Show cover of The Story Behind Her Success

The Story Behind Her Success

Women from every walk of life reveal how they got to where they are today, sharing their wisdom and the lessons they have learned along the way.


Eavan O’Neill: Marathoner & Advocate for the Blind -270
The doctor said, “You are going blind, and there is no cure.” My mom burst into tears, and I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening to me.” -Eavan O’Neill When she was only 13 years old, Eavan O’Neill started having trouble seeing the blackboard at school. A gifted athlete, she began missing the ball while playing lacrosse and soccer. One of her coaches suggested that she have her eyes checked. Unfortunately, glasses didn’t do much to solve the problem. Throughout her teens, Eavan’s eyesight continued to deteriorate, and in this interview, she admits that wishful thinking set in until one day, she mistook the moon for a street light and it was obvious something was very wrong. Diagnosed at 20 by Rachel Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, an opthalmologist in the Inherited Retinal Disorders Service at Mass Eye And Ear, with a rare and incurable condition called Stargardt disease, Eavan is now legally blind. In this interview, she recalls returning to St. Lawrence University after her diagnosis in January 2020, only to go home two months later to her family in Yarmouth, Maine, due to the pandemic. Distraught and uncertain about her future, she accepted an invitation from her neighbor to go for a run and discovered that running flipped a switch inside of her. Says Eavan: “Running has made me feel strong, happy, and capable again.” An experienced marathoner who can only see 4 feet in front of her, Eavan runs to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Stargardt disease. Now a Development Officer at Mass General Brigham, Eavan is determined to be a voice for anyone struggling with this rare disease: “I felt so isolated when I was first diagnosed. It was like diving off of a cliff into no-man’s land. It’s hard to find hope. That’s what I want to be for people. Hope.” Although she still has “bad blind girl days,” Eavan looks on the bright side with her Instagram handle @bright.side_group. For 22 minutes of inspiration, just hit that download button. #blindness #stargardtdisease
22:08 5/23/24
Maria Stephanos, News Anchor -269
I love what I do, and it’s a privilege and an honor to do it. I feel such a duty to report on things that happen in my community, in my backyard, in your backyard. -Maria Stephanos Maria Stephanos is a household name in Boston and beyond. This interview was taped in between newscasts at WCVB, Channel 5, where she anchors the 4:30, 6:00, 7:00, and 11:00 PM newscasts. And for good measure, Maria also anchors the 10:00 PM news on sister station MeTVBoston. A devoted mother, this high-energy, high-empathy woman has been honing her craft for 30 years and says that going to bed at midnight is simply routine. Born and raised in the little town of Groveland, MA, Maria recalls an idyllic childhood where she would climb trees and skate in the woods in a town with no traffic light. Her heritage is Greek (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and laughter, passion, loyalty, and hard work were hard-wired into the family dynamic. A graduate of Emerson College with bachelor's and master's degrees in Mass Communications, Maria got her start on the radio as a statehouse reporter and credits that experience with teaching her how to tell compelling stories. In this interview, she reveals that a scratch ticket and a conversation with a colleague propelled her toward television, and she’s been there ever since. On the air for massive news events like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, Maria takes us behind the scenes, painting a picture of what it is really like to be a responsible, compassionate journalist in the middle of a tragedy. When asked about role models, she quickly names her mother, offering one of her parent’s golden rules: “Don’t judge people. You never know what they are going through.” In this interview, we come to know WCVB’s Maria Stephanos not only as a beloved news anchor but also as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, mentor, and running enthusiast. She’s the real deal. Go ahead and hit that download button. #journalist #television #news #mothersday
25:45 5/9/24
Stacey Ryan: School of Rock -268
School of Rock is the place for everyone who feels like they don’t have a place. All we care about is making great music together. -Stacey Ryan Meet Stacey Ryan, Chief Operating Officer of the School of Rock With 65,000 students learning in 364 locations in 19 countries worldwide, she’s got her hands full of music lovers, and she likes it that way. Says Stacey: “Our teachers are all gigging musicians. We bring kids together in a room where they get to play instruments and sing loudly.” The success story of the School of Rock could have been destroyed by the pandemic, but instead, it was lifted to a whole new level under her guidance with a pivot to virtual learning through a robust online platform that managed to create a sense of community for kids when they needed it the most. In this interview, Stacey shares her firm belief that music heals. The School of Rock is a place where differences are celebrated, and confidence grows. Born in Queens, New York, and raised in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Stacey is the middle child in a music-loving family. She credits her father with introducing her to boxes of his rock albums. Alone on a desert island, she’d listen to the entire Beatles collection and never be lonely. A graduate of Rutgers University, she was inspired by her mother’s lifelong love of education and, at first, wanted to be a kindergarten teacher until the smell of the school cafeteria did her in. “I listened to my gut,” says Stacey, and I switched paths.“ As a leader, Stacey leans on transparency and is advancing women leaders through an organization she calls “Front Women”. Having a place at the table has not come easy for Stacey, and she knows it: “ When I became COO I was aware of the battle it took to get here, and the responsibility to pay it forward. I want to make the path smoother for those coming up behind me. “ For 24 minutes you can really tap your toe to, just hit that download button. #music #education #musicians #singers
24:19 5/2/24
Shannon Mulaire: Director of PR & Media Relations -267
