Maggie Smith is the award-winning poet and author of Good Bones. This week saw the release of her latest collection of poems, Goldenrod. Maggie is the author of the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. In addition, Maggie is the author of The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Lamp of the Body, Maggie’s poems and essays are widely published and anthologized. They’ve appeared in Best American Poetry, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and elsewhere. Good Bones went viral internationally when Meryl Streep read it live at Lincoln Center.
New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi has done it again with The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. A sequel to her award winning debut novel The Henna Artist, Alka takes us on a journey with Malik. A street child in her previous novel, Malik is now a grown man living a life among the wealthy. As with The Henna Artist, Alka explores the culture among the classes in India.
Dr. Kate Biberdorf is the author of It’s Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything. Best known as Kate the Chemist, Kate is a chemistry professor, author, scientist and ultimate Science Entertainer. A self-proclaimed pyromaniac, Kate’s is on a mission to show young girls that you can be a fashionista, wear makeup and be a brilliant scientist and chemistry nerd all rolled into one.
Life has a habit of throwing us curveballs. How we handle them can be the key to how we move forward. I turned to Judith Marks-White, for some wisdom. Judith is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer, and educator. Her award-winning column, ‘In Other Words’ appears monthly in the Westport News. Judith’s articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the country and she has contributed fiction articles to numerous children’s publications. Judith wrote two novels: Seducing Harry and Bachelor Degree and is the recipient of numerous writing awards.
Pam is the New York Times bestselling author of The Woman With The Blue Star, The Lost Girls of Paris, The Orphan’s Tale, The Kommandant’s Girl, The Diplomat’s Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, The Winter Guest, The Things We Cherished, Almost Home, and A Hidden Affair. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion.
Linda K. Wertheimer is an award-winning education journalist, essayist and author. Specifically, she is an educator teaching about religion. Not preaching, but teaching. And Linda makes sure that we understand the difference between preaching and teaching. Public schools are allowed to teach about religion. Teaching about different religions goes side by side with teaching about different cultures.
‘God was not kicked out of the schools. What was kicked out of the school was illegal preaching. Teachers have always been able to teach about religion, as a part of world history, a part of geography and a part of literature.’
Linda has traveled throughout the country finding out how teachers are teaching religion. Knowledge is key to how we act and live our lives among one another. ‘In order to be a global citizen, you need to be religiously literate.’
A very educational and important conversation with Linda:
A young girl, a teacher and that’s not my religion
Mothering and speaking out
Teaching vs preaching
Public schools and religion
Varying ways of teaching
Becoming religiously literate
Fighting religious bigotry
Linda and Faith Ed
Linda is the award-author of Faith Ed. Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance. Faith Ed focuses on public school’s ups and downs as they teach about world religions. Currently Linda is a Spencer Fellow in Education Journalism at Columbia University.
Linda is a veteran journalist and former Boston Globe education editor. During her nearly 30-year journalism career, she was a reporter at The Dallas Morning News and The Orlando Sentinel as well as for other publications. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, USA Today, Time, and many other publications. Linda has appeared on several NPR radio shows, including KERA’s Think in Dallas; Radio Boston; and LA’s Air Talk, as well a nationally televised program on CBS about religion and democracy.
30 Years Behind Bars: Trials of a Prison Doctor is Karen Gedney’s story, from her first day at the prison to her last. This next chapter for Karen is advocating for prison reform and mentoring children at risk. Now out of the system, Karen is able to make herself heard about the criminal justice system.
It wasn’t until 1976 that prisons had to offer medical care if there was a serious medical need. Not only was Karen one of the first doctors in a prison, but she was also one of the first female doctors. A male prison with male inmates and male guards. Two years into her start, Karen was taken hostage and raped by one of the inmates. And yet she stayed. She stayed through the Aids epidemic, through changing of guards, through years of years of change in the system. Karen stayed because she felt she was making a difference. And she did make a difference for so many of the inmates and their families.
A riveting conversation with Karen:
A kidnapping and rape and the decision to stay
Rules, no rules and systems
Being a female in an all-male environment
She’s white, her husband is Black – they thought she gave preferential treatment to Black inmates
Evening programs and mentoring
The power of redemption
Seeing the results
Advocating for criminal justice & prison reform
From the start of her law education, Susan Bandes discovered that emotions and law are connected. She felt anger about the reasoning behind a decision that had been handed down by the courts. It was a case discussed in one of her first law classes. But Susan stayed silent. ‘I learned very quickly that if I said I was angry, I would be labeled as too emotional to be a good lawyer.’ On top of that, she was a minority of women in her class – ‘Emotion was going to be connected to my gender, women are just too emotional to be lawyers.’
Emotions come in all types. There’s anger, disgust, closure, fear, empathy, hate … just to name a few. Susan has spent the last 20 years examining the law and the claim that ‘it’s an emotion free zone.’ Can we really take our emotions out of decisions that are made?
For years Susan had been writing in the predominantly male fields of federal courts and criminal procedure. She was one of only two women on the list of the 20 most cited law professors in criminal law and procedure. But two Supreme Court cases flipped the switch and set her on the path she would follow for the next 20 years and counting: exploring the role of emotion in law.
A conversation with Susan and what we probably don’t think about
Holding back the anger and questions
A woman in a field of men
The law and emotions
A decision but no real data
Can it be an emotion free zone
Human behavior and all the assumptions
Susan is a pioneer in the emerging study of the role of emotion in law. Her legal career began in 1976 at the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender. She became staff counsel for the Illinois A.C.L.U. in 1980 where she litigated a broad spectrum of civil rights cases. Susan helped draft and secure passage of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Susan joined the DePaul faculty in 1984. She was named Distinguished Research Professor in 2003 and Centennial Distinguished Professor in 2012, Susan has authored over 50 articles and is among the most widely cited law professors in the field of criminal law and procedure. Her work appears in the Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, Michigan and Southern California law reviews.
A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.’
Accepting the 2019 Academy Award for producing the documentary Period. End of Sentence, Melissa Berton, founder of The Pad Project spoke those words. And so it was no leap to turn to New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and award winning journalist, Anita Diamant. With the Foreword by Melissa, PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. The Next Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice explores menstrual issues and period poverty around the globe.
Susan Granger, a product of Hollywood, born into Hollywood ‘Royalty’.
A little name dropping here is more than okay. Let’s consider that her father, S. Sylvan Simon was director/producer at MGM and Columbia. After his sudden death while filming From Here to Eternity, Susan’s mother remarried and her step-father was Armand Deutsch, and MGM producer. Her godfathers were Red Skelton and Milton Berle. Lucille Ball carried her out of the hospital after she was born. Her horse was given to Elizabeth Taylor. Milton Berle set her up on a date with a newly arrived Elvis Presley. He brought her flowers and sang a Frank Sinatra song to her. And Errol Flynn read lines from Romeo and Juliet with her.
Having been born into the business, Susan knows it inside and out. Therefore, who better to be a movie and drama critic?
A fun and entertaining conversation with Susan:
Born in the Golden Age of Hollywood
Playing ‘let’s pretend’ and working with her father
King Charles, National Velvet & Elizabeth Taylor
A date with newbie Elvis Presley
Her stepdad and an honest conversation – actress vs journalist
Journalism and Pierre Salinger
Why an entertainment critic
History of the movie business
Women and them movie industry
Pandemic and its effect on the industry
Factors to look for when reviewing
‘What I looked for are films that would hold up over the years and be new to my children and grandchildren. And as the years go on, they would find them entertaining.’ (On how she chose the films for her book.)
For more than 25 years Susan has been bringing her unique perspective to the field of communication. Her commentaries, reviews and interviews are distributed around the world. Susan is also the author of 150 Timeless Movies where she reviews classic and contemporary timeless movies.
Susan has worked extensively doing speech and presentation coaching for top management and executives in several industries. Her articles have been published in WORKING WOMAN, PLAYBOY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, REDBOOK, LADIES HOME JOURNAL, FAMILY CIRCLE, TRAVEL AGENT, and COSMOPOLITAN…and many others.
Susan studied journalism with Pierre Salinger at Mills College. She then graduated with highest honors in journalism with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage & Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse, Kathy Picard’s story. 10 years of abuse by her stepfather.
The Abuse and Staying Silent
The abuse started when Kathy was 7 and lasted for 10 years. The grooming for the abuse took place at around the age of 5. Her abuser and rapist was her step-father, a person who she had been raised to believe was her father. He told her real bad things would happen if she told. At the age of 9 she told her grandmother who said’ we don’t talk about those things.’ And at the age of 28 she told her Aunt Judy who believed her but didn’t want to talk about it. Kathy promised her she wouldn’t until her Aunt died. Upon her Aunt Judy’s death, Kathy told everyone. Kathy wanted to make sure that if anything happened to her, he would be the first one they would look to.
The stats are staggering:
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused
The average age of abuse is 12
Average disclosure age is 44
And the average years before disclosure is 32
The statute of limitations for criminal proceedings is 43
The statute of limitations for civil proceedings is 53 thank to Kathy. It had been 21 up until her fight to get it changed.
The day after the civil statute of limitations changed from 21 to 53, by a unanimous vote, Kathy, who was 53, filed charges against her stepfather. In 2015 Kathy won her civil suit. She had the courage to call him a rapist to his face in the courtroom. Kathy is now on a mission to educate children that it’s okay to tell someone and keep telling until someone listens. And to educate police departments on talking to children who have been abused. Teachers and parents, friends and family all need to listen.
Kathy Picard is an inspiring award-winning advocate. Advocating for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. Her work centers on increasing awareness of the harsh realities of sexual child abuse. She is a survivor, public speaker and public safety trainer. Kathy won an Unsung Heroin Award, the William Pynchon Award and the Zonta International’s Founder Day Award. All for her work and advocacy in the successful reform of the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations laws regarding sex crimes against children.
A very candid conversation with Kathy:
The start of the abuse
Telling her grandmother
Not speaking out
Finally breaking the silence
Answering those who said ‘Why now? It was such a long time ago. Can’t you just let it go?’
2002 the event that encouraged her
The fight for justice and the change in the statute of limitations
Her day in court and finally saying the words to her abuser’s face ‘rapist’
Justice for that little girl
Her advocacy work
Tzvia Bader and TrialJectory
Tzvia Bader is the CEO and Co-Founder of TrialJectory. She is an experienced entrepreneur with decades of experience in business development, product marketing and strategy. Prior to TrialJectory, Tzvia headed the global business unit at Amdoc building new product strategy. She was the founder and CEO of KIDDOapp, and IOS and Android based family scheduling technology strategy and Vocativ, a start-up aiming to identify fake news in social media using advanced analytics. Tzvia holds a Msc (Masters of Science) degree from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham,UK.
TrialJectory – Matching Cancer Patients to Clinical Trials
With a diagnosis of malignant melanoma in hand, for Tzvia Bader this was not a battle that she could lose. Having been a technology executive for many years, she did what she knew best and turned to the internet. In her mind she had pictured a scenario similar to searching for a new house, like Zillow. Tzvia quickly discovered that this did not exist.
