138 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JODI HEMMER 

You are never too old.  Follow your dreams.  - Jodi Hemmer

Do you ever wonder if you’re too old to pursue your dreams?  Today’s guest believes that age is just a number.  Born and raised outside of Boston, Jodi had a real knack for acting as a child.  She recalls joining hundreds of young girls and boys auditioning for a role in a traveling production of the Broadway smash “The King & I” starring Yul Brynner.  Jodi was over the moon when she was offered a role and devastated when her parents told her that school must come first.   Years went by and she nurtured her love of acting by playing the piano and appearing in community theatre. Jodi married and had three sons. As a young mom, she decided that having a business of her own would not only be exciting, but financially rewarding so she founded Nobscot Supply Company in 1998 and became certified as a Women Business Enterprise and a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.  Now a well known and respected supplier of disposable safety and cleaning items, Nobscot Supply Company www.nobscotonline.com has taken on greater responsibility during the Covid-19 pandemic. But it was her decision to finally scratch that acting itch that brings new meaning to this interview. Jodi’s“ah-ha” moment came when she started filling in as a fitness instructor at Longfellow Health Club in Natick, MA. and the performer deep inside was on full display.  Jodi started taking courses at Boston Casting www.bostoncasting.com and began building up her acting portfolio.  Today, she has dozens of commercials and film credits to her name. And if you happen to see a woman in your social feed playing the piano as part of the Piano in a Flash worldwide promotion, that’s Jodi Hemmer!    She’s loving every minute of this new and exciting chapter in her life and has plenty of advice for anyone who wants to take a similar leap of faith. For an “I can do it” attitude adjustment, just hit that download button!   #storybehindhersuccess #16lifelessons #covid19 #reinvention 

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137 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHEILA DUNCAN 

I knew nothing about children’s books, or children’s characters, or the entertainment industry, or anything.  But I knew this was meant to be.  - Sheila Duncan

It all started one day in 2006 when Sheila was spending time with her twelve year old niece, Kendra who had experienced a series of losses.  First, her father passed away, then her grandmother “Nonnie” died of cancer, and finally, the family dog, Irish died as well.  Through her tears, Kendra looked up at the TV and saw a telethon about children with cancer.   She drew a picture of a small grey puppy and said:  “His name’s “Trouble” and he’s gonna help kids having trouble in their lives”.   Sheila remembers believing very deeply that something “divinely inspired” happened that day.  The story line and the concept for the popular “Trouble The Dog” children’s book series was hatched and Sheila became the force that carried her niece’s compassion forward to the world.  And it hasn’t been easy!  In this interview, Sheila talks about what it takes to breathe life into an idea.  With experience in the restaurant and the travel industries, she tapped into her inner-entrepreneur, figuring out how to break into the children’s book market with the first two books in the Trouble The Dog series, and then, how to manufacture a huggable plush toy by the same name, made in the USA. www.troublethedog.com. Throughout this interview, Sheila talks about the value of persistence, even when no one believes in your idea:  “I listened to my intuition and to what the kids were saying to me.  It was like there was a big foot in my back, propelling me forward. I just kept on going.”  Trouble The Dog has given comfort to children in foster care who receive him as part of their therapy.  He has traveled to Haiti after the earthquake, and to Newtown, Connecticut where he comforted children directly affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook.  And it’s not just children who feel his love.  Trouble has even helped wounded soldiers at Walter Reed cope with their injuries.  With the upcoming release of a third book in the Trouble The Dog series, Sheila and Kendra’s mission to bring Trouble’s message to the world keeps on going.   Says Sheila:  “There’s something enchanting about this pup called Trouble. He comforts kids. Our next step is to bring Trouble to life on your TV screen as a meaningful cartoon series!” #hope #troublethedog

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136 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CRYSTAL GAYLE  

When I started out, I was very, very shy. I do not know how I even got on stage, because if I could have hidden behind the microphone stand, I would have.  - Crystal Gayle

In this episode, we’re on Music Row in Nashville to meet country music icon, Crystal Gayle.  As one of the first female singers to crossover from country music to pop, she is considered a trailblazer by many.  Born in Paintsville, Kentucky, Crystal is the youngest of 8 children and the sister of country legend Loretta Lynn. In this interview, she walks us through a career that is filled with equal parts luck and hard work.  While it was fortunate that Crystal had a sister who could open doors for her, she had to walk through them on her own, proving that she had her own unique style.  Signed to Decca Records at only 19, it wasn’t long before she scored her first hit in 1970 with a single called  “I’ve Cried the Blues Right Out of My Eyes.”  Six years later, she released “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” for United Artists and that song changed the trajectory of her career reaching #1 on the country charts and #2 on the pop charts. Later that year, the song would win Crystal the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal and she would also become the first female country artist to go platinum.  From that moment on, this shy singer with black hair that nearly touched the floor, was a superstar. A wife and mother of two grown children, Crystal opens up about what it was like to win the Grammy, the stories behind her songs “Talking In Your Sleep” and her duet with tour partner Eddie Rabbit called “You and I.” But what comes across in this very personal interview are Crystal’s combination of drive and humility. Determined to forge her own path, she admits she was scared to death.  “If I could talk to my 19 year old self, I would tell her:  Lighten up. Don’t worry so much.  You don’t need to be perfect.“  For an honest look into the life of a country music legend, hit that download button. #countrymusic #inspiration #countrymusicsuccessstories

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135 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KELLEY TUTHILL  

When something lousy happens, like a breast cancer diagnosis, what are you going to do about?  You can wallow, and that’s okay, but then you need to fight like hell.  - Kelley Tuthill

Meet Kelley Tuthill, an award-winning, well-known and respected journalist and former TV anchor with a girl next door charm.   Diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer at only 36, she admits that she did wallow for a few hours, maybe even days, but then she fought for herself, for her young family, and for others just like her.   14 years later, she’s thriving with three daughters and a new chapter in her ever-evolving life having segued from television news to academia as the VP of Marketing  & Communications at Regis College, a small Catholic college in Weston, MA. One of four girls, Kelley was raised in the seaside town of Hingham and recalls her father encouraging her to go all in for any dream she had.   A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Kelley spent 20 years loving the news business.  In this interview, she shares what it was like to be a young reporter in rural Pennsylvania, knowing no one,  as well as what it was like to work her way home to Boston as a part of the award-winning, legendary line up at WCVB, News Center 5.   A passionate advocate for women experiencing breast cancer, Kelley allowed cameras to follow her through her own diagnosis and treatment, co-authoring the book:  You Can Do This!  Surviving Breast Cancer Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Style.   Eager to experience and savor all that life has to offer, she recently earned her PhD in Leadership from Regis College.  As we kick off breast cancer awareness month, Kelley’s words of wisdom ring true:  “Hope is everything.” #inspiringstories #breastcancer

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134 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SARAH RIPOLI 

Everything in life is about mindset and outlook. If you shift your mindset and rise above, no matter what circumstances you are born into or what has happened to you, ultimately you will create your own path and future.  - Sarah Ripoli

Imagine that you are six years old, and an only child.  You are sitting next to your sleeping grandfather on a couch in your basement while your mother is upstairs, packing up her things. Within minutes, she is dead, shot by your father and your whole world is changed forever. Welcome to the life of Sarah Ripoli.  Now a New York City based fashion blogger, thescoopbysarahrip.com,  Sarah is standing up and speaking her truth about domestic violence. Raised by her grandparents in her native New Jersey, she was surrounded by love and support. Sarah never wanted anyone to know what she had been through, so she kept her secret for 20 years. When she was 25,  Sarah realized that she had to examine her past in order to create her future. She is the Co-Founder of Angel Energy, www.shopangelenergy.com, an e-commerce based fashion brand and a philanthropic movement to stop domestic violence.  Sarah’s powerful message is filled with a belief that every person is put on earth for a purpose and her goal is to be a voice for children who have lost a parent to domestic violence.  The coronavirus quarantine locked us all down, but for abusive relationships, the lockdown resulted in a drastic increase in incidences of domestic violence.  The fact is: 1,000 women are killed every year by men they know. Angel Energy donates 25% of its proceeds to charities that serve as lifelines for women and families affected by domestic abuse.  For a glimpse into a life path paved by resilience, hit that download button! #inspiringstories #resilience

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133 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JO JORGENSEN 

I would hope that the American people would look past my gender and just look at the ideas. I want to see freedom in my lifetime. I want to see people be able to make their own decisions.  - Jo Jorgensen

Meet Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian candidate for President of the United States.  In Boston as part of her whirlwind tour across America,  Jo agreed to an exclusive interview with me.  Born in Libertyville, Illinois, and raised in a nearby town with only one stop light, Jo had a libertarian mindset before she knew anything about the Libertarian Party.   A graduate of Baylor University, Jo went on to Southern Methodist University for her MBA and earned her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Clemson University in 2002 where she is now a senior lecturer. The VP running mate for Harry Brown in the 1996 presidential campaign, Jo believes that “our government is too big, too bossy, too nosy and too intrusive.  It’s time to put the decision making power back into the hands of the people.”   In this interview, she explains what it means to be Libertarian, and answers my questions about key issues like:  how to heal unrest in our country, what she would have done if she were president during the Coronavirus outbreak,  her views on our criminal justice system, the police, her stance on decriminalizing drugs, healthcare, our military, prayer in schools, the IRS, the FDA, no-knock raids, and whether to send teachers and children back into the classroom.  But it is Jo’s heartfelt answers about gender, motherhood, how she gets around obstacles, and her view on what success really means that give the listener a clear view of the contents of her character.  With her supporters repurposing #imwithher Jo’s hope is that as a third party candidate, she will be able to debate President Trump and former Vice President Biden on a national stage so that voters can understand what she truly stands for.  #letherspeak #letherdebate #JoJorgensen2020

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132 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CHERYL PILLAR  

Any ailment, pain or challenge your loved one experienced in life is gone.  They are at peace. They are happy.  It’s that simple.  - Cheryl Pillar

In this episode, we connect with Cheryl Pillar:  the dc medium.  www.dcmedium.com.  Her new book Here In Spirit is a quick and powerful read that answers the 7 most commonly asked questions about what happens to our loved ones after they die.  Truth be told, I met Cheryl a few years ago at a meeting in Virginia and watched her in action.  She is the real deal and that story is in this interview.   Born and raised in Indiana, Cheryl started recognizing her openness to Spirit when she was in a yoga class and her beloved Nana appeared to her at the moment she died. 

A consultant by day, Cheryl’s unique ability to tap into someone has also helped her untangle complicated business relationships.  The single mother of Collin and Emma, Cheryl completed her psychic mediumship training in 2014 after searching for someone who could be her mentor. SoulConX is her latest endeavor and the answer to that problem.  Cheryl’s new company will be a place where those who have the gift of psychic mediumship can receive further training to perfect their natural skills and techniques.   You learn a lot about life when you talk to the dead and Cheryl Pillar is proof of that.  If you are worried about someone you have lost, this interview will answer your questions and reassure you that our loved ones never real leave us. Most importantly, says Cheryl:  “all souls go to heaven. Even if a person has not lived a good life, we all get another shot; over and over again until we get it right.” #psychicmedium

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131 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MIA HEWETT 

The emotional trauma that stopped us in childhood because we didn’t know how to process our feelings, is the same emotional trauma that stops us from being the most successful entrepreneur of our lives..  - Mia Hewett

Meet a woman who has co-owned and operated a seven-figure business, is an international speaker, a world-class business coach, and author of the new book “Meant For More.”  Believe it or not, there was a time when despite all of her successes, Mia Hewett wasn’t happy.  Most of all, she felt that she was not enough.  After years of reading self-help books and spending tons of money on coaching, Mia discovered the root of her self-doubt:  childhood emotional trauma.  The truth is, no one gets through childhood without scars.  Some of us suffer more than others, but emotional trauma, left unchecked, will handicap your success for the rest of your life.  Along the way, Mia crafted her unique approach called“Aligned Intelligence” which is a methodology that removes all blind spots, fear, anxiety and self-doubt.   In this episode, I admit my fear of failure, and Mia examines where that comes from.  She shares her own emotional trauma at the age of 4 and discusses how she finally got past the “huge confusion pattern” that trauma created until she finally understood how to untangle it.  Says Mia:  “when we don’t heal the emotional side of ourselves, we limit our intellect because we can’t think greater than how we feel.”  www.miahewett.com.  For 24 minutes of discussion that will open your own mind to what’s been holding you back from your greatest success story, hit that download button.

