Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Rose’s son Abram is on the autism spectrum. For Rose Morris, the will to make sure that her son had a safe place to sleep, showed her the way. That way led to the creation of the Safety Sleeper. As a result of her will, parents of children with special needs are sleeping better knowing that their children are safe. Rose did not wait for someone else to solve her problem. Because of her drive, so many families are feeling more secure. Rose created Abram’s Nation, a company that with The Safety Sleeper has served over 1500 families.
Recognition for what Rose and her company have created and continue to create,is ongoing. In 2010 Rose received the 40 under 40 award from Pittsburgh Magazine. Abram’s Nation has been honored for contributing to the special needs community. In addition to the Safety Sleeper, Rose Co-Founded Fund It Forward. Fund It Forward, is a non-profit Rose created to help families get adaptive equipment not covered by insurance. 2018 saw Rose appointed to the Western Pennsylvania District Export Council. The Pittsburgh Business Times honored Rose with the 2018 Women of Influence Award. And Abram’s Nation was awarded the 2017 Exporter of the Year by the Small Business Association.
Rose has adapted and redirected life plans over the years. She has learned to focus on what is important, taking it one day at a time. Rose’s mission is simple – providing practical products with real solutions for special needs problems. Rose’s vision for Abram’s Nation -to be devoted to special needs families around the world.
Find out how it all started and more. A conversation with Rose Morris, Founder & President of Abram’s Nation and Co-Founder of Fund It Forward. The beginning, the middle and what’s next.
Theresa Carroll, is a successful business woman who balanced family and career. And she learned how to succeed in a male dominated business.Take a look at the top five women entrepreneurs in Greenwich, CT and you’ll find Theresa’s name.
Although a graduate of Western Michigan University, Theresa had grown up in an era where a woman’s main job was to be good a wife. And so, that’s what she set out to do. Two years after her first child was born, the National Organization for Women was founded. The following years saw more women entering the workforce and things were going to change. Itching to do something while her children were in school full time, Theresa made her debut into the world of entrepreneurship.
As a result, in 1991 Theresa became co-owner of Carrol & Calani, a casting company located in New York City. NYC was the ideal location because the commute allowed her to be home to make and enjoy dinner with her family. Career and family balancing act.
Then Theresa found her passion in the hospitality space. And with 1997 came the co-ownership and building of the award winning restaurant Thomas Henkelmann and the Homestead Inn. Theresa applied her business expertise and acumen along with her insight into the international luxury hospitality market. Then she added those skills with her decades of interior design experience and the result was spectacular. Theresa had and continues to create, a modern showcase of elegance, warmth and sophistication.
‘Boy, it’s been an interesting time to be a woman because we’re groundbreaking.’
So how did this mother of seven become a successful business woman?
A successful mother and a successful business woman…here’s some of what you’ll hear:
Balancing career and family
Fighting to be listened to
Not being afraid to ask
Creating the Homestead Inn and Thomas Henkelmann
Being assertive, not aggressive
Reopening in the midst of the pandemic and what she has control over
Meet Persis … She just turned 93!
She’s taking her daily 2 mile walk! Persis drives her new 2020 pearl white Subaru to wherever she wants to go, pops the hatchback, pulls out her walker and off she goes!
Persis is a woman who keeps busy. She defies the myths – she’s on social media, she texts and she Zooms. And yes – there’s the 2 mile daily walks. These days she does divide them into two 1 mile walks, morning and afternoon. Her knee replacement less than two years ago slowed her down just a little. Or so she says.
We talked about how Covid has changed her life and how she makes sure to stay positive and engaged. Persis saw how so many single women in her retirement village appeared to be depressed during the three months that they were quarantined. She made it a point to reach out to them, to let them know that they were not alone.
To pass some of the time, Persis was on Facebook tracking down old friends and acquaintances. If they were no longer around, she found their relatives and delighted them with stories that she shared. In either case, they laughed, they cried and they connected. Persis keeps in touch with them, it’s never a one-off. You’ll hear how she tracked down one after a month long search. Because of her perseverance, she now has a new friend in Arizona.
Persis and her late husband Bill started Appplewild, an Independent elementary day school in Massachusetts. Persis taught in the Newtown Massachusetts public schools, the Chapin School in New York City and was the Director of Admissions at the Windsor School in Boston, A graduate of Vassar College, Persis is the proud mom of Liz, a physician in Maine, Bill, a venture capitalist in Florida and Tom, Director of Financial Operations at a NYC non-profit. And let’s not forget that she is grandmother to seven.