I’m missing the freak-out gene. It’s hard to rattle me. -Shannon Mulaire This week’s episode features the fascinating story of award-winning TV journalist Shannon Mulaire. She parlayed decades of experience in front of and behind cameras into the role of Director of PR and Media Relations at female-owned Nickerson,, a full-service branding, marketing, PR, and communications agency with offices in Boston and Miami. Born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, Shannon started playing soccer at only 5, and was a self-described “scrappy tomboy who was toughened up by her two older brothers.” A determined student and athlete, Shannon attended the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy at only 13, followed by Wellesley College and Emerson College where she earned her Masters in Journalism. Her career path began with an off-camera job in Fort Myers, Florida, where Shannon managed to sneak herself into a weekend show without permission. This bold move was followed by an on-camera stint at a heritage news station in Tampa. She finally landed in Boston thanks to being given an opportunity to shine by fellow Emerson graduate and mentor Maria Stephanos. Says Shannon: “Every step of the way, I have been lifted up by other women. “ In this interview, Shannon brings the listener into the not-so-glamourous world of television news where 2 AM wake-up calls are a way of life. After spending a few years doing morning news at Fox 25, Shannon found herself at a crossroads and decided to make the kind of change that enabled her to be a more present mother to her three young children while still using her vast communications skillset. When asked about her work ethic, Shannon says: “Soccer raised me because it taught me life skills. I work hard, and I believe that if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. You can’t control what other people are going to do, but you can control how you are going to react to it.” For 24 minutes of wisdom you can use, just hit that download button. #media #news #PR #television #thestorybehindhersuccess
24:25 4/18/24
Julie Beckham: aka Ms. Money -266
Lessons learned early last a lifetime. -Julie Beckham aka “Ms. Money” Not everyone thinks personal finance is a topic to sing about, but Julie Beckham has made a career out of it. Since April is Financial Literacy Month, we thought we’d invite her on to the show. Now the AVP/Financial Education Development & Strategy Officer at Rockland Trust Bank, Julie was tasked by the previous owner, Blue Hills Bank, with expanding its commitment to the community by finding a way to educate children about money. Always up for a challenge, Julie tapped into her wealth of experience as an actress and singer to create her persona “Ms. Money” and her musical, “Ms. Money & the Coins.” For the last 13 years, she’s been sharing this entertaining curriculum with children in the United States and around the world What started out as an idea to teach children about money turned into a multilingual video-based program, complete with interactive learning modules. Says Julie: “If I can make something fun for children and easy for teachers, that’s a win-win.” Born and raised in Canton, Massachusetts, Julie’s love for the theatre was born when she landed the role of Dorothy in her elementary school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Julie was a working actor for years before returning home to be a hands-on aunt to her newborn niece, Lucy, who was born with Downs Syndrome. Says Julie: “The world stopped, and we needed each other. You discover what the epicenter of YOU is and for me, that’s family.” The mother of two children, Julie shares her belief that “it is crucial for parents to share their mistakes. How we handle mistakes is important for our children to see, including mistakes about money.” And just in case you’re feeling left out, Julie has a podcast series for adults, too, called “No Shame in this Money Game.” For 23 minutes of financial fun, just hit that download button. #financialliteracy #education #money #banking
22:17 4/11/24
Christina Pavlina: Co-founder & Executive Director of Jane Does Well -265
Jane Does Well organically became a group of women talking about divorce and supporting each other. -Christina Pavlina This week’s guest was nominated by listeners twice, thanks to the support and community she has created for women going through divorce. Meet Christina Pavlina, co-founder & Executive Director of Jane Does Well, Whether it is your choice or not, divorce is a heartache. If you’ve got children, the impact is even greater. Christina has walked this walk, and now she talks the talk. Through hands-on, practical programming, this unique non-profit helps women get through the trauma of divorce. Says Christina: “I didn’t know how to navigate my own sense of loss, and at the same time, I didn’t know how to help my children.” After I got through my own divorce, I realized I could help others.” The lessons she learned have been passed on to hundreds of women who have benefitted greatly from the services Jane Does Well provides. The organization has grown organically year after year and today, includes an ordained minister who experienced divorce herself, came to Jane Does Well for help, and is now the Director of Wellness and Trauma Programs. Jane Anderson oversees 10-week support groups for everyone from young moms to senior citizens. Christina explains: “The best way to overcome the loneliness of divorce is to talk to women who get it. Your family loves you. Your friends love you, but they will not understand what you are dealing with during and after divorce. Jane Does Well fills that gap.” #divorce #community #empowerment
19:56 3/28/24
Monica Roberts: SVP & Executive Director, City Year Greater Boston -264
Don’t worry about filling someone else’s shoes. Bring your own. -Monica Roberts Meet Monica Roberts, Senior Vice President & Executive Director of City Year Greater Boston A lifelong resident of Boston, Monica was raised in a home full of faith, rules, and love. She credits her mother for advocating for her and her siblings, reminding them about the value of a strong education. In this interview, Monica shares the story of her father, the son of a sharecropper from Mississippi who quit school at 12 to work in the fields and later completed his education. Monica’s father was a man of service who worked as a truck driver through the night, often distributing food to the needy and plowing his neighbor’s driveways during snow storms. As a preacher in their local church, her dad did not allow his daughters to wear makeup or go to the movie theater. A first-generation college graduate with degrees from Brandeis and Boston College, Monica comes to her position at City Year with extensive experience in public education, having served seven superintendents over a fifteen-year period. Before taking the reins at City Year Greater Boston, she worked at Peace First, a national non-profit, where she honed her leadership skills. For Monica, City Year is a life-changing opportunity for young men and women between the ages 18-25 who support the education of children enrolled in their partner schools. Originally founded in 1988 as a community-based service organization, the mission has expanded and City Year members are changing the lives of kids from kindergarten through high school every day. Grounded in the belief that young people can shape our world, City Year members are role models. Says Monica: “They connect with kids and cheer them on. The City Year red jacket symbolizes the deep investment we have made in the communities we serve.” @cityyear @cityyearboston #community
25:09 3/21/24
Lisa Carlin: Founder of Poppies with Purpose -263