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130 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DONNA HALPER : PART TWO

I’m a working class kid from a working class neighborhood who wasn’t expected to be anything in life and yet, I saw history being made and I was there.  - Donna Halper

Welcome to part 2 of the incredible life and career story of Donna Halper: author, media historian and trailblazer for women in radio.  After years of being told that she would never be on the air, she did just that…first in college radio back in 1968 and then behind the scenes at the legendary WABC, in New York City.  As the music director at WMMS in Cleveland, she received a homegrown album from an unknown rock trio from Canada called Rush and gave their song Working Man a shot in the air. She is credited with discovering the band and has remained friends with Rush for decades, joining them when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and cheering the band on when they were inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.  Her road to success has been anything but easy and she has relied upon her Jewish faith and her own code of ethics to get to where she is today.  After having spent 28 years as a well respected radio broadcast consultant, she focused her attention on writing books and is widely known as a media historian.  An associate professor at Lesley University, she is determined to put a name and a face to the stories of women who also broke through barriers to make it in media.  Says Donna:  “I love finding women who have been forgotten and then writing them back into history.”   

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129 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DONNA HALPER : PART ONE

All I ever wanted was to be was a DJ.  In my freshman year at Northeastern University, I arrived at the campus radio station and said: “I want to be on the radio.”  The program director said:  “We don’t put girls on the radio.  They don’t sound good.”  So I asked him: “How many women have you had on the air here?”  And he said:  “None.” - Donna Halper

This is one of those episodes that serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come.  When Donna Halper was growing up in the 1950’s, girls had only a few choices.  They could marry and be a “housewife”, or they could be a teacher, a nurse or a bookkeeper.   Donna had other ideas. From the time she was a little girl, she wanted to have a career and the announcers on the radio sounded like they were having fun all the time.  Even though DJ’s couldn’t see their audience, they were somehow able to reach out and relate to the thousands of teens who listened to the radio. A Jewish girl who was often bullied for being different, Donna grew up loving rock ‘n roll, saying:  “it was the music of rebellion. The culture was changing and the music was a way to say things that you weren’t allowed to say in society.”  After being told for years that women didn’t sound good on the radio, Donna finally got on the air in college and after graduation, was recruited by the legendary Frank Kingston Smith to write features for his show on WABC in New York City.   But it was her stint as music director at WMMS in Cleveland, Ohio that put her name in the book of rock when she received an advance copy of a homegrown album by an unknown Canadian rock trio called RUSH.  Says Donna:  “I dropped the needle down on a song called “Working Man” and I knew immediately that this was a Cleveland record.” Since that day, RUSH has sold 40 million records, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Donna’s career story continued to flourish,  but never without adversity and roadblocks.  Her message then and now is simple.  “Never,ever give up.”   For a birds eye view into the meaning of perseverance, hit that download button.  #cantstopwontstop

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128 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHARON HAMPSON  

We always hoped that people would listen to the music, make it their own, take it into their lives and realize that our music is there for them to enjoy forever.  - Sharon Hampson

If you grew up in the 1980’s and 90’s, you probably sang along with a group called Sharon, Lois & Bram. Maybe you watched their hit TV series The Elephant Show or even begged your parents to take you to one of their sold out shows.  In the spotlight, Sharon Hampson, founding member of Sharon, Lois & Bram.  The recipients of countless awards, Gold and Platinum albums for worldwide record sales, and induction into The Order of Canada, the group is widely known as the most beloved children’s entertainers of all time.   In this interview, Sharon walks us through her own childhood in Canada, where singing together was part of her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants,  she lovingly recalls her mother saving 50 cent pieces to buy her a piano.  Although very shy, she gathered her courage and sang on stage at a hootenanny.  After that experience, Sharon quit high school and devoted her life to singing, getting her start as a folk singer in coffeehouses around Toronto.  Throughout their illustrious career, Sharon, Lois & Bram maintained a core belief that “children deserve the best the world has to offer, whether it is food, education, accommodation or music.”  A three time breast cancer survivor, Sharon believes that walking through fear is one of the most empowering things a person can do in this life. The mother of two, Sharon has been singing with her daughter Randi, an attorney and gifted singer/songwriter who also manages the group. With Lois’ passing five years ago and Bram’s decision to retire, the two are creating their own next chapter with weekly Facebook LIVE concerts.  The book Skinnamarink echoes the lyrics and sentiment of Sharon, Lois & Bram’s signature song, along with new lyrics from Randi and has sold over 50,000 copies.  During the pandemic, Sharon & Bram have reunited to breathe new life into a song Sharon’s late husband Joe composed 50 years ago. Joined by Randi and an all-star cast, “Talk About Peace” is a YouTube sensation proving once again that this music reaches inside the hearts of the young…and the not so young. For a deep dive into the life of an exceptional woman, hit that download button. #childrensmusic #inspiringstories #skinnamarink

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127 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JODY ADAMS 

A restaurant is like a farm. It requires attention 24 hours a day.. - Jody Adams

When superstar chef Jody Adams was growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, she watched her working mom make dinner with natural ingredients and entertain with grace and true hospitality. The daughter of two librarians,  she got the chance to travel to Europe and experience international cuisine.  It wasn’t long before she knew she wanted to be a chef.   In this interview, Jody takes us on a career journey defined by a powerful work ethic:  “I burned myself and cut myself like nobody’s business, but I was determined to succeed. I just put my head down and worked harder than I knew I could.”  Mentored by Julia Child, Lydia Shire and Gordon Hamersley, Jody put her stake in the ground in 1994 with Rialto in Harvard Square,  spending 22 years nurturing her signature Mediterranean dishes and growing a stellar reputation.  With the closure of Rialto in 2016, she ventured into the creation of TRADE, Saloniki and Porto, with partners Eric Papachristos, Sean Griffing and Jon Mendez.  The winner of the prestigious James Beard Award, Chef Adams was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2018.  The lessons she has learned along the way about entrepreneurship and persistence are inspiring for anyone with a dream:  “Ittakes getting up off your butt no matter how hard you feel and no matter how impossible it looks.  Try to figure out the next move forward. Believe in what you are doing and get back up again.”  Jody Adams has put her own advice to good use throughout the pandemic by becoming an advocate for small, independently owned restaurants in Boston and beyond.  A firm believer that mom & pop restaurants  are not only the backbone of America, but the heartbeat of our communities, Jody is determined to do what she can to help.  www.saverestaurants.com/take-action. “Generosity and giving are what will see us through”, says Jody.   For a dose of wisdom you can use,  hit that download button.  

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126 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MOLLY HOWES

When something goes wrong between people, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There are things you can do to make a repair. You can heal hurt between people.. - Molly Howes

For many years, I’ve been swimming in a lap lane with a really kind and wonderful woman named Molly.  We’d talk about the temperature of the water, and how we really should be swimming longer and harder.  And then one day, she told me that she was an author, and that her new book was being published.  I asked what it was about, and instantly knew she’d be perfect for this show. For the last 35 years, Molly Howes, PhD has maintained an independent psychotherapy practice. She’s a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist who has witnessed the losses her patients feel when they have been unable to give or receive an apology.   Her groundbreaking book is called A Good Apology and is now available world wide.  In this interview, Molly gives us her “four steps to make things right” and explains why saying “I’m sorry” is so hard for many of us to do.  At a time in our country when pent-up hurt and anger abound, this book gives us all a chance to reach across our differences and make amends.  Always honest and thoughtful, Molly shares her own personal story which is woven in loss and a lifelong need to mend things and make them right.  No one goes through life unscathed.  We’ve all been hurt, and we all need to heal. It may be surprising, but the breaches themselves aren’t the real problem, our inability to fix them is what causes us the most trouble.  Says Molly:  “An apology is for the other person, but it’s also for you, because it’s the right thing to do.”  If you’ve spent years trying to figure out how to apologize for something, or how to heal an old hurt that continues to break your heart, hit that download button.  You’ll know exactly what to do in 20 minutes!   #clinicalpsychology #harvard #sorrynotsorry

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125 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SARA GOTSCHEWSKI

They walk 10 miles each day to get water, and sometimes, it’s dirty water. - Sara Gotschewski

In this episode, we meet senior architect and Come Unity volunteer Sara Gotschewski, an American woman who was raised in Tokyo.  Once a student at an international school, Sara remembers being surrounded by classmates from 70 different countries, relishing the chance to learn about different cultures and traditions.   At 16, she and a handful of classmates made their first trip to Africa where they volunteered at a local school in Namibia.  On that trip, Sara fell in love with Africa and no matter where her life takes her, Sara’s compass is always pointed there. Now a senior architect at a firm in Chicago, Sara is passionate about sharing her skills with Come Unity: “I have always known that I wanted to follow a career that allowed me the opportunity to provide positive impact in the world. It’s an honor to be part of creating something for others.” The mission of Come Unity is to partner with East African communities to develop sustainable solutions to poverty www.comeunitynow.org.   Although chronic poverty is a way of life in Kenya, the culture is built on generosity:  Sara says:  “The big difference between the U.S and Kenyan culture is that we give when we have excess.  In Kenyan culture they give when there is a need.” In this interview, she tells the story of a community where women walk 10 miles to get water that isn’t even clean. Thanks to donations and hard work on the ground, Sara and the team at Come Unity built a well that brings clean water, better health, and empowerment to the village.  For a look inside the heart and mind of a woman who understands the true meaning of the word “community”, just hit that download button.  #inspiringstories #cleanwater

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124 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DEBORAH HENSON-CONANT

Whether you are young, or you are 80, 90, or even 100 years old, that moment when you make that connection and you have a partnership with an instrument…is a magic moment.   

- Deborah Henson-Conant

When she was growing up, Deborah Henson-Conant refused to take music lessons.  All she wanted to do was figure out for herself how to make music, writing her first musical at only 12. A prolific singer-songwriter in her teens, she agreed to play the harp for her college band and that pivotal decision has guided her entire career.  You see, Deborah figured out a way to make a gigantic instrument smaller, easy to carry, and electric.  She is known worldwide as the woman who liberated the concert harp by shrinking it down, strapping it on and plugging it in so that audiences large and small could hear every single gorgeous note.  Her recent TEDx talk chronicles her collaboration with French harp company, CAMAC which resulted in the creation of the “DHC” harp, now played by harpists worldwide.   In this interview, Deborah shares her passion for music and especially for the unbridled use of imagination.  Never someone to color inside the lines, she is a trailblazer for musicians young and old who want to forge their own path. Nominated for a Grammy for a long-form symphonic concert of her original music performed in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Deborah was delighted that PBS stations nationwide released the concert nationwide.   Invention & Alchemy is now available to the world via streaming as a fundraiser during the Covid-19 pandemic, Deborah’s greatest hope is that the concert video inspires anyone who wants to make music.   For a journey into the creative mind of a musical genius, hit that download button.  #musician #harpist #hipharp

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123 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AMY SCHMIDT

Success for me is a journey  - Amy Schmidt

As women age, we wonder:  am I doing what I was meant to do?  Am I running on all cylinders?  Is this all there is?  Amy Schmidt has been asking these kinds of questions of herself and others through her podcast series:  Fearlessly Facing 50 and her new book:  Cannonball:  Fearlessly Facing Midlife And Beyond www.fearlesslyfacingfifty.com.  In an easy, conversational style Amy shares her personal stories and those of many other women in an effort to inspire us all to make the biggest splash possible in our lives.  Married for 27 years and the mother of three, Amy openly shares her life story in this interview including her aspirations to be “the next Joan Lunden” when she first got her start in broadcast news.  Born and raised outside of Milwaukee, she was her parent’s “oops child” with 18 years between herself and her oldest sibling.  The message for Amy was always positive:  “live your dreams. You can do anything.“ It was her father who urged her to someday write a book and Cannonball: Fearlessly Facing Midlife And Beyond is that book, full of wit and wisdom for anyone north of 40.  In a world where the exuberance of youth is celebrated, this exceptional woman is asking us all to look at the highlight reel of our lives and to celebrate not only our accomplishments, but our glorious next chapters. Amy’s advice to women facing 50 and beyond?  “We judge ourselves too much.  We get filled with these feelings of self-doubt and fear.  I want women to close their eyes and reflect on what they’ve accomplished. Take a look at your own highlight reel, because we’ve all got one.” #midlife

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122 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JESSICA PEARCE ROTONDI

My mother’s loss became my loss. The letters I found were like a roadmap through a grief she never meant to leave me.  - Jessica Pearce Rotondi

