September 16, 2015 Member Spotlight

Lydia Robledo Member Connections Newsletter, Member Spotlight 0 Comments

 

Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a bi-weekly column that lets 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.


Monica-Andrews

Monica Andrews

Company:
Divine Order Network
Industry:
Financial Services and Entrepreneurship
Title:
Regional Vice President and Talk Radio Host
Location: Perry Hall, 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?

Andrews: Yes, I certainly had and still have mentors. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today. Although having mentors is very important, the key is picking the right mentor—someone who’s been where you want to go or who has accomplished what you’re trying to accomplish. You may have raw talent or skills in a certain area, but you typically need someone to mentor / coach you to reach a certain level of success.

 

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

Andrews:

  • Vision—seeing what you believe instead of believing what you see, which most do. If you can’t visualize what you want before it comes to fruition, how can it come to its manifestation?
  • Strength—strength of self-mastery, strength of action and strength of relationships.
  • Consistency—consistency with your vision and strength while having a never-give-up attitude. Failure doesn’t stop a successful person; it gives them an opportunity to start over and get it right the next time.

 

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

Andrews: To me, stress is like embarrassment, a figment of my imagination. Because I can control my imagination, I choose to reject anything that creates stress in my world so that I don’t feed into the illusion. I do welcome the opportunity to create solutions to these so-called “continuous pressures” and at the end of the day, I understand that it’s all in divine order.

 

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

Andrews: I’m an avid Christian, so my recreation is communing with my higher power on a daily basis. When I’m not at a weekend training or seminar, I always enjoy worshipping / fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters at my local congregation or anywhere across the world.

 

NAPW: Has your career choice positively influenced other areas of your life?

Andrews: My work choices have most definitely changed my life in a positive way. If I didn’t seek to develop my skills and character for my profession, I would never have met my soulmate. I am so very grateful for the personal development that brought my husband and I together. It’s positively influenced our children and given them something we didn’t have—a model of a healthy relationship. I am also blessed to volunteer my time to youth across the country with our Financial Literacy Program, which teaches personal finances and offers monetary rewards to groups who complete the program.

 

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Kathie-Bender-Schwich_vip

Kathie Bender Schwich

Company:
Advocate Health Care
Industry:
Healthcare
Title: Senior Vice President
Location: Chicago, IL

 

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

Bender Schwich: All successful people have the ability to relate to all types of people, a love of networking and passion for the work they do.

 

NAPW: How important is having a sense of humor to your daily business life?

Bender Schwich: Having a sense of humor is very important, especially when it comes to being able to laugh at oneself. Healthcare is a very stressful and, at times, heart wrenching area of work. Being able to see humor in the lighter areas of daily life helps ease the stress and build relationships.

 

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

Bender Schwich: I see a personal trainer twice a week and have a regular workout schedule as well. My husband and I enjoy working out together on the weekends. In addition, we plan healthy meals together and grow many of our own vegetables during the summer months.

 

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to succeed?

Bender Schwich: I am inspired by those who began Advocate Health Care years ago. They were inspired by their faith and desire to meet the needs of the injured and ill in their communities, and we are now inspired to keep it going. I am motivated by all those whom we are so privileged to serve. They deserve the very best we have to give.

 

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

Bender Schwich: Fortunately, healthcare is enjoying a growing number of female leaders in the field. However, challenges remain—especially around communication between male and female leaders. Words, body language, assumptions around tone of voice and mannerisms all play into how we communicate with one another and are at risk of being misinterpreted.

 

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Irene-Colon

Irene Colon

Company:
Rodan + Fields
Industry:
Skin Care
Title: Executive Consultant
Location: Fair Lawn, NJ

 

NAPW: What is your dream job?

Colon: My dream job is one that would allow me to bring all my ideas without being afraid of the “corporate” rules. A job where I can be myself without being attached to a specific schedule, and where I can help others achieve their own dream job.

 

NAPW: Think about an instance when you were given an assignment you thought you would not be able to complete. How did you accomplish the assignment?

Colon: When I received my promotion and was appointed as the Executive Account Manager for the Latin American market, I couldn’t sleep that night just thinking about the challenge in front of me. There were so many questions and doubts that took over my mind. I started wondering if I was ready to perform this job and if I could meet my boss’s expectations. After a long conversation with my mentor at the time, she looked at me and asked me to give a description of the job I had been doing for the past two years. After I answered her question, I realized I was afraid of the title, not of the job itself. I had been doing the job without a title for so long, so why was I getting so scared about a title? After this realization, my fear went away and then I just continued doing what I had been doing for so many years already.

