through, For things will work out if you trust and believe there’s no limit to what you can do.

My last stop was the Ron Marhofer Auto Family. When I mentioned my Sundays-only stipulation, the well dressed Customer Relations Manager quickly said, “We’re closed Sundays!” and almost seemed to call out,


Losing some of my drive, I left at the same time as the father-daughter team I walked in with. I overheard the young lady quietly say, “This was a waste of time, Dad.” She sounded discouraged. I wanted to tell her to hang in there but I knew it was none of my business. Or was it? Shouldn’t we all be trying to help each other? When I got home, I read the magnet on my refrigerator door. It was a gift from a long lost friend. I look at it every day, but I seldom read it. It is a poem by Emily Matthews: Believe in yourself—in the power you have to control your own life, day by day, Believe in the strength that you have deep inside,and your faith will help show you the way. Believe in tomorrow and what it will bring—let a hopeful heart carry you through, For things will work out if you trust and believe there’s no limit to what you can do. I thought about some of the people I saw at the job fair that day—the two girls with the baby in the stroller filling out job applications; the woman who walked in and walked out within minutes, possibly giving up before she tried and last but not least, the discouraged daughter. I hope they keep on believing.

About the writer Caryn Brosky is an Ohio resident and graduate of Cuyahogo Community College. She has worked for the US Postal Service since 1995, and enjoys writing short stories about her personal experiences and travels.


Stilettology woman in business

Megan Andrus Tell us about your online venture, and when did you launch? My Accessory Business launched in 2010 after the success of two other business ventures—a jewelry sales website,; and a graphic design company, I realized that I wanted to help other women start their own businesses, so I created an easy low cost start-up kit for women to sell accessories without having to commit to selling for a large company.

After spending several years working in the fashion and advertising industry in Los Angeles, CA, and attending a variety of celebrity parties and gifting suites, Megan Andrus has found a lucrative way for women in the Midwest to wear and sell the fabulous accessories worn by Hollywood starlets at wholesale prices. Andrus received her bachelor’s degree in graphic design and marketing from Eastern Michigan University in 2003. Her background in graphic design and promoting other businesses led her to start a business of her own.


How did you decide this venture was right for you? I love accessories and jewelry, so I wanted to do something related to the fashion industry and I enjoy sharing my ideas with other entrepreneurial-minded women that I can relate to.

When days are good, what do you most enjoy about what you do? I love hearing good feedback. I’m sure we all do. I have very supportive friends and family, and it makes the good days even better!

When days are not so good, what do you wish were better? I am motivated to improve things when days aren’t going so well. I believe you have control over every situation. You can always improve and make some things work to your advantage.

What’s your motivation professionally? My mother has always been a hard worker and has inspired me to achieve my goals.

Stilettology continued I also have great influences from several of my graphic design clients that are successful businesswomen.

What keeps you inspired personally? I have wonderful friends that I can always ask for advice and they support me through everything. Competitive swimming has also been a positive motivating factor in my life.

What makes your business unique? My business is unique because unlike other home business companies, you have the freedom to sell your merchandise whenever you want—at the prices you choose. There are no hostesses, no catalogs, and no commitments— just back to basics. You get a kit that has everything you need to start your business without strings attached.

How do you help others? I enjoy helping others achieve their goals, no matter how big or small. I think encouragement goes a lot farther than physical or monetary help.

you can expect to find everything you need to start selling accessories immediately at a party, craft fair, online, etc. And to guarantee the quality of the items, we have a return policy. You can return up to 10 items from your kit with no questions asked, and we will send you 10 new items in exchange.

What appeals to you online as a business owner or consumer? Having an extensive background in graphic design, I am really attracted to good design, good use of fonts and colors. I think consumers can tell the quality of your business by how well your advertising is designed. When I go to a restaurant, I always equate the design quality of the menu to the quality of the food. Good design says a lot!

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs or career women? Believe in yourself no matter what. Never listen to those who tell you that it can’t be done.

How do you define success? Success is setting your goals and achieving them. It means working toward getting what you want in life, not necessarily how much you have in your bank account or the awards you’ve achieved.

What have you learned from your journey to be shared with others? I have learned everything is a learning process and you can’t let negative feedback affect you. You have to learn from your mistakes and move on.

As a consumer, what can I expect from your business? When buying a kit from My Accessory Business,


January/February 2011

SW Stiletto Woman

Stiletto Woman Magazine (Mar 2011)  

Stiletto Woman Magazine: This issue features Dr. Connie Mariano, the first military woman to become the White House Physician to the Preside...

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