Hear the rhythm. Feel the beat. Music has the ability to move you no matter what kind you listen to. On sunny days, rainy days, blue days, whether happy or sad, there is something to be said for hearing the rhythm and feeling the beat.
Debbie Shapiro Gravitte is a Broadway star, Tony Award winning actress, singer and dancer with both Grammy and Emmy nominations. Debbie is also a producer and Founder of the All-Female Production Company Group5Productions. And I am delighted to say, Debbie is my guest this week.
Debbie won her Tony for Jerome Robbin’s Broadway and is one of Broadway’s biggest personalities. She made her debut in the original cast of They’re Playing Our Song and went on to appear in Perfectly Frank (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Blues in the Night, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Zorba, Chicago and Les Miserables. Debbie has been in the Encore’s series productions of ‘The Boys From Syracuse’, ‘Tenderloin’ and ‘Carnival’ at New York City’s City Center.
She’s performed her nightclub act worldwide, from New York’s 54 Below to London’s Pizza on the Park. Debbie is a favorite with Symphony audiences and has sung with over 175 Orchestras around the world. There’s more. Debbie co-starred on the CBS series ‘Trial and Error’ and has starred in several PBS specials. Debbie also has four solo CD’s to her credit. I almost forgot, you can find Debbie in the Bette Midler movie ‘Isn’t She Great’.
Daring to be different
For Martina Kwan, born in Hong Kong to a German mother and Chinese father, being different started right there. Martina was 8 years old when the sounds of war were surrounding her and her family in war torn Beirut, Lebanon. The next 2 years of her young life would be the defining years that have led Martina to living fearlessly.
Is it ever too late to try something new? Think again. At the age of 50 Martina took her hobby of race car driving up a notch, and became the world’s only Female Chinese/European race car driver. Did I mention that she is a three time champion? That’s 3-time champion in a male-dominated racing category in her Porsche 911.
By now you must know that this is not all that Martina has accomplished. She worked for some of the biggest finance and accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG. And she was Senior Management for the Ian Schrager properties. Not finished yet…Martina became an entrepreneur, winning Telly and Emmy awards for the first company she founded, So! Animation. A candid conversation about daring to be different. Daring to be different and how an Arabian horse changed a hobby into a champion.
2018 was an explosion of women running for office, approximately 256 women candidates. And at least 90 of those women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Among those women was a 32 year old woman named Katie Hill.
When Katie Hill was asked about running for Congress in 2017, it wasn’t something that she had been contemplating. She had a successful career as …… and she had no prior experience with politics. But after the 2016 election, she decided, Why Not?
Katie was among the youngest members of the historic freshman class that flipped the house and the first openly bisexual member of Congress. But that’s not all. Katie was elected by her colleagues to be the Freshman Co-Representative of Leadership. A position that meant that Katie worked directly with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.
And then the world came crashing down. Scandal, nude photos and a relationship with a campaign staffer had her resigning from office. The photos had been taken by her now ex-husband without her consent and published in what can only be called, revenge. The relationship with a campaign staffer was poor judgement, as Katie has admitted.
Schools all over the country are scrambling to figure out how to open due to the pandemic. Several months have passed since schools closed and went to online teaching. For many students and parents it has been a difficult transition. Now think about all of the parents with special needs children and their children. Regina Skyer has spent her career advocating for the education of children with disabilities. And the pandemic has brought even more attention to their struggles.
When does a parent start to advocate for their child? What can a parent do? Are there actual resources? I turned to Regina Skyer, founder of Skyer Law, a special education law firm. Their sole purpose: advocating, mediating and litigating on behalf of children with special education needs.
Regina is a leading special education lawyer. After a fifteen-year career as a social worker and special education administrator, she entered the City University of New York Public Interest Law School for the sole purpose of working with special needs children and their families. Prior to opening her practice, Regina worked as a pro-bono volunteer attorney at Advocates for Children. In 2015 she published a resource for parents of preschool age children, How to Survive Turning 5: The handbook for NYC parents of special needs children.
Patricia Walsh Chadwick’s ‘Little Sister’ You can’t imagine.
