Page 1

C H A R L O T T EE D I T I O N|F A L L2 0 2 1

A nE x c l u s i v eI n t e r v i e wwi t h Wi t hMo t i v a t i o n a lS p e a k e r ,

Me r c e d e sR a mi r e zJ o h n s o n ,

Ma k i n gH e rS e c o n dC h a n c eo fL i f eC o u n t


We Support Diversity and Gender Equality – An Issue Greater Than Just “Equal Pay in the Workplace” The story behind Charlotte Women Magazine and Website has always been to empower, inspire and support women in our local communities and the workplace. We believe in diversity and gender equality, equal pay for equal work and believe that no woman should have to be in fear of harassment or assault in her community or workplace. Women have made unquestionable advances — from American boardrooms and courts of law, to political and sports arenas — but inequality remains,  especially in poor or rural areas. By simply being inclusive of an equitable number of women in an organization, it has availed itself of a larger talent pool, increased its attractiveness to potential talent, increased its ability to retain talent and has brought an insightful eye to market to potential users and clients of the organization’s products or services. While outcomes of equality in the workplace should be achievable equally among genders, these outcomes may not necessarily be the same for all. Still, it’s essential to advance the trend of acceptance and advancement in gender equality to ensure that access and enjoyment of the same rewards, resources and opportunities are available to all. This includes freedom from gender discrimination and its stereotypes, pregnancy and parenting, freedom from discrimination in fields of employment where women have traditionally been excluded or discouraged and the systemic undervaluing of work traditionally performed by women. Workplaces need to provide equal opportunities and pay for equal work; there is no justifiable reason based on gender not to do so. There should never be limits to the equal participation of women in the workforce. All should have access to all positions and industries; including leadership roles regardless of gender. Women represent nearly half of the U.S. workforce and the number of women in politics is increasing rapidly. At some point in their career, one in four women has been subjected to harassment at work. Management has a responsibility to ensure they act early to both identify and stop harassment, but unfortunately, in many companies, occurrences are often ignored. If there are signs of harassment taking place within the workplace– no matter how big or small – it should be rectified immediately, and preventative processes reevaluated to avert such occurrences from happening again. Organizations have a responsibility to maintain an environment that is free of sexual harassment. Today we are asking that our communities’ most prominent workplaces and community organizations take a step to join Charlotte Women Magazine and its website to advocate for respectful, fair and dignified treatment of women. Thank You Rich Borell Founder & Publisher


We Support Diversity and Gender Equality – An Issue Greater Than Just “Equal Pay in the Workplace” The story behind Atlanta Metro Women Magazine and Website has always been to empower, inspire and support women in our local communities and the workplace. We believe in diversity and gender equality, equal pay for equal work and believe that no woman should have to be in fear of harassment or assault in her community or workplace. Women have made unquestionable advances — from American boardrooms and courts of law, to political and sports arenas — but inequality remains,  especially in poor or rural areas. By simply being inclusive of an equitable number of women in an organization, it has availed itself of a larger talent pool, increased its attractiveness to potential talent, increased its ability to retain talent and has brought an insightful eye to market to potential users and clients of the organization’s products or services. While outcomes of equality in the workplace should be achievable equally among genders, these outcomes may not necessarily be the same for all. Still, it’s essential to advance the trend of acceptance and advancement in gender equality to ensure that access and enjoyment of the same rewards, resources and opportunities are available to all. This includes freedom from gender discrimination and its stereotypes, pregnancy and parenting, freedom from discrimination in fields of employment where women have traditionally been excluded or discouraged and the systemic undervaluing of work traditionally performed by women. Workplaces need to provide equal opportunities and pay for equal work; there is no justifiable reason based on gender not to do so. There should never be limits to the equal participation of women in the workforce. All should have access to all positions and industries; including leadership roles regardless of gender. Women represent nearly half of the U.S. workforce and the number of women in politics is increasing rapidly. At some point in their career, one in four women has been subjected to harassment at work. Management has a responsibility to ensure they act early to both identify and stop harassment, but unfortunately, in many companies, occurrences are often ignored. If there are signs of harassment taking place within the workplace– no matter how big or small – it should be rectified immediately, and preventative processes reevaluated to avert such occurrences from happening again. Organizations have a responsibility to maintain an environment that is free of sexual harassment. Today we are asking that our communities’ most prominent workplaces and community organizations take a step to join Atlanta Metro Women Magazine and its website to advocate for respectful, fair and dignified treatment of women. Thank You Rich Borell Founder & Publisher


Founder& CEO

Ri chBor el l

CONT ENT S AnExl us i veI nt er vi ew Wi t h Mot i vat i onalSpeaker ,

WOMEN AND T HE WORLD ECONOMY

MERCEDESRAMI RESJOHNSON, Maki ngHerSecondChance ofLi f eCount

WHATDOESI TMEAN T O BEA SUCCESSFULL WOMAN I N BUSI NESS?

Amer i casWomenMagaz i neLLC publ i s hesci t yedi t i onsi ns el ectci t i est hr oughoutt heUni t edSt at es .Repr oduct i oni nwhol eori n par tofanyt extor phot ogr aphswi t houtt hewr i t t enper mi s s i onf r om t hePubl i s heri ss t r i ct l ypr ohi bi t ed.T heAmer i casWomenMagaz i neLLC Ci t yEdi t i onsar enotr es pons i bl ef oruns ol i ci t edmanus cr i pt s ,ar t wor k,orphot ogr aphs .T heopi ni onsexpr es s edi nAmer i cas WomenMagaz i neLLC Ci t yEdi t i onsar eoft heaut hor sanddonotneces s ar i l yr ef l ectt hevi ewsofManagementorOwner s .T he Amer i casWomenMagaz i neLLC Ci t yEdi t i onsas s umesnor es pons i bi l i t yorl i abi l i t yf orcl ai msmadebyadver t i s er si nanyci t yedi t i on magaz i ne.Al lr i ght sr es er ved.Publ i s her sand/ orAdver t i s ers hal lbehel dbl amel es sf oranyandal lpr i ci nger r or s ,al ongwi t hanyexpi r eddat es ,t ypi nger r or sort r ademar ki nf r i ngement s . I fanyer r or sar ef ound,wewi l lcor r ectt hem whenbr oughtal ongwi t hanyexpi r eddat es ,t ypi nger r or sort r ademar ki nf r i ngement s .I fanyer r or sar ef ound,wewi l lcor r ectt hem whenbr oughtt oourat t ent i on wi t hi n72hour s .Foradver t i s i ngandedi t or i ali nqui r es ,cont actusati nf o@amer i cas womenmagaz i ne.


Meet Carolina Aponte, CEO & Owner of Caja Holdings www.cajaholdings.com Q: Can you share with our audience, how your career developed along with your accomplishments and if your satisfied where you’re at today? CA: It all started for me as a young immigrant from Venezuela who was never satisfied with the ‘status quo’. When at the age of 20 without a high school degree I managed to land my first job in a professional environment and then put myself through school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I eventually become the controller for a very success software company and then started my own business, Caja Holdings LLC which lead to writing my first book “Pave Your Own Way” Thirteen Skills To Create Your Professional Success which was published on October 1st this year. I am particularly satisfied with where I am today both as a business owner and as an individual. Success looks different for everyone, today I have financial stability, time flexibility and growth opportunities that make me want to get up and go every morning! Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? CA: Tour guide at the tender age of 17, with very little training I was given the responsibility to lead a tour of 40 people for a ‘Day Tour’ of my home city of Margarita Island, Venezuela. I had to quickly learn public speaking, customer service, problem solving and time management to name a few of the skills that later on became essential to success. Q: For those in our audience not familiar with NAWBO, can you tell us

about the organization along with your current position. CA: NAWBO stands for National Association of Women Business Owners, founded in 1975, it is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries, and with chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a onestop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social, and political spheres of power worldwide. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? CA: In order to grow your business, you have to do more. You have to actually get to know those community connectors personally, their businesses, and their interests. Make time to show up to support them, thank them for their support and referrals. I learned how to implement a referral system that works for my busines. This is how I ensure there are always prospects in our sales pipeline and that my business maintains long term relationships with both clients and referral sources. Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career?  CA: Creating systems and processes that would make it not just easier, but consistent in deliverables to my clients. From prospecting, to onboarding, to accounting to marketing. Creating the systems also made it easier to hire and train new staff members, which in turn allowed me to scale up my business. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? CA: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. She developed a product that revolutionized the industry and with little resources she pursued and persevered until she got her product into Neiman Marcus and the rest is history. She represents women of my generation who will not

accept the status quo and will work hard to see through her goals and aspirations. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? CA: Having the Yes attitude! When you are starting out, say yes to everything\opportunity that comes your way. This is the fastest way to learn the jobs and improve your skills as well as the ‘visibility’ factor. People will reach out to you because you have a yes attitude and then later in life when you have achieved professional accolades, you can start being more selective with your Yes and use the No’s to guard your time.


Meet Carolina Aponte, CEO & Owner of Caja Holdings www.cajaholdings.com Q: Can you share with our audience, how your career developed along with your accomplishments and if your satisfied where you’re at today? CA: It all started for me as a young immigrant from Venezuela who was never satisfied with the ‘status quo’. When at the age of 20 without a high school degree I managed to land my first job in a professional environment and then put myself through school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I eventually become the controller for a very success software company and then started my own business, Caja Holdings LLC which lead to writing my first book “Pave Your Own Way” Thirteen Skills To Create Your Professional Success which was published on October 1st this year. I am particularly satisfied with where I am today both as a business owner and as an individual. Success looks different for everyone, today I have financial stability, time flexibility and growth opportunities that make me want to get up and go every morning! Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? CA: Tour guide at the tender age of 17, with very little training I was given the responsibility to lead a tour of 40 people for a ‘Day Tour’ of my home city of Margarita Island, Venezuela. I had to quickly learn public speaking, customer service, problem solving and time management to name a few of the skills that later on became essential to success. Q: For those in our audience not familiar with NAWBO, can you tell us

about the organization along with your current position. CA: NAWBO stands for National Association of Women Business Owners, founded in 1975, it is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries, and with chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a onestop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social, and political spheres of power worldwide. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? CA: In order to grow your business, you have to do more. You have to actually get to know those community connectors personally, their businesses, and their interests. Make time to show up to support them, thank them for their support and referrals. I learned how to implement a referral system that works for my busines. This is how I ensure there are always prospects in our sales pipeline and that my business maintains long term relationships with both clients and referral sources.

accept the status quo and will work hard to see through her goals and aspirations. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? CA: Having the Yes attitude! When you are starting out, say yes to everything\opportunity that comes your way. This is the fastest way to learn the jobs and improve your skills as well as the ‘visibility’ factor. People will reach out to you because you have a yes attitude and then later in life when you have achieved professional accolades, you can start being more selective with your Yes and use the No’s to guard your time.

Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career? CA: Creating systems and processes that would make it not just easier, but consistent in deliverables to my clients. From prospecting, to onboarding, to accounting to marketing. Creating the systems also made it easier to hire and train new staff members, which in turn allowed me to scale up my business. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? CA: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. She developed a product that revolutionized the industry and with little resources she pursued and persevered until she got her product into Neiman Marcus and the rest is history. She represents women of my generation who will not Sponsored Content


An Exclusive Interview With Former President of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons,

Dr. Lynn Jeffers Q: You recently served as President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Can you tell us what this meant to you and did you accomplish what you set out to do? LJ: Being President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons was an honor and a privilege. Despite the COVID pandemic, we were able to accomplish what we set out to do. At the beginning of my presidency, I wanted to focus on technology/innovation/disruption and on valuing our physician members. I created a presidential task force on technology that will build an infrastructure within ASPS that will not only address technology used by the society in our work, but also support our members interested in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We are also looking at the big ideas such as artificial intelligence, biosensors, block chain, etc. and making sure that we keep our society well-positioned to address potential opportunities and threats. In addition, we had a deliberate focus on making sure to recognize and engage our volunteer physician leaders. At the end of the day, this is a member organization, and we are thankful for their dedication and time that they give to ASPS and our specialty. Of course, we could not have anticipated COVID-19 and I am very proud of ASPS’s response to this pandemic. We were able to set up a COVID resource page for our members with regular webinars. We set up a clearinghouse for members to offer PPE and ventilators to other facilities in need. This caught the attention of the White House COVID Task Force which ultimately led us to help source over 6 million masks to New York alone as well as working with FEMA and other governor’s offices. When it was time to consider reopening, we responded to our members’ needs for access to PPE by having ASPS buy PPE in bulk and thus allowing our members access to PPE. Ultimately, I am so proud of the response of our physicians and our staff in coming together, being proactive, and responding effectively to the COVID pandemic. Q: Why is it important for a plastic surgeon to be a member of ASPS? LJ: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world. We are here not only for our plastic surgeon members but also our patients. Our advocacy, research, education efforts (of the public as well as plastic surgeons) promote patient safety, ethics, and excellence in plastic surgery. We continue to promote collaboration and science not only in the US but globally with our global partners. We continue to support important

initiatives such as our clinical registries, task forces, and research endeavors that will lead to data that we need to better address topics such as implant safety, surgical safety, proper training, and best practices. ASPS is here also for our members to provide resources for their everyday practices both operationally as well as clinically and also helps to facilitate communication, networking and camaraderie among our members. Q: Can you tell us about your current positions as Chief Medical Officer at St John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, and Medical Director of the Integrated Breast Center at St. John’s? LJ: I currently serve as the Chief Medical Officer at Dignity Health St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital which is a part of CommonSpirit Health. During the COVID crisis, I covered an additional hospital while their CMO was out. The Integrated Breast Center offers a community-based team-based approach to breast cancer care. The Center is nationally accredited and has been the recipient of a number of national grants. For the last 11 years, we have held a Breast Symposium that has grown from 30 attendees to 300 attendees last year. This year, of course, we will host a virtual symposium, but we look forward to being hold one in person next year (hopefully!). Q: Tell us about your private practice you have as a plastic surgeon in Ventura County, Calif, and why you chose to become a plastic surgeon. LJ: I am in solo private practice and share the office with my husband who is an Orthopaedic surgeon . I specialize in breast surgery, as well as non-invasive and minimally-invasive procedures such as injectables (Botox/fillers). I was drawn to plastic surgery because in plastic surgery, you create and rebuild. That really appealed to me. One of my first exposures to plastic surgery was watching one of my research mentors in the operating room build an ear for a patient who was born without one, using the cartilage from her rib. It was fascinating and I was hooked. Today, I am so grateful to be able to help people every day. Many of my breast cancer reconstruction patients, I have known for years and there really is no comparison to the satisfaction you get, knowing that you make a difference in people’s lives. Q: Most of your medical education was done in Michigan … how did you end up in Southern California? LJ: I grew up in southern California. I went to Michigan because I was accepted into medical school out of high school

AMA meeting during her first campaign for a seat on the AMA Council on Medical Service and thus did my undergraduate education, medical school education, and residency training in Michigan. I returned to California after finishing my training, and I now live in the same community in which I grew up. Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? LJ: It is definitely a day-by-day, even hour-by-hour, adjustment. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family including having my parents living nearby. My husband and I joke that our children did ok, DESPITE us. For better or worse, we were too busy to helicopter parent our kids and they had to learn independence and resourcefulness early in life. I have many stories that we laugh about now. Balance is a moving target, but I would say that it starts with self-assessment and being aware of what is really meaningful--what are your real priorities. I don’t sleep much, but even so, more recently, I find that I have had to set limits and recognize that you can’t do all things all of the time. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? LJ: Never underestimate the importance of relationships. It is the personal connections that not only make the work we do meaningful but also, I believe, personal connections are the key to success. I also believe in the importance of leaving things better than you found them both in terms of the organization itself but the people. I have certainly benefited from the mentorship of many people and I hope to be that for others. Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career? LJ: Some of the most meaningful milestones in my career

were starting my own practice, spearheading the Integrated Breast Center, assuming my Chief Medical Officer (in addition to my practice), being elected as one of 11 members of the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Service, and most recently, my term as president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In fact, at the end of my presidency, I was chosen for two awards: the ASPS Patients of Courage and the Young At Heart award that really meant so much to me as it really reminded me why I do what I do -advocating for my patients and mentoring those after me. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? LJ: Sometimes, women may have a difficult time finding mentors and seeing role models in leadership, depending on the arena. Also, it can take some work to understand how to navigate a particular environment and finding ways to be heard that are effective. Studies have shown that women cannot employ the same tactics in the boardroom as men do, as they are not as effective for women. With more recognition of these differences, more work is being done as to effective strategies specifically for women, we can promote better functioning teams and organizations. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career as a Doctor? LJ: Being a physician is such a rewarding profession. Every day you can look in the mirror and know that you can help people directly. However, know that the number of years of education, training, and sacrifices can be daunting, so find your mentors and find your “why”. Make sure to pay attention to self-care and to not neglect the other portions of your life as those are just as crucial to a whole, meaningful life.


An Exclusive Interview With Former President of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons,

Dr. Lynn Jeffers Q: You recently served as President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Can you tell us what this meant to you and did you accomplish what you set out to do? LJ: Being President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons was an honor and a privilege. Despite the COVID pandemic, we were able to accomplish what we set out to do. At the beginning of my presidency, I wanted to focus on technology/innovation/disruption and on valuing our physician members. I created a presidential task force on technology that will build an infrastructure within ASPS that will not only address technology used by the society in our work, but also support our members interested in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We are also looking at the big ideas such as artificial intelligence, biosensors, block chain, etc. and making sure that we keep our society well-positioned to address potential opportunities and threats. In addition, we had a deliberate focus on making sure to recognize and engage our volunteer physician leaders. At the end of the day, this is a member organization, and we are thankful for their dedication and time that they give to ASPS and our specialty. Of course, we could not have anticipated COVID-19 and I am very proud of ASPS’s response to this pandemic. We were able to set up a COVID resource page for our members with regular webinars. We set up a clearinghouse for members to offer PPE and ventilators to other facilities in need. This caught the attention of the White House COVID Task Force which ultimately led us to help source over 6 million masks to New York alone as well as working with FEMA and other governor’s offices. When it was time to consider reopening, we responded to our members’ needs for access to PPE by having ASPS buy PPE in bulk and thus allowing our members access to PPE. Ultimately, I am so proud of the response of our physicians and our staff in coming together, being proactive, and responding effectively to the COVID pandemic. Q: Why is it important for a plastic surgeon to be a member of ASPS? LJ: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world. We are here not only for our plastic surgeon members but also our patients. Our advocacy, research, education efforts (of the public as well as plastic surgeons) promote patient safety, ethics, and excellence in plastic surgery. We continue to promote collaboration and science not only in the US but globally with our global partners. We continue to support important

initiatives such as our clinical registries, task forces, and research endeavors that will lead to data that we need to better address topics such as implant safety, surgical safety, proper training, and best practices. ASPS is here also for our members to provide resources for their everyday practices both operationally as well as clinically and also helps to facilitate communication, networking and camaraderie among our members. Q: Can you tell us about your current positions as Chief Medical Officer at St John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, and Medical Director of the Integrated Breast Center at St. John’s? LJ: I currently serve as the Chief Medical Officer at Dignity Health St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital which is a part of CommonSpirit Health. During the COVID crisis, I covered an additional hospital while their CMO was out. The Integrated Breast Center offers a community-based team-based approach to breast cancer care. The Center is nationally accredited and has been the recipient of a number of national grants. For the last 11 years, we have held a Breast Symposium that has grown from 30 attendees to 300 attendees last year. This year, of course, we will host a virtual symposium, but we look forward to being hold one in person next year (hopefully!). Q: Tell us about your private practice you have as a plastic surgeon in Ventura County, Calif, and why you chose to become a plastic surgeon. LJ: I am in solo private practice and share the office with my husband who is an Orthopaedic surgeon . I specialize in breast surgery, as well as non-invasive and minimally-invasive procedures such as injectables (Botox/fillers). I was drawn to plastic surgery because in plastic surgery, you create and rebuild. That really appealed to me. One of my first exposures to plastic surgery was watching one of my research mentors in the operating room build an ear for a patient who was born without one, using the cartilage from her rib. It was fascinating and I was hooked. Today, I am so grateful to be able to help people every day. Many of my breast cancer reconstruction patients, I have known for years and there really is no comparison to the satisfaction you get, knowing that you make a difference in people’s lives. Q: Most of your medical education was done in Michigan … how did you end up in Southern California? LJ: I grew up in southern California. I went to Michigan because I was accepted into medical school out of high school

AMA meeting during her first campaign for a seat on the AMA Council on Medical Service and thus did my undergraduate education, medical school education, and residency training in Michigan. I returned to California after finishing my training, and I now live in the same community in which I grew up. Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? LJ: It is definitely a day-by-day, even hour-by-hour, adjustment. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family including having my parents living nearby. My husband and I joke that our children did ok, DESPITE us. For better or worse, we were too busy to helicopter parent our kids and they had to learn independence and resourcefulness early in life. I have many stories that we laugh about now. Balance is a moving target, but I would say that it starts with self-assessment and being aware of what is really meaningful--what are your real priorities. I don’t sleep much, but even so, more recently, I find that I have had to set limits and recognize that you can’t do all things all of the time. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? LJ: Never underestimate the importance of relationships. It is the personal connections that not only make the work we do meaningful but also, I believe, personal connections are the key to success. I also believe in the importance of leaving things better than you found them both in terms of the organization itself but the people. I have certainly benefited from the mentorship of many people and I hope to be that for others. Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career? LJ: Some of the most meaningful milestones in my career

were starting my own practice, spearheading the Integrated Breast Center, assuming my Chief Medical Officer (in addition to my practice), being elected as one of 11 members of the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Service, and most recently, my term as president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In fact, at the end of my presidency, I was chosen for two awards: the ASPS Patients of Courage and the Young At Heart award that really meant so much to me as it really reminded me why I do what I do -advocating for my patients and mentoring those after me. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? LJ: Sometimes, women may have a difficult time finding mentors and seeing role models in leadership, depending on the arena. Also, it can take some work to understand how to navigate a particular environment and finding ways to be heard that are effective. Studies have shown that women cannot employ the same tactics in the boardroom as men do, as they are not as effective for women. With more recognition of these differences, more work is being done as to effective strategies specifically for women, we can promote better functioning teams and organizations. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career as a Doctor? LJ: Being a physician is such a rewarding profession. Every day you can look in the mirror and know that you can help people directly. However, know that the number of years of education, training, and sacrifices can be daunting, so find your mentors and find your “why”. Make sure to pay attention to self-care and to not neglect the other portions of your life as those are just as crucial to a whole, meaningful life.


an investment property, $300,000 home, or $1,500,000 home.    

She Offers Her Clients a Wealth of Knowledge & Expertise About Buying & Selling Real Estate.

ALLISON LONG marketing driven real estate experience w: allisonlong.exprealty.com f: facebook.com/TheLongRealtyTeamClt p: (980) 422-3188

Q: Can you share with us what made you decide to have a career in Real Estate? AL: I have always had a passion for Real Estate. All my working career has been centered around some facet of the housing industry. Residential Real Estate sales was the natural progression of my lifelong career in assisting clients with their housing needs.

Q: Do you specialize in certain types of properties? AL: I am fortunate enough to say that I assist clients with the buying and selling of a wide variety of homes in almost every price range. Although my business has evolved over the last few years, I still treat every client’s sale or purchase as if it were my own, whether it is

the world today. I lean heavily on a time blocking system as well as my team to help me daily. Most importantly, I do not Q: Can you share with our audience sweat the small stuff. My health, my kids what Buyers & Sellers can expect and my clients are my top priorities and when they work with you? everything else can wait. AL: All my clients can expect to get an Q: What is one lesson you’ve unparalleled level of customer service, learned in your career that you can clear consistent communication, and the share with our audience? best terms possible for their situation.  AL: Don’t set the bar too low or be afraid to take risks. If there is something you feel Q: If we interviewed all your past passionate about, believe in yourself and clients … what is “one” common go for it. If it does not work out, you can word that comes up when they dealways go back to what you were doing scribe working with you?   before. Take a chance.  AL: Dedicated, Knowledgeable and Trustworthy. I hear all of these from my Q: Can you tell our audience one of clients. It is hard to pick just one.  your most memorable moments in Q: Obviously with Covid-19 there’s your career? AL: There are so many! I would say the a lot of changes going on in the moment that stands out the most to me world … what changes have you was meeting Glen Sanford, the founder seen that you feel will remain in of EXP Realty, in person. I admire him Real Estate? AL: The use of virtual tools. These have greatly for how he is changing the real been vital for the real estate industry this estate industry through his forward-thinkyear, and as we continue to face these un- ing approach, and I felt honored to be a certain times, they are needed now more part of the change. It was a moment I will than ever. Although our ability to see each never forget. other face to face has been impacted by Q: Which woman inspires you and COVID-19, the demand for housing is why?  still strong and the use of virtual tools AL: This is an easy one. My mother is by such as virtual tours and virtual closings far the most inspiring woman I have ever helps us meet this demand with ease.  met. By example, she taught me how to Q: Can you tell us how you manage be a good mother, to chase my dreams, and instilled in me a work ethic that I your work life balance? have carried with me my entire life. AL: This is a work in progress for me and I feel it is for most working women in Sponsored Content


an investment property, $300,000 home, or $1,500,000 home.    

She Offers Her Clients a Wealth of Knowledge & Expertise About Buying & Selling Real Estate.

ALLISON LONG marketing driven real estate experience w: allisonlong.exprealty.com f: facebook.com/TheLongRealtyTeamClt p: (980) 422-3188

Q: Can you share with us what made you decide to have a career in Real Estate? AL: I have always had a passion for Real Estate. All my working career has been centered around some facet of the housing industry. Residential Real Estate sales was the natural progression of my lifelong career in assisting clients with their housing needs.

Q: Do you specialize in certain types of properties? AL: I am fortunate enough to say that I assist clients with the buying and selling of a wide variety of homes in almost every price range. Although my business has evolved over the last few years, I still treat every client’s sale or purchase as if it were my own, whether it is

the world today. I lean heavily on a time blocking system as well as my team to help me daily. Most importantly, I do not Q: Can you share with our audience sweat the small stuff. My health, my kids what Buyers & Sellers can expect and my clients are my top priorities and when they work with you? everything else can wait. AL: All my clients can expect to get an Q: What is one lesson you’ve unparalleled level of customer service, learned in your career that you can clear consistent communication, and the share with our audience? best terms possible for their situation.  AL: Don’t set the bar too low or be afraid to take risks. If there is something you feel Q: If we interviewed all your past passionate about, believe in yourself and clients … what is “one” common go for it. If it does not work out, you can word that comes up when they dealways go back to what you were doing scribe working with you?   before. Take a chance.  AL: Dedicated, Knowledgeable and Trustworthy. I hear all of these from my Q: Can you tell our audience one of clients. It is hard to pick just one.  your most memorable moments in Q: Obviously with Covid-19 there’s your career? AL: There are so many! I would say the a lot of changes going on in the moment that stands out the most to me world … what changes have you was meeting Glen Sanford, the founder seen that you feel will remain in of EXP Realty, in person. I admire him Real Estate? AL: The use of virtual tools. These have greatly for how he is changing the real been vital for the real estate industry this estate industry through his forward-thinkyear, and as we continue to face these un- ing approach, and I felt honored to be a certain times, they are needed now more part of the change. It was a moment I will than ever. Although our ability to see each never forget. other face to face has been impacted by Q: Which woman inspires you and COVID-19, the demand for housing is why?  still strong and the use of virtual tools AL: This is an easy one. My mother is by such as virtual tours and virtual closings far the most inspiring woman I have ever helps us meet this demand with ease.  met. By example, she taught me how to Q: Can you tell us how you manage be a good mother, to chase my dreams, and instilled in me a work ethic that I your work life balance? have carried with me my entire life. AL: This is a work in progress for me and I feel it is for most working women in Sponsored Content


PB: Practicing law was not always my career goal. I’ve always enjoyed being a student. When I finished my B.A., I began my studies at Police College. After graduation, I enrolled in graduate school and attended classes at night and on my days off. After completing my master’s degree, I enrolled in law school. That was a bit more challenging to manage because I was enrolled in law school full-time (they didn’t allow part-time studies), and I was working full-time as an undercover police officer. I couldn’t tell my professors or classmates what I did for a living, which made conversations interesting, especially in my criminal law classes. I married my undercover partner in what we jokingly call our government prearranged marriage. Fortunately, I graduated from law school just as we were starting a family. Being an undercover police officer is not a very mom-friendly job, and my law degree allowed me to leave policing and begin a career as a prosecutor.   Q: Tell us about the responsibilities you had as a Federal Prosecuting Attorney.

