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Women of Distinction Magazine Presents: January 2016 Edition


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This is the January 2016 edition of Women of Distinction Magazine

Published in: Business
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Women of Distinction Magazine Presents: January 2016 Edition

  1. 1. WDM January 2016 Charmaine O. Francois-HaysHousing Regional Manager, West Coast – Forest City Residential Management, Inc.
  2. 2. Call for a consultation 972.380.5363 Lilli Hetherington Health Coach, Speaker, Author Take Charge of Your Health “Take Charge of Your Health” offers a new paradigm on diet and nutrition that can transform your life. Lilli has spent over 30 years studying and speaking on nutrition and disease. Hetherington remains passionate and vibrant in sharing her message. Book available through
  3. 3. features WDM 4 Charmaine O. Francois-Hays Housing Regional Manager, West Coast – Forest City Residential Management, Inc. Los Angeles, CA 20 Cindy Joy Marvin Parent Coaching, Family Coaching and Education Founder of Repairenting Certified Parenting Coach and Trusted Advisor Morristown, NJ 30 Lilli Hetherington Health, Coaching Health Coach, Author - Take Charge of Your Health Dallas, TX 43 Dr. Karen W. Malm, PhD Healthcare/ Mental Health Counseling Executive Director/Owner Summit Community Counseling Taylorsville, UT 51 Tammy Wynette Mark Healthcare Physical Therapist (PT) at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital Baltimore, MD
  4. 4. Charmaine O. Francois-HaysHousing Regional Manager, West Coast – Forest City Residential Management, Inc. Los Angeles, CA
  5. 5. 5 Women of Distinction “Fear is merely False Evidence Appearing to be Real.” Charmaine O. Francois-Hays said those words to her boss shortly after starting her career in multi-family housing when asked if she was scared of the drug- dealing gang members that she had just removed from one of the housing developments she was tasked with maintaining. Today, as a Regional Manager specializing in federally assisted housing, Charmaine is responsible for her teams providing exceptional service to every person who walks onto a Forest City Residential Management, Inc. property on the West Coast. “I assess every West Region Associate’s level of skill and industry knowledge, and help them develop a learning plan. Giving a person the opportunity to determine where they would like to be in three, five, and ten years really helps facilitate a solid learning plan of action. In addition to providing training, as Regional Manager, I provide leadership to property management and maintenance professionals who are dedicated to ensuring quality service and high property performance ratings.” Charmaine comes from strong parents who have inspired her to succeed in everything she does. “My mother grew up in a small Creole parish in Louisiana and only spoke a French-Spanish dialect. However, she learned English swiftly, graduated from high school; and obtained her Associate of Arts degree, two Bachelor degrees, and a Master’s degree (all with honors) while raising five children. The life lessons, determination, and spiritual strength that she instilled in my siblings and I are great tools that we use today. And my dad was a strong intellectual who taught me the importance of thinking through my decisions thoroughly. I had an amazing childhood full of support, love, and possibilities. I knew early on that I could be whatever I wanted to be and had the support of my family.” She is a firm believer of the presence of God and knows without a shadow of doubt that her success was part of his divine plan for her. “My gifted ability to deal with people from all walks of life and willingness to learn human behavior and cultural differences comes from his grace. I live my life treating people like I want to be treated. The late Maya Angelo said it best: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I keep this quote posted on my office wall to remind me daily to perform in humbleness. Every person coming through my office doors will unconscientiously readjust themselves, as they too will see this as a truth.” This proud mother of three is married to James Hays II and has two stepchildren (James III and Lauren) and one daughter (Amanda Dominique). “My family life is storybook-worthy. I married the love of my life and we raised three awesome kids together. The older two are very successful in their careers; and the youngest is focused on obtaining a higher education, while pursuing her dreams of becoming an actress.” People often know where they want to go in life, but are not quite sure how to get there. “I want to be known for leading people in the right direction and always have a few minutes to listen and offer suggestions. I want people to say that I made them think of solutions and how to be proactive in a reactive environment.”
  6. 6. 6 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: Why do you that feel federally assisted housing is relevant in today’s world? A: Housing costs continue to rise, and people really can’t afford to rent or purchase a home (even) with all of the first-time homebuyer programs available. Q: What are the benefits of federally assisted housing? A: Public housing gives working families an opportunity to live in housing that is not substandard and is decent, safe, and sanitary. Q: How does your team work towards breaking the negative stereotypes of federally assisted housing? A: It is really unfortunate that there are so many stereotypes plaguing federally assisted housing. There is abuse and fraud, but the government has created systems geared towards catching them swiftly. My team monitors all resources and data available to us daily; and when there appears to be inconsistencies, they follow up through third-party documentation and resident meetings. For the most part, these types of inconsistencies are far and few in between. Most people simply need housing that is affordable, safe, and decent. Our housing stock enhances the communities that we are in. My team knows that each unit must meet my expectations of being lease-ready. Each unit is rehabbed with the understanding that someday “my mother” may choose to live in it. I have encouraged the team to use that philosophy when prepping a unit for lease. Our motto is “Have the unit ready for your parents to move in.” Everyone works independently and as a team to ensure we put out the best product possible. Q: Who inspired you in relation to the work you do? A: I was inspired by my worst managers. I would look at how my worst managers kept the team divided and were concerned with the numbers and looking good; people did not matter. I vowed that I would care about the person affecting the numbers, as I realized those people are my most valuable assets. A wise leader once told me that I was only as good as my weakest link. I spend my time nurturing that link, making it strong and steady. The late Oscar Crowder, who gave me my Forest City start, was wise and giving. His advice to me was “Don’t worry over the small things. Give freely and be good to those who serve under you. Work with them and they will work for you.” I am good at what I do, because of these experiences and guidance. I always try to see things from the other person’s point of view; reviewing the facts before I respond. Sometimes I will wait prior to responding, as I like to leave no stone unturned. I am not about quick fixes. I work towards stability and sustainability. I learned this early on from my parents. Q: What is the thing you like least about federally assisted housing? A: Interpreting the HUD guidelines, as they are often vague, is a challenge. I will sometimes read guidelines two to three times to ensure I fully understand them. My team constantly relies on me to guide them successfully. Q: What are your thoughts on addressing senior housing, as there continues to be growth in that population? A: The Department of Housing and Urban Development, government, and private housing entities are watching the growth. I hope all are thorough in addressing the need for building new developments that will effectively address this population. Training will be important for those hired to work with them. There are also a series of social service programs needed by this population. Building federally assisted housing in areas that are within walking distance to services will be necessary to meet the quality of life standard that this population requires. All parties must recognize mobility challenges. Q: What is the difference between assisted living and independent living for seniors? A: Assisted living is housing where 24-hour care is provided, such as a nursing or group home. Independent living is simply housing. The resident must be able to live independently and site staff does not provide social services as a part of their job. With senior housing, this becomes a challenge, as the staff is often faced with dementia, Alzheimer’s, loneliness, hording, and a host of other issues that they must navigate through and bring resolution to; often reaching out to local social service providers for help and guidance. It is especially difficult when there is no family member involvement in the process. Q: What is the HUD “One Strike” rule? A: The HUD “One Strike” rule spells out admission and screening requirements to help keep out trouble making households. It gives housing providers leverage for eviction on households that use drugs or commit certain crimes after they move into federally assisted housing. This rule generally applies to Section 8, Section 202, Section 811, Section 22, Section 236, and public housing sites. One Strike clearly sets out specific grounds for denying applicants admission as well. Q: What does the future hold in store for you? A: I believe I will serve on a much greater level, impacting more than the housing developments in my portfolio. I have partnered with many, including local governments, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, local police departments, church leaders and members, businesses, social service groups, and non-profits to enhance the quality of life for people residing within my portfolio with great success and impact. Taking that success into the community and enhancing it overall is where I see myself in the future.
