Member Spotlight

February 17, 2016 Member Spotlight

Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a bi-weekly column where members highlight their careers and businesses. This week, we feature 10 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 featuredwomen@napw.com.

NL-Catherine-Crunden-vipCatherine Crunden

Company: MK Wealth Management, Hightower
Industry: Finance
Title: Business Manager
Location: Melville, NY


NAPW: What was your first-ever job and what did you learn from it?

Crunden: My first real job was Manager of a Victoria’s Secret store on Long Island, NY. It was a fast-paced and very demanding job. At the time, I was able to devote nights, weekends and holidays to my professional growth and career. It was my first priority. Shortly thereafter, I started to think about getting married and having a family. As much as I loved my job, I realized that retail was not my calling. I could not imagine starting a family and maintaining a job that required such an enormous time commitment. I always wanted to have both a family and a successful career. I learned that I would have to make some changes in my career in order to realize that dream.

 

NAPW: Name three people / companies you regularly follow on social media.

Crunden: I follow Professional Women’s Network, Elliot S. Weissbluth and Leadership and Management. These groups give me the opportunity to learn from thought leaders and other professionals. Their insights and perspectives help me stay informed, identify new opportunities and challenge me to continue to grow.

 

NAPW: What type of work ethic do you feel exists in business today?

Crunden: I believe there is a strong work ethic in the business world today. There are a lot of talented people out there competing for the same jobs, and they are willing to go the extra mile to differentiate themselves and succeed in their career. Corporate firms are also putting a strong emphasis on creating a culture that cultivates and rewards employees with strong work ethics. Employees feel a stronger connection to the firm, motivating them to make greater contributions.

 

NAPW: How does your company encourage professional development?

Crunden: My firm offers assistance attaining licenses and certifications relevant to our field. We also offer monetary reimbursement upon the completion of the course or certification. Additionally, we have people in human resources who are dedicated to helping employees reach their professional development goals.

 

NAPW: What types of change are occurring in your profession?

Crunden: In the financial services industry, excellence in client service has been elevated to a new level and it is an imperative part of our business. Investors are educated and look for advisors who can develop holistic personalized financial plans. Whether they are retiring or exiting their business, it is essential to have an intricate network of professionals to help guide clients through the entire process. Investors want to have an advisor who can provide a fiduciary relationship and support their needs. In addition, our lives are more complex than ever and require someone who can help clients in every aspect of financial planning, including long-term healthcare, estate, multi-generational and philanthropic planning. Our business has become much more than just managing a client’s financial portfolio of funds.

 

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NL-Linda-Frank

Linda Frank

Company: Viralocity Software, LLC
Industry: Technology
Title: President
Location: Laguna Niguel, CA

 

NAPW: Describe the best boss and the worst boss you have ever had.

Frank: The best boss I ever had taught me how to work my way out of a job. I learned how to teach and encourage others while gaining new skills to start again at a different level. The worst boss I ever had was the one who tried to be my friend. That is far more dangerous than someone who wants to see you succeed!

 

NAPW: What is your dream job?

Frank: My dream job would give me the opportunity to connect the majestic power of horses with small groups in a capacity that would allow personal healing to people who are broken and in need of spiritual guidance. I’m currently working on that goal. If you don’t aspire to do greater things, then you never will. Quitting has never been part of my vocabulary.

 

NAPW: When is it okay to “break the rules?”

Frank: That’s a tough question, but I don’t feel it’s ever okay to break the rules. Rules were made to maintain order and ethics. If rules were made to be broken, then who created consequences?

 

NAPW: What kinds of people do you work with best?

Frank: If I had to be frank about it, I can’t stand negativity. I truly believe that you get what you give out. I’ve trained myself to have a strong self-awareness of my surroundings at all times and I have the gift of turning any bad situation into a good one. This type of thinking took years of patience and practice, but this skill can only be acquired over time.

 

NAPW: Whose company / brand / website would you love to redesign?

Frank: I would love to get my hands on FarmersOnly.com. I love a good country boy, but I believe they really need help with their branding!

 

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Chanda Hinman

Company:
Crescent Moon Jewelry, LLC /
Inner Circle Pilates
Industry:
Jewelry / Pilates
Title: Founder
Location: Los Angeles, CA

 

NAPW: Tell us about your most successful social media campaign.