Poppies with Purpose is more than a shoe line. It is something that is going to bring courage, joy, and connection whether you have cancer or not. -Lisa Carlin When bad things happen, you have two choices: you can give up or give it all you’ve got. Lisa Carlin decided to use her breast cancer diagnosis as a catalyst for comfort through the creation of her shoe line, Poppies with Purpose At only 38, with two daughters, ages 3 and 5, at home, she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Lisa’s road to survivorship included a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments. During this dark time in her life, she discovered a worn pair of pink ballet flats in the back of her closet. Slipping them on one morning before her treatment, Lisa discovered that these simple pink shoes gave her a dose of bravery. Today, Poppies with Purpose is thriving with three shoe colors: pink for breast cancer, blue for colorectal cancer, and tangerine for kidney cancer and leukemia, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting researcHERS, a group that supports grants to female cancer scientists. Lisa also handpicks local charities to support including Runway for Recovery. Every detail of Lisa’s brand is inspired by love. The duster bag that holds each pair of shoes was inspired by her beloved grandmother’s poppy-patterned house coat, and inside every pair of shoes is a reminder to “live each day with a pop of color.” When I asked Lisa how she got through her diagnosis, she said, “It was baby steps. Just a little bit every day is gonna get you to where you want to go. The key is to surround yourself with people who lift you up.” The next time you need a gift for a newly diagnosed friend, think of Lisa and Poppies with Purpose. For 24 minutes of inspiration, hit that download button. #breastcancer #colorectalcancer #kidneycancer #leukemia #survivorship #entrepreneurship
24:13 3/15/24
Noel Foy -262
A lot of children believe that perfection is a goal. I help them understand that mistakes are part of the learning process. -Noel Foy In the spotlight, Noel Foy. Known as Neuro Noel, she got her start as a teacher and learning specialist before blazing a trail as a neuroeducator and anxiety coach. A graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in Education/Special Education and a Masters in American Studies, Noel began noticing that her own sons didn’t like school, but they loved learning. She started attending conferences focused on how the brain works and discovered that she could transform key neuroscience findings into practical ways to reduce the impact of stress on children. The result was transformative. Noel started creating her neuroeducator tool kit by recognizing that if a child’s brain is in a state of anxiety, anger, frustration, or boredom, they disengage from learning. This choice hijacks the brain causing stress, which in turn, hijacks executive function. In her practice, Noel teaches kids that the human brain grows and changes. This neuroplasticity enables the brain to be re-wired. Children are relieved when she explains: “Do you know that your brain gets smarter and stronger when you correct mistakes?” In this interview, Neuro Noel provides clues for parents who believe their children might need help with anxiety. Avoidance, rigidity, catastrophic thinking, and a sense of hopeless permanence are four red flags to look for. The author of two award-winning books called ABC Worry Free and Are You A Bird Like Me? Noel admits she was an anxious child herself and that she finds healing by helping kids who are just like she was. On a mission to spread awareness about anxiety, executive function, and how to use neuroscience in school and beyond, Noel is due to release a third book this year entitled 15 Minute Focus, geared toward teachers, parents, and counselors. For a tutorial on how you can begin to understand and help your anxious child, just hit that download button. #neuroscience #neuroeducator #teacher #parenting #socialandemotionallearning #executivefunction #anxietyawareness
23:12 2/1/24
Lindsey Leichthammer -261
It’s fun to be a part of the best day of someone’s life. -Lindsey Leichthammer Meet event producer extraordinaire, Lindsey Leichthammer. She’s done everything from fluffing the bride’s dress to keeping the bridal party calm as Nana is being placed in an ambulance minutes before the wedding ceremony begins. She also knows what it’s like to be responsible for feeding hundreds of people in the middle of a field in Vermont, with no cell service. By the time you finish listening, you will know for sure that an event producer needs nerves of steel AND a sense of humor. Fortunately, Lindsey has both in spades. Born and raised in the seaside town of Marshfield, Massachusetts, Lindsey enjoyed the love and support of her parents, and the devotion of her older brother, Taylor. Ten years her senior, he instilled confidence in his little sister early on. At 16, Lindsey became a banquet server, offering up bacon-wrapped scallops and dirty martinis at a high-end steakhouse on the beach. In this interview, she recalls loving the excitement of a wedding reception and knew that her career would somehow involve the wedding industry. A graduate of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, Lindsey majored in Business and minored in Event Management and Marketing. From curating 12-person dinner parties for fussy VIPs to lavish farm-to-table weddings in fields to 3000+ festivals, this young woman has done it all! Now at the helm of her own company called Lindsey Leichthammer Events, she is passionate about delivering unique experiences for her clients. A true believer in tackling any of life’s obstacle head-on, Lindsey says: “The only way out is through. There’s nowhere else to go but on the other side.” For a quick-witted, yet fact-filled look into the wedding industry, just hit that download button. @lindslovesevents @candyoterry #weddings #Vermont #events
22:44 1/25/24
Judi Alperin King, Ph.D.-260
We don’t tell anybody what to do. Every Wiley Scholar is an expert on their own life. -Judi Alperin King, Ph.D. What happens when a high school student has the desire, the motivation, and the grades to go to college, but lacks the support and the resources to make their life-changing goal a reality?  Enter  With a BA from Hamilton College, a Masters degree from Boston College and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Judi Alperin King is the Founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts-based non-profit.  Her vast skillset includes work as a psychologist for 30 years where she focused on children facing serious emotional and behavioral problems. Judi climbed the ladder in her field, developing a keen understanding of what it means to create a sense of community for those in need.  This experience helped her shape the Wiley Network which re-trains clinicians as coaches, providing wrap-around support services that nurture Wiley Scholars from matriculation to graduation,  with weekly meetings, advice, guidance, and a listening ear.  In this interview, Judi explains that colleges are not set up to support the needs of students who don’t have “family privilege“.   Says Judi: ” Our scholars are on their own, living below the poverty level.  Of course, someone loves them, but that parent or guardian, for whatever reason, cannot help them make their college dream come true.”   At its core, the organization honors the scholar as the heart of the mission.  To date, 62 students have graduated from college and there are now 78 scholars on 15 different campuses in the Boston area.   Raised by parents who valued contributing to the greater good, Judi likes to ask the question:  “Who did you help today?”  Her advice to a teenage girl in foster care who wants to go to college but has no one to guide her?  In the words of Mr. Rogers:  “Look for the helpers” and reach out to the Wiley Network.  We’ll be there for you.” #college #education #thewileynetwork #thestorybehindhersuccess.  