 

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

Colon: I walk far enough away  that I can see the situation from a different angle. This exercise helps clear my mind and bring a new potential solution to the problem.

 

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

Colon: I desired to create a work atmosphere that would allow me to be creative and financially independent. And, most of all, I wanted the personal freedom to not have to worry about missing one of my son’s school performances because I didn’t have any Paid Time Off (PTO) days available. As a single mother, this is one of the most important aspects of my life. My success as a mother has taught me how to embark on my dream job, therefore, I continue learning about my priorities in life.

 

NAPW: Which women in history have most influenced your beliefs?

Colon: My late mother and Oprah Winfrey both influenced me to believe that education is the key to a successful life. I have the best example of that in my late mother.

 

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Nicole-Hamilton

Nicole Hamilton

Company:
Total Technology, Inc.
Industry:
Defense / Government Contracting
Title:
Director of Accounting
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

 

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

Hamilton: I have been working in the government defense and contracting industry for more than 12 years and have learned so much in my career. Personally, I love to country line dance, and have taught it for many years, and I also like to scrapbook. I work hard to achieve the goals I set for myself. I surround myself both personally and professionally with people who inspire me to be my best.

 

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

Hamilton: This company’s organizational culture is amazing and it is evident that the employees’ needs are really at the forefront of the company. There is support and opportunity for career enhancement and advancement through trainings, professional organizations and formal education with tuition reimbursement available. Additionally, the company provides 100% paid benefits, including health, dental and vision, for family coverage with top-of-the-line benefits packages—a rare find!

 

NAPW: How do you find balance in your life?

Hamilton: Being a full-time working mother and wife, there are definitely challenges I find on a daily basis with maintaining balance in life. However, I am always very mindful of separating my work and personal life to achieve the best I can in each of those areas. Having a great support system helps me stay on track and sane in the daily grind!

 

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

Hamilton: There is absolutely no question that I have achieved success by my own rules. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have to wait patiently and put my time in as a means to move up to each new step in my career. By staying true to my values and principles, I have been able to achieve the success I have to date without compromising. I pride myself on being the person everyone in my organization can count on to get any job done, even if it’s not specifically in my job description. I have carefully laid that foundation on my own terms, and it has led me to where I am today.

 

NAPW: Describe your method for managing a heavy workload.

Hamilton: Lists are one of my biggest organizational strategies. I keep diligent notes on items needing my attention and I prioritize on a daily basis. At the end of each workday, I take five to 10 minutes to organize my plan for the next day. Even when other assignments or unexpected projects come up that demand my immediate attention, having a list of the other things I still have going on helps me stay focused. Additionally, regular meetings with my COO, HR Manager and Staff Accountant help keep me on top of items I am responsible for, but not necessarily responsible for executing. Communicating with my team is essential to keeping me from feeling overwhelmed.

 

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Dana-Holmes_vip

Dana Holmes

Company:
Dana Holmes Media, LLC
Industry:
Branding, PR, Social Media, Copywriting
Title: President and CEO
Location: New York, NY

 

NAPW: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Holmes: In five years, I expect to have 10 employees and an international client base that enables us to deliver high-quality, award-winning work.

 

NAPW: What advice would you give to women planning to enter your field?

Holmes: Network and be nice to everyone. I love getting to know new people, keeping in touch with those I already know and helping people who trust me. The more people you know, the more likely you are to find clients you enjoy working with.

 

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

Holmes: I was laid off at eight months pregnant after almost eight years of dedication to one company. They decided to condense their offices to one coast and I couldn’t relocate. They brought me back on as a contractor for a few months after I had the baby, which enabled me to develop my own brand and start mapping out future clients.

 

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

Holmes: I know that every day is different. Just because one day is bad doesn’t mean the next one will be, too. I keep pushing forward, coming up with new ideas and thinking of new ways to make things work. You’re only as good as your next idea, so keep thinking on your toes every day.

 

NAPW: What drives you to do better?

Holmes: Although she passed away in 1997, my mother’s high standards and expectations for my life have always made me reach further and strive to be better. She told me to always work to make myself proud, and that’s what I try to do. I’m just never satisfied!

