In this crazy world we seem to be connected 24/7/365. So what would happen if we took some time off? Maybe start with an hour or jump right to a day.
Sounds scary? Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and author of ’24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week’ does just that. For the last 10 years, Tiffany and her family have unplugged one day a week, from Friday night to Saturday night. It’s been a way for her family to make an oasis for themselves and focus on what matters.
Tiffany explains how this came about and why it is so important, especially in these times of unease and unknown. We talk about unplugging, her documentaries, Challah baking via Zoom and so much more.
Tiffany is the founder of the Webby Awards, and Co-Founder & Executive Director of Let It Ripple Film Studio. She has won over 80 awards and distinctions for her films and work, including selection for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s initiative Genius: 100 Visions For the Future. And she’s been named by Newsweek as ‘one of the women shaping the 21st century.’
Four of her films have premiered at Sundance, including her acclaimed feature documentary ‘Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death & Technology.’ Her film ’50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present and Future of Women + Power’ premiered live at TEDWomen. Her films and art installations have shown at museums including MoMA NYC and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
Tiffany lives in Northern California with her husband and collaborator Ken Goldberg and their two daughters Odessa and Blooma.
Alka Joshi’s mother married at 18 in an arranged marriage, as was the custom in India in the 1950’s. The choice was not hers. But what if she had fled and not married? What if she had been able to make her own choices? The Henna Artist is Alka’s story of what if. Ten years of research, ten years in the writing and we have the story of one woman’s journey to be self-made and discover herself. Choices that we have and those we don’t have or didn’t have, Alka expresses it all through the artistry in The Henna Artist.
Alka Joshi’s debut novel is on the New York Times Bestseller List, Reese Witherspoon’s May Book club pick and one of Ms. Magazine’s ‘8 Books That Will Transport You’. Born in the desert state of Rajasthan in India, her family immigrated to America in 1967. Alka has lived in India, Italy and France. She and her husband currently live in California. Alka earned her BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco. Alka has spent over 30 years in marketing and is the CEO of Alka Joshi Marketing.
This week I talk with two different women, each making an impact in these crazy times. One who is spreading Happiness and the other, Gratitude.
Donna VanderPoel, Creator of Stamford CT Rocks, Mother, Student, Former Teacher and ‘I Spy’. ‘I Spy this, I Spy that’ was a game that Donna noticed so many parents were repeatedly doing with their children. The pandemic and social distancing were having parents pull from their childhood. An oldie and sometime goodie, Donna thought that there had to be something a little better. And so, Stamford CT Rocks was born. Yes, rock painting, hiding rocks, and finding the hidden rocks was not new. But this was different, it was taking place on social media for her New England town of Stamford, CT during a pandemic. Within 3 weeks Stamford CT Rocks had over 738 members. And its members now include people from near and far. Seems that spreading happiness and bringing smiles to people, is not a small thing.
Lauren Zajac, Chief Legal Officer for WorkHuman, single full time working mom of 3, stumbled at the beginning. Twin teenage girls and a fifteen year old son, home schooling, working from home and running the house, just a slight change to her her daily life. Lauren discovered the opportunity to gain a balanced perspective due to the pandemic. Her children were deputized, yes deputized. Life may not always be perfect and days may be different than planned but Lauren took a deep breadth and realized that this could be the time to take a pause, look around and be grateful for things that she taken for granted. Gratitude is what Lauren is spreading. Her journey has not always been easy and the house may be messy at times, but even when life is not all roses, gratitude is what has led to her success. She is sharing her journey.
Both women are spreading happiness and gratitude during these strange times. Two things that can sometimes make days easier, even for just a little while.
Only 6 months to live? Hah, that was over 10 years ago and Indie Lee is still going strong. She knew what she needed to do and nothing was going to stand in her way. A planner all her life, the plan that she had created was not going to work anymore. We’re given bumps along the way of life, Indie was given mountains. From making home grown ‘tush’ cream for her new nephew, to creating a clean skin care company, Indie speaks to me about the life changing words she heard: Welcome to the rest of your life. How would your life change if you were told that you only had six months to live?
Educating people about what we put on our skin, is Indie’s mission. After learning that 60% of what we apply to our skin may be absorbed in as little as 26 seconds, Indie’s journey has led her to the creation of a clean beauty collection, inspiring and empowering people to be mindful as to what we put on our skin as well as into our body.
