Charlotte Women Magazine - Liza Pavlakos

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Women represent nearly half of the U.S. workforce and the number of women in politics is increasing rap idly. At some point in their career, one in four women has been subjected to harassment at work. Manage ment 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 main tain an environment that is free of sexual harassment.

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.

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.

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 digni fied treatment of women. Thank You Rich FounderBorell& Publisher

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.

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.

Judge Best is dedicated to continuing to serve the citizens of Mecklenburg County and needs your help and support to Keep her seat. You will have a choice for Superior Court Judge 26B Seat 1 in November. The SUPERIOR experience, the BEST choice is Judge Kimberly Best.

Facing the challenge! Judge Kimberly Best, a Detroit native, has continuous ly faced her challenges and persevered exhibiting resilience, leadership, and strength even in times of adversity. It was not unusual to walk to school and have to walk between metal detectors. It was not uncommon for her to have to find ways to support friends who were abused.

Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Judge Best grew up with a special needs sibling who suffered from lead poisoning, and was severely intellectually disabled, autistic and emotionally impaired. Her resilience and perseverance led her to graduate high school at 16 and go on to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She attended law school at Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, IN and graduated with her MBA in Global Studies at the University of North Carolina Charlotte in 2016 while serving as a Judge.

Residing in Charlotte, NC for over 25 years, Judge Best has not only served the community but is a part of the community. She has experience and has presid ed over matters in every courtroom as a District Court Judge which uniquely prepared her to serve as a Superior Court Judge.

Judge Best is a Certified Juvenile Judge and a single parent by choice having adopted her son out of the system that she once presided over. She is an active member of Reeder Memorial Baptist Church and Cathedral of Praise. She continues to serve our community by volunteering her time and efforts as a featured speaker and a volunteer for Truancy Court. She also assists with Legal Clinics, refugee support and offers guidance to the homeless population as she continually supports initiatives of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®.

HM: Yes! At the end of the third quarter, I was named one of The Most Influential Women in Radio and just a month later I found myself unemployed. There were so many highs and lows that year it was like a roller coaster. While it was devastating at first, it has turned out to be the biggest blessing in my career. I had a non-compete which meant I could not go back to the industry I had expertise in for 18 months. I had to find a way to earn an income as a beginner somewhere new. That was a tough time. Then I posted I had been fired and that landed me on the Elvis Duran Show. Halfway through that interview, Elvis told me that I was writing a book. I left the show, googled how to write, and book and my career trajectory changed that day and I have not looked back.

Heather Monahan

It is challenging to project as things are changing so quickly but I am so happy to have live events back again. I am also excited about a new product that I am launching very soon!

Q: As a 2x Best Selling Author … can you share with us what inspired you to become an Author?

Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Boss in Heels LLC, can you share some of the history on what it’s HM:about? Years ago, I remember thinking that I didn’t feel fulfilled with my c-suite position. My job was to make shareholders wealthier and while I was good at it I didn’t always feel good about it. So, I started spending a lot of time outside of work, doing charity work. While the charity work was great, I was never home with my son. I decided I needed to find a way to do good in the world that didn’t take away my time with my child. I launched Boss In Heels as a way to give back to those that wanted to know how to get ahead but didn’t have the road map. I launched Boss In Heels for the younger me. My website shared the tactics and strategies to get ahead in business and life. The company I worked for hated it and threatened me. I refused to take my website down and for the next year, I was put through so much scrutiny and eventually fired. I always would check in with myself and ask if I felt good about what I

An Exclusive Interview With 2X Best-Selling Author & Top 50 Keynote Speaker in the World. audience. Over the last 4 years, I have built a solid community and I pay attention to what resonates with them. Using the in formation, I gained over the years I was able to write Overcome Your Villains with real-life examples and the successful tactics I used to make it to the c-suite to help others do the same.

Q: You had some pretty big life things happen to you during 2017, can you tell us about them?

HM: After 20 plus years climbing the corporate ladder as a sales leader, I leveraged my termination as a career pivot. The first thing I did was write Confidence Creator which taught me so much about the book business and what resonated with my

Q: Why do you think your publishing of “Overcome Your Villains” was such a success?

Q: What are you currently working on?

HM: The pandemic turned my business upside down. When the pandemic hit the majority of my business was coming from my speaking engagements. Due to covid, I launched my con sulting and coaching business which landed me my first Board Seat with Healthlynked Corporation. As the speaking business is now coming back, I am trying to find a balance between my consulting, writing, Board engagements, podcast, and speaking.

HM: Oh my gosh! I never thought I would be an author; I was crystal clear on my path to becoming a CEO. I was a CRO at the time and I was unexpectedly fired when the CEO I worked for became ill and he elevated his daughter to replace him. She fired me immediately.

was doing. I am so proud I stood up to the people that wanted me to stop sharing my hacks to get ahead. I didn’t know it at the time but Boss In Heels was about to be the end of one career and the beginning of living and working with my true purpose to elevate others.

Q: Looking back, what attracted you to pursue a career in Radio sales?

Q: In 2015 the Florida Diversity Council presented you with the Glass Ceiling Award, can you tell our audience why you were chosen and what it meant to you?

HM: There isn’t one fear that sticks out to me. It is more accurate to say that as I go for more and attempt to achieve bigger and bolder things those fears creep right back in. As you become skilled at something and familiar, you become comfort able. When you are comfortable, you are not growing. I have learned to push myself into fear on the daily. If we are always in uncertainty and unknown, we are constantly growing. I choose to see fear as a green light that means go and go faster. I was scared when I got fired, scared when I was about to publish my first book, scared to give my TEDx talk, scared to write my second book, scared to launch my podcast, scared to show up for my first board meeting, until I did those things they were the unknown. Today, those things are no longer scary to me. The action is the answer.

HM: My son was in virtual school for the entire year, so like many mothers, it was a very tough time to be working at home while cleaning, cooking, and trying to keep him focused on zoom classrooms. My speaking business disappeared overnight, so I re-invented myself as a virtual speaker and started my consulting and coaching business. It was definitely a challenging year, to say the least.

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face HM:today?

Raising children in virtual and uncertain environments while you need to work. This has been incredibly challenging and has forced so many women to leave their jobs to stay at home and take care of their families.

HM: Believe me I was not attracted to pursuing a career in radio sales. It actually makes me laugh to see that written. What I was attracted to was making money. I had graduated college and knew I could sell, and I had taken the first job that was offered to me. I started off in the wine business and ended up getting harassed at work by a superior. I quit. I had no idea what I was going to do next, so I put myself out there. I attended a networking event and met the owner of a radio station. He offered me a job and I started the next day. He ended up becom ing my partner in an equity deal we did together netting our company over $25 Million dollars. That partnership ended up paying major dividends.

Q: We all have low moments in our career or even life. How did you personally create confidence and lift yourself back up? HM: That is exactly why I wrote my book, Confidence Creator! I explain the steps to take to create confidence in any low mo ment. There are so many things’ people can do! Here are a few: Take a look at other low moments and remind yourself that you came back from those. When we realize that we have seen this movie before and overcome it, that gives us the perspective that we can overcome what we are facing now. Next, fire the villains in your life immediately! You will never be able to bounce back quickly with negative people around you. When you are con stantly worrying about people and what they are going to say or do, all of your energy goes to them and not to you. Fire your villains! Put yourself first and start investing in yourself. Begin each day with gratitude to get yourself focused on what is going well and attract more of that to you. Listen to your voice and opinion over everyone else. Do things and be with people that you love. It is fine to say, “Unfortunately, I am not available that day. Thanks for understanding.” Stop apologizing! So many of us apologize for things that are not our fault. That puts us beneath others and put us in a position of blame. Unless you tripped someone intentionally, stop apologizing.

HM: Years ago, I was working for a radio company, and I saw a huge need in the company that I knew I could fill. I spoke to a few people about my idea, and they all said I was crazy that the company would never go for it. I went for it anyway. I sat down with the President of the company and pitched myself for VP of Sales. He smiled. He thanked me for the great work I was doing and declined the opportunity. I left. I called a few companies and found a few jobs offers. I met with the President again but this time I let him know I would be leaving. He asked why. I let him know that I was meant for more and if I couldn’t accomplish that with him, I would accomplish it elsewhere. He excused himself from our lunch and came back 5 minutes later. He went to call his father to get permission to award me this newly created role of VP of Sales. I learned an important lesson that day: Never take a NO from someone who can’t give you a YES.

HM: That was such an honor! The Florida Diversity Council recognizes people who have achieved success in the community and have created opportunities to advance others along the way. To be recognized alongside such impressive and accomplished people who are all committed to creating a fair and diverse working environment was an incredible honor I will always be proud of.

There are times work is going fantastic and I have so much more time to be with my son. There are times my son needs me, and work needs to take a back burner. The key is to take care of myself first, every day that way I can take care of everything else.

Q: 2020 was an awful year dealing with the Covid-19 shutdown. How do you and your business do?

Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life HM:balance?

Q: Can you share with our audience, how your career developed along with your accomplishments and if your satisfied where you’re at today?

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 giv en 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 fa miliar with NAWBO, can you tell us

CA: It all started for me as a young im migrant from Venezuela who was nev er 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 be come 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 differ ent for everyone, today I have financial stability, time flexibility and growth opportunities that make me want to get up and go every morning! Sponsored Content

Q: Which woman inspires you and why?

Meet Carolina Aponte,

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’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career?

CEO & Owner of Caja Holdings about the organization along with your current po CA:sition.

NAWBO stands for National Association of Wom en 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 repre senting 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 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 im prove 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 profes sional accolades, you can start being more selective with your Yes and use the No’s to guard your time.

CA: In order to grow your business, you have to do more. You have to actually get to know those com munity 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.

CA: Creating systems and processes that would make it not just easier, but consistent in deliverables to my clients. From prospecting, to onboarding, to account ing 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.

What is Femtech?

Brief History

Education: This is also an essential part of Fem tech because it changes people’s minds about education. Women are less likely to pursue higher education and technology because of their gen der, so Femtech is helping change that mindset.