Hinman: For Crescent Moon Jewelry, I wrote a blog featuring behind-the-scenes peeks and pictures from one of our photo shoots. We create one-of-a-kind silhouettes of a performer or athlete from a photograph, and set it in our signature moon-shaped pendants. This month, we are doing a special pendant for the Reachability Foundation, an adaptive sports and recreation program for children and young adults with special needs to celebrate their brand new community center in West Los Angeles. In my Pilates business, we post videos, photos and columns titled Why We Do Pilates from athletes and celebrities who love Pilates and blog about health and wellness.

 

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration?

Hinman: I used to feel like I had no inspiration. I had a nightmare once, when I was practicing law, that I lost a hand. My first thought in the dream was, “I won’t have to practice law anymore!” It was in that moment that I knew it was time to reassess the direction of my life. I went part-time at my law firm to give myself some time to write, read and meditate. I wrote about all my childhood passions and how those made me feel – mostly good, but sometimes nostalgic and sad for the child I left behind. I wrote every day for two years before I had any kind of plan to leave the law. The one thing that resonated with my inner true self was Pilates. I chased that feeling and signed up for a Pilates apprenticeship, and soon I was teaching Pilates. After designing a logo for my Pilates business, a crescent moon with my silhouette in a back bend with one leg toward the sky, I thought it would be amazing to wear as a pendant. In that moment I realized that Crescent Moon Jewelry was born.

 

NAPW: What motivates you to succeed?

Hinman: I had to learn how to make jewelry since it was something I knew nothing about. I worked hard, learned a lot, tried, failed and tried again. A few months later, I was wearing my first pendant. The best part about what I do now and the pendants we design at Crescent Moon Jewelry, is that it reminds our clients and their children what this journey has reminded me of –remember your passions, remember the wonder of the child within and keep going!

 

NAPW: Do you equate career success with financial success? How do you separate the two?

Hinman: I used to. I had a long career as a litigator before I became an entrepreneur. Even though I enjoyed financial success as a lawyer, I was extremely unhappy. In my new businesses, I have had to redefine success. I’m now investing more money than I’m earning, yet, my whole world shakes with endless possibilities. It’s a thrill as I progress from one step to the next on my business plan; though I admit, I’m often scared stiff about the inherent unknowns of starting a business.

 

NAPW: How do you manage stress?

Hinman: There is no one technique that works for me all the time and I’m not always great at it. My go-to techniques include meditation, journaling, yoga, Pilates, tap dancing, a hard workout, a quiet walk in the neighborhood, a massage and / or soothing music.

 

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NL-Smrita-JainSmrita Jain

Company: The Aquario Group /
Surmrit Gallery of Art and Design
Industry: Strategic and Communications Design /
Private Art Gallery
Title: Lead Designer / Artist
Location: New York, NY /
Newport, Jersey City, NJ

 

NAPW: Do you believe our society glorifies “the busy woman?” Do you ever feel pressured by this stereotype?

Jain: I do feel that women, especially in the US, are glorified as “the busy woman.” Even though there are some parts of my lifestyle that I do not like and I am trying to bring a change in it, I feel being “busy” is good! For me, it has always been “an empty mind is a devil’s home” and that’s one of the reasons why I always want to keep myself busy. I become inspired by so many women who try so many things at the same time, juggling through their personal and professional lives while being able to maintain a strong and stable standard for themselves. They are my inspiration.

 

NAPW: Describe the ways you stay healthy at work.

Jain: I am fundraising for AVON Breast Cancer Walk and training to complete 39.3 miles in two days, October 17-18, 2016. That walk inspires me to exercise every day! I try to binge more on healthy snacks in between meals. I make sure to go to the gym, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. I drink lots of antioxidants, electrolytes, iced lattes and lots of lemon tea – and I stick to a vegan diet because I do not like to cause pain to any animal.

 

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

Jain: One-to-one encouragement and encouragement in front of other peers give a chance for personal growth. Not just simple interaction and discussion, but educational and informative discussions that bring interest in the projects currently working on.

 

NAPW: How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

Jain: I want to reach out and build more international clientele and not just focus on the US and India. My focus is on more design-oriented, user experience- and user interaction- based projects and place making. I am also planning to add more services in addition to the many design and art services that I already offer. I am also excited to hire experienced people to build a strong workforce and add multiple skill sets.