Pamela Barnum

A Trust Strategist, Body Language Expert, Former Undercover Police Officer & Federal Prosecuting Attorney

Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?   PB: After high school, I attended university to study politics and economics. I wanted to have a degree completed before entering law enforcement. My grandmother and mother did not have the opportunity to attend college or university. They were adamant that I go and at least get a bachelor’s degree before becoming a police officer. I was the first person in my family to attend university.   Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? PB: I had several part-time jobs and full-time summer jobs while I was a student. Everything from being an operator for the phone company to working at a bookstore and a beer store. However, my first “real” job was as a uniform police officer. I know from experience that policing is one of the most challenging and underappreciated jobs there is. But it is also the most rewarding. One moment you may be in a life-threatening situation, and the next, you’re responding to a call about a minor event. In policing, you learn a lot about people, and

at the same time, you learn a lot about yourself. Specifically, that you can accomplish more than you ever thought you could because you have to. You’re the police. You can’t wait for someone to come and save you – that’s why you’re there.   Q: Can you share with our audience about the opportunity you had to become an undercover police officer? PB: I started my policing career as a uniform patrol officer. I worked with a great platoon and had the opportunity to respond to everything from murder to traffic stops and everything in-between. But I was always drawn to criminal investigations, especially narcotics work. After completing three years in uniform, I was transferred to the drug enforcement section, where I worked as an undercover officer. Working as an undercover police officer is not for everyone. You’re required to work odd hours and live away from home for months at a time, which is probably one of the reasons why I was one of two women in a unit of eighty-nine officers.  Q: While working full-time undercover, you also completed law school … was this always your career goal?

PB: I primarily prosecuted drug offenses like trafficking and importing. It was an exciting career, and I enjoyed the new challenges that came with it. My experience as an undercover police officer gave me a perspective that most attorneys do not have.    Q: You’re writing a book and are doing a lot of speaking engagements … what else do you have on the horizon? PB: I am currently writing a book about the negotiation and communication techniques I learned and developed over a twenty-year career in the criminal justice system. Pre-COVID-19, I traveled throughout North America, delivering keynotes on negotiating, communicating, and building trust through intentional communication and body language. Now, I am delivering virtual keynotes and workshops. Although I miss the live interaction of in-person events, I can manage more events now that I don’t have to leave my home studio.    Q: What’s your advice for women in male-dominated fields? PB: Care more about being respected than being liked. Being heard and seen in male-dominated professions is more effective when you communicate confidence and empathy with what you say and with your body language.   Q: What do you like doing in your spare time? PB: I love spending time with my husband Kevin and our son Kaleb. We enjoy hiking and skiing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains where we live. I also enjoy reading mystery novels and anything by Malcolm Gladwell. 


PB: Practicing law was not always my career goal. I’ve always enjoyed being a student. When I finished my B.A., I began my studies at Police College. After graduation, I enrolled in graduate school and attended classes at night and on my days off. After completing my master’s degree, I enrolled in law school. That was a bit more challenging to manage because I was enrolled in law school full-time (they didn’t allow part-time studies), and I was working full-time as an undercover police officer. I couldn’t tell my professors or classmates what I did for a living, which made conversations interesting, especially in my criminal law classes. I married my undercover partner in what we jokingly call our government prearranged marriage. Fortunately, I graduated from law school just as we were starting a family. Being an undercover police officer is not a very mom-friendly job, and my law degree allowed me to leave policing and begin a career as a prosecutor.   Q: Tell us about the responsibilities you had as a Federal Prosecuting Attorney.

Pamela Barnum

A Trust Strategist, Body Language Expert, Former Undercover Police Officer & Federal Prosecuting Attorney

Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?   PB: After high school, I attended university to study politics and economics. I wanted to have a degree completed before entering law enforcement. My grandmother and mother did not have the opportunity to attend college or university. They were adamant that I go and at least get a bachelor’s degree before becoming a police officer. I was the first person in my family to attend university.   Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? PB: I had several part-time jobs and full-time summer jobs while I was a student. Everything from being an operator for the phone company to working at a bookstore and a beer store. However, my first “real” job was as a uniform police officer. I know from experience that policing is one of the most challenging and underappreciated jobs there is. But it is also the most rewarding. One moment you may be in a life-threatening situation, and the next, you’re responding to a call about a minor event. In policing, you learn a lot about people, and

at the same time, you learn a lot about yourself. Specifically, that you can accomplish more than you ever thought you could because you have to. You’re the police. You can’t wait for someone to come and save you – that’s why you’re there.   Q: Can you share with our audience about the opportunity you had to become an undercover police officer? PB: I started my policing career as a uniform patrol officer. I worked with a great platoon and had the opportunity to respond to everything from murder to traffic stops and everything in-between. But I was always drawn to criminal investigations, especially narcotics work. After completing three years in uniform, I was transferred to the drug enforcement section, where I worked as an undercover officer. Working as an undercover police officer is not for everyone. You’re required to work odd hours and live away from home for months at a time, which is probably one of the reasons why I was one of two women in a unit of eighty-nine officers.  Q: While working full-time undercover, you also completed law school … was this always your career goal?

PB: I primarily prosecuted drug offenses like trafficking and importing. It was an exciting career, and I enjoyed the new challenges that came with it. My experience as an undercover police officer gave me a perspective that most attorneys do not have.    Q: You’re writing a book and are doing a lot of speaking engagements … what else do you have on the horizon? PB: I am currently writing a book about the negotiation and communication techniques I learned and developed over a twenty-year career in the criminal justice system. Pre-COVID-19, I traveled throughout North America, delivering keynotes on negotiating, communicating, and building trust through intentional communication and body language. Now, I am delivering virtual keynotes and workshops. Although I miss the live interaction of in-person events, I can manage more events now that I don’t have to leave my home studio.    Q: What’s your advice for women in male-dominated fields? PB: Care more about being respected than being liked. Being heard and seen in male-dominated professions is more effective when you communicate confidence and empathy with what you say and with your body language.   Q: What do you like doing in your spare time? PB: I love spending time with my husband Kevin and our son Kaleb. We enjoy hiking and skiing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains where we live. I also enjoy reading mystery novels and anything by Malcolm Gladwell. 


Charlotte Women Magazine is Proud to Present Leaders in business, community, faith, and family - we received so many nominations applauding women of Charlotte for their noteworthy achievements in their lives and careers. We’re proud to salute these extraordinary women who equally demonstrate their willingness to lead and champion others. Together, Charlotte Women Magazine and our sponsors, wish to pay tribute to all of our nominees and offer special praise to these exceptional individuals.

Charlotte’s 2021 Women of the Year Our sponsors play an important role in recognizing our honorees. Their generosity helps make it possible to salute these extraordinary women who equally demonstrate their willingness to lead and champion others.


Charlotte Women Magazine is Proud to Present Leaders in business, community, faith, and family - we received so many nominations applauding women of Charlotte for their noteworthy achievements in their lives and careers. We’re proud to salute these extraordinary women who equally demonstrate their willingness to lead and champion others. Together, Charlotte Women Magazine and our sponsors, wish to pay tribute to all of our nominees and offer special praise to these exceptional individuals.

Charlotte’s 2021 Women of the Year Our sponsors play an important role in recognizing our honorees. Their generosity helps make it possible to salute these extraordinary women who equally demonstrate their willingness to lead and champion others.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Respect, Robin Miller Nominates Jana Dolder

Congratulations to Jana Dolder On behalf of CREW Charlotte, please accept this nomination of Jana Dolder with Northwood Office for Charlotte Women Magazine’s 2021 Women of the Year recognition. It is with great pride that we submit one of our own whose contributions to the commercial real estate arena are outstanding. As you will read, her expertise during a most challenging time, served her employer, its clients, and her team well. She leads with a servant’s heart as is evidenced by the impact she has across her company and community. Five hundred words are not enough to do Jana justice. But we will try. As supported by Northwood Office, CREW Charlotte nominates Jana Dolder for Charlotte’s 2021 Woman of the Year award. Jana’s contributions to Northwood during 2020 exemplifies her leadership, grace and drive. Jana experienced personal challenges through which she triumphed. Jana became a single mother, a part-time athome teacher for her son, and navigated the pandemic’s emotional toll. She showed outstanding commitment, often working 19-hour days to plan, direct and manage new processes, projects and procedures. Jana is an exemplary leader. Her can-do attitude and commitment to excellence set the standard for her team’s interactions and tenant relations. She is knowledgeable in leasing and property management and has an unwavering passion and commitment to take the best approach for her company and her team. Jana recognizes that exceptional customer service is paramount to success, making her an integral and dedicated team member at Northwood Office. Jana’s property management team of 12 manages 6.26M SF and 62 buildings with nearly 400 tenants in the Charlotte market. She is responsible for overseeing a team that effectively supports the business operations of Class A real estate management services consistent with Northwood Office’s policies and procedures.

In 2020, Jana led the COVID-19 rent relief task force. All rent relief requests went through her to ensure each customer’s circumstances were carefully reviewed, tracked and addressed accordingly. She worked tirelessly with the legal team and the President of Northwood Office to negotiate and legally document rent deferral or rent abatement agreements with customers. Jana’s emotional intelligence is ever-present, which helps guide productive discussions in a direct yet empathetic way. Jana directed and co-directed numerous COVID-19 related initiatives with a can-do attitude to ensure the benefit and safety of Northwood’s customers and team members. Jana leads by example, treats others with respect and is the ultimate ambassador for team development. It is evident that she genuinely cares about her colleagues and wants to provide support while holding them accountable. She shares knowledge and connects with team members to help them with their personal and professional goals. Always available to share advice, Jana also empowers her team to listen to their intuition when faced with a challenge. Asking questions like, “What do you think?” or “What is your recommended solution?” enables her team members to be self-sufficient and make sound decisions for their properties. Jana believes in her team and is the biggest advocate for their growth. Jana played an essential role in keeping her team on track during an incredibly challenging time. In addition to always providing support and being accessible to her team, she is an encouraging peer among fellow female leaders by valuing work-life balance and self-care. She recognizes the importance of merely asking, “How are you?” and that initiating empathetic dialogue is key to cultivating a meaningful relationship with her team. Jana seeks constructive feedback from her colleagues and proactively recognizes team members for their contributions to Northwood’s success.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Respect, Robin Miller Nominates Jana Dolder

Congratulations to Jana Dolder On behalf of CREW Charlotte, please accept this nomination of Jana Dolder with Northwood Office for Charlotte Women Magazine’s 2021 Women of the Year recognition. It is with great pride that we submit one of our own whose contributions to the commercial real estate arena are outstanding. As you will read, her expertise during a most challenging time, served her employer, its clients, and her team well. She leads with a servant’s heart as is evidenced by the impact she has across her company and community. Five hundred words are not enough to do Jana justice. But we will try. As supported by Northwood Office, CREW Charlotte nominates Jana Dolder for Charlotte’s 2021 Woman of the Year award. Jana’s contributions to Northwood during 2020 exemplifies her leadership, grace and drive. Jana experienced personal challenges through which she triumphed. Jana became a single mother, a part-time athome teacher for her son, and navigated the pandemic’s emotional toll. She showed outstanding commitment, often working 19-hour days to plan, direct and manage new processes, projects and procedures. Jana is an exemplary leader. Her can-do attitude and commitment to excellence set the standard for her team’s interactions and tenant relations. She is knowledgeable in leasing and property management and has an unwavering passion and commitment to take the best approach for her company and her team. Jana recognizes that exceptional customer service is paramount to success, making her an integral and dedicated team member at Northwood Office. Jana’s property management team of 12 manages 6.26M SF and 62 buildings with nearly 400 tenants in the Charlotte market. She is responsible for overseeing a team that effectively supports the business operations of Class A real estate management services consistent with Northwood Office’s policies and procedures.

In 2020, Jana led the COVID-19 rent relief task force. All rent relief requests went through her to ensure each customer’s circumstances were carefully reviewed, tracked and addressed accordingly. She worked tirelessly with the legal team and the President of Northwood Office to negotiate and legally document rent deferral or rent abatement agreements with customers. Jana’s emotional intelligence is ever-present, which helps guide productive discussions in a direct yet empathetic way. Jana directed and co-directed numerous COVID-19 related initiatives with a can-do attitude to ensure the benefit and safety of Northwood’s customers and team members. Jana leads by example, treats others with respect and is the ultimate ambassador for team development. It is evident that she genuinely cares about her colleagues and wants to provide support while holding them accountable. She shares knowledge and connects with team members to help them with their personal and professional goals. Always available to share advice, Jana also empowers her team to listen to their intuition when faced with a challenge. Asking questions like, “What do you think?” or “What is your recommended solution?” enables her team members to be self-sufficient and make sound decisions for their properties. Jana believes in her team and is the biggest advocate for their growth. Jana played an essential role in keeping her team on track during an incredibly challenging time. In addition to always providing support and being accessible to her team, she is an encouraging peer among fellow female leaders by valuing work-life balance and self-care. She recognizes the importance of merely asking, “How are you?” and that initiating empathetic dialogue is key to cultivating a meaningful relationship with her team. Jana seeks constructive feedback from her colleagues and proactively recognizes team members for their contributions to Northwood’s success.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Esteem, Gretchen Gaertner Nominates Tracey Questell

Congratulations to Tracey Questell Tracey Questell is the founder and Executive Director of Healing Vine Harbor (HVH). She is employed full time at Central Piedmont Community College as a counselor and instructor. Every moment she is not working for the college, she is working for the homeless and displaced women in Charlotte. In the short time I’ve known Tracey, I have learned her life is about providing for others. She is driven to help women in need. Through her work at Healing Vine Harbor Tracey supports, inspires, and empowers women in Mecklenburg County and beyond. Her charge is to help those women who are not prepared to live on their own and be self-sufficient. Because they have aged out of the foster care system/their homes or current housing situation, they are no longer safe or stable. These women lack preparation or resources for the future and end up in shelters, jail, or bounced around from place to place. To combat this situation, Tracey created Healing Vine Harbor Inc. Healing Vine Harbor works towards filling basic needs such as housing, safety and security. HVH’s goal is to equip women through a holistic approach. Its mission is to reduce the number of single women living in shelters or unsafe situations, providing a pathway out of poverty to ensure self-sufficiency. Tracey works towards changing the outcome

of these women’s lives by providing emergency financial assistance for housing and/or utilities, life skill training, mentoring, as well as building a positive self-image for each person she works with. She builds relationships with the women she serves and cares for each one of them. One of our clients, Dasia, was unable to drive because, at 22, she never acquired her driver’s license. Tracey personally took her out regularly to learn and practice driving. She brought Dasia to the NC DMV for testing AND then secured a donated car so that she had the means to travel back and forth from her fulltime job. When Tracey met Dasia, she was living on the streets and in and out of shelters. Today she has secure housing, a fulltime job, and a sense of strength and self-worth that no one could take from her. Administering items for immediate care like clothing, toiletries, and housewares/furniture is another way Tracey, through her organization, supports the women she ministers to. She even shares her personal cell number with the ladies so that they can contact her at any time of the day or night. I am always so impressed with her kindness and generosity, and I’m amazed at how Tracey never stops giving! Our community is a better place because of her compassion, strength, and leadership. Each person Tracey meets is forever changed for the good.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Esteem, Gretchen Gaertner Nominates Tracey Questell

Congratulations to Tracey Questell Tracey Questell is the founder and Executive Director of Healing Vine Harbor (HVH). She is employed full time at Central Piedmont Community College as a counselor and instructor. Every moment she is not working for the college, she is working for the homeless and displaced women in Charlotte. In the short time I’ve known Tracey, I have learned her life is about providing for others. She is driven to help women in need. Through her work at Healing Vine Harbor Tracey supports, inspires, and empowers women in Mecklenburg County and beyond. Her charge is to help those women who are not prepared to live on their own and be self-sufficient. Because they have aged out of the foster care system/their homes or current housing situation, they are no longer safe or stable. These women lack preparation or resources for the future and end up in shelters, jail, or bounced around from place to place. To combat this situation, Tracey created Healing Vine Harbor Inc. Healing Vine Harbor works towards filling basic needs such as housing, safety and security. HVH’s goal is to equip women through a holistic approach. Its mission is to reduce the number of single women living in shelters or unsafe situations, providing a pathway out of poverty to ensure self-sufficiency. Tracey works towards changing the outcome

of these women’s lives by providing emergency financial assistance for housing and/or utilities, life skill training, mentoring, as well as building a positive self-image for each person she works with. She builds relationships with the women she serves and cares for each one of them. One of our clients, Dasia, was unable to drive because, at 22, she never acquired her driver’s license. Tracey personally took her out regularly to learn and practice driving. She brought Dasia to the NC DMV for testing AND then secured a donated car so that she had the means to travel back and forth from her fulltime job. When Tracey met Dasia, she was living on the streets and in and out of shelters. Today she has secure housing, a fulltime job, and a sense of strength and self-worth that no one could take from her. Administering items for immediate care like clothing, toiletries, and housewares/furniture is another way Tracey, through her organization, supports the women she ministers to. She even shares her personal cell number with the ladies so that they can contact her at any time of the day or night. I am always so impressed with her kindness and generosity, and I’m amazed at how Tracey never stops giving! Our community is a better place because of her compassion, strength, and leadership. Each person Tracey meets is forever changed for the good.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Respect, The AL Harper Foundation Nominates Dr. Lorrie Miller

Congratulations to Dr. Lorrie Miller Dr. Miller is a true inspiration to other women, her peers and those who have the opportunity to learn from her. Over the past few years, I have watched her go from seeing clients in need of mental health & wellness support and running every aspect of the business on her own to hiring a fulltime office manager and four other therapists. In 2019, she worked closely with a group of high school students training and certifying them as Junior Life Coaches resulting in those students graduating from her program with the ability to identify a classmate in crisis and then using specific methods to assist them.

In addition to all these responsibilities, she still found time to teach online courses for a university. Dr. Miller continues to think of ways to reach more people in need and create a stable business for herself and her employees. She has written multiple books and training guides with Stress Less In 10 Days being the most popular. Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, her quick thinking, drive, and determination allowed her business to successfully transition from in person therapy sessions with clients to 100% telehealth. One of the many things I appreciate about Dr. Miller’s approach in life and business is her mentality is to stay evolving. She has accomplished a lot since In growing her business, she has landed her days of having two chairs in a tiny contracts with some major mainstream office space she rented in 2015 and I companies providing onsite or telehealth know she will continue to expand her therapy sessions to their employees which brand as time goes on. is no small feat for a female, African American, Small Business Owner!


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Respect, The AL Harper Foundation Nominates Dr. Lorrie Miller

Congratulations to Dr. Lorrie Miller Dr. Miller is a true inspiration to other women, her peers and those who have the opportunity to learn from her. Over the past few years, I have watched her go from seeing clients in need of mental health & wellness support and running every aspect of the business on her own to hiring a fulltime office manager and four other therapists. In 2019, she worked closely with a group of high school students training and certifying them as Junior Life Coaches resulting in those students graduating from her program with the ability to identify a classmate in crisis and then using specific methods to assist them.

In addition to all these responsibilities, she still found time to teach online courses for a university. Dr. Miller continues to think of ways to reach more people in need and create a stable business for herself and her employees. She has written multiple books and training guides with Stress Less In 10 Days being the most popular. Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, her quick thinking, drive, and determination allowed her business to successfully transition from in person therapy sessions with clients to 100% telehealth. One of the many things I appreciate about Dr. Miller’s approach in life and business is her mentality is to stay evolving. She has accomplished a lot since In growing her business, she has landed her days of having two chairs in a tiny contracts with some major mainstream office space she rented in 2015 and I companies providing onsite or telehealth know she will continue to expand her therapy sessions to their employees which brand as time goes on. is no small feat for a female, African American, Small Business Owner!


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Honor, Samantha Cook Nominates Dr. Katie Passaretti

Congratulations to Dr. Katie Passaretti Dr. Katie Passaretti has been a voice of reason, comfort, and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the medical director of infection prevention for Atrium Health, Dr. Passaretti lead the Atrium Health system-wide response to the pandemic and works tirelessly to keep our community safe and informed. Her expertise has educated millions of people about the dangers of the pandemic, and she now advocates for COVID-19 vaccine uptake to help North Carolinians and all Americans return to the moments with friends and family missed during the public health emergency. As the first person in the state of North Carolina to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Passaretti leads by example to encourage and educate others about the safety of the vaccine so they can make an informed decision to get vaccinated. In recent months, Dr. Passaretti has been volunteering her weekends helping to administer hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines at Atrium Health events across the community. Dr. Passaretti credits her love and appreciation for being a healthcare worker to her mother, who was a home healthcare nurse. Beyond her critical work on COVID-19, Dr. Passaretti leads local efforts to tackle everything from Ebola to MERS to influenza each year. She’s also an advocate for health equity and social justice. After the murder of George Floyd last summer, Dr. Passaretti played a key part in planning Atrium Health’s participation in White Coats for

Black Lives — an organization that protests nationally to dismantle racism in medicine and promote the health, well-being, and self-determination of Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color. She was recognized with the Greater Charlotte Healthcare Executive Group’s (GCHEG) annual Equity of Care Physician Award for her efforts to advance equity of care for patients in the Charlotte area. Dr. Passaretti is also a strong supporter of women’s empowerment and leadership — in 2021 she has presented to Union County Chamber Women in Business, ENLACE Connecting LatinX Together, Lowe’s Event for Women leaders and an UNCC Women in Leadership event. As a proud, engaged member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg community, Dr. Passaretti has a long history of serving the community as a healthcare leader and beyond. She is actively involved in many community groups, including: • • • • •

Hands on Charlotte Crisis Assistance Ministry Queen City Comedy Cares Walk to End Alzheimer’s American Cancer Society

Dr. Katie Passaretti is an Associate Professor in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Atrium Health and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins. She is also a member of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America and The Infectious Diseases Society of America.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Honor, Samantha Cook Nominates Dr. Katie Passaretti

Congratulations to Dr. Katie Passaretti Dr. Katie Passaretti has been a voice of reason, comfort, and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the medical director of infection prevention for Atrium Health, Dr. Passaretti lead the Atrium Health system-wide response to the pandemic and works tirelessly to keep our community safe and informed. Her expertise has educated millions of people about the dangers of the pandemic, and she now advocates for COVID-19 vaccine uptake to help North Carolinians and all Americans return to the moments with friends and family missed during the public health emergency. As the first person in the state of North Carolina to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Passaretti leads by example to encourage and educate others about the safety of the vaccine so they can make an informed decision to get vaccinated. In recent months, Dr. Passaretti has been volunteering her weekends helping to administer hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines at Atrium Health events across the community. Dr. Passaretti credits her love and appreciation for being a healthcare worker to her mother, who was a home healthcare nurse. Beyond her critical work on COVID-19, Dr. Passaretti leads local efforts to tackle everything from Ebola to MERS to influenza each year. She’s also an advocate for health equity and social justice. After the murder of George Floyd last summer, Dr. Passaretti played a key part in planning Atrium Health’s participation in White Coats for

Black Lives — an organization that protests nationally to dismantle racism in medicine and promote the health, well-being, and self-determination of Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color. She was recognized with the Greater Charlotte Healthcare Executive Group’s (GCHEG) annual Equity of Care Physician Award for her efforts to advance equity of care for patients in the Charlotte area. Dr. Passaretti is also a strong supporter of women’s empowerment and leadership — in 2021 she has presented to Union County Chamber Women in Business, ENLACE Connecting LatinX Together, Lowe’s Event for Women leaders and an UNCC Women in Leadership event. As a proud, engaged member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg community, Dr. Passaretti has a long history of serving the community as a healthcare leader and beyond. She is actively involved in many community groups, including: • • • • •

Hands on Charlotte Crisis Assistance Ministry Queen City Comedy Cares Walk to End Alzheimer’s American Cancer Society

Dr. Katie Passaretti is an Associate Professor in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Atrium Health and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins. She is also a member of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America and The Infectious Diseases Society of America.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Admiration, Heather Gilbert Nominates Dr. Sharon Jones

Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Jones Dr. Sharon Jones is the Founder and CEO of the dot. Consulting and the Dottie Rose Foundation. Dr. Jones is a highly sought-after and national award-winning Computer Science educator in the public school system and for corporate training. Her theories on data analytics, educational practices, and technology training have been presented internationally. Dr. Jones is one of the original Code.org teachers and has educated over 3,000 teachers in the past five years. Dr. Jones’ mission to close the gender gap in technological education and careers is evident in every aspect of her work. She is quite literally changing lives by personally connecting girls to computer science. Her peers regularly acknowledge her for her community collaborations and innovative curriculums, including the Girl Scouts 2014 Woman of the Year, Charlotte Business Journal’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, Code. org’s Top National Ambassador in 2017, and most recently she was selected as the Charlotte Inno on Fire Winner: Opportunity Champion and the Best Collaboration Winner by SHARE Charlotte. She also serves as a member of the National Small Business Leadership Council, where she represents North Carolina. The real impact of her work is immediately experienced by the children who develop more confidence and skills, parents inspired by their children’s accomplishments, and community

partners who insist on future collaborations. Her contagious optimism sparks creativity and empowers others to work harder and dream bigger. But honestly, the most significant impact of Dr. Jones’s work will be the legacy of girls who she inspires to code their own incredible futures. When schools closed abruptly in March of 2020, Dr. Jones stepped in, in full force, to help teachers and students transition to online learning. She held countless trainings and professional development sessions for many schools. Dr. Jones put the teacher’s and student’s needs before her own and went above and beyond to make sure they knew everything they needed to know. Teachers and administrators have said on many accounts that she was an immeasurable asset to them when they had to transition so fast. Dr. Jones made incredible strides to help parents fill in time for their children by providing pop-up camps through her Foundation, which she was able to put together in a matter of days, it was incredible! As a leader of both entities, she did everything possible to make sure revenue was still coming into both the dot. and The Dottie Rose Foundation. She came up with countless ideas and ways to continue to allow both entities to run and, honestly, flourish. 


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Admiration, Heather Gilbert Nominates Dr. Sharon Jones

Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Jones Dr. Sharon Jones is the Founder and CEO of the dot. Consulting and the Dottie Rose Foundation. Dr. Jones is a highly sought-after and national award-winning Computer Science educator in the public school system and for corporate training. Her theories on data analytics, educational practices, and technology training have been presented internationally. Dr. Jones is one of the original Code.org teachers and has educated over 3,000 teachers in the past five years. Dr. Jones’ mission to close the gender gap in technological education and careers is evident in every aspect of her work. She is quite literally changing lives by personally connecting girls to computer science. Her peers regularly acknowledge her for her community collaborations and innovative curriculums, including the Girl Scouts 2014 Woman of the Year, Charlotte Business Journal’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, Code. org’s Top National Ambassador in 2017, and most recently she was selected as the Charlotte Inno on Fire Winner: Opportunity Champion and the Best Collaboration Winner by SHARE Charlotte. She also serves as a member of the National Small Business Leadership Council, where she represents North Carolina. The real impact of her work is immediately experienced by the children who develop more confidence and skills, parents inspired by their children’s accomplishments, and community

partners who insist on future collaborations. Her contagious optimism sparks creativity and empowers others to work harder and dream bigger. But honestly, the most significant impact of Dr. Jones’s work will be the legacy of girls who she inspires to code their own incredible futures. When schools closed abruptly in March of 2020, Dr. Jones stepped in, in full force, to help teachers and students transition to online learning. She held countless trainings and professional development sessions for many schools. Dr. Jones put the teacher’s and student’s needs before her own and went above and beyond to make sure they knew everything they needed to know. Teachers and administrators have said on many accounts that she was an immeasurable asset to them when they had to transition so fast. Dr. Jones made incredible strides to help parents fill in time for their children by providing pop-up camps through her Foundation, which she was able to put together in a matter of days, it was incredible! As a leader of both entities, she did everything possible to make sure revenue was still coming into both the dot. and The Dottie Rose Foundation. She came up with countless ideas and ways to continue to allow both entities to run and, honestly, flourish. 


