Member Connections Newsletter, Member Spotlight

December 2014 Member Spotlight


Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a monthly column that lets members highlight their careers and businesses. This month, we feature thirteen accomplished women, so be sure to check out each of their profiles. VIP, Elite and Preferred Members: To be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter, contact us at



Jody L. Nelson

Company: US Army
Armed Services
Title: Chief Operational
Protection Officer
Location: Sumter, SC

: What would you tell young women about the obstacles they will face in your industry?

Nelson: For all women, the obstacles we face in any industry must be viewed as challenges to overcome, challenges that make us stronger and better professionals and women.


NAPW: What is the biggest career obstacle you have ever faced? How did you overcome it?

Nelson: Gender discrimination. I overcame it by conducting all business morally, ethically and legally while working for those I served (soldiers). My job was to lead America’s sons and daughters (soldiers) into combat and bring them home safely. I knew every night, before I laid my head down, that I had done everything I could, that day and every day, to teach, coach and mentor soldiers to protect themselves in combat and the American people.


NAPW: It’s been said that perseverance and hard work bring success. Do you believe this? Why?

Nelson: I absolutely believe that perseverance and hard work bring success. Regardless of the business we choose, there are people we serve. If one doesn’t work hard, those around her won’t feel the quality and passion for service.


NAPW: Have you overcome budget constraints while promoting your business?

Nelson: No, because I have not started my own business — yet. In September 2015, I retire after 29 years in the military. I have been saving money for the last five years in anticipation of the event.


NAPW: What is the best business advice you ever gave to another woman?

Nelson: The best advice is be true to yourself and who you are and to give every day your best. We are not always in control of our destiny, but we can control who we are and what we do.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a connection!



Angela Duell

Parker University
Higher Education/
Title: Occupational Therapy
Assistant Program Director
Location: Dallas, TX

NAPW: How do you reduce stress while experiencing continuous pressure?

Duell: In order to reduce stress, I like to work out and exercise.


NAPW: Which online career tools or apps do you use most?

Duell: Indeed, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and an occupational therapy app.


NAPW: What are your biggest strengths/talents in your position?

Duell: My biggest strengths, in my current position, are my years of experience, clinical knowledge and leadership abilities.


NAPW: What are some of your weaknesses? How do you plan to improve them?

Duell: An area of further growth is faculty development and mentoring. I plan to attend seminars and continue my education on how to mentor leaders and establish quality professional development plans for faculty.


NAPW: How do you maintain the networking relationships you’ve established?

Duell: I try to maintain networking relationships by sending quarterly emails when applicable and attending industry meetings or networking events, luncheons and continuing education seminars.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a connection!



Caterina Scarlatella

Company: Arbonne International
Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Title: District Manager,
Independent Consultant

Sonoma, CA

: What is the best business advice you ever received from another woman?

Scarlatella: Stay focused on your goals, surround yourself with positive people and always network so you can build long-lasting working relationships and friendships.


NAPW: Do you believe that exercise and a proper diet helped in your success?

Scarlatella: Absolutely! Exercise and sound nutrition (meal management) are critical to maintaining good health. Your body, mind, spirit and soul cannot function properly if you are not healthy; if your body is not functioning properly, it can’t heal properly. Success is a struggle and does not come to those with poor health. They have no time to work on success because they are too busy working on health issues centered on illness, disease, injury and inflammation.


NAPW: What stereotypes about women do you encounter that annoy you the most? How do you overcome the stereotypes others place on you?

Scarlatella: I honestly do not encounter any and have never had them placed on me.


NAPW: If you could take a day off from work, what would you do first?  Why?

Scarlatella: I would drive to a beach where the sun is shining and the weather is warm. The beach is peaceful, calm and tranquil. There is so much “noise” going on in the world that sometimes, you need to totally get away from it; and, for me, the beach does just that.


NAPW: What woman in history has most influenced your beliefs?

Scarlatella: Doris Kearns Goodwin! She is absolutely amazing. She came to speak to all the managers at Northwest Airlines about leadership, respect and discipline – all amazing attributes of one of our greatest leaders of all time, Abraham Lincoln. She has authored several books regarding Abraham Lincoln and describes key features leading to Lincoln’s success, such as “an ability to learn on the job, the capacity to listen to different points of view and knowing how to relax and replenish.” These are all features that I incorporated into my own personal leadership style, which resulted in having a successful career journey. Doris holds these same attributes as an author, an historian and as a person – a well-rounded and successful woman!


