February 2015 Member Spotlight

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Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a monthly column that lets members highlight their careers and businesses. This month, we feature 20 accomplished women, so be sure to check out each of their profiles. Now, for easy networking within your field or area of interest, we are featuring new industry categorization. VIP, Elite and Preferred Members: To be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter, contact us at featuredwomen@napw.com.

Finance / Business / Law / Consulting


Chloe_Valverde Bradley

Chloe Valverde Bradley

Company: BNP Paribas Cardif
Industry:
Insurance / Finance
Title:
Global Accounts Manager
Location: New York, NY


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

Bradley: Getting organized helps me handle stress, which I find motivating. I enjoy working under pressure.

 

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

Bradley: LinkedIn.

 

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

Bradley: My ability to lead projects involving different departments and partners and my sense of negotiation and empathy.

 

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

Bradley: My oral communication skills. As I am French, they are not as fluid as I would like them to be; so, I practice a lot and read.

 

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

Bradley: I keep in touch through emails.

 

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Brenda S. Studebaker

Brenda S. Studebaker

Company:
Studebaker Paralegal
Services, LLC
Industry:
Legal Support Staff,
Litigation Paralegal / Clerk,
Litigation Software Support,
Virtual Paralegal
Title: Sr. Litigation Paralegal
Location: Gilbert, AZ


NAPW
:
Describe a time when setting aside personal time from work was the healthiest choice for you.

Studebaker: When I realized that time management is more important than work. We can get tied up and sidetracked by doing just one more thing. I absolutely enjoy my career and decided to start my own paralegal business. When doing so, I felt that I still needed to work all the time and would take calls at all hours of the day and night. Then one day, it just clicked; it is not always about how many hours you work in a day, but about time management. How well do you manage your time?

 

NAPW: Do you believe in mixing business with pleasure?

Studebaker: I do not. Things can get messy. With that said, there are, in my opinion, exceptions to the rule as there will be times you need to walk a fine line between business and pleasure for various reasons.

 

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

Studebaker: Yes, in careers, families, volunteering and in many other ways. I am always on the go, and if I take a day off, I am questioned about it by colleagues, other moms, friends and even family members who are wondering why I am not being the super-duper, busy, on-the-go woman. It makes me feel guilty to take any time off.

 

NAPW: Describe the ways you stay healthy at work.

Studebaker: Having my own business has really become a way to stay healthy. I am no longer in rush-hour traffic for over an hour each way, my stress level has decreased and I sleep more because I’m not always racing to the next appointment. I start work later at 9 am instead of the wee hours of the morning and get off earlier (although at times, I am still working late), but my work productivity has increased. I added two-and-a-half hours of additional work time instead of drive time. I find myself setting reminders on my phone to get up, walk around and take a break from my computer. I make checking my mail part of my daily schedule, so I grab my Boxer and we walk to the mailbox. My daily stress level at the office was pretty high and that has drastically decreased enough where my doctor noticed it during my annual checkup.

 

NAPW: In spite of your work schedule, which recreational activities do you always take part in?

Studebaker: I belong to a boot camp for exercising and always take part in jazzercise, Zumba, scrapbooking, making wreaths, creating homemade greeting cards for all occasions and spending time with my kids, never missing their extracurricular activities. I now enjoy time with my girlfriend, Diane T., and my children, who are much happier.

 

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Gwyneth-A-Gittings

Gwyneth A. Gittings

Company: American Express
Industry:
Finance: Banking /
Credit Services
Title: VP – AXP And
Global Segment Reporting

Location:
Scottsdale, AZ


NAPW
: What advice would you give someone who wants to move from just a business card to someone well respected in their field?

Gittings: Different fields will, of course, have different technical competencies. Mastering them in the early days is necessary for long-term success. As you progress in your field, it becomes more about getting things done through others than what you can actually do yourself. I have 100 employees, and no level of skill would enable me to deliver on our service myself. What becomes critical is building relationships, influencing people within and beyond your direct leadership and developing a transformational mindset and strong communication skills.

 

NAPW: How do you keep your skills sharp during a personal hiatus?

Gittings: The only personal time I have taken from my career was after the birth of my two sons. During that time, I found it important to really focus on why I took the time off and not stress over what I was missing at work. The trick for me was that once I made the commitment to return, I did so wholeheartedly and accepted that there would be a catch-up period. Luckily, nothing in my field or company changed rapidly, so to quickly come back up to speed was easy.

 

NAPW: How do you transition back into work mode after a hiatus?

Gittings: For me, jumping back in with both feet is the only thing that works. I am lucky enough to be able to separate my responsibilities at work from my responsibilities as a mother and wife. And for me, staying present where you are is important — at work, I work and at home, I try not to!

 

NAPW: Describe the challenges of moving up in a male-dominated industry.

Gittings: The finance profession can be male dominated, but I am lucky to work for a company that values diversity and supports the career growth of women.

I do think women have different things to offer, and part of being successful involves understanding what you bring to the table and developing a confidence around that and not trying to be something you’re not. We sometimes refer to that behavior as ‘checking your gender at the door.’

I have made a personal choice to not push for upward movement, largely due to the level of commitment I wanted to make to my family rather than any limited opportunity in the office.