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Appreciation, Robin Turner Nominates Zelleka Biermann

Congratulations to Zelleka Biermann Zelleka Biermann manages the multi-family affordable housing development programs for the City of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services division. She administers over $210M for Charlotte Housing Trust Fund development projects and all federally funded housing Programs. She is responsible for loan/grant underwriting, evaluation, project readiness and feasibility all through construction and occupancy. Prior to joining The City of Charlotte, Zelleka owned and operated her own business, has held Chief Financial Officer and Controllers position with National and International Firms in the U.S. and Europe. Zelleka received B.S (Accounting/ Finance) from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business, attended Master of Taxation Program, Golden Gate University in Los Angeles, CA. Zelleka is a certified Project Manager, Housing Development (HDFP) and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from The National Development Council. A graduate of Dimension in Leadership & Shared Leadership Program with the City of Charlotte, a Licensed Real Estate Broker and A Notary Public in the State of North Carolina. Zelleka has served on for profit and non-profit boards, works with various community housing development organizations and coordinates housing efforts of neighboring towns for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg HOME Consortium. She provides strategic planning, financial analysis, project

development and implementation to bring robust housing and community development programs to communities. The result of her efforts includes hundreds of affordable homes, improved infrastructure, new community facilities and communities better equipped to meet the needs of their citizens. Born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Zelleka came to the United States to purse a college education. She lived and worked in three continients and speak three languages fluently ( Amharic, English, German). She is married with two Childern. Peer Recognitions: To further reflect her exemplary dedication to affordable housing, Zelleka received two esteemed awards. She has been recognized by the Mecklenburg Times as One of the 50 Most Influential Women, and the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2019 Women in Business Achievement Award. She was also nominated for Outstanding Work by the City of Charlotte 2019 GOVies. At CREW Charlotte, one way we achieve our mission to transform commercial real estate is by elevating our members through recognition such as Charlotte Magazine’s 2021 Women of the Year Award. Zelleka was a natural fit for this award due to her countless contributions in our community, not least of all, her impact with regard to affordable housing. It is with great pride and without reservation that we submit Zelleka Biermann for consideration for this prestigious award. Please contact us if we can provide any additional information.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Appreciation, Robin Turner Nominates Zelleka Biermann

Congratulations to Zelleka Biermann Zelleka Biermann manages the multi-family affordable housing development programs for the City of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services division. She administers over $210M for Charlotte Housing Trust Fund development projects and all federally funded housing Programs. She is responsible for loan/grant underwriting, evaluation, project readiness and feasibility all through construction and occupancy. Prior to joining The City of Charlotte, Zelleka owned and operated her own business, has held Chief Financial Officer and Controllers position with National and International Firms in the U.S. and Europe. Zelleka received B.S (Accounting/ Finance) from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business, attended Master of Taxation Program, Golden Gate University in Los Angeles, CA. Zelleka is a certified Project Manager, Housing Development (HDFP) and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from The National Development Council. A graduate of Dimension in Leadership & Shared Leadership Program with the City of Charlotte, a Licensed Real Estate Broker and A Notary Public in the State of North Carolina. Zelleka has served on for profit and non-profit boards, works with various community housing development organizations and coordinates housing efforts of neighboring towns for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg HOME Consortium. She provides strategic planning, financial analysis, project

development and implementation to bring robust housing and community development programs to communities. The result of her efforts includes hundreds of affordable homes, improved infrastructure, new community facilities and communities better equipped to meet the needs of their citizens. Born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Zelleka came to the United States to purse a college education. She lived and worked in three continients and speak three languages fluently ( Amharic, English, German). She is married with two Childern. Peer Recognitions: To further reflect her exemplary dedication to affordable housing, Zelleka received two esteemed awards. She has been recognized by the Mecklenburg Times as One of the 50 Most Influential Women, and the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2019 Women in Business Achievement Award. She was also nominated for Outstanding Work by the City of Charlotte 2019 GOVies. At CREW Charlotte, one way we achieve our mission to transform commercial real estate is by elevating our members through recognition such as Charlotte Magazine’s 2021 Women of the Year Award. Zelleka was a natural fit for this award due to her countless contributions in our community, not least of all, her impact with regard to affordable housing. It is with great pride and without reservation that we submit Zelleka Biermann for consideration for this prestigious award. Please contact us if we can provide any additional information.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Admiration, Robin Blackwood Nominates Lynn Bowser

Congratulations to Lynn Bowser Lynn is a driven trailblazer and change agent in the wealth management industry and has directly impacted the Charlotte network for Northwestern Mutual, which controls over $5 billion in assets and is the second largest network office nationally for Northwestern Mutual. At age 36, Lynn moved her family from Syracuse to Charlotte and was selected to be Northwestern Mutual’s Lake Norman Managing Director, the first and only female Managing Director in the Carolinas. She is also only one of 6 women Managing Directors in all of Northwestern Mutual with a personal advisory practice. Lynn not only helps clients create and implement meaningful financial plans to protect client’s legacies and protect their assets, but she also introduces and promotes the benefits of having a rewarding career as a new financial advisor. She mentors and supports many advisors starting out in this career and really enjoys helping women see their path into this profession. Lynn is very focused on bringing continued education around financial planning to diverse markets and has been featured as a national speaker, specializing in how to move the needle in the diversity and inclusion, specifically in the financial industry. In 2018, she was featured in the WISE Symposium in a session about “Breaking Barriers” and spoke at a Women Connect event for the Northwestern Mutual’s Dodd Network. Lynn was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Women’s Fund event and spoke about ways women plan differently. Under Lynn’s leadership, the Lake Norman office achieved 120% growth in new client acquisition and 60% in revenue in her first year as Managing Director. Also, in her first year as Managing Director, the Lake Norman office won a NM district award for the first time in the office history, called the FEUD Cup, an internal sales competition that few advisors ever achieve. Lynn was the first

female Managing Director to ever win the FEUD in its long legacy. Lynn also received the national “Distribution Builder” award in 2019. Lynn has been very active with the Women’s Impact Fund of Charlotte, a powerful philanthropic movement known as collective giving that has proven that when women unite, incredible things happen. Lynn is a member of the National Association of Women-Owned Business and The American Cancer Society - where she is an Ambassador for ResearcHERs. Lynn is also involved with the American Heart Association in Charlotte and serves on the Executive Leadership Team for the Charlotte Heart Ball, an annual event that raises money to drive changes in science and improve outcomes for heart disease. She was also on school board for Bradford Prep, a Charlotte school that addresses children’s academic needs while also addressing their social, emotional, and physical needs. In January 2021, she opened a new Lake Norman office, which was 70 percent larger than the previous Northwestern Mutual office in North Charlotte and incorporated many family-friendly features for clients and visitors with small children. COVID also tested Lynn’s leadership skills when schools closed and her staff with school-aged children were trying to find new work, life and school solutions, so Lynn hired a retired principal and set up a learning pod in the office conference room to support her employees’ school-aged children who had to move to virtual learning. She didn’t want her working parents, many who were women, to put their career on hold, so they brought their kids to work, to help their kids navigate virtual learning successfully.


WOMEN OF THE YEAR

AMERICA’s WOMEN MAGAZINE Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year With Admiration, Robin Blackwood Nominates Lynn Bowser

Congratulations to Lynn Bowser Lynn is a driven trailblazer and change agent in the wealth management industry and has directly impacted the Charlotte network for Northwestern Mutual, which controls over $5 billion in assets and is the second largest network office nationally for Northwestern Mutual. At age 36, Lynn moved her family from Syracuse to Charlotte and was selected to be Northwestern Mutual’s Lake Norman Managing Director, the first and only female Managing Director in the Carolinas. She is also only one of 6 women Managing Directors in all of Northwestern Mutual with a personal advisory practice. Lynn not only helps clients create and implement meaningful financial plans to protect client’s legacies and protect their assets, but she also introduces and promotes the benefits of having a rewarding career as a new financial advisor. She mentors and supports many advisors starting out in this career and really enjoys helping women see their path into this profession. Lynn is very focused on bringing continued education around financial planning to diverse markets and has been featured as a national speaker, specializing in how to move the needle in the diversity and inclusion, specifically in the financial industry. In 2018, she was featured in the WISE Symposium in a session about “Breaking Barriers” and spoke at a Women Connect event for the Northwestern Mutual’s Dodd Network. Lynn was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Women’s Fund event and spoke about ways women plan differently. Under Lynn’s leadership, the Lake Norman office achieved 120% growth in new client acquisition and 60% in revenue in her first year as Managing Director. Also, in her first year as Managing Director, the Lake Norman office won a NM district award for the first time in the office history, called the FEUD Cup, an internal sales competition that few advisors ever achieve. Lynn was the first

female Managing Director to ever win the FEUD in its long legacy. Lynn also received the national “Distribution Builder” award in 2019. Lynn has been very active with the Women’s Impact Fund of Charlotte, a powerful philanthropic movement known as collective giving that has proven that when women unite, incredible things happen. Lynn is a member of the National Association of Women-Owned Business and The American Cancer Society - where she is an Ambassador for ResearcHERs. Lynn is also involved with the American Heart Association in Charlotte and serves on the Executive Leadership Team for the Charlotte Heart Ball, an annual event that raises money to drive changes in science and improve outcomes for heart disease. She was also on school board for Bradford Prep, a Charlotte school that addresses children’s academic needs while also addressing their social, emotional, and physical needs. In January 2021, she opened a new Lake Norman office, which was 70 percent larger than the previous Northwestern Mutual office in North Charlotte and incorporated many family-friendly features for clients and visitors with small children. COVID also tested Lynn’s leadership skills when schools closed and her staff with school-aged children were trying to find new work, life and school solutions, so Lynn hired a retired principal and set up a learning pod in the office conference room to support her employees’ school-aged children who had to move to virtual learning. She didn’t want her working parents, many who were women, to put their career on hold, so they brought their kids to work, to help their kids navigate virtual learning successfully.


She Barely Survived a Deadly Mountain Plane Crash That Took The Lives of 160 Passengers. Making Her Second Chance of Life Count, An Exclusive Interview With Motivational Speaker,

Mercedes Ramirez Johnson

In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash where about 160 people died, including her parents. As one of only four survivors of this tragedy, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count… and that she has – not just for herself, but also for the tens of thousands of people who have heard her story and her message. Mercedes has received national awards for her work, influence, commitment to helping others. People Magazine’s Spanish edition, People en Español, named her one of the country’s top young Hispanic up-and-comers. INROADS, Inc., an international organization dedicated to developing talented minority youth, voted her Alumni of the Year. She was also awarded Volunteer of the Year for Christ Haven for Children, a Texas-based home for neglected children. In memory of her parents, she established a scholarship for minority students at Northwest Missouri State University, where she actively served as an Executive Member of the university’s Foundation Board. Q: Every year, we’re incredibly lucky to have and celebrate our birthday. For you, it’s also an anniversary of an incredibly sad event that happened on your 21st birthday.  Is there something special you do for your birthday that you can share with us? MRJ: Every year, my birthday is always bittersweet. The reason for this is that I feel a little guilty celebrating my birthday since it’s the anniversary of my parents’ death. But my birthday is also incredibly life-affirming since on that very day in 1995, I was given a second chance to live life with my heart and mind wide open. It has taught me to appreciate the beauty of life, family, friends and fulfilling my dreams, not just for myself but for my family.   Q: What type of injuries did you sustain and how long was your recovery?

MRJ: I was hospitalized for nearly three months after the plane crash. Initially, the doctors in Colombia told my family I had a 2030% chance of survival due to the severity of my injuries. I broke my right femur bone, fractured my lower spine, broke quite a few ribs, and sustained massive internal injuries in my stomach, so I had to undergo many surgeries to repair the fractures, skin grafts, and do some rerouting of my intestinal tract. Q: Do you still keep in contact with your fellow survivors? MRJ: No, unfortunately, I lost track of most of the survivors. Occasionally, I see family members of Mauricio Reyes, but I’d love to get reconnected with them all. I know that everyone has accomplished success in their lives, and I consider myself privileged to be a part of such a remarkable group of people who have made the most of their life. Q: How long did it take before you felt you could fly again? MRJ: I used a baseball game in St Louis against my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, as an excuse to board a plane just about a month and being released from the hospital. It was terrifying, but it was under an hour-long, and I knew I needed to start the process of getting over my newfound fear of flying. Every little bump and dip felt frightening, but every flight from that point forward became a little less scary. I’m glad my sister convinced me to take that first flight because the world is too beautiful of a place to not enjoy it with the people I love.   Q: What was your first thought when you learned the flight crew had failed to adequately plan and execute the approach to runway? MRJ: For months, I was filled with bitterness and anger. I was trying to make sense of it all, trying to figure out what would have led to their numerous mistakes and oversights. I kept wondering why

they weren’t more careful and mindful of their responsibilities. But after months of prayer and therapy, I grew to accept it wasn’t because of bad intentions. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life as a jaded negative person; because that’s NOT the type of person I’d like to be WITH, so why would I allow myself to BECOME that? The pilots were two good men who just had a really bad day at work that day. They had friends and family that were devastated by their loss just as much as I was devastated from losing my parents. Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a motivational speaker? MRJ: I would never have pictured myself being a “motivational speaker.” Just the title makes me cringe… it makes me think of smoke machines, thumping music, and crazed audiences willing to pay half of their life savings for some guru to tell them how to live their life. I’m a storyteller; I’m an eternal student — my favorite part of my work is researching my clients’ industries, victories, and problems, then crafting a program that catapults them to working and living with a clearer outlook better tools to succeed. In 1996, a schoolgirl scout troop invited me to share my story about my plane accident in the basement of a church, which happened just weeks after being released from the hospital. From there, my career as a storyteller blossomed. It’s inspiring to see how it’s turned into such a fulfilling career. It helps give me so much purpose.   Q: Can you share with our audience when and to whom your first speech was given? MRJ: The first time I openly talked about my plane crash to a group was the girl scout troop, but my first real speech was in Chicago at a collegiate Hispanic leadership conference. It hit close to home because I was a member of this same Hispanic leadership organization throughout my high school and collegiate years. I felt like I was in the audience watching myself. It was emotionally overwhelming, and I had to regain my composure to finish the speech through tears. After that, I realized I had to learn how to give a genuine, emotionally compelling talk while at the same time emotionally removing myself from the talk. It’s too painful not to. Q: You’ve given many speeches since that terrible accident over 25 years ago.  Is there one question that you’ve been asked that is still difficult to answer?

MRJ: The first time someone asked me if I felt guilty that I survived and not everyone else really threw me back. Honestly, at first, I felt insulted because I thought that person was insinuating I could have done something to save others, which I couldn’t. I was knocked unconscious at impact and didn’t wake up in the wreckage until the following day. But instead of guilt, I feel responsible for living a life of kindness, generosity, and adventure. I feel that if I live a FULL life, that it’s a life worth being proud of. Not just for me to feel pride, but for all the people who would were denied that second chance to live out their days. Q: Tell us what the Second Chance Living concept means and how it has helped those you’ve shared it with. MRJ: God, the universe, and all the rescue/medical staff that played a role in saving my life are responsible for the second chance at life I was given. Sadly, it took losing my parents, nearly losing my own life, and living through the hell of a plane crash to make me realize that every day on this earth is a precious gift. Each day we wake up, we’ve been given a brand new second chance at life. What an incredible opportunity that is! To wake up with a clean slate and a fresh start to right your wrongs and be the truest version of yourself that day. When we value each day as a new chance, that’s when we can muster the courage and the energy needed to slay the dragons in our way and make our little slice of our worlds better by our actions, our words, and our interactions by being intentional. Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you and your family?  Have you made use of video conferencing to continue speaking?  MRJ: This is going to make me sound so weird, but I LOVED being home with my sons. These past few years, I went through many changes in losing two sons that were born with a genetic terminal condition, ending my marriage of 21 years, and navigating motherhood of two teenage twin boys. So, quarantine gave me a chance to finally breathe. I had been running nonstop for so many years that this gave me a chance to focus solely on people in my inner circle. It gave me time to grieve, time to heal and celebrate the loves in my life. From March until early summer, all my speaking engagements had been canceled or indefinitely postponed. Then little by little, my clients came back with revamped conference and meeting plans, and my master bathroom has now been permanently transformed into my live virtual keynote studio. I’ll be all dolled up in a suit, full makeup, great lighting, and using all kinds of professional jargon to make myself sound smart — but my client has no idea that it’s all smoke and mirrors in front of my bathtub just a few paces away from my toilet! Although I miss interacting with my clients in person at their amazing events, it’s still a blast to play a role in their endeavors. I’m looking forward to the day where I can meet and hug my audiences again. In the meantime, my bathroom studio has been a hit which I’m grateful for! Q: Is there a lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? MRJ: Without authenticity, gratitude, and drive, there won’t be anything such as long-term success or happiness. When


She Barely Survived a Deadly Mountain Plane Crash That Took The Lives of 160 Passengers. Making Her Second Chance of Life Count, An Exclusive Interview With Motivational Speaker,

Mercedes Ramirez Johnson

In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash where about 160 people died, including her parents. As one of only four survivors of this tragedy, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count… and that she has – not just for herself, but also for the tens of thousands of people who have heard her story and her message. Mercedes has received national awards for her work, influence, commitment to helping others. People Magazine’s Spanish edition, People en Español, named her one of the country’s top young Hispanic up-and-comers. INROADS, Inc., an international organization dedicated to developing talented minority youth, voted her Alumni of the Year. She was also awarded Volunteer of the Year for Christ Haven for Children, a Texas-based home for neglected children. In memory of her parents, she established a scholarship for minority students at Northwest Missouri State University, where she actively served as an Executive Member of the university’s Foundation Board. Q: Every year, we’re incredibly lucky to have and celebrate our birthday. For you, it’s also an anniversary of an incredibly sad event that happened on your 21st birthday.  Is there something special you do for your birthday that you can share with us? MRJ: Every year, my birthday is always bittersweet. The reason for this is that I feel a little guilty celebrating my birthday since it’s the anniversary of my parents’ death. But my birthday is also incredibly life-affirming since on that very day in 1995, I was given a second chance to live life with my heart and mind wide open. It has taught me to appreciate the beauty of life, family, friends and fulfilling my dreams, not just for myself but for my family.   Q: What type of injuries did you sustain and how long was your recovery?

MRJ: I was hospitalized for nearly three months after the plane crash. Initially, the doctors in Colombia told my family I had a 2030% chance of survival due to the severity of my injuries. I broke my right femur bone, fractured my lower spine, broke quite a few ribs, and sustained massive internal injuries in my stomach, so I had to undergo many surgeries to repair the fractures, skin grafts, and do some rerouting of my intestinal tract. Q: Do you still keep in contact with your fellow survivors? MRJ: No, unfortunately, I lost track of most of the survivors. Occasionally, I see family members of Mauricio Reyes, but I’d love to get reconnected with them all. I know that everyone has accomplished success in their lives, and I consider myself privileged to be a part of such a remarkable group of people who have made the most of their life. Q: How long did it take before you felt you could fly again? MRJ: I used a baseball game in St Louis against my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, as an excuse to board a plane just about a month and being released from the hospital. It was terrifying, but it was under an hour-long, and I knew I needed to start the process of getting over my newfound fear of flying. Every little bump and dip felt frightening, but every flight from that point forward became a little less scary. I’m glad my sister convinced me to take that first flight because the world is too beautiful of a place to not enjoy it with the people I love.   Q: What was your first thought when you learned the flight crew had failed to adequately plan and execute the approach to runway? MRJ: For months, I was filled with bitterness and anger. I was trying to make sense of it all, trying to figure out what would have led to their numerous mistakes and oversights. I kept wondering why

they weren’t more careful and mindful of their responsibilities. But after months of prayer and therapy, I grew to accept it wasn’t because of bad intentions. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life as a jaded negative person; because that’s NOT the type of person I’d like to be WITH, so why would I allow myself to BECOME that? The pilots were two good men who just had a really bad day at work that day. They had friends and family that were devastated by their loss just as much as I was devastated from losing my parents. Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a motivational speaker? MRJ: I would never have pictured myself being a “motivational speaker.” Just the title makes me cringe… it makes me think of smoke machines, thumping music, and crazed audiences willing to pay half of their life savings for some guru to tell them how to live their life. I’m a storyteller; I’m an eternal student — my favorite part of my work is researching my clients’ industries, victories, and problems, then crafting a program that catapults them to working and living with a clearer outlook better tools to succeed. In 1996, a schoolgirl scout troop invited me to share my story about my plane accident in the basement of a church, which happened just weeks after being released from the hospital. From there, my career as a storyteller blossomed. It’s inspiring to see how it’s turned into such a fulfilling career. It helps give me so much purpose.   Q: Can you share with our audience when and to whom your first speech was given? MRJ: The first time I openly talked about my plane crash to a group was the girl scout troop, but my first real speech was in Chicago at a collegiate Hispanic leadership conference. It hit close to home because I was a member of this same Hispanic leadership organization throughout my high school and collegiate years. I felt like I was in the audience watching myself. It was emotionally overwhelming, and I had to regain my composure to finish the speech through tears. After that, I realized I had to learn how to give a genuine, emotionally compelling talk while at the same time emotionally removing myself from the talk. It’s too painful not to. Q: You’ve given many speeches since that terrible accident over 25 years ago.  Is there one question that you’ve been asked that is still difficult to answer?

MRJ: The first time someone asked me if I felt guilty that I survived and not everyone else really threw me back. Honestly, at first, I felt insulted because I thought that person was insinuating I could have done something to save others, which I couldn’t. I was knocked unconscious at impact and didn’t wake up in the wreckage until the following day. But instead of guilt, I feel responsible for living a life of kindness, generosity, and adventure. I feel that if I live a FULL life, that it’s a life worth being proud of. Not just for me to feel pride, but for all the people who would were denied that second chance to live out their days. Q: Tell us what the Second Chance Living concept means and how it has helped those you’ve shared it with. MRJ: God, the universe, and all the rescue/medical staff that played a role in saving my life are responsible for the second chance at life I was given. Sadly, it took losing my parents, nearly losing my own life, and living through the hell of a plane crash to make me realize that every day on this earth is a precious gift. Each day we wake up, we’ve been given a brand new second chance at life. What an incredible opportunity that is! To wake up with a clean slate and a fresh start to right your wrongs and be the truest version of yourself that day. When we value each day as a new chance, that’s when we can muster the courage and the energy needed to slay the dragons in our way and make our little slice of our worlds better by our actions, our words, and our interactions by being intentional. Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you and your family?  Have you made use of video conferencing to continue speaking?  MRJ: This is going to make me sound so weird, but I LOVED being home with my sons. These past few years, I went through many changes in losing two sons that were born with a genetic terminal condition, ending my marriage of 21 years, and navigating motherhood of two teenage twin boys. So, quarantine gave me a chance to finally breathe. I had been running nonstop for so many years that this gave me a chance to focus solely on people in my inner circle. It gave me time to grieve, time to heal and celebrate the loves in my life. From March until early summer, all my speaking engagements had been canceled or indefinitely postponed. Then little by little, my clients came back with revamped conference and meeting plans, and my master bathroom has now been permanently transformed into my live virtual keynote studio. I’ll be all dolled up in a suit, full makeup, great lighting, and using all kinds of professional jargon to make myself sound smart — but my client has no idea that it’s all smoke and mirrors in front of my bathtub just a few paces away from my toilet! Although I miss interacting with my clients in person at their amazing events, it’s still a blast to play a role in their endeavors. I’m looking forward to the day where I can meet and hug my audiences again. In the meantime, my bathroom studio has been a hit which I’m grateful for! Q: Is there a lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? MRJ: Without authenticity, gratitude, and drive, there won’t be anything such as long-term success or happiness. When


where you are today? MRJ: My biggest fear after the plane crash has been losing the people I love. Sadly, my youngest set of twin boys were born with a rare genetic terminal disorder (Mucolipidosis Type 2). According to the doctors, they were given a life expectancy of 3-7 years when they were born. Wynn lived to be six years old, and Dorian lived to be ten. Those sweet little angels transformed me into a better human being. They made my two older sons more empathetic and caring. They made their father more appreciative of the little things since little victories were all we had with them. I think God gave me those two earth angels because he knew I could handle it, that I wouldn’t drown myself in all that was “wrong,” and that I’d take the time to relish all that was right. I’m so thankful the Lord entrusted me with those boys for the short time that we had them.

you are REAL, then you’re trusted; you go within yourself to fight for your dreams and experience success by being true to yourself. When you have a grateful heart, you are able to savor the milestones (big and small) along the journey and feel so much more fulfillment in the process. You can forge your own path, set your own goals, and break your own barriers when you have drive; without it, there is no direction, and you feel like the never-ending hamster in the wheel. Q: What advice would that you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? MRJ: Don’t make yourself small for ANYONE. Not in your personal life, not in your professional life — nowhere. Don’t wait till you meet all the qualifications, have enough confidence in your own abilities to learn as you go. Speak up! Quit apologizing! Don’t ask for a seat at the table. Take it. Spend your time with people that speak words of goodness and encouragement, with people that bring out the best in you. You don’t have to use money to invest in yourself. Instead, to broaden your perspective and deepen your knowledge base, you should listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, and attend free online classes. Find a hobby of your OWN that brings you joy that doesn’t revolve around your partner or your children. Buy the shoes, the suit, or the lipstick that makes you walk with a bit more swagger when you’re about to walk into a room or situation that scares you. You’ll feel like you own the room by the time you leave, and you’ll wonder why you were ever intimidated in the first place. Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you? MRJ: I majored in International Business in college, so I hoped I

would be in a fast-paced career traveling the world. My father used to work for TWA, so as a family, we used to fly around for free, so that was a big reason why I went into International Business was to incorporate my love of traveling, my drive for business, and my knowledge of foreign languages for life. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? My very first job was in high school when I worked for a family-owned jewelry store. My friend in high school’s parents owned the store, so I worked there as a cleaner. I was surrounded by gorgeous jewels, so my eyes are always sparkling since I inherited a love of jewelry from my parents. It taught me about receiving instruction/constructive criticism in a way that I didn’t take it personal. The first time my boss told me I didn’t clean the display cases well enough, I remember I went down to the basement of the jewelry store and bawled my eyes out since my parents used to have me do chores around the house all the time, so I always consider myself a cleaning and polishing expert. This first job also taught me that I am terrible at time management. I couldn’t handle working there and getting all my homework and studies done to the level I was accustomed to. However, I quit the job after three months. Q: If we interviewed all your clients … what is “one” common word that comes up when they describe working with you? MRJ: Real. I’ve had so many clients afterward tell me, “when you were on stage, I felt like you were talking directly to ME.” I’ve been told that they felt like I was a friend who was having a one-on-one conversation with them. There are all kinds of speakers/experts who go on stage and have a certain persona or branding that they stick to, and it feels like an incredibly awesome production, but sometimes people may think, “I wonder what they’re really like.’ Well, when people see me, they get the real me, scars, bumps, limp, and all. That’s just the truth. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? MRJ: Work-life balance is a beautiful myth because our brains cannot do more than one thing at a time. Instead of trying to juggle it all, have it all, and do it all; I’ve learned to say no. I’ve learned to focus on one thing at a time. If I’m watching a movie with my sons, I’m going to ignore the email alerts or the phone calls, and I’m going to enjoy that movie with my boys. Suppose I’m prepping for a client’s keynote. In that case, I’m going to lock myself into my room with a sign posted on the door that says “don’t come in here unless you’re bleeding or in need of immediate medical attention” because my of pride in helping people, and I always had so much fun watching sons wouldn’t call their dad and expect him to drop a client meeting how she had this magnetism that drew people to her, made people laugh, and knew how to make people feel loved and welcomed. And to ask what’s for dinner so why would I let them do that me? my sister, Sylvia. She’s nine years older than I am, and she took on the Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that role of caretaker and comforter for me after our parents died. Amid her own grief, she took care of me, and she’s never stopped caring for you can share with our audience? MRJ: Sometimes your biggest failures or biggest sources of fear can me since. I’ll never be able to truly express how much she means to turn into the most rewarding opportunities. You can’t be scared, me. I wouldn’t be me without her. intimidated, or overwhelmed. You can FEEL scared, intimated, or overwhelmed, but don’t BE those things. You feel it, then release it Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? and get back to the business of being badass. MRJ: Being a woman isn’t meant for the weak. I don’t need to remind Q: Can you tell our audience one of the most memorable women of the insurmountable expectations we put on ourselves to the moments in your career? mama bears of our family, the school volunteers, and community/ MRJ: The first time I spoke in front of a huge audience was social action leaders, the leaders in the workplace, and rock a swimsuit life-changing. While I was still a college student, I was asked to speak at the pool. I would still come back as a woman in my next life, just at the National Catholic Youth Conference. They were anticipating that this time, I would just come back as a woman who didn’t care 15,000 attendees. I had to go to my college speech professor and what other people feel or think of me. How freeing that would be if we asked him, “how do I craft a speech for 15,000 teenagers?” He pa- all just frolicked around being kind, doing what makes us happy, and tiently coached me through the process. The night before I gave the making our world a better place with our heads held up high. speech, I had a dream that I was in a lecture hall giving a presentation in class in school, and while I was giving the speech, I was going row by row, making eye contact with all of my classmates. When I Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to got to the 3rd row, I saw my parents sitting there smiling and watch- succeed in the workplace? ing me proudly. In my dream, I said, “Oh my God! What are you MRJ: Learn as much as you can, find a mentor, hang out with sucguys doing here!” and I wanted to run up and hug them, but they cess-minded people, and bring your full self to work. Don’t create a put their fingers over their lips in a gesture to be quiet, and they both work persona — be your true self. waved their hand to signify carry on. I could remember waking up that morning from that dream in tears, but when I hit that stage, I Q: What is your coaching philosophy for success? didn’t feel a single once of nervousness because I could feel their love MRJ: Make yourself proud every single day. and encouragement with me on that stage. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? MRJ: My paternal grandmother was an incredible woman — brave, loving, kind, tenacious in caring for her children, and humble. My mother — she was a joyous person, courageous to come to the United States without knowing a soul, and she took care of her family in Nicaragua financially until the day she died. My mother took a lot

