SPARKLE PERSON - MARGARET GUEDES, CEO, KIDS BEATING CANCER

Margaret Guedes, is one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever known.  I met her at the Women’s Conference several years ago when she purchased an angel painting from me.  We started talking and she told me her incredible story.  I wanted to be her friend, and I wanted to help her in her mission.  Her story reminds us to put life in perspective and stop the whining about silly things.  She, her son, her mission and her story changed my life.

Margaret is the CEO of Kids Beating Cancer, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources, funds and support for children with cancer, leukemia and related life-threatening diseases.  In the years since her son passed away from leukemia, (see the full story at www.kidsbeatingcancer.com)  she has impacted the lives of over 8,000 children. That’s pretty freaking amazing, right?  And due to over 20 years of her continual exhausting efforts, she was able to open the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando.

Margaret is one of the kindest, most dedicated people I’ve ever known.  She’s a whirlwind of motion, seemingly non-stop.  Her vision and goals are daunting.  She keeps moving forward while keeping her charity lean with very few employees, believing most of the money raised must go to the children and her vision.  I truly don’t know how she does it.

HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE PROFESSIONALLY? 

I started by being the mother of a child that was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 5 years old and I was 8 months pregnant with my third of four children.  I got here today because of my son, John, who is my greatest inspiration.  He would make everyone smile.  He endured so much pain and so many disappointments.  He was a kid that just wanted to go to school and didn’t want to have attention focused on him.

This little character had a message to give to the world and I had to be his voice and his strength.  So instead of crawling in a corner and crying (which I did many nights), I had to remember how much he went through . . . even times when he begged and cried not to have a test, but he knew I would make him take the test.  And in the very end when he relapsed and wanted to know what was going to happen, I had to explain that he would die.  He asked that I do everything to help him live - to keep fighting.

These kids become super-brilliant about their disease, because it’s all they know - taking medications, going to the doctor, getting pokes, having procedures knowing they will hurt and make them sick.  It’s a time in their life when they shouldn’t know about death, but they are seeing some of their friends die, so the parents must have that conversation with their child about death.  It was all of these things wrapped together that was my inspiration.

At the time I was a Center Manager for Cigna Health Plans when the HMOs first came out, so I had some business and medical knowledge that helped me better navigate the horrible healthcare system for pediatric cancer 25 years ago.

Not every mother is going to start a non-profit.  I had no idea how difficult fund raising is, even for the greatest cause, even when you have the story, mission and programs.  It’s very hard and competitive.  I wanted to start a foundation and provide everything that was not available for us, so no family would have to go through what we went through.

John put a fire in me that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do this, even though there were days when there wasn’t enough money and I didn’t know if we were going to make it.  Would I get enough people interested, or would people think that I’m just a mom that’s lost a child, that I’m not here for the long term and I’m not going to finish and keep fighting?  But I would remember John’s smile, and I heard his voice in my ear to continue on.

As long as there are children being diagnosed and the treatment is a transplant, we have to do everything possible to help the families get through it financially and emotionally so they don’t fall apart like ours did.  So they can survive after the treatment, grow up and do great things. 

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

On a broad scale, it would be for pediatric cancer to be eradicated. That no child would ever receive a diagnosis of a life threatening cancer.  But that’s not going to happen tomorrow.

More immediate – I would wish for access to transplantation, the only known cure for over 80 different cancers, to be more accessible by location, cost, and with top doctors such as at the KBC Pediatric Transplant Center.  That children are not sacrificing getting cutting edge advanced protocol clinical trials by staying in a hometown and not traveling far away.  That we could have all of our centers provide the best in international care.

Right now KBC is funding the costs that are not covered from Medicaid to even see if a child is transplant eligible.  If your child has a disease that has been proven a transplant is the best and only treatment for the child’s disease, if it’s Medicaid, it is not covered.  The workup, just to test them and see what their typing is, and testing siblings and parents to see if they are a match, is not covered by insurance and costs $10,000.   I would like to have money be raised for KBC because they would get it – no one else in the country is doing this and we could save so many more lives if money wasn’t a factor.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS?

Live life to the fullest because you never know what life will bring.  That you should tell your children or husband you love them.  Maybe that you should finish something that you hadn’t.  As a mother, love and treasure your child and every memory. That you will always be there no matter what they do.  Enjoy the time that we have because it could be cut short.