In the mood for a story you just can’t stop listening to?  When she was growing up, Jessica Pearce heard stories of her Grandpa Ed’s heroism in World War II. Shot down in a B-17 bomber over Germany in 1943 on a day known as “BlackThursday”, he was captured after parachuting onto a farmer’s land and spent over two years in the infamous prison camp known as Stalag 17. Once liberated, he returned home to the United States where he became a Pennsylvania State Trooper, raising five children with his wife, Rosemary.   Three of their boys went into the military including their eldest son, Jack. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam until the night of March 29, 1972 when his AC-130 bomber vanished over Laos. For the next 36 years, the Pearce family searched for answers, refusing to accept his death without proof.  Jessica’s mother devotes much of her life to finding out what happened to her brother, while at the same time, raising her daughter’s in a loving home, sparing them the pain she felt so deeply.  But when her mother dies of breast cancer in 2009, Jessica finds herself on the floor of her mother’s closet sitting beside an old file cabinet filled to the brim with handwritten letters, news clippings, military documents and 13 CIA reports about the disappearance of Jack Pearce.  On this day, Jessica decides to take up her mother’s search and find some answers of her own.  www.JessicaPearceRotondi.com. An accomplished writer and editor, Jessica’s work has been published by TIME, Reader’s Digest, HuffPost and The History Channel. Her book:  What We Inherit is more than a great story, it is living proof of the unbreakable bond between a mother and her daughter.   #missinginaction #vietnamwar #inspiringstories

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121 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: WHITNEY SAVIGNANO

Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself or try something new, and fail because the good part of it is: the experience.  - Whitney Savignano

This is a story that starts with an early loss and then, moves to finding love, the joy of being part of a family on two continents, adventure, entrepreneurship, fulfillment and the kind of hard won success that fills your heart with gratitude.  In 2008, Whitney and her Italian-born husband teamed up with his brother Giuseppe to purchase an old property in Pienza, Tuscany that included a rundown structure originally built in the 13th century. Once a monastery, the property included a vineyard and an overgrown olive grove.  When she first saw the place,  Whitney admits it looked like the opening scene of the old TV show Sanford & Son, but she could see that this was a diamond in the rough, worthy of years of renovations that would bring it back to life. Today, Tenuta Santo Pietro is a gorgeous 14 bedroom luxury inn, with a working vineyard and an olive oil grove.   tenutasantopietro.com.  With the creation of PSP Imports, the family business imports and distributes 200 wines, many from little, boutique vineyards that the world had never heard of before.   Using her well-honed writing and marketing skills,  Whitney oversees all olive oil sales from their home in Beverly Farms, MA.  while also raising the couple’s two children. For this exceptional woman, success means feeling fulfilled and living a life where she can also do good things for others.  Reflecting on the loss of her mother to ovarian cancer at only 19, Whitney says:  “Losing your mom at a young age is something that changes you for your whole life.  I just feel very, very fortunate everyday that I am past 46 and that to me, is a gift. Everyday that I have with my kids and my husband, I’m grateful for.”   This story takes a page out of the movie Under The Tuscan Sun and includes a fairy tale ending.  #tuscany #wine #pienzaoliveoil #inspiringstories

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120 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JENNIFER MCCOLLUM

The strength and the passion I have aligns with my purpose. I want to help individuals, teams and organizations fulfill their potential. That’s my measure of success.  - Jennifer McCollum

No one is born a leader.   The traits and characteristics of a great leader evolve over time as an individual “becomes” the best version of themselves.  What’s more:  the best leaders aren’t in it for themselves, they are in it for the greater good.  Meet a woman whose career has been woven around building and managing businesses that focus on leadership. Her name is Jennifer McCollum and she is the CEO of Linkage, Inc. a global leadership development firm based in Boston. Using its signature “purposeful leadership” model, Linkage is leading the way when it comes to advancing women leaders and creating a culture of inclusion. When you are the CEO of a company whose main focus is leadership, the pressure to lead is pretty demanding, but Jennifer is up for the challenge.  A wife and mother of three, Jennifer shares what she has learned on her career path from 20, to 30, to 40 and now to age 50, explaining the importance of “taking a step back and realizing that testing, learning, failing and being disappointed doesn’t mean you can’t start over!”  The daughter of two teachers, Jennifer was raised in Germany where she credits her mother with giving her the perfect balance of independence and responsibility.  Of the many pieces of advice her mother gave her, Jennifer says these words of wisdom are her favorite:  “Set the intention for what you want and then let go of how you are going to get it.”  She credits mentors, colleagues and friendships with other women as her greatest source of strength. In fact, when her own  “innercritic” might be getting the best of her, it is her friends who set her straight.  For a look inside the mindset of an insightful, compassionate female leader in the C-suite, grab a paper and pen and start taking notes!   #leadership #inspiringstories #womenleaders

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119 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MIKEY HOAG

The sand is in the hourglass and I am in the greatest race of my life.  - Mikey Hoag

The woman you are about to meet knows what it’s like to lose both of her parents to Alzheimer’s. She and her five brothers and sisters feel like ticking time bombs, just waiting for the disease to come after them.  Recruited to spearhead a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association in 2012, Mikey Hoag (short for Michaela) originally said “no” to the task, fearing that no one would come. Although passionate about the cause, she wasn’t sure she wanted to talk about how it felt to lose her parents in such a slow, painful way.  After some arm-twisting from a friend, she agreed. Mikey’s fundraising goal was $200,000, but to her amazement, the gala sold-out and raised two million dollars for the Alzheimer’s Association.  That night, she realized that “behind the closed door, there are so many people who are suffering, who are dealing with their parents, or a relative, quietly.  If we could pull the veil over and say it’s okay to talk about Alzheimer’s, we could do something about it.”  Mikey founded Part the Cloud under the umbrella of the Alzheimer’s Association with a focus on funding grants for research into treatments and a cure. 30 million dollars in grants have gone to advanced research on drugs for human trials, and those projects have gone on to receive $290 million in additional funding. And that’s not all.  Part the Cloud has found a friend and supporter in Bill Gates who committed a quick 10 million.  “None of us want to just exist, we want to live fully” says Mikey.  Add her experience as a lifelong equestrian on the short list for the Olympic team, the loss of her Boston College roommate in an accident that would have taken her life, too if she hadn’t decided at the last moment NOT to get into the car… and her lifelong work ethic and you have a success story with all the right ingredients. Mikey Hoag’s story is rooted in love, second chances, dedication, and a true belief in the power of the human spirit.   #alzheimersassociation #inspiringstories #siliconvalleywomen

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118 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: GRETA BAJRAMI

I want people to remember Greta Bajrami:  the girl who was an immigrant, a teenage parent, the woman who made it in an industry that not many women are welcomed into.  That’s what fuels me every day.  - Greta Bajrami

Welcome to the inspiring story of a girl from war torn Albania who came to the United States when she was only 9 years old.  Greta and her parents settled in Worcester, Massachusetts where she enrolled in public school knowing only one word:  pizza!  Her mother had been a Chief ER surgeon in Albania and while Greta excelled in school, she set about re-training herself to meet rigorous U.S medical standards. The message in her home was clear:  sacrifices have been made to get us here.  Work hard and honor your family.  At only 17, Greta and her steady boyfriend learned they were expecting a baby.  They stayed in school, graduated and began their lives together.  Disappointed in their daughter’s behavior, Greta’s proud parents let her know that she was on her own.  In this episode, Greta doesn’t sugar coat the life of a teenage parent. Determined to get their college degrees, Greta and her husband Freddie organized their classes at Worcester State College so that they could also care for their daughter.  When there was no heat in the house, they covered their baby in blankets and wore extra clothes themselves.  But deep down inside, Greta thought she was a loser who had let her parent’s down.  At 21, she saw an ad on Craig’s List for a roofing foreman that paid $300.00 a day.  She reasoned that her family desperately needed the money and that if she put her mind to it, she could learn to do the job. Greta was hired that day.  After spending three years as a roofing foreman, Greta and her husband took a giant leap of faith and founded Golden Group Roofing www.goldengrouproofing.com where she has innovated the construction process, elevated the customer experience, and brought pride and dignity to her workers.  Considered a trailblazer in her industry, Greta is a role model for any young woman who finds herself at a crossroads.  Looking back on her life as a teen parent, Greta says “I don’t know how we did it.  I think in life when we’re put in very tough circumstances, the best comes out of it. We become super-heroes. We have so much strength.. we don’t even know where it came from!”   #womeninconstruction #inspiringstories #storybehiindhersuccess

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117 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ANN EHRHART 

How do we put a Bandaid on this?  - Ann Ehrhart 

Imagine being in commercial real estate during a pandemic. Retail stores, restaurants, bars and businesses are closed.  Pretty scary, don’t you think?  Meet Ann Ehrhart.  Her colleagues call her the “master distiller”  because she is able to listen, process information, articulate goals, take action, and solve problems.  These days, Ann is using her skills 24/7 as she and her business partner help their clients navigate an unprecedented health crisis. A recognized leader in Boston’s commercial real estate industry, Ann launched Boston Urban Partners in 2010 with Jonathan Dutch.  Together they have grown the firm into one of the region’s most successful real estate companies, facilitating close to 2 billion dollars in transactions.  In 2019, Ann and JD took another leap of faith when they joined forces with architect Deniz Ferendeci to open Boston Urban Places. In this interview, Ann recalls her childhood in St. Louis, and her tight knit family where the message was always “to whom much is given, much is expected.”   An accomplished equestrian, Ann says her competitive spirit has helped her win business and stay confident in a male dominated field.  “I think one of the biggest keys to success is wanting something…being willing to get your butt kicked and to get back up and show up everyday.”  A devoted wife to husband Andrew and mother of one year old Harrison, Ann is no stranger to the balancing act women in the workplace experience every single day.   Her climb to the top and her perspective about what really matters in life will inspire you.  Suggestion: download this episode and play it whenever you feel like you need a push in the right direction from someone who believes in taking chances!  #womenincommercialrealestate #womenleaders #wereallinthistogether 

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116 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JOYCE KULHAWIK : PART TWO

The lesson to me is always: GET UP.  Don’t be afraid to get back up on your feet and keep going.  

- Joyce Kulhawik

Welcome back to part two of the story of a woman who has done so much with her life, we just couldn’t squeeze it all in one episode! Joyce Kulhawik is a force of nature. As a well-known arts & entertainment critic, she has interviewed just about every celebrity you can think of.  But it is her intelligence, attention to detail, curiosity and spunk that make her the kind of interviewer Oprah, Meryl Streep, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Steven Tyler and more love to sit down and talk to.  In this interview, Joyce shares some of her favorite interviews, as well as the experience of covering the death of Princess Diana, live from outside Kensington Palace, and the horror of landing at JFK just 15 minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  Her live coverage at Ground Zero would go on to receive numerous broadcast industry awards.  No stranger to adversity in her personal life, Joyce shares her journey as a 3 time cancer survivor, her determination to be an advocate for anyone struggling with a cancer diagnosis, her very personal decision to have a child through surrogacy,  and her powerful definition of “mother love”.   The host of the Simmons Leadership Conference, Joyce is an in-demand “hostess with the mostest”.  Her website:  www.joyceschoices is a destination for legions of fans who value her reviews on arts and entertainment in Boston and beyond.   More than anything else, this is an interview with a woman who is never complacent and understands the value of reinvention.  Says Joyce:  “I’m still trying to raise myself to be exactly who I am.  I want to be the best self I can be.”  www.joyceschoices.com #theatre #arts #inspiringstories #reinvention

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115 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JOYCE KULHAWIK : PART ONE

I come from a long line of working women. It wasn’t a matter of learning to have confidence, it was a matter of learning to work hard to get what one wanted and I knew that I  would work hard to get whatever I wanted. - Joyce Kulhawik

Joyce Kulhawik is a trailblazer for women in the arts.  As the first full-time arts reporter/critic in the United States, she broke down barriers for women in television and made it her mission to promote the importance of the arts in our lives. Raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut by loving, hard working parents, Joyce was the organist and soloist for her church, danced ballet, was the president of her senior class, and had no fear of public speaking.  But Joyce says:  “I just didn’t know what to do with all of that!”  Always a “talker”, Joyce loved words, great writing, literature and critical points of view.  When it came time to go to college, she double majored in Literature and Education and began a career as a high school english teacher that lasted about two years.  She left her position with no other job to go to because she knew that teaching was not for her.  The story of how Joyce ended up on television is two parts talent and one part old fashioned chutzpah.  One of the original members of the Evening Magazine team in Boston, Joyce experienced “lightening in a bottle” on a show that would become the inspiration for copycat news magazine programs nationwide.  As the longtime arts & entertainment reporter for WBZ, Joyce gave journalistic stature to arts reporting, winning numerous Emmys for the WBZ series “You Gotta Have Arts”, and her role in team coverage at Ground Zero.  It wasn’t long before Joyce was tapped by Roger Ebert and Leonard Malton to co-host their nationally syndicated movie review shows. A three time cancer survivor, Joyce testified before Congress on the 20th anniversary of the National Cancer Act and has been a champion for the American Cancer Society, which honored her for her work with its National Bronze Medal.   Her trailblazer legacy is reflected in her status as a member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, The New England Emmys Governor’s Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Communications from her alma mater, Simmons University and an endowed scholarship in her name at the Berklee College of Music.  For a master class in what it takes to create the kind of career that has a pulse, and a purpose, download part one of the story of Joyce Kulhawik.  www.joyceschoices.com #theatre #arts #inspiringstories

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114 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ANNIE MONTGOMERY CLAUSEN

I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and I had a little baby inside of me. I had to be strong.  You do what you’ve gotta do to get through the hard things.  - Annie Montgomery Clausen

Just imagine it:  you are 34 years old, happily married with a successful career as a sales rep for Stryker Instruments.  You love being a mom to daughter Quinn and are overjoyed to learn that you are expecting a second child.  And then suddenly, something is very wrong.  Your OB-GYN notices that one of your ovaries is abnormal and before you know it, you are having surgery to figure out what is wrong.  Biopsies are taken and at 14 weeks pregnant you are told that you have stage 4 colon cancer.  The situation is dire and word goes out through family and friends that prayers are needed.  A group of prayer sisters, all Boston College grads receive this request and begin praying for Annie and her unborn child in earnest.  Welcome to the life of Annie Montgomery Clausen, a beautiful California girl raised in the Bay area by loving parents (both cancer survivors) who taught her that a positive mindset combined with equal parts of courage and determination will serve you well.  Although there was a moment when doctors warned that treating the cancer and saving the baby might not be possible, Annie and her husband found an oncologist at UCLA who could effectively treat her cancer without harming their unborn child.