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a connection!



Jennifer Hillman

Company: Bailey Bee Believes
All Industries
Title: Founder/Owner
Location: Frisco, TX


NAPW: Do you feel you have achieved success by your own rules or have you compromised in any way?

Hillman: I have achieved it by my own rules and in my own time.


NAPW: What was the catalyst that inspired you to start your own business?

Hillman: I had an overwhelming instinct to be proactive in training and teaching my own daughters how to prevent sexual abuse. I began to look for books and DVDs to reinforce the program I was teaching, and there were little resources to be found… and no DVDs. That is when it was placed on my heart to script and find a producer to make an educational DVD for moms just like me.


NAPW: How do you network?

Hillman: I network through friends, family, professional relationships, moms groups and social media.


NAPW: When things get tough, how do you keep yourself going?

Hillman: I dig deeper and repeat to myself, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a connection!



Sue Markgraf

Company: GreenMark
Public Relations, Inc.
Media Relations, Public Relations,
Marketing Communications
Founder and President
Location: Mundelein, IL


NAPW: What is the best career advice you ever received?

Markgraf: “When in doubt, buy time.” Advice from my dad, an entrepreneur in the grocery retail business before he retired. It has served me very well through the years.


NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Markgraf: You will feel frustrated. You will have sleepless nights, stomach aches and you will rarely have a day off or a vacation. There are no 9-to-5 days. You will be challenged in ways you could never have imagined. You will doubt your faith in people and in yourself. You will feel like throwing in the towel or ripping out your hair. You will feel disappointment. But, above all, you will answer to yourself and the higher power you believe in. You will feel joy in your accomplishments because no one else brought them to fruition but you. Stay true to your passion, have intense faith, rise to the occasion and believe in the goodness that is within you. Give all that you can give, and when you feel like giving up, stop and remember why you started your business in the first place.


NAPW: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Markgraf: Break away from routine. Soak in the culture that is around you, and do not let experiencing all that is life become second to work. Study life first. Read all that you can. Live what is around you. Experience joy.


NAPW: What do you like to do on your free time?

Markgraf: Garden and “day drives” for quick getaways with my husband.


NAPW: How do you get more clients/customers for your business?

Markgraf: Reputation and word of mouth is the best “good soil” from which to grow new business.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Stephanie J. Bangura

Company: Four Corners Alliance Group
and YTB travel
Network Marketing,
Financial Literacy, Booking Travel
Title: CEO & RTA
Location: Norwalk, OH


NAPW: Are you where you want to be right now? If yes, what business skills did you use to get there? If no, how will you rectify the situation?

Bangura: I am almost where I want to be. It will take perhaps a year and I will absolutely be there. My travel business is my top priority. It will benefit many people who need that extra stream of income and allow them to travel and get paid for it. Financial literacy is also very important to live a comfortable life; if you earn top dollar and don’t know how to administrate your finances, it will all be for nothing. The hands-on business skills I needed were taught at every level. We need to know our products and be very committed to getting the message out, hands on and in agreement with the team.


NAPW: What one key factor made the difference in your business?

Bangura: Because I love what I am doing, I can accomplish so very much with a home-based attitude and with no schedule but my own. It is a joy to be able to talk to people and learn together, and as we grow, we help others grow; so, it is not necessary to leave anyone behind. We must keep that mindset and know who we are and exactly where we need to go to become successful.


NAPW: If you travel for business, how do you maintain your home life?

Bangura: There has to be a mixture that allows you to do both, and you decide where the main emphasis is going to be. When I was married, my husband and I took time to share things with no separation of women’s chores from men’s chores. As a widow, it is quite simple to keep a good home and do all the things in my business that bring me joy.


NAPW: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” What will you do?

Bangura: I absolutely don’t know. The things that scare me are outside the home, such as dogs, snakes and mice, so I choose to stay away. Anything in my personal home life that tries to scare me is handled in prayer, in trusting God to always be by my side and in knowing that He cares and will always lift me up to a place where I have no need to fear.


NAPW: Author/Poet Maya Angelou said, “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.” When networking, how do you make people feel so that they’ll remember you?