Better Flexibility: Fundtech is flexible to women’s varying schedules and lifestyles. They create apps that are compatible with a woman’s schedule, and they offer an easier way to deal with health issues. Better Medicine: Femtech is also helping women and doctors work together to create better med icine. Femtech brings women into medicine because they can understand a product better. After all, it’s for them.

Better Office Technology: Femtech is helping to change the office by making it more comfortable and less stressful. It helps women feel better in their job because they feel less stressed.

Founded by Ida Tin, her goal was to create tech nology that would serve the needs of their gender, and Femtech has since grown into an industry with billions of dollars in revenue.

Better Home Technology: Femtech is making the home more comfortable, and it’s also allowing them to be more efficient in their daily lives

Lighter Periods: The moon cup is a reusable men strual cup that gives a woman more freedom and privacy during her period. She doesn’t have to worry about leaking pads or tampons because she can wear them to swim, work out, and run around without feeling embarrassed or uncom fortable.

Conclusion FemTech is a global industry that is changing how technology is used in women’s lives. It helps wom en to take control of their health and allows them to focus on their well-being.

Women’s health is a global issue, not just a ‘fem inist’ issue. The lack of women in STEM fields and business is a global issue. It is important to note that Femtech has been used as a tool to solve problems that have dominated the healthcare industry for years now. Still, Femtech has also been used in many areas within society due to its role in marketing women’s products and services. It has helped solve issues for women that have been persistent for years within the healthcare industry. Femtech has been a way to lean into and fill in the gap that has always existed in the male-dominated tech industry.

The FemTech industry will continue to grow as more and more women wake up that technol ogy can be a significant player in their personal growth and happiness, not just in the workplace. It has helped solve issues for women that have been persistent for years within the healthcare industry. Femtech has been a way to lean into and fill in the gap that has always existed in the male-dominated tech industry. However, this is still not the case with FemTech, as the industry still has a long way to go until it reaches its full potential. The second wave of Fem Tech is coming, which will help move the industry into another level of connection with women.

Better Fitness: Femtech is also working to em power women by helping them reach their fitness goals. The female fitness tracker works with wom en who are concerned about their weight and fitness level because it helps them monitor every thing they eat and exercise.

Sex Tech: Femtech is also an option for people looking for a sex robot, and manufacturers are trying to find a way to make sex toys more acces sible and of good quality.

Better Health Tracking: Femtech is also creating a better way for women to track their health by making more efficient products for them and for doctors who want to help them.

These ways include: Better Birth control: Femtech companies are developing better birth control. Glow is a peri od-tracker and fertility app that notifies women when they are fertile based on their cycle, so they know when to have sex.

Meaning and Importance of Femtech

Femtech is a health and software movement started by a group of women who wanted to make better digital products for women.

Femtech is a large tech industry that helps wom en in different ways. The industry is helping to empower women’s health by working with doctors and others from the medical field to create more effective solutions that help women manage their health issues more efficiently.

Motivation: Femtech companies are also trying to change women’s mindsets to be more motivat ing in their lives. They are trying to help women be better at work by making them feel more motivat ed and less stressed out.

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 technolo gy, 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 volun teer physician leaders. At the end of the day, this is a member orga nization, 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 venti lators 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 con sider 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. Ulti mately, I am so proud of the response of our physicians and our staff in coming together, being proactive, and respond ing effectively to the COVID pandemic.

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

Q: Why is it important for a plastic surgeon to be a member of LJ:ASPS? 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 re search 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 mem bers 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: 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 be cause I was accepted into medical school out of high school

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 communi ty-based team-based approach to breast cancer care. The Center is nationally accredited and has been the recipient of a number of na tional 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 virtu al symposium, but we look forward to being hold one in person next year (hopefully!).

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?

Q: Tell us about your private prac tice you have as a plastic surgeon in Ventura County, Calif, and why you chose to become a plastic LJ:surgeon. 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-in vasive procedures such as inject ables (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: Can you tell us about your current positions as Chief Med ical Officer at St John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, and Medical Director of the Integrated Breast Center at St. John’s?

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.

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 atten tion to self-care and to not neglect the other portions of your life as those are just as crucial to a whole, meaningful life.

LJ: It is definitely a day-by-day, even hour-by-hour, ad justment. 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-assess ment 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.

AMA meeting during her first campaign for a seat on the AMA Council on Medical Service

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 addi tion to my practice), being elected as one of 11 members of the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Ser vice, and most recently, my term as president of the Amer ican 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 advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career as a Doctor?

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 rec ognition of these differences, more work is being done as to effective strategies specifically for women, we can promote better functioning teams and organizations.

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?

Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career?

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.

Author & Speaker, Zeeda Michele

ZM: Growing up I had an extremely rough life that consisted of me being molested as a child, being a high school dropout, teen pregnancy, mental, physical, and sexual abuse, also selling drugs in so much criminal ac tivity which led to my incarceration, and also even being a negligent parent… a young negligent parent, and even being suicidal. There were so many layers of pain that I experienced but through God, my husband and writing, the book From Pain to Power was where my healing be gin. Not to mention being a Christian hip-hop artist that shared her testimony before performing on stage, after each performance I was often told why you don’t write a book, so one day I picked up a pen and I begin to write!

ZM: I don’t believe it was something that I set out to do I just knew I had a creative force in me that was supposed to be doing something independently, and opposite of what everyone else was doing, and with that being said I needed to be able to control the narrative of my creativ ity without restriction. And just like that Making Power Moves was born!

Q: Why did you decide to become an entrepre neur?

Q: Can you share with our audience more about your career and your brand Making Power Moves?

Q: Tell us more about the meaning behind “I am not what I’ve been through … I am who I was called to be?

Q: Tell us about what inspired you to write the book “From Pain to Power”

A Special Conversation With Empowerment

ZM: Making power moves is a women’s empowerment movement that consist of books, apparel, empower ment events, interior design, event planning, and décor. There are so many intricate details to MPM that it can’t just be summed up in a title or a few sentences, it’s about empowering women and even men on levels that are not mediocre on levels that are super creative! And some in different areas as I mentioned above.

ZM: Often society labels us… you know Zeeda?! Ida’s daughter the one that always gets in trouble lol, Or the little girl that got pregnant at 16, the thief, drug dealer… the drop out, who was molested as a little girl. All those things I just named above yeah all that happened to me, and people like to label you! yes, I did that, I’ve been through that, but let me enlighten you I also came out of all that! So, honey I’m not what I’ve been through! I was called to be something greater, and the greater call is Everything that I’ve been through all the bad was working for my good, it enables me to share with someone else …that yeah… all that happened but look who I am now I’m not what I’ve been through! I was called to be who I was created to be. When things are being created, we never know what the outcome is, but when we begin to pay attention to the intricate details of what’s being molded and shaped.…the end process is stunning, that’s the kind of God we serve, and though we start out one way, mushy, lumpy, ugly, scarred… in the hands of the Potter, we are created to be something extraordinary!

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments of your career?

Q: Which woman inspires you and why?

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?

ZM: God, Time, and discipline. God has given us all an al lotted time here on earth! There are a lot of things you can get back, you can get a refund, you can exchange a pair of shoes. but you see time, you can’t get that back, so I’m very detailed when it comes to time… my schedule is planned, from the time I get up in in the morning. I know I need at least 15 minutes of worship and just meditating. I know I have to take 30 minutes to walk and feed my dog, I have 45 minutes to work out, I have 30 minutes to shower and get ready. I have 15 minutes to get my coffee and pumpkin. Bread (guilty pleasure). And another 18 minutes to drive to work. If you are going to be successful at anything time is a resource that you are going to have to pay close attention to! And discipline is not something you’re born with it’s something you create!

ZM: Presentation is everything! How you present yourself how you present your product what you represent and what you stand for is important! I don’t care what you think they see you! even when you’re trying to pretend or cover up, they see you! Presentation is everything, be honest with yourself and who you are, but don’t ever allow the lines of communication to be blurred, never let anyone control the narrative of what it is that you are called to do. Listening to the voice of others put fear in me, and it also put doubt in me as well. There were things That I not only allow people to talk me out of it, but I talked myself out of opportunities, experiences, and potential deals. I’ve learned to be fearless and to take calculated risk! never start building without A blueprint! And make God the CEO…because he is!

ZM: The most memorable moment was when God first gave me the vision and the guts to give my first power gala. I remember standing on stage in front of 300 people, Yup the Power gala is what he told me to call it! This Power gala included a three-course dinner, Crystal awards, a live New Orleans style brass band, Stilt walkers, and a live DJ… all that at the time on a Zumba instructors’ salary, making only $27 a class at the time!!!! True story! On that night I stood before the people that night September 2016 and I said wow y’all came lol that was one of my proud est moments!

Q: What would you say was your lowest point in life and why then did you decide to make a change?

ZM: My lowest point in life was after a big fight with my sons’ father, who was very abusive, and who was abusing me physically and sexually for so long, behind closed doors… no one knew what I was going through, I was so tired of fighting and not just with him but with life, my life was in shams… and then one day the police knocked on my door and arrested me in front of my kids. I found myself locked up and pregnant… with no direction for my life, a single young black mom That just found out that I was pregnant again for a third time… pregnant and in jail!!!!. And right before my incarceration I had a failed suicide attempt… come on! Low couldn’t get no lower, I couldn’t even accomplish killing myself! And as I sat on my prison bunk bed, I thought to myself there has to be more to life than this. I was not designed to live a mediocre life; my kids were not supposed to have a mediocre mom. So, when they see me! and they see me! In so many different lights … on so many different levels. Nevertheless, the beautiful, amazing thing about all of that is my lowest moment proved to my family that you don’t have to stay down anything is possible with God. What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business?

Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

ZM: Being heard … I mean being really heard and being taken seriously by our male counterparts! in my 2nd book PowHerful … there is a chapter called the Oprah Stedman syndrome! It talks about how with the right man standing alongside of the right woman, not being intimidated by who she is but embracing the qualities of all God created her to be, that’s power! as the head he has the ability to ignite greatness in one of the most intricate beautiful com plex but very strong creatures that God has created! And although people talked about Stedman He knew, and he knows what he has in Oprah Winfrey… that’s power!