  7. 7. Kimberly (Glazier) Leonte, PhDEducation - Communication and Interpersonal Skills Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Professor Peaches Chicago, IL
  8. 8. Kimberly (Glazier) Leonte utilized her strong background in clinical psychology to develop Professor Peaches, an extracurricular program in which parents can enroll their elementary school-age children to learn proven, lifelong, effective verbal communication skills. Professor Peaches also partners with elementary schools by integrating its curriculum into the existing school’s coursework. She graduated from Tufts University in 2008 with a Bachelor in Clinical Psychology and worked as a certified residential counselor at McLean Hospital (a Harvard Medical School affiliate) in the obsessive-compulsive disorder unit. Later, while earning her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Kimberly also worked as a clinical research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for two years, and subsequently as a clinical research assistant at Mount Sinai Medical Center for two years. Additionally, she was a counselor at Inter-Care, an outpatient substance use treatment program for one year; and had one-year externships at Bellevue Hospital Center, American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, Schwalbe Psychological Services (neuropsychology testing), and Max & Celia Parnes Family & Psychoeducational Services. Kimberly’s internship was completed at Rogers Memorial Hospital (Oconomowoc, WI), and her postdoctoral fellowship is underway at Rogers Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL). “Being able to work with different populations (e.g. anxiety, depression, OCD, learning disorders, substance use) and age ranges (young children through older adults) were invaluable experiences. Over the years, I began thinking more and more about how great it would be to target these issues before they even start! Professor Peaches was born from this vision. Instilling positive verbal communication skills within children from their formative years will enhance their ability to overcome obstacles and be successful in life. Graduates of the program find themselves more articulate, even at their young age; and are better able to express themselves, get along with others, and achieve their goals as they grow up.” Kimberly now serves as the CEO of Professor Peaches and is actively involved in all aspects, spanning from minute details to high-level decisions of the company. However, she mainly focuses on course curriculum development, sales and marketing, strategy setting, and overseeing the expansion of Professor Peaches. “My most important responsibilities are to guide the direction of the company and to ensure that Professor Peaches is continually growing and evolving.” Her genuine passion for helping others is evident in her work. “I love working individually with people to help them build new skills, and to set and achieve their goals.” She currently has 16 articles published and 15 posters presented at national conferences; and is actively involved in the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, where she was awarded its Trainee Poster Travel Award for two consecutive years. “As a member of both organizations, I attend the yearly conferences and have chaired a clinical round table presentation. In addition, I was recently asked to (and subsequently did) contribute work to the Misdiagnosis Association and Society.” Kimberly even used to play competitive basketball and was recruited to play at the collegiate level. “The internal drive I had for the countless hours of practicing basketball is relevant today, because that same internal drive propels my passion for Professor Peaches. Moreover, I never viewed practicing basketball or my clinical training as “work”; since I love what I do, I look forward to learning, practicing, and refining my abilities.” She and her husband (and Co-Founder of Professor Peaches), Stefan, were recently married (June 2015). “Stefan has worked in the financial industry within the professional services and investment banking areas for the past 10 years. His strong finance background and business management skills, along with his volunteer work with elementary school-age children and passion for helping children make him the perfect complement to my own professional background experiences and qualifications.” Kimberly and Stefan have a puppy named Dewey, a red merle Australian Shepherd. “We are so very happy to have him as the first addition to our family!” Her free time is spent with Stefan and Dewey. They enjoy playing ping-pong (minus the puppy), because Stefan proposed to her while playing with the ring inside the ping-pong ball; and taking road trips and going on weekend mini-vacations (with the puppy). Aside from that, she likes basketball, tennis, bike riding, reading, and writing song lyrics. Kimberly would like to see generations of children that are confident, effective, and empathic communicators. “The skills to become a successful communicator are often overlooked in formal education. Moreover, the ever-increasing presence of technology is at the same time decreasing the opportunities for children to learn and practice face-to-face interpersonal skills.” She hopes that Professor Peaches will make a difference in children’s lives on a global level, so that children everywhere will benefit from the advantages of being skilled verbal communicators.
  9. 9. 9 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: How does your background in clinical psychology translate to teaching kids verbal communication through Professor Peaches? A: My strong background in child development, learning styles, and the interaction between environmental and biological factors allow me to truly understand and relate to children. My clinical psychology training taught me that when working with children, one aspect that is paramount to successful outcomes is including the child’s parents or caregivers. Developing strong rapport, a genuine understanding of the overall process, and a strong collaborative working relationship with both the child and parents is a must. These same core principles apply to teaching kids verbal communication skills and are at the heart of Processor Peaches. Furthermore, a critical goal as a therapist is for my clients to continually develop a stronger sense of mastery. The same goal is essential when teaching children verbal communication skills. By promoting mastery, children receive both an instant learning benefit and the ability to continually learn, develop, and succeed long after their time in therapy or at Professor Peaches. Q: What are your goals for Professor Peaches? A: Imparting strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills within children during their formative years provides immense benefits, such as increasing self-confidence, building stronger family and social relationships, and instilling leadership abilities. Since all children benefit from having refined verbal communication skills, the vision for Professor Peaches lies at the global level. Children everywhere deserve the very real advantages associated with possessing strong communication abilities. In the longer-term, we aim to also help adolescents and adults build and refine their verbal communication skills. Our ultimate goal is to eventually be able to help people across the full age span. Q: Why do you believe verbal communication and interpersonal skills are so important? A: Communication is universal; all people, regardless of factors such as age, gender, or race communicate. Moreover, irrespective of an individual’s life goals, interpersonal skills impact one’s overall personal and professional success. Even for people who prefer less interpersonal contact, it is nearly impossible to never interact with anyone. Verbal communication skills also apply to a wide range of situations, like expressing or selling one’s ideas, interests, needs, and desires; excelling in school; obtaining and maintaining a job; progressing in your career; and developing social and intimate relationships. Everything we do is built upon communication! Q: What exactly do communication and interpersonal skills really mean? A: Communication and interpersonal skills in their purest form are how we interact with and are received by others. It also refers to how a person communicates with oneself, such as the level of insight and self-awareness into one’s own actions and reactions. The actual words a person says is one way that verbal communication occurs. Nonverbals, such as body language, eye contact, and facial expressions also contribute significantly to how an individual and their message are received. Likewise, the tone of voice, rate, and volume of speech impact the quality and effectiveness of one’s verbal communication. Additionally, communication occurs through the medium of written words and images. Advances in technology are continually increasing the ways for which communication transpires. Individuals who are able to express themselves well across a range of settings are more likely to have healthy relationships and navigate their professional lives successfully. Q: To what degree can these skills truly be taught to children? A: These skills can 100% be taught to children. While some people seem to be born great storytellers, amazing public speakers, or strong leaders, the reality is that becoming a skilled verbal communicator takes time and demands learning and practice. As Mark Twain stated, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”. The attributes that ignite admiration from others, when broken down into smaller steps, can be learned and mastered by anyone. The first step is to understand the core elements behind what makes an effective communicator; the characteristics depend on the context at hand. For example, when giving a presentation, some key elements include exuding passion for the topic, changing the pace throughout the talk, and making the audience care about what you are saying. However, when meeting someone for the first time, the key areas that embody strong interpersonal skills include being an active and empathic listener, the ability to ask engaging questions, and being able to share information about yourself. After learning the basics, the next step is repeated practice to transition the newly acquired skills into habit. Q: Can you see Professor Peaches working in school classrooms in parallel with your tutoring centers? A: Earlier this year, we piloted Professor Peaches’ material in a primary school with two teachers in their classrooms. The feedback from the teachers and their students was exceptional, and the ability of the program materials to work in the school setting from the original Professor Peaches Center format strongly supports the idea of developing strategic partnerships with schools. Our goal is helping children develop their verbal communication and interpersonal skills, and partnering with schools is a great way to drastically increase the number of children we are able to help.
  10. 10. 10 Women of Distinction Q: How are you different from your competition? A: Most children’s tutoring programs focus on math, reading/writing, test preparation, or the sciences. Of the few communication programs in the market, the duration of the programs range from a 1-week-long camp to 10 sessions across five weeks. Brief time-limited trainings can provide a strong understanding of the skills, but without continual practice along with targeted feedback, true mastery is unlikely. The Professor Peaches curriculum spans from kindergarten through sixth grade; the curriculum uses numerous different teaching methods in order to best stimulate learning, and the material is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Additionally, homework is an important part of Professor Peaches, since practicing the skills outside of the class session is essential for transitioning new skills into routine. Another way Professor Peaches stands out from its competition is that most other programs focus on a narrow range of verbal communication skills, such as public speaking or presentation abilities. At Professor Peaches, we believe that verbal communication and interpersonal abilities manifest in a wide range of scenarios and aim to prepare children to be effective communicators across varied settings. Q: How does Professor Peaches measure the children’s improvement as they progress through the program? A: Improvement is measured using a powerful combination of our proprietary assessment matrix, plus video footage of the child. An initial assessment ascertains each child’s baseline level coming into the program. Regular ongoing assessments track each child’s progress and further highlight areas in which the child is excelling and areas in which the child would benefit from additional attention and assistance. Video is a critical tool for us, as it provides an objective measure of growth, and the insight offered to children from seeing themselves on video is immense. Formal reports are provided and reviewed with both the child and their parents. Q: What role has research played in your career thus far, and how do you envision it continuing in the future? A: I’ve used research both as a source for knowledge, and also as a means for shaping and sharpening my own research hypotheses. The research area that grabs me the most relates to education and training. For one of my studies, I designed, developed, and tested the efficacy of a 30-minute educational training video on OCD. I was also involved in research that assessed the effectiveness of a 3-day workshop for training medical health professionals in the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. For my postdoctoral fellowship, I created four psychotherapy group modules and am collecting data on the effectiveness of the following groups: communication skills, mindfulness skills, cognitive skills, and behavioral skills. The experience and knowledge gained from my prior research projects set the stage for my passion for program development. The principles and curriculum of Professor Peaches are strategically and systematically built. The researcher part of me knows that quality control and program enhancement can only be done through methodically assessing and analyzing the progress and outcomes of the children, which is why Professor Peaches prides itself on using objective measures to track children’s progress. Q: What is the value of Professor Peaches to children? A: The skills learned at Professor Peaches are simply invaluable to children and are truly lifelong skills that will continue delivering massive benefits many years after a child has been through our program. At Professor Peaches, children learn to overcome the many challenges that impede strong and effective verbal communication. Building verbal communication skills simultaneously enhances one’s self-confidence, so Professor Peaches indirectly has a strong positive impact on improving children’s self-concept. Moreover, children’s ability to interact with and form positive and healthy relationships with others benefits both their families and society at large.