Tzvia learned that the process for patients to gain access to advanced treatments through clinical trials was completely broken. She mentioned this to her husband. His response: build one. And so Tzvia went about building TrialJectory. TrialJectory is democratizing access to advanced cancer treatment. Tzvia built an AI-Powered decision support platform empowering patients to own their own cancer journey. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) system helps patients understand all treatment options. In addition, it gives pharmaceutical companies transparency into patients’ needs and wants. And allows them to effectively design and recruit for clinical trials.
A very informative and hopeful conversation with Tzvia:
The cancer diagnosis and one oncologist
‘Zillow’ like search and the broken findings
A caring oncologist and his limitations
Clinical trials making choices
Owning your journey
Breaking through the boundaries of fear
The formation of TrialJectory
Opening doors for patients
Research, technology and access to real data
Access and cost of clinical trials – it’s not what you think
‘Let’s Talk Race: A Guide for White People’
Fern L. Johnson, PhD and Marlene G. Fine are the co-authors of ‘Let’s Talk Race.’ Both are specialists in race relations, ethnicity and gender in discourse. And 30 years ago a gay couple was not allowed to marry. Nor were they allowed to adopt. Wanting a family, Fran and Marlene started independently researching adoption avenues. There were a variety of restrictions that they would not be able to overcome.
Both Fern and Marlene thought they knew a lot about race. They made the decision to learn how to raise their sons and give them a healthy racial identity, and prepare them for life in a White world. And so they talked to all of their Black friends and colleagues to educate themselves as much as possible.
Fern L. Johnson, PhD., grew up in Minnesota. She focuses on race, ethnicity, and gender in discourse. Fern is currently Senior Research Scholar and Professor Emerita of English at Clark University (Worcester, Massachusetts). In addition to her position as Professor of English at Clark, she directed the interdisciplinary Communication and Culture Program. Earlier in her career, Fern was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and her M.A. degree from Northwestern University.
Marlene G. Fine, PhD, grew up in Belmar, New Jersey, a small resort community on the New Jersey shore. Marlene is Professor Emerita at Simmons University, specializing in cultural diversity, leadership, and dialogue. She authored Building Successful Multicultural Organizations, and her articles appear in a broad range of journals. She is a seasoned speaker and workshop facilitator. Marlene co-authored, with Fern Johnson, The Interracial Adoption Option, which draws on their experience as white parents of African American sons.
A very insightful and real conversation with Fern & Marlene:
The decision to adopt
A gay couple trying to adopt
Why a Black child
Identifying different needs
Perceptions and the lack of knowledge
Privilege isn’t what you think it is
The conversation is getting difficult – why it needs to continue
Prompts and let’s talk race
‘If you’re conscious you’re aware of something. The question is, what are you aware of?’ – Kashonia Carnegie
We don’t always think much about what it truly means to be conscious. Does it only mean that we are awake? Or that we actually see what’s around us and understand it? Are we truly conscious? Is there a difference between social consciousness and ethical consciousness? Kashonia Carnegie is a moral philosopher who has researched ethics and conscious change. And what is conscious change? It’s all about ethics. Looking for patterns, she studied her own life. Kashonia became her own life-coach, before life coaching was a thing. Her findings about her own life journey resulted in the realization that each step had to do with consciousness. They included conscious business skills and conscious leadership when she became Australia’s first female oil company representative. She then went on to become a radio broadcaster using conscious communication skills. And her entrance into academia led her to conscious intelligence competencies.
Meet Kashonia Carnegie
Kashonia is a Moral Philosopher with a PhD in Ethics of Conscious Change. She is the author of the ‘Conscious Change’ series of books. As a life-long learner, woven throughout all of her media and university work are extensive academic and independent studies. These studies include areas such as spirituality, religious studies, creative thinking, storytelling and positive psychology.
Her work includes leadership coaching; corporate and community workshop design and facilitation. In addition, Kashonia is a sessional mediator/conciliator for state government departments in the Australian states of Victoria and Queensland. She has conducted over 200 mediation/conciliation conferences with a successful resolution in excess of 90%.
A very conscious changing conversation with Kashonia:
Growing up on a sheep and dairy farm
Defying her mother
Living under the stars
‘Road to Damascus’ experience and the awakening of her own consciousness
Australia’s 1st Female Oil Representative & defying the male-dominated business
Media career and the pre-#Metoo movement
The conscious change movement and ethics
Conscious change, Covid and the rise of feminine energy
Having a purpose in life
Author Gabrielle Bluestone – Hype: How Grifters and Con Artists are Taking Over the Internet – and Why We’re Following Them
Hype explores social media scams, influencers and why we follow and fall for them. While working as a journalist at Vice, Gabrielle Bluestone was the first to uncover the scam behind the infamous Frye Music Festival. Because of her reporting, con man Billy McFarland is behind bars for fraud. But it wasn’t before many innocent people had been duped into giving him millions of dollars. Gabrielle went on to become the Emmy nominated executive producer of the Netflix documentary Frye.
The documentary and Gabrielle went on to receive an Emmy nomination. And then she dug some more. Her background as a reporter for Gawker, Jezebel and Vice, along with being a licensed attorney gave her the tools she needed. She had a lot of questions and was looking for answers. Although con artists have been around for a long time, this was new. Con artists are now being assisted by technology and social media.
Gabrielle Bluestone is a journalist and attorney from New York. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Observer, Sunday Times Magazine, Esquire, InStyle and Gawker. Hype is her first book.
A conversation and lots of questions with Gabrielle:
From attorney to journalist
It looked like a dream festival
One picture questioned it all
That classic cheese sandwich
Influencers and marketing
‘The Joneses’ made in 2010 – a prediction of the future?
How scammers survive
Seems like a pyramid scheme
Playing to our dreams
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
How do we stop it
Bold and gutsy are just two words that describe Jackie Botelho, a woman who is setting a new standard in the hospitality and event experience arenas. Jackie as never been afraid of stepping up and talking to people. She’s never been afraid to reach a goal that others told her was unachievable. Jackie has always wanted to do more. And Jackie has always known that she could do more. ‘The sky’s the limit’ is something that she has always believed in. The result was the building of Above and Beyond VIP Concierge (ABCVIP), a hospitality and event agency.
Covid changed the way that events were experienced and Jackie and her team were leading the way. Virtual gave her the opportunity to take off her heels and dig in. People who never would have attended in person events, were now experiencing them. Shy, introverted or just not wanting to be around others, Jackie gave them the opportunity to join. And let’s not forget the national exposure. No politics, no pandemic speak, just plain fun.
This week’s conversation with Jackie:
• A bold move to California
• Striking gold in California & bringing it back to NYC
• Why hospitality
• A gutsy plan and the creation of ABCVIP
• A deal with the Marriott
• Pandemic timing
• Pivoting on a dime
• Experiencing Covid
• Virtual, all those introverts and a national presence
• The naysayers – ‘I’m not listening’
• Expansion and more
Dorothy Wickenden and The Agitators
New York Times bestselling author Dorothy Wickenden’s latest book – The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights. The Agitators is the true story of Harriett Tubman, Martha Coffin Wright and Frances A. Seward. One a former slave, one a Quaker mother of 7 and one a politician’s wife. Although three very different women, they came together to fight for abolition and women’s rights in the mid-nineteenth century in Auburn, New York.
Much history has gone into the fight for abolition and women’s rights. Many have heard of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who was the conductor of the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape into Free states and Canada.
But not many have heard of Martha Coffin Wright or Frances A. Seward. By introducing us to them, Dorothy shines a light on the story of three women who worked together. Yes, three women who worked together at a time when women had little control. So little that a married woman didn’t own anything. And yet somehow Frances, Martha and Harriet fought for the end to slavery and advocated for women’s rights.
Dorothy is the executive editor of The New Yorker and the host of its weekly podcast Politics and More.’ She is also the NY Times bestselling author of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. Dorothy edited The New Republic Reader: Eighty Years of Opinion and Debate.
A conversation and a lot of history with Dorothy:
Why these three women
Upper and middle class women and their roles
Witnessing abuse and feeling helpless
Frances’ awakening and Martha’s aide
The bold move that allowed Francis to sell Harriet the house
How Harriet established herself
Jean Shafiroff ‘The First Lady of Philanthropy’
Jean Shafiroff has been called ‘The First Lady of Philanthropy’. She has spent a lifetime doing charitable work. And it all started when she was a child, learning from her parents.
After her first daughter was born, Jean made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. As she says, she was lucky to be able to do so. And as a result, she volunteered at the school. This allowed her to spend time with her daughter and help out with school functions and fundraising. A start which turned into a career of philanthropy. At times you could find Jean on the boards of seven charities at once.
Philanthropist, author, human rights and animal rights advocate and socialite, Jean serves on multiple national and regional philanthropic boards. She is the ambassador and spokesperson for American Humane Feed the Hungry Covid-18 Program. Jean is the host of ‘Successful Philanthropy, a TV show on LTV. She is also the author of ‘Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give’.
Jean serves on the boards of the South Hampton Hospital Association, NYC Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, Global Strays, Jewish Board (Honorary Trustee), and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. She is a New York Women’s Foundation Board Alumna and remains very active with the Foundation and women’s issues.
Jean holds two degrees: a BS in Physical Therapy from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School at Columbia University. She resides in Manhattan and Southampton with her family.
A conversation with Jean:
The beginnings of philanthropy
Stay-at-home decision and volunteering
Starting off small
Making a difference
Choosing what’s right for you
But I can only give an hour…
Fashion and parties and loosening up the crowd
The fashion industry and the pandemic
The pandemic and the change
Feed the Hungry Covid-19 Program
Daughters following in mom’s footsteps
My Babysitter, My Summers With a Serial Killer is a chilling true story, part memoir and part crime investigation. Based on Liza’s summers as a child on the Cape, you con’t be able to put it down. It was the 60’s. Her babysitter was a kind, handsome handyman who took Liza and her sister on adventures. Adventures which included visits to his ‘secret garden.’ A secret garden which turned out to be where some of his victims were buried. And a babysitter who turned out to be a charming, brutal psychopath. This was before the term ‘serial killer’ was coined.
Lifelong friend, investigative journalist Jennifer Jordan knew this was a story that needed to be told when she heard it. Together they took the pieces of the puzzle and turned them into a chilling, unimaginable story. A story where Liza learns to trust her voice.
Liza Rodman attended the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and received her Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She has balanced life as a mother, stepmother, writer and tax accountant for more than thirty-five years. In 2005, she began researching the story of Tony Costa when she realized her personal connection to the infamous Cape Cod killer. She has gathered thousands of documents, testimonies, and interviews, perhaps more than any other investigator or journalist who’s worked on this case. She and her husband live outside Boston and have three children and five grandchildren. The Babysitter is her first book.
Jennifer Jordan is an award-winning author, filmmaker and screenwriter, with over 35 years’ experience as a reporter, journalist, and radio and television producer, working for NPR and PBS in Boston and Salt Lake City, as well as writing for several newspapers and magazines. She has written four books. Two of her books won the National Outdoor Book Award. In 2016 she created, directed, and produced the documentary 3000 Cups of Tea: Investigating the Rise and Ruin of Greg Mortenson, a documentary examining the deeply-flawed 60 Minutes report on the renowned philanthropist.