ZM: Never share your dreams with people that don’t have vision, never allow anyone to put restrictions on the way you dream. Dream in HD on a movie screen! Your dream will definitely try to intimidate you whether that is with finances, re sources, or manpower. But no matter what you keep pushing and you keep trying, and you step out on all the faith that you have even if that’s only the size of a mustard seed … believe God! you also have to invest in yourself, often time en trepreneurs start out working for others it’s called seed money. You need seed to grow anything! Also be mindful how you invest your seed. If you give me a dollar the average thinker would say “Oh I have a dollar” whereas I would say I have 4 quarters! I’m going to invest a quarter here a quarter their quarter here etc. scared money doesn’t make money!

ZM: I honestly would have to say there are so many, but at this stage in my life the very young but powerful Sarah Jakes Roberts is the one that truly inspires me! she is fear less, and she does not care what people think of her, and she Gives you the good. News in a way that’s full of innova tion and swag!!! I Absolutely love it!! empowering women, preaching the gospel and with style and fashion that isn’t the norm! woman evolve woman evolve!!!


Q: Do you specialize in certain types of AL:properties?

ALLISON LONG marketing driven real estate experience w: f: p: (980) 422-3188

Q: Can you share with us what made you decide to have a career in Real AL:Estate?

I have always had a passion for Real Estate. All my working career has been cen tered 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.

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

AL: This is a work in progress for me and I feel it is for most working women in 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 sweat the small stuff. My health, my kids and my clients are my top priorities and everything else can wait.

Q: What is one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

Q: Can you share with our audience what Buyers & Sellers can expect when they work with you?

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

Q: If we interviewed all your past clients … what is “one” common word that comes up when they describe working with you?

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?

AL: Dedicated, Knowledgeable and Trustworthy. I hear all of these from my clients. It is hard to pick just one.

Q: Which woman inspires you and AL:why?

AL: The use of virtual tools. These have been vital for the real estate industry this year, and as we continue to face these un certain times, they are needed now more than ever. Although our ability to see each other face to face has been impacted by COVID-19, the demand for housing is still strong and the use of virtual tools such as virtual tours and virtual closings helps us meet this demand with ease.

This is an easy one. My mother is by far the most inspiring woman I have ever met. By example, she taught me how to be a good mother, to chase my dreams, and instilled in me a work ethic that I have carried with me my entire life. Sponsored Content

AL: All my clients can expect to get an unparalleled level of customer service, clear consistent communication, and the 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 passionate about, believe in yourself and go for it. If it does not work out, you can always go back to what you were doing before. Take a chance.

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments in your career? AL: There are so many! I would say the moment that stands out the most to me was meeting Glen Sanford, the founder of EXP Realty, in person. I admire him greatly for how he is changing the real estate industry through his forward-think ing approach, and I felt honored to be a part of the change. It was a moment I will never forget.

Q: Obviously with Covid-19 there’s a lot of changes going on in the world … what changes have you seen that you feel will remain in Real Estate?

Q: As first lieutenant, you were the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War … can you share with our audience how that day started out for you?

Q: Why did you decide to join the ROTC at the University of Colorado?

A first lieutenant, Melissa Stockwell was the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. She lost her left leg when a roadside bomb exploded when she was leading a convoy in Baghdad. For her service in Iraq, she was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

MS: It started out just like any other day over in Iraq. We are always up early. Getting ready for the day and then getting our daily briefing for the day and casualties from the previous day. Then we went over our mission for the day, got into our vehicles and we were off.

MS: As soon as I knew what wearing the uniform stood for I wanted to wear one. To give back to a county I felt had given me so much. Freshman year I saw cadets around campus and decided to become one of them sophomore year. I never looked back!

Melissa Stockwell

The Power Of Choice, Her Journey From Wounded Warrior To World Champion

MS: After Sep 11, 2001, I knew I would most likely be deployed at some point. So, when orders came down that my unit would be deploying in early 2004 it wasn’t a big surprise.

Q: Did you have any idea that you would be deployed to Iraq March 2004?

Q: Can you tell us about the training you did to prepare yourself for the 2008 Paralympic MS:Games?

Q: When you were growing up, did you ever dream you would become a world class MS:athlete?

I moved out to Colorado Springs and the Olympic Training Center to train full time in hopes of making it a reality. I swan thousands and thousands of laps and lived and breathed swim ming. I am proud to say all the hard work paid off. The training for 2016 and 2020 was just as intense, your days revolve around it!

Q: What would be the title of your autoMS:biography?

I always wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. I was at the elite level but never at the top. So, when I got injured and found out about the Paralympic Games it was almost like I had a second chance to compete on the worlds biggest athletic stage.

I find what I’m passionate about and put my hours into that. I have an incredible hus band who wants me to go for my dreams. I have a team of family and friends that believe in me and support me in any way they can, and I just feel like the luckiest girl to get to do what I love!

Q: Tell us how you manage your work life MS:balance?

I have one! It’s called the Power of Choice and it was released last year. The Power of Choice is so applicable in all of our lives, and we can all choose to live the life we want regardless of the obstacles that come our way. My choice to accept the loss of my leg propelled me into a life I never could have imagined.


Q: Tell us what it was like to join former President George W Bush on Bush’s W100K ride for wounded military veterans. MS: An incredible experience. Myself alongside 20 other wounded Veterans and the President on a three-day mountain bike ride on his ranch down in Texas. President Bush holds himself accountable for the lives of the Veterans that served under him and does what he can to let us know that we are not forgotten. Whatever you believe in politics, he is an incredible man, and I was honored to have him as my commander in chief.

Q: Your Co-founder of the Chicago-based Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Can you tell us how it started and the services it proMS:vides?

I co- founded Dare2tri with two friends back in 2011 with the mission of getting athletes with physical disabilities into the sport of triathlon. We knew the impact sports could have on anyone’s life but especially someone with a disability. We take away all the barriers someone has for getting into the sport: expensive adaptive equipment, coach ing, training, sometimes just transportation to the race and the self-confidence and self-worth our athletes get is incredible. Our athletes inspire many both on and off the racecourse.

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: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?

Q: Can you share with our audience about the op portunity 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 ev erything in-between. But I was always drawn to criminal in vestigations, 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 re quired 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?

Pamela Barnum

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-threaten ing 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. Specifical ly, 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.



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

Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?

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 grad uate 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 en rolled in law school full-time (they didn’t allow part-time stud ies), 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 jok ingly 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.

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: 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?

Q: Tell us about the responsibilities you had as a Federal Prosecuting Attorney.

PB: I am currently writing a book about the negotiation and communication techniques I learned and developed over a twen ty-year career in the criminal justice system. Pre-COVID-19, I traveled throughout North America, delivering keynotes on negotiating, communicating, and building trust through inten tional 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?

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 Women Magazine is Proud to Present

Charlotte’s 2022 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.

of the Year Congratulations

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 tireless ly 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 Janamembers.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 ac countable. 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.

Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women to Jana Dolder With Respect, Robin Miller Nominates 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 exper tise 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 unwav ering 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 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 pro actively recognizes team members for their contributions to Northwood’s success.

Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year


Tracey Questell is the founder and Executive Director of Healing Vine Harbor (HVH). She is employed full time at Central Piedmont Commu nity 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-suffi cient. 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 holis tic 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 trav el 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.

Congratulations to Tracey Questell With Esteem, Gretchen Gaertner Nominates Tracey Questell


Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Lorrie Miller With Respect, The AL Harper Foundation Nominates Dr. Lorrie Miller

Dr. Miller is a true inspiration to oth er 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 sup port 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 meth ods to assist them. In growing her business, she has landed contracts with some major mainstream companies providing onsite or telehealth therapy sessions to their employees which is no small feat for a female, African American, Small Business Owner! 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 busi ness 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 her days of having two chairs in a tiny office space she rented in 2015 and I know she will continue to expand her brand as time goes on.


• Queen City Comedy Cares

Congratulations to Dr. Katie Passaretti With Honor, Samantha Cook Nominates Dr. Katie Passaretti


• Crisis Assistance Ministry

• 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.

Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year


• Hands on Charlotte

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 com munity safe and informed. Her expertise has edu cated 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 in formed 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 sum mer, Dr. Passaretti played a key part in planning Atrium Health’s participation in White Coats for Black Lives — an organization that protests nation ally 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 Char lotte Healthcare Executive Group’s (GCHEG) an nual 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:


Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Jones With Admiration, Heather Gilbert Nominates Dr. Sharon Jones

Dr. Sharon Jones is the Founder and CEO of the dot. Consulting and the Dottie Rose Foun dation. 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 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 acknowl edge 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 em powers 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 teach ers 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.

Asincredible!aleader of both entities, she did everything possible to make sure revenue was still coming into both the dot. and The Dottie Rose Founda tion. She came up with countless ideas and ways to continue to allow both entities to run and, honestly, flourish.

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


Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year

Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year



Congratulations to Zelleka Biermann With Appreciation, Robin Turner Nominates Zelleka Biermann

Zelleka has served on for profit and non-profit boards, works with various community housing development organizations and coordinates hous ing efforts of neighboring towns for the Char lotte-Mecklenburg HOME Consortium. She pro vides strategic planning, financial analysis, project development and implementation to bring robust housing and community development programs to communities. The result of her efforts includes hun dreds of affordable homes, improved infrastructure, new community facilities and communities better equipped to meet the needs of their citizens.



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, ZellekaCA. 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 Biermann manages the multi-family afford able 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 responsi ble for loan/grant underwriting, evaluation, project readiness and feasibility all through construction and Prioroccupancy.tojoining

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, Ger man). 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 Meck lenburg 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 mis sion to transform commercial real estate is by elevat ing our members through recognition such as Char lotte 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 pro vide any additional information.

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, specif ically 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 compe tition 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 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 larg est network office nationally for Northwestern Mutual.

At age 36, Lynn moved her family from Syracuse to Charlotte and was selected to be Northwestern Mu tual’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 prac tice. 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.


Proudly Presents Charlotte’s Women of the Year Congratulations to Lynn Bowser With Admiration, Robin Blackwood Nominates Lynn Bowser

In January 2021, she opened a new Lake Norman office, which was 70 percent larger than the previ ous 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 con ference 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 suc cessfully.

Lynn has been very active with the Women’s Impact Fund of Charlotte, a powerful philanthropic move ment 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 Char lotte 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 out comes 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.