Exhausted but determined to “keep her head down and beat this”  she did 9 rounds of chemotherapy and delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl named Cody at 36 weeks.  Say’s Annie:  “Someday I’ll tell her that she’s a warrior.  From day one, she fought and fought. She is our miracle baby.  In this emotional interview, Annie shares a cancer journey that is still unfolding and a mindset that will inspire anyone who hears it.  This story is what “mother love” is all about. #inspiringstories #motherhood #coloncancer

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113 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LAUREL SCHNITMAN

My decision to pursue this career is because I feel that I learn from kids every single day.  Sick children are amazing.  They don’t act like they are sick.  - Laurel Schnitman

 

Meet Laurel Schnitman:  wife, mother of two and certified child life specialist for Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.  I didn’t have to go very far to find Laurel, because she lives right across the street!  We settled into my living room for a conversation about her career and her passion for working with children while making sure we practiced social distancing!  As part of a team of 15 child life specialists, Laurel provides psychosocial, medical play therapy and procedural support for children during hospital stays.  Many of the children she helps are hospitalized for long periods of time and she has experienced the heartache of losing her young patients to the illnesses that brought them to the hospital in the first place.  Laurel is that critical bridge between doctors, nurses, parents and children, offering sage advice and comfort when it is needed the most.  In this interview, Laurel shares her experience of working with children and families at the most vulnerable times in their lives to shed some light on how our children are reacting to the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Anxiety and fear come from the unknown. When you can give children a predictable environment at home, that can really help to reduce fear and anxiety.”  For a tutorial on helping your child maneuver the rough seas of a worldwide pandemic, press that download button. #wereallinthistogether

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112 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DEBRA BRISS WOLFE

The one thing that isn’t being talked about in the corona virus pandemic is that people are dying alone. And that’s not all: Covid-19 has changed the entire funeral service.  - Debra Briss Wolfe

 

The woman you are about to meet has spent nearly 30 years in the funeral business. In fact, it is fair to say that being of service to those who have died and those who are mourning is in her blood.  Debra Briss Wolfe is the great-great granddaughter of Jacob H. Levine, the founding father of Levine Chapels and that iconic funeral home has been part of the fabric of the Boston Jewish community for generations.   A graduate of Mount Ida College, Debra recalls going inside Levine’s as a child, and becoming very aware that “important work” was done there.  Armed with a degree in funeral service, Debra has been devoted to her work in the funeral industry ever since,  first as a Funeral Director and now as a Family Service Counselor.  With the death toll climbing each day from Covid-19, I wanted to ask Debra if she could shed some light on how the extremely contagious virus has changed her industry, what families can expect when their loved one is taken to a funeral home and how the rules around funeral services and burials have changed due to new CDC guidelines.  The mother of two daughters, Debra says she has never shielded her girls from the reality of her work.  A big believer in the healing power of yoga, she is “sitting in a lot of silence these days because I feel that I’m going to be needed by my colleagues, my friends and my family.” No matter what your faith is, Debra’s knowledge of the funeral industry, along with her understanding of the importance of religious customs and rituals for the dead and those who mourn them will educate, inform and inspire you.  #wereallinthistogether #stayhome #staystrong

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111 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SIMA ALEAHMAD

If you walk on the sidewalk outside our school you might see blood. - Sima Aleahmad 

 

Frightening words from Ms. Sima, an elementary school teacher in South Central, Los Angeles, one of the most violent school districts in the United States.  But it is here in this place that Sima has chosen to work, spending 20 years empowering hearts and expanding the minds of underserved children.  Sima says it is not rare to see kindergarten students kicking doors and punching teachers.  An advocate for school improvement from the inside out,  she is a beloved teacher whose classroom strategies reach into the hearts of children who live in a world filled with toxic stress and fear.  She calls her philosophy the SIMA method which stands for: success is mindful awareness. www.thesimamethod.com.  “One thing I know after 20 years of teaching is that all children really want is to love and be loved.  Connecting with a child heart to heart is how we create fertile soil.  It is how we plant the seeds for a child’s future.” Her third graders have learned how to be mindful of their actions, how to stop and “refresh” before reacting violently, and how to fill themselves and each other with compassion and love. And it’s not just the students Sima is transforming, it is her fellow teachers.  Increased performance demands and complex student needs have made teaching more challenging the ever before. In this interview, Sima advocates that self-care for teachers is just as important as creating a daily lesson plan. Armed with a masters degree in Elementary Education,  Sima is also National Board Certified in Teacher Leadership.  In this interview,  Sima speaks passionately about the violence she has experienced first hand, including the devastating loss of students who have been murdered.   She also shares her success stories and the everlasting belief that what drives student success can’t be found in a textbook.  For this exceptional woman, the meaning of success is simple:  “I do whatever I can to make a child feel safe, secure and loved.  I want to be that one teacher who changed a life.”  #thesimamethod  #storybehindhersuccess #inspiringteachers 

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110 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CASSY ARSENAULT

I learned that if you want to be in broadcasting, you’ve gotta be able to take tough criticism and not let it get you down.  You’ve just got to take it, soak it up, cry at home and get to work and do your best. 

 -  Cassy Arsenault   

 

If you’ve ever wondered what would be like to work at Good Morning America and Nightline, this episode is for you. Born and raised in the little town of called Leominster, Massachusetts (also the home of Johnny Appleseeds), Cassy promised herself that someday, she’d fly away and live large in New York City. As luck would have it, she gained admission to New York University and before you know it, was interning for network TV.  She got her start as a live producer for Lara Spencer  on Good Morning America and then became an associate producer for Cynthia McFadden producing segments that ran the gamut from extreme bachelorette parties to an investigation into the case of poison leaching into the watersource used by military families at Camp Lejeune.   Although she loved what she did, Cassy realized that if she was ever going to make the switch from working behind the camera to being the face in front of the camera, she’d better do it quick. After stints at small stations in Salinas/Monterey California and in Michigan where she was a member of the Problem Solvers Team at WXMI, Cassy made her way back home to Boston where she is now a freelance reporter for NBC 10 and the creator of an empowering video series called Bosstown which features boss ladies from every walk of life. The oldest of 4 children, Cassy credits her parents with instilling her unstoppable work ethic and sense of resiliency no matter what the obstacle may be: “When things are going bad, you just have to self talk and say: don’t quit. Keep going.  You CAN do this.”  At a time when members of the media are often accused of being vultures, Cassy subscribes to a more personal approach to her stories.  “As a general assignment news reporter, I show up in people’s lives on their worst days.  I’m inspired by their courage.  I’m respectful of everyone I meet.  I’m gonna give a good name to our industry. “  #womeninmedia #storybehindhersuccess #gma #nightline 

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109 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NANCY QUILL

I’ve learned that you have to be persistent.  You have to keep at it. You can’t let yourself down.  You can’t let anybody else down, either.  You just have to keep going no matter what. - Nancy Quill  

 

Words of wisdom from the most listened to woman in the city of Boston.  Nancy Quill has been on the radio for 38 years.  Hired at only 22 on a brand new station called Magic 106.7, WMJX, Nancy is still there, doing what she loves every single day.   And she’s really good at it.  With number one ratings in her 10A-3P time slot, Nancy says it wasn’t long before she realized that being #1 is great, but staying #1 is hard work:  “I’ve got to be on my game every day.  I’ve got to do the best that I can to relate to people… to be real. I want them to know that I care, that I’m there for them.”  A graduate of the University of Lowell with a degree in music education, Nancy is an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician.  Radio is in her blood:  she is the daughter of the late Doris and Joe Quill, owner and general manager of WRLM in Taunton, Massachusetts.  In this interview, she recalls voicing her first commercial at about 4 years old, sitting on her father’s lap.  She names her Dad as her lifelong mentor…a gentle giant who always had the best advice in any situation.  It was Joe Quill’s diagnosis and eventual death due to Alzheimers Disease that sparked Nancy’s devotion to the mission of the Alzheimers Association.  At the end of the day, Nancy’s marriage and motherhood are what matter most to her. For a look into a humble and kind Boston radio legend’s life, this candid interview checks all the boxes. #womeninradio #storybehindhersuccess 

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108 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NATALIE MARTINEZ

I had a lot of hopes and dreams, but I really didn’t have a voice growing up. I was shy. I was in the background.  I had to figure out what I wanted to do in this world. - Natalie Martinez  

 

The Executive Director & Co-President of Strong Women Strong Girls has spent her entire career in the non-profit world.  The youngest of three girls and the daughter of a military man and a nurturing mother who was “her rock”, Natalie Martinez grew up in Mattapan not really knowing what she wanted to do with her life.  Her career path was full of forks in the road, but there was one thing she knew for sure:   “I wanted to give back to the community. I want to see us all thrive.” With 18 years of experience in nonprofit management, she accepted the opportunity to step into a leadership role at Strong Women Strong Girls.  An award-winning non-profit launched in 2000 by Harvard undergraduate student Lindsay Hyde, the organization blossomed in Boston as a way of mentoring girls in grades 3-5 with a goal of helping them to develop skills for lifelong success. There is a reason why girls between the ages of 8-11 are the target for this curriculum.  Research shows that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at about age 11 and if she doesn’t have a positive role model, her confidence and sense of self go down and girls in underserved communities are at especially high risk.  Female students from area colleges served as role models within the original program model.  By 2004, Strong Women Strong Girls was incorporated and the organization expanded its footprint across the country. Today, Strong Women Strong Girls is thriving in Boston with 550 elementary school girls from 45 different community centers across the city and mentors from 7 area colleges.  With corporate support from forward thinking companies, www.swsg.org is able to provide mentorship for its college students by introducing their Strong Leaders Network.  The mother of three daughters, Natalie says her message to her girls is the same message she brings to Strong Women Strong Girls every day: “Your path may not be like everyone else’s, but there is something unique in you that you have to contribute to the planet.”  In other words:  little girl, you can do anything!  #swsgboston #storybehindhersuccess #mentoring  

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107 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: HANNAH FINN 

I’ve learned that you have to be grateful for everything you have in life and that some people have so much less.  You have to help people whenever and wherever you can.  - Hannah Finn  

 

She may only be 17 years old, but Hannah Finn is an old soul who lives her life with compassion and purpose.  Her mission to help those less fortunate began three years ago when her mother, Claudia told her she needed to devote at least some of her time to a cause that mattered to her. Shocked by how many homeless people she observed in the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Hannah decided to combine her love of baking with a commitment to help homeless families by making birthday cakes for homeless children in nearby shelters.  What started out with a single birthday cake is now about 400 cakes, specially designed and made with love for each birthday boy or girl at 6 shelters in the Merrimack Valley. Her non-profit is called The One Wish Project www.onewishproject.us and her purpose is simple:  Hannah Finn just wants to spread kindness. The awards for her community service are starting to add up, yet the humble, kindhearted teenager is quick to match the sentiment of American poet laureate Maya Angelou, explaining in this candid interview that she doesn’t do it for the recognition. “These children may not remember who I am, or the cake I made for them, but they are always going to remember how they felt on their birthday.”   #kindness #birthdaycake #storybehindhersuccess

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106 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SUZANNE IOVANNA 

Taking care of three dealerships was hard enough for someone who didn’t know anything about the car business!  -  Suzanne Iovanna

 