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

Gittings: My team is part of an internal shared service function, so I do not really solicit or need to build a customer base in the same sense as many people. With that said, we run our organization as if our internal customers have a choice. Our service framework starts with understanding our services and moves through identifying our customers and then understanding their needs. American Express is an extremely relationship-based company, and so regular updates and touch points with customers help us identify shared areas of opportunity and things we can work on together to maximize the value my team brings to the overall organization.

 

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Michele-Etzel

Michele Etzel

Company:
National Graphics, Inc.
Industry:
Direct Mail Printing –
Manufacturing /
Finance / Consulting
Title: Owner / CFO /
Sr. Vice President
Location: North Branford, CT

 

NAPW: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Etzel: I would tell my younger self to be confident and believe in yourself. Do not listen to the outside noise and continue to stay the course — it will pay off in the long run! Also, do not be afraid to fail and take some calculated risks. Try something new and go out on a limb. Lastly, I would say to go gently and not take things personally. As women, we have a tendency to take things personally and be very tough on ourselves. This mellows as we get older and wiser, and would be wonderful information to give to anyone’s younger self.

 

NAPW: Describe yourself in three words.

Etzel:

  • Positive — I am a can-do person. I believe that where there is a will, there is a way. It is just a matter of helping others see that things can work.
  • Empathetic — I have always had the gift of seeing things through the eyes of others. I did not realize this gift until later on; and once I realized it and trusted it, I took the time to pay attention and nurture it. It is helpful when meeting others and negotiating.
  • Persistent — I have always believed that persistence is one of the strongest assets any good professional can have. We all have ups and downs, but the person that keeps moving and keeps trying always wins in the end. Don’t ever give up!

 

NAPW: Who is your role model and inspiration?

Etzel: Wow, this is a tough one as my inspiration comes from many areas. My children and their generation inspire me every day to be a better person, leader and professional, to give them a better life and to leave the world in a better place. They are a remarkable group, and their knowledge inspires me to stay curious and to learn and grow. My husband inspires me as he has always been a big support and source of encouragement. He provides great balance in our relationship and in my life. I am inspired by many women who have mentored me, taken the path less traveled and are still successful in their lives and careers. These women took the time to quietly lead and looked for no accolades in return.

 

NAPW: What is your profession? Why did you choose it?

Etzel: By trade, I am a financial and accounting professional; however, for me, it is much more. I have used this as a base for my leadership. My financial base and understanding of numbers give me an advantage when leading my company and team and while overseeing products or new ventures. Due to this background, I have the unique gift of seeing dollars and cents in every action and decision; and that is why I chose this profession.

 

NAPW: What or who led you to your career path?

Etzel: I was fortunate enough to have had some mentors (men and women) in various professions along the way who took the time to guide me. Each mentor contributed in their own special way; and it has been the culmination of all this knowledge that has helped me guide my own path.

 

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Rosalyn A Wright

Rosalyn A. Wright

Company: The “Wright” Choice in
Proposal Development
Industry:
Consulting Services
Title: Proposal Specialist
Location: Ashburn, VA

 

NAPW: When do you feel it’s a good time to quit a failing endeavor to start anew?

Wright: Every failure is an opportunity to learn from my mistakes. Quitting is not an option for me. As an Independent Consultant at The “Wright” Choice in Proposal Development, I am able to incorporate lessons learned from past mistakes and failures.

 

NAPW: How do you maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity?

Wright: I take one step at a time. Life is full of personal and professional challenges, which, at times, become overwhelming when you’re out of balance. I remind myself that I am not perfect and mistakes will happen; but learning from them, being humble and moving on, builds character and integrity.

 

NAPW: Over the course of your career, do you feel anyone has purposely held you back? What did you do to maintain your career path?

Wright: At one point in my career, I worked for a manager who didn’t value my experience. He viewed me as an administrator and did not assign me challenging projects. I was overlooked for promotions, and my self-confidence began to suffer. I knew it was time to move on to somewhere I could be appreciated for my skills, education and past experience and treated equally as a productive member of the team. I’ve learned that others’ negative opinions of me do not define who I am.

 

NAPW: Tell us about a woman in your business life who has influenced you most.

Wright: While working at Raytheon, I was hired by a woman who was very supportive and encouraging. Her vote of confidence in my abilities continues to influence me.

 

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

Wright: Although I don’t have a personal mentor, I learn from the background and experience of my family, coworkers and friends, which significantly contribute to my professional and personal growth.

 

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Maria D Alejandro

Maria D. Alejandro

Company: Procter & Gamble
Industry:
Business Management /
Operations / B. Intelligence
Title: Global Business Intelligence
Services Section Manager
Location: Cincinnati, OH

 

NAPW: Describe a career setback that you have learned the most from.

Alejandro: Making a career choice can be an executive woman’s most important decision. Women preparing for a career often encounter perplexing issues further complicated by familial and societal expectations. When decision making becomes overwhelming, we need to transcend the sphere of complexities and outer influences, and hear our own inner voice.

In my personal experience, I’ve had the courage and mental maturity to make two very challenging decisions. The first decision was moving to a new country to accept an assignment. Having been married nearly a year, this implied that my husband would resign his job to follow my professional dreams and career aspirations. It also meant taking the risk of being far away from my family, friends, country and everything I loved (we moved from Venezuela to Panama). Almost six years after the move and a successful professional and personal experience there, I was invited to do a special business assignment in the US. This time, it meant an even greater challenge — splitting up my family for six months.