Liza Pavlakos She Has Overcome the Worst Adversities, Including Abuse, Homelessness, Abduction, Disfigurement, & Human Trafficking by Terrorism.

Q: Do you avoid certain people, situations, or places? LP: A central symptom of PTSD is avoidance, but it took me years to realize that I was actively avoiding people, plac es, and situations. Avoidance is often the result of limiting contact with triggers for anxiety, fear, or traumatic memo ries, as the result can be high emotions and extreme distress. I find that when someone makes me uncomfortable, I avoid them at all costs. The same can be said for walking in places where I feel unsafe. As a keynote speaker, I travel internationally a lot, and I could never understand why I didn’t embrace sightseeing. Even the stunning Mallorca in Spain didn’t interest me. My friends would laugh and say they couldn’t believe I didn’t take in the sights, or why I barely left the hotel I was stay ing in. It wasn’t until years later when I was diagnosed with complex PTSD that I understood. Today I just go with what feels right for my mind, body, and spirit. This is Self- Care. Mind you, I am still conscious of my surroundings and acutely aware of those behind, in front and beside me, but progress is being made and let’s face it, life is for living. Thanks to my kind and patient husband, who truly under stands the impact of trauma on me, I have many things to be grateful for. My family and friends know not to take me to see a movie that involves violence, tension, or murder. The toll it takes on me is simply not worth it. Comedies, romance, and lighthearted films top my list for an enjoyable, uplifting experience.

LP: When there is a situation that the body deems unsafe, the part of your brain accountable for memory, emotions, and survival kicks into gear with instinctive and protective measures to safeguard you. What happens when there is no danger deemed and you still find yourself hypervigilant, trauma becomes an invisible factor causing an over reliance on survival instincts. This is referred to as the fawn response, the need to appease and please. People pleasing and co-de pendency became a way of life for me. I was so dependent on my friends, overstepping the mark on more than one occasion. I was the person who threw lavish dinner parties without a second thought. I was the friend who was overcommitted, overcompensated and was overly needy. I was also the friend who unknowingly and uninten tionally hurt those around me by overstepping boundaries. We all make mistakes in life, but the key is to acknowledge them and have open conversations to get to the bottom of Childhoodthem. and growing up for me had no boundaries. When an uncle molests you, a cousin rapes you, a boyfriend hits you, a stranger kidnaps and abuses you, your boundaries are non-existent. This trauma caused major issues in my life, and it wasn’t until I stepped back and began therapy that I came to understand the ramifications of PTSD and the fawn response. The “people please” response was because I craved love and affection, wanting to be protected and loved, until I realized that what I craved from others was already within me. Decades of work ensued, healing was gradual, but eventual ly the needy, fawning Liza metamorphosized into an em powered woman, one with boundaries.

LP: Sadly, trauma survivors relive traumatic events, and I am no different. Because my childhood transition into young adulthood was so traumatic, I was diagnosed with complex PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), and it’s so sad to realize that this is all because of the violence I was subjected to by other people against me. The impact of repressed memories surfaces and that is so debilitating in your journey to trauma healing. I often relive and re-experience events through dreams and nightmares. People with PTSD are known to have a high rate of night mares, it’s like flashbacks on constant replay. I often wake at 3 am in the morning in a state of extreme terror with my heart pounding. Even training with my personal trainer in the gym can evoke unpleasant memories. They can creep back into the present, even replacing it. Since the brain registers trauma when my heartbeats hit a certain high, we play music as a therapeu tic intervention. It’s called Music Therapy and can benefit those who suffer from PTSD significantly. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is the most effective treatment for both short and long term symptoms of PTSD, which is why I founded Positive Breakthroughs, a coaching and counselling service because I know how critical it is to re ceive support. No matter how bad the situation may seem, I believe we have the ability to overcome almost anything as long as we accept them and develop solutions to recover and heal.

Q: Do you regularly relive or re-experience the events?

I’ve learned from experience to stay out of trouble and to make the most of every situation. No matter the challenge or disability I believe we have the power to better ourselves. The power of a positive mindset has the power to change our world.


The new Liza did not appeal to everyone. When I became a keynote speaker, most of my closest friends and family left my life. Was it because I was no longer a victim? Was it because I became successful? One thing is clear to me though. Those who left were meant to leave, and the people who truly loved and embraced me throughout my traumatic journey were meant to stay.

Q: Was there a period when you withdrew from genuine friends, family, or other loved ones?

Every day I count my blessings that I am a keynote speaker encouraging people to grow. I truly love the life I’m living, and if I had to live my life all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. You see, compassion comes from pain, empathy from understanding, love from heartbreak and strength from ad versity. Even with PTSD I have found purpose in life, trust in myself and my capabilities, success against all odds, and along the way, a better version of myself. We all have the power within us to do the same.

LP: My recovery included so many services and resources in The power of her words touches the hearts of her audience to show them that they are capable of overcoming any challenge.

LP: Dissociation is yet another symptom of PTSD when people may lose their sense of time, place, and sense of self. Automatic functions include consciousness, identity, memory, and Onceself-awareness.Iwasavictim, and during that time I was so numb I couldn’t even feel the pain, but I was able to disassociate in order to survive unspeakable crimes against me. My imminent book took me more than seven years to write. In order to be precise, I worked hard to trace back all events. Painful, mind-numbing, soul-destroying events. It was like put ting together a complicated puzzle. Recalling events, speaking with friends and people, and pulling together medical and legal paperwork, the process expedited memories and now my mind is sharper than ever. I can’t go back and change the events, but what I can change is the way I view the world with positive thoughts, goodness, and kindness.

Q: Do you imagine what path you might have taken had you not experienced the trauma?

LP: I adore cooking, so maybe a chef like my mother. A doc tor, or perhaps a teacher, but then aren’t those all the things we do as mothers and fathers?

Q: Do you have a hard time remembering certain features of the events?

Q: What do you believe is the greater good of your story?

LP: My story is about love, rebirth, conviction and finding undeniable strength. My story is of hope and possibilities. We all suffer at one time or another on our life’s journey, but we all have the opportunity to grow. It’s all about the F word. For giveness, fortitude, and Forget about what others think about you. It’s about being the best YOU can be and taking control of your destiny. My story may be a trauma littered minefield, but it’s far from sad. It’s guts and glory peppered with business, success, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Q: Is there one single thing that is most important for people to know?

Q: What services/resources/people helped you in your recovery?

LP: You don’t have to forgive the perpetrator of heinous crimes against you, but by holding on to it, you’re giving them power, and at that point you become powerless. Forgiveness may come with time, but justice must be served. Every perpe trator should face the consequences of their actions. Seek help to commence healing, and if none is available contact Positive Breakthroughs, my organization of dedicated therapists and coaches. Our subscription model will allow oth er therapists and coaches internationally to join our business model and help assist others with the healing process.

Q: What were the barriers to you coming forward?

I can leave behind. As a keynote speaker, the time will eventually come when ageing or health will slow me down. Along with my book, I can continue to give hope and transform lives long after I’m gone. It has taken so long to build my keynote speaking business and Positive Breakthroughs and there is still a lot of work to be done, but then again, everything worth building takes time.

Q: What suggestions do you have to teach pre-emptive and preventive strategies to avoid trauma?

Q: Do you imagine taking a different path ahead to achieve a personal dream or goal?

To be vulnerable and real is strength. To be real you have to be willing to make a stand against the judgment.

cluding working with some of the psychologists and counsellors. In Australia, we have a 24-hour hotline called Lifeline, a team dedicated to supporting others with depression. I’d call them at 3.00 am after waking from a nightmare and being deep in depression. Family, friends, and my parents, who didn’t always get things right, but who reached out and tried to help. My husband and children, empower and teach me to be a better person every day. Spirituality was a major resource for me. It has helped me heal in so many ways. For example, meditation fosters calmness, and prayer rewires my brain. Positive psychology and affirmation mean we are able to dream a bigger dream and ask God to guide us to a better pathway. Prayer is a major factor in my life.

LP: The best strategy is to seek help, talk about your situation and get clarity on what you are experiencing, and go with your gut feeling. Seek continuous contact and support from loved ones, and start identifying as a survivor, not a victim.

Never be afraid to share your story. Speak with a doctor or psychologist and make sure you keep a paper trail that can be utilized to support your story.

Preventive strategies would be to avoid dangerous situations. Know your surroundings, be vigilant with who you trust, and most importantly ensure to vocalize that is happening to you at all times. Educating children on abuse would also be a step in the right direction.

LP: The privilege of presenting to corporate organizations and empowering their teams is nothing short of a blessing, howev er, it would be a dream to see Positive Breakthroughs expand Thisinternationally.isthelegacy

LP: Take your time to process what has happened. Speak up about your trauma, as abuse is not just physical and sexual. Trauma can be psychological through childhood bullying, body, and mental health shaming. Know that you’re not alone and there is always someone who cares. Be brave enough to stand up for what is right for you. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. Put yourself first and prepare to do what you have to for healing, and in doing so, create a better life.

A world-renowned keynote speaker, Liza excels at mo tivating individuals and teams to overcome challenges with a blueprint to become stronger, more resilient, and ultimately greater human beings.

Q: What suggestions do you have to make it safer for victim-survivors to come forward?

LP: Presenting myself to the world and speaking about topics that are tough to digest. Some people accepted what I said, others judged me harshly. People would say I was hurting my children simply because I spoke the truth. They’d make snide remarks about the violence revolving around my first-born son’s father, but he is born from love, and I have loved him since I first laid eyes on him. Acknowledging the truth only brings us closer. What people tend to forget is that I am in the business of empowering and giving hope. Although judgment from others has been my biggest barrier, it’s self-judgement that matters the most, and I couldn’t give a toss about what others think of me. I don’t want to raise my children in a bubble, these topics are real and raw, and my children must know that horrors exist in this world, but they must have the skill to know how to avoid trouble, how to stay safe and vigilant and most importantly, how to harness love and empathy. Other barriers include the stigma of a person who has suf fered abuse, but we can’t control how people think, victim or otherwise. One more hurdle to jump is being able to name the perpetrators that abused us. Unfortunately, in Australia there is a law that prevents the victim from naming and shaming the predator, so to many, it is our fault, or our story is total fiction.