 

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Ellen-Kvam_vip

Ellen Kvam

Company:
Ellen Kvam Jewelry
Industry:
Jewelry
Title: Designer
Location: San Jose, CA

 

NAPW: What three business roles have contributed most to your success?

Kvam: I would look at this from the perspective of “external roles” that are critical to business success. My top three key external relationship tips are:

  • Have backup suppliers for everything you need in your production. Having more than one supplier keeps them competitive in terms of service and pricing and keeps your deliveries high in priority. You will have a shorter delivery time and an overall better product and relationship with both your providers and customers.
  • Use qualified professionals for help with accounting, legal issues, etc. When you have a startup, many people will express an interest in helping you, particularly if they see potential.
  • Think carefully about what to delegate and what your priorities are.

 

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

Kvam: I turn to nature and hike with my dog. Perhaps it’s my Norwegian roots, but moving my body and getting my heart pumping faster for a few hours is truly a miracle cure for finding strength. It makes me stronger, both physically and mentally, and helps me realize that my problems are smaller than what I think they are. After my hike, I take time to calm down and meditate. I also make it a point to sleep well and eat healthy.

 

NAPW: What advice can you offer a growing business?

Kvam: It is well-known that you should listen to your gut feeling when it tells you “no.” When my gut feeling tells me ”yes,” it is also very important to do my homework and not make any decisions based on feelings.

 

NAPW: Did you have a mentor who guided you on your career path?

Kvam: After discovering my interest in working with glass, I made a trip to Murano, an island in Italy world-famous for its colors, types and techniques of glass. I met Master Glass Artist Pino Signoretto, who has been an endless source of inspiration to me. We have projects together to this day. I design sculptures and he and his crew make them from my drawings in his studio in Murano. I have also studied with other masters at the Eugene Glass School in Eugene, OR.

 

NAPW: Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to succeed?

Kvam: I started my design career after working as a Real Estate Agent in Oslo. I had two young children and was married to a husband who traveled several days a week for his career. I had an inner need to explore the artist in me and prove I could make my way in the world by using my creative side. My business took off in Norway and my work was featured in a national high-end jewelry chain. It has since grown into chains in several countries in Scandinavia. I am motivated to find the same success here in San Jose with a new series of products and greater use of social networking and online marketing.

 

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Catherine-Pettie_vip

Catherine Pettie

Company:
Holistically Clear LLC
Industry:
Holistic Health and Nutrition
Title:
Healthy Lifestyles Practitioner
Location: East Orange, NJ

 

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

Pettie: I was told to ponder the question, “Who are you supposed to be?,” and then give it an answer and live my decision.

 

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

Pettie: Yes. My experiences and choices are based on my health. I have my B.S. in Nutrition, therefore, knowing my food choices in and out have driven me to voice this to the masses. Eating healthy and exercising create energy and peace in life.

 

NAPW: What difficulties do you face as a woman in your industry and how do you overcome them?

Pettie: I have overcome the idea that women are unable to build a business based on feminine views by staying true to myself and removing or avoiding stereotype blocks.

 

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

Pettie: I would spend time with my daughter and show her new things. I enjoy taking her to places that will imprint on her conscience.

 

NAPW: Which women in history have most influenced your beliefs?

Pettie: I have always admired Harriet Tubman for her courage and Maya Angelou for her positive influence. I am also influenced by Bell Hooks, a strong black woman with inspiring feminist views.

 

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Kellie-Sabas_vip

Kellie Sabas

Company: HelmsBriscoe / Independent
Industry:
Hospitality and Internet
Title:
Manager, Global Accounts / Marketing Consultant
Location: San Diego, CA

 

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

Sabas: I have the ability to collaborate and build good, trusting relationships with my clients by offering solutions to their problems. These strengths help me in any endeavor I take, both personally and professionally.

 

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

Sabas: I subscribe to top websites in my field, such as Social Media Examiner for anything and everything about social media. I also follow MeetingsNet, Meetings Focus and SmartMeetings because they offer free webinars on virtually any topic in the meetings and hospitality industry and earn participants CME clock hours toward CMP certification. I have also started using STAR12 since I became an NAPW member.