I learned a lot from both experiences, and there were two factors that helped me make the right choice. The first was developing intuition and foresight. By visualization boards, meditation techniques, creativity and intelligence, a woman gains steadiness and certainty in herself. The ability to know the truth and spontaneously follow our instincts develops as accumulated stress is released from the nervous system and higher consciousness grows. With so much emphasis placed on achieving status and success in our careers, we often overlook that happiness, stability and compassion are just as important. I encourage women to think about their career and life choices with a 360° view. It is about who you are, who you want to be and, most importantly, what your priorities are in life. Create a mental map and a clear visualization board that helps you connect the dots and achieve happiness.

The second factor was strengthening character and clarity. Whether we are looking to find purpose in life’s ever-changing circumstances or we are seeking a clear purpose to dedicate our lives to, having an enlightened consciousness wakes up our inner compass and sense of direction.

Enlightened women of all ages exemplify the strength of feminine power in diverse roles, such as spiritual leaders, mothers, business professionals, scientists, teachers, artists, etc. Though their careers differ, they commonly exemplify their unconditional love, unwavering dedication to their goals, their ability to unite and nourish, and their keen intellect and creativity. Follow your dreams and what you pictured in your visualization board; and promise yourself that you will never regret it or give up.

 

NAPW: Share your job search tips with fellow members.

Alejandro: When you are looking for the perfect job, find what matters most to you first. Consider your career, where you are in life and what your priorities are. These can be simple activities, but before you initiate the search, determine:

  • Where you want to be in five years, professionally and personally.
  • What makes you happy.
  • How you will achieve work-life balance.
  • What your support system and boundaries are.

When you are clear on the four areas above, you are ready to start leveraging all the fantastic resources you can find at NAPW, such as Member Spotlight, the Career Center, connecting with other professional women, the NAPW Community Wall and Member Marketplace, among others. The tools are unlimited; be prepared to get the maximum outcome from this experience.

 

NAPW: What is the top resource NAPW provides that has most benefited your career?

Alejandro: I found a broad set of tools that helps me as a professional woman, including webinars, national seminars and trainings, certification programs, the Business Resource Center, Local Chapters and the Community Wall. These simple, yet super powerful tools help you improve your skills, stay connected and learn from a community of talented, professional women.

 

NAPW: In what ways has working internationally enhanced you professionally and personally?

Alejandro: Being a Latin American Executive, it is always difficult to work in a multicultural / global environment. It requires developing contextual intelligence to navigate across levels, cultures, functions and leadership styles. Having an international professional network is priceless to quickly learn all the obstacles you might face when you take an international / global career assignment. There is no recipe to be versatile, adaptive and ready for all those obstacles, e.g., VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity); however, the simplest, most effective way is to take advantage of networks, mentorship programs and Lean-In Circles. Be open to learning. Keep your mind cold, your heart warm and your body agile to be responsive, competitive and effective.

 

NAPW: How do you handle misperceptions by others about yourself?

Alejandro: I focus on creating my personal equity. As humans, we all have strengths and opportunities, and the best thing you can do is to use those strengths to your competitive advantage. I devote many hours to planning how I will succeed in my work, in my projects and in life; but I always use my strong points first. And, of course, I keep an open / candid attitude toward my opportunities to guarantee that they are improved over time. The four keywords you need to build your personal equity are focus, passion, determination and attitude.

 

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Retail / E-Commerce


Emma Heffernan

Emma Heffernan

Company: Miami Bikini Shop
Industry:
Fashion
Title:
CEO
Location: Golden Beach, FL

 

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

Heffernan: I always strive to achieve my goals. Good times and bad times should never get in the way.

 

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

Heffernan: I eat raw, organic food, practice yoga and go to the beach.

 

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

Heffernan: Success can be a greater distraction than failure. Dealing with success is a challenge; the key is to always remain who you are.

 

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

Heffernan: Networking is great. My approach is honesty. If you tell people exactly who and what you are, you will be surprised how many people will help.

 

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

Heffernan: Bring your best to work every day regardless of any personal issues. Introduce raw, organic food into the office kitchen, discourage negativity and gossip and talk about your teammates’ successes on a personal and business level.

 

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Catherine_Griffiths_Scholze

Catherine Griffiths Scholze

Company: CG Garment Designs LLC
Industry:
Apparel
Title: President &
Creative Director
Location: Colchester, VT

 

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

Scholze: Young women entering the tech industry will face two major challenges. The first challenge is that the industry is male dominated at all levels, and she’ll have to learn to navigate that. She won’t necessarily have access to female mentors, but she will meet a lot of men along the way that want to help talented people. Personally, I do not see this as a major concern, but women entering tech need to understand this. Fortunately, tech is fairly culturally diverse and anyone can rise through technical prowess and strong communication skills. Her other great challenge will be to remain technically relevant throughout her career, regardless of the path she chooses. Her best approach is to invite this as an opportunity to continually learn new skills.

 

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

Scholze: When I transitioned from technical marketing to business development, I had to transform my image from an Engineer to a Business Manager. I had to learn how to present to C-level executives and look and act the part — appearance, presentation skills and communication style were all areas that I had to upgrade. I was fortunate to have a strong mentor to help with how to present and communicate with executives, and I hired a wardrobe consultant to help with the rest. It made all the difference in how I was perceived and opened doors to new opportunities because I was no longer pigeon-holed as just a Technologist.