Female Ground Breakers in Professional Sports

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, wom en 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:

Ranked as Number One in the world eight different times, Serena Williams has won more com bined 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.

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 bas ketball players in the world. Michele is the first woman to ever hold the position and is first wom an 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.

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.

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.

Sarah Thomas: National Football League

Very few players can start out at the top and stay there, but Alex Mor gan 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 Wom en to the gold medal match vs Japan in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Serena Williams: Professional Tennis

Alex Morgan: Women’s Professional Soccer

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 mak ing 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.

Meet Body Butter Blends Owner, Nickol Crews Sponsored Content

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 pur chase raw shea but ter, I began experi menting 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 consisten cy…a hot mess! So, I began adding other raw butters to soft en 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 spe cial 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.

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.

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

Q: Did you have business experience before you started Body Butter Blends?

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?

Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?

2. It was the first time that I saw a Black woman in a position of Corpo rate leadership. The branch manager was an African Ameri can woman. She was tough but she was fair and always respect ful 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 em powerment and the power of great customer service.

NC: I had financial experience from my career in banking, but no business owner experience.

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. Ev eryone was pret ty much living day to day. We weren’t taught to save for a rainy day and here I was seeing peo ple who looked like me doing just that. It was amazing and it made me proud.

Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your ca reer that you can share with our audience?

1.NC:Look for someone who is where you WANT to be. Then ask them to be your accountabil ity mentor. This person should be willing to not judge but to encourage you with your dreams. They should be financially and spir itually 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.

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……balanced.

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!


NC: To treat people with care, concern, and respect. No matter if you are offering a mil lion-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: What advice would you give to young wom en who want to purse their dream and start a business?


NC: I would have to say the woman that in spired 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 be lieve 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”.

2. Do your research. Don’t just think be cause 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.

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today? NC: I feel that we still have a way to go with be ing 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 wom en 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!

Q: Can you share with us which woman in spires you and why?

KG: After owning a residential construction com pany 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 li censed agent in North and South Carolina.

Q: Tell us what made you decide to have a career in Real Estate.





Being home every night with my family is very im portant 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 some thing I have been passionate about and there is no better feeling than handing a someone keys to their new home. Charlotte Estate Agent, Kim Grace

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 fam ily that understands that my schedule is con stantly 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.

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 us ing 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 Face Time. 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: How has technology changed the Real Estate industry over the years?


Q: Can you share with our audience what Buyers & Sellers can expect when they work with you?

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




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 be fore 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: If we interviewed all your past clients … what is one common word that comes up when they describe working with you? KG: Dedicated!

Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our KG:audience? Always answer your phone! Communica tion is number one in the Real Estate industry. Building relationships though direct conver sations 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

You 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”.Eachof 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 Askmake.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!

Marina Gavric Marina Gavric Health & Fitness Training

Age is Nothing But a Number


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.

Jessica Cox

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 de veloped mental skills that allowed her to go on to achieve the seemingly impossible in her own, unique way.

Q: Flying a plane, walking a tightrope – when do you first remember challenging yourself to do things the typical person never attempts?

Q: Have you ever had to modify a goal and how do you address this subject to your audiences?

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 per ceived limitations that often aren’t as difficult as we make them out to be.

Q: Describe how you encourage your audience to find their motivation to achieve their goals?

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.

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: How often have you encountered naysayers in your abilities to accomplish your goals and what has been your response?

JC: I don’t see myself as someone who does things because other people don’t do it. My mom overcame extreme pov erty 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.

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 peo ple globally will experience a disability in their lifetime. That is a lot of people that need to be in more conversations.

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 stretch ing my limits and therefore my flexibility has lessened.

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.

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 commu nity 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 dis ability.

Q: The obvious question, have you and your team done anything unique to adapt to the COVID videoconference environment?

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?

Q: You’re a Third Degree Blackbelt – without it would you ever feel physically vulnerable?


Q: Aside from martial arts, is there a particular ac tivity that you and your husband enjoy most togeth er?

JC: We both love to travel and unique experiences. I’ve vis ited 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 ba boon in Kenya, and even fed hyenas in Ethiopia.



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 usu ally 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.

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.

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 be cause 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?


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?

Q: After college, where did you feel your career path would take you?


Appeared On


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?


Kim Ford Is A Keynote Speaker, TV Host & Media Consultant. She Has CNN An Entertainment Correspondent Where She Shares Her Take What’s Relevant in Film, Television, & Celebrity


KF: My jobs after college were random and all over the place. I first worked at Macy’s in the handbag department Ford

Our Exclusive Interview with Influencer

KF: I appear as a guest Entertain ment Contributor on CNN/HLN to give my take on what is relevant re garding film and television. Typical ly, when there is a special segment.

Q: You must keep a hectic schedule between speaking engagements and TV commit ments. 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: Tell us about Jubilee Mag, how it started and where you see it going.

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: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?

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 var ious reasons. A few are: Oprah, for obvious reasons. Myleik Teel for her entrepreneurial journey. J Lo be cause she’s been timeless for decades.

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. Wycleff Jean interview at Andrew Young Leadership Awards. NBC press dinner for ‘This Is Us’.

KF: AAFCA isn’t an award. It’s the world’s largest organization of 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.

Q: What are some of the chal lenges you feel women face KF:today?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: In March 2019 you were accepted into AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association). Can you tell us what it meant to you?

Q: Can you share with our audience some details about your role as a CNN/Headline News entertainment contributor?


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 want ed more of me as a personal brand instead of a magazine. As a result, I launched covering entertainment, personal develop ment, and lifestyle.

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.


LG: It was a deliberate choice to address topics that were relevant to an audience that found itself at a turning point 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 look ing for the inspiration to recreate ourselves.

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 correspon dent 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 vir tually 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 of ten keep his mentoring in mind. Even though I have a Ph.D. in drama avoidance, I loved be ing 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 Caro lina 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

Q: Did PBS’s My Generation, which addressed a more mature audience, represent a shift for you; if so, why?

Photography by Caroline Greyshock & Jeff Annenberg

Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Best Selling Author, Leeza Gibbons, Shares Her Insights on Today’s

Challenges For Caregivers & Maintaining a Positive Outlook.

I was trained as a broadcast journal ist. Barbara Walters was one of my big in spirations. 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: 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 LG:work?

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!”

LG: Today, things are much more transparent than when I first began Viewers’ insatiable ap petites to “get inside” and “lift the veil” led to more raw reporting and a genuinely authentic exchange preference. There is still brokering for interviews and negotiating for access. Still, the expectation is for in 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 advi sors and mainstream media exposure. However, events like the interviews with Lester Holt and George Stepanopolis can still do damage.

“My Generation” delivered the stories of celebrities and others who had accepted the chal lenge 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?

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 LG:you?On our journeys through life, I often need to remember that our strength comes from be ing vulnerable. Our power comes from how we are connected. My books honour those con nections; 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. My mother died of Alzheimer’s disease, the “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: Tell us about Leeza’s Care Connection.

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 ap preciate and express language, which made my oration memorable. At that time, I also had

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

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 finan cially. When that started happening to our fam ily, 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 strug gle, 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 LG:you?Both! I think it’s true that we often write what we need to learn. Valuing self-care and finding em powerment 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 big gest 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 gifts and our burdens. Our everyday experi ence provided the solace of a support group and the benefits of clarity and stress manage ment that come from writing.


Q: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?


quite a thick southern accent which was either a distraction or an endearment!

LG: I gave up trying to balance! Whoever cre ated that concept was evil and cruel! If we seek the ever-elusive middle of the see-saw, we will be bitter and disappointed. Instead of balanc ing time, I think of investing time. As with any business venture, I look for dividends. For ex ample, if you’re a working woman (there’s a redundancy for you!), you may not always feel that you have the ideal balance. Still, you’re providing for your family, setting an example of the value of work, and growing into the next phase of life when you may feel you have more autonomy. You’re investing in your future, and those dividends will come due.


Q: What is your favorite childhood book?

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

Q: You’ve maintained a hectic, career, can you share with our audience how you manage your work-life balance?

LG: I loved The Secret Garden - it was magical and sad and uplifting all at once. Shel Silver stein’s “The Giving Tree” was a favorite too, but it’s The Velveteen Rabbit that resonates deeply still because of its message about what real love is.

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 in credibly 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.

Mercedes Ramirez Johnson She Barely Survived a Deadly Mountain Plane Crash That Took The Lives of 160 Passengers.

MRJ: For months, I was filled with bitterness and anger. I was try ing to make sense of it all, trying to figure out what would have led to their numerous mistakes and oversights. I kept wondering why

Making Her Second Chance of Life Count, An Exclusive Interview With Motivational Speaker,

Q: What was your first thought when you learned the flight crew had failed to adequately plan and execute the approach to runway?

Q: What type of injuries did you sustain and how long was your recovery?

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 get ting 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: Do you still keep in contact with your fellow survivors?

MRJ: No, unfortunately, I lost track of most of the survivors. Oc casionally, I see family members of Mauricio Reyes, but I’d love to get reconnected with them all. I know that everyone has accom plished 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: Every year, we’re incredibly lucky to have and cele brate 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?

In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commer cial airplane crash where about 160 people died, including her par ents. 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 His panic up-and-comers.

INROADS, Inc., an international organi zation 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 chil dren. 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 Founda tion Board.

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.

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: 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: Without authenticity, gratitude, and drive, there won’t be anything such as long-term success or happiness. When

MRJ: The first time someone asked me if I felt guilty that I survived and not everyone else really threw me back. Hon estly, 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 kind ness, 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.

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 mar riage of 21 years, and navigating motherhood of two teen age 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 inter acting 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?

Q: Tell us what the Second Chance Living concept means and how it has helped those you’ve shared it MRJ:with.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 in credible opportunity that is! To wake up with a clean slate and a fresh start to right your wrongs and be the truest ver sion of yourself that day. When we value each day as a new chance, that’s when we can muster the courage and the en ergy 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.

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 sav ings 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: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you and your family? Have you made use of video conferencing to continue speaking?

Q: Can you share with our audience when and to whom your first speech was given?