Ida Morris is a mom, writer, marketer, lover of cooking and CEO of the Morris Family Kitchen. And oh yes, winner of the Covid-19 Cooking Challenge.
Food has always been a symbol of family and bringing people together. In these strange and uncharted times, we need connection. Meet Ida, MacGyver and Mary Poppins rolled into one amazing lady. Ida is an inspiration to all, cooks or not. She not only cooks, but she gathers her family and friends in ways that some of us would never have thought possible. People are following her not just for her recipes, but to see what she has discovered. Discovered in that pantry of hers. Ida is our cooking MacGyver. She’s able to adapt on the run – don’t have a specific ingredient, Ida to the rescue. Ida is Mary Poppins, you never know what she is going to pull from her pantry.
Hope, inspiration and creativity. Let’s not forget that part. Many have followed her example of a Covid Cooking Challenge and many are waiting with watering mouths for her next meal. Vicariously that is. Listen to a fun conversation in times that we could all use a reason to smile.
Illana Raia is the founder of Être Girls. ‘Who exactly do you want to be?’ – Être Girls, a knowledge strategy and a resource and mentorship platform for girls approaching high school. Do your children know much about your career? Do they think of you as the cook, driver, cleaner, supplier of your clothes and other various items? When Illana realized that her daughter had no clear idea of what she actually did or that the women who she was around were accomplished women in their own right, Illana decided she wanted to change that. Illana was determined to make sure that young girls knew that there are many options to choose from. And so, the beginnings of Être Girls.
Illana is the author of Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be?, a former Skadden Arps lawyer, guest lecturer at Columbia University, and a contributor to HuffPost, Ms. Magazine and Thrive Global. Illana was named a Mogul Influencer in 2017 and has appeared in the HuffPost “Talk To Me” video series and participated in the 2019 #WomenWhoRock campaign.
“Say their name. Say their name out loud.”
Gillian Anderson is starting a mental health revolution. Abby was just 15 when she succumbed to suicide. Abby is Gillian’s daughter.
The rate of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States who have died by suicide, has sharply risen in the past couple of years. Suicide is thought to be the second leading cause of death for Americans between 10 and 34.
Gillian’s mission now is to get rid of the stigma and shame of depression and anxiety. How did Gillian stay strong enough to make sure that Abby’s friends understood that Abby suffered from an illness? She founded My Friend Abby whose mission is to empower youth and young adults to actively create peer to peer connections. And to make sure that the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness is eliminated.
Before founding My Friend Abby, Gillian worked as Development Director for WSHU Public Radio.
Mysteries. Ariana Neumann, is the author of When Time Stopped, A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains, a New York Times Bestseller. Ariana’s father had never spoken about his past. Her father left her the pieces to a puzzle. As a child she had always dreamed of being a detective. As an adult, she put her childhood dream to use and uncovered a family that had been veiled in silence, her family.
Have you ever wondered if you have relatives living far away? Or maybe even in the next town over? Ariana discovered a family she never knew and the secrets of her father’s past, years spent hiding in plain sight in war-torn Berlin. According to the New York Times reviewer, “The story she uncovers is worthy of fiction with hairpin plot twists, daredevil acts of love and unexpected moments of humor in dark times.”
Mysteries. At a young age Ariana found a box in her father’s study containing an identity card with her father’s picture. The mystery, the card had someone else’s name on it. More than 20 years later that box led her on a journey that would reveal her father’s struggle. A struggle of survival during the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, a part of his life she never knew. It’s a story of love and heroism and the discovery of a family she never knew existed.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Ariana has a BA in History and French Literature from Tufts University, an MA in Spanish and Latin American Literature from New York University and a PgDIP in Psychology of Religion from University of London. She previously was involved in publishing, worked as a foreign correspondent for Venezuela’s The Daily Journal and her writing also appeared in The European.
She currently lives in London with her husband, three children, a basset fauve de Bretagne, a border terrier and a rescue mutt.