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

Scholze: Perseverance and hard work are givens. Without either, you simply won’t survive in any company; but they are not enough to grow. Add good verbal and written communication skills (which you must always adapt and polish as you grow), open-mindedness to opportunities and critiques and political savvy. I don’t mean you should become a master politician, but you must understand and respect how your company works as an organization and learn how to work within that structure. Also, consider appearance and communication style — don’t blend, but also, do not offend. And if the men in your company wear a suit to work, you better as well.

 

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

Scholze: PR and marketing are by far the most demanding areas on my business budget. I do a lot of cold calling and work through my network myself, and I use hired PR resources as wisely as possible. I have been blessed with many opportunities to learn how to use a lot of different marketing tools throughout my career and can apply all of them now, including business planning, writing, branding, developing, executing sales strategy, etc. That means I can save the dollars I would have spent hiring help in these areas for other things like advertising and new clothing designs.

 

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

Scholze: Don’t be afraid to market yourself. You believe in your product and you know others need your product, so tell them about it. That is all marketing really is. Your customers will be glad you connected with them. Your marketing plan enables that connection.

 

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Sarah Michelle Collette

Sarah Michelle Collette

Company: Sarah’s Skinny Sweets INC.
Industry:
Food Service / Restaurant
Title: Owner / CEO
Location: Newbury Park, CA

 

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

Collette: I breathe and focus inside to calm and redirect myself. I go to a picture from a hike I took up in Tromsø, Norway. I focus on the serenity and the feelings I experienced in that moment and transport myself there mentally. It quickly gets me to the place I need to be to think clearly and make the right decisions. If I’m driving, I go to my audio book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, and listen to the “10 Scrolls” portion to reassess the situation with calmness and clarity. Or, I’ll sing out loud to Katy Perry.

 

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

Collette: I am conscious about everything I eat. I used to snack thoughtlessly while driving. Now, I read every label and follow the motto, “Products with the longest shelf life will give you the shortest life.” I drink plenty of water AND follow a primarily Paleo diet. I listen to my body, rest when I need to and get outdoors as much as I can. I am horrible at going to the gym.

 

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

Collette: Yes, 100%! Life should not be about success. I don’t want to be the richest person in the world forsaking everything else to be a lonely Mr. Scrooge. To me, success and failure are just about equal. Both drive and motivate you to persist IF you have the passion to follow your dream, but neither sustain you. Feelings of gratitude and love that stem from changing people’s perspectives and lives through my company’s mission are what define me. Success and failure can appear and disappear in a moment, but feelings of gratitude and love are forever.

 

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

Collette: I found networking to be extremely important for my development and growth. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was, “Find someone two years ahead of you and ask for advice.” I have learned, grown and paid it forward with the network of entrepreneurs and mentors I have cultivated since the conception of my business. This is a priceless asset in the success of my development.

 

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

Collette: Leaders need to be accessible and real. I have always admired CEOs and leaders who work in the trenches, share the wealth and joy of victories and foster an environment where employees are driven by the same passion and vision as the person at the helm.

I also believe in having a clear vision of your business’ “why” — not just “what” you do, but “why” you do it. If this is clear to employees, a unified vision is created. TEDTalks’ How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek explains this principal perfectly.

 

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Healthcare: Dentistry

Francesca E. Pregano

Francesca E. Pregano

Company: Dr. Kallas Dental Center
Industry:
Healthcare: Dentistry
Title: General Manager
Location: Vienna, VA

 

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

Pregano: To stay organized, I primarily use Google Calendar. I manage many different projects and do a lot of training, so it is important for me to make my own internal deadlines. I look at my calendar every morning before leaving for work to better prepare for any and all interruptions throughout the day, and there are many. I find it best to tackle the largest, most time-consuming tasks first.

 

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

Pregano: About a year-and-a-half ago, our company brought a management team on board to help implement 20 systems ranging from customer service to office overhead, clinical philosophies, etc. My role changed from being accountable for all daily functions of the office to overseeing operations and ensuring proper training. I was still accountable, but this time it was for the employees’ performance. This change was challenging, but I learned a lot about my leadership style and emotional intelligence.

 

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

Pregano: Deciding to go back to school was a major obstacle for me. I was managing over 20 employees and 14 doctors at two dental locations, so it was hard for me to convince myself that I had the time. I am now 12 months into the MBA program at Kaplan University and am very relieved I started when I did. It has been a very rewarding experience, thus far, and has opened my mind to many different aspects of business.

 

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

Pregano: I believe that all people have good intentions, and if they have a positive attitude and strong work ethic, they can learn and accomplish their responsibilities at work. I like to keep everyone moving forward by presenting them with new ideas and additional training. I send a weekly newsletter to the team, which includes an article focused on leadership, employee culture, customer service, dentistry, etc. The topics change weekly and the team enjoys reading about them. The newsletter has played a major role in the culture of the office.

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

Pregano: First and most importantly, I would meet with the marketing managers to determine what the market changes were. In analyzing the target demographics, the organization would be able to come up with a brand extension that would reach the new needs / desires of that market. Product X may still have interested consumers, but we may need to focus on multiple and new markets.