  11. 11. 11 Women of Distinction PROFESSOR PEACHES PROGRAM CHARACTER FACULTY Creative  Speaking        Presentations      Social  Skills      Tone        Speeches       Body  Language      Negotiation      Listening      Expression      Eye  Contact HELP  BUILD   YOUR  CHILD’S FUTURE  TODAY. STRONG   COMMUNICATION CHANGES  LIVES COMMUNICATION WORKS  FOR   THOSE  WHO  WORK   AT  IT. “ John  Powell
  12. 12. 12 Women of Distinction Dr. Sue Cornbluth- Family Counselor, Certified Parenting Coach, Author, and TV Contributor Education - Healthcare President/Chief Executive Officer of the Consulting Firm - Parenting Beyond Trauma, LLC Spring House, PA
  13. 13. 13 Women of Distinction “There isn’t one person in this world that hasn’t experienced something painful. We have a choice to either let these experiences consume our lives, or let them be what they are; a part of our life.” Dr. Sue Cornbluth set out on a journey to make a difference in the lives of children and parents when she earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Arcadia University (Glenside, PA) in 1995. And while working on her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA), she began providing counseling for foster children in 1999. “I’ve learned that in the worst of times, children and families can become successful in life if you provide them with the appropriate educational tools and personal dedication. I helped traumatized children build the highest of self-esteem. My philosophy has always been to show each and every one of my clients that I believe in their potential in spite of what they have been through.” In 2002, Dr. Cornbluth moved from counseling foster children to teaching psychology classes at Penn State University and Temple University (for 10 years). “I realized that I wanted to teach others how to do the work I was doing and empower young minds to see that they could make a big impact on others’ lives.” In 2011, she wrote a training manual called ‘The Ambiguous Foster Child’, which is used by professionals across the world. Dr. Cornbluth also began providing commentary on childhood trauma and mental health issues for networks such as MSNBC, FOX, NBC, and CBS in 2011. “My commentary on the Jerry Sandusky Penn State scandal and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings catapulted my television career.” She fed her true passion for helping foster children the same year by writing the best-selling book, ‘Building Self-Esteem in Children and Teens Who are Fostered or Adopted’. The book was published in 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishing and voted 2014’s Must-Read Adoption Book of the Year by
  14. 14. 14 Women of Distinction
  15. 15. 15 Women of Distinction “I’m extremely proud of that book, because it provides professionals and parents with tools to help traumatized kids.” In 2012, Dr. Cornbluth founded Parenting Beyond Trauma, LLC; a parent coaching company to help parents learn how to cope with high conflict parenting situations such as divorce and parent alienation. She also became a Certified Breakthrough Parenting Coach in 2015. “My goal in providing parent coaching is to always treat others as I would want to be treated. I always go the extra mile to help my clients.” In 2014, she was named Top Professor and Child Advocate by the Good Will Ambassador for World Peace for her work with families and children; and honored as a Faculty Mentor of the Year by Temple University. Throughout the years, Dr. Cornbluth has also contributed to several national publications and wrote an acclaimed monthly parenting column in Parents Express magazine. She even provided foster care trainings for two foster care facilities in Pennsylvania and was a board member for the Terri Lynn Lokoff Foundation (which promotes early childcare learning). Dr. Cornbluth’s passion for helping others was influenced by her mother and Nana. They taught her how to be a strong, direct, and independent woman. This passion is why her work doesn’t feel like work to her. “I have this desire within me to see people learn how to parent their children to become successful, giving, and loving individuals. I believe it can happen within any family, given the proper tools and openness to learn. Making a difference in people’s lives who are struggling is such an empowering feeling. Knowing I’ve had something to do with that is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Some people are addicted to chocolate, whereas I’m addicted to affecting other people’s lives in a positive way.” Yet, with everything she has accomplished in her life to date, her biggest accomplishment is being a wife and a mother to her children.
  16. 16. 16 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: Why is your high conflict parent coaching work so crucial for families today? A: We live in a world where divorce rates are very high. People struggle looking for where to turn to for help, while trying to keep their family intact. Divorced parents can learn to co-parent after divorce and prevent their children from having emotional consequences. Q: What is the main key to helping divorced parents co-parent effectively? A: The one thing that divorced parents tend to hang onto following a divorce is their anger towards one another. This is a normal response; however, it blocks them from compromising and doing what is in the best interest of their children. Q: What separates your parent coaching business apart from other business? A: First, we only provide counseling and coaching services for high conflict parenting situations. Second, we focus on parental alienation and provide clients with a strategic plan to implement. Most of all, we treat our clients as we would want to be treated ourselves. Q: How do you empower your clients to take control of their high conflict parenting situations? A: First, I try to instill and teach my clients that they have to become empowered mentally as individuals. They have to learn to believe in who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing. Self-belief is the key to moving through most difficult parenting situations. Q: How can individuals recover from traumatic experiences in their lives? A: One step at a time; the most important aspect of recovering from traumatic events is to begin to see yourself as a survivor of the trauma, not as a victim. Q: What would you tell children who are struggling with their self-esteem and self-worth? A: I tell them that they have the opportunity to define who they are: “You define you.” It’s not always about how others see you; it’s about how you see yourself. No one can take that away from you. Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of working with families? A: The most rewarding aspect of my work is seeing progress in family situations that appeared to be impossible. Nothing is better than watching clients put a great deal of energy and work into changing, and then seeing the results. Q: Do you think that parents seek professional help as often as they should when it comes to family issues? A: I think things are improving in this area, but we are not quite there yet. There is no shame in reaching out for help as a parent. I’m a parenting expert and still need help sometimes. No one is a perfect parent. Q: What is your best advice for parents raising kids today? A: I advise parents all the time to be their kids’ best role models. This doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes along the way. However, when you do make a mistake, take responsibility for it. Your kids will respect you more for doing so. Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? A: In five years, I see myself continuing as the President of Parenting Beyond Trauma, LLC. Currently, we’re expanding to offer online classes. I will continue to help parents and families manage high conflict parenting situations. I would also love to have my own talk show that focuses on parenting topics. (A girl can dream can’t she?)
  17. 17. 17 Women of Distinction Betty Gibson Miller Clergy, Public Health Co-Pastor and Administrator Gates Of Joy Christian Fellowship, Inc. Retired: Public Health Administrative Secretary Blackshear, GA “As a young woman, God began to really birth a desire in me to minister to others, especially teenage girls.” In 1987 as a youth Sunday school teacher, Betty Gibson Miller began a forum at her local church, which was entitled “Teen Talk.” This forum was specifically meant for helping teenage girls deal with the various transitions that are generally associated with adolescence and young adults. However, two years later, Betty began a career within the Georgia Department of Public Health and began working at the Pierce County Health Department as a Healthcare Receptionist. Twenty years later, in 2009, Betty retired from her career in Public Health. “I’ve never really considered the ministry as a career; I consider it my life’s calling. It is my personal conviction that the call to ministry, along with a heartfelt desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others have contributed to my longevity in this present, and hopefully ongoing venture.” Betty now serves as co-pastor and church administrator of Gates of Joy Christian Fellowship. Her main roles within the church are to teach, to train, and to encourage the members of her local church in their “Christian walk” and becoming productive citizens of the community. Both Betty and her husband also oversee the business aspects of the church, such as bookkeeping, program preparation, and other pertinent tasks that ensure the ministry functions as efficiently as possible on a daily basis. “My meager upbringing, being taken from my family and being placed in foster care, produced a mindset that destroyed my healthy sense of self-worth. I’ve had to overcome this debilitating mindset with its accompanying fear and shattered self-esteem. I have been exposed to some very ‘uncomfortable’ conditions that God ultimately used to produce in me a type of strength and courage to remain committed to my cause, and overcome the obstacles that would prevent me from fulfilling my destiny, and thus helping others realize theirs.” As a genuinely passionate person, Betty truly cares about the well being of others. However, she finds it difficult to find sincere people, and that most people are reluctant to really opening up and receiving the counseling and help that they need, which Betty knows will allow them to effectively combat personal difficulties and ultimately rise above their struggles. “I really care about people and I want to see others succeed and be the very best that they can be. It’s the personal, painful things I’ve been through that have served to produce this type of demeanor and has formed a genuine passion to help others, using my own past struggles as a catalyst to help launch others to on their journey to personal greatness and fulfillment.” When she isn’t busy with the church, Betty enjoys reading, listening to music, having good, positive conversations with the important people in her life. Betty also enjoys spending time with and encouraging her two children, and four grandchildren. “It has been said that the ultimate secret of life is the sure knowledge of death; for this cause, one strives to leave their mark upon the earth. I want to leave definite evidence that I did during my sojourn here.”