Q: How do you know if a client is right for your service? MRJ: I work with clients that have open hearts and open minds. It’s like being in a relationship — if you meet someone that already knows it all, why would they need to hang out with you? Same with clients — all organizations have blemishes and problems they need to fix. If they are honest enough to address them, then we can roll up our sleeves and be brave enough to fix them.


where you are today? MRJ: My biggest fear after the plane crash has been losing the people I love. Sadly, my youngest set of twin boys were born with a rare genetic terminal disorder (Mucolipidosis Type 2). According to the doctors, they were given a life expectancy of 3-7 years when they were born. Wynn lived to be six years old, and Dorian lived to be ten. Those sweet little angels transformed me into a better human being. They made my two older sons more empathetic and caring. They made their father more appreciative of the little things since little victories were all we had with them. I think God gave me those two earth angels because he knew I could handle it, that I wouldn’t drown myself in all that was “wrong,” and that I’d take the time to relish all that was right. I’m so thankful the Lord entrusted me with those boys for the short time that we had them.

you are REAL, then you’re trusted; you go within yourself to fight for your dreams and experience success by being true to yourself. When you have a grateful heart, you are able to savor the milestones (big and small) along the journey and feel so much more fulfillment in the process. You can forge your own path, set your own goals, and break your own barriers when you have drive; without it, there is no direction, and you feel like the never-ending hamster in the wheel. Q: What advice would that you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? MRJ: Don’t make yourself small for ANYONE. Not in your personal life, not in your professional life — nowhere. Don’t wait till you meet all the qualifications, have enough confidence in your own abilities to learn as you go. Speak up! Quit apologizing! Don’t ask for a seat at the table. Take it. Spend your time with people that speak words of goodness and encouragement, with people that bring out the best in you. You don’t have to use money to invest in yourself. Instead, to broaden your perspective and deepen your knowledge base, you should listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, and attend free online classes. Find a hobby of your OWN that brings you joy that doesn’t revolve around your partner or your children. Buy the shoes, the suit, or the lipstick that makes you walk with a bit more swagger when you’re about to walk into a room or situation that scares you. You’ll feel like you own the room by the time you leave, and you’ll wonder why you were ever intimidated in the first place. Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you? MRJ: I majored in International Business in college, so I hoped I

would be in a fast-paced career traveling the world. My father used to work for TWA, so as a family, we used to fly around for free, so that was a big reason why I went into International Business was to incorporate my love of traveling, my drive for business, and my knowledge of foreign languages for life. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? My very first job was in high school when I worked for a family-owned jewelry store. My friend in high school’s parents owned the store, so I worked there as a cleaner. I was surrounded by gorgeous jewels, so my eyes are always sparkling since I inherited a love of jewelry from my parents. It taught me about receiving instruction/constructive criticism in a way that I didn’t take it personal. The first time my boss told me I didn’t clean the display cases well enough, I remember I went down to the basement of the jewelry store and bawled my eyes out since my parents used to have me do chores around the house all the time, so I always consider myself a cleaning and polishing expert. This first job also taught me that I am terrible at time management. I couldn’t handle working there and getting all my homework and studies done to the level I was accustomed to. However, I quit the job after three months. Q: If we interviewed all your clients … what is “one” common word that comes up when they describe working with you? MRJ: Real. I’ve had so many clients afterward tell me, “when you were on stage, I felt like you were talking directly to ME.” I’ve been told that they felt like I was a friend who was having a one-on-one conversation with them. There are all kinds of speakers/experts who go on stage and have a certain persona or branding that they stick to, and it feels like an incredibly awesome production, but sometimes people may think, “I wonder what they’re really like.’ Well, when people see me, they get the real me, scars, bumps, limp, and all. That’s just the truth. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? MRJ: Work-life balance is a beautiful myth because our brains cannot do more than one thing at a time. Instead of trying to juggle it all, have it all, and do it all; I’ve learned to say no. I’ve learned to focus on one thing at a time. If I’m watching a movie with my sons, I’m going to ignore the email alerts or the phone calls, and I’m going to enjoy that movie with my boys. Suppose I’m prepping for a client’s keynote. In that case, I’m going to lock myself into my room with a sign posted on the door that says “don’t come in here unless you’re bleeding or in need of immediate medical attention” because my of pride in helping people, and I always had so much fun watching sons wouldn’t call their dad and expect him to drop a client meeting how she had this magnetism that drew people to her, made people laugh, and knew how to make people feel loved and welcomed. And to ask what’s for dinner so why would I let them do that me? my sister, Sylvia. She’s nine years older than I am, and she took on the Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that role of caretaker and comforter for me after our parents died. Amid her own grief, she took care of me, and she’s never stopped caring for you can share with our audience? MRJ: Sometimes your biggest failures or biggest sources of fear can me since. I’ll never be able to truly express how much she means to turn into the most rewarding opportunities. You can’t be scared, me. I wouldn’t be me without her. intimidated, or overwhelmed. You can FEEL scared, intimated, or overwhelmed, but don’t BE those things. You feel it, then release it Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? and get back to the business of being badass. MRJ: Being a woman isn’t meant for the weak. I don’t need to remind Q: Can you tell our audience one of the most memorable women of the insurmountable expectations we put on ourselves to the moments in your career? mama bears of our family, the school volunteers, and community/ MRJ: The first time I spoke in front of a huge audience was social action leaders, the leaders in the workplace, and rock a swimsuit life-changing. While I was still a college student, I was asked to speak at the pool. I would still come back as a woman in my next life, just at the National Catholic Youth Conference. They were anticipating that this time, I would just come back as a woman who didn’t care 15,000 attendees. I had to go to my college speech professor and what other people feel or think of me. How freeing that would be if we asked him, “how do I craft a speech for 15,000 teenagers?” He pa- all just frolicked around being kind, doing what makes us happy, and tiently coached me through the process. The night before I gave the making our world a better place with our heads held up high. speech, I had a dream that I was in a lecture hall giving a presentation in class in school, and while I was giving the speech, I was going row by row, making eye contact with all of my classmates. When I Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to got to the 3rd row, I saw my parents sitting there smiling and watch- succeed in the workplace? ing me proudly. In my dream, I said, “Oh my God! What are you MRJ: Learn as much as you can, find a mentor, hang out with sucguys doing here!” and I wanted to run up and hug them, but they cess-minded people, and bring your full self to work. Don’t create a put their fingers over their lips in a gesture to be quiet, and they both work persona — be your true self. waved their hand to signify carry on. I could remember waking up that morning from that dream in tears, but when I hit that stage, I Q: What is your coaching philosophy for success? didn’t feel a single once of nervousness because I could feel their love MRJ: Make yourself proud every single day. and encouragement with me on that stage. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? MRJ: My paternal grandmother was an incredible woman — brave, loving, kind, tenacious in caring for her children, and humble. My mother — she was a joyous person, courageous to come to the United States without knowing a soul, and she took care of her family in Nicaragua financially until the day she died. My mother took a lot

Q: How do you know if a client is right for your service? MRJ: I work with clients that have open hearts and open minds. It’s like being in a relationship — if you meet someone that already knows it all, why would they need to hang out with you? Same with clients — all organizations have blemishes and problems they need to fix. If they are honest enough to address them, then we can roll up our sleeves and be brave enough to fix them.


Female Ground Breakers in Professional Sports

Michele Roberts: National Basketball Association

Michele Roberts was ranked Numero Uno by a panel of sports insiders for the top spot on a list of “The 25 Most Powerful Women in Sports,” and for good reason. As the current executive director of the NBA Players Association, Roberts represents the interests of over 300 of the best basketball players in the world. Michele is the first woman to ever hold the position and is first woman to head a major professional sports union in the United States. A graduate of UC Berkeley Law and former trial attorney, Roberts success is an inspiration to women everywhere.

Sarah Thomas: National Football League

NFL Down Judge Sarah Thomas has made making history a habit. In 2007 she was the first ever female official to work in a major college football game. Since then Sara was the first ever female official to work a college football bowl game, the first ever full-time female official to work in the National Football League and in January of 2019 Sarah became the first ever female official to participate in an NFL playoff game. Aside from making football history, Sarah lettered five times playing high-school softball and received a basketball scholarship to the University of Mobile where she was an academic all-American.

Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird: Women’s National Basketball Association/Team USA

Legends in the making and double trouble for opposing teams, point guards Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm account for a combined eight Olympic and seven FIBA World Cup gold medals and will again team up for the 2020 Olympics. Taurasi was the first WNBA player to score 8,000 points and is the league’s all-time leader in field goals. One of the highest paid female athletes in the world, at 38 years old Sue Bird is still a backcourt phenom with ball-handling skills that rival those of any basketball player, male or female, at any level. Unless one of them breaks a leg, the 2020 gold medal should be a lock for Team USA.

Alex Morgan: Women’s Professional Soccer

Women in sports have come a long way since the inception of Title IX in 1965. In an industry that had for so long been dominated by men, women have assumed their rightful place as being able to hold their own both on the field and in the front office, even obliterating the glass ceiling in some instances. Here are just a few cases in point:

Very few players can start out at the top and stay there, but Alex Morgan has made it look easy. Soccer fans will never forget Alex Morgan’s game-winning shot in overtime that beat Canada and sent the USA Women to the gold medal match vs Japan in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Since her juggernaut debut, Alex has played professionally at home and abroad, including a stint with the French Olympique Lyonnais, where she helped the team win a French Cup and UEFA title. Most recently, in July of 2019, Morgan once again help the U.S. team win the FIFA Women’s World Cup and was awarded the Silver Boot.

Serena Williams: Professional Tennis

Ranked as Number One in the world eight different times, Serena Williams has won more combined Grand Slam tennis titles then any active player, with 39 major victories. Serena is the most recent female player to hold all four of the singles Grand Slam titles at once, is only the third player in professional tennis history to do it more than once and is also the most recent player to win a championship on hard court, grass and clay in one year. With over $28 million in earnings in 2016 and again in 2017, Williams was the only woman to make Forbes’ list of the 100 highest paid athletes. At 37 years old in 2019, Williams is ranked 8th in the world and will arguably go down in history as one of the greatest female athletes of all time.


Female Ground Breakers in Professional Sports

Michele Roberts: National Basketball Association

Michele Roberts was ranked Numero Uno by a panel of sports insiders for the top spot on a list of “The 25 Most Powerful Women in Sports,” and for good reason. As the current executive director of the NBA Players Association, Roberts represents the interests of over 300 of the best basketball players in the world. Michele is the first woman to ever hold the position and is first woman to head a major professional sports union in the United States. A graduate of UC Berkeley Law and former trial attorney, Roberts success is an inspiration to women everywhere.

Sarah Thomas: National Football League

NFL Down Judge Sarah Thomas has made making history a habit. In 2007 she was the first ever female official to work in a major college football game. Since then Sara was the first ever female official to work a college football bowl game, the first ever full-time female official to work in the National Football League and in January of 2019 Sarah became the first ever female official to participate in an NFL playoff game. Aside from making football history, Sarah lettered five times playing high-school softball and received a basketball scholarship to the University of Mobile where she was an academic all-American.

Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird: Women’s National Basketball Association/Team USA

Legends in the making and double trouble for opposing teams, point guards Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm account for a combined eight Olympic and seven FIBA World Cup gold medals and will again team up for the 2020 Olympics. Taurasi was the first WNBA player to score 8,000 points and is the league’s all-time leader in field goals. One of the highest paid female athletes in the world, at 38 years old Sue Bird is still a backcourt phenom with ball-handling skills that rival those of any basketball player, male or female, at any level. Unless one of them breaks a leg, the 2020 gold medal should be a lock for Team USA.

Alex Morgan: Women’s Professional Soccer

Women in sports have come a long way since the inception of Title IX in 1965. In an industry that had for so long been dominated by men, women have assumed their rightful place as being able to hold their own both on the field and in the front office, even obliterating the glass ceiling in some instances. Here are just a few cases in point:

Very few players can start out at the top and stay there, but Alex Morgan has made it look easy. Soccer fans will never forget Alex Morgan’s game-winning shot in overtime that beat Canada and sent the USA Women to the gold medal match vs Japan in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Since her juggernaut debut, Alex has played professionally at home and abroad, including a stint with the French Olympique Lyonnais, where she helped the team win a French Cup and UEFA title. Most recently, in July of 2019, Morgan once again help the U.S. team win the FIFA Women’s World Cup and was awarded the Silver Boot.

Serena Williams: Professional Tennis

Ranked as Number One in the world eight different times, Serena Williams has won more combined Grand Slam tennis titles then any active player, with 39 major victories. Serena is the most recent female player to hold all four of the singles Grand Slam titles at once, is only the third player in professional tennis history to do it more than once and is also the most recent player to win a championship on hard court, grass and clay in one year. With over $28 million in earnings in 2016 and again in 2017, Williams was the only woman to make Forbes’ list of the 100 highest paid athletes. At 37 years old in 2019, Williams is ranked 8th in the world and will arguably go down in history as one of the greatest female athletes of all time.


It is Her Mission to Create Products That Are Nourishing to the Skin.

Meet Body Butter Blends Owner, Nickol Crews Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Body Butter Blends, tell us your idea about starting the business and how it took off? NC: Body butter blends was created from a need to have a natural product to assist with my son’s mild eczema and my chronic dry skin. After finding a wholesale company where I could purchase raw shea butter, I began experimenting on making a shea butter cream. In the beginning, I had a lot and I mean a lot of horrible batches. They were too oily, too hard, of a liquid consistency…a hot mess! So, I began adding other raw butters to soften the product and to have it be just the right level of creamy. Now that I had the consistency right and it worked on both my son’s and my skin, I had all this material left. I decided to add fragrance and began giving them away to my friends. I knew I had something special when people came back for more. Q: What are your most popular products? NC: By far our most popular product is our body butters. People love the consistency and how the butters melt upon contact using their body heat to absorb all that goodness into their skin. Q: Did you have business experience before you started Body Butter Blends?

Sponsored Content

NC: I had financial experience from my career in banking, but no business owner experience. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? NC: My first job was as a teller at a small inner city savings and loan bank. This experience shaped me in many ways but here are the top two. 1. This was the first time that I was able to see African Americans who saved for the future. In my childhood I wasn’t exposed to this. Everyone was pretty much living day to day. We weren’t taught to save for a rainy day and here I was seeing people who looked like me doing just that. It was amazing and it made me proud. 2. It was the first time that I saw a Black woman in a position of Corporate leadership. The branch manager was an African American woman. She was tough but she was fair and always respectful of everyone. It didn’t matter if you had $5.00 or $50,000.00 in her bank, you were treated with the same respect. That taught me the necessity of empowerment and the power of great customer service. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

NC: To treat people with care, concern, and respect. No matter if you are offering a million-dollar product, you have let people know that it is because of them, we are successful. People may forget your company name, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. Q: Can you share with us which woman inspires you and why? NC: I would have to say the woman that inspired me was my mother. My mom loved to make people laugh. You couldn’t be around her and not chuckle. As the elders say, “she never met a stranger”. She went through struggles in life, but she always kept it together for her two children. She always held her head high and found a way where there was no way. I don’t believe she knew the positive influence she had on my life. Her love and influence have giving me the me the ability to go through life saying, “failure is not an option”. She is no longer with us, something that I still struggle with. I’d like to believe that she is smiling at me and bragging to other spirits saying, “look that’s my love drop”. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business? NC: 1. Look for someone who is where you WANT to be. Then ask them to be your accountability mentor. This person should be willing to not judge but to encourage you with your dreams. They should be financially and spiritually sound (you will know them by their fruits). This journey although rewarding, can be lonely. People won’t understand your passion, your decision, your drive but don’t let this stop you. Call on your accountability mentor, pray with them and lean on them when you need to. It is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength to replenish your spirit. 2. Do your research. Don’t just think because you have a money making idea that people are going to run to you to pay for your product/service. Get to know who would need/use your product or service, then find out how to get their attention. 3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have outstanding work ethic but when something

doesn’t work out as planned, give yourself the credit of trying. The streets are paved with dreams that were let go of too soon or thrown away because someone mistook trail and error as failure. YOU GOT THIS! Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? NC: Horribly. I have to be so transparent. I do not, at this time have a good work life balance. I still work in Corporate America in which I manage two teams. I am a business owner, a wife, and a mother. I haven’t figured out how to balance these things where I get to relax. I feel there is always something to do. Luckily, my husband see that the family take at least two vacations during the year and it is during those weeks that I get to any real relaxing. We normally cruise and then rent a cabin in the mountains during Superbowl weekend. I must confess that I am a work in progress with getting my work/ life balance…..um…balanced. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? NC: I feel that we still have a way to go with being taken seriously. If a man creates a business and get on the grind to make it happen, people often will say he’s an entrepreneur, a hustler, a mover, and shaker. When women do it, it is somehow seen as a hobby, a way to make a little money, or something to do. This isn’t just from men; you will get the same responses from other women. We fought so hard to be taken seriously in the board room of the Corporate world, but I don’t think we thought about the fact that we could “own the board room”. We are not telling our young women that we can OWN businesses. I wasn’t told this either; my mom couldn’t give me what she didn’t have. No one told her that she could own a business. Women we are soooo strong, stronger than we often give ourselves credit for. Young women surround yourself with likeminded people, people who share the same desires, dreams, and who are tenacious in their pursuit to achieve them. You are more powerful than your looks, your clothing, your social media page, your bag…..or who you date. You are phenomenal!

www.bodybutterblends.com


It is Her Mission to Create Products That Are Nourishing to the Skin.

Meet Body Butter Blends Owner, Nickol Crews Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Body Butter Blends, tell us your idea about starting the business and how it took off? NC: Body butter blends was created from a need to have a natural product to assist with my son’s mild eczema and my chronic dry skin. After finding a wholesale company where I could purchase raw shea butter, I began experimenting on making a shea butter cream. In the beginning, I had a lot and I mean a lot of horrible batches. They were too oily, too hard, of a liquid consistency…a hot mess! So, I began adding other raw butters to soften the product and to have it be just the right level of creamy. Now that I had the consistency right and it worked on both my son’s and my skin, I had all this material left. I decided to add fragrance and began giving them away to my friends. I knew I had something special when people came back for more. Q: What are your most popular products? NC: By far our most popular product is our body butters. People love the consistency and how the butters melt upon contact using their body heat to absorb all that goodness into their skin. Q: Did you have business experience before you started Body Butter Blends?

NC: I had financial experience from my career in banking, but no business owner experience. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? NC: My first job was as a teller at a small inner city savings and loan bank. This experience shaped me in many ways but here are the top two. 1. This was the first time that I was able to see African Americans who saved for the future. In my childhood I wasn’t exposed to this. Everyone was pretty much living day to day. We weren’t taught to save for a rainy day and here I was seeing people who looked like me doing just that. It was amazing and it made me proud. 2. It was the first time that I saw a Black woman in a position of Corporate leadership. The branch manager was an African American woman. She was tough but she was fair and always respectful of everyone. It didn’t matter if you had $5.00 or $50,000.00 in her bank, you were treated with the same respect. That taught me the necessity of empowerment and the power of great customer service. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

NC: To treat people with care, concern, and respect. No matter if you are offering a million-dollar product, you have let people know that it is because of them, we are successful. People may forget your company name, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. Q: Can you share with us which woman inspires you and why? NC: I would have to say the woman that inspired me was my mother. My mom loved to make people laugh. You couldn’t be around her and not chuckle. As the elders say, “she never met a stranger”. She went through struggles in life, but she always kept it together for her two children. She always held her head high and found a way where there was no way. I don’t believe she knew the positive influence she had on my life. Her love and influence have giving me the me the ability to go through life saying, “failure is not an option”. She is no longer with us, something that I still struggle with. I’d like to believe that she is smiling at me and bragging to other spirits saying, “look that’s my love drop”. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business? NC: 1. Look for someone who is where you WANT to be. Then ask them to be your accountability mentor. This person should be willing to not judge but to encourage you with your dreams. They should be financially and spiritually sound (you will know them by their fruits). This journey although rewarding, can be lonely. People won’t understand your passion, your decision, your drive but don’t let this stop you. Call on your accountability mentor, pray with them and lean on them when you need to. It is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength to replenish your spirit. 2. Do your research. Don’t just think because you have a money making idea that people are going to run to you to pay for your product/service. Get to know who would need/use your product or service, then find out how to get their attention. 3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have outstanding work ethic but when something

doesn’t work out as planned, give yourself the credit of trying. The streets are paved with dreams that were let go of too soon or thrown away because someone mistook trail and error as failure. YOU GOT THIS! Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? NC: Horribly. I have to be so transparent. I do not, at this time have a good work life balance. I still work in Corporate America in which I manage two teams. I am a business owner, a wife, and a mother. I haven’t figured out how to balance these things where I get to relax. I feel there is always something to do. Luckily, my husband see that the family take at least two vacations during the year and it is during those weeks that I get to any real relaxing. We normally cruise and then rent a cabin in the mountains during Superbowl weekend. I must confess that I am a work in progress with getting my work/ life balance…..um…balanced. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? NC: I feel that we still have a way to go with being taken seriously. If a man creates a business and get on the grind to make it happen, people often will say he’s an entrepreneur, a hustler, a mover, and shaker. When women do it, it is somehow seen as a hobby, a way to make a little money, or something to do. This isn’t just from men; you will get the same responses from other women. We fought so hard to be taken seriously in the board room of the Corporate world, but I don’t think we thought about the fact that we could “own the board room”. We are not telling our young women that we can OWN businesses. I wasn’t told this either; my mom couldn’t give me what she didn’t have. No one told her that she could own a business. Women we are soooo strong, stronger than we often give ourselves credit for. Young women surround yourself with likeminded people, people who share the same desires, dreams, and who are tenacious in their pursuit to achieve them. You are more powerful than your looks, your clothing, your social media page, your bag…..or who you date. You are phenomenal!

www.bodybutterblends.com


Q: Do you specialize in certain types of properties? KG: Every client is different and has different needs in a home. Specializing in one type of property would not be of service to my clients. I have helped clients buy and sell all different types or homes, manufactured homes, town homes, condominiums, and single family homes in all price points.

She Offers Her Clients a Wealth of Knowledge & Expertise About Buying & Selling Real Estate.

Meet Charlotte Real Estate Agent,

Kim Grace www.kimgrace.cbintouch.com

www.facebook.com/kimgracerealtor kim.grace@cbcarolinas.com (704) 606-6770

Q: Tell us what made you decide to have a career in Real Estate. KG: After owning a residential construction company in Maryland for over 15 years my family relocated to Charlotte for my husband’s job. I completed my final project in Maryland while commuting from Charlotte and decided at that point the natural transition was to become a licensed agent in North and South Carolina. Being home every night with my family is very important to me. My extensive construction knowledge as well as having worked with so many buyers during those 15 years made the transition very seamless. Homeownership has always been something I have been passionate about and there is no better feeling than handing a someone keys to their new home.

Q: Can you share with our audience what Buyers & Sellers can expect when they work with you? KG: Honesty & Patience. Whether helping clients to buy or sell, I always provide honest straight forward opinions of the property. I also fully understand that each person needs their time to come to their own decision. Some clients decide to buy the first property they see while others want to see houses for months before deciding which neighborhood and house are right for them. I never want my clients to feel rushed. I am fully committed to getting the best house for the best value for everyone my clients no matter how long it takes. Q: How has technology changed the Real Estate industry over the years? KG: There have been so many wonderful technology changes that have improved the Real Estate industry, electronic searches, 360 virtual tours, and drone photography to name a few. Most recently however, I have been using FaceTime on almost a daily basis. With so many new families relocating to the Charlotte area and the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for these families to travel I have been showing clients prospective homes via FaceTime. While virtual tours can give clients a good feel for the home being able to face time and answer questions about specific items of interest as I go through the home makes it a

more comfortable experience for my clients. I have had a number of clients purchase a home off of a FaceTime tour and all have been very happy with their new home. Q: If we interviewed all your past clients … what is one common word that comes up when they describe working with you? KG: Dedicated! Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? KG: The work life balance is without a doubt one of the biggest challenges. The Charlotte market is strong and moves very quickly so it is important that I am available to my clients on a moment’s notice. I am very fortunate to have a supportive family that understands that my schedule is constantly evolving. I am also fortunate to be on an amazing team, Best In The Carolinas ®. Our team of six full time agents is the number one Coldwell Banker team in both North and South Carolina. We are always available to support our teammates and their clients. This allows me to schedule family time when needed as I know my teammates will take care of my clients as if they are their own. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? KG: Always answer your phone! Communication is number one in the Real Estate industry. Building relationships though direct conversations rather than text messages is a must. I make a point to try to never miss a call. You never know who is on the other end, missing a call is missing a business opportunity.


Q: Do you specialize in certain types of properties? KG: Every client is different and has different needs in a home. Specializing in one type of property would not be of service to my clients. I have helped clients buy and sell all different types or homes, manufactured homes, town homes, condominiums, and single family homes in all price points.

She Offers Her Clients a Wealth of Knowledge & Expertise About Buying & Selling Real Estate.

Meet Charlotte Real Estate Agent,

Kim Grace www.kimgrace.cbintouch.com

www.facebook.com/kimgracerealtor kim.grace@cbcarolinas.com (704) 606-6770

Q: Tell us what made you decide to have a career in Real Estate. KG: After owning a residential construction company in Maryland for over 15 years my family relocated to Charlotte for my husband’s job. I completed my final project in Maryland while commuting from Charlotte and decided at that point the natural transition was to become a licensed agent in North and South Carolina. Being home every night with my family is very important to me. My extensive construction knowledge as well as having worked with so many buyers during those 15 years made the transition very seamless. Homeownership has always been something I have been passionate about and there is no better feeling than handing a someone keys to their new home.

Q: Can you share with our audience what Buyers & Sellers can expect when they work with you? KG: Honesty & Patience. Whether helping clients to buy or sell, I always provide honest straight forward opinions of the property. I also fully understand that each person needs their time to come to their own decision. Some clients decide to buy the first property they see while others want to see houses for months before deciding which neighborhood and house are right for them. I never want my clients to feel rushed. I am fully committed to getting the best house for the best value for everyone my clients no matter how long it takes. Q: How has technology changed the Real Estate industry over the years? KG: There have been so many wonderful technology changes that have improved the Real Estate industry, electronic searches, 360 virtual tours, and drone photography to name a few. Most recently however, I have been using FaceTime on almost a daily basis. With so many new families relocating to the Charlotte area and the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for these families to travel I have been showing clients prospective homes via FaceTime. While virtual tours can give clients a good feel for the home being able to face time and answer questions about specific items of interest as I go through the home makes it a

more comfortable experience for my clients. I have had a number of clients purchase a home off of a FaceTime tour and all have been very happy with their new home. Q: If we interviewed all your past clients … what is one common word that comes up when they describe working with you? KG: Dedicated! Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance? KG: The work life balance is without a doubt one of the biggest challenges. The Charlotte market is strong and moves very quickly so it is important that I am available to my clients on a moment’s notice. I am very fortunate to have a supportive family that understands that my schedule is constantly evolving. I am also fortunate to be on an amazing team, Best In The Carolinas ®. Our team of six full time agents is the number one Coldwell Banker team in both North and South Carolina. We are always available to support our teammates and their clients. This allows me to schedule family time when needed as I know my teammates will take care of my clients as if they are their own. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? KG: Always answer your phone! Communication is number one in the Real Estate industry. Building relationships though direct conversations rather than text messages is a must. I make a point to try to never miss a call. You never know who is on the other end, missing a call is missing a business opportunity. Sponsored Content


Marina Gavric

Marina Gavric Health & Fitness Training www.marinagavric.com

Age is Nothing But a Number Y

ou don’t spend 20 years in the fitness industry without learning a few things about numbers. A valuable term I learned early on, and attest to, is the age old adage that “Age is nothing but a number”. Each of us has a calendar age and a biological age. We’ve all seen this … Often I will see a 30 or 40 year-old who may look and feel considerably older than his or her actual age … or a 60 or 70 year-old who may look and feel considerably younger. How and why is that? Good health and well-being, so much of it is in our mind. Also our diet and exercise. It includes an attitude, our habits, our way of life. Healthy and vibrant, the good news is we don’t have to be stuck, where we might not be happy. The choice is ours and there are things we can do to improve. We should control our health rather our health control us. Health, fitness and wellness, no matter what our age, is a great recipe that works … and is everyone’s best reward. When and how did those years get stuck within layers of unhealthy fat, lining our frames? Can you pinpoint the time you became older than you really are? Think back. Was it when you were 12 trying to get out of gym class? Maybe in college when all your time was spent studying and socializing over noodles

and cocktails? Perhaps your fitness years were lost when the children began ruling your world or work sucked you in to the career abyss? Is it possible you just haven’t found your way out. Resolving when you began losing those years is key to getting them back. No matter what your current age or fitness level, taking action in changing your fitness age, to grow younger as you age, to become a fitter and wiser you, begins with some simple, clean life choices we can all make. Ask yourself: How old am I? How old do I feel? What is my fitness age? If I have lost years of vibrant life, when did I lose them? How can I get them back? And when do I begin taking action in the fight to take them back? Don’t let your “real” age rule or get the better of you. You can do it ... let your fitness age take the spotlight! … Stay Hydrated, Stay Focused, Stay Fit!


