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151 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JOAN WALLACE-BENJAMIN, PhD

There is a Congolese saying that a single bracelet does not jingle. Everyone in your family are the bracelets that help you jingle. When you have that jingle, you are able to lead more fully because you have all of the people you love and care about, right there, on your arm. - Joan Wallace-Benjamin

 

Welcome to the story of a woman whose awards and accomplishments are simply too vast to list here. A self-described“mission girl” Joan Wallace-Benjamin has spent 37 years focused on creating better outcomes for underserved children and families.  A graduate of Wellesley College, she received her Ph.D from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.  A native of New York City, Joan learned a lot about love of community and social responsibility from her loving parents.   With leadership roles at ABCD Head Start, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, as temporary Chief of Staff for former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and as the President and CEO of the Home For Little Wanderers, Joan is a role model for anyone who aspires to lead with purpose and passion. Her new book is called Leading A Life In Balance and includes her sage advice as a working mom. Says Joan:  I think leaders lead more fully when they take as their first priority their own children and families.  For the inspiring story of a stellar human being whose life has been well lived, just hit that download button.   #workingmom #leadership #storybehindhersuccess

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150 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AMY GOOBER

Women, at some point along the way, forget or need to be reminded, that they are in control of their own lives. The philosophy is: put yourself on your to-do list. - Amy Goober

 

This is a story about reinvention. Amy Goober is living proof that we all have chapters in our lives and the treasure lies in what we learn from them.  In her first job, straight out of college, Amy worked for a major advertising agency in Boston where she got her foot in the door as a secretary, spending four years working her way up to Account Executive.  It was there that she shared her love of making cakes and was soon asked to make elaborate cakes for the agency’s high end clients.   Before you know it, Amy had a plan to own her own bakery called The Icing On The Cake in nearby Newton, MA. With no business experience, she launched her tiny hole in the wall shop and grew the bakery to legendary status with two parts grit and one part chutzpah.  Her decision to sell the bakery and stay home to raise her three children for the next twenty years is an ode to mother-love and her new chapters as a certified health coach, speaker, author and founder of Drive Your Life are proof that Amy is living her life to the fullest.  In this chapter of her ever-evolving life, Amy’s goal is to reach as many women as she can with the message that:  “the things we regret are the things we don’t do.  Perfect is the enemy of done.  Just get out there, and do it.”  #reinvention #driveyourlife #storybehindhersuccess

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149 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: STEPHANIE MONIUK

I have a vision of what I want my life to look like and I’m gonna keep working towards it til I get where I want to go. - Stephanie Moniuk

Imagine living in chronic back pain for 20 years and then, hearing your doctor tell you that surgery is not an option for your degenerative disc disease, herniations, spinal stenosis and arthritis. Welcome to the life of Stephanie Moniuk.  In this interview, the founder of Knockout Wellness describes how hearing that news forced her to do her own research into the science of pain and the power of the mind-body connection.  Turns out, the childhood trauma she had buried deep in her psyche was connected to her back pain and that in many cases, physical pain is a response to our unconscious emotions.   A lifelong fan of boxing, she took a leap of faith and stepped into a training gym.  Stephanie’s journey from pain and misery to winning the Master’s Boxing Division World Championship at 48 are chronicled in this interview.  Her decision to found Knockout Wellness was based on one desire:  “to be the person I wish I had when I was stuck in chronic pain.”  If you are stuck in pain, hit that download button because this episode is designed to give you hope and a giant dose of kickass inspiration. #chronicpain #inspiration #boxing

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148 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KAREN STALEY

In 30+ years of writing songs, I’ve never had writer’s block. God gives me something every time. 

