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Women STaRs

Author: Shanti Harkness

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Women STaRs (Struggles, Triumphs, and Reflections) shares the stories of professional women and the journeys they have taken. Join us as we explore the amazing stories and struggles of modern professional women like you.
33 Episodes
On our newest episode of Women STaRs, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Kathryn Kelley, Executive Director at Ohio Manufacturing Institute. Kathryn has served as executive director of the Ohio Manufacturing Institute since 2013, where she develops policies and programs to support manufacturing innovation and workforce needs. Currently, she is lead coordinator of Ohio State’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program.Our conversation with Kathryn is filled with great stories and even greater advice. Kathryn touches on many of her struggles and triumphs, including everything from using education as path to build her own life and support system, to finding success in building bridges between people who need to be connected. Kathryn’s perspective on coming at obstacles from all angles and to always keep moving is just one of the many pieces of wisdom that this conversation offers that you won’t want to miss. She even shares with us a tool she uses to uplift herself: keeping a compliment folder to buoy her spirit. Join us in enjoying this episode to learn more about what that folder entails, how she has overcome hardship and celebrated successes, and so much more!If you’d like to get in contact with Kathryn, you can reach out by phone at (614) 256-3724 or email her at Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“You never realize what amount of fortitude you have until it’s tested.”“Part of being successful is sometimes you’re going to have missteps and mistakes. I really love this phrase from Emily DeRocco: ‘Proceed until apprehended.’”“When something is hindering your path, and you have to find a way to get around it, get through it, find another route—the most important thing you can do is just keep moving. I had a boss who called me Scout because I’m always finding new routes to take.”“I saw all these community leaders at the top of their game, and I noticed they weren’t trying to jostle with their position or put anybody else down. They were comfortable in their own skin…You have to find your own authenticity.”
On this episode of The Women STaRs Podcast, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak with comedian Natasha Pearl Hansen. Natasha began her career in 2006 and is now a successful performer with her own comedy special, "I Was Supposed To Get Married Today...", as well as headlining shows across the country. With humor focused on her own struggles, her family, and her relationships, Natasha’s witty humor and talent shine through in our conversation with her.Beyond her work as a comedian, Natasha is also a podcaster and business owner. She runs the podcast Future Role Model, a platform where guests from all backgrounds share how their experiences and "failures" helped shape them into being the influencers they are today. In addition to her comedy and her podcast, Natasha is the founder of My Break-Up Registry – a community-driven platform that allows people to crowdfund their break-up or divorce.Join us on this episode as Natasha gets into everything from finding new ways to empathize with those around you, the challenges you face as a woman in comedy, being your own best advocate and more! You won’t want to miss her stories about building her own start-up, passing out flyers to strangers in Germany, and her wisdom and advice as we enter a post-pandemic world.If you’d like to get in contact with Natasha, find her as @NPHcomedy on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or visit her website, You can also check out My Breakup Registry, her comedy special, "I Was Supposed To Get Married Today...", on Amazon Prime, and her podcast, Future Role Model.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“Balance is an ongoing obstacle for all of us, especially coming out of a time where the world was so quiet.”“I wanted to re-enter life after the pandemic building something real instead of something that makes me look busy. Taking that pressure off of yourself, you start to understand success in a different way.”“Ask questions. Figure out what your environment is, figure out your value in that environment, know your worth. Ask for the things you want. If you fake it until you make it too hard, no one knows what you desire.”“You can’t have any shame in your game…It’s not a negative thing to be your biggest advocate.”
On this episode, we have a great talk with Carmen Verhosek, a Senior Attorney at AlerStallings. Carmen provides legal services, guidance and support to older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their families by helping them prepare a plan for a better quality of life, preserve wealth, and protect their future. After being a paralegal for 15 years, Carmen made an impressive choice to pursue law school and become an attorney. In addition to her passion for her work, Carmen also serves her community on several boards and committees, is a 2019 Leadership Lorain County graduate, and was recognized as one of the 100 Latinos Cleveland Must Know in 2020.With an inspiring career and the struggles and triumphs she’s faced, Carmen had plenty of amazing advice to share with us. From positive self-talk to finding mentors to support you, Carmen emphasizes the strength women have and the importance of building bonds with others through vulnerability; in her words, this is where true strength and leadership come from. Additionally, Carmen tells great stories about learning English as a second language, making it through law school, and even more engaging anecdotes from her life.Tune in this episode as Carmen discusses Imposter Syndrome, making a big career change later than you planned, the tough journey that is law school, and so much more!If you’d like to get in contact with Carmen, you can call her at (440) 249-0858, email her at, or find her on LinkedIn.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“It’s really about rewriting the script and being cognizant of how you speak to yourself: I am good enough. I do belong. I am qualified. Speak positivity into every situation you’re in.”“If you really want something, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.”“When you’re faced with making tough decisions and choices—women, that’s what we do. We learn how to overcome, deal with all these challenges, and make it work for us. I think in that sense that makes me no different than any other woman in my life, but no less, I think it’s important for us to celebrate those victories.”“True strength and leadership come from moments where we’re most vulnerable…It’s okay to let someone know your true self; that’s where I built my best relationships that have helped me in my career.”