WHAT PERSON HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOU PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY AND WHY?

Without a doubt it is my husband, Dr. Ben Guedes.  He was my son’s physician and was with us when he was near death in the ICU.  I later dated him after my divorce and he had also divorced.  We had so much in common.

We are both very passionate about children and saving lives.  We understood the work ethic needed in this field and the sacrifices you have to make.  He made me realize I was strong enough to follow my passion and that I could accomplish it well.  We have both learned so much from one another when we are writing a proposal, coming up with a new concept or idea, or analyzing how to approach a problem.  He has helped me understand what the physician goes through and I’ve helped him better understand what the parent goes through.

He has found himself changing his way of working with the parents in that they need a bit more time to accept the prognosis.  The parent must accept the decision to let the child go, they must turn off the machines and live with that guilt for the rest of their lives.

Ben has kept me going every time I got discouraged.  When I thought, “Jeez, I’m really just a mom.  And I feel like someone out there is going to be bigger and better than me.”  And he stops me every time and tells me, “No one can do it better than you.”  He gives me strength, willpower,  understanding and guidance.  He is my greatest inspiration on how to live my life as a wife, mother and a non-profit career woman.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE AND IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

When I first lost my son I was very drawn to Mark:10:14 that says Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of God.  This gives me great comfort as a mom in reminding me that John is in heaven and no longer hurting. When I was trying to come up with the right quote to put on the Donor Wall at the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center where there is a statue of John with his teddy bear, I asked my dad, who was just days away from dying, what his favorite quote was.  And he came up with the same bible verse.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT OR FAILURE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?

My greatest failure or disappointment is my weakness to trust all people on what they say, what they say they can do, as well as what they say they have done.  It has caused great disappointments personally and professionally when I believed in a person’s resume and presentation without checking them out.  I have learned that some people are not good representatives of Kids Beating Cancer, and have done things for personal gain rather than working to achieve our goals. I had not vetted people in the past, which led to me learning that is a very necessary process that I will always do in the future.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?

Professional Goal:  Now that we have the Pediatric Transplant Center with eight beds, they are all full.  We can’t stop here because there are too many children in need.  It won’t be easy since we will need to raise another $2,000,000 to double the size of the Center.   There is already space available when NICU moves to the Women’s Hospital.  This is a definite Three Year Plan to raise these funds so we can have more children be able to be transplanted and be with their families and support systems in Central Florida.  It’s very critical and of great need.

Personal Goal:  To actually spend time with my husband.  We both are workaholics and are always talking about taking a trip, and then months go by because we are always working and time is too short.  I’d like to know that KBC has the support, the brand, and the sustainability that it can be self-supporting without me going crazy, and driving my husband crazy, so that we can vacation and not worry and can enjoy our vacation without talking about work.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

To not be in pain, to be able to sleep at night (I have chronic insomnia), to not have abdominal pain, to be able to walk in high heels again. . .  Besides all the ailments - I do LOVE a really good heavy tannin bold cabernet sauvignon.  My husband introduced me to that and he said it’s his greatest regret because he introduced me to an expensive wine.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS, HOBBIES, TV SHOWS?

I cut out pasta and that eliminated a lot of things I like.  I’m bad on sweets - ice cream, chocolate, and occasionally a good steak.  I don’t have time for any hobbies, but I do like it when my husband and I can go walking someplace such as on the beach, in the snow in Canada or anywhere we can see different parts of the nature of our world.  I love going to the theater, musicals and the ballet, and I could do that every week.  I just got off of watching Downton Abbey.  And now I’m watching all of the reruns of The Good Wife.  I also love watching old movies and historical movies of kings and queens.  I watch a lot less news these days – I find that healthy!

To contact Margaret, go to her website www.kidsbeatingcancer.com and read more about the wonderful things they are doing.  And if you get a chance, please go to their Gala in October to help raise funds for the children and their families - and to help KBC reach their goal to expand their facility at Florida Hospital for Children.