 

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Marketing

Laurie-Pomerson

Laurie Pomerson

Company: Pomerson RoadMarketing
Industry:
Performing Arts
Title: Principal
Location: Washington, DC

 

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

Pomerson: I have spent over 25 years working in various capacities of the touring Broadway industry. I began selling tickets before computerized ticketing was available. I spent my former years in Columbus, OH, where I presented nearly 20 seasons of a Broadway series in the beautiful Ohio and Palace Theatres. I grew a loyal audience from less than 3000 annually to nearly two million. I worked within the local arts community to collaborate on regional projects and develop fundraisers for the HIV / AIDS community. I chaired the Columbus Arts Marketing Council for three years, marketing being the focus of my practice on Broadway. Through this council, we were able to bring a heightened awareness to the vibrant arts scene in Ohio’s capital. I also worked with the Greater Columbus Arts Council to create educational opportunities, bringing local students together with touring Broadway actors and, ultimately, into the theatre to see live performances. In 2004, I moved to Washington, DC, where I became the National Director of Strategic Marketing for Broadway Across America, the largest promoter of touring Broadway. In that capacity, I specialized in long-term planning and brand clarity for the organization. I also specialized in the marketing of the “blockbuster” musicals, such as Wicked and Disney’s The Lion King. In 2011, I decided to turn my skills toward a local leading theatre in Washington, DC — the Tony Award-winning theatre, Signature Theatre. During that time, I became more familiar with the theatre landscape in DC. After two years, I left to create my own consulting business for both local and Broadway theatre. Currently, I am working on a project for Broadway Near You, which is a startup company dedicated to bringing live Broadway performances to the cinematic screen in North America and the UK. With my help, we will forge relationships with presenters of live theatre to make stage productions readily available and affordable for all.

NAPW: What can you do for your NAPW community?

Pomerson: I can bring my marketing expertise and my keen ability to build relationships and create successful ventures between businesses of all types. I can offer my knowledge of the entertainment industry, which is a very specialized business. I have learned how to apply traditional business functions to a not-so-typical endeavor. I also have experience in event management and can offer my services to members or Local Chapters.

 

NAPW: How do you use social media to promote your career or business?

Pomerson: I have my own website and keep my LinkedIn profile up-to-date. I have been contacted by clients through LinkedIn — so it works! I often tack webinars to keep up on the changing landscape of SM marketing and networking.

 

NAPW: Describe your typical day.

Pomerson: My mornings are filled with coffee and reading local news, specifically theatrical and Broadway trades. I check in with my clients on a daily basis to see what their hot buttons are for the day. I spend most of my day at my desk doing research for current clients and seeking new ones. I often meet with local DC theatre leaders to learn their needs and to see if there is a way I can fulfill a role in their community.

 

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

Pomerson: I really haven’t. The theatre business is all-inclusive of everyone in every capacity from Producer to Press Agent, General Manager, Booking Agent, Promoter, Venue Owner, etc. I’m lucky that way.

 

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Information Technology


Anna-Grinshpun

Anna Grinshpun

Company: Corptax
Industry:
Information
Technology
Title:
Senior Database
Administrator
Location: Buffalo Grove, IL

 

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

Grinshpun: Corptax is a software company with cutting-edge technology and tools with a great team of highly professional people. The flexible work environment lets me keep a balance between work and home.

 

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

Grinshpun: I work on multiple projects at the same time as a project leader or the subject-matter expert. I recommend and implement decisions in critical situations and define high-level, enterprise-wide architecture focusing on the mapping of IT capabilities to business needs.

 

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

Grinshpun: I enjoy seeing my work efforts turn into results. I implemented a new version of software and consolidated multiple instances into one to help the company save money. I also automated some procedures to reduce the manual work of certain teams.

 

NAPW: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Grinshpun: Becoming the Data Architect at Career Education Corporation after being in the information technology industry for just five years.

 

NAPW: How do you find balance in your life?

Grinshpun:

  • Prioritizing my work assignments and leisure activities.
  • Multitasking when possible.
  • Planning vacations when I feel the need to refresh myself.
  • Going to the gym and exercising.
  • Spending time with family and friends.
  • Socializing and meeting new people by going to business and social events.

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Writing / Media

Amy S Barger

Amy S. Barger

Company: Piqua Daily Call
Industry:
Journalism
Title:
Multimedia Reporter
Location: Greenville, OH

 

NAPW: Do you feel that society’s viewpoints of women have hindered or helped you?

Barger: I believe society’s viewpoints have helped me because they motivate me to be one more woman who chooses a path toward success. It is so rewarding to say that I did it because I believed in myself and took the necessary steps to do so. I would be happy knowing I influenced one more woman to believe in herself.

 

NAPW: Have you ever felt your integrity would be compromised while making a business decision? How did you handle it?

Barger: I will never compromise my integrity. I have proven that being true to myself gets me anywhere I want to be. I would say that is the biggest part of who I am. Any business where your integrity is compromised is not good business.

 

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

Barger: Compassion for others, creative problem solving and effective networking skills.

 

NAPW: Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” Do you believe this? Why?