23:22 1/18/24
Sandy Lish, Principal & Co-Founder of The Castle Group -259
I do love a good rush of adrenalin. I’m not gonna lie.  -Sandy Lish For most of us, the word “crisis” is a negative,  but not for Sandy Lish. She loves a good crisis because she knows how to solve it.   Together with longtime colleague Wendy Spivak, Sandy co-founded The Castle Group 27 years ago.  Armed with a yin/yang skillset, the two started small, in a shared office space, with their desks facing each other and 3 initial clients:  the Nellie Mae Foundation, Bank of Boston (precursor to Bank of America), and The Street, an online financial services publication.  With steady growth year after year, the company is thriving with specialties in PR, events, marketing, public affairs, social/digital, and crisis management and was named a Forbes Best PR Agency.  Based in Boston with offices in Atlanta and Maui, Sandy and Wendy have built a company culture rooted in trust, authenticity, and a deep commitment to civic engagement. It’s no wonder then, that this PR Maven is the recipient of many awards, including the Boston Business Journal Power 50.  Born and raised in Brookline, MA,  Sandy’s family struggled to keep their home in the upscale enclave known as Chestnut Hill when her father declared bankruptcy. Determined to keep the family solvent, Sandy and her mother both worked three jobs.  In this interview, Sandy reveals her natural born competitive edge and her lifelong ability to be resilient during adversity.   At only 14 she found herself unsupervised and instead of doing her homework, she became an income earner, scooping ice cream, working in a supermarket, at a local pharmacy, and as a waitress. After failing to graduate with her high school class, she opted to get her GED instead.  A first-generation college graduate of UMASS Amherst, Sandy is the proud mother of two who firmly believes “it’s a good thing for a son and a daughter to watch their mother run a business.”   For a tutorial on chutspah, resourcefulness, overcoming obstacles, and thriving under pressure, just hit that download button. #thecastlegrp #PR #marketing 
24:55 1/10/24
Ann M. Doggett, DC -258
The more inflammation you have in your body, the quicker you will age and the lower your quality of life will be. -Ann Doggett, DC This week’s guest is a trailblazer in the field of holistic healthcare. Meet Dr. Ann Doggett, founder of Whole Body Solutions in Braintree, Massachusetts When Ann founded her practice back in 1989, her focus was chiropractic care, but as the years went by, she came to understand the power of alternative medicine. The mission of her wellness practice is to heal the body from the inside out, using natural remedies including nutrition counseling, acupuncture, chiropractic services, brain integration for learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury, concussion, and PTSD as well as body sculpting, treatments for long COVID, incontinence and sexual health. Her mantra? To help sick people get well, and healthy people stay healthy. The mother of two, Ann holds a doctorate of chiropractic from the New York Chiropractic College and a master’s degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport as well as certifications in nutrition response testing, practical herbal therapy, and bioenergetic medicine. The youngest of 8 children with 6 older brothers, Ann was raised in Dorchester, MA. The daughter of a Boston police officer, she credits her very strong mother as her role model as well as her older brothers who always protected her and had her best interests at heart. In this interview, Dr. Ann shares a wealth of knowledge including warnings about sugar intake and processed foods, plus her strong belief that inflammation is at the root of most illnesses. Says Ann: “Health is a mosaic, a reflection of our genetics coupled with stress factors. My goal is to address the entire individual. Emotional losses can also affect our energy. If you are out of balance in your life, your body will tell you. “ For a deep dive into whole body solutions for the new year, just hit that download button. #health #wellness #chiropractic #nutrition #longcovid #acupuncture #alternativemedicine #learningdisabilities #brainintegration
23:00 1/4/24
Candy Christmas Special: Christmas Edition 2023 -257
My wish, for you this Christmas? Time for gratitude, for love, for hope, and for planting seeds that bloom in 2024. -Candy O’Terry I’ve been looking forward to spending some time with you! Welcome to a very special holiday edition of The Story Behind Her Success. Gratitude is a powerful emotion and I’m always grateful to you for listening. This episode includes exclusive content including my answers to your email questions about the creation of the show, favorite interviews, on-air stories, and songs I’ve recorded throughout my career. Ask anyone with a podcast or a radio show and they’ll tell you: the listener is always #1. Thank you for listening every week. I’ll keep bringing you the stories if you promise to keep on listening. #podcast #radio #womensupportingwomen
23:35 12/21/23
Sherry Cerino: Author, Publisher & Founder -256
Every child deserves to have a friend and our books create conversations and kindness. -Sherry Cerino Meet a lifelong nurse turned children’s author and publisher. Sherry Cerino is on a mission to educate young children about differences. Newly retired after 45 years of nursing at Boston's top hospitals, Sherry went back to school to learn how to run a non-profit and created Ellasway, an acronym for Early Learning Leads to Acceptance. A collaboration of 35 authors from around the world whose messages are centered around themes of kindness, acceptance, and inclusion, Sherry mentors these authors, offering support and advice. Ellasway uses donations to buy the books from these authors and sends them to areas of need including hospitals and shelters. The proud author of many books including Ella & the All-Stars, Sherry has been bringing her books into schools to read to children for the last 10 years, partnering with teachers on curriculum, and inspiring children wherever she goes. Her target audience is kindergarten where friendships often begin. Says Sherry: “When choosing a friend, children often pick a child who looks like them. Our curriculum celebrates differences and creates conversations about inclusion and kindness.” Born and raised in snowy, cold Watertown, New York, Sherry grew up in a household where she was expected to pull her weight and be a problem solver. Her determination to do good and accomplish big goals shines through in this up-close and personal interview. Says Sherry: “I’m like a dog with a bone. If I have an idea and I want to make it happen, I do whatever I need to do to get it done.” For a tutorial on passion and the power of bringing a noble idea to life, just hit that download button. #education #inclusion #differences #childrensbooks
22:55 12/13/23
Eileen Reed: Founder of Simplify with Eileen -255