Bangura: I utilize my pastoral role as a way of connecting with people. We must remember that people will follow other people. Just put your best foot forward and don’t pretend to be someone that you are not. Have true love and feelings for people that bring a smile and remembrance. I want to be remembered as that lady that gave so much of herself, and I want to do that also. Teach ourselves and others how to be a winner. Take away their fears, and help them understand they are burning with a desire to let everyone know, “I am somebody who will succeed and explode my life and my business because God gave me a heart that is destined to succeed.”


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Shirley A. Weis

Company: Weis Associates, LLC
Consulting Services
Title: President
Location: Scottsdale, AZ


NAPW: What tools or processes do you use to stay organized?

Weis: I use many of the skills I learned over my 40-year career as a healthcare executive to stay organized. I am a big list maker and I put everything on my calendar so I do not lose track of events and commitments. I also monitor and manage the various projects I am working on.


NAPW: Tell us about a time when you had to go above and beyond to get a job done.

Weis: I have often had to go above and beyond to get a job done. I find that follow-through and follow-up are the keys to success. If I take on a task, I always seek feedback about how well it was done and if it met the expectations of the customer. For instance, I often help patients and their families find the appropriate medical resources for their care. Many times, I have to make multiple calls to the patient, family and care provider to be sure their needs were met.


NAPW: What major obstacle did you overcome in the past year?

Weis: In the past year, I have had to overcome the pain associated with the sudden death of my father and a dear friend who lost her battle with breast cancer. It was a difficult time before, during and after they passed away. Times like these lead me to reflect on the blessings of each day and to more deeply appreciate those around me.


NAPW: In what ways do you raise the bar for yourself and others around you?

Weis: I raise the bar by always demonstrating “Just Respect” (TM) for myself and others. I believe that respect is the key to unlocking people’s potential. It is a catalyst for growth, learning and achievement. Respect improves relationships and increases collaboration. We often focus too much on fighting for respect when the secret of respect is giving it away.


NAPW: If you were running a company that produces X and the market wasn’t interested in that product anymore, what would you do?

Weis: When confronted with the fact that the product I am producing isn’t wanted by the public anymore, I have gone back to the basics of developing a new strategic plan. This involves reviewing the current marketplace as well as doing a SWOT analysis of the current product. By SWOT, I mean looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I have found that this process works for products, as well as for people, as they evaluate and reinvent themselves for a changing world.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Priscilla Elliott

Company: Courage Counseling
Health Services/
Mental Wellness/Therapy
Owner and
Location: Austin, TX


NAPW: When working on a team, what role do you usually take? Why?

Elliott: I am very collaborative. I know my strengths and areas of expertise, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the role of the nervous system in mental health, trichotillomania and skin picking disorder. I am also aware that I am human and have blind spots, so I seek the expertise of others to fill those in for me so that I may provide the best services possible. I also love helping other professionals improve their level of service to their clients, so I share what I have learned in return.


NAPW: Describe a situation in which you were able to positively influence the actions of others in a desired direction.

Elliott: Well, this is what I do for a living! As a psychotherapist, people come to me to make some sort of positive change in their life. Since I focus on helping the whole person and not just the identified problem, we usually see many aspects of a person’s life evolve into something better than initially anticipated.


NAPW: Describe a situation when you failed to meet a deadline. What did you learn?

Elliott: I am very punctual by nature and can’t even think of an example of this.


NAPW: What ways have you found to make your job easier or more rewarding?

Elliott: Self-care. When I take better care of myself, there is more of me available to help others. This means wellness on all fronts and tending to my health, fitness, emotional well-being and marriage.


NAPW: Describe the most creative way you have solved a customer’s problem.

Elliott: Creative problem solving is a daily part of being a therapist. Every person has their unique constellation of challenges and strengths. We have to tease through it to find ways to build on what is innate for them, or address their needs directly. There is no canned response to help people.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Marlena Desiree Mardigan

Company: Mardigan Executive
Recruitment and Staffing
CEO and Principal
Location: Atlanta, GA


NAPW: What is the best career advice you ever received?

Mardigan: The best pieces of career advice I ever received were:

  • From Sedale Threatt, Jr. of AUBD – Become and stay self-aware (keep a pulse on who I am, what my true business line offering is and what collaborative impact my business offering and I have on others).
  • From Clinical Psychologist Dr. Gary Leverette – Don’t just be a pretty face, be the ‘most knowledgeable’ pretty face.
  • From Bob White of Coldwell Banker – Now is always a good time; you CAN do it!


NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Mardigan: Stay authentically you and true to your brand. Know yourself, then be yourself. Share yourself, then rest yourself. Educate yourself and, of course, reward yourself! Listen to the current supply and demand, adjust your business offering progressively and then deliver the “uniquely you” accordingly.


NAPW: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Mardigan: The way I keep my ideas fresh, creative and cutting edge is by reading and application – reading what other successful people have done to be productive, staying open to new concepts, crystalizing my action steps and then applying the discipline and principles. Also, when I can’t sleep at night, I don’t. I promised myself during those sleepless nights to be productive; so, I spend that time working on my business. Some of my best ideas have come to light during those sleepless nights. I went to sleep with a blank canvas only to wake up the next morning with a masterpiece!


NAPW: What do you like to do on your free time?

Mardigan: In my free time, I like to go on nature hikes, cycle, sew, cook, play outdoor soccer (in between my bruises), read, interior design — beautify my environment and, of course, dance like no one is watching! I always try to make quality time for others.


NAPW: How do you get more clients/customers for your business?

Mardigan:  I’ve always been called the “Engaging ‘Energizer’ and Passionate Bunny” if this is any indication to you of how I deliver my work. This positive energy comes across to my clients – authentically ME. I strategize my needs, and from those needs, I create a target audience, and from that audience, I create a list of prospects. Once I have my list of prospects, I research their backgrounds, interests and lines of business; basically, any connectivity points. Based on the points of connectivity, I decide that these prospects are my friends instead of strangers as this eases any tension before I speak to the prospect and makes the approach easy and non-threatening. I like to think of my approaches as “warm calling,” not “cold calling.”  If I’m not in the mood, I don’t call anyone and find other ways to be productive. Before placing the actual call, I would strategize how to make my approach, what I want to say and what I would like to receive from my call, and then I “just do it!” Documenting and implementing a timely follow-up program is essential. One key factor to all of this, though, is your sincerity and always giving that prospect your full, undivided attention when speaking to them. If you don’t have the proper time, then don’t call until you do.

I have won several awards and received significant recognition, however, the most rewarding thing for me has been working in the service industry. My main objective is, and has always been, what’s in it for others as opposed to what’s in it for me. You will notice my company name is “Mardigan Executive” and the initial caps “M” and “E” represent the “ME in Me” helping the “ME in You.”


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Marcia L. Dyson

Company: Women’s Global Initiative
Business Development/
Strategic Planning/Marketing
CEO and Founder
Location: Miami, FL

: When the going gets tough, where do you go?

Dyson: Take me to the waters: beach, bath or brook. Something about the water, like a baptism, centers my soul, eases my nerves and allows me to focus.


NAPW: What do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Dyson: I exercise and eat a mostly vegan diet.


NAPW: Do you think it’s important to avoid letting success define who you are?

Dyson: Yes, I do. Success is a result of winning and losing, so whether up or down, the momentum of thriving doesn’t cease with me. It is not only gaining in business for me; it has always been about integrity.


NAPW: When starting out, how important was networking to the success of your business today?

Dyson: Gosh, “No woman is an island.” And that is surely true for me. I am where I am because of forging great relationships with people I have met all over the world.

NAPW: What tips can you share to maintain motivated employees?

Dyson: We are all leaders when a person has the best idea. Like in a plane, all classes are impacted by turbulence, so we must ride the bumps together. I look to them for inspiration as well and encourage sharing.


View Profile

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Karen G. Allen

Company: efDA Training, LLC
Title: Owner
Location: Fort Pierce, FL

: What is the best career advice you ever received?

Allen: The best career advice came from my mother, who told me, “An education is the one thing no one can take away.” I took her advice and achieved degrees that have augmented my career, and I continue to enroll in seminars and industry certification courses in related areas to enhance my area of expertise.

For 35 years, I was a dental assistant educator in the State of Florida college system teaching and training dental assistants and, for the past two years, a business owner of efDA Training, LLC. My business provides the most innovative courses and a program to train and certify dental assistants in the State of Florida. I continue to instill in my students the importance of being educated and the value education can bring to their lives.