Extraordinary Ordinary Women (and some men)

Well. . . Who the Heck is Cheri?  I see an old lady in the mirror and it's not me. When I hear someone refer to me as "that elderly lady over there", I can't believe they're talking about me.  I've accomplished some of my goals and some others I didn't think were on the horizon.  But, I don't think I've accomplished everything I need or want to do.  I often feel like a dog chasing its tail - so much to do and maybe not as much time as I'd like.  It got me to thinking about a series of paintings I have always done - "A Face in the Crowd".  Do you know the people around you?  The people walking by you? Have you taken time to learn who they are and what their story is?

Well, guess what?  I know some amazing incredible fabulous people.  They are my Sparkle People.  Lots of them are women. Most of them don't get paid millions of dollars for what they do (some do), you may not see them on tv, a stage, arena, or in the movies either.  But they are the most incredible successful and interesting people on earth.  They are life changers.  And I'm going to introduce you to them.

Share it with your friends, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you do, because the Sparkle People should be shared!

If you know a fabulous woman (or man!) that you would like me to consider writing about, please email me at cheri.riechers@cheriart.com. And maybe they will join the ranks of the CheriArt Sparkle People!

xoxo Cheri (Sparkle Queen)

January 9, 2014

SPARKLE PERSON – DR. WINNIE KING, Doctor, Emmy Award Winning Television Host and Personality, Business Owner and Creative Talent!

Dr. Winnie King - what can I say about her except she's up close to being perfection and what I would strive to be if I could have a re-do.  I met her when the Alumni Director from our college flew to Orlando to meet with us, as people who have achieved a level of success in our fields.  It was the two of us being interviewed and through that meeting I was introduced to one of the most fantastic women I've had the pleasure to meet.

She has overcome challenges that most of us never think of and has moved forward to change the lives of others.  Her caring upbringing with loving parents and her strong faith have powered her forward to three television shows, four Emmy Awards, a successful medical practice, and new emergency medical clinics in Texas.  It has molded her into the compassionate, loving and dedicated human being that I am honored to know and call my friend. 

She’s one of the most interesting, intelligent, creative and lovely people I know!  To know her is to have enrichment in your life.  And that’s why I’ve selected her as one of the CheriArt Sparkle People!

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO WHAT YOU DO?  DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A DOCTOR? 
While I knew that I wanted to be in a profession which helped people, the decision to become a medical doctor actually came from my mother. I had graduated early from high school, finished college early with a degree in psychology and had plans to pursue masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology. But my mother felt that I would be more challenged with a career as a medical doctor. She was right (aren't they always!). But my training in psychology has served me well as a doctor.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
If I could change anything in this world, it would be to create a pill or vaccine everyone had to take which would infuse us with compassion and the ability to see life through other people's perspective. I know that sounds sappy but it's something that I think is really missing in this world. My ever evolving Christian faith has guided my approach to others but I'm amazed at how callous and disinterested we, as a people, have become toward each other. The lack of compassion allows us to not care that there are homeless veterans sleeping on the streets or runaway children with absolutely no one in the world to care for them. Lack of compassion allows us to become so self centered that we simply don't see the suffering and need around us. We are so focused on getting "things" which we can't take with us and have no meaning when it's all said and done. I'm not opposed to having "things" but I am concerned that "things" have us, so we forget that relationships filled with caring, empathy, love and compassion are what really matter.


YOU HAVE HAD YOUR OWN TELEVISION PROGRAM AND WON FOUR EMMY AWARDS.  YOU'VE BEEN ON OPRAH.  YOU'VE LIVED A BI-COASTAL LIFESTYLE.  DID YOU ENJOY THAT PART OF YOUR LIFE AND DO YOU THINK IT HAD AN IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE IN A SPECIAL WAY?

There was a time when I was hosting three television shows and working as a physician at the same time. It was quite a feat to juggle all of those responsibilities but they were all so important to me I couldn't give any of them up. In NY I was hosting "Keeping Kids Healthy" on PBS (this is the show I won four Emmys for), in LA I was a host on "Speaking of Women's Health" and "What Should You Do" on Lifetime TV, and in Orlando I was practicing medicine. I was flying in a big triangle! I love being active with a lot of projects going on at the same time. Hosting those shows as well as my appearances on "Oprah" and "Montel" provided me the opportunity to reach the public with information designed to help them make wise life choices. That's why I entered the field of medical journalism.

HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE PROFESSIONALY AND PERSONALLY? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS? 
You know, life is funny. Just when you think you have got it figured out, God will show you something else to master. Where I'm at today comes from the experiences, good and painful, that have shaped me. I don't refer to experiences as "bad" because that which does not kill you, will truly make you wiser and stronger. A lot of where I am and what I know has come from trial and error and trusting God to order my steps. My advice is to embrace life with excitement and enthusiasm. Life is never a smooth ride, but that would make it boring and you might fall asleep and miss some great moments! Trust God, saddle up and hold on to your hat!


WHAT PERSON HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOU PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY AND WHY? 
Personally, it would have to be my mother. She is an amazing woman. Her strength, courage, devotion and faith has served as a beacon of light for me. She was a career woman (retired school teacher) but managed to be a loving wife to my dad and devoted mother to me and my sister. Now that I'm an adult I can truly appreciate the time management skills she employed. I'm so blessed to have wonderful childhood memories. We had so much fun shopping and eating Chinese food... more about that later. But it's her heart that I'm most moved by. My mother is the type of woman who never meets a stranger. She would do anything for anyone in need. I would like to think that I inherited her compassion. Professionally, it would be by father. I know I sound like a proud daughter, but my dad is a brilliant man who is a retired Air Force colonel. I remember as a child seeing him leave for work every morning in his uniform. He is a tall man so he looked especially impressive as he drove away each day. His diligence to his work and to his family is something my sister and I remain forever grateful for. What I didn't understand as a child was the horrible racism both of my parents endured and the lengths they took to shield my sister and I from it. Yet despite this oppression, they both soared above it all and have been blessed to be living out their years in retirement together. Job well done! God has truly blessed my family. I have to add that I had the privilege of meeting Rosa Parks when I hosted a black tie gala in Los Angeles in the 90's which honored her.  She was such a petite and lovely woman. I was struck by just how much courage she had to stand up for her dignity and human rights and she became a role model for me.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE AND WHAT IS IT? 
My favorite quote is "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I have drilled this quote into my staff at Priority Emergency Room. It speaks for itself.

WE ALL HAVE FAILURES AND/OR CHALLENGES AND LEARN FROM THEM AS WE GO THROUGH OUR JOURNEY IN LIFE.  WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT OR FAILURE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT? 
I think the most difficult experience I have had to get through was my auto accident in my first year of medical school. I fell asleep driving home from the library one morning and sustained injuries which required that I restart medical school the following year. Up till then nothing "bad" had ever happened to me and it was a physically painful and emotionally frustrating experience. By God's grace I recovered fully and re-entered medical school the following year. There is always a silver lining with life experiences and being a patient was an enlightening experience. I came away from it with a level of compassion that some doctors lack when it comes to patient care.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS? 
Right now I'm a managing partner at Priority Emergency Room in Katy and The Woodlands, Texas. This keeps me pretty busy. I have a children's book in the works and a book for adults detailing some of the cases I've treated and what we can all learn from them. It's true that life is stranger than fiction! My agent and I have been exploring some media opportunities so I might be back in the world of television again one day soon.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? 
I am the happiest when I'm in my design studio. I love to sew, knit, crochet and make jewelry. After a lot of encouragement from family and friends I've decided to begin the process of selling some items. My company is Wrking Designs.  Look for my work at Etsy.com soon. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS, HOBBIES, TV SHOWS? 
Growing up in the orient as a "military brat" has left me addicted to Japanese, Chinese and Thai food. I'm on a 12 step detox program! I find myself watching the NFL channel the way most people watch news channels. I absolutely love football. Tennis is a close second. My other favorite programs are "Law and Order", "Major Crimes" and "Changing Your World" with Pastor Creflo Dollar.
 

November 14, 2013

SPARKLE PERSON – ANDREA CANNY, Singer, Actress, Do-Gooder and Overall Hilarious Person

If we knew Andrea Canny’s secret, we could bottle it and become millionaires.  Because Andrea never stops moving – she’s a body in motion 24/7.  If there’s a minute, she fills it up.  And she’s one of the funniest story-tellers ever.

Andrea is a long time actress and singer at Disney, she has performed in plays all over the world (yes, in Paris oooh la la, and New York). She sings with our good friend, Donn Lamkin, in his Neil Diamond Tribute Show, Diamond Rocks, is a tireless supporter of animal rights and participates in fundraising events for her furry friends.  She teaches art to cancer patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center, she is a Distributor for CheriArt products (YAY us!), she has a new CD (“Cab Fab” – buy it!), she has an incredible Cabaret Act and she has more friends than anyone I know. 