This week we’re chatting with entrepreneur Erin Toohey-Naso. In April 2020, Erin developed The Hanger Valet –an outfit organizer that hangs over an outfit on a hanger and has zippered pockets for keeping accessories, jewelry, undergarments, socks and more. Before setting off to create her own business, she was a PR and marketing consultant for more than 15 years, working with small local businesses and large national brands. Through her consultant work, she self-funded the startup of The Hanger Valet and continues to counsel women-owned businesses on do-it-herself PR and marketing strategies.Join us as we dive into Erin’s perspective on her struggles and triumphs, touching on everything from the six years it took her to fund her business, to the loss of her father in the past year. Valuing your time, setting boundaries, and making others feel seen are just some of the valuable pieces of wisdom that Erin imparts to us in this episode. Erin’s confidence and thoughtful advice bring something to this episode of Women STaRs that you won’t want to miss.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“I don’t really like to make mistakes. I value my time and mistakes take time. But growth is in those mistakes, and you have to get comfortable making those mistakes and learning those lessons.” “I view life as balls in the air; some are glass, and some are rubber. Some of those balls are bound to fall at some point because that’s life. My family, my children, my mental health, my health—those are all glass balls and I want to drop those as little as possible.”“Success is really just making someone be seen, heard, appreciated, valued, validated—all of the things. I just don’t think there’s enough of that and I think that’s what people are remembered for not, not the titles they had, the money they made, or the amount of followers they had.”“I wish I would have trusted that it’s okay to go slow at times. It’s okay to take your time, to not have all the answers and worry about how everything’s going to work out, because it all will, in some shape or form.”
On this week’s episode of The Women STaRs Podcast, we’re sitting down with Kionna Mcintosh-Pharms, Student Services Navigator at Lorain County Community College. In addition to over 25 years of experience in both corporate America and non-profit organizations, Kionna’s current work exemplifies how she enjoys impacting and elevating the lives of our youth. Kionna is an amazing woman who is actively involved in her community and values helping others. She is the President of Celebrate Your Worth, an organization with a focus on uplifting women. As someone who exudes positivity and dedication, Kionna also has a goal of obtaining her Master of Business Administration (MBA). Our conversation with Kionna is filled with stunning advice and Kionna’s compelling perspective on uplifting children as our future. To Kionna, success in her life has a lot to do with the way she impacts not only her own children but those she encounters in her profession and her community work as well. Beyond this important influence on her life, Kionna also emphasizes the importance of believing in your worth and living your life authentically. Tune in to this episode for more inspirational stories and to soak in the positivity and good energy that Kionna exudes.If you’d like to get in contact with Kionna, she can be found by searching Sereniki on Youtube or Kionna Sohappytobe Pharms on Facebook. She can also be found as Kionna McIntosh-Pharms at Lorain County Community College’s website,“A lot of people would say triumphs depend on the degrees or accolades you achieved along the way. But to me, triumphs don’t come in a monetary value, an accolade or something physical. It’s the things you don’t see. My biggest triumph is continuing to survive and being able to provide individuals knowledge; it’s being the person I want to see.”“To be successful, to me, you have to be willing to prepare the next generation. If I feel like I’m wearing a crown, I want to feel like I can take that crown off of me and share that with as many individuals around me as possible.”“Despite my obstacles—and even my triumphs—at the end of the day, what’s most important is that it’s okay to be me. Each of us have a significant calling, path, or purpose.”“You can be the best you without throwing other people under the bus. And be mindful that every action you put out has a consequence…No amount of money will equate to what you receive back from what you sow into the universe.”