Ourgoali st oi ns pi r e,empower& s uppor twomeni nci t i est hr oughoutt heU. S.


Q: Flying a plane, walking a tightrope – when do you first remember challenging yourself to do things the typical person never attempts? JC: I don’t see myself as someone who does things because other people don’t do it. My mom overcame extreme poverty to graduate from college, immigrate to the United States, she traveled the country as a nurse and she never sat still for very long. In my mind, my drive to try new things and go on adventures comes more from her spirit. Q: How often have you encountered naysayers in your abilities to accomplish your goals and what has been your response? JC: Every day. While it’s not always blatant, it’s obvious in how people react to me. It challenges me to try to prove them wrong. It fuels me. You only need to look as far as some of the comments on my YouTube videos to see the pushback people give for me flying or being a black belt. Q: Describe how you encourage your audience to find their motivation to achieve their goals? JC: I find that most people are well motivated, but they allow excuses, over-complication, and habits to get in the way. Normally, motivation isn’t the problem, it’s the perceived limitations that often aren’t as difficult as we make them out to be.

Jessica Cox

The World’s First Licensed Armless Pilot, and First Armless Black-Belt in The American Taekwondo Association Cover photo by Jessica Korff | Feature images Amy Haskell

Jessica is best known for becoming the first armless pilot in aviation history. Her achievement earned her a Guinness World Record medal, invitations from six continents, and featured on TV programs like Ellen, Inside Edition, Fox and Friends, Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN, CBS Evening News, and the BBC. Described as a speaker “no one will ever forget,” she shows audiences around the globe how to inspire enthusiasm and build authentic confidence. With the goal of showing people how to go home from work every day feeling excited for tomorrow, she teaches how to courageously tackle new challenges with creativity and unrelenting drive. Since she was born without arms, she became fascinated by the limitless ways the human body can adjust to a variety of circumstances. As she learned to conquer physical barriers, she developed mental skills that allowed her to go on to achieve the seemingly impossible in her own, unique way.

Q: Have you ever had to modify a goal and how do you address this subject to your audiences? JC: Every goal was modified at one point. As long as you get the job done, it doesn’t matter which way you attack it. In my speeches, I talk about “thinking outside the shoe.” It’s a metaphor for when I learned to first tie my shoelaces. I remember watching my Kindergarten teacher show us how to tie our shoes with her foot inside her shoe and using her hands to tie her laces. Since my feet have become my hands, I couldn’t simultaneously have my foot inside the shoe and tie the laces. I could have given up, but who said your foot has to be inside the shoe when you tie them? I eventually figured out how to tie my shoelaces with my toes and then slip my foot inside the shoe. The goal shifted from tying my foot inside the shoe to simply tie the laces loose enough for me to later slip my foot in. Q: One aspect of your motivational speaking addresses diversity, can you tell us more about that? JC: Diversity has become a regular part of social justice conversations and those conversations have become more common, which is great. The problem is that while we talk about race, gender, or orientation, disability is often forgot-


Q: Flying a plane, walking a tightrope – when do you first remember challenging yourself to do things the typical person never attempts? JC: I don’t see myself as someone who does things because other people don’t do it. My mom overcame extreme poverty to graduate from college, immigrate to the United States, she traveled the country as a nurse and she never sat still for very long. In my mind, my drive to try new things and go on adventures comes more from her spirit. Q: How often have you encountered naysayers in your abilities to accomplish your goals and what has been your response? JC: Every day. While it’s not always blatant, it’s obvious in how people react to me. It challenges me to try to prove them wrong. It fuels me. You only need to look as far as some of the comments on my YouTube videos to see the pushback people give for me flying or being a black belt. Q: Describe how you encourage your audience to find their motivation to achieve their goals? JC: I find that most people are well motivated, but they allow excuses, over-complication, and habits to get in the way. Normally, motivation isn’t the problem, it’s the perceived limitations that often aren’t as difficult as we make them out to be.

Jessica Cox

The World’s First Licensed Armless Pilot, and First Armless Black-Belt in The American Taekwondo Association Cover photo by Jessica Korff | Feature images Amy Haskell

Jessica is best known for becoming the first armless pilot in aviation history. Her achievement earned her a Guinness World Record medal, invitations from six continents, and featured on TV programs like Ellen, Inside Edition, Fox and Friends, Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN, CBS Evening News, and the BBC. Described as a speaker “no one will ever forget,” she shows audiences around the globe how to inspire enthusiasm and build authentic confidence. With the goal of showing people how to go home from work every day feeling excited for tomorrow, she teaches how to courageously tackle new challenges with creativity and unrelenting drive. Since she was born without arms, she became fascinated by the limitless ways the human body can adjust to a variety of circumstances. As she learned to conquer physical barriers, she developed mental skills that allowed her to go on to achieve the seemingly impossible in her own, unique way.

Q: Have you ever had to modify a goal and how do you address this subject to your audiences? JC: Every goal was modified at one point. As long as you get the job done, it doesn’t matter which way you attack it. In my speeches, I talk about “thinking outside the shoe.” It’s a metaphor for when I learned to first tie my shoelaces. I remember watching my Kindergarten teacher show us how to tie our shoes with her foot inside her shoe and using her hands to tie her laces. Since my feet have become my hands, I couldn’t simultaneously have my foot inside the shoe and tie the laces. I could have given up, but who said your foot has to be inside the shoe when you tie them? I eventually figured out how to tie my shoelaces with my toes and then slip my foot inside the shoe. The goal shifted from tying my foot inside the shoe to simply tie the laces loose enough for me to later slip my foot in. Q: One aspect of your motivational speaking addresses diversity, can you tell us more about that? JC: Diversity has become a regular part of social justice conversations and those conversations have become more common, which is great. The problem is that while we talk about race, gender, or orientation, disability is often forgot-


ten or diminished in the conversation. I often remind people that the disability community is the only minority that you could join, not everyone is born into it like me. We also make up 25% of the US population and more than 1 billion people globally will experience a disability in their lifetime. That is a lot of people that need to be in more conversations. Q: The obvious question, have you and your team done anything unique to adapt to the COVID videoconference environment? JC: Everything has switched to Zoom and other platforms, so I did too. I think I had a head start because I was already recording video content. We upgraded some equipment and our bandwidth to make sure my clients received the best possible stream. Not traveling meant that I had a little more time on my hands - or feet - so I’ve been expanding my coaching services. I’ve worked with amputees in the past to be a mentor for them but now I’ve opened up my one-onone time to the general public. Q: You write an occasional blog, including one on inspirational porn, probably not a subject that a lot of people have studied. What would you like to say about it and how has it evolved? JC: I’m more than happy to inspire someone because I fly an airplane, earned a black belt, surf, scuba dive, and slack-

line. Inspiration porn is when someone’s inspired because I can function as a human being. I once had a woman in the checkout line at the grocery store say, “It’s inspiring to see you, people, out and about.” People shouldn’t be inspired because someone with a disability eats food and needs to buy toilet paper. I think it comes from an assumption that people with disabilities are inherently unable to do regular things or the person without a disability assumes they couldn’t cope with the disability they see. In reality, the disability community is the only minority you can join and represents about twenty percent of the global population. Inspiration porn only exists because we as a society haven’t a normalized disability. Q: Do you ever give in to asking someone to do something that’s somewhat difficult for you – difficult, but something that you’re capable of doing? How does that feel? JC: Yes, I do. For example, with my husband, but I think it further perpetuates laziness and is a disservice to me because then my ability to do something can be impacted. I’ve been asking my husband to reach for things that were at the edge of my flexibility. Unfortunately, as a result, I’m not stretching my limits and therefore my flexibility has lessened. Q: You’re a Third Degree Blackbelt – without it would you ever feel physically vulnerable?

JC: It’s sometimes hard for even me to believe but I’m a fourth-degree black belt. I started training when I was 10 because I had some anger issues as a kid and sometimes kicked my siblings or my bedroom door. Channeling that energy certainly helped. I think without a black belt I would feel vulnerable because people would see my armlessness as a vulnerability. Despite being a black belt, though, I naturally maintain a higher awareness of my surroundings and try not to present myself as an easy target. Q: Of your many avocations, which are your most enjoyable and which are you most proud of, and why? JC: My most enjoyable activity is cycling because it’s a sport where I can just relax and enjoy the breeze on my face. I usually find myself always moving so it’s an activity that matches my personality, I think. I’m most proud of learning to fly. It not only challenged me physically but also emotionally. It represented one of my greatest fears and I had to overcome that to fly solo. I’ve been a certified pilot for 12 years now and no one can say I didn’t earn it, and no one can take that achievement away from me. Q: Aside from martial arts, is there a particular activity that you and your husband enjoy most together?

JC: We both love to travel and unique experiences. I’ve visited 26 countries so far and he’s been with me for most of them. We’ve had ginseng chicken in Korea, flown in small planes all over Alaska, had fish and chips outside the Tower of London, been invited by princes, had breakfast with a baboon in Kenya, and even fed hyenas in Ethiopia. Q: In the trailer for your documentary, Right Foot, you mention that you wouldn’t have chosen to have arms because of the many people you’ve met and whose lives you’ve touched. If you had been born with arms, how do you feel that your life would have been different?  Do you think you would have been equally motivated and had the same interests? JC: Nick Spark deserves the credit for the documentary. It was his vision; I was just the one in front of the camera. I think there would have been some things that would have stayed the same, like the sense of adventure in me. But whether I would be equally motivated is something I question. Those naysayers fueled a certain level of motivation. My mom was the youngest of thirteen kids in an impoverished family in the Philippines. She beat the odds and immigrated to the United States as a nurse. Even after her cancer diagnosis, it was hard to slow her down. I’d like to think I got a lot of my drive from her.

www.jessicacox.com


ten or diminished in the conversation. I often remind people that the disability community is the only minority that you could join, not everyone is born into it like me. We also make up 25% of the US population and more than 1 billion people globally will experience a disability in their lifetime. That is a lot of people that need to be in more conversations. Q: The obvious question, have you and your team done anything unique to adapt to the COVID videoconference environment? JC: Everything has switched to Zoom and other platforms, so I did too. I think I had a head start because I was already recording video content. We upgraded some equipment and our bandwidth to make sure my clients received the best possible stream. Not traveling meant that I had a little more time on my hands - or feet - so I’ve been expanding my coaching services. I’ve worked with amputees in the past to be a mentor for them but now I’ve opened up my one-onone time to the general public. Q: You write an occasional blog, including one on inspirational porn, probably not a subject that a lot of people have studied. What would you like to say about it and how has it evolved? JC: I’m more than happy to inspire someone because I fly an airplane, earned a black belt, surf, scuba dive, and slack-

line. Inspiration porn is when someone’s inspired because I can function as a human being. I once had a woman in the checkout line at the grocery store say, “It’s inspiring to see you, people, out and about.” People shouldn’t be inspired because someone with a disability eats food and needs to buy toilet paper. I think it comes from an assumption that people with disabilities are inherently unable to do regular things or the person without a disability assumes they couldn’t cope with the disability they see. In reality, the disability community is the only minority you can join and represents about twenty percent of the global population. Inspiration porn only exists because we as a society haven’t a normalized disability. Q: Do you ever give in to asking someone to do something that’s somewhat difficult for you – difficult, but something that you’re capable of doing? How does that feel? JC: Yes, I do. For example, with my husband, but I think it further perpetuates laziness and is a disservice to me because then my ability to do something can be impacted. I’ve been asking my husband to reach for things that were at the edge of my flexibility. Unfortunately, as a result, I’m not stretching my limits and therefore my flexibility has lessened. Q: You’re a Third Degree Blackbelt – without it would you ever feel physically vulnerable?

JC: It’s sometimes hard for even me to believe but I’m a fourth-degree black belt. I started training when I was 10 because I had some anger issues as a kid and sometimes kicked my siblings or my bedroom door. Channeling that energy certainly helped. I think without a black belt I would feel vulnerable because people would see my armlessness as a vulnerability. Despite being a black belt, though, I naturally maintain a higher awareness of my surroundings and try not to present myself as an easy target. Q: Of your many avocations, which are your most enjoyable and which are you most proud of, and why? JC: My most enjoyable activity is cycling because it’s a sport where I can just relax and enjoy the breeze on my face. I usually find myself always moving so it’s an activity that matches my personality, I think. I’m most proud of learning to fly. It not only challenged me physically but also emotionally. It represented one of my greatest fears and I had to overcome that to fly solo. I’ve been a certified pilot for 12 years now and no one can say I didn’t earn it, and no one can take that achievement away from me. Q: Aside from martial arts, is there a particular activity that you and your husband enjoy most together?

JC: We both love to travel and unique experiences. I’ve visited 26 countries so far and he’s been with me for most of them. We’ve had ginseng chicken in Korea, flown in small planes all over Alaska, had fish and chips outside the Tower of London, been invited by princes, had breakfast with a baboon in Kenya, and even fed hyenas in Ethiopia. Q: In the trailer for your documentary, Right Foot, you mention that you wouldn’t have chosen to have arms because of the many people you’ve met and whose lives you’ve touched. If you had been born with arms, how do you feel that your life would have been different?  Do you think you would have been equally motivated and had the same interests? JC: Nick Spark deserves the credit for the documentary. It was his vision; I was just the one in front of the camera. I think there would have been some things that would have stayed the same, like the sense of adventure in me. But whether I would be equally motivated is something I question. Those naysayers fueled a certain level of motivation. My mom was the youngest of thirteen kids in an impoverished family in the Philippines. She beat the odds and immigrated to the United States as a nurse. Even after her cancer diagnosis, it was hard to slow her down. I’d like to think I got a lot of my drive from her.

www.jessicacox.com


African American film critics. Being accepted as a member meant a lot because we get access to the team and talent behind films that mean the most to our culture.

Wycleff Jean interview at Andrew Young Leadership Awards.

Our Exclusive Interview with Influencer

Kim Ford

Kim Ford Is A Keynote Speaker, TV Host & Media Consultant. She Has Appeared On CNN As An Entertainment Correspondent Where She Shares Her Take on What’s Relevant in Film, Television, & Celebrity News. Q: After college, where did you feel your career path would take you? KF: Honestly, I wasn’t really sure. All I knew was I wanted to live in Atlanta. I knew I’d figure it out when I got there. It took a while, but I finally figured it out. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? KF: My jobs after college were random and all over the place. I first worked at Macy’s in the handbag department

until I locked in a “real” job after college. After Macy’s I entered the Management Trainee program at Enterprise Car Rental. Working there taught me a lot about owning a business, sales calls, and teamwork. The hours were long and sometimes I had to wash cars in my suit. I hated it back then. Now I understand the lesson was to get the job done no matter how uncomfortable I was. That’s a skill I use today. Q: Can you share with our audience some details about your role as a CNN/Headline News entertainment contributor? KF: I appear as a guest Entertainment Contributor on CNN/HLN to give my take on what is relevant regarding film and television. Typically, when there is a special segment. Q: In March 2019 you were accepted into AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association). Can you tell us what it meant to you? KF: AAFCA isn’t an award. It’s the world’s largest organization of

Q: Tell us about Jubilee Mag, how it started and where you see it going. KF: Jubilee Mag was an online mag I started in 2007 that covered faith, culture, and style. I created it because I saw a void in the industry for positive media. I built my own website and gained access to events like the BET Awards, Essence Fest and countless press junkets affiliated with NBC, CBS, Sony, Warner Bros, and many others. In March 2020, the growth of my audience led to me to leave Jubilee Mag behind and evolve from just an online magazine. My audience wanted more of me as a personal brand instead of a magazine. As a result, I launched iamkimford.com covering entertainment, personal development, and lifestyle. Q: You must keep a hectic schedule between speaking engagements and TV commitments. How do you maintain a healthy work life balance? KF: It’s all about prioritizing. The commitments my children have come first. I schedule everything else around that. My kids are older, so that makes it a lot easier. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? KF: Since I didn’t study media in college, I was concerned about what I didn’t know that should know. I’m in grad school now, but for many years it was a concern in the back of my mind. It’s definitely possible to do it without grad school, but it was a personal goal of mine.

NBC press dinner for ‘This Is Us’. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? KF: It’s hard to narrow it down to one woman. There’s definitely a village of women I admire for various reasons. A few are: Oprah, for obvious reasons. Myleik Teel for her entrepreneurial journey. J Lo because she’s been timeless for decades. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? KF: I’m actually writing a book about that right now. It’s called “It’s Never Too Late”, releasing late summer 2020. A lot of women think just because they’ve had major setbacks, it’s too late to pursue their dream life. If God called you to it, “It’s Never Too Late”. Q: What is one word of advice you can offer to young women who want to reach your level of success? KF: Do your research. Pay attention to the greats. Find your lane and dominate.


African American film critics. Being accepted as a member meant a lot because we get access to the team and talent behind films that mean the most to our culture.

Wycleff Jean interview at Andrew Young Leadership Awards.

Our Exclusive Interview with Influencer

Kim Ford

Kim Ford Is A Keynote Speaker, TV Host & Media Consultant. She Has Appeared On CNN As An Entertainment Correspondent Where She Shares Her Take on What’s Relevant in Film, Television, & Celebrity News. Q: After college, where did you feel your career path would take you? KF: Honestly, I wasn’t really sure. All I knew was I wanted to live in Atlanta. I knew I’d figure it out when I got there. It took a while, but I finally figured it out. Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? KF: My jobs after college were random and all over the place. I first worked at Macy’s in the handbag department

until I locked in a “real” job after college. After Macy’s I entered the Management Trainee program at Enterprise Car Rental. Working there taught me a lot about owning a business, sales calls, and teamwork. The hours were long and sometimes I had to wash cars in my suit. I hated it back then. Now I understand the lesson was to get the job done no matter how uncomfortable I was. That’s a skill I use today. Q: Can you share with our audience some details about your role as a CNN/Headline News entertainment contributor? KF: I appear as a guest Entertainment Contributor on CNN/HLN to give my take on what is relevant regarding film and television. Typically, when there is a special segment. Q: In March 2019 you were accepted into AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association). Can you tell us what it meant to you? KF: AAFCA isn’t an award. It’s the world’s largest organization of

Q: Tell us about Jubilee Mag, how it started and where you see it going. KF: Jubilee Mag was an online mag I started in 2007 that covered faith, culture, and style. I created it because I saw a void in the industry for positive media. I built my own website and gained access to events like the BET Awards, Essence Fest and countless press junkets affiliated with NBC, CBS, Sony, Warner Bros, and many others. In March 2020, the growth of my audience led to me to leave Jubilee Mag behind and evolve from just an online magazine. My audience wanted more of me as a personal brand instead of a magazine. As a result, I launched iamkimford.com covering entertainment, personal development, and lifestyle. Q: You must keep a hectic schedule between speaking engagements and TV commitments. How do you maintain a healthy work life balance? KF: It’s all about prioritizing. The commitments my children have come first. I schedule everything else around that. My kids are older, so that makes it a lot easier. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? KF: Since I didn’t study media in college, I was concerned about what I didn’t know that should know. I’m in grad school now, but for many years it was a concern in the back of my mind. It’s definitely possible to do it without grad school, but it was a personal goal of mine.

NBC press dinner for ‘This Is Us’. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? KF: It’s hard to narrow it down to one woman. There’s definitely a village of women I admire for various reasons. A few are: Oprah, for obvious reasons. Myleik Teel for her entrepreneurial journey. J Lo because she’s been timeless for decades. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? KF: I’m actually writing a book about that right now. It’s called “It’s Never Too Late”, releasing late summer 2020. A lot of women think just because they’ve had major setbacks, it’s too late to pursue their dream life. If God called you to it, “It’s Never Too Late”. Q: What is one word of advice you can offer to young women who want to reach your level of success? KF: Do your research. Pay attention to the greats. Find your lane and dominate.


Ursula Evans Leading Women in the Adventure of Self-Discovery! Author & Certified Life Coach for Women Around The World “Life isn’t about wait ing for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain” Q: What made you want to write a book about self-love/care? UE: I had first-hand experience of being a doormat woman, a woman with no identity and a woman who didn’t fully love herself. Through my own personal growth, my spiritual foundation and using coaching techniques I knew I wanted to help other women who had similar debilitating issues overcome these challenges just as I had done. I want to see women free from limiting beliefs, debilitating thought patterns, self-sabotage and so much more! I wanted women to know that there is a way to combat low emotional-health and self-love is a practice which will allow women to implement each and every day. In Chapter 9 of Heart Work I share that “…real self-love/care has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long term wellness.” Q: How did your career impact the writing of your book? UE: As an Emotional Health Coach, I have an understanding what my tribe wants and needs and this is incredibly important. Most of my clients are on the go,

Ursula at a Networking Event- Panelist Speaker speaking about Heart Work Emotional Health and Self Love so they want to read content that gets straight to the point, solves real-world problems, and helps them learn new things quickly. In writing Heart Work, knowing this I keep my topics focused, and formatted my book to appeal to my target audience. As an Emotional Health Coach, I listen to my client’s aches/pain points and I wanted to use my book to address women at large who may suffer from some of the same challenges such as setting boundaries, learning more about self-validation, and learning or renewing their own self- love journey. Q: How would you describe the Heart Work process? UE: The Heart Work process begins with cleansing, discovering areas in your life that may be hindering you from loving yourself fully or simply identifying areas for growth and improvement. Time spent in the cleansing phase may bring up old wounds but this is a great phase to deal with these challenges head-on. The next phase is appreciating, where you will deal specifically with self-care, making you a priority and loving yourself from the inside out. It is necessary to appreciate yourself, reading these appreciating chapters will give the reader resources and tools to use to continue this practice long after reading Heart Work. Finally, by the end of the Heart Work process you will deal with surefire ways for you to continue your self-love journey and continuing growing even after reading Heart Work. Once, you complete the growing chapters you are armed with an arsenal of ways to keep growing and evolving. Q: Why would you say emotional health is important? UE: Emotional health is important because it is essential to living a full, and balanced life. If you do not attend to your

emotional needs, your quality of life suffers, your relationships suffer, your work suffers and your physical health also suffers. It is important to give credence to your emotional health just as you would your physical health. Emotional health is about your approach to life, and your ability to live a life of wellness. Building your emotional strength doesn’t mean that life will be easy, or perfect, or that you won’t have negative thoughts. Instead, it means being able to navigate life’s ups, and downs with confidence, and resilience, and bouncing back when things don’t go to plan. Being able to manage your emotions, thoughts, and feelings empowers you to make better decisions, and approach life with optimism. The journey to building your emotional health is one of personal growth. Q: How do you maintain your self-care/love routine and what tips do you have for others? UE: I add me to my calendar… and it’s a non-negotiable appointment with myself. One that I never cancel or “re-schedule”. It’s important to me to check in with myself and carve out space to do the things I love. The truth is if we don’t make time for self-care/love, we probably won’t find the time for it. Make self-care a non-reschedulable appointment with yourself. Schedule it in your calendar and set reminders if you need to. For example, block off 30 minutes in the morning to do yoga and 30 minutes at night to read. Tell your family or roommates what times you will be unavailable. Make it as official as possible. It can even be something as simple as planning ahead and


Ursula Evans Leading Women in the Adventure of Self-Discovery! Author & Certified Life Coach for Women Around The World “Life isn’t about wait ing for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain” Q: What made you want to write a book about self-love/care? UE: I had first-hand experience of being a doormat woman, a woman with no identity and a woman who didn’t fully love herself. Through my own personal growth, my spiritual foundation and using coaching techniques I knew I wanted to help other women who had similar debilitating issues overcome these challenges just as I had done. I want to see women free from limiting beliefs, debilitating thought patterns, self-sabotage and so much more! I wanted women to know that there is a way to combat low emotional-health and self-love is a practice which will allow women to implement each and every day. In Chapter 9 of Heart Work I share that “…real self-love/care has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long term wellness.” Q: How did your career impact the writing of your book? UE: As an Emotional Health Coach, I have an understanding what my tribe wants and needs and this is incredibly important. Most of my clients are on the go,

Ursula at a Networking Event- Panelist Speaker speaking about Heart Work Emotional Health and Self Love so they want to read content that gets straight to the point, solves real-world problems, and helps them learn new things quickly. In writing Heart Work, knowing this I keep my topics focused, and formatted my book to appeal to my target audience. As an Emotional Health Coach, I listen to my client’s aches/pain points and I wanted to use my book to address women at large who may suffer from some of the same challenges such as setting boundaries, learning more about self-validation, and learning or renewing their own self- love journey. Q: How would you describe the Heart Work process? UE: The Heart Work process begins with cleansing, discovering areas in your life that may be hindering you from loving yourself fully or simply identifying areas for growth and improvement. Time spent in the cleansing phase may bring up old wounds but this is a great phase to deal with these challenges head-on. The next phase is appreciating, where you will deal specifically with self-care, making you a priority and loving yourself from the inside out. It is necessary to appreciate yourself, reading these appreciating chapters will give the reader resources and tools to use to continue this practice long after reading Heart Work. Finally, by the end of the Heart Work process you will deal with surefire ways for you to continue your self-love journey and continuing growing even after reading Heart Work. Once, you complete the growing chapters you are armed with an arsenal of ways to keep growing and evolving. Q: Why would you say emotional health is important? UE: Emotional health is important because it is essential to living a full, and balanced life. If you do not attend to your

emotional needs, your quality of life suffers, your relationships suffer, your work suffers and your physical health also suffers. It is important to give credence to your emotional health just as you would your physical health. Emotional health is about your approach to life, and your ability to live a life of wellness. Building your emotional strength doesn’t mean that life will be easy, or perfect, or that you won’t have negative thoughts. Instead, it means being able to navigate life’s ups, and downs with confidence, and resilience, and bouncing back when things don’t go to plan. Being able to manage your emotions, thoughts, and feelings empowers you to make better decisions, and approach life with optimism. The journey to building your emotional health is one of personal growth. Q: How do you maintain your self-care/love routine and what tips do you have for others? UE: I add me to my calendar… and it’s a non-negotiable appointment with myself. One that I never cancel or “re-schedule”. It’s important to me to check in with myself and carve out space to do the things I love. The truth is if we don’t make time for self-care/love, we probably won’t find the time for it. Make self-care a non-reschedulable appointment with yourself. Schedule it in your calendar and set reminders if you need to. For example, block off 30 minutes in the morning to do yoga and 30 minutes at night to read. Tell your family or roommates what times you will be unavailable. Make it as official as possible. It can even be something as simple as planning ahead and


laying your clothes, bag, and lunch out the night before to alleviate some stress in the morning. When you plan ahead and schedule self-care/love in, it becomes easier to fit it in your days. In Chapter 9, Love on You, I encourage others to say No to the people and things that get in the way of self-care and start saying YES to yourself! Q: What’s next after Heart Work? UE: I most certainly have more than one book in me; so there will be more books of inspiration and empowerment in the future. My next immediate project is a community book project. There are many women who have dreams of becoming an Author and I want help bring their dream to reality through my anthology book project. This project will be announced August 2020 and our Signature Coaching Program will be announced in September 2020 Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? UE: I got my first job when I was 15 years old working as a Cashier at Hardees. Working at Hardees shaped me because I learned invaluable principles about leadership, collaboration, and service. I worked for a great boss who believed in mentoring and pouring into his employees. These values have stuck with me and I’m happy to say I learned these ideologies early in life. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? UE: The greatest fear I had to overcome was putting myself out there. My Heart Work success and growing from the inside out required me to be vulnerable, transparent and open with my tribe. Overcoming my fear of worrying what others thought of me, my platform, or what I had to say allowed me to share my heart with women who I wanted to see be set free and liberated; walking in freedom on their emotional health and self-love journey. Q: How do you maintain a healthy work life balance? UE: Chapter 8 in Heart Work talks about Boundaries. I say, “There are times when you may have to push your limits and take on a lot for a period of time, but make sure you check in with yourself. Are you feeling run down? Do you need a break? Did you mismanage your time and overcommit when you should actually be refueling yourself? Always evaluate where you are. Give an honest gauge of your output.” Personally, Boundaries are my best friend. Boundarieees help me keep things easy + light. I do not over commit or over extend myself. I leave work when I say I’m going to leave. I exercise when I’m supposed to, and I tell friends and family No! With a smile of course. I respect my time and activities. It’s important to maintain these balances for the positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of well-being.   Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? UE: Focus on developing and using your strengths. Finding out what you enjoy doing and what you’re truly good at as well

as how to develop those areas is an important lesson I learned in my career. While it may take time, determining where you excel can be one of the most rewarding gifts of having a job and something you can’t learn outside the workforce. Find what you enjoy doing the most and work to develop your strength in that area. Keep in mind that no one is an overnight expert and that you’ll have to work hard to get to where you want to be. Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career? UE: One of my most memorable moments in my career is a client success story. I was coaching a woman who had been suffering with self-identity and emotional health challenges. It was so rewarding and memorable to see the great strides and work she put in to make positive changes in her life. Her determination met with coaching support and accountability, she was able to see the root of her self-identity challenges and from that point on it was moving to watch her grow in areas where she was once challenged. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? UE: I’m inspired by Marshawn Evans- Daniels. She is a reinvention strategist and life coach mentoring women all over the world to live a BOLD life. She left a high powered law firm and turned her passion for people into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. I absolutely admire her and her mission. She’s proven it can be done. She is my light. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? UE: I hear the same thing over and over from my busy professional clients. These women are all busy with career, parenthood, marriage, and some caregivers. The resounding challenge women face is carving out time for self-care/self-love and feeling guilty when they do commit to self-care/self-love. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? UE: At companies where women are underrepresented, it might seem tempting to fall into the trap of competing with other women. But that misses the point. One easy way to support other women is through a mentorship relationship. A good mentor can provide career advice, counsel during stressful times, and unwavering support. And you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite to provide guidance to another female employee, either. Women should seek out mentors who are only one step ahead in their career — their advice can be invaluable since they made it to the next step in the management hierarchy fairly recently. My best advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace is to seek out mentors with varied experience to get varied perspectives on your career. Always Stand in your Truth. What I have learned, in my humble years as a woman, is that being a strong woman means being unapologetically, fiercely and wholeheartedly YOU no matter what. Q: What self-care tips do you recommend during stressful times?