 

NAPW: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Jain: Being the first Indian to open a private art gallery space in Newport, Jersey City, NJ, and getting published in the Jersey Journal in May 2014. After multiple years of hard work and running a successful online gallery, it was time to make it bigger, better and more constructive.

 

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Dee Ann Johnson

Company:
Actors, Models and Talent for Christ
Industry:
Entertainment
Title: Co-Team Leader
Location: Denver, CO

 

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

Johnson: I like to serve people. I have an opportunity to work with a variety of people in all age groups from various backgrounds. My job is to organize and encourage – and I can’t think of anything more fun and rewarding than that.

 

NAPW: How do you find balance in your life?

Johnson: The only way I can achieve balance in my life is to start my day with a quiet time of preparation, reading scriptures from my Bible and praying. If the spiritual part of me is right, then I can face any challenge that comes my way. I also have to make time for creative therapy and down time, which includes art journals and taking art classes to help me relax and unwind. I also expect everyone in my household to work as a team to prepare meals and do chores.

 

NAPW: Describe your methods of managing a heavy workload.

Johnson: I have to keep myself – and everyone else – organized. I keep a list of every task that needs to be done in front of me and check them off as completed. I organize projects ahead of time and don’t wait until the last minute to prevent unnecessary stress. You cannot manage time. Time is what it is and cannot be changed. I can only manage myself and keep an even pace on projects.

 

NAPW: What are some of your tips for “dressing for success?”

Johnson: My goal is to look professional and put together in a tasteful style. People will treat you with more respect and take you seriously if you look professional. Shop online to save time and money. Invest in good shoes. Sephora is my go-to makeup store.

 

NAPW: At the culmination of your career, what would you look back on as your biggest achievement?

Johnson: Helping other people reach their goals!

 

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NL-Carol-Moening-vipCarol Moening

Company:
Western Digital Corporation /
Mary Kay Cosmetics /
KXM Properties /
Breast Cancer Solutions (BCS)
Industry:
Storage / Cosmetics /
Real Estate / Nonprofit
Title: Integration and PLM Business Analyst /
Ambassador / Volunteer
Location: Lake Forest, CA

 

NAPW: What do you want members to know about you?

Moening: I’m a passionate, powerful, confident leader. I am also an out-of-the-box thinker. I have tenacity – I will go up and around if I can’t go straight to complete my goal. My motto is to give 110%, no matter what.

 

NAPW: Did you ever face a glass ceiling with your career choice and what did you do about it?

Moening: I’ve encountered the glass ceiling several times within the corporate world, the first time while I worked as a mechanical designer for a German lighting company in New York. I changed my professional attire “down” to pants and got the respect of the other designers; however, I still made a lot less than my male counterparts. I also came across the glass ceiling while with another previous company. I was overlooked for conferences, trainings and promotions. I learned to give value-add above what my coworkers did and when that didn’t work, I found another company that valued my vision, passion and work ethic. In Mary Kay, the only glass ceiling is my own fear.

 

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

Moening: Western Digital is a good fit for me because my value is recognized. I was promoted to Manager with a pay raise after just eight months. The company gave me the training I needed to be a good leader who coaches, guides and sets expectations, rather than just managing. Being a Consultant with Mary Kay gives me the flexibility to work around my busy schedule. I relate to the moral and ethical values of Mary Kay as a company. KXM Properties, a private real estate investing company, is a good fit as I can support it using my strengths as a Networker to help my husband and daughter build their team of lawyers, contractors, realtors, underwriters and private investors. BCS fills my need to give back. I focus on BCS because my aunt died from breast cancer and at that time, there was no support. I love the work and assistance that BSC gives women with breast cancer. The company gives emotional, physical (buying groceries, help with paperwork, etc.) and monetary (pay for medications or insurance payments) support. BCS is supporting women to give them peace of mind while they go through treatment.

 

NAPW: How do you network?

Moening: Whenever I network, I go with a purpose and plan to meet at least three people I can relate to. It’s not what you know but who you know. I target several networking groups including my local NAPW chapter meeting and other business-oriented meet-up groups. When I attend a meeting, I am friendly and not afraid to talk to a stranger. I find out what a person does plus something personal that I can relate to with this person. Then I’ll contact after the meeting, suggesting we meet for coffee to see how we can help one another.