On this week’s special anniversary episode of Women STaRs to celebrate one year as a podcast, we’re sitting down with Lucy Fanger, Founder & CEO of On Technology Partners. Lucy began the Women STaRs Podcast as a project of her company and has been an integral part of its success. She started her career as a registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic but started On Technology Partners in 1994 to better help people as she desired. Further representing her compassion and desire to uplift other women, Lucy also serves on the board of WIN (Women In Networking) and she co-runs CREW (Cleveland Roundtable of Entrepreneurial Women).In our talk with her, Lucy describes her empowering vision for the Women STaRs Podcast, why she began it, and how she hopes it has impacted and connected all of the women it has reached. In a year of great advice, hearty laughs, and moving stories, Lucy, our very founder, makes the perfect addition to our group of STaRs to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Join us on her episode to hear more on her involvement with the podcast as well as her own struggles and triumphs as a successful businesswoman; from unexpected health issues to learning to ask for help, Lucy’s episode is full of great moments.If you’d like to get in contact with Lucy, you can reach out to her by email at or by phone at (216) 920-3100.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“Giving of ourselves was always a big piece of how women seemed to help women. And so, this podcast, it allows women to be more vulnerable themselves and give that over to other women, helping them to realize there’s someone out there similar to me. It helps other women feel they’re not alone: 'They succeeded, so I can do the same thing.’”“That was the premises for putting Women STaRs out there: we are stars, and we can shine even through the struggles. It just proves how strong we are as women.”“For the women on Women STaRs, our definition of success is not the money sitting in our bank. It’s our life and the people we’re enjoying it with.”“Reach out to people to help you; you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Reach out to the experts, reach out to your friends and family. There are people THERE to help you and people who WANT to help you. I know myself and a lot of women feel like they have to be superwoman and show we’re strong—sometimes we’re stronger when we ask for help.”
On this episode of the Women STaRs Podcast, we have the pleasure of speaking to Gia Bell. As a mother, community advocate, and driven worker, Gia has valuable and relatable advice that she’s gleaned from her life’s experiences, both good and bad. With awards like the 30 For the Future Award through the Young Professional Network, Congressional Recognition for her work on Autism, and much more, as well as her leadership work with organizations like United Way of Summit and Medina County and beyond, Gia is a wonderful representative of the power of passion, empathy, and determination.For Gia, her struggles became lessons that she used to drive her towards success. She graduated college at 33 after dropping out at 19 to care for her family, rose from secretary to manager in her career, and finds purpose in giving back to her community through a multitude of roles and organizations. She is also involved in advocacy for autism, is raising a son with autism, and led the project at Cleveland Clinic Akron General to designate Cleveland Clinic the first Adult Autism Friendly Hospital in the nation.In our interview with her, Gia recounts her struggles and the resilience she drew on to overcome them, giving back to those around her and putting her family first throughout it all. As she puts it, “I have had an extremely difficult road, but it’s leading to a beautiful destination.” Join us on this week’s episode to hear more of Gia’s accomplishments and incredibly useful pieces of wisdom. If you’d like to reach out to Gia, you can email her at, or call/text her at 330-338-401.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“I’ve been able to grow from both good and bad experiences. In all of the experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned from each one of them. And I’m more resilient because of those experiences.”“I have had an extremely difficult road, but it’s leading to a beautiful destination.”“I put my children and my family first…I can always work on my career and work on my goals; I won’t have forever to raise my children. Whether it means I need to stay up late to do my work, whatever I need to do, I put my children first.”“I measure success by the impact that I make and the lives that I change. In order to do that, you have to be willing to give back and you have to know that your life’s journey is way bigger than you. What I do now, I hope that it impacts generations to come.”