  18. 18. 18 Women of Distinction After moving to Atlanta in 1998, Brenda Lee Thomas started Brenda’s Cleaning Service. However, after getting laid off from the DeKalb County Board of Education in 2012, Brenda realized her passion and became a fulltime entrepreneur. “The motivation was always there because of my deceased mother Mrs. Hazel Lee Coley. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Watching her as a little girl cleaning, washing, and polishing silver of the wealthy. Also, I was memorized how she would wash, ironed and neatly fold their clothing with creases to make certain that all of the whites, and colors matched. I guess you would say, she was my inspiration and instilled in me those wonderful skills and traits, which have made me the person and businesswomen that I am today.” Additionally, Brenda’s two daughters inspired, assisted, and inevitably helped her to create Healthy Cleaning Systems. As the President of Healthy Cleaning Systems, Brenda’s roles include marketing, bookkeeping, sales, auditing, designing, and the actual cleaning. “I perform and work through all the ‘departments’ of my company while attempting to evolve and become the best person and vendor in this profession. I also keep abreast on other janitorial services and what they offer.” As a multifaceted cleaning service, Healthy Cleaning Systems offers commercial, residential, construction, and crime scene cleanups. Brenda recalls when she first started in the business and spent her days cleaning horrifically disgusting rooms for $50 a day. “You must be willing to put in long, hard hours, be patient, and just stay focused on your goals.” Brenda Lee Thomas Cleaning President Atlanta, GA
  19. 19. Q&A Q: Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today’s world? A: Obviously because a clean environment is a healthy environment. Q: Do you believe that your business will stay relevant? A: Of course! People will always need something cleaned. Cleanliness is something that never goes out of style. Q: Why do we need more women in this profession? A: To balance out the opportunities for all ethnic groups. This would allow more women to tap into the cleaning industry, which has been dominated by male figures for years. Q: Why choose HCS to clean for your company? A: HCS has been severing the Metro Atlanta community for ten years with the mission to provide affordable and accountable service so that people are not overwhelmed by financial constraints as they relate to day-to-day cleaning responsibilities. Q: What does HCS do differently? A: We use eco-green clean environmentally friendly products. In addition, we will always treat each job like it’s our only job, and we won’t stop until the job is done. Q: What does HCS offer that others don’t? A: Integrity, licensed bonded and insured. We have employees that are well trained and dressed to complete the task. Also, we offer employment to those with prior records and giving them a second chance in life. Q: Does HCS offer any community services? A: Yes, we offer cleaning to the elderly once a year free of charge cleaning and we raffle off gift certificates to promote our business while helping those who may not be able to afford it regularly. We also participate in fundraising within the communities. We work with Redan High School in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, and (APD) Atlanta Public Department School Systems Q: Why choose HCS? A: First of all, we’re family orientated, owned, and operated. We are unique cleaning company that has been cleaning for three generations and thrives on pleasing our customers, which will hopefully call again. Having been around the business since she was a child, Brenda knows that working in a profession where other professional women do not want to share their knowledge can be extremely difficult and frustrating. “They know the ins and outs of the business very well, but most are unwilling to help. Therefore, if you want to be in this business, you must make certain that this is your destiny and calling.” Brenda is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and was a feature in the People You Need to Know (PYNTK) magazine in 2013. “I love spending time with my two daughters, Emori Nicole Harris and Nichelle Renee’ Thomas, and my three grandsons, Little Dre, Andrew, and Andre Paul. I’m so proud of all of them.” Although Brenda doesn’t get very much free time, she spends whatever downtime she does have is spent exercising. She enjoys working out by lifting weights, walking Stone Mountain, roller-skating, and riding her bike. Brenda also enjoys going see a good movies and reading to become more knowledgeable about her business and craft. “Healthy Cleaning System is one of the best janitorial cleaning companies out here, and that no matter what your previous cleaning experience have been I’m certain we would surpass it. And would love the opportunity to show you just what we can do. And when you are feeling down and out, and it seems like there’s no hope remember: triumph and trials brings victory!” In the following interview, Brenda discusses her career, the field, and what keeps Healthy Cleaning Services at the top of the industry:
  20. 20. 20 Women of Distinction Cindy Joy Marvin Parent Coaching, Family Coaching and Education Founder of Repairenting Certified Parenting Coach and Trusted Advisor Morristown, NJ
  21. 21. 21 Women of Distinction After graduating from Rider University in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing/Management), working for various retail chains as a department manager and fashion consultant, and 15 years in finance industry; Cindy Joy Marvin needed a change. While she enjoyed the work, she no longer felt fulfilled. Something was missing. Around the same time, Cindy was going through a divorce and felt lonely. “My family lived too far away to provide much needed support; and my friends were either married or single without children and couldn’t relate to my issues. It seemed as though I was on my own and had to do it all. I had to be a super mom and an efficient employee; a creative cook, bottle washer, accountant, landscaper, and maid all rolled into one. I was feeling so overwhelmed.” However, raising a seven-year-old son alone wasn’t easy for her. “One night in 2011, I sat in my living room in tears after yelling at my son to take a shower. This was just one of the battles we had that day. I had worked all day, just finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, and I was beat. I didn’t want any more arguing; just compliance and my bed. My head hurt and I wasn’t in the mood. He could feel something was up, was very clingy, and didn’t want to do anything I asked of him. Instead of giving myself a break and connecting with my son by giving him the hug he needed, I gave him a swat on the behind. He ran into the bathroom and took his shower screaming and crying. What an ugly scene. I felt horrible and ultimately apologized to my little one, but I doubted myself at every turn. How would I raise a self-assured, respectable, and resilient young man, if I couldn’t even get him to take a shower? I needed help; and fast.” She began doing research by reading books, scouring the internet, and asking for help. Over the next three years, Cindy enrolled and graduated with a coaching certification from the Robbins-Madanes Strategic Intervention Program; which led to certifications from the Jai Institute Parenting Education and Boys Alive Parenting programs. “I just couldn’t get enough. Where was all this juicy information years ago? I could’ve saved so much time and aggravation!” Cindy’s family, friends, teachers, and ladies in her son’s aftercare program all agreed that the world needed more people with her skills. Since then, she has reached out to her community and helped families with the tools and techniques she learned. “They were so grateful and happy. I feel that due to all the pain and suffering I went through, and how I’ve transformed, I must pay it forward. If I can help a mom get through a stressful situation, or pass effective communication tools to a dad to stop him from hitting his son, that is a win-win for all. ‘Repairenting’ is looking for more wins to put in the toolbox! Households that were once broken are being repaired and rebuilt with a much stronger foundation of communication, empathy, and compassion. Parents are now aware of Repairenting’s peaceful paradigm, and there is less arguing and fighting with more cooperation and communication.” So many parents are searching for answers or want to change the way they parent, but don’t know how. “I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some. Parents don’t have to be frustrated, mad, or unsure anymore. The Repairenting Tools are just that; tools for parents to repair and rebuild their family into one that experiences more joy, happiness, cooperation, and harmony. Time is one commodity you can’t get back, and it’s constantly ticking away. Let’s start working together to get those answers and bring harmony home!” She has now been servicing clients for over 20 years, working with them on a daily basis to understand the context of where they were in their life and what was going on with them the day and hour they were calling her for help or advice. “I’ve developed a unique and close relationship with many of my clients, and they’ve trusted me with their personal and financial issues. When you stop to listen to a client’s concern, without interruption and with respect, they feel heard and are very appreciative. I’ve been told over the years by my clients that I really ‘get it’. I listen without judgment and treat clients like real human beings. When the phone rings, they get me instead of an automated message. That’s rare nowadays.” Her greatest inspiration has been Tony Robbins, because of his approach to helping people realize their true potential, his teachings of six human needs, and his whole philosophy about living life to the fullest. “Most of us run around all day long and never stop to appreciate the thing we’ve been running around all day for. When this begins to affect our family and children, it will alter the course of the next generation that we (as parents) are raising; a generation that will have their own families and will be running our schools, governments, and world economy. The Repairenting philosophy is to start appreciating what we have and begin to make better decisions for our family’s success. I also learned from Tony to not be afraid to fail. Everyone has failed at one time or another. Failure is just a way we found out if something didn’t work. Once you now know that whatever you were working on didn’t work, you can strike it off the list and try something different that might actually work. Failure is just an opportunity to try it a different way! This has been a huge tool for me personally; something I’ve passed on to my son.”
  22. 22. 22 Women of Distinction This has allowed Cindy to focus on helping suffering parents create a new and empowering mindset about their approach to parenting, so they can enjoy parenting again. “I bring a new compassionate awareness to parents struggling to relate to their children, while providing a safe space to educate parents without judgment on how to heal their childhood traumas, so they can repair the relationship with their children and become more loving, mindful, and effective parents. The tools of empathy and compassion I use have been proven to positively change the lives of families worldwide.” She wants others to know that it’s ok to get rid of the notion of “perfection” for themselves and their kids. “We are all human and therefore, we’ll never be perfect. If you’re not perfect, don’t expect your kids to be. However, there are a million ways to be a great parent! As life goes on, we only have about 16 years to connect with our children before their friends become ‘more important’. I continually educate myself about the ‘skills’ of parenting, so I can bring fresh, yet proven techniques to my clients to make those first 16 years count. If the relationship between parent and child is one of mutual respect, compassion, and love, then when their children go off into the world, they’ll always think of their parents as home.” And aside from her work, Cindy would like to be remembered as a great mom who loved her son dearly. “I want him to become a man of honor; someone with compassion and empathy towards others; someone who’s trustworthy and self-confident; someone resilient enough to take the road less traveled and stand up for himself; and above all, someone who can find happiness and contentment within his world.”