When you get rid of the things that are physically in the way, you have more time and more clarity, you can see what is next for you and it is life-changing. -Eileen Reed Years ago Eileen Reed was killing it in sales. Sure, there were plenty of financial benefits but she just wasn’t happy. Eileen wasn’t healthy, either. For the first time in her life, she was overweight, she was plagued by migraines and high blood pressure. At one point, she even thought she was having a heart attack. It was a family loss that served as a wake-up call for Eileen, compelling her to rethink her career and launch a whole new business. Today, Simplify with Eileen is thriving and so is she, offering coaching, hands-on reorganization of home and work spaces, online auctions and so much more. Says Eileen: “All too often, we attach too much value to things. When we declutter, we unburden ourselves. We are finally able to get out from under it all.” Raised in the little town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Eileen is one of five children who was taught at an early age to be a contributing member of her family and society. In this interview, we learn that Eileen has combined her old-school values with a new philosophy: “I’m an essentialist. I believe in the disciplined pursuit of less.” If you could use an organization coach, 20 minutes of wisdom is just a download away. #declutter #reorganization #essentialist #onlineauctions
19:47 12/7/23
Cheryl Opper: Founder of School on Wheels of MA. -254
School is the only normal thing for a child experiencing homelessness. - Cheryl Opper Great ideas are hatched in lots of places. For Cheryl Opper, the idea of founding School on Wheels, Massachusetts happened back in 2004 at her kitchen table while reading an article about Agnes Stevens of Los Angeles who was the founder of the charity. Cheryl was looking for a pumpkin cheesecake recipe and what she found was a calling to make a difference in the lives of homeless children. The statistics are staggering: there are over 27,000 homeless students in Massachusetts between kindergarten and high school. The average age of a homeless person in the state is just 8 years old and chances are, that child will move 3-5 times a year, leaving giant gaps in their ability to learn. Together with her army of volunteer tutors, Cheryl goes into homeless shelters to provide consistent one-on-one educational support to homeless kids. The relationship begins with the gift of a backpack, stuffed with school essentials and a handwritten note that reads: “I believe in you. You can climb this mountain. Anything is possible.” In this interview, Cheryl looks back on the progress of School on Wheels, MA over the last 20 years. A lifelong school teacher, she is also a person of great faith who believes that “it is such a blessing that God has used my hands, my voice, and my feet to help others.” Her passion for what she does shines through in this interview and you can hear her heartbreak when she describes the children School on Wheels, MA serves. Says Cheryl: “There are homeless students in every school across our state and they are just like your child and my child. They just want to be loved. They just want somebody to show up for them and tell them that they matter. “ #homelessness #education #shelters
23:38 11/30/23
Sharon Marrama: Co-Founder, Connor’s Kindness Project -253
I said to him: This is not going to be Nana’s Kindness Project. This is going to be Connor’s Kindness Project. -Sharon Marrama If you are looking for an uplifting story this holiday season, look no further. We talk a lot about “mother love” on this show, but what about the love a grandmother has for her grandchild? Meet Sharon Marrama, grandmother of 14-year-old Connor Wright, co-founders of Connor’s Kindness Project Hatched during the pandemic, the original goal was to deliver COVID Care Packages to children. Within a year, the organization began delivering Kindness Kits to children in hospitals and shelters and today, nearly 5000 Kindness Kits have been delivered to over 20 hospitals and shelters throughout Massachusetts and into New England. Armed with Teen Ambassadors and volunteers, the charity has also created the Kids Kindness Club, where Connor speaks to students about the power of a simple act of kindness. Recently featured in People Magazine and on The Sherri Show, Sharon Marrama and her grandson have high hopes of taking their charity national. Running CKP is a family affair with Sharon’s daughter Erica (Connor’s mom) as a part of the leadership team. Raised in a humble home outside of Boston, Sharon was imbued with a strong work ethic from a very young age. As a high school student, she got up every morning at 4:30 AM to make the donuts at one of the original Dunkin Donuts locations. Employed at a dentist’s office for over 30 years, Sharon went back to college at age 50, earning a bachelor's degree with high honors. In addition to her role as Executive Director of Connor’s Kindness Projects, she is a Radiologic Technologist who also teaches radiology at Middlesex Community College. With a heart full of kindness Sharon says: “Life is about taking a tough or vulnerable situation and making it into a positive moment, one act of kindness at a time.” For 20 minutes of inspiration this Thanksgiving or any day of the week, just hit that download button. #kindness #thanksgiving #connorskindnessproject
19:36 11/22/23
Bracha Horovitz: Israeli author of Soldier On -252
Success for me is determination. As long as you are alive, you don’t give up. You don’t quit.  -Bracha Horovitz Born in 1952, just 6 years after the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, Bracha’s name means “a blessing” in Hebrew. The daughter of a holocaust survivor whose entire family was killed at Auschwitz, Bracha grew up believing that in order to succeed, you must never look back. Raised in the idyllic town of Ein Kerem, just south of Jerusalem, she recalls a simple life, steeped in family traditions and a deep devotion to Israel. One of the first settlers to come to Israel when the death camps were liberated, Bracha’s father was the founder of agricultural settlements and would travel throughout the country, teaching people how to grow things in an unforgiving climate with rocky soil. As a first-generation Israeli, Bracha is called a “Sabra” after the cactus that grows in the region. Tough on the outside, but sweet on the inside, she was raised to be resilient. At 18, she proudly entered the Israeli Defense Force or IDF, fulfilling the requirement for all men and women to serve their country for two years. Says Bracha: “ It is the whole idea of giving something to your country. You are part of contributing to society and in doing so, you become a mature, strong adult.” At 20, Bracha married a man named Zvi, attended college to get a degree in textile engineering, and gave birth to two daughters. The family landed in Boston when Zvi was offered a job at Malden Mills in Lawrence, MA. Tasked with leading the famous mill’s research and development team, Zvi was at the helm during the creation of the fabric known as polar fleece. In this interview, Bracha shares the story of their severely disabled son who taught the family powerful life lessons: Says Bracha: “Ronnie taught us all how to love, how to be compassionate, how to feel, and how to see a light in someone, without voice. “ As an Israeli, Bracha shares her insights into the war between Israel and its aggressors declaring “I am far away physically, but very close emotionally with my mind and my soul always in Israel.” #israel #resilience #holocaustsurvivor #IDF #polarfleece @maldenmills @templeemanuelandover
29:02 11/15/23
Melissa Michelon, MD: Dermatologist, -251