- Karen Staley

We’re on the road in Nashville, Tennessee for this edition of The Story Behind Her Success.  If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be a hit songwriter in Guitar Town, hit that download button because Karen Staley’s story is filled with wisdom.  Born in Weirton, West Virginia and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Karen was focused on athletics when she was growing up until she injured her back in her senior year of high school.  It was a music teacher who gave her a guitar and taught Karen the chords to Annie’s Song by John Denver and Karen just couldn’t put that guitar down. Her steady rise in Nashville has included being a featured singer/songwriter at the famous Bluebird Cafe, touring and singing backup with Reba, Dolly and Faith Hill as well as writing about 1,000 songs, including mega-hits Take Me As I Am and Let’s Go To Vegas for Faith Hill and Keeper of the Stars for Tracy Byrd.   In this interview, Karen shares both the joys and frustrations of making a living as a songwriter, adding that her greatest hope is that in this life, she has used all of her God-given talents. 

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147 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: STEPH PALERMO

When you live in fear, you’re dying.  You are not living. You have to find a way to life your best life, every single day.  - Steph Palermo 

If you’ve been depressed about what’s going on in the world, or if you’ve ever felt alone and needed some encouragement, Steph Palermo is here to help.  www.juststeph.com. The proud mother of four sons, “Just Steph” is an intuitive coach, a healer, and the author of three books. Born with a rare disorder that left the right side of her body impaired, Steph struggled for decades with self-loathing.  But not anymore. Her workshops and retreats have one purpose:  to help and to heal. This is a woman who understands the value of community and relationships. Says Steph:  “you are not taking anything with you.  Not the cars.  Not the money.  Just the love. “  For a shot of inspiration, perseverance, and humor, hit that download button. 

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146 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MICHELLE PALLADINI

We need to come together, in community.  This is the time.  - Michelle Palladini

Meet police officer Michelle Palladini.  The daughter of a state police officer, she remembers asking her father what he did when he went to work.  When he replied:  “I help people” she knew what she wanted to do with her life. Now a sergeant with the Norfolk, MA. police department, Michelle is breaking new ground with a community based, heart-centered program called L.E.A.P which stands for leadership, empowerment, awareness and protection.  Asked to pilot her program in her town’s middle school, the goal was to create trust and pathways toward success between children and the local police…and it’s working all across the country.  A graduate of Stonehill College with a degree in Criminal Justice, Michelle believes in finding the root cause of risky and criminal behavior.  This, she says is the only way a police officer can truly “protect & serve”. #communitypolicing

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145 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KIM GEDNEY

This is what I’m here to do. Being spiritual, giving readings is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.  And that’s how I know it’s right. Everything else has been hard.  - Kim Gedney

Most psychics will tell you that they always had a 6th sense.  They just “knew” things.  But that was not always the case for Kim Gedney.  The daughter of a drug addict, she had no time to think about anything else but survival and at one point, decided she wanted to end her life. That’s when her phone began to ring and ring and ring.   When Kim finally answered the phone, the person on the other end changed her life forever with his message and that is where this story begins.  Now a wife and devoted mother of two sons, Kim is a medium, a psychic, a healer and a spiritual and intuitive life coach.    Her ability to tap into exactly what her clients need is what sets this exceptional woman apart.  We settled into our interview at a little bed & breakfast in Simsbury, CT called the 1820 House for an interview that focused on a three things Kim believes to her core:  1. Your gut is never wrong.  2. Your mind can mess you up every time. 3. Faith is the belief that there is something more.  Curious?  Hit that download button for some earthly and spiritual wisdom to kick off 2021  #psychic #storybehindhersuccess #medium #believe #spirit

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144 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: TERI ADLER

I learned to be a great storyteller on TV and when I’m selling a house, I’m telling you the story of that house.  Buyers want that emotion, that’s what sells.  - Teri Adler