She’s a grandmother of 4, she’s competitive by nature, she’s a multi – winning Ironman Champion. What would you be doing at the age of 73? For Bobbe, well she’s looking forward to another win in Hawaii later this year. When did she find out that she has a competitive streak? Try 5th grade and knee raises. An inspiring woman for all ages, listen to what drives Bobbe. It really is never too late to try. We can all use some of her enthusiasm.
We just wrapped up Season 2 and will be kicking off Season 3 next Tuesday, April 7th. Conversations with inspiring, extraordinary women who are making their mark on the world by changing their lives and the lives of those around them. In these frightening, stressful times we can all use some inspiration. In case you missed any episodes of Seasons 1 and 2, or want to hear any again, you can find them on your favorite podcast platforms or on our website https://lifeapres.com/podcast/. If you know of an extraordinary, inspiring woman, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be smart and stay safe.
Suzanne Vita Palazzo, founder of Upper Deck Fitness. In motion more often than not, Suzanne is an Empowerment Coach whose philosophy is heavily rooted in the concept of mind over matter. Suzanne believes that both the body and mind were designed to progress, even if moving forward requires taking a step back to reflect. Through a combination of movement, mindfulness, and written and spoken word, Suzanne’s encourages us to live our lives: ‘with intention, strategy and plenty of opportunities to play.’ With over fifteen years in the industry, both dance and fitness, her approach directly addresses the barriers so many of us have self-constructed to stand in our own way. Suzanne has a unique way of encouraging and motivating and reminding us that it’s never too late to start taking care of ourselves.
How do you know when you have a passion for something? Anna made her solo piano debut at age seven at the Special Central Music School in Moscow, Russia. Daughter of professional musicians, Anna and her twin sister started when they were only 5. Her parents being professional musicians, she only knew a life of musical training. Immigrating to the US in 1990, this teenager quickly learned that not all teenagers where so focused. Believing that she wanted more, Anna enrolled herself into the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. Read on and you will get an idea of her passion, talent and work that she does inspiring so many through music. Her most important role, being a single mom to a delightful 6 year old daughter. We’ve included a sample of Anna’s music in this episode.
Anna has appeared with the Moscow Virtuosi, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few. She’s collaborated with Yo-Yo-Ma, David Shifrin and Peter Wiley, just to name a few. Anna has given concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Stern, just to name a few. And let’s not forget, Anna tours extensively throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Anna is a frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She is a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.
‘Gaslighting’ Is it a real thing? This word has seen a resurgence over the past few years and is becoming widely recognized. Most recently it’s being used in the political arena. But let’s not forget where it came from and how it is a real thing. Think back to the 1938 movie Gaslight. Robin Stern, Ph.D. is the author of ‘the Gaslight Effect – How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life’. Robin helps us identify the characteristics and lets us in on how to stop other people from getting inside our head.
Robin is the Co-founder and Associate Director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and an Associate Research Scientist at the Child Study Center at Yale. She is a licensed psychoanalyst and co-developer of RULER, an acronym for the five key emotion skills of recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating emotions. Robin does consulting work with schools nationally and across the globe as well as with large corporations including Facebook and Google. Robin is the co-founder of Star Factor Coaching, a model of leadership coaching anchored in the skills of emotional intelligence and was a founding member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, creating and facilitating professional development programs for aspiring women leaders.
You have an idea, one that would benefit your community but really, how do you even fathom raising the money? Why not trust neighbors to know what’s best for their neighborhood? Erin one of the inaugural fellow recipients of the Obama Foundation, co-founded ioby, a Crowdfunding platform allowing for civic participation. ioby connects local leaders with support and funding from their communities to make neighborhoods more sustainable, healthier, greener, more livable and more fun.
Erin was the environmental editor at Men’s Journal magazine and a freelance writer on climate change and other environmental issues. She also worked as a community organizer and public information officer at the Save Our Wild Salmon in Portland, Oregon. Erin and her co-founders were awarded the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Technology and Innovation.
What does it take to pack up your car and move across the country for a dream? Jackie did just that. Always a homebody, she had decided to go to college not far from her Connecticut family home. But Jackie had the feeling that she was missing out on something. With determination she packed up her car and moved to San Diego, California. Nope, no job waiting for her. That didn’t stop her from setting out and getting hired by a top boutique hotel on the beach in San Diego. Getting her feet wet, so to speak, and turning the hotel from #11 on Trip Advisor to #3, Jackie knew that she wanted to go back East. New York City was where she landed and she is now taking Manhattan by storm. Jackie tells shares her story of perseverance, determination and knowledge of treating people right. All of which have turned into the company that she started. A company that provides unique experiences for people who actually put down their cellphones and meet new people while giving back to the community.