I don’t want my patients to leave my office feeling different. I want them to feel refreshed, an even better version of themselves. - Melissa Michelon, MD. They say “time is a thief” but is it possible to turn back the hands of time just enough to give yourself a boost of confidence? Dr. Melissa Michelson says: “Yes, you can!” A board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, Melissa is a proud member of the elite team at the Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation. With an eye for symmetry, balance, and proportion, her specialties include non-invasive procedures such as laser rejuvenation and resurfacing, treatment of scars, melasma, rosacea, neurotoxins and filler injections, micro-needling, and more. Born and raised in a small, blue-collar town about an hour north of Detroit, Melissa was the first person in her family to attend college. It was her parents who instilled a deep need in her to do well in school, and this propelled her through Worcester Polytechnic Institute and on to medical school. Now the mother of four, Melissa gave birth to her first child in medical school, her second child during her residency, and her third child during her dermatology residency. Says Melissa: “I have learned so much about myself by being a mom. Mostly, I know that I can handle anything. “ She’s had many role models along the way, but in this interview, Dr. Michelon shares the story of a woman who worked at her father’s automotive repair shop. “The shop was all men and watching her taught me to stick up for myself, always.” And if you’re wondering if Dr. Melissa Michelon can change the oil in her car, the answer is “yes,” For a 20-minute tutorial on an inspiring female physician, just hit that download button. #dermatology #womeninmedicine #skinrejuvenation #workingmoms #motherhood
20:42 11/9/23
Connie Johnson Hambley: writer, author & renaissance woman -250
I have always wanted to try something new, to put myself in situations where I was a little breathless, where there’s an itch to scratch, and where I ask myself: can I really succeed at this?  -Connie Johnson Hambley After struggling with how to describe this week’s guest, I’ve landed on “Renaissance woman” not only because she is an expert in so many fields, but because she is prolific at everything she does. Born and raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York, Connie recalls a childhood where she could step out her back door and roam 400 acres of idyllic farmland.  The farm was a family business. Connie’s family grew their own hay and corn for their cows, processing the milk at their own dairy, and delivering it to customers far and wide.   But it was also at this dairy farm where Connie’s internal compass was rattled when a disgruntled employee struck a match setting the barn on fire at feeding time.   This singular event sparked a lifelong interest in discovering why people do what they do.  Says Connie: “ A new mantra came into my life after the fire:  bad things happen to good people.  And bad people can look wonderful and still do reprehensible things. “  A prolific writer and author, Connie has a law degree, she’s been a fashion model, worked at an ad agency, been the vice president of a bank, and an adjunct professor of finance.  But in this interview, we learn that along the way, this two-time winner of the Best English Fiction Literary Award for her crime stories not only has a love affair with words, but a deep desire to hear what isn’t said, mining for gold between the lines.  And Connie sets daily goals for herself as an author:  “When I’m really into my writing, I park my butt in that chair and I don’t get up until I’ve put down 1000 fresh new words.” The mother of three, Connie is also a world traveler whose love for adventure has been passed on to her grown children. In this latest chapter of her ever-evolving story, Connie is focused on the financial exploitation of elders and is determined to use everything she knows to shine a bright light on the systemic mistreatment of our senior citizens.  #author #writer #crime #elderabuse
22:35 11/1/23
Sue Tabb Part 2: award-winning broadcaster & 2-time breast cancer survivor -249
Once you have cancer, it becomes a part of your history, part of the fabric of your journey, part of your story. -Sue Tabb Welcome back to the story of award-winning broadcaster, columnist, PR & marketing pro, wife, mother, and 2-time breast cancer survivor, Sue Tabb. Recorded on a sunny day in my living room just a few hours after Sue got off the air at Magic 106.7, this interview was so inspiring, we just had to make it available to you in two parts. Raised in Westfield, Massachusetts, Sue was the Valedictorian of her class in a largely Irish Catholic middle-class town. At Smith College, she quickly recognized that she was surrounded by girls who were smarter and more worldly than she was. Believing she had made a big mistake in choosing Smith, Sue called her mother and begged her to come and get her. It was this life-changing conversation with her mother that caused a shift in Sue’s perspective. Says Sue: “My mother said, I’m not coming. You are smart enough. You are good enough and you can do this. You are just gonna have to work a little harder than the other girls. But don’t ever say you’re not good enough.” 25 years into her radio career, Sue Tabb is a much-loved broadcaster who devotes her time to many non-profits including breast cancer charities, as well as the One Wish Project. Always ready for the next big challenge, Sue shares her bucket list of hopes and dreams in this interview, her deep love for her own daughters, and her sage advice about what success really means. #breastcancer #radio #broadcasting #smithcollege
19:03 10/26/23
Sue Tabb Part 1: award-winning broadcaster & 2-time breast cancer survivor -248
Breast cancer is a club nobody wants to be in, but it’s not a bad club. It’s an empowering club. And when you get through it, you realize you are much more resilient than you think you are. -Sue Tabb According to the American Cancer Society: 1 in every 8 women will hear the words: you have breast cancer. The woman you are about to meet has heard those words two times in her life. Sue Tabb’s daughters were just little girls when she was first diagnosed with the disease and then, 12 years later she learned the news that the cancer was back. In this interview, the 6-time Gracie Allen award-winning broadcaster shares her story, including the fact that she underwent a double mastectomy alone, at the height of the pandemic, when COVID restrictions forced her husband to drop her off in front of the hospital. Facing this life-changing moment alone set off a sea change in this strong, funny, kindhearted, and uber-talented woman which she shares graciously in this interview. The co-host of Morning Magic on Magic 106.7, Sue got back on the air just 3 weeks after her surgery, craving normalcy and sharing her breast cancer story with listeners. Says Sue “If I can get one person who has been putting off that mammogram to get one, then I’ve done something wonderful. “ A 25-year veteran of Boston radio, Sue got her start on the legendary Kiss 108 working with Marconi Award-winning radio personality Matt Siegel. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Smith College, she is a gifted journalist, former columnist, magazine editor, newspaper reporter and PR/Marketing pro. Recorded in my living room, this chat with a former colleague and forever friend comes to you in two parts. #breastcancer #radio #broadcasting.