Barger: I believe this strongly. Nelson Mandela is a prime example (and a role model to me as well). Even as he served a majority of his life in prison for the sake of equality and civil righteousness, he kept his vision of a new South Africa strong for the sake of the people he loved. You could say that hope was almost lost, but he came out as a President. That true story is an inspiration to me whenever I doubt myself. I have doubted myself in times where personal growth was needed, and when I look back, I am so appreciative that I went through those situations. Growth seems to happen when you feel the most uncomfortable and unsure. When a forest is burned down, it grows back stronger.

 

NAPW: Steve Jobs said, “I want to put a ding in the world?” What ding will you make?

Barger: I will teach others to reach a deeper sense of compassion toward others and the world at a level they do not know exists and how this compassion is vital to our survival and quality of life. I want to grow in a career that revolves around creating closer communities and a closer world, even if it is a small ding — the smallest ding can travel far. It’s getting many to hear it.

 

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Barbara-Garro

Barbara Garro

Company: Electric Envisions, Inc.
Industry:
Arts: Fine Arts /
Literary / Poetry
Title:
President &
Chief Creativity Coach
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY


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

Garro: I never, ever compromised in any way. My boss was once fired by the Board of Directors the day he returned from open heart surgery. During his recovery, there was a coup by his arch rival, who was passed over when my boss was elected President. He asked me to work for him exclusively. I was also Shareholder Relations Manager, Assistant Credit Manager and Insurance Administrator. When I told him I would only stay if I could be the Insurance Administrator, he fired me. I could not work for him. With two girls to care for with no child support, I was out of a job, and he did everything he could to keep me from getting another job. My response was to become a Freelance Writer; and within my first year of freelancing, I bought myself a new car in cash. With training in business taxes at H&R Block, I also landed a part-time job as a Tax Analyst for a corporation with international subsidiaries.

 

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

Garro: Entrepreneurs run in my family. We are self-starters and go-getters and like to run our own shows. That being said, there was a catalyst. I had a debilitating accident that left me unable to continue as Vice President running a risk and insurance subsidiary of an international accounting firm. With years of recovery before me, I had lots of time lying down and looking up at the ceiling asking God what He wanted me to do next. So, I became the Chief Creativity Coach of Electric Envisions, Inc., helping people grow lives they love living.

 

NAPW: It’s been said that when one door closes, another opens. How true is this for your business life?

Garro: As someone who has the credentials for nine careers and counting, I believe I have run a path and built the doors with study and hard work to obtain credible credentials when I pursued a new career. Right now, my newest career goal is to have my own Christian talk show on EWTN or another religious radio station. So far, I have had one opportunity on the local EWTN station and a promise to have a discussion soon about a monthly talk show.

 

NAPW: How do you network?

Garro: I am on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and joined, after much research, the National Association of Professional Women. I also attend monthly inter-faith prayer breakfasts and Christian women’s group events. I have run the Saratoga Poetry & Song Focus Group for over 20 years and attend author events at Northshire Bookstore in my city as well as religion and poetry classes at Skidmore College and take advantage of arts and cultural events there. I belong to Saratoga Arts, the CPCU Society as a lifetime member, the American Watercolor Society and am an active volunteer at Caffe Lena, Mary’s Haven and St. Clement’s Roman Catholic Church. Last November, I attended a large annual book fair in a neighboring city to sell my five books and CDs. In addition, I keep the press abreast of my activities and have, literally, tons of press clips in books and pasted on poster boards, including feature articles about my work over 30 years. In addition, I have taught workshops for over 30 years, including up to five workshops in the spring and fall at continuing education sessions at a local high school. I also taught at the annual Remember the Magic Summer Conference of the International Women’s Writing Guild when it met at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY for over 20 years until it moved to other colleges around the country.

 

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

Garro: The most important motivators that keep me going are God and my amazing family and friend support system. They love me through every challenge, setback and disappointment as I keep asking myself, “Where is the open door?” “What is my best next step?” Another philosophy is to “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em and know when to walk away.”

I am a problem solver rather than a problem maker or worrier. When I have a challenge, I am on it to solve it and move forward through it. God helps me through prayer and meditation. I call the prayer line for someone to pray with me. I attend mass daily and receive the Lord in Holy Communion. I keep a positive attitude, avoid going negative and just don’t ever get stuck in my problems or challenges. I have wise friends whom I can speak with who also help me stay positive and on a solution path. Once, when afraid for my children, I left my husband and moved with trash bags to an apartment in three hours. I talked the landlord into trusting that I would pay the deposit and the rent as soon as I could. I was lucky. He trusted me, and I lived there until I was offered a full-time position in another state with the company where I was doing Tax Analyst work.

 

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Diane Merrill Wigginton

Diane Merrill Wigginton

Company: Self-Published Author
of Angelina’s Secret
Industry:
Literary Arts
Title: Author
Location: Herald, CA

 

NAPW: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Wigginton: That is a great question because there are so many things I would tell my younger self. I would begin by telling myself to take a breathe. Life is not a race to the finish line. The journey is meant to be enjoyed and savored. I would tell myself that although there will be heartaches along the way, everything will turn out the way it is meant to, so listen to your inner self. Bumps and bruises are parts of life, but everything will work out just fine. Pay attention to the life lessons put in your path; you will use them later on. Let go of your fear of failure because it will only hold you back. But, the most important thing I would say to the younger me is, “Love yourself, because without that, you can never really love someone else with any real conviction.”

 

NAPW: Describe yourself in three words.