We are living longer these days. What does ‘successful aging’ mean? We have childhood, adulthood and…? How about Elderhood? Elderhood now can span forty years of our lives or more. Louise is the author of the New York Times bestseller Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life. Louise lets us in on breaking through some of the myths that surrounds age and numbers. It’s not a disease. Let’s debunk the myths. Let’s re-examine the meaning of aging.
A practicing geriatrician, Louise has served as director of the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center, is a Harvard-trained geriatrician and award winning author. Louise has recently appeared on morning shows including NBC’s The Today Show.
“Vocal Versatility and an omnivorous curiosity.” – The New York Times
“Adventurous mezzo-soprano” and “raconteur” – The New Yorker
Is it possible to shrug off a trauma? Is it possible to silence yourself after you’ve been raped? That’s what Lucy Dhegrae tried to do. She was 19, in her sixth week as a college freshman when she was drugged and raped by a student athlete. Having heard and read about other victims who had been trashed after reporting having been raped by an athlete, she remained silent. Ten years passed before the effect hit her. She suddenly lost her singing voice.
Three years, a variety of therapies and $25,000 later, she can and does talk about it. Now Lucy is on a mission with her music, exploring how music can address the aftermath of trauma; Mind and Body. Lucy shares her story so that other survivors, especially college students, will have the confidence to believe in themselves. “We can’t continue to stay numb to this. We just can’t.”
Lucy is an Artist in Residency at National Sawdust for the 2019-2020 season, presenting a muti-concert project. She was the 2018 recipient of the University Of Michigan School Of Music’s Emerging Artist Award and among the first cohort fellows with Turn the Spotlight, a new mentorship program for young professionals. Lucy is an extraordinary woman.
Can life transitions affect relationships? How can we tell the difference between anxiety and depression? Can we navigate relationships when bipolar disorder is involved? Marni helps us navigate these bewildering and sometimes traumatic times. What is negative self-talk and how do we manage to do this even when something wonderful has happened? Find out about the impact of our own unconscious sabotage. Marni is a graduate from Cornell with a B.S. in Human Development and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in health psychology, from Washington University in St. Louis. Marni is a frequent contributor to the Good Men Project, Fulfillment Daily (Science Backed News for a Healthier Life) and Memory Well.
What would you do if you walked into your kitchen and saw the words: Nurturing, Healing and Love? And they had been written by you 6 year old son who died a hero during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting? For Scarlett, it was to start the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. She began a journey to spread the message that Jesse left, those three words being the formula for choosing love and promoting social and emotional education in schools and communities. A journey that has turned personal tragedy into a positive impact in the world. Scarlett is the recipient of the International Forgiveness Award, The Live Your Legacy Award and the Common Ground. Scarlett is the author of ‘Nurturing Healing Love’, the story of her journey.
How can a recovering addict finally get and keep the sparkle in her eye? You may remember Wendy as the face of Snapple Beverage during the 1990’s. What would you do if your job gave you so much free time that you were bored? How about replying to every single piece of fan mail that was addressed to the company. That’s how Wendy got to be ‘The Snapple Lady’. But how did Wendy get there? She was an addict, drugs, drinking and food. And Wendy was 13 when the addictions started. Wendy takes us back to the beginning and boldly and openly speaks about addiction, self-worth, recovery and that sparkle that she finally saw in her eyes. A sparkle that she has never lost.
Narcissism, sometimes so elusive to recognize. But is it or are we just not willing to accept this in those surrounding us? Angie calls herself ‘Queen Beeing’ for a reason. What would you do if the narcissist turned out to be your own parent? It took 35 years to discover and some harrowing times. Angie lets us into her personal journey of deception, ‘gaslighting’ and discovery. Hear how she saved herself and in turn is helping others.