In this week’s episode of the Women STaRs Podcast, we are speaking with Kathryn Bryan, Ph.D., a financial planner at Skylight Financial group. Kathryn, who also goes by Katy, made a significant career change to be at her current position: after several years as a medical research fellow with the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, and the Cleveland VA Medical Center, Katy decided to enter the world of finance as a financial planner. Beyond this experience, Katy is a dedicated wife and mother to two kids, recipient of awards such as Crain’s Cleveland Business 2016 “Forty Under 40” honoree, and an advocate and volunteer for multiple groups, like the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and Plexus LGBTQ professionals.Listen in to the episode where Katy provides valuable knowledge about navigating your career and your life all at once. As someone who made a major career change, Katy covers what it’s like to overcome challenges such as Impostor Syndrome and accepting that it’s okay to move on if your field isn’t making you happy. About the increasingly difficult field of medical research, she notes, “I knew in the bottom of my heart that if I stayed in the position I was at, I would probably be suffering for the rest of my life. Quiet, quiet suffering.” In addition to her thoughts and advice on changing careers, Katy gives thoughtful, relatable advice on viewing life as an evolving challenge, learning to stand up for yourself even if it’s hard, and finding success in giving back to her community in ways that are sometimes unseen.If you’d like to get in contact with Katy, she can be reached by email at or her cell phone, 216-297-5810. You can also contact her at you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.QuotesThere are always some skills that somebody is going to be better at. Are you going to get better at it, or are you going to use the skills you already have and try to master those instead of trying to be something that you’re not?Life is always evolving. That’s what I love about life—it is little triumphs that you are overcoming all the time. You never know how what you’re doing today is going to impact you next week, five years from now, 10 years from now. Who knows what today is going to be doing to bring great wealth for tomorrow?It’s not the goal that makes me excited, it’s getting to the goal that makes me excited about life. Success is the secret impact I have on people. There are stories that I might never hear that I hope have had an impact on someone’s life—those to me are what I live for.You have permission to live a good life and try out different things and see what fits and what doesn’t fit. And women should know that you have the right to speak up for yourself. 
On this week’s episode of the Women STaRs Podcast, we have small business owner Amy Witzigreuter. Amy is a challenge-driven entrepreneur with a passion for optimal health and clean, purposeful living. She is the Founder and Owner of Witzi’s Raw Granola, a successful brand of organic, grain-free, gluten-free granola. She is also a committed supporter of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a determined advocate for organ donation through LifeBanc.  In our conversation, Amy shares the importance of mental breaks and learning to let go of needing to do it all. She is also a driven, disciplined, and committed athlete with accomplishments that include 13 marathons (including 4 prestigious Boston Marathons), multiple triathlons, and an Iron event; she knows a thing or two about not letting go. Join us to hear more on Amy’s life and the important lessons she’s learned, particularly those from her son, who pushes everyone to fully live in the present.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes“Success for me means doing something purposeful that’s serving others, that doesn’t feel like work; it’s being really satisfied with who I am and the path that my company is going.”“I wish I would’ve appreciated sooner the power of stepping away and taking breaks. It’s everything—it’s not just the physical release, the break from ‘go, go, go,’ it’s the mental break, stepping away and getting silent to yourself. It changes your outlook.”“I was a product of my environment and the culture—I was looking for the job, the salary, and the things. I would caution young women to look for the experiences; look closely at the culture of the organization you’re looking at and home in on the experiences you can gain from that. Be open to what you can learn.”“It’s okay if you’re on some path, and you recognize that it’s not your calling, to switch gears. It’s important to notice that it’s not resonating and it’s not the right place, and to look around you and take action. You can be passive and miserable in your work environment, or you can take action and acquire the skills you might need.”
On this week’s episode, we are speaking with Nancy Hammervik, Executive Vice President of Industry Relations at CompTIA. Nancy has had a successful career for 35 years, building herself up from sales assistant to CEO. As many women can relate to, she has jumped over hurdles in her professional life to succeed, such as breaking into the male-dominated world of business and feeling stifled in toxic work environments; likewise, she has dealt with personal hurdles as well, dealing with fertility issues for a decade before having her son. Through all of this, Nancy has cultivated an air of positivity, compassion, and perseverance, going as far as combining business with helping the community when she organized a volunteer effort to help New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. From using struggles as opportunities for growth to learning to be your own best advocate, Nancy shares with us invaluable advice, lessons, and so much more insight that speaks to women in their careers at all levels. For Nancy, your journey as a professional and as a person are often connected, and anything holding you back is something that needs to be let go of. As her Norwegian grandmother used to say, “If you can’t change the people, change the people.”Learn more about Nancy’s incredible career and gain more of her wisdom by joining us for this week’s episode. If you’d like to get in contact with Nancy, you can find her as Nancy Hammervik on LinkedIn or email her at you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes "Doing good work is sometimes not enough; you can’t rely on anyone else to advance your own career. You have to advocate for yourself, you have to have a voice, and you have to push a little bit.""We grow more in the tough times and the struggles. Anybody can be successful when the road is rosy, but pressure builds diamonds and struggle builds strength. We don’t know our strength until we’re hit by a struggle—and that only motivates and inspires you more, which really helps you appreciate when things are good." "Sometimes you don’t get what you want but you get what you need. All things work for good; it’s all part of the journey. Just take stock of what we’re learning and how we’re growing. We can choose to be defeated and let it define us, or we can redefine us. We have no idea how a struggle will make us greater and better.""As my Norwegian grandmother used to say, “If you can’t change the people, change the people.” If you’re in a toxic work environment that’s not letting you be yourself and not letting you grow, it’s okay to leave. Sometimes I stayed longer than I should have because I thought I could make a difference, but I was unhappy. When you have an opportunity, pursue it. Always be planning—what else can I be doing? What other opportunities are out there? Always allow yourself to move."