Ursula with a Group Of Women Sharing their Final Self Love Vision Board UE: When you’re stressed, self-care is often the first thing to go. Fortunately, there are several pathways to self-care, and none of them need to be difficult or take a lot of planning. I recommend starting with the following: Address unmet needs. When you can’t meet a certain need it can be exceptionally frustrating. Silently acknowledge that you’d like to satisfy this need in the future. Addressing your needs — even when they can’t be met — is a significant form of emotional self-care that can help hold you over until the storm passes. Check in with yourself. Self-care is all about listening. My biggest tip, is to sit still and pay attention. Literally, just sit for five minutes — somewhere quiet and cozy – and do a quick check-in physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, asking what do I notice?’ What do I need?’ in each area. Ask for help. When your plate is too full, remind yourself to reach out. Precisely, ask: “Can someone else do this?” Q: When people book a coaching session with you, what can they expect? What is the recommended number of sessions to see results? UE: Coaching with me is honest and loving. The battery of questions asked WILL challenge you and equip you for success. Coaching is a powerful conversation and support system that empowers you to experience your potential more quickly, easily and joyfully. It provides accountability, a sounding

board, and a way to overcome fears or challenges. Coaching is an ongoing tool that empowers you to move from where you are now to where you want to be. Coaching focuses on where you are presently and where you are headed, with a goal of helping you gain clarity, eliminate obstacles to your success, and accelerate the pace of growth.  Coaching with me is forward focused. I recommend a minimum of three months for clients to establish a coaching relationship and begin to see significant results. Q: What would you tell younger you (10 years ago? 5 years ago? Last year?) UE: Ten Years Ago: Accept yourself as God made you. I spent too many years fighting this battle and it took a long time to surrender, and by that time it carried extremely painful ramifications. How I wish I could tell the young me that it is okay to be true to yourself. Because God does not make mistakes. Five Years Ago: I would advise my younger self to just say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. No responsibility is beneath you. These are all stops on the path to your career, and don’t be that person that just waits for their turn to talk. Listen, care and then react. Last Year: Bless others. Be a positive influence in any way you can. Even simple little supportive acts can make others — and you — much happier.


laying your clothes, bag, and lunch out the night before to alleviate some stress in the morning. When you plan ahead and schedule self-care/love in, it becomes easier to fit it in your days. In Chapter 9, Love on You, I encourage others to say No to the people and things that get in the way of self-care and start saying YES to yourself! Q: What’s next after Heart Work? UE: I most certainly have more than one book in me; so there will be more books of inspiration and empowerment in the future. My next immediate project is a community book project. There are many women who have dreams of becoming an Author and I want help bring their dream to reality through my anthology book project. This project will be announced August 2020 and our Signature Coaching Program will be announced in September 2020 Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you? UE: I got my first job when I was 15 years old working as a Cashier at Hardees. Working at Hardees shaped me because I learned invaluable principles about leadership, collaboration, and service. I worked for a great boss who believed in mentoring and pouring into his employees. These values have stuck with me and I’m happy to say I learned these ideologies early in life. Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? UE: The greatest fear I had to overcome was putting myself out there. My Heart Work success and growing from the inside out required me to be vulnerable, transparent and open with my tribe. Overcoming my fear of worrying what others thought of me, my platform, or what I had to say allowed me to share my heart with women who I wanted to see be set free and liberated; walking in freedom on their emotional health and self-love journey. Q: How do you maintain a healthy work life balance? UE: Chapter 8 in Heart Work talks about Boundaries. I say, “There are times when you may have to push your limits and take on a lot for a period of time, but make sure you check in with yourself. Are you feeling run down? Do you need a break? Did you mismanage your time and overcommit when you should actually be refueling yourself? Always evaluate where you are. Give an honest gauge of your output.” Personally, Boundaries are my best friend. Boundarieees help me keep things easy + light. I do not over commit or over extend myself. I leave work when I say I’m going to leave. I exercise when I’m supposed to, and I tell friends and family No! With a smile of course. I respect my time and activities. It’s important to maintain these balances for the positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of well-being.   Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? UE: Focus on developing and using your strengths. Finding out what you enjoy doing and what you’re truly good at as well

as how to develop those areas is an important lesson I learned in my career. While it may take time, determining where you excel can be one of the most rewarding gifts of having a job and something you can’t learn outside the workforce. Find what you enjoy doing the most and work to develop your strength in that area. Keep in mind that no one is an overnight expert and that you’ll have to work hard to get to where you want to be. Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career? UE: One of my most memorable moments in my career is a client success story. I was coaching a woman who had been suffering with self-identity and emotional health challenges. It was so rewarding and memorable to see the great strides and work she put in to make positive changes in her life. Her determination met with coaching support and accountability, she was able to see the root of her self-identity challenges and from that point on it was moving to watch her grow in areas where she was once challenged. Q: Which woman inspires you and why? UE: I’m inspired by Marshawn Evans- Daniels. She is a reinvention strategist and life coach mentoring women all over the world to live a BOLD life. She left a high powered law firm and turned her passion for people into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. I absolutely admire her and her mission. She’s proven it can be done. She is my light. Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? UE: I hear the same thing over and over from my busy professional clients. These women are all busy with career, parenthood, marriage, and some caregivers. The resounding challenge women face is carving out time for self-care/self-love and feeling guilty when they do commit to self-care/self-love. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? UE: At companies where women are underrepresented, it might seem tempting to fall into the trap of competing with other women. But that misses the point. One easy way to support other women is through a mentorship relationship. A good mentor can provide career advice, counsel during stressful times, and unwavering support. And you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite to provide guidance to another female employee, either. Women should seek out mentors who are only one step ahead in their career — their advice can be invaluable since they made it to the next step in the management hierarchy fairly recently. My best advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace is to seek out mentors with varied experience to get varied perspectives on your career. Always Stand in your Truth. What I have learned, in my humble years as a woman, is that being a strong woman means being unapologetically, fiercely and wholeheartedly YOU no matter what. Q: What self-care tips do you recommend during stressful times?

Ursula with a Group Of Women Sharing their Final Self Love Vision Board UE: When you’re stressed, self-care is often the first thing to go. Fortunately, there are several pathways to self-care, and none of them need to be difficult or take a lot of planning. I recommend starting with the following: Address unmet needs. When you can’t meet a certain need it can be exceptionally frustrating. Silently acknowledge that you’d like to satisfy this need in the future. Addressing your needs — even when they can’t be met — is a significant form of emotional self-care that can help hold you over until the storm passes. Check in with yourself. Self-care is all about listening. My biggest tip, is to sit still and pay attention. Literally, just sit for five minutes — somewhere quiet and cozy – and do a quick check-in physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, asking what do I notice?’ What do I need?’ in each area. Ask for help. When your plate is too full, remind yourself to reach out. Precisely, ask: “Can someone else do this?” Q: When people book a coaching session with you, what can they expect? What is the recommended number of sessions to see results? UE: Coaching with me is honest and loving. The battery of questions asked WILL challenge you and equip you for success. Coaching is a powerful conversation and support system that empowers you to experience your potential more quickly, easily and joyfully. It provides accountability, a sounding

board, and a way to overcome fears or challenges. Coaching is an ongoing tool that empowers you to move from where you are now to where you want to be. Coaching focuses on where you are presently and where you are headed, with a goal of helping you gain clarity, eliminate obstacles to your success, and accelerate the pace of growth.  Coaching with me is forward focused. I recommend a minimum of three months for clients to establish a coaching relationship and begin to see significant results. Q: What would you tell younger you (10 years ago? 5 years ago? Last year?) UE: Ten Years Ago: Accept yourself as God made you. I spent too many years fighting this battle and it took a long time to surrender, and by that time it carried extremely painful ramifications. How I wish I could tell the young me that it is okay to be true to yourself. Because God does not make mistakes. Five Years Ago: I would advise my younger self to just say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. No responsibility is beneath you. These are all stops on the path to your career, and don’t be that person that just waits for their turn to talk. Listen, care and then react. Last Year: Bless others. Be a positive influence in any way you can. Even simple little supportive acts can make others — and you — much happier.


Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Best Selling Author, Leeza Gibbons, Shares Her Insights on Today’s Challenges For Caregivers & Maintaining a Positive Outlook. Photography by Caroline Greyshock & Jeff Annenberg

Q: It’s safe to say that you’re best known for your TV work on Entertainment Tonight, Leeza, and 2015’s Celebrity Apprentice. What thoughts come to mind about that body of work? LG: I’m a lucky girl. I have had a career that has been challenging, fulfilling, and fun! I studied broadcast journalism and have been on a path of wherever the stories took me ever since.  After reporting in TV and radio news, I became an entertainment correspondent and anchor before the advent of social media, which allowed celebrities to break their own story.  Until then, it was pretty much right what they used to say about ET, that we provided an “all-access pass” to all things Hollywood.   One of my early professional dreams was to have some of Dick Clark’s abilities to host virtually anything and make audiences feel welcome. I was blessed to have met Dick, worked with him, and become his friend. Now, when I host something like The Rose Parade, I often keep his mentoring in mind.  Even though I have a Ph.D. in drama avoidance, I loved being on Celebrity Apprentice!  Competing on the show allowed me to use my business skills to win the grand prize and invest it in opening Leeza’s Care Connection in my South Carolina hometown.  It was a dream come true to offer our free services for family caregivers in Columbia, where I grew up. 

Q: Tell us how your education contributed to your success and how that path is the same or different for new journalists? LG: I was trained as a broadcast journalist. Barbara Walters was one of my big inspirations.  When I began reporting at ET, I was accustomed to a reporting style that was objective; providing only a conduit through which the stories made their way to readers, listeners, and viewers. When I was hosting and producing a single topic talk show, The LEEZA show, the format required that I editorialize and offer an opinion and lead with it too often, it was liberating and allowed for the kind of passionate energy that I admired about Barbara Walters. Many storytellers take a variety of paths to get to where they want to go.  I believe how you do one thing is how you do all things, so if excellence is your goal, buoyed by curiosity, then you’ll get there.     Q: Did PBS’s My Generation, which addressed a more mature audience, represent a shift for you; if so, why? LG: It was a deliberate choice to address topics that were relevant to an audience that found itself at a turning point ...an audience like me. Boomers are reinventing and eager to explore all kinds of transformations. We believe that who you were yesterday is not who you have to be tomorrow, so we’re looking for the inspiration to recreate ourselves.


Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Best Selling Author, Leeza Gibbons, Shares Her Insights on Today’s Challenges For Caregivers & Maintaining a Positive Outlook. Photography by Caroline Greyshock & Jeff Annenberg

Q: It’s safe to say that you’re best known for your TV work on Entertainment Tonight, Leeza, and 2015’s Celebrity Apprentice. What thoughts come to mind about that body of work? LG: I’m a lucky girl. I have had a career that has been challenging, fulfilling, and fun! I studied broadcast journalism and have been on a path of wherever the stories took me ever since.  After reporting in TV and radio news, I became an entertainment correspondent and anchor before the advent of social media, which allowed celebrities to break their own story.  Until then, it was pretty much right what they used to say about ET, that we provided an “all-access pass” to all things Hollywood.   One of my early professional dreams was to have some of Dick Clark’s abilities to host virtually anything and make audiences feel welcome. I was blessed to have met Dick, worked with him, and become his friend. Now, when I host something like The Rose Parade, I often keep his mentoring in mind.  Even though I have a Ph.D. in drama avoidance, I loved being on Celebrity Apprentice!  Competing on the show allowed me to use my business skills to win the grand prize and invest it in opening Leeza’s Care Connection in my South Carolina hometown.  It was a dream come true to offer our free services for family caregivers in Columbia, where I grew up. 

Q: Tell us how your education contributed to your success and how that path is the same or different for new journalists? LG: I was trained as a broadcast journalist. Barbara Walters was one of my big inspirations.  When I began reporting at ET, I was accustomed to a reporting style that was objective; providing only a conduit through which the stories made their way to readers, listeners, and viewers. When I was hosting and producing a single topic talk show, The LEEZA show, the format required that I editorialize and offer an opinion and lead with it too often, it was liberating and allowed for the kind of passionate energy that I admired about Barbara Walters. Many storytellers take a variety of paths to get to where they want to go.  I believe how you do one thing is how you do all things, so if excellence is your goal, buoyed by curiosity, then you’ll get there.     Q: Did PBS’s My Generation, which addressed a more mature audience, represent a shift for you; if so, why? LG: It was a deliberate choice to address topics that were relevant to an audience that found itself at a turning point ...an audience like me. Boomers are reinventing and eager to explore all kinds of transformations. We believe that who you were yesterday is not who you have to be tomorrow, so we’re looking for the inspiration to recreate ourselves.


Leeza with her Dad looking at one of his poetry books. “Pops has written thousands of poems, so I began putting them together in books. We’re up to Volume 8, but he’s only 92, so he’s got a lot more writing to do!”

“My Generation” delivered the stories of celebrities and others who had accepted the challenge to re-boot and re-create their lives and re-write their narratives. Q What do you see that is different from interviewing styles from the period you were on the air to today? LG: Today, things are much more transparent than when I first began Viewers’ insatiable appetites to “get inside” and “lift the veil” led to more raw reporting and a genuinely authentic exchange preference.

terviewers to uncover more than “just the facts” and interview subjects to drop any facade and get real. Today, the best way to do that is to bypass a reporter and go straight to fans through social media.

From skilful politicians to creative celebrities of all kinds, intimate relationships are built on social platforms, but interviews with reputable outlets or with interviewers who have perceived gravitas can often maintain, boost, or augment them. Look at Donald Trump Twitter was more important to his victory than his political advisors and mainstream media exposure. However, There is still brokering for interviews and nego- events like the interviews with Lester Holt and tiating for access. Still, the expectation is for in- George Stepanopolis can still do damage.

“Breathe, Believe, Receive” is our mantra at Leeza’s Care Connection. This is a group of caregivers making that philosophy come to life at our Providence St Joseph Medical Center location in Burbank.

Q: You have published books about having a positive attitude and self-care, particularly for caregivers; would you remind our readers what those books are about and what they represent to you? LG: On our journeys through life, I often need to remember that our strength comes from being vulnerable. Our power comes from how we are connected. My books honour those connections; whether it’s a daughter caring for a sick parent, or a divorced woman who needs a Take 2, we can all find our strength by giving ourselves permission to change and grow.

LG: A couple of years ago, I wrote a book called FIERCE OPTIMISM and nowhere is that more relevant than when applied to our community at Leeza’s Care Connection. We help families cope with Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses by offering tips, resources, and coping strategies. We are a community of those who understand the journey, and we’re dedicated to making sure that no one walks alone. Caregivers have to be fierce, optimistic, and radically resilient to move forward. This past year, we all learned how to pivot and redirect, but caregivers are used to those things. They have to be.

Q: Tell us about Leeza’s Care Connection.

My mother died of Alzheimer’s disease, the


Leeza with her Dad looking at one of his poetry books. “Pops has written thousands of poems, so I began putting them together in books. We’re up to Volume 8, but he’s only 92, so he’s got a lot more writing to do!”

“My Generation” delivered the stories of celebrities and others who had accepted the challenge to re-boot and re-create their lives and re-write their narratives. Q What do you see that is different from interviewing styles from the period you were on the air to today? LG: Today, things are much more transparent than when I first began Viewers’ insatiable appetites to “get inside” and “lift the veil” led to more raw reporting and a genuinely authentic exchange preference.

terviewers to uncover more than “just the facts” and interview subjects to drop any facade and get real. Today, the best way to do that is to bypass a reporter and go straight to fans through social media.

From skilful politicians to creative celebrities of all kinds, intimate relationships are built on social platforms, but interviews with reputable outlets or with interviewers who have perceived gravitas can often maintain, boost, or augment them. Look at Donald Trump Twitter was more important to his victory than his political advisors and mainstream media exposure. However, There is still brokering for interviews and nego- events like the interviews with Lester Holt and tiating for access. Still, the expectation is for in- George Stepanopolis can still do damage.

“Breathe, Believe, Receive” is our mantra at Leeza’s Care Connection. This is a group of caregivers making that philosophy come to life at our Providence St Joseph Medical Center location in Burbank.

Q: You have published books about having a positive attitude and self-care, particularly for caregivers; would you remind our readers what those books are about and what they represent to you? LG: On our journeys through life, I often need to remember that our strength comes from being vulnerable. Our power comes from how we are connected. My books honour those connections; whether it’s a daughter caring for a sick parent, or a divorced woman who needs a Take 2, we can all find our strength by giving ourselves permission to change and grow.

LG: A couple of years ago, I wrote a book called FIERCE OPTIMISM and nowhere is that more relevant than when applied to our community at Leeza’s Care Connection. We help families cope with Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses by offering tips, resources, and coping strategies. We are a community of those who understand the journey, and we’re dedicated to making sure that no one walks alone. Caregivers have to be fierce, optimistic, and radically resilient to move forward. This past year, we all learned how to pivot and redirect, but caregivers are used to those things. They have to be.

Q: Tell us about Leeza’s Care Connection.

My mother died of Alzheimer’s disease, the


same as her mom, my dear Granny. Our family struggled with the same emotions as every other; we were stressed and depressed, isolated, and sad. When you become a caregiver, you take on an enormous assault on your emotions and your immune system. You often unravel and deplete spiritually, physically, and financially. When that started happening to our family, I created what we wish we had, and that became Leeza’s Care Connection. I promised my mother I would tell the story of our struggle, and I would use it to help others. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done, and I feel blessed to be able to do it. Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?  LG: Both!  I think it’s true that we often write what we need to learn. Valuing self-care and finding empowerment is a lifelong pursuit.  When I write about the power of kindness or the benefits of optimism I am fortifying my commitment to those values.  I have kept journals, on and off, since the ‘70s! At the tune, I was travelling quite a lot for Entertainment Tonight and interviewing the biggest names in the business. I was also young in my career, and I took notes from others about how to find balance and grace to go along with my ambition. I have discovered that writing helps us find answers (and better questions) to guide our actions. It shows us patterns and ways that we sabotage or subvert. I recently facilitated a Leeza’s Care Connection virtual course on journaling for caregivers. It was an exercise of self-awareness, self-care and gratitude for our

Proudly holding an Emmy for Best Host for the PBS show, My Generation .

gifts and our burdens. Our everyday experience provided the solace of a support group and the benefits of clarity and stress management that come from writing. Q: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? LG: I was competing in an essay contest in high school. We were given a speech topic and an hour to prepare before delivering our speech in front of judges and attendees.  The topic was “What’s Right About America”. I believe I won the competition because of my ability to appreciate and express language, which made my oration memorable.  At that time, I also had

“Memories Matter. When someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease sharing those memories in scrapbooks can be very soul-satisfying”

quite a thick southern accent which was either ated that concept was evil and cruel! If we seek a distraction or an endearment! the ever-elusive middle of the see-saw, we will be bitter and disappointed. Instead of balancQ: What is your favorite childhood book? ing time, I think of investing time. As with any LG: I loved The Secret Garden - it was magical business venture, I look for dividends. For exand sad and uplifting all at once. Shel Silver- ample, if you’re a working woman (there’s a stein’s “The Giving Tree” was a favorite too, redundancy for you!), you may not always feel but it’s The Velveteen Rabbit that resonates that you have the ideal balance. Still, you’re deeply still because of its message about what providing for your family, setting an example of the value of work, and growing into the next real love is. phase of life when you may feel you have more Q: You’ve maintained a hectic, career, autonomy. You’re investing in your future, and can you share with our audience how those dividends will come due. you manage your work-life balance? LG: I gave up trying to balance! Whoever cre-


same as her mom, my dear Granny. Our family struggled with the same emotions as every other; we were stressed and depressed, isolated, and sad. When you become a caregiver, you take on an enormous assault on your emotions and your immune system. You often unravel and deplete spiritually, physically, and financially. When that started happening to our family, I created what we wish we had, and that became Leeza’s Care Connection. I promised my mother I would tell the story of our struggle, and I would use it to help others. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done, and I feel blessed to be able to do it. Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?  LG: Both!  I think it’s true that we often write what we need to learn. Valuing self-care and finding empowerment is a lifelong pursuit.  When I write about the power of kindness or the benefits of optimism I am fortifying my commitment to those values.  I have kept journals, on and off, since the ‘70s! At the tune, I was travelling quite a lot for Entertainment Tonight and interviewing the biggest names in the business. I was also young in my career, and I took notes from others about how to find balance and grace to go along with my ambition. I have discovered that writing helps us find answers (and better questions) to guide our actions. It shows us patterns and ways that we sabotage or subvert. I recently facilitated a Leeza’s Care Connection virtual course on journaling for caregivers. It was an exercise of self-awareness, self-care and gratitude for our

Proudly holding an Emmy for Best Host for the PBS show, My Generation .

gifts and our burdens. Our everyday experience provided the solace of a support group and the benefits of clarity and stress management that come from writing. Q: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? LG: I was competing in an essay contest in high school. We were given a speech topic and an hour to prepare before delivering our speech in front of judges and attendees.  The topic was “What’s Right About America”. I believe I won the competition because of my ability to appreciate and express language, which made my oration memorable.  At that time, I also had

“Memories Matter. When someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease sharing those memories in scrapbooks can be very soul-satisfying”

quite a thick southern accent which was either ated that concept was evil and cruel! If we seek a distraction or an endearment! the ever-elusive middle of the see-saw, we will be bitter and disappointed. Instead of balancQ: What is your favorite childhood book? ing time, I think of investing time. As with any LG: I loved The Secret Garden - it was magical business venture, I look for dividends. For exand sad and uplifting all at once. Shel Silver- ample, if you’re a working woman (there’s a stein’s “The Giving Tree” was a favorite too, redundancy for you!), you may not always feel but it’s The Velveteen Rabbit that resonates that you have the ideal balance. Still, you’re deeply still because of its message about what providing for your family, setting an example of the value of work, and growing into the next real love is. phase of life when you may feel you have more Q: You’ve maintained a hectic, career, autonomy. You’re investing in your future, and can you share with our audience how those dividends will come due. you manage your work-life balance? LG: I gave up trying to balance! Whoever cre-


FERTILITY PRESERVATION 5 Things You Should Know By Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh

Your fertility isn’t skin deep. It’s as simple as that. Just because you look like you’re 28 when you’re 42, doesn’t mean your ovaries are the same. Unlike men who don’t run out of sperm, it is totally normal and expected for every woman to run out of eggs by a certain age. The average age of menopause is 51 and it’s very difficult to get pregnant during the 10 years leading up to that age. Some of us are born with more eggs or run out at a slower rate but at the end of the day most women are not fertile in their 40’s. It’s unfair for women to be made to feel like there’s something wrong with them when they’re told they’re not fertile at the age of 40. Not many women are fertile in their 40’s. Empower yourself with knowledge about your fertility so you can learn more about your options. Running out of eggs doesn’t mean you also run out of options. Women in their 40’s often turn to more creative ways to grow their family: donor eggs, donor embryos and adoption just to name a few. I find that most of my patients who see me over the age of 40 say they wish they had frozen their eggs when they could have. Women today sadly learn that they’re running out of eggs at the same time that they decide to start a family. Egg freezing technology has changed dramatically over the past 5 years or so. Women don’t have to say that they wish they froze their eggs 10 years ago…..a time when egg freezing success rates weren’t as good as they are today. The time is now to ask your doctor whether egg freezing is for you. Here’s what you should know: 1. There are tests you can do to find

Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh Photos by Jennifer Crandall

out more about your fertility. Your doctor can order an Anti Mullerian Hormone level (AMH) as a guide regarding how much battery you have in your biological clock. Cycle day 3 FSH and estradiol levels and an antral follicle count (ultrasound looking at your ovaries often done by a reproductive endocrinologist) can also be used clinically as a guide. 2. If your Mom or other female family members had fertility issues related to conditions like endometriosis or early menopause, you should strongly consider preserving your fertility and seeing a doctor


to talk more about your options. 3. There are some medical conditions that require drug treatments that can be what we call “gonadotoxic” ie result in damage to eggs or sperm. Patients who are diagnosed with conditions like Lupus, blood disorders, and cancer are often put on chemotherapeutic Dr. Eyvazzadeh has been hosting “Egg Freezing Parties” designed to raise awareness of fertility issues since 2014. drugs. Freezing eggs/sperm Harvard Medical School, she completed a can give these patients a chance for pregnancy in the future fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at University of Michigan. She after their treatment is over if they run out also completed a Masters in Public Health in of eggs earlier because of the treatments. Health Management and Policy at University 4. Freezing eggs for future use is best in of Michigan. She has a private practice in younger women because our eggs have a the SF Bay Area. higher chance of being viable the younger Each day she hears story after story we are. If you’re considering freezing your from women struggling to conceive. In her eggs in your late 30’s, you could still have a attempt to alleviate some of this heartbreak, good chance for pregnancy. Speaking with she has gone on a mission of “fertility a fertility specialist would be helpful before awareness”. Her hope is to empower you decide to freeze your eggs. women at an early age, making them more 5. Egg freezing involves a surgical aware of their own personal fertility levels procedure. Women have to take selfadministered shots in the skin of their lower and allowing them to be better educated about their options. Never again does she abdomen for about 10 days prior to the egg want to hear “If I had known 10 years ago extraction procedure. To hear more about the process of IVF or that my egg reserves were running low, I would have done things differently”. egg freezing, please read Dr. Aimee’s next In 2014, she launched her message with article. “Egg Freezing Parties”. These hosted parties Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh is a native of offer women a chance to learn more about the Bay Area. She is a graduate of UCLA egg freezing and ask their questions in a School of Medicine. After completing her comfortable, safe environment with likeresidency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at minded women. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and


What Does it Mean to be a Successful Woman in Business?

T

he U.S. Census Bureau in its Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs notes that women owned 20 percent of all employer firms in 2016. The number of women who are starting their own companies in the U.S. continues to grow. These women find that entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity to use their talents, expand their influence and increase their wealth. Although starting and maintaining a successful business is not always smooth sailing, women often find the endeavor not only suits their personalities, but also their personal goals.

Creating an Enterprise That Reflects Your Own Values

you get to determine your own level of financial success. Your ability to earn is only limited by your own efforts to maxStarting a business is often an uphill imize profits. This requires doing a sigclimb that many people never even attempt. The corporate world offers many nificant amount of research and understanding important features of your area perks and financial benefits, but you of the economy. In addition, successful must always bow to the “vision” of the corporation. For some women, this effort woman entrepreneurs know that you can can be too limiting. They may be able to never rest on past laurels. They always see other aspects of the market that need keep an eye out for new opportunities to addressing, and the chance to tackle the expand their markets, increase their customer base and refine their operations. task in your own way offers personal gratification at the highest level.

The Freedom to Manage Your Own Finances Having your own business also means

Becoming an Expert in Time Management

Women have a natural aptitude for multi-tasking, and this quality can be of

significant benefit when they are running a business. Women prioritize activities to schedule work efficiently and keep the most important aspects at the forefront of their actions. Managing a workforce well is a critical part of success in business, and women often have the “people skills” needed to maintain high efficiency and productivity.

Dealing with Harassment & Discrimination

comfortable situations. In addition, you may still feel acquiring loans, getting important contracts and maintaining your competitive edge still requires you to work harder in order to be judged as equal to a male-owned company. However, as you develop a record and reputation for success, this need to “dance backwards and in high heels” tends to diminish.

Being a woman in business offers a chance to forge your own path in your own way. Unfortunately, the downside for women continues to be frequent incidents of sexual Although the obstacles can be daunting and harassment and discrimination that may oc- often reflect institutional prejudices, being a cur at both personal and institutional levels. woman also offers a variety of natural adLearning ways to skillfully deflect unwanted vantages that can help you excel in business. attention can help you manage these un-


What Does it Mean to be a Successful Woman in Business?