A chilling and gripping conversation with Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan:
Summers in Provincetown
1968 meeting Tony Costa – babysitter/serial killer
Adventures and a secret garden
1968 – 1st known murder
Years of nightmares then a face becomes clear
Confronting her mother
Obsession and investigation
Memoir and crime investigation – natural balance of writing
Trusting your voice
The story comes out and family reaction
For Pat Lynch, Founder WomensRadio(R) her former boss gave her a lifeline. Pat’s immediate boss really liked her marketing ideas. The problem was, he could never answer the question as to when they would be implemented. So Pat went up the line to his boss who told her: ‘You know your boss has been here longer and he has a family. So maybe you should find another job.’ Words that eventually propelled her to where she is now.
By the age of 25, Pat had served as the Press Secretary for a U.S. Senator and Congressman. She then founded her first advertising agency in Atlanta, Georgia. Pat has been listed twice in The Worlds Who’s Who of Women. And she was the first person to use radio and TV to promote real estate.
In 1996, she began a broad-based company, Women’s Online Media and Education Network, to promote communication for and about women. It is currently producing WomensRadio® and a unique high quality and low cost tool called AudioAcrobat®. With streaming credits from Microsoft, the first programs began in 1998, making the site the first to stream for women! W.O.M.E.N. targets niche markets using the Web, wireless technologies, and social media and provides a platform for women leaders and also not-for-profits which serve women and issues that affect women, children and families.
‘It takes an overwhelming amount of courage to do something in the face of all opposition.’
My conversation with Pat Lynch:
Breaking into the man’s world of advertising
How a nightmare of words turned into an opportunity
A long journey
Competitors and sharing of ideas
Overcoming fear of new ideas
The beginnings and the why of WomensRadio(R)
Women’s online media and education creation
What women want to hear about
So much more to do
Olivia Campbell, author of the non-fiction book, Women In White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine. Women in White Coats takes us back to the early 1800’s. Before there were any women doctors, it was a time when women were dying from treatable diseases. Dying because they avoided medical demeaning and painful examinations that were only given by male doctors. It sounds unbelievable, but a diagnosis of illness for a woman held quite a stigma. A stigma that could hinder her ability to marry, work or be received in polite society.
Enter Elizabeth Blackwell, Lizzie Garret Anderson and Sophie Jex-Blake. Three women who fought for a woman’s place in this male-dominated medical field. Olivia introduces us to these incredible women who led the way. Three very different women, different in personality and circumstances. How did they create the first time medical care for women by women? Based on extensive research, Olivia Campbell tells their compelling and courageous story.
A gripping and revealing conversation with Olivia Campbell:
2 similar riots and the spark – Philadelphia, PA and Edinburgh, Scotland
3 years of research – New York, London and Edinburgh
Women and the dare
Meet Elizabeth Blackwell and her journey
Florence Nightingale vs Elizabeth Blackwell or Nurse vs Doctor
1st medical school for women
Elizabeth, Lizzie and Sophia and the Women’s Medical School in London
Medical school then and medical school now
Why women needed women doctors
Women, medical profession then and now
Harassment, sexism and the medical profession
The effects of the pandemic
Meet Olivia Campbell
Olivia Campbell is an independent journalist, essayist and author. Her focus is on the intersections of medicine, women, history and nature. Olivia’s work has appeared in publications like The Atlantic, New York Magazine/The Cut, The Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Smithsonian Magazine.
Women In White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine is her first book.
Olivia holds a master’s degree in science writing from John Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers. Olivia lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, three sons and their cat.
‘You just think it’s one day after another but when you get a break and can reflect I feel like the perspective that it’s given me has allowed me to reset.’
Zibby Owens is a very busy mom of four. The CEO of Moms Don’t Have Time To, Zibby founded the media company featuring podcasts, publications and communities. Zibby hosts the award-winning podcasts Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books and Moms Don’t Have Time to Lose Weight. She is the author and editor of the anthology Moms Don’t Have Time to: A Quarantine Anthology. All of the proceeds from the anthology go to the Susan Felice Owens Program for Covid-19 Vaccine Research in honor of her late mother-in-law.
She is the Editor in Chief of Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, a Medium Publication, and founder of The Zibby Awards, celebrating the overlooked parts of books (such as best dedication, author photo, and publicist). She also founded the Moms Don’t Have Time To Fellowship.
Named “NYC’s Top Book-fluencer” by Vulture and on Oprah’s list of top podcasts two years in a row, Zibby is a frequent contributor to Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Good Day LA and other media outlets.
Zibby lives in New York with her husband Kyle Owens and their four children ages 6 – 13.
Our conversation and moms’ time:
‘There’s so much associated with having kids that you don’t even get to spend time with your kids.’
Taking the time
Do I really need to…all those playdates and activities
Essays, podcast and publishing
Gatherings and all those authors
Covid-19 and its effects
A love for reading and writing
This week’s ‘My Reading Corner’, I talk with bestselling author Tami Charles. Her newest YA novel, Muted has already received wide acclaim. Although considered a YA (Young Adult) author, her novels are meant to be read by parents and adults. With stress and social media, dreams and promises, Tami’s books are ones that help her young adult audience know that they’re not alone. For the older generation, they give insight into the minds of young adults.
Muted brought back Tami’s time tasting fame in her teens and early twenties. She was a member of an all-girl R&B trio. How about performing for Boys II Men, BET and Showtime at the Apollo? The main character of Muted had to be a young girl searching for fame as a songwriter. Once Tami realized that, the words flowed and a powerful story was written. It’s a story of ambition, music and exploitation. And it’s the story of innocence lost and young women regaining their voices.
Tami is the New York Times bestselling author of All Because You Matter. She’s written numerous books for children and young adults. Like Vanessa, her middle school debut book earned a Top 10 spot on the Indies Introduce and Spring Kids’ Next lists, three starred reviews and a Junior Library Guild selection.
As a teen and into her early twenties, Tami unclicked the buttons, and was as loud as hell as a member of a 1990’s R&B singing group. Muted brought her back to the music industry and found her writing and singing her songs.
Tami herself has said: We had a song on the radio that played at like 2 in the morning when everyone was sleeping. We didn’t make it to the grand stage, but those were the times of my life!
‘If hard work was what it was going to take to make it to the top, then that’s exactly what I’d serve up – black girl mixed with grit stardust spice magic.’
A powerful conversation with Tami Charles:
The all-girls R&B, fame and music
Teenagers, dreams and asperations
Ambition and exploitation
Workplace violence and women
Putting a lens on the music industry
Young women regaining their voice
Writing for young adults
All Because You Matter – a picture book with love and a lullaby
Muted – a YA novel-in-verse
The audiobook, her songs and her voice
When I started talking to Abby, I went into the conversation with the idea that I would be talking to someone who was funny. And for sure, she is. Funny, warm and able to talk candidly about herself. So candidly, that I knew this is exactly the conversation needed for so many. With much humor and humility, Abby speaks about her own struggles. Her struggles with an eating disorder, her intimidation of those who are supposed to be in the know and how improv and comedy helped her hide. And how she finally took control. Control that she is not letting go of.
“Anything I should know before I go home?” I asked the chief cardiologist, trying not to sound terrified.
“Just don’t lift stuff over 10 pounds for a few weeks.”
“My baby is over 10 pounds.”
Abby refers to herself as a performer, obsessive compulsive comedian, writer and mom. She wrote and performed with The Second City, The Upright Citizen’s Brigade, HBO, Nick Jr., and NPR. And the first all-female improv group found Abby among its performers.
Abby’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, Self, Jane, and Elle. One was adapted for the television series Modern Love. Abby currently co-hosts the Chucklepath Comedy Show with Molly Reisner. She is the author of five books including Miss You Love You Hate You Bye, named a 2020 Buzzfeed Best Book for Mental Health Awareness Month. And Abby most recently co-authored Sanctuary, a YA (Young Adult) dystopian novel.
A candid conversation with Abby:
The start of being funny
Why improv – putting it out there
Not being ‘precious’ about it
1st improv female group
Performer, comedian and mom – how about SpongeBob
Mental health issues
A reckoning and getting help
Finding solace in writing
Young adults, rock bottom and friendship
Miss You Love You Hate You Bye – friendship and mental health
Finding confidence to speak up – knowing your own body
Judithe Little is the award winning author of two historical novels, ‘The Chanel Sisters’ and ‘Wickwythe Hall.’ She grew up in Virginia where she earned her B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Judithe studied at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris. Afterwards she was an intern at the U.S. Department of State. Judithe then went on to earn her law degree from the University Of Virginia School Of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow.
Judithe lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three children and is presently working on her third novel.
‘Coco’s freedom translated into her clothing. She wore men’s pants to ride in and realized how comfortable it was.’
Gayle Kabaker and Sonya Kitchell
Gayle Kabaker, mother and daughter Sonya Kitchell, one a world renowned freelance illustrator and artist, the other a two-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter. One a new grandmother, the other a new mom…mothers and daughters.
The bond between a mother and her children starts early on. For Gayle and Sonya the bond is even stronger. Five months ago, baby Mona made it a trio.
Gayle is a world renowned longtime freelance artist and illustrator. She’s published over 5 New Yorker covers. Vitalvoices.org, an organization that invests in women leaders worldwide, commissioned Gayle to do 100 portraits. Gayle illustrated the book ‘Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower.’
Using her art to make a difference, Gayle’s work is connected to equality, the environment and civic involvement. For the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, Gayle was among the artists who the Washington Post commissioned. Gayle’s illustration was a takeoff on ‘Wonder Woman’ showing a caped young woman wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Voting Is My Super Power.’
Sonya is a two-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter and teacher of music. At the age of 17, Sonya had her first international-selling record ‘Words Come Back to Me.’ Moving from her hometown of Ashfield, MA to New York City, Sonya spent time in Europe and Asia, She worked as a side musician and songwriter-for-hire. She also delved into photography and film. Sonya worked with many of the greats of our time, including the legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
Mother & Daughter
Mom was her daughter’s original manager, traveling with her throughout the U.S. and overseas. The fun didn’t stop there. Mother and daughter have worked together on several projects. Gayle designed a series of animated illustrations for a client that included a short musical soundtrack composed by Sonya.
A conversation with Gayle Kabaker & Sonya Kitchell:
9 year old & her budding career
Bonding and art
Traveling mother and daughter
Art and music
The journey can be tough, the outcome worth it
No stage-mom here
The ‘Antidote Workshop’
Co-authors of the newly published What’s You Story? A Journal for Everyday Evolution, Rebecca Walker and Lily Diamond give us an interactive roadmap for beginning a new life story.
Rebecca Walker is an award winning writer, feminist and activist. She has contributed to the global conversation about race, gender, power and the evolution of the human family. Rebecca has written, developed and produced film and television projects with Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, Amazon, HBO and Paramount. And she has spoken at over 400 universities and corporate campuses.
Awarded the Women Who Could Be President from the League of Women Voters, Rebecca was also named by Time magazine as one of the most influential leaders of her generation.
Rebecca has authored and edited seven bestselling books. Black White and Jewish, Autobiography of a Shifting Self and Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After A Lifetime of Ambivalence, a memoir, are among her bestselling books. She also teaches her masterclass, The Art of Memoir. Rebecca is a graduate of Yale University.