  23. 23. 23 Women of Distinction Denise WozniakInspirational/Motivational Inspirational Motivational Speaker Mission, British Columbia, Canada
  24. 24. 24 Women of Distinction Denise Wozniak’s grandparents moved from England to Canada in March 1927 to start a dairy farm and seek a better life. Despite the cold weather and snow, they didn’t let anything dampen their spirits. They established a successful business through hard work and a strong attitude. This proved to Denise that you can’t wish your life was better; you have to make it better. After being diagnosed with HIV in 1996, Denise came to the realization that the only way to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and support families living with the illness was to speak about it. “I was very afraid of what the personal consequences might be in terms of personal attacks against me, so I began with a friendly audience by speaking to doctors and nurses; those in the medical field. They told me that this helped them understand what someone with HIV goes through.” It wasn’t long until Denise was asked to speak on national radio and TV; and featured in national newspapers. “This was a time when people were very fearful of HIV. I felt they had to see someone with it to understand that anyone can get HIV; there isn’t a certain look or persona.” As a speaker in general, Denise does a lot of preparation for her speeches. Besides the hours of practice she puts in, she gets as much stage time as possible at Toastmasters to help her with vocal variation, where to stand, how to look around, and audience involvement. “After all the preparation, I still need to be authentic and be honest with my audience. I have to think about what people want to hear and how it will apply to them. The audience is the most important part. I want them to feel that they gained a new perspective to help them move forward and grow from listening to me.” People asked Denise to speak to them about her story, because they found it inspirational. “After many speeches and talking to others about their life problems, I was getting fabulous feedback and it encouraged me that I was definitely on track.” She offers the following advice for other speakers: “(1) Understand how you can help your audience. (What are you an authority on and will it help others? (2) Get a good coach who will shorten your learning curve. I‘ve attended Lady and the Champs coaching and found it invaluable. (3) Get as much stage time as possible and be prepared to practice every day. (4) Always find new material to keep your audience engaged. Don’t use old stories.” Denise even co-authored a UNAIDS booklet about children affected by and living with AIDS and is currently writing a book (called ‘Katie’) on how she found out that her daughter had AIDS and she had HIV; and the resulting secrecy surrounding women and HIV. She is also a member of Toastmasters International and a former Board Member of the International Coalition of Women Living with HIV, North America. In her free time, she explores her love of photography; something that helps her appreciate the beauty in everyday life. She also has two dogs (poodle and Doberman Pinscher) that keep her very busy. Additionally, she is often asked to speak at her local HIV/AIDS organization and at workshops during an annual gathering of people with HIV. Despite everything, Denise wouldn’t change anything about her life. “It may seem ludicrous when you consider that my child died and I got HIV. However, all those things led me to where I am today. They gave me life lessons. Who can say where my life may have otherwise led. I’ve been through the gamut of life; including divorced parents, extreme loss, grief, poverty, depression, verbal and physical abuse, and PTSD. In the end, I’m thankful for the support I’ve received, and the wonderful experiences I’ve had in life. I’m especially thankful for being married to a wonderful man who is not HIV positive and loves me for who I am.”
  25. 25. 25 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: What do you envision for the speaking business in the future? A: I envision more women speakers at business conferences, because I believe that companies are recognizing that women are under-represented in this area. There are many incredibly talented and inspirational women speakers. Q: What has changed in your business over the years? A: Technology has had an enormous effect on marketing and on speaking. Marketing is through websites, and you have to be very savvy on how to use social media to get your message across. Not all social media is a good platform for business, but podcasts, webinars, and YouTube have made you more accessible and promote you as a speaker. Q: What is your advice for people who want to become a speaker? A: Go to Toastmasters to learn your timing, get evaluated, and learn various facets of speaking (i.e. body language, visual aids, and engaging an audience). After that, attend speaker training by professional coaches, be prepared to invest in yourself, and treat speaking as a skill that needs to be honed. Get familiar with technology. Decide how much you want to travel. Q: What do you notice about poor speakers? A: (1) Terrible PowerPoint presentations; too many slides, filling slides with words that are already being spoken, and overcrowded with information no one has time to read. (2) Crutch and filler words, like “um”, “ah”, and “ya know”. (3) Going over speaking times. (4) No stories; people connect with stories. Q: Do you prefer to be independent or with a speaker agency? A: I believe both are important. Speaker agencies can have many speakers for event planners to choose from. However, being independent can help event planners negotiate fees one-on-one to include handouts, workbooks, day-long workshops, etc. Q: Do seasoned speakers get stage fright? A: Yes, but I have various practices to avoid it. One, which I learned in elementary school, is to repeat the alphabet backwards. I find it keeps me in the moment and loosens up my voice. I also always sing my favorite song and listen to upbeat music on my way to the venue. Q: What is the most important part of your business? A: You must keep event planners happy. Obviously, if the audience gives good reviews, it makes them happy they hired you; but there’s more to it than that. You need to touch base when you arrive and find out how you can be of assistance. Know the stage set-up, the visuals, and vocal arrangements. Keep to your allotted time; don’t take up time from the following speaker or make your audience late for breaks. I always thank event planners for their confidence in me after an event. Your job doesn’t end once you leave the venue. Q: What don’t people understand about the speaking business? A: How much planning and preparation go into a speech. People can be surprised at the amount speakers earn for an hour speech or a workshop, but they have to consider the amount of time it takes to prepare and market a speaking business; and the capital and time investment. It just doesn’t make sense when a conference spends more on coffee and cookies, than it does on its speakers. Q: What’s the difference between a large audience and a smaller audience? A: With large audiences (over 1,000), you usually have a teleprompter. This can be helpful, but also a hindrance. If you focus or rely on it, you can look as though you are reading; and heaven forbid it should stop working! With larger audiences, you tend to only see front rows, as people can be extremely far away. I’ve found that the energy in a large audience can be fabulous. Small audiences are obviously more intimate and easier for taking questions. Q: What is the most gratifying aspect of your business? A: Individuals telling me I made a difference in their lives. One man told me he had lost his whole family to the massacre in Rwanda and was glad that I gave my speech. It touched me deeply that my small pain and how I dealt with it could help him with his enormous suffering. It was very humbling.
  26. 26. 26 Women of Distinction “When you have a bad day, a really, really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.” – Patrick Stump Christina Bomengo would like to be remembered as someone who lived by those words. However, bad days seem far and few between for her. After graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University - College at Florham in May 2014, Christina’s internship experience helped her get hired at New York University (NYU). “I can’t stress enough how important internships can be; they can make all the difference when you’re just entering the workforce. Internships make you stand out against other prospective employees. There’s nothing like having real life experiences to draw from when trying to impress employers.” Her first internship was at the Child & Family Policy Center at NYU, where as a high school student, she worked as a research assistant.After college, this internship helped land her a position at the same institution, creating a website and social media campaign for playLab NYU that was being developed by her former mentor. From there, Christina had the opportunity to recreate a website for Insights Intervention, another lab within NYU.  Later, in November 2014, Christina was hired as a freelance Social Media Coordinator for the New York Fire Department Foundation. “I greatly enjoyed this position and loved educating the public about fire safety via social media.” She believes that social media is a powerful medium to make use of. “Under my control, the many social accounts under the Foundation’s umbrella flourished. In September 2015, after a year of trying to put my freelance days behind me and obtain a steady ‘9-5’, I was hired as the Campaign Coordinator for the Staten Island Media Group. I had previously interned as a college student with its affiliate, the Staten Island Advance (in the editorial section). I’m really enjoying this new learning experience and love facing each day’s new challenge.” As a Campaign Coordinator, Christina  ensures that all campaigns are pacing towards their goals evenly without falling flat; and addresses any changes that need to be made along the way. She also supplies advertisers with metrics, so they can see the concrete impact of their campaigns; whether it be more traffic to their website, or an increase in sales due to print ad campaigns. Sales representatives receive similar metrics, so they can advise their advertisers on any optimization changes that need to be made. While she is very young in comparison to most of her industry peers, she shouldn’t be underestimated. Christina is a force to be reckoned with and will succeed at anything she puts her mind to. However, it’s more important for her family and friends to remember the love and joy they received from her, as well as her positive outlook on life. Christina BomengoAdvertising and Social Media - Content Marketing and Social Media Analytics    Campaign Coordinator - Staten Island Media Group Staten Island, NY
  27. 27. 27 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: Why is digital marketing so important? A: Digital marketing is important for the growth, relevance, and revenue of any business. Your constant goal as a business owner or organization leader is to get your name out there and get people to pay attention to you. If everyone’s noses are constantly stuck in their phones, why aren’t you hitting them smack in the face with your ads? It’s incredibly easy and affordable to develop and maintain your web presence, and get noticed with digital ads. There are hundreds of ways to interact with the specific audience you want to reach with audience targeting tools that will drive business and web traffic to you, resulting in an increase in sales or awareness. Q: What are the challenges of being so young in comparison to others in your field? A: Fortunately, coworkers have always treated me equally and with respect; always valuing my opinion and never second- guessing my intelligence. The personal challenge I face is that I always feel I need to prove myself to others in the field. I never want people to look at me and think, “You wouldn’t know this, because you’re so young and inexperienced.” While I am young, I’m always learning and absorbing. I’m definitely not inexperienced. Someone will always be better than me and I may not have all the answers, but I’m capable of learning quickly and working out issues on my own. Q: What would you say to the older crowd who does not see the importance of digital marketing and social media? A: Part of my job is educating clients on the importance of connecting with millennials and keeping up with the times, and ways to do this. I present them with the cold hard facts. Facebook has 968 million daily active users, 500 million tweets are sent per day, and 43% of all searches are done on mobile phones via various search engines. It’s not hard to see why if a business or organization isn’t on social media, has a mobile- friendly website, comes up in the top results on Google or Bing, or isn’t advertising online, that no one will know about their products or services. Digitally savvy businesses have a competitive advantage. Q: Where do you see your industry in five years? A: It’s hard to say, because we are constantly searching for the next big thing and better, more advanced ways to stay connected. I would imagine that one day, most likely in my lifetime, there will be glasses with phones in them and ways to communicate and send ads holographically. We never know when the next product or service will come out that will change the scope of our digital world or how we live our daily lives, but we always adjust as a population. The businesses that do not adjust or take advantage of these new technological advances will fall short and become irrelevant. Q: How important is it for a business or organization to be digitally and socially engaged? A: It’s extremely important, because people are always searching online for new products and services; and if your business isn’t being advertised digitally, or you’re seriously lacking in the social media department, consumers and potential customers will be less likely to trust you. Nowadays, people are less likely to trust businesses who lack a Facebook page (or have an inactive one) or ones that have a website they can’t view correctly on their mobile phone. In order to stay relevant in a digital world, you have to have some digital best practices. If you can’t figure it out or keep up with it yourself, outsource it. There are plenty of companies that can be hired to serve your ads to your targeted audience and keep up with your social media accounts.