T

he U.S. Census Bureau in its Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs notes that women owned 20 percent of all employer firms in 2016. The number of women who are starting their own companies in the U.S. continues to grow. These women find that entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity to use their talents, expand their influence and increase their wealth. Although starting and maintaining a successful business is not always smooth sailing, women often find the endeavor not only suits their personalities, but also their personal goals.

Creating an Enterprise That Reflects Your Own Values

you get to determine your own level of financial success. Your ability to earn is only limited by your own efforts to maxStarting a business is often an uphill imize profits. This requires doing a sigclimb that many people never even attempt. The corporate world offers many nificant amount of research and understanding important features of your area perks and financial benefits, but you of the economy. In addition, successful must always bow to the “vision” of the corporation. For some women, this effort woman entrepreneurs know that you can can be too limiting. They may be able to never rest on past laurels. They always see other aspects of the market that need keep an eye out for new opportunities to addressing, and the chance to tackle the expand their markets, increase their customer base and refine their operations. task in your own way offers personal gratification at the highest level.

The Freedom to Manage Your Own Finances Having your own business also means

Becoming an Expert in Time Management

Women have a natural aptitude for multi-tasking, and this quality can be of

significant benefit when they are running a business. Women prioritize activities to schedule work efficiently and keep the most important aspects at the forefront of their actions. Managing a workforce well is a critical part of success in business, and women often have the “people skills” needed to maintain high efficiency and productivity.

Dealing with Harassment & Discrimination

comfortable situations. In addition, you may still feel acquiring loans, getting important contracts and maintaining your competitive edge still requires you to work harder in order to be judged as equal to a male-owned company. However, as you develop a record and reputation for success, this need to “dance backwards and in high heels” tends to diminish.

Being a woman in business offers a chance to forge your own path in your own way. Unfortunately, the downside for women continues to be frequent incidents of sexual Although the obstacles can be daunting and harassment and discrimination that may oc- often reflect institutional prejudices, being a cur at both personal and institutional levels. woman also offers a variety of natural adLearning ways to skillfully deflect unwanted vantages that can help you excel in business. attention can help you manage these un-


Equal Pay for Women in Sports

A

s the United States women’s national soccer team was making its dominating run to the 2019 Women’s World Cup title, more and more coverage was focusing on the team’s push for equal pay relative to the men’s national team. This was coupled with chants of “Equal Pay!” at its post-championship celebration in New York.

However, one important aspect of this issue is oftentimes overlooked. What causes these athletes to not receive equal pay in the first place? Although reports later surfaced that the team may already be paid roughly equal to the men’s side, they don’t address the core issue with this squad and with other women’s teams. How are these athletes and the events that they participate in being marketed? Although most would expect the percentage of the marketing pie going to women’s athletes and sports to be low, many are shocked that it’s as low as it is: 0.4%. The common argument for those criticizing this argument for equal pay for female athletes is that they don’t garner the ticket sales and

other sources of income that male players do. However, if 99.6% of the marketing budget is being focused on the men, how will prospective fans be able to learn the storylines and other aspects of the female athletes that will cause them to regularly attend matches? It should be noted that pay gaps don’t exist in all sports, but there are significant ones in team sports. The extreme ends of the spectrum tend to the equally paid tennis players and the vastly unequally paid basketball players. Fortunately, progress is being made. For example, in 2017, Norway announced that it would pay its male and female national soccer players equally. However, the amounts of money that these sets of players earn for their club teams


Equal Pay for Women in Sports

A

s the United States women’s national soccer team was making its dominating run to the 2019 Women’s World Cup title, more and more coverage was focusing on the team’s push for equal pay relative to the men’s national team. This was coupled with chants of “Equal Pay!” at its post-championship celebration in New York.

However, one important aspect of this issue is oftentimes overlooked. What causes these athletes to not receive equal pay in the first place? Although reports later surfaced that the team may already be paid roughly equal to the men’s side, they don’t address the core issue with this squad and with other women’s teams. How are these athletes and the events that they participate in being marketed? Although most would expect the percentage of the marketing pie going to women’s athletes and sports to be low, many are shocked that it’s as low as it is: 0.4%. The common argument for those criticizing this argument for equal pay for female athletes is that they don’t garner the ticket sales and

other sources of income that male players do. However, if 99.6% of the marketing budget is being focused on the men, how will prospective fans be able to learn the storylines and other aspects of the female athletes that will cause them to regularly attend matches? It should be noted that pay gaps don’t exist in all sports, but there are significant ones in team sports. The extreme ends of the spectrum tend to the equally paid tennis players and the vastly unequally paid basketball players. Fortunately, progress is being made. For example, in 2017, Norway announced that it would pay its male and female national soccer players equally. However, the amounts of money that these sets of players earn for their club teams


They often say that the future is female, and they’re not wrong at all. Women are beginning to truly take the world by storm. They’re covering many different sectors, too. Women are starting to become bigger forces in everything from athletics to business. If you look around, you’ll probably notice that there are more small businesses owned by women than ever before. Things are changing in rapid and meaningful ways all over the United States and globe. It doesn’t look like things are going back ever again, either.

Small Businesses and

Female Owners

Women in sports have come a long way since the inception of Title IX in 1965. In an industry that had for so long been dominated by men, women have assumed their rightful place as being able to hold their own both on the field and in the front office, even obliterating the glass ceiling in some instances. Here are just a few cases in point:

Women of past decades and centuries were often kept down by societal standards. They in many cases felt as though they had no option but to lead certain types of lives. It wasn’t uncommon for women to believe that they had no option but to remain at home. The situation is totally different now, however, and without a doubt for the better. Women are rapidly discovering that they have more options than ever. It doesn’t matter if a woman wants to pursue a life as a small business owner. It doesn’t matter if she wants to go after a rewarding career as a staff member for a massive corporation, either. Women are gaining major traction in all sorts of career divisions. They’re setting fantastic examples for young girls that are part of newer generations, too.


They often say that the future is female, and they’re not wrong at all. Women are beginning to truly take the world by storm. They’re covering many different sectors, too. Women are starting to become bigger forces in everything from athletics to business. If you look around, you’ll probably notice that there are more small businesses owned by women than ever before. Things are changing in rapid and meaningful ways all over the United States and globe. It doesn’t look like things are going back ever again, either.

Small Businesses and

Female Owners

Women in sports have come a long way since the inception of Title IX in 1965. In an industry that had for so long been dominated by men, women have assumed their rightful place as being able to hold their own both on the field and in the front office, even obliterating the glass ceiling in some instances. Here are just a few cases in point:

Women of past decades and centuries were often kept down by societal standards. They in many cases felt as though they had no option but to lead certain types of lives. It wasn’t uncommon for women to believe that they had no option but to remain at home. The situation is totally different now, however, and without a doubt for the better. Women are rapidly discovering that they have more options than ever. It doesn’t matter if a woman wants to pursue a life as a small business owner. It doesn’t matter if she wants to go after a rewarding career as a staff member for a massive corporation, either. Women are gaining major traction in all sorts of career divisions. They’re setting fantastic examples for young girls that are part of newer generations, too.


Annika and players at the gala dinner to kick off the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex hosted at the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Having Been Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as One of the Greatest Winners in LPGA History, Our Exclusive Interview with Golf Legend, Annika Sorenstam Annika is often regarded as the greatest female golfer of all-time.  During her 15-year, Hall-of-Fame career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards, and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed and covered.  

when she became the first woman in 58 years to play in a PGA TOUR event at the 2003 Colonial Invitational. Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, which include the ANNIKA Collection of high-end women’s golf apparel and ANNIKA Course Design. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition.

She amassed over 90 worldwide victories, including 72 on the LPGA and 10 Major Championships.  Annika holds a record number of Rolex Player of the Year awards (eight) and Vare Trophies for the lowest scoring average in a season (six). As the only female to break 60 in an official event, she has been nicknamed “Ms. 59.”  Perhaps most notably, Annika received worldwide media attention The Foundation annually conducts six major tourna-

ments in the United States, Sweden (2), China, Argentina and New Zealand for aspiring junior girls along with the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 top Division I schools. It has annually enjoyed the strongest field in all of college golf since its inception. With the support of Stifel and the Haskins Commission, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel in 2014, which is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. Her global success in golf and knowledge of business has enabled her to become the first and only female golfer to create a successful brand of businesses, as featured in Duane Knapp’s book BrandStrategy, Inc. Annika’s brand has also been featured in Brandweek, the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, SportsBusiness Journal, Success Magazine, USA Today, and Wine Spectator to name a few non-golf publications. Annika still tops the LPGA’s All Time Money List despite not competing since the 2008 season. She represented Europe as a player in eight Solheim Cups, as a vice-captain three times and captained the European team in 2017. Annika has received many accolades throughout her life. She was the recipient of the Patty Berg Award in 2003 for her contributions to women’s

golf. She was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005, and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Athlete of the Year in 1995, 1997 and from 2000-2005. In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association. She and Jack Nicklaus were named Global Ambassadors by the International Golf Federation to help with golf ’s successful bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games. Annika won the USGA’s prestigious Bob Jones Award in 2011, which is presented annually to someone with distinct character on and off the course. In 2013, she was named the First Lady of Golf by the PGA of America. The following year the LPGA, in partnership with Rolex, created the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. It recognizes the player who, during a current LPGA season, has the most outstanding record in all five major championships.  In 2015, Annika was named the top female athlete of all-time in her home country of Sweden. In 2016 Annika received the KPMG Inspire Greatness Award from the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit advisory council, with the support of the PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2016 Annika received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the business of golf at the HSBC Golf Business Summit. She is also the


Annika and players at the gala dinner to kick off the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex hosted at the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Having Been Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as One of the Greatest Winners in LPGA History, Our Exclusive Interview with Golf Legend, Annika Sorenstam Annika is often regarded as the greatest female golfer of all-time.  During her 15-year, Hall-of-Fame career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards, and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed and covered.  

when she became the first woman in 58 years to play in a PGA TOUR event at the 2003 Colonial Invitational. Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, which include the ANNIKA Collection of high-end women’s golf apparel and ANNIKA Course Design. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition.

She amassed over 90 worldwide victories, including 72 on the LPGA and 10 Major Championships.  Annika holds a record number of Rolex Player of the Year awards (eight) and Vare Trophies for the lowest scoring average in a season (six). As the only female to break 60 in an official event, she has been nicknamed “Ms. 59.”  Perhaps most notably, Annika received worldwide media attention The Foundation annually conducts six major tourna-

ments in the United States, Sweden (2), China, Argentina and New Zealand for aspiring junior girls along with the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 top Division I schools. It has annually enjoyed the strongest field in all of college golf since its inception. With the support of Stifel and the Haskins Commission, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel in 2014, which is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. Her global success in golf and knowledge of business has enabled her to become the first and only female golfer to create a successful brand of businesses, as featured in Duane Knapp’s book BrandStrategy, Inc. Annika’s brand has also been featured in Brandweek, the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, SportsBusiness Journal, Success Magazine, USA Today, and Wine Spectator to name a few non-golf publications. Annika still tops the LPGA’s All Time Money List despite not competing since the 2008 season. She represented Europe as a player in eight Solheim Cups, as a vice-captain three times and captained the European team in 2017. Annika has received many accolades throughout her life. She was the recipient of the Patty Berg Award in 2003 for her contributions to women’s

golf. She was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005, and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Athlete of the Year in 1995, 1997 and from 2000-2005. In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association. She and Jack Nicklaus were named Global Ambassadors by the International Golf Federation to help with golf ’s successful bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games. Annika won the USGA’s prestigious Bob Jones Award in 2011, which is presented annually to someone with distinct character on and off the course. In 2013, she was named the First Lady of Golf by the PGA of America. The following year the LPGA, in partnership with Rolex, created the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. It recognizes the player who, during a current LPGA season, has the most outstanding record in all five major championships.  In 2015, Annika was named the top female athlete of all-time in her home country of Sweden. In 2016 Annika received the KPMG Inspire Greatness Award from the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit advisory council, with the support of the PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2016 Annika received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the business of golf at the HSBC Golf Business Summit. She is also the


Annika and her family having fun at a photo shoot.

first female golfer and only the third female in sport to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Annika is a very popular motivational speaker and many corporate executives, CEOs and meeting planners utilize her talents to entertain important clients, reward top performing employees, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. Annika is a driven, leader with a vast network of contacts throughout the world of business, sports, and entertainment. In addition to expanding her brand and growing the game, Annika and her husband, Mike McGee, have two children, Ava (9/1/09) and Will (3/21/11). Annika represents world-class companies like 3M, AHEAD, Callaway, Cutter & Buck, Cabot Saint Lucia, Golfing World, Lexus, Mastercard and Rolex. Her Twitter handle is @ Annika59 and Instagram handle is @annikas59. For more information: www.annikafoundation.org. Q: You started playing Golf at a young age, what

inspired you to pursue it professionally? AS: As a kid, I loved all sports. I played soccer, badminton, did downhill skiing and my first love was tennis. I didn’t start playing golf until the age of 12 and was introduced to it because my parents played a lot. My sister, Charlotta and I would ride my parents’ pull carts like a horse and get ice cream at the turn. I didn’t take it seriously until the age of 16. That’s when I focused on golf, rather than tennis. Fellow Swede, Liselotte Neumann won the US Women’s Open in 1988 and that really inspired me. If she could do it from our small country, why couldn’t I? I continued to work hard and went to the University of Arizona on a golf scholarship and after two years there I decided it was time to turn professional and give it a shot. Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the Annika Foundation, tell us what kind of opportunities it provides for young women. AS: We started the ANNIKA Foundation in 2007 to

provide golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. It has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children. Some initiatives are SPARK, the Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.    The Foundation annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls. They are the award-winning AJGA tournament, the ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. In partnership with The R&A, the Women’s Amateur Latin America, and the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia at the famed Royal Wellington Golf Club in Wellington, New Zealand.   With the support of  Stifel, the Haskins Commission and Golfweek, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award Presented By Stifel in 2014. It is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. In concert with the award, the Foundation launched the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented By 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 of the top Division I schools. This tournament takes place at Royal Golf Club and has had the strongest field in all of college golf since its inception.  Q: Have any of your alumnae gone on to pursue a professional career in Golf ? AS: Each year we have over 600 girls from over 50 different countries compete in our global events. We have had over 60 of our alumnae play on the LPGA Tour, and over 150 on the Symetra Tour. Q: You’ve accomplished so much as a Professional Golfer, Businesswoman, and mentor to many young women. Has it been a smooth road? AS: I think the lessons I have learned from golf certainly

apply to life. It teaches you integrity, how to overcome adversity, how to make goals and accomplish them. There are a lot of correlations. Each day brings you new challenges. Some days you get good breaks and some days bad ones. I stepped away in 2008, which in hindsight was a difficult time to start businesses. There have been ups and downs and we have learned a lot. I enjoy working with my husband, Mike on all of our businesses. We have a great team around us, and we have narrowed our focus to the foundation, the ANNIKA Collection of clothing with Cutter & Buck, and golf course design. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? AS: My dad taught me when I was a young girl that there are no shortcuts to success. It was raining and I didn’t feel like practicing, so I called my Dad to pick me up. As we drove out of the course, we passed the driving range, and there were still kids hitting balls in the rain. My dad turned to me and said that to me. I will never forget that, and it still drives me to this day. Q: Can you tell us one of your most memorable moments in your career? AS: I have been fortunate to have a lot of very memorable events of which I’m proud. I would say shooting a 59 in 2001, playing against the men on the PGA TOUR in 2003 at Colonial, and being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? AS: I would tell young ladies in the workforce to find their passion. Life is too short to do something you don’t love. Work hard and put in the time. Again, there are no shortcuts to success. Surround yourselves with good people and network as much as possible. Q: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? AS: I am a normal Mom and wife. I love to hang with our family and kids. I cook probably six nights a week and love it. I enjoy housework and chores and am constantly busy.


Annika and her family having fun at a photo shoot.

first female golfer and only the third female in sport to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Annika is a very popular motivational speaker and many corporate executives, CEOs and meeting planners utilize her talents to entertain important clients, reward top performing employees, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. Annika is a driven, leader with a vast network of contacts throughout the world of business, sports, and entertainment. In addition to expanding her brand and growing the game, Annika and her husband, Mike McGee, have two children, Ava (9/1/09) and Will (3/21/11). Annika represents world-class companies like 3M, AHEAD, Callaway, Cutter & Buck, Cabot Saint Lucia, Golfing World, Lexus, Mastercard and Rolex. Her Twitter handle is @ Annika59 and Instagram handle is @annikas59. For more information: www.annikafoundation.org. Q: You started playing Golf at a young age, what

inspired you to pursue it professionally? AS: As a kid, I loved all sports. I played soccer, badminton, did downhill skiing and my first love was tennis. I didn’t start playing golf until the age of 12 and was introduced to it because my parents played a lot. My sister, Charlotta and I would ride my parents’ pull carts like a horse and get ice cream at the turn. I didn’t take it seriously until the age of 16. That’s when I focused on golf, rather than tennis. Fellow Swede, Liselotte Neumann won the US Women’s Open in 1988 and that really inspired me. If she could do it from our small country, why couldn’t I? I continued to work hard and went to the University of Arizona on a golf scholarship and after two years there I decided it was time to turn professional and give it a shot. Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the Annika Foundation, tell us what kind of opportunities it provides for young women. AS: We started the ANNIKA Foundation in 2007 to

provide golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. It has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children. Some initiatives are SPARK, the Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.    The Foundation annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls. They are the award-winning AJGA tournament, the ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. In partnership with The R&A, the Women’s Amateur Latin America, and the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia at the famed Royal Wellington Golf Club in Wellington, New Zealand.   With the support of  Stifel, the Haskins Commission and Golfweek, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award Presented By Stifel in 2014. It is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. In concert with the award, the Foundation launched the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented By 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 of the top Division I schools. This tournament takes place at Royal Golf Club and has had the strongest field in all of college golf since its inception.  Q: Have any of your alumnae gone on to pursue a professional career in Golf ? AS: Each year we have over 600 girls from over 50 different countries compete in our global events. We have had over 60 of our alumnae play on the LPGA Tour, and over 150 on the Symetra Tour. Q: You’ve accomplished so much as a Professional Golfer, Businesswoman, and mentor to many young women. Has it been a smooth road? AS: I think the lessons I have learned from golf certainly

apply to life. It teaches you integrity, how to overcome adversity, how to make goals and accomplish them. There are a lot of correlations. Each day brings you new challenges. Some days you get good breaks and some days bad ones. I stepped away in 2008, which in hindsight was a difficult time to start businesses. There have been ups and downs and we have learned a lot. I enjoy working with my husband, Mike on all of our businesses. We have a great team around us, and we have narrowed our focus to the foundation, the ANNIKA Collection of clothing with Cutter & Buck, and golf course design. Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience? AS: My dad taught me when I was a young girl that there are no shortcuts to success. It was raining and I didn’t feel like practicing, so I called my Dad to pick me up. As we drove out of the course, we passed the driving range, and there were still kids hitting balls in the rain. My dad turned to me and said that to me. I will never forget that, and it still drives me to this day. Q: Can you tell us one of your most memorable moments in your career? AS: I have been fortunate to have a lot of very memorable events of which I’m proud. I would say shooting a 59 in 2001, playing against the men on the PGA TOUR in 2003 at Colonial, and being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? AS: I would tell young ladies in the workforce to find their passion. Life is too short to do something you don’t love. Work hard and put in the time. Again, there are no shortcuts to success. Surround yourselves with good people and network as much as possible. Q: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? AS: I am a normal Mom and wife. I love to hang with our family and kids. I cook probably six nights a week and love it. I enjoy housework and chores and am constantly busy.


S

Damsel in Defense: A Brief History of Women in the Military

ince this country was founded, women have proudly served as active members in the U.S. military. From battlefield nurses to full members of the military, their active roles in the armed forces have inspired change for women across the board. Military contributions by females go all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Although they were not able to enlist as soldiers, women at the time still served their country as combat nurses and caregivers in camps.   It wasn’t until the Civil War that females began to enlist in the Army. However, women were forbidden from serving in the military. Many ladies of the day disguised themselves as men to pass through the recruiter’s station.   During the Civil War, over 400 women enlisted as secret soldiers. One of the most famous secret soldiers of the Civil War was Pvt. Cathay Williams.   Williams initially served in a support role against her will because of her status as a captured slave. It wasn’t until 1866 that she became the first black female to enlist in the U.S. Army under a male pseudonym, William Cathay. She was eventually honorably discharged in 1868 after a physician discovered her status as a female.   Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, females were viewed as merely caretakers for servicemen. The Great War changed the country’s perspective on women in the military entirely. Their service helped push for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

Despite the passage of the 19th Amendment, ladies were not recognized as full military members until 1948. President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law following the second World War. This act formally recognized women as members of the armed services.   Since the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was passed, many influential females have made a career for themselves in the military. Among those incredible women is retired U.S. Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody.   Dunwoody was directly commissioned into the Women’s Army Corps in 1975 following graduation from college. In 1992, she became the first woman to command a battalion during the First Gulf War. She also became the first woman to ever reach a four-star offer rank in the United States military.   Another woman with an impressive military career is Jennie Marie Leavitt. Leavitt blazed a trail for women in the Air Force through a series of firsts. She was the first woman to graduate from the Air Force Weapons School and became the first woman to control the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base. Today, she is a Command Pilot with over 3,000 in the F-15E under her belt, including over 300 combat hours.   Women in the military have come a long way from where they started. Today, women account for about one-fifth of the officers in the military and represent about 17% of the total armed forces. Standing on the soldiers of giants, servicewomen today are encouraging and empowering the military women of tomorrow.


S

Damsel in Defense: A Brief History of Women in the Military

ince this country was founded, women have proudly served as active members in the U.S. military. From battlefield nurses to full members of the military, their active roles in the armed forces have inspired change for women across the board. Military contributions by females go all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Although they were not able to enlist as soldiers, women at the time still served their country as combat nurses and caregivers in camps.   It wasn’t until the Civil War that females began to enlist in the Army. However, women were forbidden from serving in the military. Many ladies of the day disguised themselves as men to pass through the recruiter’s station.   During the Civil War, over 400 women enlisted as secret soldiers. One of the most famous secret soldiers of the Civil War was Pvt. Cathay Williams.   Williams initially served in a support role against her will because of her status as a captured slave. It wasn’t until 1866 that she became the first black female to enlist in the U.S. Army under a male pseudonym, William Cathay. She was eventually honorably discharged in 1868 after a physician discovered her status as a female.   Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, females were viewed as merely caretakers for servicemen. The Great War changed the country’s perspective on women in the military entirely. Their service helped push for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

Despite the passage of the 19th Amendment, ladies were not recognized as full military members until 1948. President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law following the second World War. This act formally recognized women as members of the armed services.   Since the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was passed, many influential females have made a career for themselves in the military. Among those incredible women is retired U.S. Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody.   Dunwoody was directly commissioned into the Women’s Army Corps in 1975 following graduation from college. In 1992, she became the first woman to command a battalion during the First Gulf War. She also became the first woman to ever reach a four-star offer rank in the United States military.   Another woman with an impressive military career is Jennie Marie Leavitt. Leavitt blazed a trail for women in the Air Force through a series of firsts. She was the first woman to graduate from the Air Force Weapons School and became the first woman to control the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base. Today, she is a Command Pilot with over 3,000 in the F-15E under her belt, including over 300 combat hours.   Women in the military have come a long way from where they started. Today, women account for about one-fifth of the officers in the military and represent about 17% of the total armed forces. Standing on the soldiers of giants, servicewomen today are encouraging and empowering the military women of tomorrow.


longer taking others telling them that they cannot accomplish certain objectives. Women are not sitting back and settling for things. They’re standing up for themselves. They’re speaking up about the things on the planet that make them feel the most passionate. It’s happening in women across many different walks of life. It’s happening in women of many different age categorizations as well.

Women and Small Businesses of All Kinds Little girls are growing up with so many positive female role models around them. It isn’t hard to come across female small business owners in this day and age. If you visit a bakery or general dining establishment in your community, there’s a strong chance that it’s owned and operated by a hard-working woman. Women are quickly learning about all of the ins and outs that are associated with keeping businesses running smoothly. They’re figuring out the fundamentals of getting their hands-on business loans of all kinds. They’re figuring out the logistics that are part of recruiting staff members. They’re figuring out how to train their team mem-

bers. These things are only the beginning. There are many women nowadays who have bosses and who appreciate their careers. There are also many women who are having serious epiphanies. They’re realizing that they can opt to be their own bosses if they wish. They’re realizing that there are choices that go beyond being part of a company’s staff. They can make pertinent choices that relate to staffing. They can make meaningful choices that relate to getting their hands-on supplies and tools. What makes things so different for women who are keen on the concept of entrepreneurship as of late? Women are no

Women are becoming more supportive of their fellow female entrepreneurs, too. It’s not atypical to see women giving their full support to other businesses that are owned and managed by female aficionados. Sisterhood is more than alive in the United States. It’s more than alive all around the planet, too. Young girls in elementary schools are learning that sisterhood is a wonderful thing. They’re starting to make it a huge priority in their existences. Women have a lot of potential. The future may revolve around women and all their possibilities. They’re making enormous waves in all sorts of fields and industries. They’re thriving in science. They’re thriving in politics. They’re thriving in many sectors that go beyond those as well. It’s going to be fascinating to see where women will go next. Small businesses that are run by women are going to become even more ubiquitous.


longer taking others telling them that they cannot accomplish certain objectives. Women are not sitting back and settling for things. They’re standing up for themselves. They’re speaking up about the things on the planet that make them feel the most passionate. It’s happening in women across many different walks of life. It’s happening in women of many different age categorizations as well.

Women and Small Businesses of All Kinds Little girls are growing up with so many positive female role models around them. It isn’t hard to come across female small business owners in this day and age. If you visit a bakery or general dining establishment in your community, there’s a strong chance that it’s owned and operated by a hard-working woman. Women are quickly learning about all of the ins and outs that are associated with keeping businesses running smoothly. They’re figuring out the fundamentals of getting their hands-on business loans of all kinds. They’re figuring out the logistics that are part of recruiting staff members. They’re figuring out how to train their team mem-

bers. These things are only the beginning. There are many women nowadays who have bosses and who appreciate their careers. There are also many women who are having serious epiphanies. They’re realizing that they can opt to be their own bosses if they wish. They’re realizing that there are choices that go beyond being part of a company’s staff. They can make pertinent choices that relate to staffing. They can make meaningful choices that relate to getting their hands-on supplies and tools. What makes things so different for women who are keen on the concept of entrepreneurship as of late? Women are no

Women are becoming more supportive of their fellow female entrepreneurs, too. It’s not atypical to see women giving their full support to other businesses that are owned and managed by female aficionados. Sisterhood is more than alive in the United States. It’s more than alive all around the planet, too. Young girls in elementary schools are learning that sisterhood is a wonderful thing. They’re starting to make it a huge priority in their existences. Women have a lot of potential. The future may revolve around women and all their possibilities. They’re making enormous waves in all sorts of fields and industries. They’re thriving in science. They’re thriving in politics. They’re thriving in many sectors that go beyond those as well. It’s going to be fascinating to see where women will go next. Small businesses that are run by women are going to become even more ubiquitous.


has done extensive research on monetary and fiscal policy from the time of the Great Depression to the present day. In 2008, she joined the Obama Administration as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. Professor Romer currently teaches at the University of California Berkeley Department of Economics. Thea Lee was the first woman ever to be named as the President of the Economic Policy Institute. She began her career working as a trade economist at the Institute during the 1990s and later worked with the most prominent labor organization in the country, the AFL-CIO. She earned an appointment to the Congressional United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission in December 2019. The commission was established in 2000 to oversee the details of the trade war. As a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, a non-profit organization, she assisted with finalizing the details of the Green New Deal, proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Women & the World Economy

Trade is one of the significant factors that stabilize the world economy. However, some countries have been economically excluded from advances in technology, the creation of jobs, and expanding supply chains across borders. Natural disasters, climate change, and geopolitical tension among nations is a risk to emerging countries. Despite the setbacks and turmoil in many regions, there is some good news for the worldwide economy. Women around the globe are engaged in economic activity, which could increase the GDP to $28 trillion as soon as 2025. Here are some of the prominent women who affect the world economy.