On this episode of Women STaRs, we speak with Akilah Williams. As a single mother and working professional with a lot on her plate, Akilah is someone whose own journey to self-betterment and acceptance speaks to the same obstacles and fears many of us also experience as we navigate our own lives and careers. Join us while Akilah discusses the “invisible beast” that is Impostor Syndrome, learning to make your own rules by letting go of society’s standards and expectations that hold you down, and why you should find success in every small moment rather than the big picture. Akilah’s first-hand knowledge on self-love and acceptance, as well as her many more insightful tips and advice, has value we all can share in.If you’d like to get in contact with Akilah, you can find her on Instagram, @collections_by_Kira, or on Facebook, @collectionsbykira. You can also visit her Etsy shop for handmade jewelry: you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes"My perspective on work/life balance used to be about being organized and having everything planned out--the reality is, you need to account for the fact that you’re not a robot. You might need to just slow down a bit because you’re exhausted and you’re trying to run this as if you’re not human. You’re human. If I’m not full, how can I fill someone else up? ""You need to be fair with yourself, be flexible. If I don’t hit every mark, it’s okay. And the mentality of the society we live in doesn’t acknowledge that enough. It’s more celebrated if you work yourself to death to reach those goals. I had to make a conscious effort to reprogram myself from those things we’re taught…Write your own rules.""I used to think of success from a whole picture standpoint—if everything didn’t look how I wanted it, then I didn’t consider that success. Now, everything I accomplish—I don’t care what it is. If I manage to get myself to work or get my daughter to tennis, that’s success. Acknowledging the small things in life, that’s success. Every moment that you’re here on this Earth and breathing, that’s success.""A lot of my problems stemmed from mental barriers. I call it a “fraud mentality”: I couldn’t see anything that I brought to the table as being special. Identifying those mental barriers, I was able to get over that…Don’t let the pressure or standards of this world stop you from starting. You create the experience you desire. "
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with Loree Vick.  An award-winning news anchor, founder of Vick Communications, and mental health advocate, Loree describes the lessons she’s learned about appreciating life as it is, as well as the losses she has endured in both her professional and personal life, particularly the harrowing experience of losing her husband to suicide in 2005.Loree shares her advice about turning pain into purpose, putting on a positive demeanor through difficult times, and finding success by finding contentment. Join us as Loree speaks on what it looks like to ditch using a five-year plan and appreciate life in the moment, as well as what it means to love yourself enough to be your authentic self.To learn more or connect with Loree, you can email her at Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes:“Live in the moment. You can’t deny what you’re feeling, you can’t deny the terrible trauma that’s happened to you, but you can’t wallow in it either. It’s easy to go down that dark road…Find a way to take your pain and live with it. Take things in small chunks, live through them, and know you’re going to get to the other side.”“You have to fake it until you feel it. Put on a positive demeanor and suddenly you’re going to start feeling better about things. Think ‘this is just the way it is, and I need to be as positive as I can’ and cards will fall into the right hands.”“When you have peace and joy in your life, there’s a sense of contentment that makes you realize that’s the most important thing. Whatever struggles and trauma enter your life, you can find happiness again. Find contentment that works for you regardless of the circumstances.”“Be confident and peaceful with yourself. For a lot of years, I found myself self-editing before I expressed myself, my speech, my thoughts. Love and respect yourself enough to trust that what you’re feeling is valid and be able to express yourself without thinking about what other people are going to think about you. It was so freeing when I was able to be my authentic self.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with community leader and advocate, Regan Phillips. Regan has partnered with or served on boards of local schools and community and civic organizations. Diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 12 years ago, Regan shares the story of her fight to live, and how her faith and positive self-talk helped pull her through.Join us as Regan shares how she had to reinvent herself following her recovery as she was returning to the workforce, as well as learning where true wealth can be found. Listen in as Regan speaks about success and happiness, being true to yourself, and understanding that the strength of a woman is in uplifting other women. All this and more on this episode of the Women STaRs Podcast.To learn more or to connect with Regan, she can be found on all social media sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and @hopefulgirlregan on Instagram. She can also be reached by phone at 440-452-8690 or email at you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.                                                                                                                                                                                       