  28. 28. 28 Women of Distinction Ms. Joella Grace SimmonsTravel Agent Youth Behavioral Specialist Travel & Tour Specialist with a niche in family travel Youth Behavioral Specialist
  29. 29. 29 Women of Distinction “2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4 Throughout her life, Joella Grace Simmons has endured her share of trials, but they ultimately led her to better place. Her life has been consumed with grace and mercy from the time she was born. It all started at the age of five, when she was hit by a car and her scull was crushed on the right side. Joella fell into a coma and the doctors told her mother that she would probably be a vegetable if she survived. However, her mother refused to give up on her. “She strongly believed that if I did come out of the coma, I would be as good as new. Three months later, I came out of the coma, but I didn’t talk; even though I recognized my mother and father. However, the lady who was driving the car that hit me use to come to the hospital everyday and read books to me, as well as bring me stuffed animals. I had one favorite book that she would read me about a red tricycle. She told me that if I talked, she’d buy the tricycle for me. Months later, when she came in to see me, I started talking; so she came back with the tricycle the next day.” Several months after that, the doctors allowed Joella to go home, but she had to be careful, because she had a soft spot in her head and if she bumped, she would die. Additionally, she had small pieces of her scull embedded in her brain, so her brain needed time to heal before the doctors would put a plate in her head. Nevertheless, she eventually made a 100% recovery from the accident with no symptoms. “At a young age, I learned how to persevere through trials. This helped strengthen me for the journey ahead.” Joella went on to graduate from Alvernia College (now Alvernia University) in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration. She wanted to work with juveniles and started applying for jobs in that field. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find the job she wanted and was offered a position as a parking enforcement officer. After two years of doing that, she would spend the next several years in jobs that allowed her to gain skills and learn lessons that have helped shaped her into the person she is today. Years later, Joella took a job as a substitute school teacher for grades K-12. This was the beginning of her work with children. “I was afraid at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. But when I started, I found that it was rewarding and challenging. I loved the challenge, because it helped me work harder and brought out the best in me. After four years, I began working as a youth behavioral specialist at a children’s home, where I taught life and social skills to young boys who were once trauma victims.” Additionally, she found a niche in affordable family and faith based travel; finding destinations that are affordable for families. “I believe that everyone should be able to go on vacation and experience new things. Often times, people with children can’t afford to go on vacation. I went on vacation to Disney World one year with another travel agency when my son was younger, and some of the families on the trip misread the ad for the trip. The price was for the transportation and hotel stay was included, but not the price of admission to the park. As a result, people were upset and some families could not take their children into the park. They had to enjoy the week at the hotel and find other things to do around Orlando.” In order to expand her knowledge on travel destinations, Joella has been taking classes from the Travel Academy and has the following certifications: • Hawaii Islands Specialist • The Greater Fort Lauderdale Specialist • TravelSafe Specialist • AMResorts Master Agent •Oceania Cruises Expert • Omni Hotels and Resorts Specialist • River Cruises Specialist • Iberostar Meetings Specialist • St. Kitts Agent Destination Specialist • MGM Resorts International Master Specialist • Caribbean vacation information She also has been receiving information from state (New York, New Orleans, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Washington D.C.) welcome centers about what they have to offer visitors (attractions and activities) for free or at a low cost for family travel. You can search for and book an affordable trip for your family by going to and http://
  30. 30. 30 In today’s health-conscious society, why are there over one million heart attacks in America every year? More than 500,000 people die from cancer annually; another 370 million suffer from diabetes. What is making us so sick? While there are thousands of books on nutrition, “Take Charge of Your Health” (Clovercroft Publishing—January 2015) by Lilli Taylor Hetherington provides scientifically-based food for thought: you can fight disease, strengthen your body, turn back the clock simply by giving your body the sound nutrition it needs, and to avoid the premature obituary column! “Take Charge of Your Health” offers a new paradigm on diet and nutrition that can transform your life. Integrating biblical principles and nutritional advice based on the latest in cutting- edge science, “Take Charge of Your Health” will energize your mind, body and spirit to levels you never imagined. As you fuel your body with foods that complement your health and longevity, you’ll add years to your life. In fact, independent studies confirm that the book’s dietary recommendations can extend your lifespan by up to twenty-nine years! Hetherington has spent over thirty years studying and speaking on nutrition and disease. When stricken with a rare blood disease in 1989, she turned her life around through the principles she now shares with others around the world. “Our bodies, if given the right nutrients, have the ability to rebuild themselves all the way down to the cellular level,” says Hetherington, today completely recovered from an illness that mystified medical professionals. “If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, I can help you open the door to better life and living.” Through her own journey toward optimal health, Lilli Taylor Hetherington has coached thousands—including those suffering from terminal cancer and degenerative disease— to a quality of life they never imagined. Over the years, hundreds of clients have shared their stories on her Dallas- based radio programs heard on KWRD 100.7 FM, KSKY 660 AM, and on Believers in Business on KVCE 1160 AM. For more information, visit Lilli HetheringtonHealth, Coaching Health Coach, Author - Take Charge of Your Health Dallas, TX
  31. 31. 31 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: What are some of the specific conditions women are struggling with today? A: The diseases that are killing women before their time, and are mostly totally preventable, are as follows: Heart Disease, which causes 1 in 4 deaths and is preventable. Several cancers including breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. Cancer is totally preventable by proper nutrition. Strokes, which cannot only be deadly, but are also a leading cause of disability. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is often caused by smoking. Alzheimer’s disease, which progressively degenerates one’s brain, leading to severe memory loss and ultimately to total mental impairment. Diabetes, which affects about one in 10 women ages 20 and older. All of these are totally preventable with the proper knowledge. There are other causes of death; but the conditions mentioned here are not related to old age or any age, only to our diet and lifestyle. No matter what your age, there are dietary and lifestyle steps you can take to guard against your life being snuffed out prematurely. Q: What would some of those steps be? A: Eating right, exercising regularly, practicing good hygiene, reducing environmental toxins, consuming selective organic supplements — these will all offer fabulous benefits. All of this is explained in my book, plus more. Q: What is involved in doing a consultation with you? A: When you do a consultation with me, we will first clarify what your needs are, then I will list the foods that will heal your body of whatever condition concerns you. I will also list the foods that are contributing to that problem, for your personal knowledge. Most people are clueless and mindlessly eat the very foods that are making them sick. Since you can’t get what you need in your foods alone today, I’ll also tell you the selective organic supplements you need to take, how to take each one, how each one specifically betters your condition. There is no guess work here! Our nutritional plans have stood the test of time for over 40 years successfully working with many people. Whether it’s 4th stage cancer or mere low energy, they get well. Our clinically tested supplements have stood the test of time for over 60 years. Q: What is the formal definition of a health span? A: Your health span is the period of your life during which you are generally healthy and free from serious or chronic illness. In many areas of this country, there is a serious gap between health span and life span. In many or even most cases, our longer lifespan is due to advancement from the pharmaceutical industry and the surgical community. They are doing their best to keep us alive longer with what I would call “sick care” — state of the art procedures and expensive medications. We are alive, but so often dependent on pharmaceuticals and our days are being spent at doctor’s offices and rehab. We are living longer but not necessarily healthier. The longer we live the more vulnerable we become to degenerative illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So taking preventative healthy steps early on can improve your chances of living long and living well. Q: How would you sum up our discussion and your take on health? A: To live long and well calls for a mostly vegetarian diet with beans, rice, and fish from the wild, with fins and scales as protein sources. Get in some physical exercise, get 8 hours of sleep, drink enough water, take certified organic supplements (not synthetics which are toxic) and make sure you are consuming plenty of anti-oxidants. I hope by now you are committed to ensuring your health span matches your life span. And may I share a little secret with you? Your health is not just about you. It affects the whole family. Many adult children are having to quit their own jobs just in order to now care for mothers and fathers who should have taken charge of their health. Good nutrition = Good Health. Poor nutrition = Poor Health. Incidentally, sometimes I hear eating healthy and taking selective supplements is just too expensive. If you feel that way, let me do a little reality check. Many medical procedures are extremely expensive and leave you with poor quality of health. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy. We are saving people’s lives and also offering quality of health. You can listen to her podcast at: podcast/lilli-hetherington/
  32. 32. 32 Women of Distinction It only took one job fair in 1998 for Nicole Marie Drone to find something that satisfied her natural curiosity of the economy and desire to help people. This came with a strong personal determination to be in an industry that was not welcoming to someone with her lack of connections and credentials. She has since worked in many different areas of banking, working her way up the corporate ladder; and was the only African-American female commercial lender along the way. As a result, Nicole is considering authoring a book about her experiences as a “lone wolf” in the corporate banking world. Today, as a Credit Officer for EDC Loan Corporation (an affiliate of Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City or EDCKC) in Kansas City, Missouri; Nicole assesses the credit worthiness of applicants by analyzing credit reports and tax returns (business and personal), and visits work sites. She then compiles her assessments for presentation to the board of directors/loan committee to make the final decision. Nicole is also an alumnus of the Women’s Employment Network, and works as an Ambassador to businesses, and new and potential graduates; giving her testimonial of how they helped her develop. She has even been included in promotional ads and media; and her daughter is currently in the program. Additionally, Nicole serves as a professional in Prep-KC, an initiative of the City of Kansas City that helps high school students with career exploration; where she participates in various chamber events, conferences, and is often called on as a panelist to discuss financing options to small businesses by various unions and organizations around the city. Nicole Marie Drone Business/Finance - Government Program Administration Credit Officer - EDC Loan Corporation (an affiliate of Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City or EDCKC) Kansas City, MO Like the legendary artist, Prince; Nicole is someone who doesn’t assimilate or conform to what society does and is very often misunderstood. “Prince is unapologetically himself. I totally relate to him and his music. That’s why I’m a huge fan! At a concert in 2004, he personally picked me out of the audience and let me come up on stage to dance with him! He even handed me the mic and let me sing a line of his song, ‘Kiss’; and looked me in the eye and nodded his head in validation after. I had lived.” Nicole was recently married in April 2015. She and her husband have five children, two grandchildren (with a third on the way), and an American bulldog (named Bruiser) between them. Nicole also has a lot of nieces and nephews that she spends time with. In addition, she enjoys writing poetry and decorating the house. She hopes to be remembered as a person who defied odds and stereotypes; an example of an “overcomer”. “My parents were teenagers and never married when I was born. And my father was incarcerated when I was three-years-old until I was 37. I grew up in the late 70s and 80s as a latchkey kid in the inner city with no real life or a positive role model; but I became the change I wanted to see.”
  33. 33. 33 Women of Distinction Q&A Q: What is the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Kansas City? A: It’s a statutory agency of the City of Kansas City, Missouri; designed to stimulate the economy by attracting and retaining businesses with an emphasis on job creation. Q: How does the EDC Loan Corporation fit in with the EDC? A: We offer low cost, low down payment gap financing; mitigating risk from a bank to eligible businesses. Our clients are typically underbanked and may not qualify for conventional commercial loans. We partner with financial institutions with a goal of making our clients bankable, while they grow their business. Q: Have you ever denied credit? A: Yes, many times it is because of poor personal credit and lack of business management skills. You must demonstrate the ability to repay the debt. Q: What makes your role important for your organization? A: As a minority woman with a traditional banking background, I see myself as an ombudsman between economically distressed communities and the resources to help them thrive. I’m uniquely qualified to identify with our target markets and develop meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships. Q: Why did you get into small business lending? A: I love the structure and exposure to all types of businesses. I’m inspired by the entrepreneur and being part of them realizing their dreams. It’s very gratifying. Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job? A: Being part of the economic system and knowing that I contribute to job creation and retention in the city I grew up in is extremely rewarding; and helping my fellow citizens realize their dreams is very empowering. Q: How is your approach different from your colleagues/ contemporaries? A: My experience as a teller and personal banker developed my customer service skills. A lot of lenders have never done anything in finance other than lending to meet goals. I don’t just look at the numbers. My people skills are sharper. Q: Will you retire from the banking industry? A: I look forward to working with my husband; an entrepreneur. I don’t believe I could ever retire from all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained; so who knows? Q: Do you plan on continuing your formal education? A: I do in some form or another. I’ve thought about getting a degree in business law and perhaps working for a financial institution. However, I’d like to concentrate on my creative side, and have toured the Art Institute of Kansas City. They have great fashion and interior design programs. Q: Are you satisfied with your career? A: I am so grateful for the opportunities that God’s grace has afforded me. I’ve experienced way more than I thought possible. The good news is I’m not finished and am always striving to do and be better.
  34. 34. Back in 2000, Wanda Atkinson-Wiley found herself young, engaged, and in need of a career. Fortunately, a temporary staffing agency had something for her just in time for the holidays and sent her on an interview at the Central Independent Review Board (IRB) in Research Triangle Park (RTP). Soon after, Wanda was hired and started her career in January 2001; where she spent over six years of her career journey in multiple roles, such as a (voting) Non- Scientific Board Member, Senior Quality/Regulatory Specialist, and Single-Site Study Startup Specialist. Today, she has over 15 years in quality/regulatory experience working on device and pharmaceuticals projects, and over seven years have been with a specialty Contract Research Organization (CRO), Novella Clinical (a Quintiles Company). Wanda thrives in the Regulatory Affairs department, completing multiple types of submissions to Regulatory Agencies in the United States, Canada, Greece, and the United Kingdom. Wanda Atkinson-Wiley OM, DipPsych, CL, MOSClinical Research and Quality/Regulatory Affairs President of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals RTP Chapter Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist at Novella Clinical, a Quintiles Company Founder/Chief Executive Officer of IiLead and SAM Worship Minister at Grace Church of Durham Research Triangle Park (Durham), NC “I have a huge passion for what I do. This was a must in order to continue, as I was looking for a career; not just a job! I love helping people by giving them nuggets on how to live and ways to better themselves in general. The ACRP RTP Chapter has provided me with the tools needed to continue staying abreast of industry happenings and regulatory requirements.” As President of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) RTP Chapter, Wanda holds the responsibility of overseeing the Chapter’s activity and ensuring its compliance with the terms set forth in the Chapter’s affiliation agreement. She provides guidance to other Chairs, facilitates Chapter Chair calls, and collaborates with ACRP staff chapter relations to foster continued chapter growth.