She had the perfect marriage. Really, they were madly in love. Several years later she filed for divorce. The realization that part of the compromise in the marriage was losing herself, Elizabeth knew that she had to save ‘herself’ and her self-worth. With her sons and much heartache to come, Elizabeth left the comfort of her home and started a discovery of self-awareness and so much more. Like so many women, Elizabeth had left all of the financial decisions to her husband and like so many women, she faced huge surprises. Soon to have her masters in Art Therapy, Elizabeth’s journey is still ongoing as she helps empower others along the way.
Psychological thrillers are her thing. Wendy Walker, attachment disorder, memory, online dating and dreams. Ever dream of wanting to be an Olympic Figure Skater? What if that didn’t work out? How about a Goldman Sachs Financial Analyst? Still dreaming? A law degree should do it. Family law sounds about right. Not done yet? How about International Bestselling author of Psychological Thrillers? Wendy didn’t just dream. A conversation with an extraordinary woman whose thrillers are getting the attention of Hollywood. Some dreams can come true. Wendy lets us in on some of her secrets on how she keeps going and empowers others in her path.
Bet you didn’t think that a young girl of 17 could make a huge change? Lauren proved that you don’t have to be an adult to make change. Hearing about all of the school shootings, she took it upon herself to do something. And so a Safety Lockdown Plan for Lauren’s high school was devised. A plan that has been adapted by the whole Stamford, Connecticut school system. To be clear, Lauren designed it.
The Girl Scouts have been around for over 100 years. Yes, 100 Years and they are still going strong. Who better to talk about our young girls and women empowerment as they celebrate this milestone than Mary Barneby, CEO Girl Scouts Connecticut? Mary has served as the Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Connecticut since 2012. She oversees the delivery of programs and services to nearly 20,000 girl and 16,000 adult members throughout the state of Connecticut. Mary was a Girl Scout in Brooklyn, NY and attributes the challenge of earning badges to her drive for achievement of tangible results in her personal and professional lives as an adult. Mary takes us through the journey that prepares young girls to be strong, independent women.
Two children and a great career in the beverage industry. Nice family life until the day things changed. Hope’s son was killed in action while serving his country. What did Hope do? She turned to writing. Hope, author of many novels and producer of several theatrical works, takes topics that surround us daily. Everyday life changing events, emotions, trauma and community are incorporated in all that Hope creates. And she is using her experience to empower other women.
So you don’t think you’re photographic material? Kristen takes that inner you and brings it out what you never realized you had. It’s not just a photograph. It’s so much more. Through tough times, through great times how Kristen has reinvented herself, and keeps on going. A single mom from the time her son was an infant, Kristen persevered. Now Kristen uses that empowerment and empowers others to see their own beauty, lens by lens.
Are you really vain or are you just taking care of yourself? Gina’s greatest passion is helping women become their most beautiful self. Focused on showcasing what first her clients’ individual styles while keeping them feeling relevant and modern, “As a leader in the beauty and fashion industry I feel blessed to be working with women every day which allows me to have an interchange of life so that we can both grow and evolve from our time together.” How does Gina manage in this haven for women? Gina has heard the stories. She listens. She empowers and she gives back. She’s been there and she knows.
What do you do if you’re the daughter of a legend? Kitt Shapiro has taken her mother’s mantra of Love, Kindness and Empowerment and is sharing it with us. Not just a boutique in the New England town of Westport, but a place where a woman can feel at home and find out it’s not just about the clothes. Kitt has started a new chapter in her life. Opening a clothing and accessory boutique was not what she was planning to do in her 50’s, but open she has. Hear how she has incorporated her mother’s mantra into her store.
What would you do if a habitual drunk driver killed your teenage daughter? How would you feel when you found out that it wasn’t considered a crime? For Candace Lightner, anger and determination and the birth of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Candace has been credited with saving more than 400,000 lives. Candace is a groundbreaking activist, mentor, author and spokesperson. She is widely recognized as one of the most influential American citizens of the twentieth century. Candace is credited with the successful passage of more than 700 bills at the state and national levels.
Season 1 Premieres Tuesday October 29th. Sylvia & Me, conversations with extraordinary women who are changing the world by making a difference in their lives and the lives around them. Life changing events can be frightening, exciting, overwhelming; a range of emotions. They are usually followed by decisions made by some bold, strong, independent, persevering women who open the door to a new journey. We’ll be taking journeys through conversations with these women.