Quotes“I didn't know what advocacy was when I was little, but I realized that advocacy has always been in my soul.”“Just be authentic. The sun comes and so does the rain, and there are some days where you’re just not okay. The sun will shine again, but it's okay to not be okay.”“I think that women make our world better and it's up to all of us, as women, to uplift each other, to empower each other. The strength of a woman is to uplift another woman.”“I learned firsthand that your health is your wealth. And what I've learned is to take time to recognize work-life balance. Work is work and home is home.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with the publisher and editor of the Cleveland Women’s Journal, Barbara Daniel. Barbara has faced her share of struggles over the years, from suing the City of Columbus for sex discrimination (and winning) to take the civil service exam, to enrolling in college at the age of 40, caring for loved ones in times of sickness, her own battle with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer, and graduating with her Master’s degree at the age of 60. Barbara is no stranger to struggle, hard work, determination, and triumph. Join us as Barbara shares her story of love and loss, the strength she found by taking refuge in faith and prayer, learning the truth about the inequality between women and men, and harnessing the power to be true to herself. Barbara shares how it’s never too late to start your own business, and how women need to have the courage to ask for what they want.Join us as Barbara shares this and more on this week’s episode of the Women STaRs Podcast.To learn more or to connect with Barbara, email:, or visit: you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with Meredith Farrow. Meredith has harnessed the devastating loss of her husband’s best friend by suicide, and her own struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety, to found the Ohio-based organic hemp extract manufacturer, Clean Remedies, to help others who may be suffering.Meredith shares the lessons she’s learned by being burned and facing challenges (professionally and personally), the power of believing in yourself, and finding joy in the rollercoaster of life. Join us as Meredith shares her tips for timeboxing, the power of perseverance, and the joy of finding happiness in things that aren’t things.To learn more or to connect with Meredith, you can email her at, call  (216) 777-3133, or visit her website at you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes:“I have been burned by many people: people taking advantage of me, people promising me the moon and the stars and not delivering. What got me through it was perseverance, hard work, and knowing that I had a mission and a goal.”“Everything that you've gone through in life that has been upsetting to you has taught you something. With every instance that I felt taken advantage of, I learned something. I learned what to say, what not to say, what cards to hold close to my chest versus showing. So, I feel so much more equipped.”“Life is like a roller coaster, so I'm trying to find the joy in the downtimes when things aren't going like I want. I'm trying to train my mind to find joy or find a lesson out of that.”“Success, for me, is really about being happy and making sure that my family is happy. Money comes and goes; even friends can come and go. Happiness within yourself is something that I think we're all either trying to achieve or continuously trying to better ourselves with.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with JJ DiGeronimo. With over 20 years in the tech industry, JJ is no stranger to navigating the twists and turns of moving from entry-level positions to leadership. She is often called on to empower professional women and consult senior executives on strategies to retain, advance, and attract women in technology and other male-dominated careers.JJ shares the power she discovered in finding her own voice, creating a life she loves, and not waiting for permission from others. Listen in as she shares the impact mindfulness has had on her life and career, and how being present in the moment has opened up countless opportunities she would otherwise have missed.  Join us as JJ discusses the “Power of No,” the importance of jumping in before you’re 100% ready, and the common thread between all of us.To learn more or to connect, search for JJ DiGeronimo on most social media platforms.Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes:“I think my biggest struggle, and the one that so many women talk about, is the stories we tell ourselves. For many of us, our struggles start internally.”“We're all going to have this inner voice that often tells us we can't, but it really is up to us to be able to sidestep that and say, let me see what I can do.”“What mindfulness does is it allows you to recognize that ongoing stream of [internal] conversation isn't who you are, it's just a piece of who you are, and that if you have the mental strength, you can actually walk around it.”“I think for many of us, we hide behind our stories, we get scared or nervous. But there is so much value in every one of us that are here, and it really is up to all of us to help each other contribute.