21:03 10/19/23
Melissa Dupuis: Well-being Enthusiast & Breast Cancer Survivor -247
The doctor said: This is breast cancer. Buckle-up. - Melissa Dupuis October is breast cancer awareness month and although great strides have been made, the statistics remain the same. According to the American Cancer Society: 1 in every 8 women will hear the words “you have breast cancer”. This month, we’re supporting a local charity called The Ellie Fund, which focuses on making the day-to-day lives of breast cancer patients a little bit easier. In the spotlight, Melissa Dupuis. A former professional ballet dancer with a degree in dance, Melissa is a well-being enthusiast whose long list of credentials includes a master's degree in Public Health. She’s a certified pilates instructor, health education specialist, health coach, personal trainer, and barre instructor on a mission to spread the importance of health in mind, body, and soul. You can imagine her surprise when what Melissa thought was a clogged milk duct turned out to be breast cancer. In this interview, Melissa shares her breast cancer journey as a new, young mom in a powerful way, describing her positive mindset during treatment: “Of course, I was a mess when I first got diagnosed, but then I said to myself, I’m gonna beat this. I put my boxing gloves on and said: Let’s do this.” And like so many women who weather the storm of this disease, Melissa emerged a changed a woman: “Everything around me seems brighter. I pay attention. I am more present. I appreciate the little things because the little things ARE the big things.” Her advice to a woman who is newly diagnosed with breast cancer? “Take a deep breath. Know that this is temporary. You are a fighter and when you come out of this, it will change you for the better. Feel your feelings. Get angry. Be sad. But most of all, love yourself. Your body and your mind are a fortress. “ #breastcancer #elliefund @PLABosto.
23:19 10/11/23
Kelly Cantley: Senior Vice President, Bozzuto Construction -246
Focus on what you can control.  You can’t control the outcome, but you can control the process. -Kelly Cantley How many women are leaders in commercial construction?   The answer is: not enough!  Meet Kelly Cantley, Senior Vice President of Bozzuto Construction Company Born and raised in the town of Bluff City, Tennessee, population 1500 by a trailblazing school teacher and a 36-year Army veteran, Kelly is blazing her own trail in a field where less than 10% of women are finding their footing.  A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Kelly was nominated by former Vice President & Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore, Kelly got her Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the Academy and served as an Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.   Her transition from the military to construction was smoother than you might think, aided by Kelly’s Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and a belief in the theory that success in these fields is rooted in “process and procedure.”   Kelly’s big job at Bozzuto carries big weight. She’s responsible for new business, acquisition, planning, and implementation of new work.  A family-owned business, founded in 1988, Bozzuto maintains a rich culture, steeped in the firm belief that “everyone deserves safe shelter and sanctuary.”  Kelly puts these beliefs into practice as an advocate for philanthropic organizations like Urban Land Institute, Women’s Housing Coalition, ACE Mentoring Program and Jubilee Housing.  Her best advice for women on the rise in construction?  “Find your voice and speak up, especially in difficult situations. Take your blinders off and don’t be afraid to try new things.”   For an inspiring look into the life of a trailblazer, just hit that download button. #womeninconstruction #USNavalAcademy #construction #trailblazer 
21:59 9/28/23
Christy Cashman: actress, author, The Truth About Horses -245
There are so many parts to us and writing this book is a big part of me. But there’s a lot more to do and it makes me excited about life and getting out of bed every morning.  -Christy Cashman Christy Cashman is an actress who has appeared in more than twenty movies including American Hustle, Joy, Ted 2, and Kettle of Fish.  She’s written two children’s books, has her own production company,  and is the founder of a teenage writing mentorship program called YouthINK The wife of Boston developer Jay Cashman, Christy is the mother of two sons.  The family splits their time between three homes including a castle in Ireland.   Fresh from her book tour with galpal Jane Seymour, Christy arrived ready to share the inspiration for The Truth About Horses including her complex characters, the creative process, and the stories of her life.  Written in a gazebo at her home on Cape Cod, The Truth About Horses is a brilliantly crafted tale about a 14-year-old girl obsessed with horses and emotionally crushed by the death of her mother. Published by SPARKPRESS, the book is being celebrated worldwide for its unique relatability, whether you are a horse enthusiast or not.  The 9th of 10 children, Christy spent the first seven years of her life on a poultry farm in Novelty, Ohio, and then moved to the mountains of North Carolina where horses became the focus of her life.   In this interview, Christy describes her own mother and older sisters as her role models, sharing through tears “Ever since my Mom died, I have always felt like I was meeting special people she was sending my way.”   Her mother’s wisdom about accomplishment is reflected in one of the most poignant moments of the book.  “Oncedrams are reached, they are meant to turn to dust giving you a chance to dream again.”  For a deep dive into the soul of an exceptional woman who can write, act, produce, and mentor the next generation, just hit that download button.  #actress#novelist #thetruthabouthorses 
24:40 9/21/23
Maureen Weisner: Co-Founder of KICKSTART Your Transition, -244
Sometimes the door you’re trying to push or kick open isn’t the door that’s designed for you.  -Maureen Weisner If your career needs an adjustment, I’ve got just the woman for you!  Meet Maureen Weisner, co-founder and managing partner of KICKSTART Your Transition A wife and mother of grown children, Maureen has been flexing her teaching muscles for a lifetime, helping women and men understand that “sometimes, the job you want is not available, so you pivot and what you learn from that experience is that what you thought was your singular goal in that environment just isn’t.   Raised in a gigantic coop in Queens, New York with 700+ families and 1700+ children, Maureen was an only child whose mother died when she was only 11. Raised by her father who worked long hours at the post office, Maureen was self-guided and learned resiliency early in life. In this interview,  she recalls being watched over by the other moms in her complex, with a profound sense that she would excel in school and accomplish great things.  Recognized as a Top 10 Executive Coach by Women’s Business Boston, Maureen is an in-demand seminar leader, speaker, and author who practices what she preaches.  “You are a product of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Make sure they are all achievers who also support your goals.”  Citing research from the University of London that shows it takes 66 days to create change, Coach Maureen suggests you take that first big step today:   “Get up. Get dressed. Get out.”   For 21 minutes that will leave you firing on all cylinders, just hit that download button. #executivecoach #womeninbusiness #careerchange 