October 19, 2014 is a day Suzanne Iovanna will never forget because it was the day her husband Michael died in a car accident. It was also the day she became a single mom to teenagers Michael Jr and Alexandra, and the owner of Pride Motor Group in Lynn,  Massachusetts. A Periodontal Surgical Assistant and stay at home mom, Suzanne admits she knew nothing about how to run a large car dealership that includes Pride Hyundai, Pride Kia, and Pride Chevrolet www.pridemotorgroup. She spent a year settling her husband’s estate and then decided the best way to honor him was to dive into trying to run the family business. In this candid interview, Suzanne recalls attending meetings where she had no idea what people were talking about, so she’d go back to her office, close the door and start googling words. An invitation from Hyundai to begin training as a Dealer Principal in Korea was gratefully accepted, followed by joining a“NADA 20 Group” where dealers meet to learn from each other. Soon after, she enrolled at the National Automobile Dealers Association Academy in Tysons, Virginia for intensive instruction in automotive sales, service and finance, earning her NADA certification in 2017. The President of Pride Motor Group and a Dealer Principal for Hyundai, Kia and Chevrolet, Suzanne is among a very small group of women car dealership owners in the United States and she is on a mission to promote women in her industry. “At the end of the day, my goal is to learn every single thing I possibly can. It’s kinda like a boxing match. Every time someone thinks, oh, she’s out, I come bouncing right back up again. I just want to prove to myself that I can do this.” #storybehindhersuccess #womencardealers #pridemotorgroup #kia #hyundai 

#chevrolet 

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105 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JILL FOPIANO 

I had a trader pour tequila on my head because I wouldn’t kiss him in the middle of the trading floor. To react to that would have been career suicide on Wall Street in the 1990’s, so I laughed it off and grew some pretty thick skin. - JillFopiano 

 

Making her way in the financial world has been quite a ride for Jill Fopiano.  She never really got used to being the only female at the table, but she always did her best to be heard, even when she was mistaken for a secretary.  As the years passed, she added designations and credentials to her name like CFA, CFP and an MBA from Yale.  The goal was to demand the same level of respect given to her male counterparts.   Armed with the wisdom that comes from real world experience, Jill made the move to O’Brien Wealth Partners LLC as a Principal.  In 2016, she became the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and majority owner of the all-female owned firm. One of her missions is to break down the “Money Taboo” which is the idea that it is impolite or improper for women to talk about money. Jill’s aim is to create an environment where women are financially confident and empowered.  Says Jill: “we don’t hide behind mahogany walls, leather briefcases and power suits. We sit on the same side of the table as our clients.”  The single mom of two sons, there is no such thing as the work/family balance for this powerhouse. No stranger to long work days, there are times when she runs to her son’s baseball games in a black dress and red heels, just in time to stand-in as a third base coach.  A member of the Women’s President’s Organization, Jill is committed to mentoring and advancing women owned businesses in the Boston area and beyond.  Her top 5 secrets for balancing career, family and self include this pearl of wisdom:  “On your worst or hardest days, wear your best tutu.” Right on, Jill. #womeninfinance #storybehindhersuccess #singlemoms

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104 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MEREDITH ATWOOD

I never listened to my intuition.  I did what I was expected to do. I made other people proud.  That was how I lived my life. - Meredith Atwood

 

Meredith Atwood remembers working very hard to get into law school, knowing all the while that being a lawyer was not what she was meant to do with her life.  She did it anyway.  The years flew by, she married her college sweetheart, had babies, and was making lots of money as an attorney, but somewhere deep down inside, Meredith had lost her way.  One morning, after drinking too much wine and binging on pizza and ice cream, the triathlete just couldn’t get out of bed.  She didn’t even remember the promise she had made to her daughter to help with a project before school.  Instead, she pulled the covers over her head and slept through the entire morning.  When she woke up, she found a note from her husband with four powerful words on it:  GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.  Says Meredith: “When you are in a state of emotional despair, you are not living your authentic life.  You are sick.” And so began an open, painfully honest 365 day experiment which is now the title of her book:  The Year of No Nonsense:  How to get over yourself and on with your life.” Published by Hatchette Books, it reads like a journal and is both heartbreaking and hysterically funny, all at the same time. Determined to figure out what was working in her life and what wasn’t, Meredith gave up both her legal career and drinking wine, and set about the task of adjusting her compass.  The result is a book that resonates for any woman who has also lost her way. In this candid interview, Meredith shares her belief that we all suffer losses throughout our lives, but “getting over the past requires seeing it, acknowledging it, and then saying to yourself: hey, I can do nothing about that.  I only have today, so let’s get on with it.”  For 23 minutes of truth and wisdom, just hit that download button. 

#yearofnononsense #storybehindhersuccess #triathletes 

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103 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MARILYN ABRAMS

Nobody in the dressing room at Shear Madness knew that I was the co-producer. I just wanted to be a part of the cast and the camaraderie! - Marilyn Abrams

 

This is the story of a woman who has not only used her creative talents as a singer and an actress, but has gone outside her skillset and comfort zone to produce and market a theatre production. Meet Marilyn Abrams, the co-creator and co-producer of Shear Madness, the hilarious and endearing whodunit launched in Boston at the Charles Theatre way back in 1980.  Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running play in the history of theatre in the United States, the play has launched 50 production companies, been translated into 27 languages and seen by 12.5 million people around the world. Not bad for a play that was originally 4 pages long! Raised in the Bronx, New York, Marilyn always loved to act and sing. A student at the Bronx School of Science, she held her own, but never excelled in math or chemistry.  One day at an assembly, Marilyn’s teachers discovered her love of the stage and created moments for her to shine.  They also wrote glowing recommendations for Marilyn to attend Cornell where she continued to thrive. Marilyn met fellow actor Bruce Jordan playing summer stock in Lake George, New York and the two actors would go on to co-create and co-produce Shear Madness.  This effort took time and patience, and originally, Marilyn was committed only to an 8 week run playing the role of Barbara deMarco. She soon realized that someone had to figure out how to sell tickets and market the play in order for it to succeed.  Marilyn figured out early on that word of mouth, and relationships within the Boston area would eventually grow the production, and she was right. “We were told to give up, that nothing plays in Boston in the summertime.  A little light bulb went off and we said:  great, we’ll be the only show in town.”  At one point, Marilyn got on a bike and dropped off playbills herself to every hotel in the city.   As Shear Madness celebrates 40 years on stages worldwide, we celebrate the accomplishments of Marilyn Abrams:  wife, mother, singer, actress, producer and force of nature! #storybehindhersuccess #shearmadness40  #whodunit #womenintheatre

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102 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NANDINI BAJPAI

Walking into a book store is like being surrounded by friends. - Nandini Bajpai

 

Meet a woman who wrote her first story in the second grade and has been writing them ever since!  Born in New Delhi to a mother and father who encouraged both written expression AND the fine art of conversation around the dinner table, Nandini Bajpai has written 5 books for children and tweens. www.nandinibajpai.com. Her latest book: A Match Made in Mehendi is about a young girl who has inherited the ancient gift of being a matchmaker.  Published by Little Brown & Company, the book marks the author’s U.S. debut. In this interview, Nandini shares her determination to include the people and rich culture of her native India in all of her books, saying “when I was growing up, there were no stories for kids like me. I wanted to change that for my own kids.”  Once a systems analyst and a bookseller, Nandini has also traveled the world and is a big believer in the lessons we learn from every job and every chapter in our lives.  The journey a writer takes from idea to publication is also explored in this interview. She credits her mother’s sage advice when faced with life’s inevitable obstacles, roadblocks and disappointments: “Keep going. It’s almost like Dori in Finding Nemo.  Keep Swimming. Never give up.” #storybehindhersuccess  #tweenauthor  #matchmaker

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101 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHANNON MURPHY & SOPHIE DERASPE

We packed up our remote equipment and flew from Boston to Palm Springs, California to cover the 31st annual Palm Springs Film Festival  to talk to female directors about their craft. There was a time when there were virtually no women in director’s roles, but thankfully, times are changing and I was fortunate to meet and interview two female directors who are trailblazers in their field. First up, Sophie Deraspe, the Canadian director, screenwriter and cinematographer whose adaptation of the Greek tragedy, Antigone is giving audiences a new take on a very old story. Written by Sophocles 2500 years ago, Sophie’s adaptation centers around a modern-day immigrant family living in Montreal and a brave teenage daughter who stands up to the law out of love and loyalty for her family. The film explores the burden of responsibility, even when our actions demand incredible inner-strength and sacrifice. Antigone, starring Nahema Ricci is winning awards at festivals worldwide and was honored to be selected as Canada’s entry at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. Sophie’s career journey toward finding her path as a director will inspire you. Says Sophie: “There is nothing that can stop me. I will never give up. I’ll find my way around any obstacle.” As luck would have it, I also had the opportunity to sit down with Australian director Shannon Murphy just a few hours after she was named to Variety’s Top 10 Director’s List. Her latest film is Babyteeth, the story of a cancer stricken 16 year old played by Eliza Scanlen who falls in love with a troubled drug addict. As a director, Shannon says she loves complicated love stories, and this is definitely one of them with the mother’s role brilliantly acted by Essie Davis. In this interview, Shannon shared what it was like early in her career when she was often the only female in the room. Heeding the advice of other women in film, she decided to be her authentic self. Says Shannon: “I knew when I was 17 that I wanted to be a director. It is all I have ever wanted. I’m incredibly ambitious. I’m obsessed. This is my passion!”  #PSIFF   @essiedavisdaily   @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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100 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ALEXIS & KIMBERLY KISSAM

Our stores are named after our grandmother, Isabel Harvey. She gave us lessons in confidence, on how to be strong and to do what your heart is telling you. She taught us to dream big.
-Alexis & Kimberly Kissam

When Alexis and Kimberly were growing up, they were blessed to have two strong female role models: their grandmother and their mother. The sudden death of their father placed their mom in a situation where she had to learn how to do things she had never done before, and they watched her become the head of the household with strength and grace. Their grandmother played a major role in their upbringing, teaching the girls valuable lessons in life. After college, Alexis and Kim pursured careers in corporate America, until one fateful day, when Alexis announced: “ I think I want to quit my job and do something else.”  Kim jumped in with both feet to join her sister and as they came together around their mother’s kitchen table, an idea was born: to create a store named after their grandmother, filled with beautiful things that sparkle and shine. Established online as www.isabelharvey.com in 2005 with a tiny storefront space on the idyllic island of Nantucket, and a few years later in their hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Isabel Harvey stores have a beachy feel: “we want people to feel like they are walking into a ray of sunshine.” Named to the Boston Globe’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians list, Alexis and Kim follow their grandmother’s style intuition, ie: “if it feels good, it looks good.” Together they have filled their boutiques with carefully chosen necklaces, earrings, handbags, totes, bracelets and rings, plus cashmere, scarves, ponchos, hats and mittens. As experienced stylists and skilled jewelry consultants, their goal is to guide women to find pieces that make them sparkle and shine in their own, unique way. As entrepreneurs, the sisters have tapped into their own strengths and weaknesses to create a true partnership. In this inspiring interview, Alexis and Kimberly shared: “We’ve had some hard lessons, but we’ve never wanted to throw in the towel. There’s no turning back now.”   @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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99 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CHRISTIE LINDOR

When I see something I really want to do, I get obsessed.
-Christie Lindor

If you could use a role model in the business world, Christie Lindor may just be the woman to watch. www.christielindor.com. She’s been climbing the ladder as a consultant to blue chip companies like Deloitte, EY and IBM for nearly 20 years and her tireless work ethic is a direct result of her upbringing. Raised in Boston, Christie is a first generation American whose parents came to the United States from Haiti. The oldest of eight children, she says rule #1 in her house was: work hard for what you want. “There was a lot of pressure to succeed, says Christie: You don’t have space to fail.“ A regular Forbes contributor, Christie is also a TEDx speaker and the author of the award-winning book, The MECE Muse: 100+ selected practices, unwritten rules and habits of great consultants. Her latest book Release: Use the Power of Forgiveness to get Unstuck & Thrive in your Career is a nod to the many lessons she has learned along the way. “There’s a lot of baggage women of color carry around with them. I have a choice to lift this cloud and operate as a skill business consultant who just happens to be a black woman.” The proud mother of a brand new baby boy, Christie is a reformed perfectionist, recovering workaholic and political junkie who is excited about the changes Millennials are making in the workplace. She is determined to move the dial on pay equity for women of color and considers career and motherhood “a wait and see work in progress!” @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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98 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MOLLY HANNA GLIDDEN

Don’t let anyone tell you to get over your grief, to move on. Everyone grieves differently. 
-Molly Hanna Glidden

The life lessons we learn from the sad times in our lives are just as important as the lessons we learn from joyful moments. Why? Because adversity is a great teacher. Meet Molly Hanna Glidden, author of the new book Reminiscing La Vie en Rose and A Family Broken: Surviving Traumatic Loss & Overcoming Tragedy.  Molly’s journey has been marked by tragedy and yet, she finds a way to put on a pair of rose colored glasses and see the brighter side of life. Five deaths, including two suicides, one murder, and the loss of her only child have marked Molly’s path, and yet, she survives and even thrives. Writing has become her vehicle for self-expression and in the process, she has become a role model for others who are grieving too. Faith and family have always sustained this exceptional woman. In this interview, she tells a poignant story that was also featured in Grief Digest Magazine about a beautiful Red Winged Visitor, sent to remind her that love never dies. Molly Hanna Glidden believes that strength and hope come from getting out of bed every morning, putting one foot in front of the other, and surviving another day with a deeper sense of purpose and gratitude. @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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97 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: TERRI TRESPICIO