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with Destiny Burns. Destiny is no stranger to working in typically male-dominated fields. Enlisting in the US Navy as a Russian Linguist, she retired 20 years later as a Cryptologic Officer and began a second career as a defense industry executive. At the age of 48, she decided to get back to her community service roots and became a volunteer firefighter. Two years later, she fulfilled her dream of “good wine made fun” and opened a craft brewery-style urban winery in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.Destiny shares how she uses her defense industry days to help her and her business/employees get through the pandemic, and the power of giving herself a break. She shares how she’s able to experience calm and content through the practice of letting go of what she cannot control, and the joy she experiences as a role model and mentor to others. Join us as Destiny shares her tips on how to achieve more out of life and career, and why you shouldn’t let anyone label you and “put you in a box.”To learn more or to connect with Destiny, email, call 216-417-8313, or visit the Cleveland Urban Winery in Cleveland Heights, OH during business hours. Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes:“Community service – service to others is something that’s very important to me.” “I've really learned to let things go that I can't control or can't fix. Letting those things go has created this calm and this inner contentment, and I'm never going back to my old ways.”“I feel most successful when I'm being a good example, when I'm able to offer inspiration to someone, when I'm able to help someone. And to me, that's more important than anything else.”“My entire life was about community and service to others, whether it's at the national level wearing the United States military uniform, at the community level, wearing a firefighter uniform, or working here in a local business and supporting my local community. It's just part of who I am.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with Monica Robins. As an Emmy Award-winning reporter with more than 30 years of experience, Monica is no stranger to struggles. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2019, she faced the uphill battle of surgery, recovery, and returning to her high-profile career. She shares how she was able to overcome the devastating news of her diagnosis, how she was able to get through those moments when she felt defeated and depressed, and how attitude and perception helped her to overcome her struggles.Join us as Monica shares the importance of self-care, the power of recognizing limitations, and the necessity for managing stress (rocking out in two bands and riding her Harley helps her!). All this and more on this episode of the Women STaRs Podcast.To learn more or to connect with Monica, you can email her at  Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.Quotes:“I would remind myself that someone somewhere else has something way worse than what I'm going through and they're still getting out of bed and being productive, so I have no excuse.”“I forced myself to be present because you can't fix yesterday, and you don't know what's coming tomorrow.”“It's okay to get depressed, but I realized the dark hole you find yourself in is really dark, damp, wet, and it doesn't have cable. So, put your shoes (or heels) on and get your butt out of it! That's how I decided I was going to live my life.”“We're all born, and we all die. What we do in between is what matters.”
This week on Women STaRs, we are speaking with Barbara Marlowe. After reading a story about children in Iraq being unable to receive needed surgeries due to the war taking place at the time, she became captivated by a 4-year-old little girl who was severely burned by a car bomb. Thus began Barbara’s journey of compassion to help this little girl (and others like her), navigating the politics, red tape, and medical obstacles to help her get the care she needed.Barbara shares how her faith helped her overcome those obstacles and setbacks, and how it helped her to continue to push through and do what she knew was right, even if the outcome was uncertain and sometimes scary. Join us as Barbara shares her story of love, compassion, generosity, and perseverance in helping others in need, so that they may live a more fulfilled life. She shares the value of taking on obstacles one step at a time, trusting that things will always work out, and the power in having a strong support system.To learn more or to connect with Barbara, you can email: Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.“The whole experience opened up my eyes to not just faith, but also to what other parents go through when they're faced with a child who has a lot of either special needs or injuries.”“Anytime you can help someone else get ahead, further a cause, or solve a problem, at some point in time, it somehow comes back to you in a very, very positive light. So, when you do something, don't ever expect to get anything back… do it out of your heart.”“A lot of people think ‘I don't have time.’ Some people truly don't have time, but there's little things that you can do. Those little things add up to a big thing.”“Sometimes it's not necessarily good to look at the big picture. If I had looked at the big picture and realized what it would take, we might not have taken that first step. So, what I decided to do is look at things in small increments, and before you know it, you're in the big picture, and you succeeded. But the big picture can sometimes be overwhelming.”“Maybe you can't have children, but there's so many things that you can do, whether it's helping animals, which is one of my passions, or volunteering or mentoring, doing something.”
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