21:40 9/15/23
Kimberly Plante: author of the memoir WORTHY, -243
I thought I was broken. I thought there was something wrong with me. -Kimberly Plante This episode is going to make you angry and it might just make you cry. As the abused child of a young, single mother, Kimberly Plante grew up in constant fear. She lived in squalor in a home where cockroaches climbed the walls. She wore filthy clothes, had no friends, and was left alone at night to care for her little brother. She was beaten, burned on her scalp and arms with cigarette butts, and every day she was told: You are unworthy of love. In her powerful memoir, Kimberly Plante walks us through a life that at times, seems so unbelievably terrifying, you wonder how on earth she managed to survive it. But, survive is exactly what she did, often inspired by the iconic lyrics of Gloria Gaynor’s anthemic song “I Will Survive” which played on repeat in her head. Kim’s memoir WORTHY is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit. Armed with a handwritten 3-point action plan, Kim vowed to turn her adult life around not just for herself, but for her young children. Today, she is thriving as an associate director of respiratory therapy at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston. During the pandemic and throughout her career, she has saved countless lives. Kim is happily married to the love of her life and has been deeply changed by a startling discovery on that has transformed her life. You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out more! This episode serves as a reminder to anyone working with children: if you see something, say something because as Kim says: “Kids don’t tell. When you are being abused you think it is your fault. You are embarrassed. It is shameful. Abused children are just too terrified to talk.”, call or text: 800-422-4453 #childabuse
26:25 9/7/23
Valerie McSorley: Super Connector, SVP at -242
Being a connector is my calling. This is the work that lights me up. -Valerie McSorley Valerie McSorley could claim the title of “super-connector” any day of the week. She’s been building her vast professional network for decades by producing live, major market industry events, developing businesses and creating strategic partnerships that endure the test of time. She’s currently the Senior Vice President for Partner Success at livepro, a knowledge management system designed specifically for contact centers. For over 20 years, Val has been bringing people together for better results by developing the acronym C.O.A.R: communicate, offer, ask receive. But at the root of her success is the fact that people in just about every field know and trust her. She may be “an army of one” but you can count on Val and the caliber of the company she keeps. A seasoned corporate event planner and emcee, she has always had the gift of foresight: “I see the whole picture. I understand how the pieces come together and I am unafraid to have difficult conversations. Plus, I never ask anyone to do anything I would not do myself.” Born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, Val’s lifelong role model was and still is her nearly 100-year-old maternal grandmother. Says Val: “Every single day when I was growing up, she drilled it into me that I was going to go to college. I was going to be successful, make my own money, and most of all, I was going to stand on my own two feet.” The proud mother of two sons, Val is not only a super-connector but a passionate entrepreneur who credits her husband as her biggest fan. For a 23-minute tutorial on how to take become a connector, just hit that download button. #connector #entrepreneur #mentor
23:01 7/6/23
Christina Gordon: Co-Founder & CEO of WFBoston -241
There is a massive under-investment in non-profits serving women and girls in this country. -Christina Gordon Meet Christina Gordon, Co-Founder & CEO of WFBoston. She holds an undergraduate degree from Boston University and four master's degrees: two from the prestigious Sloan School of Management at MIT and two more from Brandeis University. Raised by a single mom not far from New York City, Christina is the daughter and grandchild of educators who was taught early in life that education is the foundation upon which future success grows. She believes (and research shows) that a woman’s education and financial health are the keys to her success and the success of her family. Now the mother of four grown children, Christina is a champion for women and girls through WFBoston. In this interview, she shares her own rise in the financial world, beginning with a very lucky chance to intern at Standard & Poors when she was only 20 years old, and a wise decision to begin her career at Fidelity Investments. As a young mother, she found herself drawn to share her business acumen and interest in women and financial independence only to discover that most non-profits had “ tons of passion but weren’t able to get the impact they wanted because they weren’t managing their organization like a business.“ Together with three other exceptional women, she began searching for a non-profit focused on educating underserved women and girls in finance. To their surprise, the team discovered that there were no organizations with this focus, particularly in Massachusetts. Says Christina: “We didn’t do this because we thought it would be fun or exciting or that we could make a difference. We founded WFBoston because we were filling a gap.” A marathon runner, hiker, and skier in her downtime, Christina says she is a problem solver by nature. Loaded with advice and guidance for the next generation of women, she applauds the fact that glass ceilings have been shattered, but there is more work to be done. Filled with wisdom and a willingness to share it, Christina says: Surround yourself with optimists. True success is being really good at something that you really love…and also having an impact. That’s the trifecta.” #women #finance #WFBoston
24:26 6/22/23

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