This is a story about reinvention.  Meet Teri Adler, Principal of The Teri Adler Group and a Boston area residential real estate superstar.  For the past twelve years, she has been a top broker for Pinnacle Residential Properties, including Broker of the Year, but her career path began with a very successful run as a reporter and news anchor on stations from the Cape to New Hampshire, to Hartford and finally, in Boston at WHDH and WBZ.  Turns out, Teri has used her well-honed storytelling skills to sell houses and this interview reveals what it took to make the transition from one profession to the other.  The mother of three daughters, including a special needs child, Teri speaks candidly about a decision she and her husband made regarding how they were going to raise their firstborn child:  “Jeff and I decided we were not going to let Alexandra’s disability define her, our our family.”  Her advice about multiple careers and what really matters in life are insightful and well worth your download.  Says Teri:  “Life is going to take you to places you never imagined and you have to bend and grow with it.  There is no blueprint.”  #reinvention #storybehindhersuccess #womeninmedia #realestate

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143 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ERICA HORAN

I felt like I had a higher calling. - Erica Horan

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a critical care nurse on a med-flight mission? Welcome to the story of Erica Horan: wife, mother of three, Air Force veteran and registered nurse for Boston MedFlight.  Recorded in a hanger at Mansfield Airport, Erica explains that the mission of the non-profit is to take care of very sick people as quickly as possible.  She comes to this work with a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment.  Her career path began at 18 when she earned her EMT certification,  to a degree in nursing, to becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force as a critical care nurse, to serving on the front lines in Afghanistan, to landing her dream job at Boston MedFlight. Twelve hour shifts are seldom slow for any Boston MedFlight’s 4 critical care teams and in this interview, Erica explains that every day is different and you just never know what you are going to get. A black belt karate champion with enough trophies to fill another hanger, this black belt credits her grandmother with teaching her to rely on the strength of her faith, and her karate instructor for teaching her about positive mindset, self-reliance and humility.  “Get out of your comfort zone, says Erica.  You only have one life, so go for it.”  #bostonmedflight #storybehindhersuccess #nursing

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141 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NAOMI JUDD

I’ve been through an alphabet of tragedies and trials and I’m still here. - Naomi Judd

Recorded on Naomi Judd’s 500 acre farm in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, this interview takes you through Naomi’s life, including the birth of daughter Wynonna on her high school graduation night, a job as a receptionist for The Fifth Dimension in Los Angeles, and a mountaintop home in Kentucky where there was no heat, no phone and no TV.  While she studied to be a nurse, the family lived on welfare and Naomi traded her prized buck knife to buy Wynonna her first guitar. After receiving her nursing degree, Naomi moved the family to Nashville where she was the head nurse in an ICU.  When she learned that the father of one of her patients was in the record business, Naomi got up the courage to hand him a homemade cassette tape of she and Wynonna singing.  Brent Mayer was blown away by what he heard an arranged for an audition at RCA records. The Judds were signed to a record deal that would catapult them into country music history as the most commercially successful duo of the 1980’s with 25 singles, 14 number 1 songs, 8 CMA’s, 5 Grammy Awards, and 20 million + records sold.  From Naomi’s songwriting technique to her determination to beat Hepatitis C, this interview is an essay in perseverance.  For a deep dive into the soul of a country music icon, hit that download button and please, leave a review! #storybehindhersuccess 

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142 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CARMEN FIELDS

Lord, you don’t have to move my mountains, just give me the strength to climb. - Carmen Fields