 

NAPW: Describe your methods of managing a heavy workload.

Moening: I compose a list of tasks or activities I need to accomplish the next day. Then I prioritize the top six.

 

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NL-Rhonda-Murray-vip
Rhonda Murray

Company: Valley Health System
Industry:
Medical
Title:
Manager, Managed Care
Location: Las Vegas, NV

 

NAPW: Describe the best boss and the worst boss you have ever had.

Murray: The best boss I ever had was one who encouraged me and pushed me to continue my education. She was more of a mentor than a boss. She challenged me to think outside the box. She taught me to be comfortable and confident in my knowledge. The worst boss was one who did not foster a team atmosphere and created a hostile environment amongst her subordinates.

 

NAPW: What is your dream job?

Murray: I have two. The first would be to earn the position of COO in an acute hospital setting where I would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hospital and the second is to open a center for young women, teaching them life skills for personal empowerment and fostering an atmosphere where they can uplift one another.

 

NAPW: Describe two or three major trends in your industry or profession today.

Murray: The trend in healthcare today is movement towards bundled payments, value-based reimbursement and integrated, collaborated patient-centered care. With CMS driving the charge and changing the way healthcare is funded, the industry is moving from a pay-as-you-go fee for service reimbursement system to value-based and bundled reimbursement. A challenge under the value-based P4P implementation is the lack of technology or infrastructure required to measure, analyze the capture data for accurate output and interpretation. Integrated collaborated patient center care is a new model of care that provides higher quality, coordinated care through physician collaboration between primary care physicians and specialty physicians, increasing communication and establishing collective, evidence-based clinical guidelines and measuring quality outcomes centered around the individual patient.

 

NAPW: What kinds of people do you work with best

Murray: I work best with people who are doers and take initiative to get the job done.

 

NAPW: How do you handle a chaotic work situation?

Murray: I think I actually thrive in a more chaotic work environment. It gives me an adrenaline rush! I get easily bored with the mundane, same-thing-everyday routine.

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NL-Janet-Lesley-Powers-vip

 Janet Lesley Powers

Company: Studio Poseidon International
Industry: Life / Leadership Coaching
Title:
Transformational Leadership Coach /
Art of Self Inquiry Practitioner
Location: Rockville, MD

 

NAPW: Did you have a mentor who guided you on your career path? Would you have had the success you have now without them?

Powers: I had a mentor in the workplace some time ago, when I was struggling to ‘find myself’ and feeling down about my work and my personal life. I recall complaining to him: “There must be more to life than this!” He directed me to a self-empowerment course. My life would have been very different without that turning point.

 

NAPW: Name three characteristics you feel all successful people share?

Powers: Truly successful people know themselves well. They know their values which serve as their personal compass. Knowing their values makes it easier for them to believe in themselves, to have integrity and to follow their own inspiration with confidence. The most successful leaders can see potential. For example, they envision new ideas or better ways for an organization to operate, and then act on those ideas with conviction. If they are exceptionally smart, successful people also value and respect their employees and aim to bring out the best in them too, which ensures support for that leader as well as an energized creative environment. That attitude multiplies everyone’s successes, including the success of the organization.

 

NAPW: What techniques do you use to handle difficult employees?

Powers: I’m working for myself now, but I previously led a team in global nonprofit. First, it’s important to understand that we can’t actually control people, but we can inspire and motivate them. I used to teach Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to colleagues in leadership workshops. Habit 5 is “Seek First to Understand, then to be understood.” This habit prevents us from making assumptions that could be incorrect. The employee will feel seen as well as heard and will then be ready to hear us, to receive feedback and have an authentic conversation. I advise this practice to my executive clients. It can open up new possibilities in any relationship.

 

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

Powers: I’ve always worked with wide networks, sometimes spanning the globe. However, I immigrated to the United States last year to marry my partner. Now I’m building a new life and expanding my Leadership Coaching business here. I’m very pleased to be making new connections with the members of NAPW.

 

NAPW: How do you manage stress?