And that’s not all.  She just finished a run in the wildly popular “Disenchanted” at the Abbey, was Lizzie in “Lizzie Borden, the musical”, played Miss Jones in the production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” w/Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed with Betty White, Jerry Orbach and others, and has been on the Oprah Show with Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. 

She’s kind, super-funny, and has a beautiful heart – Yes. . . she’s amazing!  And that’s why I’ve selected her as one of the CheriArt Sparkle People!

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO WHAT YOU DO?  DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO ACT AND SING?

I didn’t know I could sing until I was 16 when I joined the choir in order to have a class with my best friend.  I sat in the second altos with her, learning basic vocal technique for three weeks.  Then, Mr. Hanning, my Choir Director, individually took us through scales to see how high and low we could sing.  When I finished, he said, “You will be in the First Soprano’s Section.”  I said, “Isn’t that the high, skreechy part?”  With a smirk on his face he replied, “Yes, it is.  And you have some real talent.”  With complete honesty, I said, “In what?”  And he said, “Singing!”, and just shook his head as I left the room not knowing how to process that information.  From that moment on, he encouraged me and nurtured my talent and became like a second father to me.

I dedicated my CD to Mr. Michael J. Hanning, and this is the Note from the Artist: 

This album, OK, CD...is dedicated to the man who let me know that I had a talent to share.  Without Michael J. Hanning, I may not have ever realized I had anything to offer this world with my voice.  As it seems to be a recurring theme in my life, others seem to have way more faith in me & my talents than I have in my own.  So, I am forever grateful for him and the love, support and guidance he gave to me, always.  Rest in peace, you sweet, funny man!

Also, the track, “Our Love is Here to Stay", is dedicated to the indelible memory of Rich Williams, woodwind player extraordinaire, pianist, band leader, excellent teacher & composer with a photographic memory (damn it!!!).  He came to Colerain H.S. as a TA for the band from Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, but I got to know him when he played sax for me at a school assembly (“Hopelessly Devoted to You”; does that date me???).  After that he asked me and my friend, Steve, if we would like to learn more about jazz & contemporary music after school.  We both jumped at the chance!  He had us sifting through the classics.  For me it was Carole King, Roberta Flack and Ella Fitzgerald that lit my fire.  I still have the original, though yellowed mimeographed copies of the music he gave me.  I was a Jr. in H.S. who had no idea of what to do in college, no less in my life.  But, one day after school, Steve couldn't make it and Rich & I went ahead working on my songs.  We were to begin with "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack.  I loved that song...check...I LOVE that song!  I remember that he was on my left at the upright piano in the music room.  He started playing and I began singing.  My hand on his shoulder, I had my eyes closed, delving deeper into the reality of the song.  I am not sure where it began, but I seemed to be transported to another place, time or reality.  

As I sang, all I saw in my mind's eye was the blue-blackness of the Universe and the brightly shining stars in it.  It was then that a wave of great awareness showered over me.  I could feel it physically too.  The message was clear to me.  I was put here to sing.  THIS is what I was put here to DO!!!!  I immediately felt ecstatic!!!! I KNEW what I was here to do!!! (plus this meant I could drop Elementary Analysis, which I was most likely going to fail, no matter how gorgeous Mr. Bates' forearms were!!  Really, they were amazing.)  So, I finished the song, opened my eyes & was about to tell Rich about what had just happened to me, when I saw he was looking at me, dumbfounded, with a single tear dropping down his red-bearded cheek.  I said to him, "What's wrong?”.  He said,  "What just happened?  Where did you go?".  I excitedly relayed the experience to him and then silence fell as I waited for his response.  He looked at me with his eternally kind eyes and said, "I stopped playing at about the second stave."...I, however, had completed the whole song...Rich was taken from this world WAY too early and so many of us miss him so much.  But, his presence will always be felt.  

Thank you, my Universal Friend, for helping in so many ways on this musical journey.  I look forward to the next 'go round' we have!!  See you then! (but, this next time can I be the one with a photographic memory???  OK, just asking : )

HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?  