A lot of my life didn’t start until I was over 40. If you say “I”m too old” you are looking for an excuse NOT to do what you want. -Terri Trespicio

Meet a woman whose life and career trajectory are living proof that getting gutsy will help you get to where you want to go. Terri Trespicio is an award-winning writer, speaker coach, former Sirius radio host, stand-up comedian and a brand advisor. But wait, there’s more! She is also a Ted Talk superstar with over 5 million views for her unique take on passion, saying: “Passion is not a plan, it’s a feeling. You don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.” Along the way Terri worked side by side with Martha Stewart as a senior editor for Whole Living Magazine and her TV show revealing: “she’s tough and I admired her for that.” In fact, she credits Martha with teaching her lessons about entrepreneurship that serve her to this day. To meet Terri and spend time with her is to be in the presence of true creative genius, but make no mistake about it: the road has been long, winding, and full of obstacles. A graduate of Boston College with an MFA from Emerson College, Terri spent a full year paralyzed by the fear that she had nothing to offer the world. A true believer in the power of words, Terri believes that “writing is a sacred tool for accessing our stories and our ideas. When you quiet everything else, you can actually hear what that voice has to say to you.” These days, you’ll find her traveling from coast to coast, helping businesses sound like humans and humans sound like people. www.territrespicio.com. Her mother’s words still ring true: “You create a life by living it.” @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions 

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96 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA M. MACDONNELL

This work matters to the core of my being.
-Melissa M. MacDonnell, Founder & President/ Liberty Mutual Foundation

You’ve probably seen the commercial on television a million times for Liberty Mutual (liberty liberty, liberty). But did you know that this Boston based insurance company founded in 1912 also has a philanthropic arm called the Liberty Mutual Foundation? Created by the company’s Vice President, Melissa M. MacDonnell in 2003, the Liberty Mutual Foundation has committed approximately 200 million dollars to 1,150 organizations through direct grants, with a focus on accessibility, homelessness and education. And let’s not forget the countless contributions made by an employee population of 50,000 people in 900 locations worldwide through a giving and service program called “Liberty Torchbearers”. With a focus on accessibility, youth homelessness and education, the Liberty Mutual Foundation recently funded Liberty House, a 10-bedroom home for homeless youth which opened its doors in Boston just one year ago. What does it take to do this work? That’s just one of the many questions we asked Melissa in this up-close and personal interview. She’s one of 11 children, who was taught at an early age to always be “genuine, fair-minded and to do the right thing”. A graduate of UMASS Amherst with a Master’s in Business Administration from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, Melissa is hard-wired to do the work she does. A constant mentor to young women, she is a passionate believer in giving a voice to those who have been silenced. On the wall in her office, Melissa keeps a poem written by her late mother whom she describes as her role model. “The essence of who we are is achieved in the manner in which we live, the lives we make stronger and our love for neighbor as ourselves.”  #GivewithLiberty  @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions   @LibertyMutual

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95 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DIANNE O'CONNOR

There are some people who come out of the womb kicking and screaming and they are not gonna let anything stand in their way. I’m one of those people. -Dianne O’Connor

Born a farmer’s daughter on a sheep ranch in Montana, Dianne lost both of her parents when she was young. She and her sister moved in with their grandmother and were raised on a poverty stricken Black Foot Indian reservation. Always a strong student, Dianne was encouraged to think about college and take the SAT exam. When she couldn’t come up with the $12.00 entry fee, her favorite teacher gave her the money and she landed a full scholarship. Now the owner of Weston Table, Dianne is a wife, mother of 5 and a fearless entrepreneur whose retail philosophy is based on the belief that “less is more.” What started as a website in 2014 www.westontable.com with curated pieces from artisans around the world, and an outstanding bridal registry, her flagship store in Weston, MA. is a place where beauty, function and life values align. Dianne believes that “giving thoughtfully matters” and her store is an inspiring collection of the past, present and future. Every item has a story and the hope is that you will be drawn to something special because your heart wants it! When asked what advice she would give to a young woman with a dream or a goal that seems insurmountable, Dianne says: “Take the risk. Listen to your heart.” #westontable 

@BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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94 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JENNIFER ECKERT

Adoption is a lifelong journey. I don’t know if we are ever fully healed. There is always that missing puzzle piece. - Jennifer Eckert

November is National Adoption Month, so we went searching for a woman who could teach us all about it. Meet Jennifer Eckert, adopted child and founder of Boston Post Adoption Services, a non-profit she created to support individuals and families touched by adoption. Once fully immersed in the field of fashion as a graduate of F.I.T and a marketer for The Limited, Jennifer decided to go back to school in her 40’s and received a graduate degree in social work from Simmons University. An adopted child herself, Jennifer learned through her studies that she had lots of healing to do. She was inspired and determined to know more about how other families handle this life-changing decision, as well as how attitudes have changed around adoption in general over time. Most of all, she wanted to create a non-profit that would support everyone touched by adoption. Her groundbreaking book is called: Adoption Is A Lifelong Journey and is co-written and illustrated by colleagues Kelly DiBenedetto and Katie Gorczyca. In this very personal interview, Jennifer and host Candy O’Terry share their adoption stories and discover startling similarities between the two. The common thread? Secrecy and shame. In her work all these years later, Jennifer seeks to change that. “Kids are super smart. It’s important for adoptive parents to show their children that there is no shame, no secret. There is nothing we are hiding from you. This is our family. This is how we came to be. This is us." 

#adoption   @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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93 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: GRACE KELLY

My music is a mixture of everything I listen to. It sits in my brain, it stews, and then it spits out GRACIFIED! –Grace Kelly

Have you ever met a prodigy? I have…and you can, too. Her name is Grace Kelly. Inspired by the music of Stan Getz and Paul Desmond, Brookline, MA. native Grace Kelly picked up the alto sax at age 10 and never looked back. Her incredible musical gifts were nurtured by her parents who provided both stability and freedom for Grace to grow as a singer, songwriter and saxophonist. She wrote her first song at 7, recorded her first CD at 12, orchestrated and performed an original composition with the Boston Pops at 14, and performed at President Obama’s inauguration at 16. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Grace was featured in Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women To Watch in 2011 and recently, Billboard Magazine declared “Grace Kelly is making jazz young again”. Now 26, Grace has played over 800 concerts as a bandleader in over 30 countries around the world and is the winner of countless awards including multiple ASCAP Composer Awards, Boston Music Awards, the Rising Star Award from Downbeat Magazine and most recently, the John Lennon Songwriters Award for her very personal love song Feels Like Home. We brought our equipment into Grace’s family home and spent some precious time with an incredibly humble and gifted young woman. @gracekellymusic  @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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92 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DEBRA DORONI

My short term memory was gone. I couldn’t multitask. I’d stumble over my words. I was anxious, depressed and exhausted. Chemo brain changed my whole life in a way that breast cancer should have, but didn’t. I had to raise the white flag. -Debra Doroni

As October 2019 comes to a close, we’re wrapping up our series on breast cancer survivors with the story of Debra Doroni. When she was diagnosed with the disease, it was the last thing she expected because she had no family history and no risk factors. Says Deb: “I never thought of cancer as something that could take my life.” As it turns out, it wasn’t the diagnosis, the surgery, or the recovery that brought this successful career woman to her knees. Instead, it was the effects of chemotherapy on her brain, aka: chemo brain. Born and raised in the little seaside town of Hingham, MA. Debra was no stranger to adversity. Her father was murdered when she was twelve years old and her life was forever changed: “I’m 52 years old now, and I still think about it everyday. Losing a parent to violence changes the way you proceed in life.” But proceed she did. Debra was a devoted student, an accomplished ballet dancer, and eventually made her way to Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Worcester, MA where she majored in biology and later received her MBA in finance from Boston College. Her career trajectory has been steady and impressive with high ranking positions at Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital where she was the Project Manager for the operating room process and eventually was promoted to lead the Department of surgery. When chemo brain sidelined her, Debra created a new and exciting next chapter as an executive coach, earning her certification at the Gestalt International Study Center and now runs her own company: Debra Doroni Leadership Partners, LLC. Her focus is in guiding healthcare professionals including an exclusive coaching relationship with the Boston College Woods College of Advancing Studies Master of Healthcare Administration Program. Says Deb: “I would like to leave a legacy, some kind of impact on the world. Clinical burn out and chemo brain look a lot alike! @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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91 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KATE MARTIN

Cancer will take your breath away, like any stressful life event will do. Trust and look inward to the deep well of strength we all have inside of us…and breathe. -Kate Martin

Our salute to breast cancer survivors continues with Kate’s story. She was only 40 when an out of the blue, visible mass appeared on her left breast and she imagined it might be her pectoral muscle. The single mother of two year old Ronan, Kate recalls a mammogram that didn’t reveal the tumor, an ultrasound and then a biopsy. Within days, she had a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis and her #1 concern was for her young son. An interior designer on the sales side and a yoga instructor, Kate had searched long and hard for “Mr. Right” and when he didn’t show up, she opted for a sperm donor and spent months and lots of money trying to get pregnant. “I felt like a mom, but I didn’t have a baby in my house” said Kate in this poignant interview. It is clear that this deeply longed-for child is the center of her world. When Kate’s aggressive treatment plan left her exhausted and struggling to function, her son’s pre-school teacher suggested The Ellie Fund, a Massachusetts based non-profit that eases the burden for women and their families while they are going through breast cancer treatment and recovery by providing groceries, light housekeeping, transportation, childcare reimbursement, and more, all at no charge. Kate applied for childcare reimbursement and grocery gift cards, and within days, received what she had asked for. Says Kate: “The Ellie Fund was part of my village and when I received their help, I had to teach my son what happy tears meant.” With no family history of the disease, Kate began researching environmental toxins and their influence on the body. She is the force behind The Sangha Project, that curates safe, clean, toxin free product kits for women in recovery so they can focus on their well being. Now 42, Kate is feeling grateful and finds great joy as a yoga instructor. Ronan is 4 and has no memory of his mother’s breast cancer. “I have pictures I’ll show him someday, says Kate. I want him to know that he was what kept me going.”  @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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90 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ALEXIS FLANAGAN

It’s gonna be a journey, but you still have a lot of life to live. -Alexis Flanagan

Alexis Flanagan was living large. At only 33 her personal life was filled with family and friends and her career in finance was thriving. On a business trip to Florida in 2017 with her mother tagging along for some warm sunshine by the hotel pool, Alexis noticed swelling in her left breast. Her mother insisted she get the lump checked as soon as they returned to Boston. When all of the tests were complete, Alexis remembers hearing the words: “you have stage 4 breast cancer” and then, she blacked out. “I thought my life was over. I thought that everything I had dreamed of was just crumbling away. The hardest part of a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis is that you just can’t see the path ahead of you because you are so scared. You don’t know if you are going to be around in a year.” Alexis applied for and received free assistance from a Massachusetts based charity called The Ellie Fund which provides essential support services to breast cancer patients, just to ease the stresses of their every day lives. Nearly three years have passed since her diagnosis and in this interview, Alexis candidly shares the details of her breast cancer journey. Thankful for the love of her family, she mourns the loss of a chunk of her life when she pressed “pause” and others moved on; getting married, having babies, and celebrating job promotions. A patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute under the care of Dr. Ann H. Patridge and her Young & Strong Program, Alexis receives infusions every 21 days and is not only back to work, but in the gym lifting weights. “I want to show women that no matter what stage you are, you CAN be physically strong again after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.”   @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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89 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CARLA TARDIF

There is nothing more gratifying than saving a life, or lifting people up around you. The ripple effect cause miracles every day. -Carla Tardif

Do you know someone with cancer? Chances are, the answer is “yes”. A cancer diagnosis is terrifying for the patient and the family, but it can also be financially devastating. That’s where Family Reach comes in, providing a financial lifeline for families fighting cancer. In addition to offering immediate financial relief, the organization also provides education and empowerment by giving families the tools they need to survive the most difficult time of their lives. At the helm of Family Reach is Carla Tardif, CEO and “team captain” leading the way with vision and compassion. Last year, Family Reach allocated more than 4.8 million dollars towards their programs, supporting more than 40,000 individuals across 50 states. This is Carla’s latest chapter in a career that has been devoted to work that matters. Driven to do what she does by a sense of purpose, Carla says: “being other people’s voices allowed me to find mine.” In this interview, she talks about her early work for Jerry Lewis and his famous Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, a deathbed promise to a NFL football player Pat Kelly who died of brain cancer, an unlikely collaboration with a very talented guitarist who just happened to be a billionaire car dealer and an invitation to share the good work of Family Reach at The White House. All of these alliances have led Carla to where she is today: on the battlefield fighting cancer-related financial toxicity. A wife, mother and two time breast cancer survivor, Carla says: When you have any kind of cancer, you are constantly being forced to make a decision: do I get afraid or do I get brave? You have to change your mindset. You have to fearless when you face cancer.       

@BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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88 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NANCY FRATES

ALS is going to take my son away. I have grieved and my family has grieved every day for seven and a half years. We know what the outcome is, but you cannot speak about this journey without acknowledging the gifts we have also been given. -Nancy Frates

 

You’ve heard of The Ice Bucket Challenge, right? This is the story of how it came about.

 

On March 13, 2012 Nancy Frates accompanied her son Pete to a doctor’s appointment. Only 27 years old, he had been a superb, lifelong athlete. In fact, Pete had played professional baseball in Europe following his graduation from Boston College. Now living in Boston and making his way in the insurance industry, Pete had been hit in the wrist by a fastball in a summer league and thought he had a pinched nerve. When the doctor said tests confirmed he had ALS, Petes’ mother Nancy admits: “I didn’t know what ALS was. I just knew it was bad.” Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famous New York Yankees baseball player who died of the disease in 1941, ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. There is no treatment and no cure for ALS and the average patient lives 2-5 years after diagnosis. During that time, muscles are rendered useless and ALS is 100% fatal. No one would have blamed Nancy Frates if she shut herself in a dark room and cried for days, weeks, or even months, but that is not what Peter wanted. Instead, he gathered his family and his friends and formed team Frate Train. Using the power of social media, Pete showed the world what ALS was doing to him and was determined to raise awareness and money for research. Pete is the inspiration for The Ice Bucket Challenge, a worldwide fundraising phenomenon that raised 220 million dollars for the ALS Foundation and its global partners. Married and the father of a 5 year old daughter named Lucy, Pete Frates is still alive, experiencing daily moments of joy his daughter and loved ones bring him. His mother remains steadfast in her love for her son and her passion to find a cure she knows will not come in time for him. “My husband and I cry, but we also cry tears of joy because look at what this child of ours has done. Look at the people he has inspired. We are filled with immense pride.” Listen to Nancy’s story for a master class in the power of mother love. #icebucketchallenge  @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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87 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LINDA MARKS

My father told me, “music is a waste of a good mind” and I’ve spent my entire life proving him wrong.

-Linda Marks

 

When she was about 3 years old, Linda Marks toddled over to the piano and started to play. She didn’t talk very much…it was the piano that set her free. Ever since that day, this exceptional woman has been singing and writing songs from her heart. What’s really interesting about her life story is that she is also a pioneer in heart centered psychotherapy. A graduate of Yale and the Sloan School at MIT, Linda developed EKP: Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy, she is the author of two landmark books: Living With Vision: Reclaiming the Power of the Heart and Healing the War Between the Genders: The Power of the Soul Centered Relationship. The heart is at the center of everything Linda Marks does, including her music. Now in a very exciting “next chapter” of her life, she is finally able to dive into her music with both feet. Linda’s latest album is titled In Grace and features songs of the heart, and social consciousness. In this interview, she reveals a tragic childhood where every talent, hope and dream was dashed, the demands of single parenthood, and the joy of reclaiming what brings her joy. If you have faced hardship and need a role model, this is the interview for you.      @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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86 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MARGARET CARR

We all have chapters in our lives and Margaret Carr is the perfect example of that. Armed with a B.S. in Communications from Boston University, an MBA from Boston College and a doctorate in Education Leadership from Drexel University, she is the National VP/Development for a non-profit known as Read To A Child.  With chapters in Greater Boston, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami and Metro Detroit, Read To A Child is made up of nearly 2000 volunteers from 130 companies who travel to elementary schools on their lunch break to read to students. The results are life changing. Children in the Read To A Child program experience not only better reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills, they experience a new sense of confidence. The road that led Margaret to this latest adventure has been filled with twists and turns. A single mom for many years, Margaret has worked in healthcare at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and South Shore Mental Health, in higher education at Stonehill College, and as a partner in her family’s real estate business. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University where she teaches Business, Marketing and Public Relations. With a heart full of wisdom and gratitude for the lessons she has learned along the way, Margaret shares her passion for her latest mission: spreading literacy from coast to coast with Read To A Child Day on October 8, 2019.           

@BWME  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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85 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SUSAN COHEN

I had a dream that I was going to be the Perry Mason of my day.
-Susan Cohen, Immigration Attorney

 

The topic of immigration is on the lips of millions of Americans, so we searched for a woman who could teach us all about it, based on her real-life experience. Meet Susan Cohen, founder & chair of the immigration practice at Mintz, one of the most prestigious law firms in the United States. Susan took on her first immigration case as a second year associate, back in 1986 and she’s been at it ever since. Raised by a single mother who was a social worker, her passion to speak out against injustice, to do what she can for others, was taught early on and then nurtured during her college experience at Brandeis University where Susan began marching and demonstrating for causes she believed in. Nationally recognized as an expert on immigration law, Susan’s mission is to get people to understand the human side of of the refugee crisis. An accomplished songwriter, Susan is the founder of White Dove Projects and in collaboration with students at Berklee College of Music she has created two music videos that tell the stories of refugees: Beyond The Borders and Looking for the Angels. Susan also serves as a volunteer for the PAIR Project  where she helps refugees seek political asylum. “In countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, young people are forced to enter gangs and if they resist, they are marked for death. Refugees are looking for someplace to be safe. Most people don’t want to flee their homeland. They have to flee for their lives.”  @BWME  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions  #worldrefugeeday

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84 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MOJGAN ANVARI BRUMBY

Still to this day, when I wake up, I am grateful to be here in the United States. -Mojgan Anvari Brumby

 

This episode comes to us from a woman raised in Tehran, Iran. The daughter of a 4-time world champion Greco-Roman wrestler who represented Iran in the 1968 and the 1972 Olympics, Mojgan told me her childhood was idyllic. Rolling hills, gigantic trees and orchards filled with fruit trees were all around her, and Mojgan’s favorite thing was to climb trees: “every time I saw a tree, I wondered what the view was like from the top.” As a national hero, her father enjoyed the favor of the Shah of Iran, so when the Islamic Revolution took place, her family was targeted by the new government . Her father was arrested, and most of their ancestral land was confiscated. Determined to provide their daughter with an education, Mojgan’s parents sent her to college and law school in Tehran where she ended up serving in the Islamic Family Court. Arrested for protesting in the streets for the rights of women, Mojgan’s parents urged her to leave the country, not just for her safety, but for their own. Arriving in the United States in 2001 with a 6 month Visa, Mojgan requested and received political asylum. Alone and only 23, she learned to speak English by listening to the radio. Now a proud American citizen, her latest chapter brings her back to her Persian roots. Mojgan is the founder of an all-natural skin care line called Blue Monarch www.bluemonarch.com. Made in the USA and never tested on animals, Blue Monarch products are based on remedies passed down to Mojgan from generations of women in her family. For a master class in how to overcome adversity, take a listen to this powerful interview.    @BWME  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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83 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KRISTA ANDERSON

Success is not a dollar amount. It is being able to show my children what good feels like. Everything I’ve done over the last 6 years shows them that serving others is so much better than serving yourself.   -Krista S. Anderson

 

Sacrifice. Loneliness. Fear and pride. These are four words that come to mind when I think of what it must be like to be a military spouse. Now, let’s increase the stress and imagine what it must be like to be the wife of a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier. This is a woman who doesn’t even know where her husband is, what kind of danger he is in, or if he will live to see another day. In 2013, Krista S. Anderson’s greatest fear became a reality when her husband, Staff Sergeant Michael Simpson was killed in Afghanistan. The mother of two small children, Krista co-founded The Unquiet Professional, a non-profit that provides healthy and empowering opportunities to surviving families. She is the Gold Star Liaison for the Green Beret Foundation and a member of numerous boards. Now the wife of active duty Green Beret Master Sergeant Gus Anderson, Krista is the Military Spouse Ambassador for Army Emergency Relief and the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. Krista is the co-author of Her Ruck: Inside the Emotional Backpacks of Military Wives, due to be published in May 2020. In this interview, Krista shares what the last 6 years have been like for her, including the wisdom she has learned along the way. “I want military spouses to thrive, not just to survive. Every separation, every loss matters.“ @BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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82 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DIANA PISCIOTTA

I’m terrified of heights. I’m terrified of falling. I was at a moment in my life when I needed a goal to focus on, so I decided to climb all 48 of New Hampshire’s tallest mountains. -Diane Pisciotta

 

This episode is all about the mountains we have to climb to get to where we want to go. Meet Diana Pisciotta, President of Denterlein, a Boston-based PR & communications company. While Diana’s expertise crosses many industries, she is best known for her crisis communications experience. Together with founder Geri Denterlein, Diana has taken great pride in tripling the agency’s size and client base over the last 15 years, but it was her experience as a mountain climber that redefined her personal and professional life. Climbing all of New Hampshire’s 48 mountains took four years and along the way, Diana learned many life lessons. Mountain climbing became an exercise in maximizing strengths, managing weaknesses, recognizing when to ask for help, and finally, strategizing the best path to the top. And when it comes to work ethic, Diana has her parents to thank. Their mom & pop hardware store in New Jersey is where Diana started stocking the shelves at only six. The importance of customer service, value, risk, relationships and trust are just a few of the lessons her parents taught her. The mother of a little boy getting ready for his first day in kindergarten, Diana Pisciotta is a working mom with an open heart and plenty of wisdom to share. 

@BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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81 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KATIE WOOD

You are the author of the story of your life. Who do you want to be? What’s the footprint you want to leave on this earth? -Katie Wood

 

If you are in need of a push in the right direction, Katie Wood is just the woman to show you the way! Meet a woman who has devoted her career to helping women reach their fullest potential, to believe in themselves, and to not only dream, but DO! Determined to find a way to make money from home in order to put her family first, Katie joined Rodan + Fields, the popular skin care line. Along the way, she discovered that company founders Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields personified the kind of life she wanted to lead herself. Katie’s sense of entrepreneurship and her tireless work ethic are family values, inherited from her parents who risked it all to restore an old home by the ocean in Niantic, Connecticut. Now called The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, the property is considered one of the nation’s most beautiful and successful bed and breakfast properties. Katie says: “my parents taught me that hard work will always pay off if you just keep going. Most people quit when they are just about to hit gold. I believe that if you can see it, you can do it.” Now expecting her fourth child, Katie and her husband experienced one of life’s most difficult challenges following the birth of their daughter Gabriella. Born with craniosynostosis, their daughter required 7 hours of emergency surgery and 150 stitches in her head at Boston Children’s Hospital. It was Gabriella’s brave journey that inspired a philosophy Katie lives by: “Gratitude is everything. Live your life like it is rigged in your favor.” Her website: www.katielwood.com is a treasure trove of inspiration including a 5 week online course called The Jourse and a monthly membership program called The Power of H.E.R

@BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

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80 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JOY LIM NAKRIN

When the red light goes on and I’m on the air, I don’t think about the thousands of people who are watching me. I just try to connect with one person. -Joy Lim Nakrin

 

Words of wisdom from NBC 10 & NECN Boston news anchor Joy Lim Nakrin. She has spent much of her professional life in front of the camera, not just here in the United States, but on ESPN and MTV Asia and as the host of a reality show in Malaysia. Joy moved through television markets, most recently from Fox 25 in Hartford, Connecticut to Boston, and along the way, has been grateful for every opportunity she has had to learn her craft. The child of immigrants, Joy grew up in rural North Carolina and is of Chinese, Filipino and Jewish decent. When her relatives had a hard time understanding English, it was Joy who stepped in as their interpreter. Education was held in high regard in Joy’s home and she recalls getting punished if she didn’t get straight A’s in school. She began her college experience as a pre-med major, only to shift to philosophy when she realized she just couldn’t stand the sight of blood! Faced with what her next step in life would be, Joy applied to Duke University Law School and became one of college’s youngest graduates. That law degree has served Joy well, giving her an extra dose of confidence and legal knowledge when it comes to pointed questions. A passionate advocate for the Boston area’s Chinese and Filipino population, Joy volunteers her time on behalf of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, is a spokesperson for the MSPCA’s Clear The Shelters Campaign and serves on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association of New England.    @BWME    #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

79 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LAUREN PIMPARE

Ten days after our son was born, the doctors sat us down and said that he was going to be a vegetable. -Lauren Pimpare

 