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a motiva tional speaker?

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 mem ber 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 fin ish 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.

MRJ: Don’t make yourself small for ANYONE. Not in your per sonal 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 Don’tapologizing!askforaseat

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 incor porate my love of traveling, my drive for business, and my knowledge of foreign languages for life.

Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get

Q: What advice would that you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

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.

at the table. Take it. Spend your time with people that speak words of goodness and en couragement, 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?

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 MRJ:you? 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: Which woman inspires you and why?

Q: How do you know if a client is right for your service?

where you are today?

MRJ: Work-life balance is a beautiful myth because our brains can not 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 fo cus 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 sons wouldn’t call their dad and expect him to drop a client meeting to ask what’s for dinner so why would I let them do that me?

MRJ: Sometimes your biggest failures or biggest sources of fear can turn into the most rewarding opportunities. You can’t be scared, intimidated, or overwhelmed. You can FEEL scared, intimated, or overwhelmed, but don’t BE those things. You feel it, then release it and get back to the business of being badass.

Q: Can you tell our audience one of the most memorable moments in your career?

Being a woman isn’t meant for the weak. I don’t need to remind women of the insurmountable expectations we put on ourselves to the mama bears of our family, the school volunteers, and community/ social action leaders, the leaders in the workplace, and rock a swimsuit at the pool. I would still come back as a woman in my next life, just that this time, I would just come back as a woman who didn’t care what other people feel or think of me. How freeing that would be if we all just frolicked around being kind, doing what makes us happy, and making our world a better place with our heads held up high.

Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

Q: What is your coaching philosophy for success?

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.

MRJ: Learn as much as you can, find a mentor, hang out with suc cess-minded people, and bring your full self to work. Don’t create a work persona — be your true self.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face MRJ:today?

MRJ: Make yourself proud every single day.

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?

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 Unit ed 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 of pride in helping people, and I always had so much fun watching how she had this magnetism that drew people to her, made people laugh, and knew how to make people feel loved and welcomed. And my sister, Sylvia. She’s nine years older than I am, and she took on the 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 me since. I’ll never be able to truly express how much she means to me. I wouldn’t be me without her.

MRJ: My biggest fear after the plane crash has been losing the peo ple 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.

MRJ: The first time I spoke in front of a huge audience was life-changing. While I was still a college student, I was asked to speak at the National Catholic Youth Conference. They were anticipating 15,000 attendees. I had to go to my college speech professor and asked him, “how do I craft a speech for 15,000 teenagers?” He pa tiently coached me through the process. The night before I gave the speech, I had a dream that I was in a lecture hall giving a presenta tion 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 got to the 3rd row, I saw my parents sitting there smiling and watch ing me proudly. In my dream, I said, “Oh my God! What are you guys doing here!” and I wanted to run up and hug them, but they put their fingers over their lips in a gesture to be quiet, and they both 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 didn’t feel a single once of nervousness because I could feel their love and encouragement with me on that stage.


Having your own business also means you get to determine your own level of financial success. Your ability to earn is only limited by your own efforts to max imize profits. This requires doing a sig nificant amount of research and under standing important features of your area of the economy. In addition, successful woman entrepreneurs know that you can never rest on past laurels. They always keep an eye out for new opportunities to expand their markets, increase their customer base and refine their operations.

What Does it Mean to be a WomanSuccessfulinBusiness?

Starting a business is often an uphill climb that many people never even attempt. The corporate world offers many perks and financial benefits, but you must always bow to the “vision” of the corporation. For some women, this effort can be too limiting. They may be able to see other aspects of the market that need addressing, and the chance to tackle the task in your own way offers personal gratification at the highest level. The Freedom to Manage Your Own Finances


Becoming an Expert in Time Management Women have a natural aptitude for multi-tasking, and this quality can be of

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

Dealing with Harassment & Discrimination Unfortunately, the downside for women continues to be frequent incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination that may oc cur at both personal and institutional levels. Learning ways to skillfully deflect unwanted attention can help you manage these uncomfortable situations. In addition, you may still feel acquiring loans, getting important contracts and maintaining your competitive edge still requires you to work harder in or der 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. Although the obstacles can be daunting and often reflect institutional prejudices, being a woman also offers a variety of natural ad vantages that can help you excel in business.

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.

DB: I think that starting a business can sound glamorous, but it’s of ten harder than you think so I’d advise one to definitely pursue your passions but also be strategic and practical. Save at least enough to support yourself while the business is getting off the ground for the first year. Optimize your business model to maximize profitability (e.g., targeting corporations vs. individuals or developing offerings for groups vs. individuals, etc.). Remember that just because you’re great at something doesn’t mean that you can run a successful business doing it. Monetizing a skill or hobby isn’t the easiest thing in the world. That said, there are often great ways to turn a unique skill or talent into a profitable business. You just have to be methodical and strategic in determining what that business model should look like.

DB: In the past few years, I’ve become much more of a writer. While I’ve been published in many outlets over the years, I’ve been a Forbes Careers Senior Contributor for more than two years now, and it’s been quite thrilling actually. It’s such an honor to be able to partici pate in the national discourse on current events, trends, etc. as well as interview many leading voices and thought leaders on such a wide range of topics.

DB: I think that the first time I was quoted in The Wall Street Jour nal back in 2012 was pivotal for me. My business is focused around my subject matter expertise and credibility as a thought leader so my bio is everything. While I’d conducted training events and talks in several countries and I certainly knew my stuff, there’s a certain con fidence that develops when you begin to be cited in major, well-re spected publications. That specific article led to an appearance on CNN. Then over the years, I received citations in many publications like FastCompany, the Economist, Redbook, etc. and published arti cles in Working Mother, Entrepreneur, HuffPost and Forbes. In many ways it was my very first citation in The Wall Street Journal that boosted my confidence and allowed me to begin to truly view myself as a thought leader.

DB: I think that one of the biggest mistakes people make is allowing everyone else to dictate their calendar (then trying to find time for our personal priorities with what is left over). Instead, I try to flip the script and focus on my key commitments, then work everything else around those. One of my best moves though was deciding to work for myself. While entrepreneurship can be all consuming (particularly in the early years), it does typically offer tremendous autonomy and flexibility. I think that if one parent has tons of flexibility, it makes running a household (with children in particular) much easier. While I was single with no kids when I started my business in 2003, years later with a family I was really grateful to have the flexibility that entrepreneurship provides.

Q: What led to your decision to become an executive speaker?

Q: Tell us about what led to the writing of your book “Unwritten Rules About Managing Up”

Q: Can you share with our audience about your Fortune 500 corporate experience in project management and business strategy consulting?

DB: After focusing most of my entrepreneurial career in training, about five years ago I decided to pivot to focus more so on speaking. It was a slight pivot with tremendous upside. I’d essentially be taking some of the most exciting parts of my training session (usually the stories and anec dotes) and just repurpose them into a 1-2 hour talk (instead of a 5-6 hour training event). It made the events more exciting and less labor intensive. With two small kids at home, that slight shift in my business model made it easier for me to conduct an event out of town in the morning and still make it back for afternoon carpool.

With Dana Brownlee,

A Dynamic, Energetic, Results-Oriented Corporate Trainer & Speaker, Ms. Brownlee Provides Thought Leadership in The Areas of Antiracism, Leadership, And Individual & Organizational Effectiveness.

Q: Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business?

Q: What is it about your job that most excites you?

DB: Most people tell me that it’s so hard to find a publisher. In my case, my publisher (Berrett-Koehler) found me. I’d been speaking on the general topic of “managing difficult bosses/personalities” for nearly a decade when a publisher reached out to me to tell me they wanted to attend my talk at an upcoming conference. I wrote the book pulling on many years of experience as a project manager having to satisfy and navigate many different senior leader personalities. I conducted a survey as part of my book research and was shocked to receive over 1100 re sponses in a few short weeks. There was a ton of interest in the topic. I definitely feel that managing up/managing challenging stakeholders is a real problem that doesn’t get discussed enough in public settings.

Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?

A Special Conversation

DB: After about a decade of traditional corporate experience, I grav itated to the role of trainer/facilitator. This new role would afford me the opportunity to leverage my subject matter expertise but now instead of doing the work, I’d be teaching and guiding others. At this point in my career, I’d developed enough expertise to now consciously choose the type of work that I wanted to do, and I truly loved facilitating and training (which I’d done frequently during my work as a business strategy consultant), so I dove in headfirst. I’d also grown accustomed to a signifi cant level of autonomy working with a high performing consulting team, so I wasn’t eager to transition back into a traditional, highly structured corporate setting. I knew I was an amazing trainer, so I decided to hang my own shingle and give it a shot. 18 years later I’m so glad I did.

DB: I started my career in the telecom industry and transitioned into management consulting after obtaining my MBA. As a business strategy consultant, I managed and supported large IT projects primarily in the media and entertainment sector. These roles were a natural fit for my ac ademic and professional training (math, industrial engineering, business, project management) and provided invaluable real-life experience (and tons of hilarious anecdotes) for my next chapter – speaking, writing, and training.

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?

Hailed as the “Female Jerry Maguire,” Molly Fletcher Joins Us To Talk About Her Career as a Sports Agent & Motivational Professional

Q: Your website mentions working with big egos. What is the most powerful skill to possess when guiding a talent toward what’s most beneficial in the long run versus what might provide immediate gratification?

Q: You acknowledge that you’re a trailblazer. For women entering the sports agent field, do you feel that there are any fewer hurdles to overcome than when you started? If so, what are they?

MF: I would say there are fewer hur dles, but they still exist. Visibility mat ters and I think seeing other women thrive in the space has opened the doors for others and broken down some of the barriers. Overall, I think people are starting to understand the business value of diversity. Sports has been slow to evolve, but now we are seeing women in the front office and on coaching staffs. That’s important, because for today’s athletes that’s now the norm not the exception. We still have a ways to go, but there is a power ful shift happening!

MF: It all starts with the ability to connect with people, and I think you do that by showing up, adding value and shooting straight. In the world of pro sports, it’s easy for athletes to get sur rounded by “yes” people. As an agent, you have to be able to tell your clients what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. Storytelling is a powerful vehicle because it helps show them why it’s important to play the long game. If you give them real ex amples of the “one and done” who focused on the short-term gain or made bad decisions in the moment, they con nect with that. Most athletes made it to this level because of their discipline, so helping them understand they might have to make short term sacrifices for long term gain is something they un derstand.