Imagine being a 6 year old girl and you and your siblings are no longer allowed to live with your parents. Now imagine not being able to call them Mom and Dad. How about not being allowed to speak to them even if they walked by you? Now imagine being cruelly punished because you spoke to a boy. Keep imagining – you are now 17 and “kicked out” of the only place you have lived. You’re thrown into a world you know nothing about. You’re told its a world of sin and danger. No, you do not even know how to use a telephone. Imagine that as you are writing your story, it takes your daughter putting a word on that place you lived for those 17 years.
Did you guess it? The word is CULT. You won’t find that word in Patricia’s memoir. Listen as Patricia tells her story that at times can be impossible to fathom. The story of intelligent men and women and their children, Little Sisters and Little Brothers, and the cult-like community that was led by an excommunicated Catholic priest, Leonard Feeney and a very sadistic nun, Sister Catherine.
‘My story is about family that may have been separated but couldn’t be broken.’
Patricia Walsh Chadwick did learn how to make a phone call. By working as a teacher and taking out loans, Patricia graduated summa cum laude from Boston University and started her career in finance. Ms. Chadwick is the founder and president of Ravengate Partners LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to providing businesses and non-profit institutions with education and advice about the financial markets and the global economy. Patricia lives in Greenwich, CT with her husband of more than 35 years and their two children.
Everyone wants to get out right now (even if we can’t), and the bestselling debut Life of the Party by Tea Hacic-Vlahovic is the perfect escape. It-girl Tea Hacic-Vlahovic’s many hats include writer/columnist for Wired, Vice (among others), performer, comedian, TV host, and filmmaker.
Tea is a smart, fun, exciting presence, and her true-life adventures inspired a book you won’t put down until you finish! A welcome respite, not to mention, some great stories! Think Fear and loathing in Las Vegas…
What are outgoing people–people who love being social–doing to manage isolation and shelter in place? Millions at home feel stir crazy right now and can’t get out, especially people who love restaurants, parties and nightlife. Tea lets us in on ways to infuse some energy and fun into our nights at home.
Social media and creativity- Tea discusses how creative people can survive using a variety of platforms from Instagram live to Zoom.
Virtual social life- Everyone needs to connect with people, and Tea is a master at using every platform available to reach out to people. From Zoom parties to Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat, Tea illuminates the many ways to “see” people, stay safe and still have a good time.
From party girl to professional, you don’t have to wear sweats and look dumpy to be comfortable at home and online. Tea offers some easy tips to looking good and making the most out of your online visits.
Tea Hacic-Vlahovic is a Croatian-American writer based in Los Angeles. Formerly a columnist for Vice and Wired Italy, contributing editor of Wonderland Magazine, director of Bullett TV and contributor to i-D, Dazed, Oyster, Flaunt and Autre Magazine. She’s the founder and creative director of a satirical art magazine based in Milan called STAI ZITTA.
Dr. Foster is the author of “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, A Thousand Women, And The Consequences of Having – Or Being Denied – An Abortion.” The study compares the physical health, mental health, financial circumstances and family life of these two groups of women. And that the assumption that women feel regret, is not correct. In fact, the study showed that 95% of women who receive an abortion later reported that it was the right decision for them.
The author led a ten-year study of a thousand women, comparing those who received abortions shortly before reaching a state’s gestational limit with those who did not—because they didn’t learn early enough that they were pregnant, couldn’t travel to a provider, or couldn’t afford the escalating costs of a later abortion. Drawing on her research and on first-person narratives, the book illustrates how women denied abortions were more likely to struggle financially, suffer domestic violence, and experience short-term anxiety, while women who obtained abortions tended to experience better physical and mental health. One woman, reflecting on an abortion that enabled her to focus on her teen-age daughter and find a job, says, “It’s an ordinary life, but it’s an extravagant, wonderful ordinary life.”
Diana is a professor and demographer who uses quantitative models and analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of family planning policies and the effect of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives. She leads the Turnaway Study, a nationwide longitudinal prospective study of the health and well-being of women who seek abortion including both women who do and do not receive the abortion. She is collaborating with scientists on a Nepal Turnaway Study. Dr. Foster has worked on the evaluation of the California State family planning program, Family PACT. This work demonstrated the effectiveness of the program in reducing the incidence of unintended pregnancy and the effect of dispensing a one year supply of contraception. Dr. Foster created a new methodology for estimating pregnancies averted based on a Markov model and a microsimulation to identify the cost-effectiveness of advance provision of emergency contraception. In 2017, Dr. Foster received the Robert A. Hatcher Family Planning Mentor Award by the Society of Family Planning; a transcript of her acceptance speech is available here. Dr. Foster received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, her MA and PhD in Demography and Public Policy from Princeton University.