Christine Lagarde is a French lawyer and politician who began serving as the President of the European Central Bank in November 2019. She previously held the positions of Minister of the Economy, Finance, and Industry, Minister of Commerce, and Minister of Agriculture and Fishing. Lagarde was the first woman to be named the Finance Minister of a GB economy. As a prominent labor and anti-trust lawyer, she was the first woman to be appointed Chair of Baker & McKenzie, a leading international law firm. In 2019, Lagarde was named by Forbes as the Second Most Powerful Woman in the World. Christina Romer is the former vice-president of the American Economic Association; She earned her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as an assistant professor at Princeton before accepting a position as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Romer

Dr. Stefania Paredes Fuentes is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. Dr. Fuentes is a noted lecturer who coordinated Economic modules at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. She is involved with research in Macroeconomics and Development Economics, Institutional Economics, and Economics and Economic History of Latin America. In January 2020, Dr. Fuentes is organizing the first workshop of its kind on Economics for Women Students at the University. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez majored in economics and international relations at Boston University and graduated cum laude in 2011. Her platform includes free trade school and public college, a federal jobs guarantee, Medicare for all, and abolishing the ICE agency. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts co-sponsored the Green New Deal legislation which addresses the issue of economic inequality among different countries and groups of people, and the long-term effects of global warming.


has done extensive research on monetary and fiscal policy from the time of the Great Depression to the present day. In 2008, she joined the Obama Administration as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. Professor Romer currently teaches at the University of California Berkeley Department of Economics. Thea Lee was the first woman ever to be named as the President of the Economic Policy Institute. She began her career working as a trade economist at the Institute during the 1990s and later worked with the most prominent labor organization in the country, the AFL-CIO. She earned an appointment to the Congressional United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission in December 2019. The commission was established in 2000 to oversee the details of the trade war. As a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, a non-profit organization, she assisted with finalizing the details of the Green New Deal, proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Women & the World Economy

Trade is one of the significant factors that stabilize the world economy. However, some countries have been economically excluded from advances in technology, the creation of jobs, and expanding supply chains across borders. Natural disasters, climate change, and geopolitical tension among nations is a risk to emerging countries. Despite the setbacks and turmoil in many regions, there is some good news for the worldwide economy. Women around the globe are engaged in economic activity, which could increase the GDP to $28 trillion as soon as 2025. Here are some of the prominent women who affect the world economy.

Christine Lagarde is a French lawyer and politician who began serving as the President of the European Central Bank in November 2019. She previously held the positions of Minister of the Economy, Finance, and Industry, Minister of Commerce, and Minister of Agriculture and Fishing. Lagarde was the first woman to be named the Finance Minister of a GB economy. As a prominent labor and anti-trust lawyer, she was the first woman to be appointed Chair of Baker & McKenzie, a leading international law firm. In 2019, Lagarde was named by Forbes as the Second Most Powerful Woman in the World. Christina Romer is the former vice-president of the American Economic Association; She earned her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as an assistant professor at Princeton before accepting a position as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Romer

Dr. Stefania Paredes Fuentes is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. Dr. Fuentes is a noted lecturer who coordinated Economic modules at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. She is involved with research in Macroeconomics and Development Economics, Institutional Economics, and Economics and Economic History of Latin America. In January 2020, Dr. Fuentes is organizing the first workshop of its kind on Economics for Women Students at the University. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez majored in economics and international relations at Boston University and graduated cum laude in 2011. Her platform includes free trade school and public college, a federal jobs guarantee, Medicare for all, and abolishing the ICE agency. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts co-sponsored the Green New Deal legislation which addresses the issue of economic inequality among different countries and groups of people, and the long-term effects of global warming.


The founder of this movement is Tarana Burke, who started spreading awareness in the early 2000s. According to Burke, the phrase has a deeper meaning. First, it is a bold statement by the victim of sexual harassment. He or she is not ashamed of what has happened. That’s why they dare to speak out. Second, it acts as a solidarity mechanism for all victims of sexual harassment. They are united and will support each other through tough times.

How the Me Too Movement is Helping Women?

This is Why the Me Too Movement is So Important The best way to find a solution to a social problem is to create awareness. Social media has helped in spreading the message across. An example of a life-changing movement created on social media is the ‘Me Too’ campaign. What is the Me Too Movement? It is a platform that encourages victims of sexual harassment to share their experiences with the rest of the world. The phrase gained popularity in 2017 after Alyssa Milano encouraged people to share their stories about sexual harassment and discrimination on Twitter using the words ‘Me Too’. However, Alyssa borrowed these words from some else.

The attitudes of people towards women are changing. Thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement, women are more respected. If a guy or another woman inappropriately talks to you, you have every right to speak up or report that person to the authorities or superiors. It is not normal for a person to talk about your body just because you are a woman. It has created a forum where women share experiences and empathize with one another. This support system has allowed most women to regain their confidence and self-esteem. As a result, there are more empowered women in society. Women feel like they belong thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement. They no longer feel isolated and alone because of their negative experiences. These women know that they are not alone,

and they can get justice for negative treatment. Women can hold perpetrators responsible for inappropriate behavior. They can say what they have experienced, and people won’t judge them. Everyone has a right to be heard. Women feel safer in the workplace. The office is notorious for inappropriate behavior. Since the majority of workers in an organization are mostly men, women are afraid of pointing out inappropriate behavior. The good news is that things are changing. Organizations are taking sexual harassment cases more seriously. They are changing the way workers conduct themselves to protect women from inappropriate behavior. Women have the support of their families and friends thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement. Since women are speaking out and making their family members aware of how they feel about certain situations, there is a sense of unity. For example, parents are feeling more responsible for their daughters. The ‘Me Too” movement has helped modern society progress as far as values are concerned. There is nothing too embarrassing not to talk about. As long as it affects you, it can affect the other person. Speaking out prevents the vice from spreading. It’s time to make our voices heard!


The founder of this movement is Tarana Burke, who started spreading awareness in the early 2000s. According to Burke, the phrase has a deeper meaning. First, it is a bold statement by the victim of sexual harassment. He or she is not ashamed of what has happened. That’s why they dare to speak out. Second, it acts as a solidarity mechanism for all victims of sexual harassment. They are united and will support each other through tough times.

How the Me Too Movement is Helping Women?

This is Why the Me Too Movement is So Important The best way to find a solution to a social problem is to create awareness. Social media has helped in spreading the message across. An example of a life-changing movement created on social media is the ‘Me Too’ campaign. What is the Me Too Movement? It is a platform that encourages victims of sexual harassment to share their experiences with the rest of the world. The phrase gained popularity in 2017 after Alyssa Milano encouraged people to share their stories about sexual harassment and discrimination on Twitter using the words ‘Me Too’. However, Alyssa borrowed these words from some else.

The attitudes of people towards women are changing. Thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement, women are more respected. If a guy or another woman inappropriately talks to you, you have every right to speak up or report that person to the authorities or superiors. It is not normal for a person to talk about your body just because you are a woman. It has created a forum where women share experiences and empathize with one another. This support system has allowed most women to regain their confidence and self-esteem. As a result, there are more empowered women in society. Women feel like they belong thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement. They no longer feel isolated and alone because of their negative experiences. These women know that they are not alone,

and they can get justice for negative treatment. Women can hold perpetrators responsible for inappropriate behavior. They can say what they have experienced, and people won’t judge them. Everyone has a right to be heard. Women feel safer in the workplace. The office is notorious for inappropriate behavior. Since the majority of workers in an organization are mostly men, women are afraid of pointing out inappropriate behavior. The good news is that things are changing. Organizations are taking sexual harassment cases more seriously. They are changing the way workers conduct themselves to protect women from inappropriate behavior. Women have the support of their families and friends thanks to the ‘Me Too’ movement. Since women are speaking out and making their family members aware of how they feel about certain situations, there is a sense of unity. For example, parents are feeling more responsible for their daughters. The ‘Me Too” movement has helped modern society progress as far as values are concerned. There is nothing too embarrassing not to talk about. As long as it affects you, it can affect the other person. Speaking out prevents the vice from spreading. It’s time to make our voices heard!


GRATITUDE:

A POWERFUL ANTIDOTE TO ENTITLEMENT By Carole Pertofsky, M.Ed. Director, Wellness and Health Promotion Services at Stanford University I was meeting up with friends in the latest hot restaurant in Palo Alto. As I walked towards my group, a very cool looking guy wearing a classy expensive black T-shirt leaned back in his chair and almost crashed into me as I squeezed between tables. He glared at me. And there, nestled just below his sculpted pecks, was the message, in bold Elephant Font: “You don’t get my respect. You have to earn it.” There may be many interpretations. What might you think? Would you be attracted to his swagger? Turned off by the implied entitlement? Be curious about how this attitude plays out in his life? Wonder how this message impacts those around him? I don’t know what goes through this guy’s mind when he awakens at 3 in the morning. But I know too many people of all ages who brand themselves with some display of entitlement, even arrogance. The attitude is fueled by media that offers top billing to those who display their entitlement and arrogance as strengths of character, even virtues. What is the impact on you, me, our kids looking for successful role models?

The truth is that on the surface, these people appear to be dominant, accomplished, on top of things. But trust me, it’s an illusion. Because deep down, they often experience isolation, emptiness and frustration. “Superiority” masks vulnerability. Recent studies indicate that this loss of empathy and connection to self and others is a growing concern among all ages. Is there a way out of this trend towards displaying arrogance or entitlement as valor? Consider the power of gratitude as an antidote to this deep well of discontent. Gratitude isn’t just a soft filmy blur of appreciation. It takes gumption and courage to live with gratitude in a culture that rewards snarky digs and hostile irony. It takes grit to choose to live with thankfulness for what we have, rather than focusing on endless lists of what is missing. Gratefulness is a gold standard of deep happiness, positive emotion and good health. Dr. Robert Emmons, UC Davis, leading researcher and author of “Thanks”, reminds us, “Gratitude can be as easy as a beautiful sunset, an exquisite bite of chocolate, a child, or the brilliance of autumn leaves. No matter what shape

or form gratitude takes, it fills us with a warmth and a reminder that life is good; this moment is special. Gratitude provides lessons to make us stronger. It is more than appreciation- it is a gift.” Research suggests why the experience of gratitude is transformative and offers tremendous health benefits. Thankfulness awakens our brain’s pleasure centers, and our bodies produce bio-chemicals that activate a strong and powerful sense of our potential, well-being and connection. Our bodies respond with vitality and a stronger immune system. We may be inspired to serve others, to contribute to the greater good. Power up your gratitude muscle with a few simple actions. Do these with your family. Do these with your friends. Do them alone. Mix it up. If you practice just three times a week, you’ll begin noticing a stronger sense of ease, fun, and lightness. Best of all, these practices will spark new connections among your friends and family in fun heart-warming ways. - Gratitext: Everyone takes out their cell phone or notepad. Each person imagines a particular person to whom you are grateful, maybe someone who helped you get where you are today. Send them a “gratitext” or a note, expressing your thoughts and feelings of gratitude to them for adding some benefit- or sparkle- to your life. Notice the good feelings that arise when you send this note- and how you feel when they respond. - Reach Out: Notice the many people who earn minimum wage performing a service that adds value to your day. Reach out, and thank them. Experience the gentle exchange of appreciation. - 3 Good Things:. Begin a “gratitude” journal and several times a week, write down 3 good things that happened. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly grateful, no problem. Just take a deep breath, and give thanks for the simple things. Hot and cold running water. A daily meal. The people who contribute to your comfort, whether or not you personally know them. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to entitlement, indifference, the “blahs”, and discontentment. - -

- Just Like Me. Find a good place to “people watch”. Relax and just be aware of others, take a deep breath and bring to mind the following thought: “Just like me this person has faced struggles, suffering and disappointments, and just like me, this person wants to be content and happy.” Observe what gets stirred up in you or how this guided attention changes your emotional state. Do you feel more empathy or perhaps appreciation for our shared humanity? Share your experience with each other. - Soak in this awesome 5 minute video with your family and friends: Just watch and notice your thoughts and feelings. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj2ofrX7jAk - Gratitude. Simple. Powerful. Transformative. It is an act of courage to express your thankfulness. Do stuff that opens your heart. Tell your friends and family how they contribute to your life. When you savor and appreciate the goodness in your life, the little things and the million dollar moments, no one will ever need to earn your respect. Gratitude itself is an act of deepest respect, freely given, for life itself.


GRATITUDE:

A POWERFUL ANTIDOTE TO ENTITLEMENT By Carole Pertofsky, M.Ed. Director, Wellness and Health Promotion Services at Stanford University I was meeting up with friends in the latest hot restaurant in Palo Alto. As I walked towards my group, a very cool looking guy wearing a classy expensive black T-shirt leaned back in his chair and almost crashed into me as I squeezed between tables. He glared at me. And there, nestled just below his sculpted pecks, was the message, in bold Elephant Font: “You don’t get my respect. You have to earn it.” There may be many interpretations. What might you think? Would you be attracted to his swagger? Turned off by the implied entitlement? Be curious about how this attitude plays out in his life? Wonder how this message impacts those around him? I don’t know what goes through this guy’s mind when he awakens at 3 in the morning. But I know too many people of all ages who brand themselves with some display of entitlement, even arrogance. The attitude is fueled by media that offers top billing to those who display their entitlement and arrogance as strengths of character, even virtues. What is the impact on you, me, our kids looking for successful role models?

The truth is that on the surface, these people appear to be dominant, accomplished, on top of things. But trust me, it’s an illusion. Because deep down, they often experience isolation, emptiness and frustration. “Superiority” masks vulnerability. Recent studies indicate that this loss of empathy and connection to self and others is a growing concern among all ages. Is there a way out of this trend towards displaying arrogance or entitlement as valor? Consider the power of gratitude as an antidote to this deep well of discontent. Gratitude isn’t just a soft filmy blur of appreciation. It takes gumption and courage to live with gratitude in a culture that rewards snarky digs and hostile irony. It takes grit to choose to live with thankfulness for what we have, rather than focusing on endless lists of what is missing. Gratefulness is a gold standard of deep happiness, positive emotion and good health. Dr. Robert Emmons, UC Davis, leading researcher and author of “Thanks”, reminds us, “Gratitude can be as easy as a beautiful sunset, an exquisite bite of chocolate, a child, or the brilliance of autumn leaves. No matter what shape

or form gratitude takes, it fills us with a warmth and a reminder that life is good; this moment is special. Gratitude provides lessons to make us stronger. It is more than appreciation- it is a gift.” Research suggests why the experience of gratitude is transformative and offers tremendous health benefits. Thankfulness awakens our brain’s pleasure centers, and our bodies produce bio-chemicals that activate a strong and powerful sense of our potential, well-being and connection. Our bodies respond with vitality and a stronger immune system. We may be inspired to serve others, to contribute to the greater good. Power up your gratitude muscle with a few simple actions. Do these with your family. Do these with your friends. Do them alone. Mix it up. If you practice just three times a week, you’ll begin noticing a stronger sense of ease, fun, and lightness. Best of all, these practices will spark new connections among your friends and family in fun heart-warming ways. - Gratitext: Everyone takes out their cell phone or notepad. Each person imagines a particular person to whom you are grateful, maybe someone who helped you get where you are today. Send them a “gratitext” or a note, expressing your thoughts and feelings of gratitude to them for adding some benefit- or sparkle- to your life. Notice the good feelings that arise when you send this note- and how you feel when they respond. - Reach Out: Notice the many people who earn minimum wage performing a service that adds value to your day. Reach out, and thank them. Experience the gentle exchange of appreciation. - 3 Good Things:. Begin a “gratitude” journal and several times a week, write down 3 good things that happened. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly grateful, no problem. Just take a deep breath, and give thanks for the simple things. Hot and cold running water. A daily meal. The people who contribute to your comfort, whether or not you personally know them. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to entitlement, indifference, the “blahs”, and discontentment. - -

- Just Like Me. Find a good place to “people watch”. Relax and just be aware of others, take a deep breath and bring to mind the following thought: “Just like me this person has faced struggles, suffering and disappointments, and just like me, this person wants to be content and happy.” Observe what gets stirred up in you or how this guided attention changes your emotional state. Do you feel more empathy or perhaps appreciation for our shared humanity? Share your experience with each other. - Soak in this awesome 5 minute video with your family and friends: Just watch and notice your thoughts and feelings. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj2ofrX7jAk - Gratitude. Simple. Powerful. Transformative. It is an act of courage to express your thankfulness. Do stuff that opens your heart. Tell your friends and family how they contribute to your life. When you savor and appreciate the goodness in your life, the little things and the million dollar moments, no one will ever need to earn your respect. Gratitude itself is an act of deepest respect, freely given, for life itself.


A Conversations with

Katie Jacobs Stanton,

CMO of Color & Former Vice President of Global Media at Twitter Q: Can you share with us your experience working at the White House and State Department?

nities. I’m thrilled that the Gates Foundation has committed $170 million towards improving economic

KJS: Working in the Obama Administration was the honor of a lifetime. At the White House, I served

leverage for women worldwide. According to Melinda Gates, “when money flows into the hands of

as the Director of Citizen Participation, trying to make it easier for citizens to engage with the govern-

women who have the authority to use it, everything changes.”

ment using digital platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. At the State Department, I worked in the Office of Innovation, helping the government use 21st century tools to address 21st century challenges. For example, we organized Town Halls for the President in China where participants could Tweet and text questions (even when these tools were blocked in China).

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations? KJS: 1. Build your own personal Board of Directors. Cultivate relationships with people you admire, seek

Q: Of the 8 countries you’ve lived in, which was your favorite and why?

out their advice and collaborate with them on projects you’re passionate about. For example, I’m a

KJS: I’ve greatly appreciated all the countries I’ve been fortunate to spend time in, but

founding partner of #Angels, which I started with five of my friends from Twitter. We share access to

I’ve always felt a strong personal connection with France. I like the way Thomas Jeffer-

deals, networks and opportunities. I also lean on entrepreneurs and execs including Tina Sharkey, Dan

son put it; “a walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and the point of life.”

Rosensweig, Dick Costolo and Elad Gil for career and industry advice.

Q: What was your experience like working as Vice President of Global Media at Twitter? KJS: Twitter was one of the highlights of my career. When I joined, we didn’t have any employees, offices, revenues or partnerships outside of the U.S. My role was to help build our teams globally and then lead the Media team which was responsible for partnerships across government, news, sports, music, and TV. We brought the best content from each of our markets to the platform and tried to help build the most vibrant and safest digital town square. I worked with exceptional people at Twitter and I’m proud of how much we were able to achieve. Q: You were an Angel Investor for Color Genomics … what made you decide to step in as Chief Marketing Officer? KJS: There are 4 core values that help me decide on new roles:

2. Pay it forward - help women at all levels. I’m pretty sure I’m going to work for the women on my team at Color one day and am really excited about that! 3. Make sure women’s voices are heard and presences are felt. Work to ensure that they’re seated at the table and included in the conversation. 4. Have conviction in your beliefs and share them. Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas forward. 5. Be passionate about what you’re doing. Life is short. 6. Choose wisely. Look for a manager and team that help you be your best self. 7. Don’t worry about the job title - do your best work and the title and prominence will follow. Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career? KJS: My media team at Twitter had a great motto: Dream big, do big, act big. Follow these principles as a leader and you can’t go wrong.

1. Are the people smart and ethical? 2. Is this a product I would use?

Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

3. Is this an opportunity I would be proud of?

KJS: There is still plenty of gender bias in our society and structural barriers that make it difficult for

4. Can I make an impact?

women to rise to the top: lack of access to paid leave, affordable childcare, and equal pay. We’re making progress, but not fast enough. We need to keep pushing and make it easier for women to stay in

Color checked all of these boxes. Othman Laraki, our CEO and co-founder, is one of the smartest and most ethical people I’ve ever known. Cancer has hit my family, as it has so many others, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join a movement to help beat cancer and other hereditary conditions. Q: Can you share with us some of the advancements and discoveries Color Genomics has made? KJS: When you buy a car, a home or a phone, you get an owner’s manual. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with our bodies! Color is making it easier to unlock the DNA inside of us to make it easier to stay healthy. Specifically, Color has made access to medically actionable genetic testing easier and more affordable. We’re empowering people to learn their risk of hereditary conditions and use that early knowledge to take control of their healthcare and develop personalized plans to prevent illness or detect it early.

the workplace, advance quickly, and get paid fairly. Q: Can you offer advice to parents with daughters graduating from high school? KJS: Not yet! My older daughter graduates this year. Please send me advice on Twitter: @katies! Q: Tell us about your hobbies outside of work? KJS: I love Zumba with Ula Ghosheh. She’s the best instructor. I’m the worst in the class. Q: Is there an interesting fact that most people wouldn’t know about you? KJS: I wanted to be a pilot and was briefly in Air Force ROTC in college. Maybe one day I’ll finish getting my pilot’s license!

Q: What would you like to see Color Genomics accomplish in the next 5 years?

Q: How do you achieve work-life balance?

KJS: I would love to look back in 2023 to see that Color helped eliminate all hereditary conditions,

KJS: There’s no such thing as a balance - it’s more of a mashup. I try to prioritize the most important

including breast and ovarian cancers, caused by genetic mutations.

things and be present wherever I am.

Q: Which woman inspires you and why? KJS: My daughters, Ellie and Kiki. They’re passionate, fearless, strong, curious, and funny. Most importantly, they are focused on making a positive difference in the world! Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? KJS: One of the biggest challenges for women is economic power. It’s also one of our biggest opportu-

Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far? KJS: I can Tweet reasonably well. :) Q: What do you enjoy most about living in the Bay Area? KJS: The Bay Area is a magical place filled with smart, optimistic people who want to make the world a better place and have the skillset to have massive positive impact at scale.


A Conversations with

Katie Jacobs Stanton,

CMO of Color & Former Vice President of Global Media at Twitter Q: Can you share with us your experience working at the White House and State Department?

nities. I’m thrilled that the Gates Foundation has committed $170 million towards improving economic

KJS: Working in the Obama Administration was the honor of a lifetime. At the White House, I served

leverage for women worldwide. According to Melinda Gates “when money flows into the hands of

as the Director of Citizen Participation, trying to make it easier for citizens to engage with the govern-

women who have the authority to use it, everything changes.”

ment using digital platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. At the State Department, I worked in the Office of Innovation, helping the government use 21st century tools to address 21st century challenges. For example, we organized Town Halls for the President in China where participants could Tweet and text questions (even when these tools were blocked in China).

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations? KJS: 1. Build your own personal Board of Directors. Cultivate relationships with people you admire, seek

Q: Of the 8 countries you’ve lived in, which was your favorite and why?

out their advice and collaborate with them on projects you’re passionate about. For example, I’m a

KJS: I’ve greatly appreciated all the countries I’ve been fortunate to spend time in, but

founding partner of #Angels, which I started with 5 of my friends from Twitter. We share access to

I’ve always felt a strong personal connection with France. I like the way Thomas Jeffer-

deals, networks and opportunities. I also lean on entrepreneurs and execs including Tina Sharkey, Dan

son put it; “a walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and the point of life.”

Rosensweig, Dick Costolo and Elad Gil for career and industry advice.

Q: What was your experience like working as Vice President of Global Media at Twitter? KJS: Twitter was one of the highlights of my career. When I joined, we didn’t have any employees, offices, revenues or partnerships outside of the U.S. My role was to help build our teams globally and then lead the Media team which was responsible for partnerships across government, news, sports, music, and TV. We brought the best content from each of our markets to the platform and tried to help build the most vibrant and safest digital town square. I worked with exceptional people at Twitter and I’m proud of how much we were able to achieve. Q: You were an Angel Investor for Color Genomics … what made you decide to step in as Chief Marketing Officer? KJS: There are 4 core values that help me decide on new roles:

3. Pay it forward - help women at all levels. I’m pretty sure I’m going to work for the women on my team at Color one day and am really excited about that! 4. Make sure women’s voices are heard and presences are felt. Work to ensure that they’re seated at the table and included in the conversation. 5. Have conviction in your beliefs and share them. Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas forward. 6. Be passionate about what you’re doing. Life is short. 7. Choose wisely. Look for a manager and team that help you be your best self. 8. Don’t worry about the job title - do your best work and the title and prominence will follow. Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career? KJS: My media team at Twitter had a great motto: Dream big, do big, act big. Follow these principles as a leader and you can’t go wrong.

1. Are the people smart and ethical? 2. Is this a product I would use?

Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

3. Is this an opportunity I would be proud of?

KJS: There is still plenty of gender bias in our society and structural barriers that make it difficult for

4. Can I make an impact?

women to rise to the top: lack of access to paid leave, affordable childcare, and equal pay. We’re making progress, but not fast enough. We need to keep pushing and make it easier for women to stay in

Color checked all of these boxes. Othman Laraki, our CEO and co-founder, is one of the smartest and most ethical people I’ve ever known. Cancer has hit my family, as it has so many others, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join a movement to help beat cancer and other hereditary conditions. Q: Can you share with us some of the advancements and discoveries Color Genomics has made? KJS: When you buy a car, a home or a phone, you get an owner’s manual. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with our bodies! Color is making it easier to unlock the DNA inside of us to make it easier to stay healthy. Specifically, Color has made access to medically actionable genetic testing easier and more affordable. We’re empowering people to learn their risk of hereditary conditions and use that early knowledge to take control of their healthcare and develop personalized plans to prevent illness or detect it early.

the workplace, advance quickly, and get paid fairly. Q: Can you offer advice to parents with daughters graduating from high school? KJS: Not yet! My older daughter graduates this year. Please send me advice on Twitter: @katies! Q: Tell us about your hobbies outside of work? KJS: I love Zumba with Ula Ghosheh. She’s the best instructor. I’m the worst in the class. Q: Is there an interesting fact that most people wouldn’t know about you? KJS: I wanted to be a pilot and was briefly in Air Force ROTC in college. Maybe one day I’ll finish getting my pilot’s license!

Q: What would you like to see Color Genomics accomplish in the next 5 years?

Q: How do you achieve work-life balance?

KJS: I would love to look back in 2023 to see that Color helped eliminate all hereditary conditions,

KJS: There’s no such thing as a balance - it’s more of a mashup. I try to prioritize the most important

including breast and ovarian cancers, caused by genetic mutations.

things and be present wherever I am.

Q: Which woman inspires you and why? KJS: My daughters, Ellie and Kiki. They’re passionate, fearless, strong, curious, and funny. Most importantly, they are focused on making a positive difference in the world! Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? KJS: One of the biggest challenges for women is economic power. It’s also one of our biggest opportu-

Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far? KJS: I can Tweet reasonably well. :) Q: What do you enjoy most about living in the Bay Area? KJS: The Bay Area is a magical place filled with smart, optimistic people who want to make the world a better place and have the skillset to have massive positive impact at scale.


Want to Advance your Career?

Find a Mentor! By Dr. Frumi Rachel Barr

Lux was a top performer. In the 20 years before I met her she was always considered a high potential employee. In her two decades in the IT department of a large financial institution she progressed slowly but steadily through the ranks. If there were a complex problem to resolve –Lux would get it done. And then she got stuck. She couldn’t understand why she was overlooked time and again to achieve a top position. The reason was simple – she never asked. Sometime being good at what you do can be what prevents you from getting ahead. Why would anyone advance Lux further when she was doing such an excellent job just where she was? And for her part, she never let anyone know that she had her eye on a very senior position. The game changer for her was the suggestion to find a Mentor. She chose the CFO of the organization who was both flattered and interested in being her guide. Within a very short time, after expressing her interest in moving up the ladder, and following her mentor’s suggested roadmap to success, she achieved her objective of being a senior V.P. And now it’s your turn. A Mentor is a wise and trusted counselor and guide. In “traditional” corporations an executive or senior person is assigned a “high potential” to assist in his or her development. A Mentor has a body of knowledge that a Mentee would like to learn. For example, in an accounting firm, information regarding technical matters and professional development are often transferred from Mentor to Mentee. There are many reasons why having a Mentor can acceler-

ate your career. Here are three for you to consider: • Guidance regarding how to navigate corporate politics. For women, it sometimes helps to have a Mentor who is also female. Your role as a Mentee is to be open to the feedback, suggestions, and critiques that are offered to you. This will maximize the effect of the support you receive. • Assistance finding connections, the “whos” who can help you get where you’d like to be more quickly. The question to ask is “who do you know who….” • And thirdly, guidance in how to improve your skills. Within the context of a mentoring relationship the Mentor assists an individual fill a particular knowledge gap by learning how to do things more effectively. In your search for a Mentor, it’s a good idea to choose someone working in the same functional area as you are, as well as someone who shares your values. Professional organizations in your field, whether they offer formal mentoring programs or not, can be excellent sources of Mentors. Test the waters by asking for advice first. Be open to sharing your concerns and fears. Mentors are most likely to invest themselves in those in whom they see a little of themselves. Don’t think that you, as a Mentee, get all the benefits from the relationship. In my experience mentoring is a rich and rewarding experience and I’ve learned more about technologies from my Mentees than I would ever have learned on my own! Having a well chosen Mentor to guide you can be a game changer in accelerating your career. Do it now! DrFrumi@Scaling4growth.com www.Scaling4Growth.com


Ourgoali st oi ns pi r e,empower& s uppor twomeni nci t i est hr oughoutt heU. S.

Profile for Rich Borell

Charlotte Women Magazine - Mercedes Ramirez Johnson  

Charlotte Women Magazine - Mercedes Ramirez Johnson  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded