She Figured Out How to Launch an Active-Wear Line That Will Sail You Away.

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Carolann DEKKER

Carolann Dekker 250Founder, Top Dekk

Describe your business in 3 sentences. What is it?
Top Dekk is a unique social hub and apparel line for women who are interested in sailing and the sailing style. Whether or not you sail, own a boat or have even been on a boat the style of sailing and all things nautical will draw you into the Top Dekk Community.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Being an entrepreneur is a gift, being a little naïve is not a bad thing, it gives you the ability to see the dream without the barriers that a more experienced entrepreneur might let sway them. Persistence, patience and being resourceful are key attributes to being successful; I learned this from the women at the Ladies Who Launch Incubator events I attended in San Diego.

Are there any words of advice, books or role models that really inspired and changed you?
Every women entrepreneur I have ever met has inspired me, I learn a little from each one and that has contributed to what Top Dekk turned out to be.

How do you juggle it all?
I’ve learned that being impactful or effective is much more important than being efficient. This lesson has helped me learn to chose my priorities carefully and spend my time only on things that are the most important. I also chose not to spend time with people who don’t energize me and support my dreams. I’ve learned over the past few years that it’s the people in my life that can help make me successful or can also drain the energy and focus I need for my business if I let them. I no longer let those people take up time in my day. We all have or have had people like this in our life. This one choice has opened up a tremendous amount of time that allows me to focus on Top Dekk.

What did it cost to start your business? How did you find the funds? How long did it take to get started?
I was fortunate to have had a very successful career in marketing. I started in sports marketing with the America’s Cup, which included licensing apparel, then moved on to an online college community, packaged goods and ended my 20+ year employment history with 5 years working for the famous personal development expert, Tony Robbins. I decided to start my own business consistent with what Tony Robbins teaches to his very entrepreneurial audience. Once I left full time employment, I still needed to pay the bills. I leveraged my contacts and my marketing skills and started a marketing agency. I knew that the marketing agency was a means to an end. I wanted to create a business that was scalable, could run virtually with few employees and had something to do with women. I was able to fund Top Dekk with the money generated through my Marketing Agency. I worked on both businesses at the same time. Without having to spend time traveling back and forth to an office, time in long business meetings along with the other requirements associated with being an employee, I became extremely productive and worked 7 days a week to build Top Dekk. I was completely self-funded to build and launch Top Dekk including building the site, marketing costs and most importantly the manufacturing costs. Moving forward, I’ve just been approved for a line of credit and may look for Angel Investors or other types of funding as the business evolves and grows.

What is the single biggest thing you would say an entrepreneur has to be armed with in order to succeed?
Entrepreneurs must be able to sell; it’s the most important thing we all have to do to be successful. We must be able to sell ourselves, our ideas, our business plan and ultimately our products or services. If you’re passionate and love what you do it’s much easier, but it’s a “must” nonetheless. If you’re uncomfortable with sales, being an entrepreneur will be very difficult!

What adjectives would you use to describe how you feel most days when you wake up?
Most days I wake up feeling energized and happy to face my day knowing that I’m building something that will create security for my family, meet my strong desire to build a business and hopefully create a positive impact on women. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been a few days of anxiety and total exhaustion. I have been working six or seven days a week for 13-14 hours a day for over two years with very little vacation time. It’s a different kind of anxiety and exhaustion. I hope this doesn’t sound cliché, but working for yourself is truly a privilege and a little anxiety and being tired is just part of the journey.

What do you do to take care of yourself?
Exercise is the one consistent gift I give myself. I exercise most days first thing in the morning. It’s one of my biggest priorities. I also invite girlfriends to join me and try to make it as social as possible so that it’s fun and also gives me another way to see friends. I vary my routine and try all kinds of classes and work with a personal trainer two times a week. It helps me take care of my body and my mind at the same time. Exercise helps me concentrate and provide greater focus for my work.

What is your ultimate future dream for yourself and / or your business?
Top Dekk is designed to bring sailing style to all parts of the world through a unique product line, content, contributors and a growing online community. The apparel line dedicated to the unique nautical style will eventually extend to sailing gifts and inspirations for the home. The Top Dekk brand will be available in Yacht Club boutiques and other high-end resort boutiques around the world where sailors and those looking for the sailing lifestyle spend their leisure time. Eventually I plan to run Top Dekk from exotic sailing locations around the world.

Who has supported you most / least in your journey?
My husband has always been supportive of my career choices, but starting my own business has required him to take on new roles in my life. In additional to his continuous and unwavering emotional support, he has taken on the operations role for Top Dekk. His official title is COO, but he likes to tell our friends that he is my Chief “Go-fer.” I’m also extremely lucky to have a very supportive sister and friends, but my strongest supporter is also my mentor, Ruby Randall. She and I have worked together in several companies and she has been both an advisor and friend. Thanks to her strategic thinking, her ongoing support and advice helped me make the move from the comforts of traditional employment to go out on my own and create Top Dekk.

Is your business your passion?
Top Dekk is definitely one of my passions, after caring for my family and friends; Top Dekk is everything to me. I can’t imagine putting this kind of effort and time into something that I wasn’t passionate about. The sailing style has been an inspiration to me for years. I began sailing for fun in the early 90s, but really couldn’t find anything to wear. I loved the lifestyle and met many new friends, eventually meeting my husband who is a lifelong sailor. The women’s clothing for sailing has been typically based on men’s styles, much like golfing used to me. The clothing manufactures based the women’s clothing options on the men’s design and just offered it in smaller sizes for women without any effort to understand our needs.

After years of “making do” with what was on the market, I decided to launch the Top Dekk line with a pair of sailing pants for the active women sailor. I asked many friends, acquaintances and women sailors from around the world what they wanted in a pair of sailing pants. The answer was consistent: style, great fit, special features to protect her body and a design like a great pair of jeans. That was all I needed, I hired a professional sportswear designer to turn my ideas into reality. It took over a year, but the Top Dekk “Gigi” sailing pants were created and named after my girlfriend who first took me sailing.

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Meet the Lady Whose Company Was Born From Her Pregnancy

Lisa WELCH

Founder, BornFit

Lisa Welch, founder BornFitFor Featured Lady Lisa Welch, finding hip, comfortable maternity fitness wear wasn’t a challenge she anticipated with her first pregnancy. As a mother who remained active while pregnant, Lisa knew this was a niche that needed attention. She founded BornFit in 2007 with the mission to create a fitness line that would make women feel inspired, empowered and confident. Since its launch three years ago, BornFit has been featured by media outlets including The Today Show, ABC 7 Chicago, Good Morning Arizona, Fox Houston, NBC Houston, South Jersey Mom, Oxygen, Pregnancy, Mothering, Women’s Running, Shape, Women’s Health, Walk! Magazine and Today’s Parent.

“What I quickly discovered was the need for quality and stylish clothing for active moms – not just those who are expecting,” Lisa says. “I wanted to create products that not only made women look good, but also made them feel strong, confident and inspired.”

Armed with her idea, a marketing degree and no experience in retail or manufacturing, Lisa spoke with people in the industry for advice. “I surrounded myself with those who had more knowledge than me,” she explains. ”I’m a determined person. I always think, ‘How can I make this happen?’”

Knowing what she’d want in maternity active wear, Lisa developed a line that was stretchy, moisture-wicking, didn’t look like pregnancy clothing and could easily be worn long after the baby was born. She introduced BornFit Maternity with an informational website and a maternity collection only available in stores. “Surprisingly, once the line launched we quickly discovered that women wanted more than maternity active wear, and we could provide it. We were getting such great feedback on our technical performance and quality garments,” Lisa says. “Women wanted clothes that had the same, comfortable fit in an all-new fitness collection.”

“They wanted it for running, biking, tennis, yoga and everything else. So although we initially designed the line to suit pregnant women, we evolved and launched the fitness line.”

As a result of BornFit’s successful debut, Lisa expanded to a full active wear collection eighteen months later and added the ability to buy direct from the website. Today, the company offers fitness and maternity fitness apparel for running, golf, tennis, yoga and cycling. BornFit’s tops, jackets, pants, shorts, capris and signature skorts (a combination 14” long skirt with no-chafe undershorts) come in a variety of styles and colors.

sunlight_tee_boxedThe company name, BornFit, came to Lisa while she was running. “That’s my alone time when no one is pulling at me,” she says. “It’s when God allows me to listen. Ninety-five percent of the time, ideas come to me when I’m running.”

“BornFit reflects the idea that all of us are truly born fit, it’s in all of us,” Lisa says. “It’s about getting back to that core and implementing a fitness lifestyle.” BornFit was founded on the solid belief that a strong body produces a confident spirit. Lisa explains, “When we feel confident, anything is possible!”

BornFit experienced a period of transition when the person with whom Lisa shared business responsibilities decided to leave. “We had things split fifty-fifty, so when she left it created a lot of change,” Lisa says. “I absorber her half of the responsibilities, in addition to my own. It’s not easy growing and running a company, but now I’m managing many more areas at once. But I like to think there’s always a silver lining.”

Lisa’s vision for BornFit is to reach as many women as she can domestically and internationally to make them feel good about themselves. “Fitness is a foundation, it affects every aspect of our lives. Your first 10K race leads to the confidence to go back to school and earn that degree,” she says. “Life is like fitness, you take it one day at a time.”

What sets BornFit apart from other fitness apparel brands is that their active wear is completely designed by women for women. Lisa says, “Also, our focus is completely on the clothing. We’re not a shoe company that happens to manufacture a line of apparel.”

In the end, Lisa believes it’s all about attitude. “When you love what you do, it’s really not work at all. It’s about passion,” she says. “My passion is not to sell as much clothing as possible. It’s about getting women to exercise, to stay fit. So it’s the movement behind the message that’s most important.”

What we learned from Lisa: “As moms we need to give ourselves a break.”

Say Thanks
“Show gratitude and acknowledge that you don’t get to where you are all by yourself.”

Get Going
“If you have an idea, just start! Jump right in. Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.”

Family First
“Balance is a really tricky word. BornFit hasn’t grown as fast as it could because my family is my priority.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Who’s an Expert on Love, Marriage and the Baby Carriage

Carley RONEY

Co-Founder, CCO, The Knot

Carley Roney, Co-Founder The KnotFeatured Lady Carley Roney started The Knot with three partners after recognizing an opportunity to modernize the old-fashioned, white glove wedding industry. Since its launch in 1996, The Knot has become the Internet’s most trafficked one-stop wedding solution with over 3.4 million unique visitors a month and more than 125 million monthly page views. As the country’s best modern wedding and lifestyle expert, Carley helped develop TODAY’s interactive wedding planning series “TODAY Ties The Knot” and appears each year as the series’ expert. She has been on <i>Oprah, The View, LIVE! With Regis & Kelly, The Early Show, E!, CNN, Inside Edition, and The FOX News Report, as well as featured in Vogue, Elle, Glamour, InStyle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal</i> and <i>USA Today</i>.

Carley was speaking at the Ladies Who Launch Global Conference in New York City on November 8 – 9, 2010.

“The bridal world was outdated, cluttered and chaotic. Bridal magazines hadn’t changed in 20 years and weren’t in touch with modern brides,” Carley says of her decision to start The Knot with her husband, David Lui, and two others. Recalling feelings of frustration when planning her wedding to David in 1993, Carley knew the The Knot’s time had come. “There were no central resources and no etiquette for modern couples. There wasn’t any information on planning a wedding with divorced parents, multicultural weddings, or how to pay for a wedding yourself.”

The Knot launched with funds from strategic partners and seed money – $1.7 million from a venture arm of AOL. “We’ve always been extremely careful about using our money wisely and that’s what made The Knot, Inc. ride through the highs and lows of the economy,” Carley says.

One of those lows occurred in April 2000 when the dot com bubble burst right after The Knot, Inc. went public. “We were losing about $9 million a year and had about $5 million in revenue,” Carley says. “We were close to being profitable, but then delisted.” She admits that financing in the first half of The Knot’s existence was a major challenge. “We had a continuous line of near death experiences, but through persistence we were able to overcome the challenge successfully.”

The Knot earned more recognition when a TODAY producer called Carley to discuss partnering for an interactive wedding series. “I still remember having a brainstorming meeting in the basement of the NBC studios,” Carley says. Eleven years later, TheKnot.com is the cornerstone of “TODAY Ties the Knot” – the number one wedding series on national morning TV.

Carley and David pride themselves on listening to their customers, so when they noticed many of The Knot’s brides coming back to the site to chat as newlyweds, Carley created four message boards dedicated to newly married life. The web traffic exploded. “That’s when we knew we needed to create another brand for life beyond the wedding, and TheNest.com was born in 2005,” she explains. “Now we have The Nest magazine which is distributed four times a year nationwide, and two books, The Nest Newlywed Handbook and The Nest Home Design Handbook.”

Knowing that after love and marriage comes the baby carriage, Carley felt there was a huge market for The Knot to create a site for first-time moms that was down-to-earth, local and ultimately, fun. Inspired by the birth of her daughter, Carley launched a web community called TheBump.com. “Now, we have The Bump in magazine form, a Facebook application called ‘Mommyhood by The Bump,’ Breastfeeding.com, the #1 website for moms looking for breastfeeding advice and local lactation consultants and LilaGuide.com, which has the best local listings as voted by real moms in twenty top cities around the country.” Carley also just published her first-ever baby book called The Baby Bump.

Carley’s ultimate vision for The Knot is to be the world’s best resource for weddings, pregnancy and everything in between. “We also want to be the blueprint for the media company of the twenty-first century. A brand that can live in any medium, that’s multi-platform and multi-revenue,” she explains.

What we learned from Carley: “Don’t be prideful. You will have some humbling moments, but don’t be ‘too good’ for anything when you’re getting started…and even when you’ve made it.”

Give It Up

“Be willing to make sacrifices. It will come in the form of free time, money, your social life and friends. Once you have your feet on solid ground, you can regain some.”

Clear Cut Roles

“Divide and conquer. You must be willing to let go and trust your partner. You can’t do everything, and certainly won’t be efficient or effective if you do.”

Mission Accomplished

“One of our early investors told us, ‘We didn’t invest in you to be number two, we want you to be number one.’ You have to declare victory over something no matter how small it is. This will help you clarify and focus your mission.”

Apply to Be a Featured Lady

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.
* Learn more about PR Opportunities and PR Leads from Ladies Who Launch
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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Who’s Helping Oprah Produce a Ten-Week Webinar

Elizabeth LESSER

Co-Founder, Omega Institute


Elizabeth Lesser, Omega InstituteFeatured Lady Elizabeth Lesser, a former midwife and birth educator, was ahead of her time when she launched Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in 1977. Today, Omega is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. Elizabeth worked with many eminent thinkers of our time, including Zen masters, rabbis, Christian monks, psychologists, scientists, and an array of noted American figures (from L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson to author Maya Angelou) and discovered that by combining psychological, religious, and healing traditions, everyone has the ability to quench their spiritual thirst.

A senior advisor at Omega, New York Times best-selling author, and host on Oprah Radio, Elizabeth was speaking at the Ladies Who Launch Global Conference New York location on November 8 – 9, 2010.

Omega Institute offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. With the mission to help people awaken the best in the human spirit, Elizabeth’s organization helps people uncover their inner power, grace, joy and goodness in a multitude of ways. “We’re holistic, which means we understand that there are many dimensions to a human life,” she says.

A student of the Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan since 1971, Elizabeth was captivated by the eastern philosophy movement beginning in the United States. “I remember when the Beatles went to India. I was very interested in that,” she says. Omega Institute grew out of Elizabeth and her first husband’s (Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.) association with Khan and the community of young people who studied with him in the 1970s. Despite being in their early twenties with no business experience, Khan put the couple in charge of Omega. “We didn’t know anything, we weren’t business people,” admits Elizabeth.

Elizabeth on Oprah

Watch Elizabeth lesser on Oprah’s Soul Series Video

Omega Institute’s concept quickly took off and within four years the organization expanded from rented facilities to its current site, a former children’s camp in Rhinebeck, New York. Renovating and developing Omega’s new location was somewhat slow due to cash flow and the condition of the facilities. Financed on a wing and a prayer, Elizabeth explains, “My husband and I were fortunate in our own naïveté and the times. Had we known the stress and the challenges with finances, we probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Today, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people annually to its workshops, conferences and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York and around the world. The organization employs 100 full-time people, which triples seasonally from April to October, and operates with 300 speakers as part of the faculty.

When Elizabeth co-founded Omega thirty-three years ago, yoga, meditation, natural foods and acupuncture were considered voodoo-like by the mainstream. “Back then, the concept of holistic studies was very fringy stuff,” she says. “Our faculty and staff were just so thrilled to have a place to share their services.”

“Now you can go into any hospital and they’ll have massage, Chinese medicine, therapy and a prayer room,” Elizabeth says. “You can find a yoga studio on any street in any-town, USA.” She believes that holistic studies’ infiltrating our culture is a good sign. “Diversity of thinking and healing traditions from around the world are good for us. The movement itself has evolved enormously and it’s been a thrill to be part of it.”

Although Elizabeth and her co-founder accepted the challenge of starting Omega without any business experience, they grew it into a successful, thriving company. “Omega is a non-profit, but we’ve always acted like it was a business,” Elizabeth says. “For the first twenty-five years, we never fundraised a penny. All our capital was generated from housing and fees. Now we’re using our non-profit status to raise money for specific projects and a capital campaign.”

Elizabeth is the author of  The Seeker’s Guide and Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.

Her recent work includes helping Oprah Winfrey produce the 10-week webinar for Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth.

What we learned from Elizabeth: “I love combining business with my purpose in life.”

Be True
“In the business world, karma is instant.”

Lead with Spirit
“I like to think that if you’re interested in spiritual growth, you’ll be a better leader.”

Make it Happen
“I’m such a self-made person and not a big reader of business philosophy, but I live by Gandhi’s edict, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’”

Apply to Be a Featured Lady

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.
* Learn more about PR Opportunities and PR Leads from Ladies Who Launch
* Reach your Launch Potential by taking advantage of these SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES and online resources from Ladies Who Launch

Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Who Wants You to Get a Second Opinion

Lisa OZ

Founder and President – Ozworks, LLC; writer, actress, producer, and co-host of The Dr. Oz Show on Oprah Radio, Sirius and XM – LisaOz.com

Lisa OzFeatured Lady Lisa Oz considers herself a professional dilettante. An actress, screenwriter, producer and frequent co-host of The Dr. Oz Show on Oprah & Friends XM radio telecast with her husband, Dr. Mehmet Oz, she is also the founder and President of Ozworks, LLC, a media investment consulting firm and directs Pine Room Pictures, a production company specializing in family-friendly media. Lisa focuses much of her life on health, well-being and spirituality, and co-authored three New York Times best sellers, including YOU: The Owner’s Manual series. A health advocate and Reiki master, Lisa is a spokesperson for HealthCorps, the organization her husband founded to work with schools to prevent childhood obesity. Lisa and Mehmet, married for 22 years, have four children, Oliver, Daphne, Zoe and Arabella.

Lisa was speaking in New York on November 8-9, 2010
at Dream It! Launch It! Live It!

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, Lisa attended Columbia University’s Union Theological Seminary. A pre-med major while in school – her father and brother are both surgeons – Lisa dreamed of being an actress, which was not a favorable vocation in the eyes of her family. “Katharine Hepburn was an alumna of Bryn Mawr and she spoke at my graduation,” Lisa recalls. “She was so smart, talented, independent and really headstrong. She motivated me.”

Growing up, Lisa’s mom also inspired her. “My mother was brilliant, she was very much her own person,” she says. “I have six siblings, but my mother always maintained her own life. She earned two advanced theology degrees, was a minister and a local politician.”

Lisa eventually enrolled at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, which led to her appearing in a few television pilots, commercials and movies during her decade-long acting career. However, Lisa’s occupation was never number one in her life. “My priority has always been my family,” she says. “I was never willing to go to Los Angeles for pilot season, or be part of traveling shows.” However, her exposure the industry gave her the insight to later spearhead the show Second Opinion with Dr. Oz.

US_Lisa_Oz_1As someone who never pitched a television show to a network before, Lisa believes that one of her best moments was when she “had the guts” to approach executives about her idea. “I felt strongly that my husband could make a big difference,” Lisa recalls. The series ultimately launched on the Discovery Channel and, with the support of a network executive who was also Dr. Oz’s Harvard roommate, aired in 2003 – 2004. The show helped viewers wade through confusing and contradictory medical advice, while combining both non-traditional and modern medicinal practices.

For Lisa, the show was a result of her wanting to spend more time with her husband. “I dragged him into the media so we could be together,” she explains. “The message was patient empowerment and playing an active role in your own well-being.”

The YOU: The Owner’s Manual series resulted from the discussions on Second Opinion. “After the show went off the air, we had all this information, so Mehmet, Dr. Mike Roizen and I decided to put it into a book,” Lisa says. “Usually, medical books are either dry and technical, or are filled with heart-wrenching stories. My vision is to make health and medicine accessible, fun, approachable and easy to comprehend.”

Lisa was heavily involved with the first book and the diet book, and thrives in creative outlets. She feels strongly that doing what you love is more important than making money. “I knew that I’d wither in a nine to five environment, so I went where my skills lie,” she says. “I do what I enjoy the most, what I love and am most passionate about.”

“We have friends who are in their careers for the money. There never seems to be enough to justify the misery. Be happy to wake up to your role, if not, then switch jobs,” Lisa says.

“Being in the entertainment industry working on films and writing was something I really enjoyed. I would do anything, work as a production assistant or a grip, for no money because I loved it!”

She also advocates that it’s important to make a difference in the world while having fun. “We need a higher purpose. It needs to be fulfilling for us as well as fill a need in society and on the planet,” Lisa says. “Think big and do good in your venture.”

What we learned from Lisa: “Do what you love. Even if you’re in a job you dislike, find an aspect of it that you enjoy.”

Health Plan
“You hold the power to enhance your health – making even simple changes can have such a positive impact on one’s health. Value your body more. Buy a pedometer and count the steps. Make it fun.”

Vison Quest
“What ever you’re doing, look twenty years into the future.”

It’s All Good
“Most women juggle a mix of responsibilities and neglect taking the time to just stop and take a gratitude break. Good or bad, it’s relevant to say ‘thank you’ to everything that happens.”

Apply to Be a Featured Lady

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.
* Learn more about PR Opportunities and PR Leads from Ladies Who Launch
* Reach your Launch Potential by taking advantage of these SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES and online resources from Ladies Who Launch

Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Who Went From Weather Girl to Covering the World.

Joan LUNDEN

Award-winning television journalist, best-selling author, motivational
speaker, inventor, entrepreneur – JoanLunden.com

Joan Lunden Featured Lady Joan Lunden, one of America’s most recognizable and trusted TV personalities, built her career looking at things differently. From her days as a female pioneer in the news world and ascent into early morning network television to most recently offering women’s wellness retreats, launching a child safety product and introducing her home goods line, this former co-host of Good Morning America believes in the possibilities of an idea.

Joan, an award-winning television journalist, best-selling author, motivational speaker, inventor, entrepreneur and mother of seven, will be a speaker at the Ladies Who Launch Global Conference in New York on November 8– 9, 2010.

Before Joan paved the way the way for female broadcast journalists and became the longest-running host on early morning television, she was a 21 year-old college grad intending to work in the business world. That is, until a family friend encouraged her to explore TV news. With the Federal Communications Commission putting pressure on media companies to hire women in the early 1970s, Joan called a local Sacramento station and asked for an interview. Although her on-camera presence impressed the news director, he didn’t have an available position. However, the weatherman saw her audition and offered her the opportunity to be…a weather girl.

“Weather reporting was uninteresting to me but I had the good sense to say, ‘Yes,’” explains Joan. “There were no females and the industry needed smart, savvy and self-confident women.”

“My career afforded me the opportunity to cover some amazing, challenging and scary stories, like jumping out of a plane, climbing the Tetons and being at the controls of an F-18,” she says. “There were times when I’d leave my driveway in the morning, and think to myself, ‘I’m on my way to do what?’”

Joan quickly rose through the ranks at the station, which led her to leave California for a position at WABC New York and eventually become co-host of Good Morning America in 1980 – a role she held for almost 20 years. Although Joan was initially given the softer home and family beat to cover while the hard-hitting news went to her male co-host, during her tenure at GMA she reported from 26 countries, covered four presidents, five Olympics and two royal weddings.

“In the early years, I took the assignments they gave me and made them shine,” she says. “Actually, covering those stories on parenting, health and wellness have very much shaped my career.”

Since leaving GMA, Joan focused many of her projects on sharing wellness information and encouraging people, especially women, to take charge of their health and happiness. One such venture is Camp Reveille, a wellness getaway held in the Sebago Lake region of southern Maine for the past four years. Defined as “a wake-up call,” the program Joan developed allows women to energize their spirits, jump start a fitness program, connect with other ladies, renew sense of self and learn the tools needed to achieve a healthier balance in their lives.

“I saw a unique category that wasn’t being offered in the marketplace, so I created a new opportunity for women to travel to a nurturing and comfortable environment devoid of criticism,” Joan says. “Camp Reveille is a place where women motivate and inspire each other.”

KinderkordA big proponent of family, like many parents Joan knew the challenges of staying connected to her two sets of young twins while out in public. Knowing that it can only take a second for a child to vanish and not thrilled with the products available to keep kids close, Joan and her husband Jeff Konigsberg invented their own. Joan says, “We knew there had to be a better way.” After a year of designing, developing, testing and manufacturing, the couple introduced KinderKord, a retractable, wrist-to-wrist hands-free connection that keeps a child physically attached to an adult without the stigma of a leash or harness.

When it was time, Joan called the Babies-R-Us headquarters and got an appointment to show KinderKord to the buyers. “Jeff and I were there with 40 other people also hoping to sell their product,” Joan says. “We had 30 minutes to pitch KinderKord. They bought it and we launched two years ago.”

Adding to Joan’s entrepreneurial pursuits aimed at making women’ lives easier, in May she debuted her home goods collection on QVC. Joan Lunden Home represents luxury, style and comfort at an affordable price point and each bedding collection is inspired by Joan’s travels during her 30-year career as a journalist. “QVC approached me to launch my line on their channel,” she says. “Why QVC? I’ve made my living on television, so this was the perfect choice. Plus, QVC really knows its customers.” Next year, Joan Lunden Home will add throws, towels and tabletop accessories.

Park AvenueUnlike celebrities who just license their name to products, Joan has been very involved with the design and production of her home goods line. “I wanted to align myself with a good manufacturer that uses quality materials that I can stand behind,” she says. “I don’t have to be as hands-on as I am, but it’s a lot more fulfilling for me in the end.”

A multifaceted career woman, Joan’s best-selling books include Healthy Cooking, Healthy LivingA Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road, Wake Up Calls and Growing Up Healthy. She also has an exercise video, Workout America, a skincare line, Resurgence by Murad Skin Care, and hosts Lifetime’s Heath Corner on Sunday mornings.


What we learned from Joan: “If you want to be in the game, just say YES and then figure out how to do it.”

Just Imagine
“One of the most important traits a person can have is to find within themselves the ability to be open to possibilities. Most people greatly limit themselves and don’t see the possibilities in front of them.”

Decorating Made Simpler
“I’ve developed Joan Lunden Home to help make life a little bit easier today’s woman – so that she can have style in her home and still have time for herself.”

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This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Whose Idea Helped 20,000 People Affected by Cancer

Dream It! Launch It! Live It!

HawaiiAtlantaClevelandSeattleNew York

Calling all launchers!

Ladies Who Launch invites you to our biggest event of the year, the ONLY global leadership conference for women – Dream It! Launch It! Live It! It’s the best way we know how to spread the launching love everywhere. Join us as we reinvent entrepreneurship with women who have Dreamed It, Launched It and are now Living It! Forever transform yourself and your business by joining us in one of our FIVE events taking place nationwide this November! Register NOW for Maui, Atlanta, Cleveland, Seattle or New York.

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Eileen SAFFRAN

Founder and Executive Director- The Gathering Place

Eileen SaffranThe Gathering Place is the realization of a dream for Featured Lady Eileen Saffran, LISW-S. In over two decades as a clinical social worker facing the constraints of health care, she envisioned a place for people touched by cancer to find the services and resources they needed integrated with their medical care and focused on enhancing quality of life with dignity and hope. Through a grassroots movement, Eileen followed her vision to launch Cleveland’s The Gathering Place, a community of sharing and support that promotes healing and wellness – all free of charge. Since its inception in 1999, The Gathering Place has helped over 20,000 people, which translates into more than 115,000 visits. A new member of the prestigious Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Eileen is also a speaker at the Ladies Who Launch Global Conference in Cleveland on November 8 – 9, 2010.

Immersed in the big business of medical care since beginning her career in the mid-1970s as a social worker for psychiatric and oncology patients, Eileen knew the non-revenue aspects of the industry were disappearing; specifically, support and education services. “In my role, I kept finding it difficult to develop support relationships due to cuts in those programs,” she says.

Paralleling her professional perspective, Eileen personally encountered the health care system’s realities because she knew many women affected by breast cancer. Eileen’s parents also received cancer diagnoses within six months of each other and passed away three and a half years apart. Eileen, who was fortunate to find the resources she needed through her job, recognized a lot of critically important information was missing. “Based on the experience I had, I knew there were gaps in my journey.”

In 1999, with her daughter in college, her son beginning to drive and her husband traveling, Eileen set out to change her career path, do something that would allow her to help others and experience something different each day. In other words, make her dream of The Gathering Place – a reality. “It blossomed through my contacts,” she says. “The cancer experience touches us all and by pulling together as a caring community and family, we enhance learning, comfort and healing.”

The Gathering Place“The grass roots effort was remarkable. I spoke to anyone who’d open their door to me and invited them to join us,” says Eileen. “Cleveland is an incredibly philanthropic community, I can’t emphasize that enough. From generous financial donations to fabulous in-kind support, people invested in me and my idea.”

For its first three and a half years, The Gathering Place’s home was a 6,100 square foot rented space on Cleveland’s east side. Thanks to a capital campaign that gave the organization financial momentum, The Gathering Place was able to purchase a building and moved to a 12,000 square foot facility in Beachwood. The new location, with a healing garden occupying its third of an acre, enabled The Gathering Place to increase services and help more people. In 2008, a second location was opened in Westlake, on the opposite side of Cleveland, to serve individuals across the river.

The biggest challenge Eileen has faced is maintaining an organization in these economic times that is 100% privately funded. “Eighty cents of every dollar goes to programming. We’re about helping people and work with a slim margin,” she says. “We don’t get any government funding or reimbursements through insurance. Our services are all free. We raise all the money we spend.”

Eileen believes that The Gathering Place is a phenomenal example of a thriving non-profit organization. “We employed sound business principles since the opening, which led us to a strong financial position,” she says. “For any business, large or small, for profit or non-profit, transparency is crucial. Our stakeholders always knew where the money was being spent.”

Eileen says one of her best moments with The Gathering Place was being accepted as a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center earlier this year. “This was huge! As a result, The Gathering Place has been legitimized in the eyes of top cancer researchers. I have the utmost respect for these people.”

She also has tremendous respect for those people who handle the increasing volume of people needing The Gathering Place’s support and services, including its crème de la crème staff of nineteen, fifteen contract professionals, active Board of Directors and 400 dedicated volunteers.

“What I’ve learned from launching The Gathering Place is that people really want to do good and help others,” says Eileen. “Especially if they’ve been touched by cancer.”

What we learned from Eileen:
“When launching an idea, build understanding with people in the trenches. Start at the bottom and work your way up.”

The Ol’ Two Step
“Remember that being an entrepreneur is three steps forward and two steps back.”

Outside the Box
“I’ve never been a square peg in a square hole. I’m an independent thinker. Some entrepreneurial qualities have always been a part of me.”

Remain Open
“Always err on the side of inclusivity. Don’t judge a person by what you see, get to know them.”


This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Lady Who Can Tell You What’s Up Down There

Dream It! Launch It! Live It!

HawaiiAtlantaClevelandSeattleNew York

Calling all launchers!

Ladies Who Launch invites you to our biggest event of the year, the ONLY global leadership conference for women – Dream It! Launch It! Live It! It’s the best way we know how to spread the launching love everywhere. Join us as we reinvent entrepreneurship with women who have Dreamed It, Launched It and are now Living It! Forever transform yourself and your business by joining us in one of our FIVE events taking place nationwide this November! Register NOW for Maui, Atlanta, Cleveland, Seattle or New York.

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Dr. Lissa RANKIN

Founder and Pink Director of Mojo – Owning Pink

Lissa RankinWhen Featured Lady Dr. Lissa Rankin experienced what she dubbed “Her Perfect Storm” in January 2006, it threw her into a tailspin. Already unhappy at the busy San Diego Ob/Gyn practice where she was a physician, Lissa quit her job and moved her family to the country to live a more balanced, creative life. Today, Lissa is the Founder of Owning Pink, a thriving online community and social network she launched in 2009 that helps redefine health from a “lack of illness” to vitality, wholeness and owning all the parts of your authentic self. Earlier this year, Lissa opened the Owning Pink Center in Mill Valley, California and her new book, What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend comes out in September. In addition to being a doctor and author, Lissa is a professionally represented artist. She is also one of the featured speakers at Ladies Who Launch’s Seattle Global Conference on November 7-9, 2010.

What was Lissa’s “Perfect Storm?” Imagine if all the following events happened in a two week period: giving birth, the family dog dies, your brother goes into liver failure from an adverse reaction to an antibiotic and your father passes away. Combine the shock of those occurrences with Lissa’s already growing dissatisfaction with her job and general unhappiness and you have the makings of a major life change. As Lissa describes it, “I lost my mojo.”

“In the busy group practice, I was double-booked every 15 minutes, which gave me 7.5 minutes per patient, which I didn’t like,” she confesses. “I’m a nurturer and the system was hardening me. I vowed I’d quit but I was the breadwinner for my family.”

What's Up Down There So, Lissa took a “Pleap” (a pink leap of faith) and decided to leave medicine completely. She and her husband sold the house, liquidated their assets and moved to the San Francisco area with their daughter. Lissa then spent two years focusing on her art and writing. While she enjoyed this time away from the medical field, Lissa still felt a need to serve others.

“You can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling,” she says. “I wanted to go back to practicing medicine, but do it on my own terms.” Those terms meant integrating all the parts of her fragmented life – creativity, health, relationships, spirituality, sexuality and interaction with the planet – to finally become whole.

In the fall of 2008, Lissa had the idea for Owning Pink, but back then it was for a teen gynecology website. She joined the four-week Ladies Who Launch Incubator Intensive Workshop in Monterey to gain clarity, support, inspiration and momentum about her concept. Ultimately, Owning Pink was launched in 2009 as a blog chronicling Lissa’s journey back to herself.

“All my coaches told me, ‘You need to be more focused. You need to pick one topic and become an expert.’ But I was just writing a blog and I had no idea where it would go,” Lissa says. “I did feel that if I just got out of Owning Pink’s way, it would show me what it was to become.”

Within three months of going live, Owning Pink gained hundreds of thousands of readers all looking to get their mojo back, live authentically, serve others and be loved. Lissa had also returned to practicing medicine. “I got offered a job in Marin County to join an integrative medical center, which I did for a year,” she says. “I learned that health is more than the wellness of the physical body. It also involves vitality of the mind, body and spirit.”

Lissa relaunched the Owning Pink website and opened the Owning Pink Center in 2010. The facility gave Lissa the freedom to practice the kind of medicine that she wanted to provide. The wellness professionals at the Owning Pink Center include a naturalopathic doctor, acupuncturists, fertility specialists, nutritionists, psychologists, life coaches and a Reiki master.

Described as “a community of women dedicated to celebrating all things feminine, successful, sexy and pleasurable,” Owning Pink draws not only those looking to rediscover their mojo, but also wounded healers. “It’s interesting that I started attracting a lot of doctors. They’re looking for a way to heal the profession,” Lissa says. “Those San Diego doctors I worked with lost their mojo, but they don’t know it.”


What we learned from Lissa: “Have faith in yourself and put everything on the line.”

Mission First
“Money is always the hard thing, but when you put your mission first, that works. If your mission is pure, the money will come. Money can’t be the driving force.”

Business Direction
“Let your business become what it was meant to be. Get out of your own way and let your business guide you… I created Owning Pink, but it’s not mine. The community owns it.”

Live and Love
“Live fully, and love ourselves and our girly parts.”

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This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet the Facialist to the Stars Who Reveals the Truth About Skin Care.

Tips for Managing a Business Crisis

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a second to destroy it…

SOSJoin us and gain:

– A keen understanding of the potential threats – from a technology glitch to a death in the family – that could develop into a business crisis
– A walk-through of the pieces of a crisis management plan and why it’s critical to have one for your business

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Tammy Fender

Founder and President, Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care

Tammy FenderAs a child, Featured Lady Tammy Fender was interested in living a holistic lifestyle although back then she didn’t know why. When other kids wanted gum and candy in the grocery store check-out aisle, she bought the 99 cent pocket books on vitamins. “Nutrition has always been part of my being,” Tammy explains. Through her company Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care, Tammy offers luxury products that are pure, natural and energetically balanced. Her Pure Living Energy® collection ranges from cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers to products that repair tissue damage in post-operative surgery patients. Tammy’s unique approach to skin care formulation has positioned her as a pioneer in the industry, and her expertise is constantly being sought.

Tammy’s exposure to skin care started when she 18 and working at a cosmetics counter. Noticing there were many chemicals listed in the products’ ingredients, she questioned their safety and effectiveness. “I wondered, ‘Do these products really work?’ I went home at night and researched them,” Tammy says. “Twenty years ago, cosmetics made of all chemicals were common, but I knew there had to be a better way!”

Thus, Tammy began her journey to learn all she could about alternatives to these products. She took a holistic approach and explored the use of botanicals and essential oils. Tammy also discovered how the chemical-ridden products adversely affected the skin, the body’s largest organ, and designed a more natural option. “We absorb more toxicity through the skin than during digestion,” Tammy reveals.

Tammy describes the evolution of her business as “a visionary process.” She built a client base in Palm Beach through word-of-mouth – one client had an experience with Tammy and saw the results of her products and others followed, made her products in a blending room, sold them locally and even hand-delivered customers’ purchases. “My business grew through word of mouth and my reputation.” Today, her clients (including celebrities), come from all over the world to experience Tammy’s facials and skin care line.

In 2003, when her youngest son was in school full-time, Tammy opened the doors to her own location on the second floor of a red brick house. She self-financed her launch using personal funds and reinvested profits right back into her company. Within two years, Tammy expanded into the entire building. Today, Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care is available through web sales and national distribution.

Tammy Fender Holistic Skin CareA licensed aesthetician for the past 22 years, Tammy dedicates her life to more holistic and spiritual practices. Her path led her across the US and overseas to study botany, aromatherapy, holistic chemistry and medical science. Tammy focuses on the healing properties of essential oils, plants and vitamins. “By gaining extensive knowledge my choice was clear,” Tammy explains. “I made a personal commitment to take a holistic path in my life and in the creation of my products.”

Tammy’s loyal clientele certainly understands the difference. Tammy custom makes her collection of holistic facial products. With her knowledge and ability to combine aromatherapy, chemistry, botany and medical science, she creates the perfect line of holistic facial products – all natural and handmade.

Focused on the well-being of the person as a whole, Tammy not only treats her clients but also educates them. “The skin’s condition is a reflection of what’s going on inside,” she explains. “Our vital organs take what they need first and the skin gets what’s left over.” Tammy’s elite skin care line provides nutrients that feed the tissues of the skin, creating an immediate therapeutic effect that promotes healing on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

From the beginning, this mompreneur steadfastly separated her work week from family time in an unexpected way. She set her business hours as Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. People immediately questioned Tammy’s decision, especially not being open on Saturdays – traditionally a spa’s busiest day. “I was asked, ‘How are you going to do this? You aren’t even catering to people who work,’” Tammy explains. “But I made a commitment to spend time with my sons. Balance is very important to me.”

Tammy’s dedication to balance continues to generate a profitable and rapidly growing business with a devoted international following. Tammy and her skin care collection have been featured in Allure, W, Vogue, Natural Health, Z!nk, Elle, Essence and Palm Beach Illustrated.

What we learned from Tammy: “Stay true to your path…”

A Team, A Family
“My biggest challenge is finding the right fit for every position as we grow. It’s time consuming, but I need to find people with the right mind set, lifestyle and philosophy. Our company has a family dynamic where we feel daily nurture and love.”

Passion and Brand
“My advice to women entrepreneurs is to understand that your brand encompasses your lifestyle. You and your passion become a reflection of your brand.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe™ Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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Susan Gregg Koger

Meet Dr. Ayala Laufer-Cahana, Ayala’s Herbal Water

Make your Idea, Brand and Sales Sizzle!

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Product and Media Are you a CEO, manager, or entrepreneur? A consultant, author, or speaker? Or a doctor, lawyer, idea person, or inventor? Whoever you are, and whatever you do, you have a unique WOW factor–that special element–only you can deliver to your business. Doing this will satisfy and delight your customers and clients. Don’t miss this week’s webinar!

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Dr. Ayala Laufer-Cahana, Founder Ayala's Herbal Water

Dr. Ayala Laufer-Cahana

Founder and VP of Product Development
Ayala’s Herbal Water

Featured Lady Dr. Ayala Laufer-Cahana admits she has an unusual background for an entrepreneur. She is a passionate cook, pediatrician, gardener, talented artist, wife, mother and lifelong vegetarian. As a physician, Dr. Ayala knew that sugary drinks contributed to the obesity epidemic, so she created unique, sugar-free blends of water infused with organic herbs. After receiving rave reviews from family and friends, demand for her water grew. In 2007, Dr. Ayala launched Ayala’s Herbal Water, the first nationally available organically-certified enhanced flavored water made with all organic ingredients. Ayala’s Herbal Water is available at 2,500 locations throughout the United States, Canada, the Far East and Australia. In February, Sunsweet Growers and Ayala’s Herbal Water announced a strategic collaboration to increase the current distribution points and meet growing customer demand.

By introducing the world of culinary herbs to the bottled water industry, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania-based Dr. Ayala began a food revolution. Prior to starting her business, Dr. Ayala regularly used her personally-grown herbs to create unusual, unexpected and delicious flavors. As a pediatrician specializing in medical genetics with no business background, she brought her idea to market using experts who filled in the blanks. Her passion, personal capital and private investors ultimately put Ayala’s Herbal Water on store shelves.

Ayala's Herbal Water

Dr. Ayala’s key interest in pediatrics was preventive medicine, especially nutrition. She focused on these often neglected fields prior to them becoming popular topics of discussion. Dr. Ayala feels that good nutrition is important to optimizing health, and many illnesses can be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet. This includes avoiding sugary soda, which adds an average of 300 empty calories per day to the American consumer. Ayala’s Herbal Water is a healthy alternative to the sugary drinks that are so readily available, especially to kids. Dr. Ayala believes that herbs are nature’s gift to us by flavoring food without calories.

This mompreneur knows that Ayala’s Herbal Water competes with better known, more established beverage companies. To establish her niche market, Dr. Ayala created a marketing plan to get her drinks to people who would fall in love with the flavors. It was important to get the water into the hands and mouths of those who would appreciate the flavors and become passionate about the product. However, when a large New York beverage distributor put Ayala’s Herbal Water wherever he could despite Dr. Ayala’s guidance, she had to regroup. This meant completely redoing the company’s marketing strategy to better target specialty and natural distribution channels. Despite this setback, Dr. Ayala says the experience put the business on the right path.

In addition to her success as a pediatrician and entrepreneur, Dr. Ayala is an accomplished artist. She feels it’s vital to apply her creative side to the business because “all art is reworking ideas and improving what you do.”

Dr. Ayala and her husband work together at Ayala’s Herbal Water. Their three children, ages 14, 12 and 11, observed Dr. Ayala’s kitchen beverages launch and grow into a thriving business. She thinks this was great for her kids to see, because it shaped the way they view their dreams. They know it’s possible to see the aspects of an idea become reality.

Currently, Ayala’s Herbal Water offers six flavors: lemongrass mint vanilla, ginger lemon peel, cinnamon orange peel, lavender mint, lemon verbena geranium and cloves cardamom cinnamon. The beverage combinations also pair beautifully with any meal to complement its flavors, akin to wine. Dr Ayala believes that “we can all have a very sophisticated palate if we broaden our horizon beyond sweet, fat and salt.”

Each Herbal Water blend is all-natural and sets a new standard for healthy beverages: zero calories, zero artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors and zero chemical preservatives. The water comes from an Artesian Well in Virginia and goes through a multi-step filtration process, including reverse osmosis.

This year, Dr. Ayala donated more than $60,000 worth of Ayala’s Herbal Water to the Haitian earthquake victims through Convoy of Hope. Among the numerous charities she supports, Dr. Ayala provided water bottles to the New York League of Humane Voters Gala, sponsored the 2009 Philadelphia Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Association and gave 54 cases of water to The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles Benefit for the National Kidney Foundation.

What we learned from Dr. Ayala: “Live a passionate life. My best moments are when I get positive feedback from consumers who tell me they fell in love with Ayala’s Herbal Water. They share their snippets of life and share amazing descriptions of how they enjoy it.”

Art in Industry

“As an artist, I know that design and creativity are very important in consumer packaged goods. It’s what differentiates a good company from a mediocre one. People expect a lot.”

Be Yourself

“Our biggest challenge is that we’re a beverage company among giants. We developed a marketing plan that was clever, creative and used our strengths and weaknesses to create the Ayala Herbal Water brand.”

In Good Company

“I married an entrepreneur and was always surrounded by people like him. They were fascinating. I looked at what I wanted to change in the world and decided to do whatever it took to make it happen.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe™ Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.
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