Lily Diamond is an award winning writer, educator and advocate. Her work is focused on democratizing wellness for accessible practices.
Lily is the creator of the internationally beloved blog Kale & Caramel. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir-cookbook Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart and Table. And it was named one of the top cookbooks of 2017 by the New York Times, The Independent, and Cooking Light.
A graduate of Yale University, Lily’s writings have appeared in VICE, Healthyish, the Huffington Post, Better Homes and Gardens and Eating Well.
A powerful conversation with co-authors Rebecca Walker and Lily Diamond:
Finding the voice
Writing your story – a transformative experience
Encountering your mind
Relationships with body, people, nature & technology
Moving through memories
Journaling – what you remember or how you want to remember
The need to belong
Walking through a day in your life
Giving yourself permission
Creating the roadmap
Ilyana Kadushin: – Audiobook Narrator & Performer, Podcaster, Film & Music Producer, Founder ‘Stories Love Music’
What do you think of when you hear music? Does it bring back memories? Does it make you want to get up and dance? Let’s add voice into the mix and think about the images that your mind conjures up.
Ilyana Kadushin uses both music and voice. And both manage to affect change, whether narrating or performing a book, producing music or co-hosting the podcast ‘No, I Know.’ Ilyana has delved into the world of performance, film, art and music melding these creative mediums. Always a part of the storytelling process, Ilyana wrote and performed the one woman “Devour the Apple” musical. She also performed the audio of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight novels and narrated the heartbreaking memoir of Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad, The Lost Girl.
Incredible as it may sound, something positive came out of Superstorm Sandy…the creation of Stories Love Music. Ilyana and her creative partner and husband, James Harrell, were asked to help with some of the displaced seniors. Not knowing what to expect or how they could help, they chose something they both did well…they played music and sang. Music tugs at the heart and can brighten up even the bleakest of times. The moment evolved into Stories Love Music, a nonprofit program for caregivers of seniors with dementia and Alzheimers.
Ilyana is an award winning film producer. She won HBO’s 2011 Best Documentary for Separate, But Equal. She also won the Audi Award for audiobook narration and is an adjunct faculty of voice and public speaking at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.
As a producer and co-host of the podcast No, I Know, Ilyana and husband James, feature live music and spirited conversation.
A conversation with Ilyana Kadushin:
A little microcassette player
A fascination with voices
Landing in New York City & Tisch School of the Arts
How about some ‘voice watching’
Twilight series and Edward’s character
Jeremy Irons inspiration
Nadia Murad and The Lost Girl
Storytelling and performing
The ‘spell of music’
A senior, a song (Shalom Aleichem), a memory and a voice
Voice Performance Coaching
Stories Love Music
Paulina Bren is the author of The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free. It’s the fascinating true story of one of the first residences for women only. From its opening in 1928 to the present, Paulina brings us the evolution of both the place and the women who stayed there. Located in the heart of New York City, it drew women from all over the country. Each one brought ‘a suitcase and a dream.’ Paulina delves into how the Barbizon was supposedly setting women free. And explains the reality of how it didn’t. Some made it, others did not.
Known as a safe haven for the ‘Modern Woman’ seeking a career, the women all were expected to have the same goal. That goal being one of marriage, family and suburban living. Some of the famous among its residents were Sylvia Plath, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minelli, Ali MacGraw, Cybill Shepherd and Joan Didion.
A writer, historian and professor, Paulina teaches International Studies, Women’s Studies, and Media Studies at Vassar College. Her previous books include the award winning The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring. Paulina is also co-editor of a collection of essays entitled Communism Unwrapped: Consumption in Cold War Eastern Europe.
She alternates her time between the Bronx, Poughkeepsie and MetroNorth. Paulina was born in the former Czechoslovakia and lived in the U.K. before moving to the United States. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, her M.A. from the Jackson School for International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle and her PhD in Modern European History from New York University.
My conversation with award-winning author Paulina Bren:
The Bell Jar and Sylvia Plath’s inspiration
The building of a ‘safe haven’
The many women
The 30’s and restrictions on women
Single women, hotels and no check-in after 6pm
Ambitions and society
Women, careers and goals
Rich and poor
The not-so glamorous modeling career
Contests and summer internship
The hidden stories, lost ambitions and suicides
‘The Women’ and standing their ground
A timeline for the women’s movement
The start of equality and the end of The Barbizon
A former actress (you may have spotted Judith in one of the original Star Trek series episodes), Judith Sherven coined the phrase The Fear of Being Fabulous. A clinical psychologist with more than 35 years’ experience as a psychotherapist, transformational executive coach and business consultant, Judith practices alongside her husband Jim Sniechowski, also a PhD Clinical Psychologist. Judith is an executive coach for a number of tech companies. She helps leaders overcome any insecurities they have about maximizing their leadership: Their Fear of Being Fabulous.
Both Judith and Jim are on retainer at both LinkedIn and Credit Karma. Judith writes for LinkedIn as an influencer. She inspires managers to engage their team members with their trademarked program: Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous. It’s been called “the missing link in personal and professional development.”
Judith has been on over 3,000 radio and TV shows including Oprah, The View, 48 Hours and Canada AM as a guest expert. Together, Judith and Jim have written 7 LA Times bestselling books.
Both had been professional actors for a long time before they met in 1987. And both discovered that their Fear of Being Fabulous had prevented them from moving forward with their acting careers. This brought them on a 6 year journey of creating their program.
A conversation with Judith:
Self-sabotaging a successful acting career
The Fear of Being Fabulous incubation
The Barbizon connection
Patterns identified and their connections
Meeting Jim and their journey
Owning your own excellence
Asking for more with confidence
Relationships of all kinds – personal and professional, family and friends
Owning your uniqueness
‘You are a miracle’
Making yourself stronger
Sharon G. Flake is a multi-award winning young adult and children’s author. She is a three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King award. Her latest book, The Life I’m In follows her groundbreaking debut novel The Skin I’m In. The impact of her debut novel more than 20 years ago, is felt today. Sharon’s books withstand the test of time. It was a given that a sequel was needed, even if it took her 20 years to be convinced of it.
Sharon continues to take on the tough issues: race, self-esteem, self-protection and empowerment. Issues that teenagers can face on a daily basis. With the advancement of technology, these issues can be paralyzing. And she always reminds us that we are talking about children. Teenagers are not adults. They are still children and we need to protect them. With The Life I’m In, Sharon takes on the multi-billion dollar business of human trafficking, targeting venerable teens.
Prior to becoming an author, Sharon was a counselor for teens at a foster placement agency. Excelling as a counselor, Sharon garnered valuable insight into teens, adoption and foster parenting.
Sharon had literally exploded onto the literary scene with The Skin I’m In over 20 years ago. And she was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Since then, she has won multiple Coretta Scott King Author Awards. Many of her novels have received ALA Notable and Best Books for Young Adults citations from the American Library Association. You can visit her website at sharongflake.com.
This week’s ‘Sylvia & Me – My Reading Corner’ a conversation with author Sharon G. Flake
Teenagers and children
Social media and teenage pressure
Remember – these are children
Predators and human trafficking
Survival and the power of human empathy
Compassion and its powerful cure
1st question asked
It’s no longer taboo to talk about menopause. In fact, it’s one of the healthiest topics for women to talk about. Dr. Fatima Khan is the ‘Menopause Specialist.’ She is an expert in perimenopause and menopause. Using a holistic approach to women’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, Fatima is empowering women through the transition.
Fatima completed her medical training in the United Kingdom from Imperial College London in 2007 where she received a Bachelor in Medicine and a Bachelor in Surgery. She also received a Bachelor in Science in Pharmacology and Therapeutics with the publication of her research.
After extensive training at Kings College London, Fatima received an Advanced Menopause Certificate accredited from the British Menopausal Society and faculty of Reproductive and Sexual Health. Fatima undertook further training in the USA on optimizing hormonal health for anti-aging and longevity. She also sees patients at AGORA Specialist Centre. Fatima is involved in teaching medical students at the Epworth Clinical School at the University of Melbourne.
Fatima and her medic husband currently live in Melbourne with their daughter. She actively educates women on menopause awareness through her social media platform. https://instagram.com/menopausespecialist?igshid=2zg06ux1u11c
A very informative and much needed conversation with Dr. Fatima Khan:
Journaling and being aware of your body
Heart disease and dementia
Perceptions and myths
A continuing conversation
Jona Frank: Author ‘Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined’, Photographer, Balancing Reality and Fantasy
The debut of our special Thursday’s segment ‘Sylvia & Me – My Reading Corner’ with author and portrait photographer, Jona Frank. Known for her portraits surrounding youth culture, Jona made a slight detour and wrote a memoir. Not one for doing what is expected, Jona’s memoir is done not with words, but with photographs. But if you’re thinking, great, a book of old photos…you’re wrong. ‘Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined´ stars Laura Dern as her mother.
Jona grew up in the 60’s in suburban Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Her mother lived the life that a suburban housewife was supposed to live. The men went into the City, a grey background while the women stayed at home, tending to their house and family. The stereotypical suburban woman, Jona’s mother never deviated from the standards that had been set for her. She did what was expected of her, not what she may have wanted to do. But Jona rejected this way of life and went on to construct her life from within herself. The result – Jona is living her life freely, rejecting the standards that others have set.
Meet Jona Frank:
Meet Jona Frank, whose high school passion for photography led her to study at the University of California on a scholarship. Jona did go home after graduating, but returned to Los Angeles pursuing her personal dreams, not other’s expectations and standards.
Her works have been exhibited at such venues as the Smithsonian’s National Gallery in Washington, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Kimbal Art Center.
A photo shoot in a small town in England and a connection with Cherry Hill
Suburbia and the stereotypical woman
Art class, a blank piece of paper, a phone call and tulips
Doing it her own way
Societal norms and individual desires
Casting Laura Dern
Staged pictures and the strain of maintaining an image
Recreating the non-Kodak moments
Creating images between reality and cinematic fantasy
Bunmi Laditan, is an award winning, Webby nominated writer. Most of you may know her by her moniker ‘Honest Toddler.’ Her debut novel, Confessions of a Domestic Failure, is a satirical, realistic look at motherhood. Bunmi has outdone herself with her latest book, : Honest Prayers to a God who Listens.
She had originally written this collection of poetry and prayers as a way of following her own spiritual journey. With candor, self-aware humor, and a profound insight, Bunmi saw that so many were struggling with similar journeys. And so with much humility, she agreed to publish Dear God. The book is for anyone seeking to reconnect as well as for those looking for a good word. Bunmi shares her journey, a journey of emotions that we all experience at different points in our lives – doubt, anger, love, desperation, gratefulness and more.
Dear God was featured on the Today Show and Bunmi is a contributor to Parenting.com, Mothering.com, iVillage.com, the New York Times and the Huffington Post. Bunmi lives outside of Montreal with her family. Her social media following is large. But more impressive is that there is communication between her and her followers, not just emoji’s. Bunmi relates and is not afraid of having a conversation, even with someone who disagrees with her.