MF: I no longer represent clients as a sports agent; however, I am grateful to stay connected with most personally as friends. Today I spend the majority of my time as a speaker, author, podcast host, and founder of the Game Changer Training company.

Q: 60+ keynotes a year! Tell us about your time management, i.e., your Energy Clock–how you balance your personal and work lives?

MF: I don’t love the word “balance” because I think it creates a lot of unrealistic expectations and guilt for people. I am big on energy management more so than time management. Energy management starts with clarity around what matters most to you, and then having the discipline to say “yes” or no” based on the clarity you have created. In my book, The Energy Clock, I walk people through an energy audit to help you get clear on what gives you en ergy and what drains your energy and how to make the adjustments you need to make. The book was a result of my own experiences being overscheduled, working 24/7, and feeling at times like I wasn’t my best self with the people in my life who mattered most. If you don’t decide where your energy goes, the world decides for you.

Q: How many of your athlete clients are still your clients today?

MF: When I started in the space, there was no social media. It obviously has tremendous advantag es in terms of being able to tell your story, connect with your fans, and get deals—but I think most of us can relate to having days where we wish it didn’t exist! It’s definitely an added pressure for them to navigate.

Q: If you were still a sports agent today, what do you think you would miss most about the way business was done when you first entered the field?

Q: Has there been a client with whom you just couldn’t connect? How did you negotiate your separation and what might you have done differently?

MF: Yes, earlier in my career there was one or two but not many thankfully. Whenever you feel discon nected, I see that as a signal to shift from defensive Molly Fletcher speaking at Leadercast 2017. She will be speaking again this year at Leadercast 2022.”

Q: Who have been a few of your favorite guests on your podcast, Game Changers with Molly Fletcher, and why?

MF: Absolutely. Nothing is more important to me than meeting people where they are and the demand for learning is higher than ever. For in dividuals, we will continue to offer our virtual group coaching program, Game Changer Lead ership Huddles, and we will be launching our first on demand course in 2022! For organizations, we’ll continue to offer both our Game Changer Negotiation Training and The Energized Leader Training virtually and in person.

MF: Now this is a tough one! We’ve been blessed with so many amazing guests and there’s nothing better than getting the emails, texts, and comments from listeners about how a conversation impacted them personally. But to answer your question, Matthew McConaughey was special, because he was so engaged, so present and so real. The conversations I’ve had with coaches like Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Geno Auriemma (University of Con necticut) were so enlightening from a leadership perspective—just their authenticity and willingness to share, you really see why they are so suc cessful. I always love getting inside the mindset of world class athletes, like soccer star Carli Lloyd, WNBA champion Candace Parker, NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, and World Series cham pion Dansby Swanson. And given the amount of Molly Fletcher coaching clients on how to up their leadership game.

ness to curiosity. It’s easy to get defensive in those moments; it’s much more productive to get curi ous. Curiosity creates connection. You also have to be willing to embrace difficult conversations so that you can attempt to align on expectations and move forward. And know that sometimes, it’s OK to walk away.

Q: Do you expect your online training to continue post pandemic?

resilience needed in our world right now, I’d also recommend my conversations with Angela Duck worth on grit and Inky Johnson on overcoming adversity. It’s almost like the last one is my favorite because the insight, inspiration, perspective from all our guests is just awesome and to share these conversations with the world is what it is all about! I guess you have to listen to them all!

Q: How do you keep your own delivery sharp and which of your programs trains others how to stay on top of their game?

Q: You have addressed some very noteworthy big businesses. What’s the best way for an individual or small company to access your skills and knowledge?

MF: I take the athlete mindset to preparation! I do a lot of reps and spend a lot of time prepar ing on the front end. Every keynote is customized to address the behavior change we are driving for with the audience—that’s important to me. All of our programs at the core are about helping people up their game—whether that’s a keynote, a digital course, or our negotiation and energy manage ment training. Stay tuned for our first on demand course, coming out in 2022!

MF: We work with organizations of all sizes! Be yond keynote speaking and training, there are lots of ways to engage. My podcast, Game Changers with Molly Fletcher, is a great free resource for anyone who wants to up their game. I’ve written five books, most recently The Energy Clock, and we’ll be launching our first on-demand digital courses in 2022. My website is the best place to start and you can follow me on all the social media channels @MollyFletcher for more free content!

“Molly Fletcher leading a Game Changer Negotiation Training™ workshop based off of her experience negotiating over $500 Million in contracts a sports agent.”

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 cov erage 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.

The0.4%.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 exam ple, 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

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:

However, one important aspect of this issue is oftentimes overlooked. What causes these ath letes to not receive equal pay in the first place?

Q: Can you share with our audience a little on your life story and how you became interested in Engi HW:neering?

Q: When did you know you wanted your career to include teaching along with research?

Q: Tell us about some of the patents you hold and how they are used.

I was born and raised in China and moved to the US for a Ph.D. study in the field of materials science and engineering in 2000. I was fascinated by the field of materials research and its ability to fuel new discoveries and technology innovations and thus decided to pursue my career in materials research. Taking an example, all the integrated circuits that enable versatile personal devices and computing power we have today, are based on silicon, an earth abundant material and a semi conductor, as well as our ability to grow it well in thin layers and dope it with other elements to change its conductivity in different parts of the devices. I am currently focusing on new materials design and processing for microelectronics and photonics, and energy applications.

Q: Can you tell us about the research your currently doing? What do you hope it will accomplish?


HW: I currently hold 12 US patents. One of the earlier ones developed in 2005 was on the designs of multilayer stack for the high quality growth of high temperature superconductors coated conductors for superconducting cables and generators. This patent has been licensed by multiple superconductor companies and generated great industry interests in the field. These superconductors coated conductors are very import ant components for energy efficient generators, motors and electrical transmission lines that transmit electricity or convert energy without energy loss in electrical resistance.

Awarded The Presidential Early Career Award For Scientist & Engineers. It’s a Pleasure To Introduce, Professor Of Engineering At Purdue University, Haiyan Wang

HW: I have always dreamed to be a teacher as many of my teachers throughout my study are my role models. The dream become much closer to me when I joined Los Alamos Nation al Lab as a postdoc research fellow. I got to mentor multiple graduates and undergraduates through research. I very much enjoyed the teaching/learning process with them and thus applied to faculty positions after my postdoc work.

HW: Materials science and engineering as a relatively new and cross-disciplinary area is filled with talented researchers from Chemistry, physics, biology, and nearly all the engineer ing fields. How to distinguish my research from others and identify critical research topics that are unique and impactful, have been a constant question I am asking throughout my career. Instead of fear, I consider this as the motivation to innovate continuously. Luckily, I am never alone by working with a group of talented graduate students and postdocs in my research group, and many collaborators at Purdue and other institutions, nationally and internationally!

HW: I have always wanted to do something impactful and use ful to the society. After high school, I had a vague picture of my career working in an engineering field but was not very sure on what exactly I would work on. After my bachelor and graduate studies, the picture became clear, i.e., a scientist in the areas of materials discovery.

Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?

That was one of my most memorable moments in my career. I was among the top 60 early career scientists and engineers in the U.S. to receive this award. The awardees were selected and recommended from various federal agencies. I was invited to the White House and met with President Bush. Luck ily, I was standing right next to him and had a short discussion with him during the group photo session.

Q: What’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?

HW: We women engineers and scientists have strength in multi-tasking, soft inter-personal skills, and very detailed think ing. Utilizing the strengths, you will excel! Everyone is made differently. Use your own expertise and strengths to distinguish yourself, among others. Do not let any stereotype influence your career decisions and never limit your own potential! When you are deciding between family and career, do remem ber that these two are always coupled together and you can make them well balanced! A supportive family is also very key to such balance.

Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?

HW: The COVID time was challenging for all the researchers as all the labs had restricted access with only one researcher allowed at any given time. We were able to design and process a range of hybrid plasmonic thin films. These are a group of hybrid materials with two or more materials combined as one material. At least one of the phases possesses plasmonic properties and the other phase(s) presents other functionalities. Typical processing methods involve processing one material first, then etch and integrate the second phase in. Our method is to directly grow two materials simultaneously and self-assem bled into nanostructured hybrid materials. This poses great challenges to the growth process as the deposition parameters are vastly different for the different phases and finding a com mon processing window to effectively grow two or more phases requires deep understanding on the self-assembly process, i.e., materials science of self-assembly.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

Q: In 2008, you received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers. Can you tell us more about this along with the presentation of your HW:award?

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?

HW: One of the major challenges is simply so few of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. For instance, there are eight women faculty out of thir ty-five faculty members in my home school of Purdue MSE. In the undergraduate classes I am teaching, typically there are 5-8 female students among the total of 30-40 student. The ratio of 1:4.5 is of concern but it is comparably better than many other engineering fields. There are a lot of work we have to do to slowly make the changes. I am hiring 1-2 female Ph.D. candidates each year to ensure my group diversity and gender balance. Another challenge is that the stereotype on “the boys are better than girls in STEM” continues to influence our young generations. My 13-years-old daughter always doubts about her ability in math and science despite she has excellent scores in all her classes. More work is needed to help girls gain their confidence. Such efforts can initiate from every one of us. For all the women in workplace, career-family balance is anoth er major challenge. Because of the extensive periods of childbirth, breast-feeding, and raising family, many of the working women have to quit or temporarily quit jobs at the very early stage of their careers, which influences their long-term career. There shall be effective work and employment policies to pro tect women in workplace.

HW: My research group is currently working on many research directions in the areas of new ceramic and ceramic-based com posite materials for more compactable microelectronic devices, new photonic structures, thin film Li-ion batteries, and efficient fuel cells. Another interesting and fundamental direction is to design and processing ductile ceramics through defect engi neering. Usually, ceramics will break into pieces easily under high impacts, i.e., poor toughness, despite the fact that they are very hard, much harder than most of the metals. They behave very different from metallic materials, where metals generate various defects to accommodate the external high impacts, and then deform without breaking into pieces. We are designing ce ramics with those defects to mimic “metals” and making them “tough” and unbreakable.