Professionally: The easy story is by a lot of hard work, desire, study, tenacity, integrity, playing well with others and not burning bridges.  I also believe that everything happens for a reason and no matter how much I want a gig, I always remind myself that, “It is either MY gig or it isn’t.  End of story.”   If I really wanted a specific gig and didn’t get it, I let myself grieve for one day, then it is time to move forward! 

Personally:  I have been blessed to have so many amazing people in my life and I meet the coolest people everywhere I go!  People are fascinating and I love meeting new people and learning about them, their lives, their interests and passions.  My core circle of friends is enormous and filled with such great souls.  Having a core group of super female friends like I have, is the best part of my life!  Without the love and support of these luscious ladies, I wouldn’t be able to breathe.  As far as love relationships go . . . I’m still working on that:)

WHAT PERSON HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOU PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY AND WHY?

Professionally: Mr. Hanning and Rich Williams definitely had a great influence on me professionally.  They changed my life to go in the right direction.  Lately, I realized that a lot of the people I grew up enjoying on TV were character actresses.  As I watch them now I can see what I learned from them (even though back then, I had no clue I would be a character actress) . . . Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Betty White, Valerie Harper and Billie Harper (Witchiepoo!).

Personally:  My oldest sister, Bridget was probably the first personal influence on me.  I grew up idolizing her and we are still very close.  She is such an amazing soul and I have always wanted to be like her.  My high school art teacher, Marge Hilliard, who is still a close friend today, taught me how to value being an artist, to work hard, be real, and that it was more than OK to be a strong woman . . . it was my destiny.  All of my close friends teach me on a daily basis and help me grow into a better human. 

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?  IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

I have two:

“Ever has it been that love knows not it’s own depth until the hour of separation.”~ Kahlil Gibran

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”~ Marianne Williamson

WE ALL HAVE FAILURES AS WE GO THROUGH OUR JOURNEY IN LIFE, SO WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT OR FAILURE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?

I went through a very bad phase in my life.  Thankfully it was just a short period of time and taught me some valuable life lessons.  I was arrested for DUI and driving on a suspended license and sentenced to 90 days home confinement.  This happened during a time when I was processing a break up that left me doubting my core personality.  I was at a frightening low point, and the sentence just intensified it all.  I spent a year and a half dealing with suicidal feelings. 

Getting through that phase of my life taught me two things: 

            1. Freedom means the most to me. 

            2. You can get through anything if you are willing to open up to others who   truly care about you.

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE PROFESSIONALLY?   

Always work with integrity.  Work hard, respect and hone your craft, and make friends.  Some people are intimidated by the term “Networking”.  But Networking is just a fancy word for making friends.  And friends who trust you and vouch for your professional integrity will always help you.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?  

I want to be an author of books, have my own television show about people and their dogs, perform on Broadway, be a valued cast member of a TV sitcom, continue recording, be a documentarian, continue with my artistic desires, travel the world and eventually find a great man who will spend time loving me and walking through the rest of this life with me.

WHAT IN LIFE MAKES YOU HAPPY?  

Puppy butts!!!! Dogs, in general!  Good people, great weather, nature, creativity, love, friendship, and good humanity.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD, HOBBY, TV SHOW?

I love Middle Eastern food such as tabouli and hummus.  I also love Pio Pio’s restaurants (Peruvian/Columbian) in NYC & Orlando.  I don’t really have time for a hobby.    My favorite kinds of TV shows are dramatized forensic, legal and cop shows - like “Law and Order”, “CSI”, “Scandal”, etc.

ANDREA’S INFO:

If you want to reach Andrea, email her at alcanny@me.com.  Her website is www.andreacanny.com.  Buy her CD, CabFab on iTunes, amazon.com or cdbaby.com. LIKE her fanpage on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Canny/178726568861938?ref=hl and find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AndreaCanny

 

October 29, 2013

SPARKLE PERSON – EVA KRZEWINSKI, Co-Founder Pearls for Women Service Organization

If you live in Central Florida it is impossible not to see Eva – she’s everywhere! Really!  And the places you see her are usually an event, charity or organization that needs assistance.  Pearls For Women’s mission is to educate, connect, inspire and put women in touch with resources beneficial to enhancing their lives, businesses, careers and community connections.  The goal is to empower and reward women to help each other with a symbol of a pearl bracelet, called “Pearlizing.”