A candid conversation with Bunmi:
Childhood and faking it
Marrying at 16 and converting to Judaism
Culture not religion
Identity as a Jewish wife and mother
Divorce and becoming a seeker
Struggles with depression and anxiety
Journey to reconnect with God
Raising her three children
Jenny Lecoat grew up in Channel Islands, 15 years after World War II. She knew her family’s history, but she didn’t know the horrors that they had experienced. Her curiosity peaked in her 30’s when Jenny saw photos of her family being shown in documentaries on national British television. Seeing them, Jenny realized that she had a responsibility to tell their story and the story of Channel Islands. Especially after having heard a variety of differing stories of the people and the islands’ occupation by the Nazis.
There are stories that need to be told and stories that should never be forgotten. Stories that tell the history of events that have taken place. And stories that need to correct the ones that have not been remembered correctly. One such story is the story of Channel Islands and its occupation by the Nazis.
She may never have written a novel before, but she had done quite a bit of writing. You see, Jenny had been a stand-up comedian writing her own material. She also wrote for sitcoms and soap operas. And then onto dramas and more serious historical subjects. In 2017 Jenny wrote the screenplay for ‘Another Mother’s Son’, the true story of her great-aunt who, during World War II, hid a young Russian war prisoner.
‘The Girl From Channel Islands’ is a historical novel based on the true story of Hedy Bercu and the woman who hid her from the Nazis for 18 months, Dorothea Le Brocq. The book debuted in February of 2021 in North America. It made the New York Times bestseller list its first week.
This week I talk with Jenny Lecoat:
Transitioning from standup comic to writing a New York Times bestseller
Her dad at 5 and the occupation
What you don’t know about the Channel Islands
The timing of the North American publication of The Girl From Channel Islands and the release of her movie, ‘Another Mother’s Son’
The untold stories of the heroes of the Resistance
Why this story needs to be told and remembered
How does it start
Meet Jenny Lecoat:
Jenny is a New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter, former standup comedian, newspaper and magazine feature writer and teacher. Over the last thirty years Jenny has written for a wide range of formats including feature film, television drama, sitcoms and sketch shows. She has taught screenwriting courses and is a qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Jenny has studied British Sign Language enabling her to work with D/deaf writers and actors. She lives in Essex Sussex, UK with her husband, writer Gary Lawson.
For Nikki Edmundson it all started with a single pair of her own boots – cowgirl boots that is. She cut them down to fit, folded them over and, as the saying goes: ‘These boots are made for walking.’ Turns out that everyone wanted their own pair with their own story. And so, in the small town of Harrison, Montana, Canty Boots was born.
‘I really had no option except to give them away, sell them or cut them and I cut them. So I cut and rolled them and when I wore them into town, everyone gave me compliments. I just figured why not, you know, why not start selling them. So that’s how we started.’ – Nikki Edmundson, Founder Canty Boots®.
And that was how Nikki Edmundson started Canty Boots®. She opened an Etsy store and her first customer was from Australia. First sale and already Nikki was international!
Cowboy boots always make a statement. And boy, are they ever hard to part with.
Security vs Passion
Nikki had to make a choice – start her career as a teacher or design and handmake cowgirl boots. Teacher = stability…Boot Designer/Maker = passion and fulfillment. She made the right choice for her and it’s been a great journey.
Who’s Been in My Boots?
Try Victoria Secret’s Models, Katy Perry, Tanya Tucker, Nahko Bear and Cam Newton, just to name a few.
This week’s conversation with Nikki Edmundson:
All it takes is the first
Passion vs Security
Her all women’s team
Rural and hot
Bringing stories together
Memories and walking
He’s a rancher
Mom of four
It’s all in the name
Finding the balance
Keeping it close to home
Turning Memories into Walking Stories
Nikki learned quickly that selling footwear, especially cowgirl boots online could result in huge returns. Not all boots fit the same. Having cut down and refreshed her own pair, people had started asking her to do the same for them. So she took it a step further. Now Nikki is giving people the chance to hold onto memories and turn their own boots into their own unique story. The result…boots that her customers know will fit and walk in their story.
This past November marked the 10 year anniversary of the release of Utah author Ally Condie’s Matched, #1 New York Times bestseller. Matched was on the list for more than a year. And the first in what would become a trilogy.
Last week marked the 1 year anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. It didn’t seem possible that a year later we would have a chance to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Dystopian and The Pandemic
What do they have in common? The word ‘dystopian’ comes to mind: ‘relating to, or being an imagined world or society in which people lead fearful lives’.
The difference: The last year was real and full of fear. Matched was imagined.
Matched, a dystopian young adult novel has been read by a wider readership than the young adult population. The first in a series of three, it has been compared to ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Twilight’.
This week’s conversation is with Ally Condie
How did the idea for Matched come about? And why the young adult audience? I had the privilege to talk with Ally recently. Our conversation covered these questions and so much more:
Chaperoning a high school prom
Best dresses, red carpet and the dark side
Experiences of teaching and inspiration
Society and choices
Building a society around a character
Good intentions taken to extremes
‘A nice girl’ wakes up
Teenagers, women, choices and waking up
The Pandemic – and yes there’s one in the 3rd book, written over 6 years ago
‘Suburban dystopian romance’
Meet Ally Condie
The author of young adult and middle grade fiction, Ally’s novel Matched was a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. The sequels to the trilogy, Crossed and Reached, are also on the NY Times bestsellers list. Matched was chosen as on of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Book of 2011.
Ally is also the author of Atlantia, a New York Times bestseller, and Summerlost, a finalist for the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.
She is the founder and director of the WriteOut Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) foundation that runs writing camps for rural teens.
Born in Cedar City, Utah Ally has a degree in English Teaching from Brigham Young University. Ally lives with her husband and four children in Pleasant Grove, Utah. In 2017, Ally graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master’s in Fine Arts Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can follow Ally on Twitter and Instagram (ally.condie).
The 1940s and 1950s saw changes to how women were portrayed in film. A change from the victim of the 1930s. Post World War II films introduced the ‘Femme Fatale’ and with it women characters who were mysterious and dangerously seductive, not victims. During the war, women had taken the place of men in the workforce, bringing an independence that for many, had never been experienced before. These movies were known as ‘Film Noir’ (French for ‘dark film’), classics of the 1940s and early 1950s.
‘The Queen of Noir’ Ann Chernow
So I turned my attention to ‘The Queen of Noir’, renowned artist Ann Chernow. Ann has been painting this genre for over a decade. She does paintings, prints and drawings always in the abstract capturing the essence of the ‘Femme Fatale’. Ann has gone from actual portraits of the films’ stars, to imaginary faces of film, to painting scenes from the films to inventing scenes from ‘Film Noir’ movies. Then came a night alone at an Italian restaurant in NYC and a bottle of wine. The evening resulted in creation of ‘Bad Girls’ – eight separate stories and eight separate images.
Film Noir and Femme Fatales have been with her ever since that evening.
‘The reason for women: everybody has a guess. It’s psychological. It has to do with the women in the films. The women in Noir movies all had fabulous clothing and the men just had gray suits and hats. There’s nothing to paint – just gray suits and hats, so the male figure is sometimes an abstract support.’
Meet Ann Chernow
Artist, ‘Queen of Noir’, Mother, Grandmother and Teacher. Ann has taught art for over 26 years. Born in New York City in 1936, Ann has been a resident of Westport, Connecticut, considered a haven for artists for the last 50+ years. Ann is a beloved leader in the extended arts community. She has worked in the mediums of lithography, silkscreen, etching and colored pencil as well as oil painting.
Ann’s second husband, Burt Chernow founded the Housatonic Museum of Art. He was an art historian and professor at the Housatonic Community College. Burt passed away in 1997. Ann later became the life partner of actor and documentarian, Martin West (d. 2020).
Ann’s work evokes a sense of veiled mystery. A veiled mystery that is the essence of Film Noir and Ann’s creativity.
I had the privilege of talking with Ann about our favorite genre of film, her beginning, her philosophy, the pandemic and her continued mining.
Age 3 ½ – the beginning
The RKO theaters and going to the movies at 11
Victims and Heroines
The ‘Queen and King’ of Noir
1930’s and Post World War II
‘That looks like my grandmother’
Miss Bette Davis
How to get an invitation
Artists and life
Advice to young artists
Keep on mining
Crystal Byrd Farmer: Author ‘The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization’, Educator, Organizer
Diversity and the ‘Token’
How does one start with be diverse without having a ‘token?’ Meet Crystal Byrd Farmer. She teaches organizations who acknowledge the need for diversity but don’t know where to start. She works with organizations and people who are dedicated to social justice and the diversity of people they want to employ, across identities of race, LGBTQ, education, socioeconomics and disability.
In today’s atmosphere, the topic of diversity and inclusion has become a heated and often misunderstood conversation. Educators and employers have tried many ways to be what they would consider ‘diverse and inclusive’. There’s busing when it comes to schools. In business there’s a certain air of being diverse by having a woman employee, an employee who is a person of color, an older employee, etc. There are ratios of people of diverse colors and cultures, and rules and regulations that have been put in place. Unfortunately, these good intentions can have the opposite result of what was intended. For some, they become the ‘token’.
Crystal Byrd Farmer
Crystal knows firsthand what it is like to be the ‘Token’. Growing up in a lower income black community, Crystal was bused to a middle school in a middle class white community. Crystal became the ‘Token.’
Crystal Byrd Farmer is the author of The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization. No punches pulled, Crystal wrote The Token which has been called provocative, humorous and an accessible guide for well-meaning people who acknowledge the need for diversity but don’t know where to start.
An engineer turned educator, organizer and speaker, Crystal focuses on cohousing Black, and polyamorous communities. Crystal founded the Freedom School in Gastonia, NC. She serves on the Editorial Review board of Communities Magazine and is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world. Crystal lives in Gastonia, NC.
This week’s conversation with Crystal is candid and revealing:
Being a ‘token’ in middle school
Asking a question that can be harmful
Privilege – both white and black
Freedom School & Self-Directed Learning
Doing “The Work’
Meetings and location, location, location
Recognizing different cultures
Ways to be inclusive
Wendy Walker: International Bestselling Psychological Thriller Author, Newest Journey – Taking the Bull by the Horns
Bestselling Author and Psychological Thrillers
Wendy Walker is an internationally known bestselling author of psychological thrillers. This particular segment of novels suits her quite well in turbulent times. Especially when those times call for quick action. Her newest book Don’t Look for Me, was supposed to be released on September 15th. As they say: ‘timing is everything’. In early March preview copies had just been sent to bookstores and reviewers and then…Covid Lockdown!
When things happen un-expectantly – Bringing a community of authors together
The unexpected happens all the time. How Wendy handled it made all the difference. It took time, research and the use of what she had in front of her. Knowledge is power and Wendy used hers to commandeer her community of authors and lead them in taking the Bull by the Horns. With the power of the internet in front of her Wendy devised a very targeted and carefully executed plan. As a result, the release date of September 15th saw a flood of Wendy’s book all over the book community on Instagram. Her plan not only benefited her, but also the community of authors who found themselves in the same predicament.