Powers: I find that meditation is a simple yet profound practice that I can do anywhere, even when traveling on a train or a plane. I learned Transcendental Meditation, I like to practice yoga and take a brisk walk outdoors at least a couple of times a week. In my mind, having stress means that I have an inner conflict going on; for example, avoiding interactions with someone I don’t like, or taking a career path that doesn’t suit me. Fortunately, my partner and I developed a practice called The Art of Self Inquiry, which enables a person to dig deep, find new clarity and release those internal resistances that cause the stress. I’ve never felt as free from stress as I do now.

 

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NL-Sarah-Tar-vip
Sarah Tar

Company:
South Florida Ice Skating Star, LLC
Industry:
Private / Group
Ice Skating Instruction
Title: Owner / Professional Ice Skating
Instructor
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL

 

NAPW: Describe the ways you stay healthy at work.

Tar: I stay healthy at work by planning and taking vacations to avoid burning out. I also strive to maintain a positive attitude regardless of the daily challenges. I would also like to reincorporate working out three times per week in my weekly schedule.

 

NAPW: Do you equate career success with financial success? How do you separate the two?

Tar: No. I equate career success with setting long-term and short-term goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve those goals. Financial success typically follows as short- and long-term goals are attained. Financial success without career success is not as rewarding. A person can have one without the other but it is not as personally satisfying.

 

NAPW: How do you prepare for an important work event? (presentations, networking events, conferences, etc.)

Tar: I prepare my students for competitions, shows and tests sessions. Each year, my students who desire to compete are placed in the respective levels. We select, cut and choreograph the program with the required elements. Once choreographed, in every lesson up to the competition, we do multiple run-throughs of the program with and without the music. For test sessions, we work on all the elements and moves in their respective level that they will be tested on every lesson, especially leading up to the test session date. In terms of shows, we choreograph the selected music and work on the program for many months leading up to the scheduled show date.

 

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

Tar: I find seeing my students excel in skating most rewarding. I’m proud that I gave them the tools to assist in their mastery of jumps, spins, doing well at competitions and passing their tests. It is my students’ sense of accomplishment and love for the sport of ice skating that makes this job completely worthwhile.

 

NAPW: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Tar: One of my proudest accomplishments was passing my Senior Moves in the Field and Freestyle tests, and thereby becoming recognized by the United States Figure Skating Association as a Gold Level Skater. Another one of my proudest accomplishments was passing the Florida Bar exam and being admitted into the Florida Bar Association.

 

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 Stephanie Barnes Taylor

Company: The Fruition Group, LLC
Industry:
Coaching
Title: Leadership Coach
Location: Huntsville, AL

 

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

Taylor: I lead from where I am! I don’t have to be in the “head” position to be a leader. I use my influence, skills and knowledge to help the group to achieve its shared vision. I am a strategist by design, so I am always focused on coming up with a plan and encouraging others to take action to move the plan forward.

 

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

Taylor: Most of my career was spent in the legal field, both as an attorney practicing in a law firm and as a healthcare executive. I was often one of a few or the only woman in the room. For a young woman operating in a male-dominated environment, I challenge her to be her best and not allow her leadership potential to be diminished. I encourage her to be confident in her abilities, speak up for herself and be an active participant in dialogue as well as an advocate for her position and the shared vision of the team. The most important thing for her to remember is that she is a leader first. Leadership is not gender specific. Rather than focus on being a great woman leader, I encourage her to be a great woman who leads!

 

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

Taylor: For most of my career at my former company, there were few women in leadership positions. In addition to mentoring and coaching my direct reports for leadership positions, I created a leadership program in order to produce more female leaders. I formed the program on my own time and in addition to my duties as a health care executive and general counsel. I decided to be a part of the solution rather than merely lamenting the problem. The process taught me the power of being an advocate for others and using my influence and skills to create opportunity for others.

 

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

Taylor: My biggest obstacle was also my biggest opportunity. I transitioned from being a full-time executive to owning my own company. In the middle of this transition, I moved my family to another state for my husband’s new job while completing my doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership. This gargantuan task strengthened my project management skills and resilience!

 

NAPW: Have you ever had a great idea yet were told you could not implement it? How did you react?

Taylor: I view my life and career from a success mentality. Rather than focusing on why I cannot implement a task, I focus on how I can and I devote my energy to creating momentum in that space. I also analyze the challenges that present obstacles or impediments and look for solutions. Relationships are key to individual success, so I spend time building key alliances where I add value to others and, in turn, receive value, knowledge and experience.

 

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