Like many motivated women, I don’t know if she sleeps!  She’s literally out almost every night, working every day – and in between she travels extensively.  Her friends sometimes refer to her as P3.... a People and Product Promoter. She and her partners have chaired, hosted and volunteered for over 600 Orlando area events!  Holy Guacamole – that’s Amazing and wears me out just thinking about it!

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO WHAT YOU DO?

My love for people and the gift of gab. LOL.  Starting my own business put me in touch with the community. I discovered how much I enjoy networking and it was easy for me to meet new people and build relationships.   And I’m a great "barker" for my charities.  Professionally I am a Speaker and Corporate Trainer with an MBA, specializing in HR and Marketing. However, my passion is helping connect women to each other, business, community and philanthropy.  I am able to do this with my best friend and business partner, Lanette Jarvis, as we started Pearls for Women five years ago. 

HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?  

Two things:  An education and building relationships.  When I moved to Orlando in 1998 I knew nobody. Now I can circumnavigate the Orlando community, and have developed great relationships. 

WHAT PERSON HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOU PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY AND WHY?

My mother.  As a single professional she raised me to believe you can only count on yourself - to get an education and be self-sufficient.  She overcame many challenges herself and always sacrificed everything for me so I could be successful in life.  I am forever grateful to my mom and love her so very much.  I'm looking forward to her moving here next year so we can be closer.  I did get my travel bug from her!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?  IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

I have several:

"So shines a good deed in a weary world" - Willy Wonka

"Just do it" - Nike

"You have the choice to make it a successful day" - Me

WE ALL HAVE FAILURES AS WE GO THROUGH OUR JOURNEY IN LIFE, SO WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT OR FAILURE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?

I don't look at this as a failure or disappointment (maybe my mom does) but being single with no children has always made me wonder if I made the right choices.  I do believe everything happens for a reason, so perhaps this is my plan. If things change, I promise to let you know, and who knows . . . it’s not too late, and they just might!

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE PROFESSIONALLY?   

I am a firm believer in asking for help when you need it.  Also, get a mentor and be committed to taking their advice and then listening to it!  You learn so much in life by listening.  Connect with people by being real and having a positive attitude. Leave your personal baggage at home and don't let the world in on all your problems.  Be strong, assertive, and polite.  Remember, one kind word can change someone’s entire day. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?  

First and foremost, I look forward to seeing Pearls for Women become a non-profit with the ability to give grants to women in need.  

My dream is to be a Hollywood Agent, so maybe one day!  You know, it's all about building relationships, which is what I do best.  It only takes one good client, so if you are reading this......call me!    I also have thought about politics.   Can you believe it?  I've lobbied several times in DC and Tallahassee and loved it.  I think I could make a difference!   

WHAT IN LIFE MAKES YOU HAPPY?  

My friends, my two legged babies Precious and Sonny, and Love (which I'm still looking for :) )

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD, HOBBY, TV SHOW?

I love to travel and experience new things and tastes.  Love Broadway, the Arts, The Orlando Ballet, going to the spa and shopping.  I'm watching what I'm eating lately, but I'm definitely not a vegetarian.  Seasons 52 is one of my favorite places (tuna tartar) along with Maxine's on Shine (bacon burger).  Thanks to DVR I get to watch some of my faves like Criminal Minds, Revenge, American Horror, Two Broke Girls, Mike and Molly, The Amazing Race, Housewives, and Vampire Diaries.  Yes, on off days I do tv marathons!

EVA’S INFO:

Eva has over 25 years experience in Motivational and Educational Training.  She is a past State President for Business and Professional Women for Florida, and currently holds the office of President of the Orlando Chapter for the second time.  She has trained executives and staff for companies such as JB Morgan Chase, Bank One and Bank of America.  Also, she has written and taught training programs to national companies such as Comcast, Bright House, Mary Kay, Clemson University, and locally, the Orange County Government.  Eva, through volunteering and leading organizations and charities, is an accomplished event chair, hosting and planning over 500 events and conferences from 20 to 2000. Each month Pearls for Women hosts a Power Lunch to bring women together to network and enhance their lives.   

Pearls for Women, LLC- info@pearlsforwomen.comwww.PearlsForWomen.com