She may have grown up in a segregated community outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, but Carmen Fields was surrounded by love and encouragement.  The daughter of a teacher and a very well-known big band leader, she knew she wanted to write.  That love of writing led to a 40 year career as a print and broadcast journalist, a media relations pro and a college professor.  In this interview, Carmen and I settled in for a look back at a career that continues to inspire to this day.   It was her mother who encouraged Carmen to come to Boston from Oklahoma saying:  “You’ve never been East before, why don’t you go ahead to Boston, and just remember, you can always come home if it doesn’t work out.”  Well, it did work out and Carmen has both passion and perseverance to thank for her success.  As a black female reporter on the City Desk at the Boston Globe, there were neighborhoods she was afraid to go into during the Boston busing crisis.  Yet, as Carmen says: “those old men in the newsroom with their cigars and off color jokes took me under their wing” and she continued to grow as a print journalist.  Her career story includes her experience as a TV anchor, her stint as a press secretary to the Suffolk County District Attorney, her public relations roles at the United Way and National Grid her love of teaching at Boston University and her long running public affairs program on WHDH called Higher Ground. When it comes to the responsibilities of a journalist, Carmen Fields is clear:  “I still look at journalism as the first draft of history. And I still look at journalist’s role as a responsibility to give the facts and some of the context and background and yes, even get both sides of the story.”  For a look at a career worth emulating, hit that download button. #womeninmedia #storybehindhersuccess #journalism

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140 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JO ANN SIMONS

In those first few days of his life, I realized that I wasn’t going to change anything about Jonathan, but I was going to change the world for him.  - Jo Ann Simons

She remembers everything getting really quiet in the delivery room just moments after her son Jonathan was born.  It was May, 1979 and Jo Ann Simons was 26 years old.  Her pregnancy had been textbook…no surprises, until this moment.  About 4 hours later, she and her husband heard the words:  “your baby has Down syndrome.”  At that time, services for families with disabled children were either minimal, or non-existent so Jo Ann Simons decided to change all that. Armed with a Masters in Social Work, she did not see a world that she wanted for her son, so she set out to build one for him and for others with developmental disabilities.  If you ask her, she’ll tell you:  “I didn’t choose this career, it chose me”.   Now the President & CEO of Northeast Arc, Jo Ann is considered both a trailblazer and a champion to the 15,000 people in 190 communities her organization serves.  Northeast Arc is leading the way in innovative ideas designed to help people with developmental disabilities become part of the communities where they live including the creation of a coffee shop called “Breaking Grounds” which serves as a training ground for people with disabilities who are interested in working in the food service industry.  A few years ago, Jo Ann launched “Arc Tank” with a 1 million dollar donation and in 2020, she spearheaded her largest project to date:  negotiating a lease for 26,000 square feet of highly visible space in the heart of the Liberty Tree Mall which will become the new home of The Linking Lives Center and Northeast Arc.  A member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on People with Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities and the Autism Commission, Jo Ann lives by the credo:  “I want to leave this world a little better than I found it.”  Download this inspiring story for a gigantic dose of grit, gratitude and wisdom. #storybehindhersuccess #northeastarc #disabilities

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139 / IN THE SPOTLIGHT: HOLLY PARKER

Dating is like real estate;  the longer you’re on the market, the more people are going to wonder what’s wrong with you!   - Holly Parker

Meet New York City real estate powerhouse Holly Parker.  One of Manhattan’s most successful and experienced brokers, Holly is with Douglas Elliman, NYC’s premiere luxury residential brokerage.  With nearly 8 billion in sales, this exceptional woman is a force to be reckoned with. Holly has been selling high-end properties for 20 years and along the way she has  figured out that real estate is a lot like life, and life is a lot like real estate.   In fact, there are a ton of similarities between an impulse buy of a house unseen and jumping into a marriage too quickly!  After 7 years of marriage, Holly found herself “falling out of contract” and dreaded being a newly divorced woman who was “back on the market”.  This experience inspired her to write her first book, aptly named:  back on the market:  A Realtor’s Guide to Love and Life.  In this interview, Holly shares the pain of her divorce, the triumph of her second marriage, and the secrets to being a real estate superstar.  Her story about welcoming twin sons into her life via surrogate is priceless, and her advice about how to overcome obstacles and what success means to her will inspire you.  After all these years of selling real estate, Holly Parker has come to a simple realization:  love is what makes a home. Get to know more about Holly and join me for an honest and entertaining 24 minutes by hitting that download button.   #storybehindhersuccess #realtor #thehollyparkerteam

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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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