Lauren’s story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, all at the same time. A successful executive in the healthcare field, Lauren is a big believer in the power of the word “we”, so she founded two organizations called Tomorrow’s Women Today and the Boston Women's Leadership Council. At that time in her life, the sky was the limit. It was June 15, 2011 and Lauren was in labor with her second child. The city of Boston was alive with excitement as the Bruins shut out Vancouver 4-0 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Always huge hockey fans, Lauren and her husband decided to name their son “Boston” in honor of the Bruin’s victory. And then, the unthinkable happened. Lauren’s baby experienced a traumatic brain injury during childbirth. On a day that started with bliss, Lauren’s world turned upside down. Eight years later, the lessons have been many. The same women Lauren rallied to form her supportive professional organizations have come running to her door to offer help with open hearts and hands. Her climb up the career ladder experienced a full stop, but her journey remains rich and meaningful. “When women come together, we’re unstoppable. You can’t quiet us. We’re loud and powerful and we have a lot to say”. If you have a child with special needs, this episode will fill you with hope and love.  @BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

78 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHANNON SILVESTRI

Nothing feels more incredible than saving someone's life. -Shannon Silvestri

 

Meet Shannon Silvestri: wife, mother, marathoner, coach, fitness instructor and organ donor. A longtime resident of the little seaside town of Beverly, Massachusetts, Shannon was a champion field hockey player who received a scholarship to Boston College where she was later inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. When her daughters were born, Shannon made the decision to be a stay at home mom, diving head first into volunteer work for their school and town as a coach and at the Beverly YMCA as a fitness instructor. A billboard in town showed the picture of a woman named Deb Debski and the question: “Could you be the one?” You see, Deb was in desperate need of a liver transplant. Shannon called the number on the billboard to see if she could be tested as a match. “I felt like God called me to do this, and if I didn’t do it, I knew Deb would die.” Many tests later, Shannon was told she was a perfect match for Deb. The lengthy surgery was performed and Deb’s life was saved. “It’s overwhelming to think there’s a part of me inside her, keeping her alive” says Shannon. “I call her my other half”. We call this story inspiring. If you have ever thought about organ donation, this episode is for you.   #motherrunner #americanliverfoundation  @BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

77 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JENNIFER HANES

In a room full of men, I have to be decisive, clear and succinct. I have to own whatever it is I believe in. 

-Jennifer Hanes

 

I’ve been looking for women in powerful, senior leadership roles and I’ve found one. Meet Jennifer Hanes, Division Executive, Securities Finance & Processing for Capital Markets, FIS. The world’s largest global provider dedicated to banking and payment technologies, FIS is the acronym for Fidelity Information Services, Inc. The company serves more than 20,000 institutions in over 130 countries and Jennifer is in the thick of it all overseeing teams in the United States and around the world. Climbing the career ladder is something Jennifer has been doing for decades and her success story is a reflection of her tireless work ethic, her focus on the job at hand, her fearlessness, and her dedication to delivering tangible results. In this interview, she shares her views on being a mother and a career woman, as well as her leadership philosophy, the importance of mentorship, and her hopes for the next generation of women at the top.

@BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

76 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CATHY POULIN

Joy. Inspiration. These are contagious emotions and I’m always on the lookout for women who embody them. In the spotlight, Cathy Poulin, an exceptional woman I first interviewed about 10 years ago. I remember thinking that meeting her had been just as exciting as watching her on TV. You see, Cathy was the sidekick to a guy named Bob, owner of Bob’s Discount Furniture. Together, they jumped on couches, reclined in chairs, and shared the kind of vibe that made viewers want to get in their cars and drive to Bob’s to buy their next piece of furniture. But what viewers didn’t know is what I have discovered in this interview: Cathy Poulin is a brilliant marketer and a clever businesswoman with a long history of doing great things for others. She is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a clown, a former TV show host and school teacher, a giver, a doer, a creator and a bright light wherever she goes. Now the owner of Pitch Perfect Consulting, Cathy is focused on representing businesses who believe in sharing their success with causes they believe in, as well as giving a voice to the many non-profits she works with. “I have always known that I had a gift for creating ideas and making them come to fruition” says Cathy, “I just go for the heart because there is always a story there.” Rising entrepreneurs will want to download this episode. Her advice about the power of relationships is powerful stuff.  #cathypoulin   #bobsdiscountfurniture   @BWME   #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

75 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LIZ RYAN

The more you reach out . . . the more you tell your story . . . the more you share . . . the more will come back to you. -Liz Ryan

 

In this episode, we hear the story of a mom whose son has a rare, incurable and potentially deadly disease. Meet Liz Ryan, wife, mother of two, career woman and first generation American. What started as flu-like symptoms in January 2018 turned out to be Juvenile Myositis. For nearly 4 months, Liz and her husband watched their once laughing, curious, active 4 year old boy turn into a child who couldn’t walk, sit up, or even lift his head off the pillow. Liam’s diagnosis requires regular plasma transfusions, steroids and a low dose chemotherapy drug. Now 5, Liam is often tired, but always joyful. Born to Vietnam refugees who fled their country through Cambodia’s infamous “killing fields”, Liz shares her parent’s powerful work ethic as the impetus for her own determination to save her son’s life. She and her husband Luke have joined forces with a non-profit called The Cure JM Foundation whose mission is to spread awareness about the disease. Their website is www.CureJM4Liam.com. The chances of being hit by lightening are 1 in 500,000 and that is the same chance a child has of getting JM. By sharing their son Liam’s story, Liz and Luke are determined to support and offer encouragement to kids with JM and their families with love, hope and care.     @Boston25 @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  

#storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

74 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SUSAN BRADY

Throughout the course of my career, I’ve had the good fortune of working with incredible women who have overcome hurdles and are willing to talk about it. -Susan Brady

 

And talk about it, she does. Meet Susan Brady, newly named Managing Director of the Simmons University  Institute for Leadership and author of Mastering Your Inner Critic and 7 Other High Hurdles To Advancement.  A wife, mother and role model for so many women in Boston and beyond, Susan is one of those people who lights up the room and is willing to share her story with arms wide open. Raised on the little island of Martha’s Vineyard, Susan has spent her career surrounded by great women leaders. Her mission is to share what she knows and to remind us all that “you are enough, you matter, and most of all, you have unique value”. For a master class in leading with purpose and compassion, this episode is for you.  

@bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

73 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LIZ POWERS

One of her artists paints on canvas, using only the wheels of his wheelchair.  Another just had one of his creations licensed to Starbucks.  Meet Liz Powers, co-founder & Chief Happiness Spreader at ArtLifting, a socially conscious business that provides a marketplace for homeless and disabled artists to sell their artwork.  Founded by Liz and her brother, Spencer in 2013, Art Lifting now has over 100 artists who provide incredible works of art.  These artists are experiencing independence, receiving 55 % of the proceeds from the sale of their work. Seeing a person go from hopeless to hopeful is what Liz strives for each and everyday.  A graduate of Harvard, Liz volunteered at local shelters throughout her college years and quickly realized that art therapy enabled this vulnerable population the chance to express their loss, their fears, their anger and their untapped talents.  Says Liz: “I would just throw out art supplies on the table and if somebody was really stumped, I would just step back and say: paint hope.”  And paint they did.  What started out with a grant from Harvard is now a thriving business.  The domino effect of empowering these artists is what brings this exceptional young woman her greatest joy.   A picture on a wall purchased from www.artlifting.com 

is more than a nice thing to do. It is a validation of someone’s talent and a tangible way to create

positive change. @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

72 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ELIZABETH HOPKINS

You wake up, make your coffee, check your phone, and flip on the TV to catch the local news. You see gorgeous women and handsome men, telling you what’s happening in the world. But what is it REALLY like to be a news anchor? Meet Elizabeth Hopkins, news anchor for Boston 25 Morning News. The daughter of an educator and an NYPD police captain, Elizabeth thought she might like to follow in her father’s footsteps, imaging she might even become a police commissioner. But when she was presented with the opportunity to intern at a TV station, everything changed and she was bitten by the news bug. With stops in South Dakota, Rhode Island and Boston, Elizabeth has worked her way up the ladder from small to major market broadcaster. The life lessons she has learned along the way are what she values most, saying: “there is so much more of a powerful lesson to learn when things are NOT going your way.” Her parent’s wisdom and her husband’s devotion are what keep her going through a workday that begins with an alarm that goes off at midnight. For a dose of wisdom, faith, and good old- fashioned advice, download Elizabeth’s story today. We’re pretty sure you’ll be glad you did!   @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  

#storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

71 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KATIE DONOVAN

True success in business is when you can do what you want, when you want, and know that you are being paid equally. -Katie Donovan.

 

If you believe in equal pay for women and minorities, this episode is for you. Meet Katie Donovan, the founder of Equal Pay Negotiations. She’s a pay equity expert and a trailblazer in this field. In fact, it was Katie who started a movement to ban the use of salary history in hiring and compensation decisions and her efforts were central to the passage of the bill she drafted here in Massachusetts. Two years later, 11 other states and 10 local jurisdictions have banned or restricted the use of salary history through new laws or executive orders. Born and raised in Chelsea, Massachusetts AKA the poorest city in the state, Katie is the daughter of a former school teacher and a local politician who got his start as a bat boy for the Boston Red Sox. Her father continued working for the legendary franchise, rising up the ranks to Executive Vice President. His message to Katie was two-fold: Anything is possible and life isn’t fair. Grab your best friend for a listen to this episode and don’t forget to take notes!    @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

70 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHEILAH DORSEY

Science and music: it is rare to have a career in both of these fields, but for Sheilah Dorsey, they are a perfect match.  She's been singing all of her life, but she also gets plenty of joy from working in biotech where the goal is to discover life-saving drugs and treatments.  Her love of music goes way back to her childhood when her father rescued an old jukebox from a restaurant.  On that day, Sheilah was introduced to just about every form of music and a lifelong love of singing, songwriting, and recording was born. But from 9-5, Monday through Friday, this talented singer cannot be found singing at all.  For the past ten years, Sheilah has been earning a living in healthcare systems management and administration.  Her life story is a rich tapestry of experience in two very different worlds.  As it turns out, Sheilah is not the only biotech pro who loves music.  She is fronting a band called Almost The Cure and will be singing for charity at the famous Battle of the Biotech Bands May 30, 2019, at Club Royale in Boston.  In this interview, Sheilah shares her life philosophy:  "Don't ever let fear stop your goals and dreams.  Once you have life and breath, the possibilities are endless."  Download this one today. You'll be glad you did!    #biotechbattle    #16LifeLessons   #storybehindhersuccess     @BWME     #mydoveproductions

69 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHARON KAN

Are you ready for a masterclass in entrepreneurship?  Meet Sharon Kan.  She has spent the last 20 years incubating and launching successful businesses in high potential markets.  And we're not talking about the small stuff.  Sharon has nurtured and developed ideas that have been acquired by giants like Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, SSA Global, and Oracle. Born and raised in Israel, Sharon's early life experience was shaped by five wars and countless terror attacks that left her feeling constantly on edge, but always resilient and hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.  Educated in the UK and France, Sharon is also the co-founder of the WIN Lab at Babson College.  Her latest project is a unique company called Pepperlane where she serves as CEO.  The mission is to create a movement focused on 24 million stay-at-home moms in the United States alone.  Sharon wants to build a thriving "mother economy" and her philosophy about entrepreneurship might surprise you because it is not about the money, it is always about the power of ideas.  Get out your pen and paper for this episode because there is a lot of wisdom here!   @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment  

#storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

68 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SHANNON O'MARA

Are you a mentor?  Have you ever been mentored by someone?  Passing on what we know for the betterment of someone else is a gift and this week's guest is a big believer in the power of mentorship.  Meet Shannon O'Mara, Vice President & Associate Director of credit research at Loomis Sayles and Founder of UWIN:  the Undergraduate Women's Investment Network.  Raised in Upstate New York, Shannon earned a BA in economics as well as her management certificates in finance and accounting from the University of Rochester.  The single mom of two teenagers, Shannon shares many life lessons including:  "show up fully, whether you are at work or with your family" as well as her mentoring mantra:  "If you can see it, you can be it."   For a quick shot of determination, drive and passion, this success story checks all the boxes. 

@BWME  #storybehindhersuccess    #16LifeLessons    #mydoveproductions

67 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JACY DAWN VALERAS

This episode is for the dreamers and the doers.  And most of all, it is a life lesson, because sometimes dreams come true in ways we never could have imagined.  Meet Jacy Dawn Valeras, singer/songwriter and CEO & Founder of Platinum Circle Media  in Nashville, Tennessee.  Raised in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Jacy started making money by singing at funerals when she was 13 and by the time she hit high school, she was performing all over New England.  In 2009, Jacy and her boyfriend packed up their car and moved to Nashville where she created a career in a niche she never expected or even dreamed of.  "Make good out of obstacles, says Jacy, they just might take you someplace better." 

@jacydawnvaleras  @bostonwomeninmediaandentertainment