Wigginton: Strong, determined and dreamer. Strong because I’ve had to be. Before you can realize your dreams, the universe will test your resolve to determine at which point you will give up. So, this is where the determination comes in. I am determined to leave my mark on this world. I want my posterity to know that I was here. Once you have passed the test of not giving up on your heart’s desire, you are ready to fulfill your real purpose… the thing in life that really moves your heart. That is where the dreamer comes in. I’ve given myself permission to dream of the life that I want to live. It has taken me many years to get to this stage in my life, and now that I am here, I find it very liberating.

 

NAPW: Who is your role model and inspiration?

Wigginton: There are many people I find inspirational. Oprah is one of those people I find inspiring and fascinating. She has found her truth and lives her life with integrity, honesty and a desire to be a better person every day. I find Thomas S. Monson a very inspiring person. He is the President, Prophet and Leader of the LDS Church.

 

NAPW: What is your profession? Why did you choose it?

Wigginton: I am a Writer. I don’t know that I truly chose writing as a profession so much as it chose me. I’ve always been fascinated by people who found their true voice and chose to share it with the world. I remember thinking to myself when I was younger, “Wow, wouldn’t it be great to write something down that people enjoyed reading?” I dreamed back then of how cool it would be to join the ranks of those great voices. I think fear was a paralyzing factor in my younger life. It kept me from finding my truth. I have let go of my fear of failure and given myself permission to explore everything that brings me joy in life. Writing is one of those things.

 

NAPW: What or who led you to your career path?

Wigginton: I think that I evolved and writing was just the next step on the rung of my evolutionary ladder. I had been pondering what I really wanted to be as I was 50 at the time, and it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I really wanted to fulfill my dream of being a published Author. So, I began to write. I wanted to write a story that had a great love affair, filled with action and adventure; and before I knew it, I had written Angelina’s Secret. When I finished, I remember experiencing an overwhelming feeling of euphoria, and then I knew. This is what I was meant to do.

 

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Beauty & Cosmetics


Goldie Mincy-Lyons

Goldie Mincy-Lyons

Company: Bossi Gal Hair and
Custom Wigs
Industry:
Beauty / Cosmetic
Title: CEO / Founder
Location: Los Angeles, CA

 

NAPW: Tell us about your most successful campaign.

Mincy-Lyons: My most successful campaign was when I produced my first runway hair show at the fabulous Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, CA. Four of Southern California’s elite beauty colleges battled it out to take home a seven-foot trophy and $1000, not to mention bragging rights of being the best beauty college in LA. The show was packed wall-to-wall with excitement, cheers and great performances. The Bossi Gals opened the show to showcase the Bossi Gal custom weave units and its ability to move, shine and flow while dancing and strutting their stuff on stage. I can say that it was a night to remember.

 

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration?

Mincy-Lyons: I find inspiration through the joy and happiness of my clients when they call and text me saying that they love their wig units and the compliments they receive throughout the day. That’s what keeps me going… being creative.

 

NAPW: What motivates you to succeed?

Mincy-Lyons: I’m motivated knowing that my custom units work. The sole purpose is to build self-confidence and to empower women through Bossi Gal’s wig / weave units. If you’re fighting cancer, alopecia or you just don’t have healthy hair to give you confidence on a day-to-day basis, my units are the way to go because I’m passionate about your needs. That’s how I succeed.

 

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

Mincy-Lyons: Yes! My career as a Stylist, Custom Wig Designer, Business Owner and Product Distributor has allowed me to have financial success because clients are willing to pay for my services. I separate the two by knowing my purpose in life is not based on money; it’s based on the hair care and needs of women to look and feel good about themselves, especially when they don’t.

 

NAPW: How do you manage stress?

Mincy-Lyons: I manage stress by slowing down, praying and sitting still. I also manage stress by spending quality time with my husband, who is my best friend.

 

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Home & Business Organization


Kalli-Messick

Kalli Messick

Company: Eye For Order
Industry:
Professional Organizer /
Home & Business
Title: Founder & President
Location: Tustin, CA


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

Messick: Someone I greatly respect once told me, “Do what you do best, and do what you love!” I follow my heart and strive to perform with grace and integrity. I’m very intuitive and am great at reading people. These qualities enable me to bond with various personalities and create harmonious business and personal relationships. This significantly helps to achieve the very best end result related to what we’re trying to accomplish.

 

NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Messick: I strive to stay true to myself and my moral values and ethics, and I’m a good listener. I find that these characteristics really make an impact on people. Having a purpose and being attentive to details are very important. I listen to my clients to assess their individual strengths and weaknesses and act upon what I hear, enabling me to assist in making their lives better. I treat everyone how I would like to be treated. All of these attributes create a strong foundation in personal and business relationships.

 

NAPW: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Messick: I’m a very methodical person, and I am constantly thinking of new ways to do things. I keep a vision log of sorts and write my thoughts and ideas in it. As in the corporate world, communication and sharing of ideas is crucial to success; therefore, I’ve always believed that sharing my thoughts and ideas with staff at all levels, as well as with personal friends, often adds a fresh perspective. Two heads are always better than one, and greater ideas can often be achieved through this approach. More importantly, this creates teamwork and allows others to feel that they are really contributing which, in turn, creates more productivity.