Meet Wendy Walker
Wendy Walker is a former family law attorney. While at home raising her three sons, Wendy began her writing career. Her latest thriller – Don’t Look For Me deals with the bond between mother and daughter, guilt, blame and gaslighting.
She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller. All is Not Forgotten took her into the world of PTSD and memory suppression. Next was the thriller, Emma In The Night, taking her into the world of narcissism. And then came, The Night Before, taking her into the world of online dating.
Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure. She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University. As part of her undergraduate studies, Wendy attended The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.
Conversation, the Pandemic and a Community of Authors
The conversation ran the gamut – from the pandemic to challenges to new avenues:
Newly published and the pandemic
Getting the word out
Bringing together a community of authors
Oh the places we will go
Discovering new avenues
Jessica Murphy: Perfume Professor, Scent & Art Historian, Museum Professional, Uncovering Scent’s Empowering Power
With her passion for perfume, Jessica Murphy uncovers the history and empowerment of scent. Jessica is a Scent and Art Historian and a Museum Professional. She’s always looking for new ways to connect art, fragrance, history and popular culture. Jessica shares the continuing results of her curiosity and research skills and along the way, she enriches the enjoyment of perfume.
Since 2006, Jessica has been a contributor for the leading perfume blog Now Smell This. And what better name for her website than ‘Perfume Professor’. Since late 2015 Jessica has taught and lectured about the history and culture of fragrance at venues such as the Brooklyn Brainery, the Brooklyn Museum, The Institute for Art and Olfaction and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
Currently, Jessica is Manager of Visitor Engagement at the Brooklyn Museum. Before the pandemic, Jessica occasionally offered scent-themed tours.
Prior to the Brooklyn Museum, Jessica worked as a Research Associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also worked as a Contractual Educator at the Met and as a Curatorial Assistant at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Jessica received her B.A. from Fordham University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Delaware.
A conversation with Jessica Murphy…
The beginning – religion or incense
Festivals and seduction
Luxury and class
That iconic fragrance
Memories and scent
Shilpa Yarlagadda: Founder & CEO Shiffon Co. & Start-Up Girl Foundation, Investing in Women Entrepreneurs One Pinky at a Time
Who do Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, Emma Watson and Serena Williams have in common? Shilpa Yarlagadda, Founder of Shiffon.
What do Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, Emma Watson and Serena Williams have in common? A Shiffon Duet Pinky Ring. They believe in the symbolism of the ring: the power of mentorship between women. Each of these women unite in showing the beauty behind this gem. And the ‘Pinky Promise’ to pay-it-forward.
What is Shiffon? A fine jewelry company Shilpa started in her dorm at Harvard University.
In 2017 looking for something to do in her downtime at Harvard, Shilpa started googling. The two areas that interested her the most were fine jewelry and women entrepreneurs. Two major discoveries took place: Discovery #1 – fine jewelry has a large markup. Discovery #2 – a large gender gap in the field of entrepreneurship exits. Armed with this information, Shilpa lowered the overhead by selling directly to the consumer. And embarked on a mission to close the entrepreneurial gender gap, ‘one pinky at a time’. All while she continues finishing her studies at Harvard University.
The Four Events
Four events by Shilpa took place simultaneously:
Attending Harvard University
Launching Shiffon and the Duet Pinky Ring
Launching the non-profit, Start-Up Girl Foundation – funding women entrepreneurs
Donating 50% of Shiffon’s profits from the Duet Pinky Ring to the Start-Up Girl Foundation
Forbes has named her in their list of ’30 under 30′. The Wall Street Journal featured Shilpa in, ‘The Crazy, True Story Behind the Pinky Ring Loved by Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama and Serena Williams’. And CNBC did a story on her: ‘How a 20-year old college student launched a jewelry company whose rings are worn by Michelle Obama’.
The Duet Pinky Ring – a symbol of female solidarity and a promise to pay it forward. Since launching Shiffon Co., Shilpa and Shiffon have funded 11 female entrepreneurs. And it doesn’t stop with money, it continues with mentoring.
An Inspiring Conversation
Listen to my inspiring conversation with Shilpa and:
The entrepreneurial gender gap
Why a spiraling ring
Paying it forward
Emma Watson and perseverance
Doing one thing and doing it well
Sustainable business model
The network of powerful women supporting each other
Dr. Natalia Spierings: Consultant Dermatologist, Dermatological Surgeon, Educator, No-Nonsense Approach to Dermatology & Skincare
‘A huge part of my daily job is earning my patient’s trust – it cannot be demanded’. – Dr. Natalia Spierings
An honest, no-nonsense approach. Let’s add tackling the myth behind perfect skin, ‘anti-aging’ and expensive skincare. The answer: Dr. Natalia Spierings. Dr. Spierings’ approach combines European style and sensibility with the energy and quirkiness of London. Now add her positive American attitude. This combination provides her patients with a unique and holistic modern skincare prescription. Born in Europe, Natalia spent her childhood in the United States before heading to London for medical school.
With her technical skill, depth of knowledge, aesthetic sensibility and communication skills Dr. Spierings is a global leading dermatologist.
Dr. Spierings trained as a Consultant Dermatologist in London with a sub-specialty fellowship training in Mohs Micrographic and Dermatologic Surgery at the Royal Victoria infirmary in Newcastle. She holds a Master’s Degree in Aesthetic Medicine from the University of London. Her subspecialty is the diagnosis and management of skin cancer. She has held a consultant post at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in Leeds, UK. Dr. Spierings’ primary aim is to provide the best cosmetic outcome after successful surgical treatment.
Working closely with the renowned Fusion Apothecary in Dubai Healthcare, Dr. Spierings provides bespoke prescription skincare for her patients throughout the Middle East.
An in-depth conversation:
‘Perfect skin’ – is this really a thing
Sunscreen – yes, it’s essential, but when, how much and what good is it if not applied correctly
Trust and the correct information
Correct information and using logic and evidence based explanations
Ingredients, manufacturer, packaging, price – defining ‘good quality’
Vaseline – really?
Social media – how and its impact on decisions
It’s not criticism – let’s talk
Alyse Nelson: President, CEO & Co-Founder Vital Voices Global Partnership, Using Their Power to Empower
The Power to Empower is key to the mission of Vital Voices Global Partnership and Alyse Nelson. For more than 20 years Alyse has worked for the organization. A Co-Founder, Alyse started as Vice President and Senior Director of Programs. Then in 2009 she took over as President and CEO. Under her leadership, Vital Voices expanded their reach to serve over 18,000 women leaders, across 182 countries.
‘One of the things I’ve learned along the way is that a person’s path to leadership is rarely planned out perfectly – it’s an experience that begins with a conviction to do something.’ – Alyse Nelson
Women are Rising
Women are rising and their voices are being heard. Vital Voices searches the world for women leaders with daring vision for change and partner with them to make that vision a reality. Vital Voices makes sure that women have the power to empower. And we just witnessed the inauguration of the First Female Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris!
Prior to Vital Voices, Alyse served as deputy director of the State Department’s Vital Voices Global Democracy Initiative. She worked with the President’s Interagency Council on Women at the White House. Alyse is a Member on the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as a Board Member of Running Start, RAD-AID and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective. She is on the Advisory Board of Chime for Change and Global Citizen. Newsweek Magazine named her one of the 150 Women Shaking the World. Fortune Magazine featured Alyse as one of the 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter. Apolitical named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Global Gender Policy. Alyse’s work has been honored with awards such as the Tribeca Disruptive Innovative Award and foreign Policy’s Citizen Diplomat of the Year award.
Alyse is the author of the best-selling book Vital voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World. She is the editor of Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower. Alyse received her MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She also has a BA from Emerson College.
This week, a conversation with Alyse and it couldn’t be more timely. Women and voices, power and empowering.
It all started at a conference in Beijing
Finding her passion
Women have always had a voice – now they’re being heard
The search for women leaders with a daring vision
How women lead differently
The obstacles and barriers for women leaders
What makes a leader
Women tackling the world’s greatest challenges
The commonalities of women leaders
The power of listening
The 4 ways to measure a leader’s impact
Leaders and starting off locally
Righting the wrong
Yes, a nightmare for most women is the thought of shopping for a bathing suit. Actually, it’s usually more like a hunt – hunting for one that you not only would wear, but would make you feel good wearing it. That hunt led Melanie Travis to Founder and CEO of Andie Swim. It had nothing to do with the garment industry or wanting to start a swimwear line. What it did have to do with was the frustration of trying to find one for a company retreat. The tiny dressing rooms, the lack of variety, her exasperating online experience all turned a lightbulb on for Melanie.
The lightbulb turned into the creation of Andie Swimwear, a collection of bathing suits that women can feel good in,. The swimsuits are classic, high quality and affordable without the anxiety of trying them on in a tiny dressing rooms. A direct-to-consumer shopping experience. And the experience is empowering.
‘Made for life’s sunniest moments, so you can spend less time thinking about your swimsuit and more time making memories.’ – Andie Swim. Andie Swim just made the Lead’s 2020 FOREMOST 50 list of high-growth D2C brands that are reinventing the future of fashion and retail. https://the-lead.co/the-foremost-50-2020/
This week Melanie and I will chat about:
The hunt and the inspiration for finding the “perfect suit”
The beginning of her Crowdfunding Campaign
The start of the first collection
The Mykonos and it’s sellout
E-commerce, technology and and the consumer
The at-home-try-on shopping experience
Why the D2C (Direct-to-consumer) model
Perfect fit – how does this work
Letting experts in without fear
Some advice for others starting out
Covid and swimwear
Amra Sabic-El-Rayess: Author ‘The Cat I Never Named, A True Story of Love, War and Survival’, Genocide Survivor, Educator & Scholar
Three best teenage girlfriends living in Bihac, Bosnia. They had grown up together – a Muslim, a Serb and a girl who was half Jewish. Best friends until the start of the Bosnian war and the Serbian military siege in 1992. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess was only 16 when it started. For 1,150 days Amra lived under the Serb’s siege and survived the ethnic cleansing. 1996 saw Amra emigrate to the United States with the help of four people – a Quaker, a Jewish Philanthropist, a Catholic Sister and a Muslim with some Serb.
‘The Cat I Never Named, A True Story of Love, War and Survival’ is Amra’s story, a Muslim teen struggling to survive the Bosnian genocide. It’s a story that is told from Amra’s 16 year-old self. A story of love, survival and the power of education that is meant to be read by all ages. And a cat who gave her comfort and hope.
Only three years later, December of 1999, Amra had earned a BA in Economics from Brown University. She then went on to earn two Masters Degrees and a Doctorate from Columbia University. Today Amra is a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College working on understanding how and why societies fall apart and what role education can play in rebuilding decimated countries. She has published on education-related issues and has lectured around the world to adult and adolescent audiences. Feedback from her students? ‘One of the most inspiring professors they have encountered.’
‘Bringing what’s written on the page to life with just your voice.’ – Therese Plummer
This week’s conversation is with a very inspiring woman, Therese Plummer. Therese has performed over 400 audiobooks.
The performance of audiobooks and a candid conversation
A very candid conversation with an amazing actor, storyteller and all around extraordinary woman. Therese has helped many of us to be able to escape, even for just a little while during these wild times. Amazing, but it was her mother who pushed her into this field.