This organization says it all, “the power to be you.” This is why I joined NAPW, and the fact that 99.9% of the students we train are women. We empower our students through education, providing the ability to become a professional in the dental health field.


NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Allen: Join local, state and national organizations which promote you and your business. Listen to your customer or client. Keep up with technology. Network and find the best marketing agent and web designer to promote your business.


NAPW: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Allen: efDA Training, LLC’s faculty trains dental assistants. We meet on a regular basis. Our goal is to inspire excellence through innovative training courses in any or all expanded function topics, reward achievement through a smarter training program and assure success through a modern eLearning portal containing lectures, videos and examinations. We address the growing need for qualified, credentialed and competent dental assistants. We continue to update our comprehensive courses and program through the eLearning portal. We think outside the box. We don’t duplicate what others are doing, rather we look at what the industry is doing and make it better and more cost effective. We never stop with what we have. We think about what we are trying to achieve and how we can provide better training more than anyone else. We listen to what our “clients” are saying about our product and continue to make our product the best in the marketplace. We always have new goals. Our next goal is to provide other training and continuing education in related fields for dental hygienists, dental lab technicians, front office staff and dentists.


NAPW: What do you like to do on your free time?

Allen: I love the outdoors. Living on the coast of South Florida allows me to go to the beach, boat, fish and camp.


NAPW: How do you get more clients/customers for your business?

Allen: 1) I became an exhibitor at the Florida National Dental Convention in Orlando, FL. As an exhibitor, the efDA Training, LLC team welcomed the dental community and introduced the latest innovation in training, the “Clinical Preceptor Training Courses.” With our online eLearning portal, these courses provide one of the best training options for dental assistants to receive the expanded function* credential required by the Florida State Board of Dentistry. efDA Training, LLC provides custom online courses while the dentist verifies clinical competency for the dental assistant, with no added expenses for travel and no delay in course offerings.

2)  Professional mailings to dental practices advertising innovative training for their employees.

3)  Personal networking with dental practices and dental sales representatives.

*Expanded functions are those procedures a credentialed dental assistant can legally perform directly on a dental patient.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a connection!0



Sally Francks

Company: Salon on 4th
Location: Philadelphia, PA


NAPW: What would you tell young women about the obstacles they will face in your industry?

Francks: Many young people do not realize the hard work that goes into making yourself successful. We have constant competitors in our industry; so to be noticed, we must be true to ourselves and constantly strive to improve our skills with education and experience.


NAPW: What is the biggest career obstacle you have ever faced? How did you overcome it?

Francks: I wouldn’t call it an obstacle as much as a challenge: having the confidence in my work to take the steps to open my own business. With the support of my family and a dependable staff, the business is going on eight-plus years.


NAPW: It’s been said that perseverance and hard work bring success. Do you believe this? Why?

Francks: Absolutely! Nothing successful comes without hard work. In the salon industry, you must constantly strive to be the best you can be. We must continue our education with workshops and classes to be on top of our game.


NAPW: How have you overcome budget constraints while promoting your business?

Francks: The internet is a useful tool for getting exposure to the masses. Have a great website and get your business in the search engines, then clients will find you through good reviews. We also depend on client referrals. A stylist just needs to ask the current happy clients to refer a friend. Happy clients equal free advertising!


NAPW: What is the best business advice you ever gave to another woman?

Francks: If you don’t change anything, then nothing changes. Make your own success happen.


View Profile

View Website

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!



Kimberly Davis

Company: Downing Construction
Administrative Coordinator
Location: Indianola, IA


NAPW: What makes this company a good fit for you?

Davis: I work for a rewarding company. I may not be in the field working, but I work in the office and the paperwork side of things to help make sure the jobs get done. We all work as a team.

NAPW: What do you find most challenging about your job?

Davis: Sometimes the short deadlines, but that does not happen very often.


NAPW: What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Davis: When a project is completed, and all the paperwork is complete.


NAPW: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Davis: I am very proud that I got my Associate’s degree in Business Administration and I am now working on my Bachelor of Science degree.


NAPW: How do you find balance in your life?

Davis: For the most part, my job is an 8-to-5, Monday-through-Friday job, so it leaves me time with the family. Also, if my kids need something in the middle of the day, I am free to assist them.


View Profile

Want to contact this member? Message her in the NAPW message center and add as a Connection!


Megan Bozzuto