 

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

Sabas: I practice the attitude of gratitude. When you’re grateful about the little things, you can appreciate all the things life may throw at you. Eventually, you’ll see the best in all circumstances whether it’s good or not so good. You’ll see the glass half full, not half empty. Opportunity versus adversity.

 

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

Sabas: I’m rewarded when clients thank me for all my help and tell other people about it, which earns more business.

 

NAPW: How does your company differ from its competitors?

Sabas: At HelmsBriscoe, we offer a complimentary site selection service to our clients. With our unique business model, clients don’t pay us a single cent. We leverage our buying power and relationship with hotels and cruise ships to get the overall best value for their meetings. Personally, I go the extra mile by offering my clients free consultations and assistance on online registration, program design, food and beverage selection, dispute resolution or anything I can do over the phone or email. It’s like they have an extra member on their team working toward making a successful and memorable event at no cost to them.

 

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Heidi-Smith

Heidi Smith

Company:
Integrative Wellness Studio
Industry:
Holistic Health and Wellness
Title:
President and Founder
Location: Chicago, IL

 

NAPW: What qualities make a good leader?

Smith: A good leader demonstrates honesty, communicates effectively, has a positive attitude and welcomes input from others. Good leaders are confident and committed, find humor in things and have the ability to motivate and inspire those around them.

 

NAPW: If you weren’t getting paid to do what you do, would you still do it?

Smith: Absolutely! I am now in a position where I can help people find sustainable health and wellness in the midst of battling some kind of challenge. Whether it is weight loss, managing food allergies or finding optimal nutrition, it is a privilege to provide people with resources that empower them to heal themselves!

 

NAPW: What are some of the books we would find on your bookshelf?

Smith: Integrative Nutrition – Feed your Hunger for Health & Happiness by Joshua Rosenthal, My Virgin Diet CookBook by Rebecca Lorraine and The Soul of Leadership by Deepak Chopra, to name a few.

 

NAPW: How do you network?

Smith: I have spent 25 years as a professional in the meetings industry and still have one business in that arena and memberships in several industry associations. I network at all of their events and also within organizations in my neighborhood and civic organizations. I talk to everyone about the work I am doing and most of my clients are referrals from friends, colleagues and other clients!

 

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

Smith: There are actually two pieces of advice I have really carried with me throughout my career: “Listen more than you speak” and “Find a good mentor.”

 

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Mindy Zwerin

Mindy Zwerin

Company:
Vixity, LLC
Industry:
Retail Jewelry / Bridal
Title:
Managing Partner
Location: Delray Beach, FL

 

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

Zwerin: For the most part, people are truly supportive of small business merchants whether male or female. They very much want us to succeed.

 

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?

Zwerin: It may have appeared that way in the past, but I think I was holding myself back. I believe all things needed to be aligned and it was purposeful at the time. I may not have been ready and I was still learning. I understand and value the trip I took to get here.

 

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

Zwerin: As a friend, Mindi Rudan wiped away my tears when I left the company I managed for nearly 15 years. I didn’t know what to do next, but I wanted a change. As a business owner, she had confidence in me and offered me a position for which I had virtually no experience. I learned a completely new industry and, best of all, I learned to believe I could do it! I will say it was due in part to Mindi’s profound friendship, love and business acumen. She grew a well-known publishing empire in Northwest Broward. I took notice of her work ethic, philanthropy and juggling abilities and employed those things when I launched my new retail business. I wanted to be as accessible as she always made herself to her nearly 500 advertisers and her staff.

 

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

Zwerin: I worked in retail all the way back when cash registers were manual . . . and very tall. I remember struggling to reach the top keys. One night, a security guard came out and asked me if I needed help, to which I replied “no.” He came back a short while later with a step stool and said, ”Don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you need to do your job. A fireman needs water and a hose, so take the stool!” I never forgot that and always had the stool after that night. Till this day, I am never afraid to ask for help or give help to someone who needs it to do their job well. We all begin somewhere. I was lucky the security guard made me realize it was that the register was big, not that I couldn’t do the job.

 

NAPW: What are some job search tips you can share with fellow members seeking employment?

Zwerin: Be creative with your resume and a little personal. I look for something different in a creative retail environment to get noticed! It’s okay to take a chance and walk through the door with your resume. It’s scary, yet I find it brave. Be someone willing to take a risk. Someone who doesn’t sit and wait for Monster.com to send an e-mail.

 

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