But her mother was a librarian!
Storytelling without using expressions or moving or using your hands?
How can you tell a story with just your voice?
A wild child and teenager – really?
She’s been to the bottom – how did she clean herself up?
Crisis Center, Drama Therapy and conveying the emotional life and journey of each character.
Bringing books alive for those who have trouble reading.
Meet Therese Plummer
Therese Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook performer. She has recorded over 400 audiobooks for a variety of publishers. Therese won the 2019 Audie Award for her work on the Multicast Sadie by Courtney Summers. She was nominated for the Multicast Any Man by Amber Tamblyn and for her solo narration for the Rogue Planets Shaken by Lee W. Brainard. In addition, Therese was awarded for her work on Sourdough by Robin Sloan by the American Library Association as part of the 2018 Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration for Adult Listeners.
You may recognize Therese as the voice of Maya Hansen in the Marvel Graphic Motion Comic Ironman Extremis, Dr. Fennel in Pokemon and various Yu-Gi-Oh characters. And let’s not forget her Television Guest Star Roles on the Good Wife, Law and Order SVU and the Netflix series Virgin River.
Therese spent five years as an adolescent counselor where she used Drama Therapy techniques in individual and group settings. As a result of her years as a counselor, Therese is able to bring to characters to life in a very real way. She shares a passion of creating, helping and entertaining Therese recently adopted a rescue named Butterfingers. She now lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey with her husband and of course, Butterfingers.
Goodbye 2020…Hello 2021
The New Year is almost here. Yes, two days from today. The last few months have been tumultuous to say the least. Baking and jigsaw puzzling were among the craze. For me it was connections – old and new. Connecting with extraordinary and inspiring women – a diverse group of women from all over the world. And a diverse group of topics to have conversations about. Happy, sad, inspiring and candid, we were let into their lives.
What does 2021 hold for us? I’m going to predict that 2021 will bring us hope and inspiration from extraordinary and inspiring women – women who are making a difference in our world!
I want to thank all of you who have come along for this amazing journey!
Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!
Michela Di Carlo: Lifestyle Journalist, Late Bloomers Advocate, Speaker, Founder of CrunchyTales.com
Michela Di Carlo is the founder of CrunchyTales.com. A ‘Late Bloomers’ Advocate, Michela is on a mission to reset the meaning of middle age. And so many women get stuck thinking about the number instead of thinking about the opportunities. The opportunity to find their ‘sassiness.’
Meet Michela Di Carlo
A Manchester-based content producer and presenter specializing in lifestyle, food, arts and travel, Michela founded CrunchyTales.com , a digital lifestyle magazine, dedicated to bright women over 40. Michela is a Late Bloomers’ Advocate. Her mission is to reset the meaning of middle age.
Michela is a former feature writer for the most influential Italian National Newspaper La Repubblica. Nominated twice for the International Journalism Festival Award (Travel Section), Michela has run several digital editorial projects including marketing campaigns. In addition, Michela is a speaker and hosts several ‘road shows’ around the UK promoting the Italian way of life.
A conversation that women should listen to, because – hey – it’s never too late to bloom.
Crunchy Tales – A virtual playground for midlife
Why a digital lifestyle magazine?
Redefining middle age
Browsing the gallery
You’re never too old
There’s so much to be discovered
Menopause is not the end of the world
Bring out your sassiness
Melding sassy and classy
Just Hang On – that’s what we’re doing. I decided to release the Just Hang On webinar from last week because this discussion made such a phenomenal impact on me and the women who attended. These women really broke down what is important right now for us and how we need to remain positive as we live through these next couple of months.
I spoke with Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs, Debbie Gravitte, Kristen Jensen and Kitt Shapiro, all Just Hanging On and staying positive. Artist, Performer, Content Creator and Small Business Owner. How the pandemic has affected them both personally and professionally. And the message – Just Hang On.
At 64, Renée is taking a 1956 Porsche 356A to Antarctica to raise awareness about child trafficking. Talk about a road trip of a lifetime! Her goal is to have raced in all seven continents. Antarctica will be the final continent for Renée to complete that amazing goal.
Renée turned her hobby into Valkyrie Racing and then launched Project 356 World Rally Tour, raising awareness about child trafficking along with money to help fight it. She has worked with aid groups around the world including Kenya’s HAART Foundation in Kenya and The Exodus Road in Colorado.
And all of this started after raising her four children eight years ago.
Let’s combine the above with chance meetings, decisions that incorporate courage and a woman in her mid-fifties. After raising and homeschooling her four children, Renée remembered something that had been percolating in her head since she was 17 years old. 17 years old, her father and a VW Beetle. She figured it would be a one-time thing. What had been percolating? How about racing…Rally Car Racing to be more specific. And why not? The one thing that Renee could not fathom happening was to go to her death bed regretting that she had never tried.
Rally racing, one of the only woman Champion Rally Race Car Driver, working undercover with the FBI and advocating to stop child trafficking internationally and she’s 64.
That thought in her head led to helping so many.
This week I talk with Renée Brinkerhoff, a woman who didn’t have to take the chances that she does at 64. A woman who is more than a little inspiring.
A VW Beetle
The one liner in her head
A chance meeting with an undercover FBI agent
Her first race
Winning as a woman
Her Valkyrie racing team
Why she chose advocating against child trafficking
The treacherous terrain
Her undercover work
$1 million dollar goal
One more continent to conquer
Antarctica and what that means
Leslie Gray Streeter is Black and Baptist, her late husband Scott was White and Jewish. They had met back in 9th grade when they were both in the same high school. They reconnected some 20 years later through Facebook. It didn’t take them long for them to fall in love and marry.
We were both very respectful of each other’s backgrounds and faiths because we respected our own and I think we saw that in each other. And it never seemed like a conflict. It never seemed insurmountable. So the differences made it all the more sweet. The difference made… this was something else to learn about; I could learn about Kugel and he could learn about gospel music and we learned about each other’s things and that to me is exciting.
The Black Widow
They had only been married for five years when in 2015 Scott died suddenly of a heart attack. Leslie had been laying right next to him. They had also been in the final stages of adopting their son, Brooks.
A veteran journalist and writer, her story needed to be told. And so ‘The Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books With Words Like “Journey” in the Title’ was written, a heartwarming, love story that has all the real-life elements of love, heartbreak, and laughter.
It’s the story of the religious and racial obstacles that they overcame and how Leslie navigated grief after losing Scott so suddenly. And of course, busting stereotypes on how she was supposed to act.
Tender, true, and endearingly hilarious, Black Widow is a story about the power of love, and how the only guide book for recovery is the one you write yourself.
Leslie is an author, speaker and journalist who has written for O, The Oprah Magazine The Palm Beach Post, Modern Loss, The Sweet Midlife with Lynne and Leslie, and New Musical Express. She has been featured on Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, in the Miami Herald, The New York Times as well as other sites. Leslie is a playwright a well having written ‘The Gift of the Mad Guy’.
‘Black Widow’, her memoir was released in March of 2020, right before the pandemic hit and has been named a top pick by Glamour, The New York Post and others.
Having just moved back to her hometown of Baltimore along with her son, Brooks, Leslie is currently Senior Director at Laurel Strategies, a D.C. based CEO and C-Suite advisory firm.
Candid and heartwarming
This week I talk with Leslie Gray Streeter, candid and heartwarming…
Navigating and embracing differences
Overcoming racial and religious obstacles
‘New Widow Lifestyle’
Integrating tradition with her own need and belief
Finalizing the adoption of their son
The journey of writing her story
James Patterson – a big fan
Sue Stuart-Smith: Author The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature, Psychiatrist, Avid Gardner
The Avid Gardener
Sue Stuart-Smith, is an avid gardener, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and the author of The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature. Don’t let the title fool you; you do not have to be a gardener to read this powerful book, but you may want to become one after you have. You may discover the mental health benefits that come with tending a plot or just a plant.
Really, just a plant and your mental well-being?
‘Nature’s power of restoration and natural beauty is very sustaining.’
Sue Stuart-Smith is a prominent psychiatrist and psychotherapist and of course, an avid gardener. She took her degree in English literature before becoming a doctor. Sue worked in the National Health Service where she became the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. Currently, Sue teaches at The Tavistock Clinic in London is a consultant to the DocHealth service. Married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer for over thirty years, the avid gardeners created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertsfordshire.
Can growing something actually help one’s mental well-being? Does nature really have restorative powers? And does a garden need to be more than the plant that you can fit on your windowsill?
‘Long before I wanted to be a psychiatrist, long before I had any inkling that gardening might play an important role in my life, I remember hearing he story of how my grandfather was restored after the First World War.’ Sue’s grandfather had been a prisoner of war and had suffered tremendous trauma. She would learn that his recovery started in 1920 when he enrolled in a horticulture course.
Simone Gordon – The Black Fairy Godmother, Community Organizer, Motivational Speaker, Domestic Violence Resource Specialist
Not just a gal from New Jersey. The Black Fairy Godmother.
The Black Fairy Godmother, Simone Gordon, is not just a gal from New Jersey. She’s a community organizer in New Jersey for black African American and Latino families. Simone is a mother of an autistic child, motivational speaker, special needs advocate, and domestic violence resource specialist. She also serves as the Executive Director for the nonprofit organization House 581Inc based in East Orange, New Jersey.
Simone utilizes social media to provide emergency assistance to domestic violence victims, send groceries, emergency medical supplies, baby formula, low funded tuition, rental assistance and household essentials to help families get back on track. She regularly provides assistance for special needs schools/centers and support families to achieve their GED. Her proud moment is her inaugural event, The Purple Diamond Awards where she was able to honor fellow Domestic Violence survivors and activists championing this cause including Carol Maraj, Andria Mayberry & Luisa Diaz from Fox 5 and many more including the LGBT community. She is endorsed and receives support from many celebrities including acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert. Simone’s mission is to replace the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Replacing the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Simone and her team of volunteers do not just help with a specific emergency and then leave. They do so much more by helping these women get out of emergency mode. Even having them make a vision board. “I’m going to help you with this emergency. However, we’re going to get you stabilized because you can’t continue to be in the same predicament that you are in. Where do you see yourself? Do you need job placement? Do you need job training? Or do you want to go to school? Maybe you need babysitting services? Do you want a car? Would you like to open a business? So I just tried to dream with them.”
“So I make them think the same way these women had me think and I get them to stability and that’s where the testimony comes; ‘Yes, she changed my life and made me think out the box.’ I’m not saying these women are rich, but they’re stabilized. They have jobs. They’re in school. They’re eating healthy, their children are healthy. They’re housed.”
Soon it will be Thanksgiving and assisting women in need.
This week’s episode is so right for this time of year. In a little over a week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and what could be more appropriate than celebrating a woman who is assisting women in finding the missing pieces and self respect. And saving so many.
A candid conversation with a woman who is without question, a fairy godmother to so many Black and Brown women.
How 4 women changed her life and her path
Instagram, getting noticed by acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert and the growth overnight to over 37,000 followers
Not just a handout – how Simone gives women the self esteem and replaces the missing pieces of their puzzle
On being a Domestic Violence Resource
Covid hit hard – how is Simone managing
You can find out more about Simone here.