HW: I recall many memorable moments in my career. But the most memorable ones are the Ph.D. graduation ceremo nies where I grant the Ph.D. regalia on the shoulder of my Ph.D. students on stage. In the past 16 years, I have graduated 38 Ph.D. students and they are now working as professors in universities, researchers at national labs and senior processing engineers at semiconductor industries, such as Intel, Micron, IBM, Applied Materials. I am so proud of their achievements and witnessing their growth!

Q: During Covid-19 you developed a hybrid plasmon ic thin-film. Can you tell us what led to this design and how it’s being used?

Small Businesses and Female Owners

Women of past decades and centuries were often kept down by societal standards. They in many cases felt as though they had no op tion 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 sit uation is totally different now, however, and without a doubt for the better. Women are rapidly discovering that they have more op tions than ever. It doesn’t matter if a woman wants to pursue a life as a small business own er. It doesn’t matter if she wants to go after a rewarding career as a staff member for a mas sive corporation, either. Women are gaining major traction in all sorts of career divisions.

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.

They’re setting fantastic examples for young girls that are part of newer generations, too.

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 wom en’s golf was played, viewed and covered. 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 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 Col lection of high-end women’s golf apparel and ANNIKA Course Design. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foun dation, 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. The Foundation annually conducts six major tourna

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, SportsBusi ness 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 de spite not competing since the 2008 season. She repre sented 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 suc cessful 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.

ments in the United States, Sweden (2), China, Argenti na 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 AN NIKA Award presented by Stifel in 2014, which is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer.

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 uti lize her talents to entertain important clients, reward top performing employees, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. Annika is a driven, leader with a vast net work 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, Calla way, Cutter & Buck, Cabot Saint Lucia, Golfing World, Lexus, Mastercard and Rolex. Her Twitter handle is @ Annika59 and Instagram handle is @annikas59. For more information:

Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the Annika Foundation, tell us what kind of opportunities it provides for young women.

AS: As a kid, I loved all sports. I played soccer, badmin ton, 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 contin ued 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.

Annika and her family having fun at a photo shoot.

Q: You started playing Golf at a young age, what inspired you to pursue it professionally?

AS: We started the ANNIKA Foundation in 2007 to

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: You’ve accomplished so much as a Professional Golfer, Businesswoman, and mentor to many young women. Has it been a smooth AS:road? 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 hind sight 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 the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

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 con stantly busy.

The Foundation annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls. They are the award-winning AJGA tournament, the ANNIKA Invitational present ed 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 Zea Withland. 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: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?

Q: Have any of your alumnae gone on to pursue a professional career in Golf?

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: Each year we have over 600 girls from over 50 dif ferent 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.

AS: I have been fortunate to have a lot of very memo rable 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.

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 organi zations 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.

During the Civil War, over 400 women enlisted as se cret 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 dis charged in 1868 after a physician discovered her sta tus as a Throughoutfemale.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. DunwoodyDunwoody. was directly commissioned into the Wom en’s Army Corps in 1975 following graduation from college. In 1992, she became the first woman to com mand 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.

ince this country was founded, women have proudly served as active members in the U.S. military. From battlefield nurses to full mem bers of the military, their active roles in the armed forces have inspired change for women across the Militaryboard.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.

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 Weap ons 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.

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


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 oper ated by a hard-working woman. Women are quickly learning about all of the ins and outs that are associated with keep ing 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 ca reers. There are also many women who are having serious epiphanies. They’re realizing that they can opt to be their own boss es 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 wom en who are keen on the concept of en trepreneurship as of late? Women are no and Small Businesses of All Kinds


longer taking others telling them that they cannot accomplish cer tain objectives. Women are not sitting back and settling for things. They’re standing up for them selves. 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 are becoming more supportive of their fellow female en trepreneurs, too. It’s not atypical to see women giving their full sup port 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 el ementary 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 indus tries. 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 wom en will go next. Small businesses that are run by women are going to become even more ubiquitous.

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 politi cian who began serving as the President of the Eu ropean Central Bank in November 2019. She previ ously 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 an ti-trust lawyer, she was the first woman to be ap pointed Chair of Baker & McKenzie, a leading in ternational 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 Tech nology. She worked as an assistant professor at Princeton before accepting a position as a profes sor at the University of California, Berkeley. Romer 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 Admin istration 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 Econom ic 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.

Dr. Stefania Paredes Fuentes is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of War wick. Dr. Fuentes is a noted lecturer who coordi nated Economic modules at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. She is involved with research in Macroeconomics and Development Economics, Institutional Economics, and Economics and Eco nomic History of Latin America. In January 2020, Dr. Fuentes is organizing the first workshop of its kind on Economics for Women Students at the Uni Congresswomanversity.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Con gress. 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 fed eral 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 glob al warming.


This is Why the Me Too Movement is So Important

It is a platform that encourages victims of sexual harassment to share their experienc es 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 best way to find a solution to a social problem is to create aware ness. Social media has helped in spreading the message across. An ex ample of a life-changing movement created on social media is the ‘Me Too’ campaign. What is the Me Too Movement?



Women feel safer in the workplace. The office is notorious for inappro priate 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. Or ganizations are taking sexual harass ment 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 attitudes of people towards wom en 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 re sult, there are more empowered wom en in Womensociety.feellike 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 Womentreatment.can hold perpetrators responsible for inappropriate behavior. They can say what they have experienced, and people won’t judge them. Every one has a right to be heard.

The founder of this movement is Ta rana 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 ha rassment. 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?

By Carole Pertofsky, M.Ed. Director, Wellness and Health Promotion Services at Stanford University

I don’t know what goes through this guy’s mind when he awakens at 3 in the morn ing. 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 of fers 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 expe rience 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 dis playing arrogance or entitlement as val or? Consider the power of gratitude as an antidote to this deep well of discontent. Gratitude isn’t just a soft filmy blur of appre ciation. 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 au thor 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

I was meeting up with friends in the latest hot restaurant in Palo Alto. As I walked towards my group, a very cool look ing 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 Ele phant 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 at titude plays out in his life? Wonder how this message impacts those around him?


3 Good Things:. Begin a “gratitude” journal and several times a week, write down 3 good things that hap pened. 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 dis contentment.

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 disap pointments, and just like me, this person wants to be con tent 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 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 appre ciate 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.

or form gratitude takes, it fills us with a warmth and a re minder that life is good; this moment is special. Gratitude provides lessons to make us stronger. It is more than ap preciation- 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 con nection. 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.

KJS: Not yet! My older daughter graduates this year. Please send me advice on Twitter: @katies!

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

KJS: I’ve greatly appreciated all the countries I’ve been fortunate to spend time in, but I’ve always felt a strong personal connection with France. I like the way Thomas Jeffer son put it; “a walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and the point of life.”

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: Can you share with us some of the advancements and discoveries Color Genomics has KJS:made?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.

Q: Tell us about your hobbies outside of work?

Q: How do you achieve work-life balance?

KJS: There is still plenty of gender bias in our society and structural barriers that make it difficult for women to rise to the top: lack of access to paid leave, affordable childcare, and equal pay. We’re mak ing progress, but not fast enough. We need to keep pushing and make it easier for women to stay in the workplace, advance quickly, and get paid fairly.

KJS: One of the biggest challenges for women is economic power. It’s also one of our biggest opportu nities. I’m thrilled that the Gates Foundation has committed $170 million towards improving economic leverage for women worldwide. According to Melinda Gates, “when money flows into the hands of women who have the authority to use it, everything changes.”

1. Are the people smart and ethical?

Q: Can you offer advice to parents with daughters graduating from high school?

KJS: There are 4 core values that help me decide on new roles:

Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?

7. Don’t worry about the job title - do your best work and the title and prominence will follow.

Q: Can you share with us your experience working at the White House and State Department?

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!

KJS: I would love to look back in 2023 to see that Color helped eliminate all hereditary conditions, including breast and ovarian cancers, caused by genetic mutations.

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.

2. Is this a product I would use?

Q: Which woman inspires you and why?

Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far? KJS: I can Tweet reasonably well. :)

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their KJS:organizations?

KJS: I love Zumba with Ula Ghosheh. She’s the best instructor. I’m the worst in the class.

KJS: My daughters, Ellie and Kiki. They’re passionate, fearless, strong, curious, and funny. Most impor tantly, they are focused on making a positive difference in the world!

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

3. Is this an opportunity I would be proud of? 4. Can I make an impact? 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.

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

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.

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.

KJS:  Working in the Obama Administration was the honor of a lifetime. At the White House, I served as the Director of Citizen Participation, trying to make it easier for citizens to engage with the govern 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 partici pants could Tweet and text questions (even when these tools were blocked in China).

6. Choose wisely. Look for a manager and team that help you be your best self.

A Conversations with Katie Jacobs Stanton, CMO of Color & Former Vice President of Global Media at Twitter

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: What do you enjoy most about living in the Bay Area?

1. Build your own personal Board of Directors. Cultivate relationships with people you admire, seek out their advice and collaborate with them on projects you’re passionate about. For example, I’m a founding partner of #Angels, which I started with five of my friends from Twitter. We share access to deals, networks and opportunities. I also lean on entrepreneurs and execs including Tina Sharkey, Dan Rosensweig, Dick Costolo and Elad Gil for career and industry advice.

Q: You were an Angel Investor for Color Genomics … what made you decide to step in as Chief Marketing Officer?

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

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.

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 po sition. 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 sugges tion 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 coun selor 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 knowl edge 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.

• And thirdly, guidance in how to im prove your skills. Within the context of a mentoring relationship the Men tor 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 val ues. Professional organizations in your field, whether they offer formal mento ring programs or not, can be excellent sources of Mentors. Test the waters by asking for advice first. Be open to shar ing your concerns and fears. Mentors are most likely to in vest themselves in those in whom they see a little of them Don’tselves.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 technol ogies 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!

Want to Advance your Career? Find a Mentor!

By Dr. Frumi Rachel Barr

• Assistance finding connections, the “whos” who can help you get where you’d like to be more quickly. The ques tion to ask is “who do you know who….”