Women, Business and Entrepreneurship – Does everyone fit the description? So what does it take? What are the obstacles that women face? Fran answers these questions and much more.
Finding herself a single mom with very jobs available, Fran took the bull by the horn. Fran embarked on her own venture and founded Connecticut Business Development Center. And CBDC is a leading organization championing female entrepreneurship and women’s economic equity. The council provides training, education and access to capital for women entrepreneurs and business owners.
Fran’s background is quite extensive. She served a 3-year term as an appointed member to the President’s National Women’s Business Council (NWBC). In addition, Fran serves on the Board of Women Impacting Public Policy. In conjunction with the U.S. State Department and University of Connecticut’s Office of Global Affairs, Fran taught women entrepreneurs in rural Costa Rica financial management and business strategies. She has served as a US Delegate to the 2015 Istanbul Women’s Summit. Over the past two years Fran has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions and was instrumental in the passage of legislation benefiting women entrepreneurs.
Caroline Labouchere was living a fabulous life until she wasn’t. Always counting on her husband to provide, a rude awakening came the day that he was no longer employed. Caroline’s husband worked for the British Army which had always provided them with a secure lifestyle. He had taken a post in Dubai. All was great until the post no longer existed.
Caroline had made the choice years before to be a wife and mother and leave the providing to her husband. Except now, through no fault of his own, he wasn’t providing. How did Caroline go from anger and fright taking control of her life?
On this week’s podcast I talk with Caroline about taking control of your life. It’s possible at any age. Caroline had never been a model, but at 54 she became the grey ambassador and model who has been on the cover of British Vogue 8 times.
Olivia Wells has spent her life being an advocate for human rights. Specifically the human rights of women. Olivia advocates for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She is the director of Programs & Impact Nadia’s Initiative. The initiative actively works to persuade governments and international organizations to support the sustainable redevelopment of the Yazidi homeland. Nadia Murad is the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative. In 2014, Nadia was among the many kidnapped when ISIS attacked her homeland. Nadia did manage to escape.
Olivia Wells has her Master’s degree in Human Rights Law. Her expertise is in gender-based violence, international criminal law, and genocide prevention with a regional focus on the Middle East. Over the past six years, she has worked with several European and American NGOs. She has worked on the ground with marginalized communities in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Southern Africa to help implement community led development. She has also worked with refugee aid programs in Southern Europe and is responsible for initiating several psychosocial support projects for refugees in Athens, Greece.
We talk about what drove Olivia to human rights, how she met Nadia Murad, the programs that they have planned and the affect of the pandemic.
Gayle Kabaker, is a world renowned artist and freelance illustrator. Gayle powerfully captures the essence of empowering women on canvas. And in 2019 she was asked to do just that. But it wasn’t just one woman or even a couple of women. The project,100 women in just over a year. 100 portraits on canvas: ‘Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower.’ The women are from all over the world. There’s a mixture of household names and unsung heroines in the front lines of change. Among the portraits: Leah Lizarondo, co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, Nadia Murad, human rights advocate and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx.
Gayle is a freelance illustrator covering everything from fashion and general illustration, to animation, logo and brand development. Her work has graced the cover of New Yorker magazine four times. Gayle’s first New Yorker magazine cover was, ‘June Brides’ celebrating gay marriage in 2012. In addition to painting, Gayle has written, directed and produced two award winning 5 minute movies – The Great Ashfield Pancaper and Pandcaper 2 – Mr. Jones Strikes Back. Gayle graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She moved to Western Massachusetts over 30 years ago with her husband artist Peter Kitchell.
What if we never had any expectations? How would we know what our limits were? Would we ever know if we had exceeded our limits?
And what if we stopped perceiving that we couldn’t? And now what if we stopped perceiving that they couldn’t?
Limitless possibilities is what No Limits Cafe is all about. Based on the belief that adults with Intellectual Disabilities can be successful and relevant, Stephanie Cartier and her husband Mark set out to prove just that. No Limits Cafe is a new-concept eatery, a 501 (c) (3) employing and training people with intellectual disabilities. Their motto: Eat Well – Do Good. By the time they opened, they had 33 trained and ready to go. All 33 are adults with intellectual disabilities.
How did a former portfolio advisor and stay-at-home-mom decide that this was her next chapter?
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.