Hazell Jacobs goes by the saying ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ Hazell lives in London. Over 80 years of travelling with her late husband, saw Hazell accumulating hundreds of scarves. Each scarf holds a story. When the pandemic hit, Hazel knew that there were many people having a difficult time adjusting to this new reality.
Finding herself stuck in lockdown back in March, Hazell made a plan to start blogging. Mind you, Hazell had never blogged before. At 87, living alone since the death of her beloved husband in 2004, Hazell hatched her plan with the help of her granddaughter, Ella, a graphic designer. Ella built her a website and on March 26th Hazell chose one of her scarves from her bottomless collection of scarves, and blogged her very 1st blog. And Hazell became Scarf Aid, Busy Bee Blogger Hazell.
The reaction could be heard around the world, literally. Comments came from all over. They were comments of joy, laughter and happy tears. Hazell has managed to touch people when they most need touching. One blog every day for 100 days straight. One hundred days of choosing a scarf and writing the true story behind it. Always with humor, always bringing back memories and touching so many. These days she has gone to one a week, with everyone waiting patiently for Sunday’s for her newest blog. You never know where it may take you. Hazell continues to ‘Keep calm and carry on.’
Kara Goldin: Founder & CEO Hint Water, Author ‘Undaunted, Overcoming Doubts and Doubters’, 2019 InStyle Badass 50, Business Disruptor
Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water, the leading unsweetened flavored water, and the author of Undaunted, Overcoming Doubts & Doubters. She is an active speaker & writer and hosts the podcast Unstoppable with Kara Goldin where she interviews founders, entrepreneurs and other disruptors across various industries.
Kara turned her unsweetened flavored water into one of the most successful beverage businesses of our time, as a result, she has been named one of six business disruptors. And let’s not forget, she’s also one of InStyle’s Badass 50, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California.
Our conversation turns to her complete journey from going cold-turkey on diet Coca-Cola to her dislike of plain water to her search for flavored water. That is, flavored water with no sugar added. Becoming an entrepreneur was not a plan, figuring out how to disrupt the beverage industry and create an unsweetened flavored water resulted in Hint® water.
Were there setbacks? Were there fears to overcome? Was she told that it was an impossible goal? Yes to all of these questions, but that did not stop Kara who has forged a path for future entrepreneurs who may feel that simple can’t make it. And there’s more…sunscreen, deodorant, hand sanitizer and masks. All helping to put people on a path to healthier living.
Laura Fahrenthold: Author ‘The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles’, Journalist, Widowed Mother of Eyeball Rolling Teenagers, Adventurologist
Love, loss, healing, camping, adventure, misadventure and that RV
Laura Fahrenthold is a former NY Daily News crime reporter. She has worked as a government press secretary, private investigator and content editor at Woman’s World Magazine for over two decades.
Her memoir, ‘The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles, A Love Story’ has been ranked as a ‘Top 20 Hot Pick’ on Amazon. Laura has appeared on national television and her story has been featured on People.com and The New York Post in addition to other news, radio and internet outlets.
Laura Fahrenthold hadn’t given much thought to traveling across the country. That is until she and her two young daughters suffered an unspeakable tragedy, the sudden death of Mark Pittman, husband and father. As a result of looking to find a way to heal, Laura and her daughters embarked on a five year, 31,152 mile adventure across the country. Every summer vacation was spent in their 1993 RV with the pink steering wheel. 31,152 miles as they sprinkled his husband’s ashes across N. America.
The journey came with lots of adventure, misadventures, tears and laughter:
Laura’s husband – Mark Pittman
The evening before Thanksgiving
Finding the way and pitching a tent at the beginning
‘HaRVey’ the RV and a stray dog
Spreading his ashes and McDonalds
The people you meet
Dealing and healing – each in their own way
Finding his journal – the surprise
Laura has interviewed more than 60,000 subjects on topics from health parenting and motherhood to fitness and finance. She is a regular contributor to humor writer Erma Bombeck’s memorial blog.
Harriet Shugarman: Author ‘How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change: Turning Angst into Action’, Executive Director ClimateMama, 2020 NYC Climate Hero
Climate change is a crisis and action needs to be taken now. This is not political. The science has been very clear about it. This is a crisis that even for adults, is hard to grasp. So how do we talk to our children about it without freaking them out even though for a lot of us adults, we ourselves, are ‘freaking out’?
I turned to Harriet Sugarman, Founder and Executive Director of “Climate Mama”. Harriet is the author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change: Turning Angst into Action. Harriet’s goal over the last many years is apolitical. And her book directly addresses this goal: to help parents have the conversation with their children about climate change and the fact that we are facing a crisis. Our children are facing a very different future than ours. How do we have the conversation and still maintain hope for ourselves and our children?
Founded in 2009, ClimateMama is an on-line community reaching individuals in over 110 countries and 50 states. Harriet is a professor of Global Climate Change Policy and World Sustainability and Chair of the Climate Reality Project, NYC Metro Chapter. She is a climate policy advisor with many years of experience when it comes to activism on the climate crisis. In 2017, Harriet received the Climate Reality Green Ring Award and she is featured in Al Gore’s 2017 book, An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power. Harriet was selected as a 2020 New York City Climate Hero and a 2019 featured speaker at the Global Engagement Summit at United Nations Headquarters. She spent 13 years working with the International Monetary Fund including 10 years as an IMF representative at the United Nations.
A sought after speaker on solutions to the climate crisis, here’s a glimpse into this hopeful and inciteful episode with Harriet.
Harriet’s beginning and her journey
It is a crisis
Maintaining our own hope and that of our children
Talking to children at various stages of life
Actions do speak louder than words
Truth is easier to deal with
Actions that we can take to tackle the climate crisis together
All profits from the sale of How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change will go to support parent, youth and teacher projects on education, advocacy and outreach on the climate crisis. For more information on this program and how to apply you can find the information on ClimateMama.com.
Caroline McBride: Author ‘Four Seasons at Angelino’s’, Director of Public Relations & Business Development Serafina Restaurant Group, Romantic Lover of Escapades
Caroline McBride’s debut novel, Four Seasons at Angelino’s, is a modern day relationship story. It has all of the ingredients that are necessary for making the culinary wonder that we call love:: women’s empowerment, communication, chemistry and more.
In life as in cooking, following recipes doesn’t always give the results that we are looking for. A tweak here or there can add spice in our life. That’s never been truer than in the times we are currently living in. So this week I’ve decided to lighten things up a bit and talk about romance, finding the one and all of the ingredients that go into it.
Caroline McBride and her protagonist Charlotte, take us on a whirlwind escape through Japan, India, France, and Russia and of course, New York City. We follow the recipe for trying to find the one.
Caroline was encouraged by someone very dear to her before he passed away. She was encouraged to venture into writing fiction as a creative outlet influenced by her work experiences and personal escapades around the world.
A conversation with Caroline McBride. We talk about everything…
Public Relations and restaurants
Travel and escapades
Inspiration and drive
Journey into writing
Finding the one
Caroline Alexa McBride is the Director of Public Relations and Business Development for Serafina Restaurant Group. She spent the past decade marketing, branding and launching restaurants across the globe, as well as consulting for private clients.
Caroline Alexa McBride grew up in sunny Southern California. She remained there for college to earn her B.A. in Political Science at Loyola Marymount University. Caroline holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Universiteit van Amsterdam in The Netherlands where she studied as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.
Patti Russo: Executive Director Campaign School at Yale University, Women’s Rights Advocate & Increasing Number of Women in Elected Office
‘It never occurs to a woman that she could possibly win and we’re seeing that changing now.’ – Patti Russo
Patti Russo is a nationally recognized leader focused on improving the quality of life for women. An advocate for increasing the number of women in elected office Patti explains that it’s not a job for everyone. 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment – 100 years of women having the right to vote. And 2018 saw an increase in elected women. For Patti, there is much to talk about and this is a very timely time… So we talk about:
The start of her passion for women in politics
1992 – the year of the women – really?
2017 and ‘I’m not going to take it anymore’
A thick skin and so much more is necessary
Are passion and a pulse enough?
The increase in younger women and women of color
Women’s biggest hurdle
Golf, country club and the network
AIN’T NO STOPPING US NOW
Patti is the Executive Director, Campaign School at Yale University – a non-partisan, issue neutral political campaign training program for women interested in running for public office or campaign management. Based at Yale Law School, the program attracts women from both the United States and internationally.
Patti is also a member of the council of women’s health research at Yale and chairs its Philanthropy and Communications committee.
For over 25 years Patti has held numerous leadership positions in public, private and not for profit organizations centered on increasing the number of women in the political arena. Patti has held leadership positions on federal, state and local political campaigns.
While an undergraduate student at George Washington University, Patti served as an intern to US Congresswoman Bella Abzug – who inspires her to this day.
Michelle Moran: Award Winning Wearable Skincare Pioneer & Creator, Founder SKINEEZ® Skincarewear®, Social Causes Promotor through Fashion
Michelle Moran – Learning how to cope and faking it till she made it.
Michelle went from living in her car with her 6 month old son, to becoming the pioneer of wearable skincare and a multi-million dollar business. In the middle, she bet it all. Michelle Moran, Founder & Creator of Skineez®, CEO of Legends & Heroes. Skineez® Skincarewear®, which uses patented microencapsulation technology to deliver natural cosmetic ingredients to the skin to firm, tone, and slim.
Twenty years ago she was couch surfing – yes – it’s a thing. Her friends had no idea that she was actually living in her car, a single mom with a six month old son. Learning how to cope and faking it till she made it. Michelle wanted to be a newscaster but was held back from that goal by her dyslexia. She knew she had to be the best that she possibly could be. For Michelle that meant making sure that having dyslexia did not hold her back from a life of giving back. Hiding her literacy issue, Michelle forged ahead. Starting with the creation of Legends and Heroes T-Shirts from her car to the invention of wearable skincare, Michelle has been giving back. And so, even while living in her car, creating Legends and Heroes, Michelle donated part of her proceeds to the children in the inner cities. Did I happen to mention that Michelle’s son is on the autism spectrum?
Rose Morris: Founder/Pres. Award Winning Abram’s Nation, Creator of ‘The Safety Sleeper’, Chairman/Co-Founder Fund It Forward, Special Needs Children & Adults Advocate
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.
Jene Luciani: ‘The Bra Guru’, International Best Selling Author, Intimate Apparel Influencer, On-Air Expert, TEDx Talk Speaker
Theresa Carroll: Award Winning Entrepreneur, Founder/Co-Owner Homestead Inn & Thomas Henkelmann, Principal & Managing Member Homestead Associates LLC,
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
Persis Laverack: 93 Year Old Icon, Senior Citizen Cheerleader, Teacher, Writer, Entrepreneur, Communicator, Globe Trotting Mom & Grandmother
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.
Debbie (Shapiro) Gravitte: Tony Award Winning, Emmy & Grammy Nominated Broadway Musical Star & Actress, Producer & Founder Group5Production
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’.
Martina Kwan: Champion Race Car Driver, War Survivor, Award Winning Businesswoman, Transformational Coach
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.