  35. 35. 35 Women of Distinction Additionally, she serves as the primary liaison between Chapter Affiliates and ACRP Global; responsible for monitoring chapter activity, providing marketing assistance for educational programs and membership reports (when requested), and communicating recommendations to support education and growth for chapter members. Wanda was greatly inspired by her pastors, Dr. K.T. and Dr. Siti Lowery. “They’ve been instrumental in my life’s journey with their teachings and instilled leadership skills that have propelled me forward in my career and ministry.” Wanda is the mother of two wonderful boys, Ivoree and Damarion; and has been married to her loving husband, Travis, for the past 14 years. They will be celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary on January 13, 2016. When she’s not spending time with her family, Wanda is very much into fashion, as she dreamed of being a model or designer while growing up (as many girls did). Ultimately, Wanda is a woman with a dream and a hope in her Lord and savior, Jesus Christ; and prays for peace and happiness for generations to come. “I need everyone to know that I’m not trusting in my own strength, as it fails me every time. I trust that God has a plan and no one can stop the plan for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.’ Since He knows how the story ends, I will continue to trust Him!” Q&A Q: How did you become involved with the ACRP RTP Chapter? A: I have worked in clinical research quality and regulatory field for over 15 years and been an active ACRP RTP Chapter member since 2011. I was looking for a way to stay connected with industry events. Being a member of the Chapter has provided enormous and valuable opportunities for me to broaden my knowledge and enhance my professional network. I am truly passionate about my role in the ACRP RTP Chapter. Q: Can you tell us about the work that the ACRP RTP Chapter does and the programs you run? A: ACRP RTP’s vision is that clinical research is performed ethically, responsibly, and professionally. The RTP Chapter has served the RTP area since 2003 and has over 215 members. The Chapter is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and creating avenues for networking and industry education among clinical research professionals locally and nationally. Q: What results has ACRP RTP Chapter achieved in 2015 so far? How has your program improved over time? A: The Chapter has embraced more members, enhanced communication with members through various social media channels, provided educational scholarships for the Fall Conference, increased community involvement, and introduced its first ever virtual intern. Q: What else has your attention? A: My nonprofit organizations, IiLead and SAM Worship. IiLead brings our youth to the clinical research industry and introduces clinical research careers to Triangle area students. For more information, please e-mail leadingonpurpose@gmail. com. SAM Worship brings the focus back to God. Often times as women, we find it difficult to take care of ourselves, because we are so busy taking care of everyone else. For more information please e-mail Q: Have you published any motivational writings? A: No, but never say never! Q: Has your success changed you or your lifestyle? A: No, I’m focused and my family and faith keeps me rooted and grounded. Q: Do ever become tired of holding multiple roles? A: Well I’m only human, so I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say that I get a little tired sometimes. However, I feel that if God can
  36. 36. As Founder and CEO of Le Bijoux Parfum Inc, Adeline Dorsainvil loves to help women enhance their beauty with her quality perfume products. Being the CEO of her company, Adeline oversees all business and sales involving her perfume products by communicating with vendors and manufacturers in China and Europe, expanding her products’ reach online, handling shipping and distribution, hosting local perfume launch parties, and building connections with customers. “I had a passion for establishing a perfume line for quite some time. Before I went about doing this, I knew I would have to do a lot of research. After doing the proper research on how to start a perfume line, I decided to create my own fragrance through a third party company and communicated with vendors and suppliers to create my own perfume bottles and logo. Starting a perfume business is the hardest part, but running it is a lot smoother.” Aside from running Le Bijoux Parfum, Adeline works full-time as an Enrollment Advisor for Consume Media Network and Regarding her education, she received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2010 and a Masters degree in Human Resources in 2013, earning both degrees from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Adeline DorsainvilPerfumes, Retail Chief Executive Officer - Le Bijoux Parfum Inc. Miramar, FL In the past Adeline has worked as an Enrollment Processing Assistant for Nova Southeastern University, a Graduate Admissions Counselor for Keiser University, a Travel Nurse Recruiter for Onward Healthcare, and a Senior Recruiter for Randstad. “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that one should always treat others the way they want to be treated.” In her leisure, Adeline loves to read, exercise, and spend quality time with her two-year-old daughter Olivia. She hopes that her success as a single mother can inspire other women like her throughout the world to pursue their dreams and accomplish their goals, no matter what their situation may be. Anyone who may be interested in viewing or purchasing some of Adeline’s perfume products can do so by visiting www., where she has her online store set up to tend to customers all over the globe. “I want to see my perfume line branch out into something bigger and succeed all around the world. I would also like to use my business as an example to show single mothers everywhere that the sky is the limit. I’m a very ambitious, caring, and loving mother. I want the world to know that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”
  37. 37. 37 Women of Distinction Though she is now retired, Betty Jo Roller helped spread her love for music as a Music Instructor in the Amarillo Independent School System for 33 years, touching the lives of many children in that time. Betty Jo had developed a strong interest in music after receiving a violin as a gift during her childhood before moving to Amarillo, Texas in 1942. Thanks to the impressive music program in the Amarillo school system she proceeded to strengthen her skills as a violinist, which eventually inspired her to begin teaching. “Find significant educators in the field and spend time with them or one of their advocates. Commit yourself personally to study relative areas in the field of music education. Learn proficiency on your chosen instrument and participate in quality performances. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged, but keep developing your proficiency.” In 1953, Betty Jo received her Associate Degree in Music Education from Amarillo College and, in 1955, she earned a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from West Texas University. She also eventually earned her Master of Arts Degree in Music Education from West Texas University in 1984. Aside from teaching children, she also served in the University Interscholastic League and taught student teachers who were pursuing a position in music education. She also had a stint as Director of All City Orchestra. Earlier in Betty’s career, she performed with the Amarillo Symphony and Amarillo Opera. Though she has retired from performing, she continues to support both the Symphony and Opera by regularly attending their activities and making significant donations to each organization. Ten of Betty’s former string students are currently playing in the Amarillo Symphony and four are teaching music in the Amarillo Public Schools. Her musical influence continues through her students. Betty Jo Denman RollerMusic Education (Elementary and Secondary band and orchestra) Music Instructor - Amarillo Independent School System (Retired) Amarillo, TX Betty Jo’s achievements in music education have seen her earn many honors over the years including a Texas Orchestra Director of the Year award from the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Arts Committee in 1990, recognition from the Mu Omicron Alpha Chapter of Texas for her Contribution to the Advancement of Orchestra Music in the State of Texas in 2001, recognition as an Amarillo College Distinguished Alumna in 2010, and a place in the Amarillo High School Hall of Fame in 2015. “Know your own limitations, examine ways to overcome any personal deficiencies, understand the requirements for success in your goals, and work hard to overcome your limitations. Enjoy success and reorganize your abilities to ensure future success.” In her leisure, Betty Jo enjoys attending church activities and spending time with her family. With 10 of her former string students currently playing in the Amarillo Symphony and four teaching music in the Amarillo Public Schools System, Betty’s musical influence continues to show in her community. “Personal dedication to areas that provide enjoyment to as many as possible so their lives can be fulfilled with peace, love and happiness, such as I have had the privilege to enjoy, would bring me happiness and peace of mind. In a world that seems to experience more and greater frustration, this legacy would bring happiness not only to me but to those who have learned to find peace and joy.”
  38. 38. 38 Women of Distinction Through her work as a Sale Executive for AT&T, Carmen Dunn has remained focused on advancing in her industry while continuing to help provide for her family. Carmen, who has been employed by AT&T since 2001, has held a number of positions at the company including Business Account Manager, Retail Sales Consultant, Sales Support Rep, National Business Ordering, and Customer Service Rep. At the moment her main responsibilities are to provide multiple services to businesses that have an AT&T discount and help them communicate their discount throughout their company through fliers, posters, and onsite events. “Know exactly what you want and where you want to retire from. When taking care of a family, or even yourself, you need to have stability and make sure that you execute your job well. Look for a company that believes in promoting within the organization so you can climb up the corporate ladder.” With her knowledge of small business, she also gives aid to partner channels and teaches them how to make small businesses run efficiently through the use of mobile applications by training sales reps. Due to her major success as an employee of AT&T, Carmen plans to remain at the company until she’s ready to retire. “I have made it a priority to have expert product knowledge by attending training sessions and getting resources to help me further my education in mobility applications.” Regarding her education, Carmen has received an AAS degree in Broadcasting from Hastings Central Community College in Hastings, Nebraska and a BA in Corporate Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. Carmen’s work has seen her earn a Service of Excellence Award for the second quarter of 2015, EBS Run through the Warehouse 2015, and she was also second runner up for City Council in Victoria, Kansas in 2011. She is also currently a director on her local HOA board. “Being in sales is very challenging, hard and stressful. Don’t ever think you can’t finish what you start — you can! Always keep your head up and stay strong!” In her leisure, Carmen loves spending quality time with her husband and two children and going to the zoo, museums, and parks. As a victim of intense bullying throughout high school, she also offers her services as a guest speaker at local schools to share her story and give hope to children and teens who may be experiencing similar struggles. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if I can live through some of the struggles I’ve personally endured for years, then I am the strongest person in the world and I can conquer anything. I would never let anyone break my spirit.” Carmen DunnTelecommunications Sale Executive II IRU - AT&T Oklahoma City, OK
  39. 39. 39 Women of Distinction Since beginning her work as an Author, Personal Development Coach, and Motivational Speaker in 2014, Emelia Adjei has used her life experiences to help empower women and change lives for the better. Emelia emigrated from her motherland country of Ghana, West Africa to the USA with nothing but dreams of a better life and education. She overcame many challenges, including near homelessness, but stayed determined, focused, and worked hard to pursue her dreams. “Keep pushing forward towards your dreams, stay focused. Develop a thick skin, be unstoppable since the naysayers and haters will make it their job to crush you down. Surround yourself with quality and positive people who are pursuing a bigger vision for their own lives.” She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, which she received in 2007, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities, which she earned in 2015. She’s received various awards and has been featured on TV, in magazines, and in a documentary movie. Emelia has a big heart and has continuously demonstrated her compassionate nature by generously giving and helping those in need. She is the Founder of the Emelia Adjei Foundation (EAF), which has partnered with two organizations in Africa to make a difference and have an impact in many communities. The EAF provides monthly food drives, clothing, and toiletries to the needy, while also serving the youth through mentoring, training, and seminars, which leads them to becoming responsible citizens and productive adults. The organization uses training, seminars and free resources to motivate and empower the youth while driving them to enhance their skills and reach their fullest potentials. Emelia AdjeiPersonal Development & Motivation Author, Personal Development Coach, Motivational Speaker Virginia As an author, Emelia has written a book titled Accelerate To Glory, created a book titled Life in the Diaspora - Ups and Downs, and co-authored a book titled Organized Obstacles. “Most of our fears and doubts are imaginary, they only prevent and discourage us from taking risk and pursuing our dreams or goals. Most of the fears I create in my mind, even before traveling out of state for an event, are things that never happen. Everything goes perfect and I make it home safely. As Nike says — just do it.” Emelia is a driven, authentic and down-to-earth person who’s constantly reinventing herself and setting new goals. In her free time she loves reading, organizing, and enjoying the outdoors, and also volunteers at shelters and donates to those in need. She’s thankful and humbled by the opportunities and blessings God has given her and has given herself the mission to inspire, inform, and transform as many lives as possible in order to make a difference in her community and the world. “I hope to leave a legacy of hope and love through my foundation, which helps and supports the needy while also empowering the youth.”