 

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

Messick: I love listening to music and I play piano, although not as well as I’d like to. I also love ballroom dancing and have won several competitions. I enjoy being in warm climates, such as the Caribbean, and would love to travel more. Cooking, interior design and spending time outdoors and with friends, family and grandchildren are also important to me. I contribute to several charities and hope to have more time to devote as a volunteer in the future.

 

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

Messick: My friends and colleagues, who have known me in the corporate world for years, are a great source. They know me personally and are very aware of my skills in many areas that complement my business. I use my social media pages and local Realtors in Orange County. I also have business cards in five well-known boutique stores with constant traffic, and I network with the people I meet as much as possible.

 

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Health & Fitness


Marie Delcioppo

Marie J. Delcioppo

Company: Lush Vitality
Industry:
Health and Fitness
Title:
Owner
Location: Daniel Island, SC

 

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

Delcioppo: I definitely follow my instincts. That little voice inside me never steers me wrong. Despite being independent and strong-willed, I am willing to learn from others’ successes and failures, and have been able to achieve success faster to keep pushing my limits and to continue evolving in response to my market’s demands. I always do a gut check, though. If it doesn’t feel right, I won’t do it — especially if it compromises the level of impeccable service I demand of myself and give to others.

 

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

Delcioppo: We all have to identify the gaps between where we are and where we want to be. However, whatever fear I may have brewing inside me, at some point, the pain of staying where I am is worse than the unknown of pursuing this crazy dream I have. As I sat in an office working excruciatingly hard for something that was never going to be mine, I knew that I needed to take a leap of faith and start my own business if I wanted to close that gap and live my purpose with passion.

 

NAPW: It’s been said that when one door closes, another opens. How true is this for your business life?

Delcioppo: Absolutely! There have been times I’ve lost a client, for example, and it seemed like the worst thing ever. I thought, “I’m going to go bankrupt.” And on and on the fear would churn. But, when I look at it as an outsider looking in, I see that the timing was off on whatever that situation was or whomever that person was. Then, I have new eyes and ears to see opportunities I otherwise might not have noticed.

 

NAPW: How do you network?

Delcioppo: I network predominantly online. I love social media and technology and how it allows us to connect with people we never would have even known existed. I have landed business deals and made great friends through Twitter. I discovered this amazing organization — NAPW — through LinkedIn. I love when people jump into my conversations online and hope they don’t mind me doing the same. The worst that can happen is that you’ll get ignored or maybe the person will make a rude remark. After that, you know you can move on!

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

Delcioppo: Self-care. I have no gas to give others if my tank is empty. Working out is my ultimate therapy. It clears my head and is like pushing the reset button on my brain. I’m also a Living Foods Chef, so getting into the kitchen really gets my creative juices flowing. Also, I sit in my comfy chair, plug in my headphones and turn on some Tony Robbins. I don’t know how you can still be in a bad mood or uninspired after listening to him. My life did a complete 180 once I experienced Tony Robbins, and I made it a regular habit to listen to one of his audio downloads once a day.

 

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Coaching / Public Speaking


June A Robinson

June A. Robinson

Company: June Robinson Media (JRM)
Industry:
Public Speaking
Title:
Founder & CEO
Location: Los Angeles, CA

 

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

Robinson: For me, success is achieved when I honor my core values and beliefs; therefore, any success realized was on my terms. At times, it is necessary to compromise in order to accomplish a goal or close a project, but it is never at the cost of my core values or beliefs.

 

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

Robinson: After an unexpected and devastating divorce, I chose to rebound by pursuing my lifelong, passionate desire to empower and mentor women, especially young women, in personal development.

 

NAPW: It’s been said that when one door closes, another opens. How true is this for your business life?

Robinson: I believe that a closed door is one that I was never meant to walk through. When I adhere to my guiding principles and core values, the right doors usually open… and they stay open for me to walk on through.

 

NAPW: How do you network?

Robinson: I take advantage of every available opportunity through the internet, social media, seminars, conferences and various organizations’ meetups, mixers, etc.

 

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

Robinson: I revisit the reason WHY I am in business and act as my own cheerleader with positive self-motivation. I also refocus and commit to giving 100% of my ability at all times.

 

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Sasha E. Lindsey

Sasha E. Lindsey

Company: Changing Destinations
Journey To Excellence, Inc.
Industry:
Coaching / Training,
Nonprofit & Education
Title:
Vice President &
Senior Program Director
Location: Silver Spring, MD

 

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

Lindsey: In my early career as a Producer for online educational content, my mentor encouraged me to find an unmet need within the organization and become the expert and go-to person in that particular area.

 

NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Lindsey: It’s all about building relationships! The key to longevity in an organization is not in building great programs, meeting quotas or amassing great wealth. Organizations with the most impact are those whose leaders add value to their employees first. They are your most valuable asset and the key to any organization’s success.

 

NAPW: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Lindsey: I don’t keep them to myself. I share them first with my staunchest supporters who help breathe life into my ideas. Then, I funnel my ideas through my strongest critics and skeptics to help me trim off the fat.

 

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

Lindsey: I enjoy the opera, off-Broadway plays and exploring diverse cultural cuisines. I also enjoy taking long walks and drives to nowhere because it ignites my creative juices.

 

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

Lindsey: Most of my clients come through referrals from current and former clients. I look for occasions to collaborate and develop partnerships which always open new doors of opportunity.

 

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